star lit sky

13 Years Later and You Shine Brighter Than Ever

I was about to write a short caption on a draft photo upload to Instagram, then I realised that I had more to say.

You can’t fit into one blog post how having someone in your life makes such a significant impact. I spent 13 years with him and now it’s been 13 years without him. My grandad was my biggest hero. He taught me how to be strong, brave and kind. The most generous hearted person. He was the only one who would play shop and post office with me more than twice at a time. He encouraged me to go on my first huge rollercoaster ride when I was absolutely terrified. And since that day, I’ve learnt the importance of being brave and coming out of my comfort zone. The one person I could share everything with and made it all better. He always gave me the greatest hugs and tickled my arm when I needed to go to sleep.

Nothing beat the love he had for his grandchildren. He wanted to give us the world. The amount of happiness he brought into our lives will always give us something to look back on and smile about.

I never thought anything could break grandad. You know, it was as if he was unstoppable. There’s been two instances that shown me otherwise. The first – when granny passed away on 9th February 2002. Stood alone, I watched him crumble, crying so hard, putting his head into his hands. I was in the hallway at mum and dad’s house and I looked into the kitchen to see him, heartbroken. As much as it’s a memory I’d like to phase away, I don’t think it ever will.

You build such a strong bond, share adventures and they hold your hand throughout childhood. They watch you become a teenager and then…

The second – the day his heart stopped on 21st May 2007. My dad told school that he needed me and my brother to come home. A guidance counsellor who got to know me though being bullied at the time, found me straight away. I was so confused. I didn’t say much until we walked to the car waiting for my brother to come. “Is it mum?” “Is Gaz okay?” My dad didn’t know what to say even though he was trying to tell us. I asked, “N-no, no, Grandad?” and my dad’s face said all it needed to. The car journey home was probably the quietest moment I’ve shared with one of my brothers. It was happening all over again. That was us, home, ran to our bedrooms and cried uncontrollably.

I remember visiting grandad in hospital and him telling me, “You’re growing up so much”. Getting on a bus to visit him at the hospital on my own didn’t phase me one bit. Walking through the hospital, seeing Ward H2, seeing him lay in the hospital bed didn’t scare me. No longer being able to hold his hand scared me. I used to bring 2 of my high school friends to stay on many weekends at his house – his kindness spread to others like them. They seen, no matter how old I was, the relationship we had didn’t change. I only wish I could’ve seen him when he went home this time.

I could spend my life hating coronary heart disease but hate isn’t something that grandad would’ve wanted. Hopefully you’ll see, why I love doing all I can to support the British Heart Foundation. Also, I think it’s crazy how, ever since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted a golden Labrador/Retriever and that’s the breed of dog grandad sponsored and almost had one as a guide dog for his visual impairment.

Grandad, just as we used to do for granny, every time I look to the sky at night and I see a star, I’ll think of you. “Love you millions!”

I haven’t written this blog post to give myself a good cry, as much as I’ve had to fight it whilst putting it together. It’s more to remind myself how special life is. Time and love is everything. There’s no escaping loved ones, they are in each and every little thing we see or do. You find yourself thinking about or doing something they taught you. And I hope this teaches anyone who’s reading this post, to hold tight onto everything that makes you happy.

river view with purple sky during sunset

Using the Lockdown as a Time for Reflection

Lockdown is treating us all in different ways. I’m enjoying the Monica in me, the extra time to clean, tidy and organise. I’m like a crazy woman running round the house with the music on full volume. My poor neighbours! As far as food is concerned, I’ll make it short, I think I’m eating too much of it… yes the scales do agree. Through it all, I’m lucky to still be working so I’m glad that holds onto some kind of sanity I have left.

Positive reflecting

Lockdown has sent a lot more ‘me time’ my way. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reflecting on – what’s important, what really matters, and coming to the realisation that I’ve eaten more packets of crisps than ever before. Seriously though, just the other week I had a sudden phase of calmness. I’d usually have something on my mind to worry about and it took one moment for everything to come flooding in to remind me that happiness is everything. No matter what that means for you, it matters, always.

Some of my time has been spent looking back at memories, reconnecting with old friends, getting closer to those who I wouldn’t tend to call or video call pre-lockdown life. The thing is though, it’s mainly my mum and dad that I video call and I spend the first 5-10 minutes laughing because I can’t help it. Does anyone else get that or is it just me?

Still missing friends and family of course

I can’t wait to go out and celebrate with my friends. Celebrate what? Just life itself and obviously that’ll be when it’s safe to do so. The moment where I get to hug my mum and dad is something I often think about. Ahhh, it makes me a bit emotional. Grandad’s anniversary is in a couple of weeks so I’ve got to stay in happy spirits. And in the back of my mind, is a reminder of uncle Dom’s anniversary next month, which will mark one whole year since he passed away.

If lockdown has taught me anything, it’s that time flies. I knew it already but wow… even though many of us are feeling a bit bored and fed up at times, I think it’s gone so fast. And for me, the positive reflection has really helped to get more of the positive mindset back that I missed. It’s hard to find things to occupy you 24/7 but remember that this wasn’t all for nothing. It’s important to stay safe and help to save lives.

Hold onto the people and things that help you

Who and what had made you happy throughout the coronavirus outbreak? Remind yourself of whoever and whatever that might be whenever you feel a little low. Here’s to more singalongs to myself, dancing whenever I feel like it, a clearer perspective and remembering how good it feels to smile as much as possible no matter what’s happening in the world.

birthday cake with candles lit

Making the Most out of a Birthday in Lockdown

Have you got a birthday coming up and you’re thinking, oh great, a birthday in lockdown? Don’t worry, there are still plenty of things you can do to enjoy your special day. It might not be quite what you had planned e.g. cocktails with the girls, dancing the night away, or whatever it might be. That doesn’t mean to say that you can’t enjoy it.

You can still enjoy lots of food

I’m an early bird and of course Danny is very much aware of that because he hears me pottering around the house most mornings. So, to be prepared, he set his alarm for 6am (yep, I don’t do lie-ins, not even on my birthday haha). Danny walked into the room holding a cake with candles lit singing happy birthday to me. You know the emoji with the little face that looks like its about to start blubbering with tears, that was me.

You might not be going out for food to your favourite restaurant but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some good food. Luckily, the sun was out for the afternoon so I was able to have a mini BBQ in the back garden with Danny. As you can probably imagine, wherever food is involved, is a pretty good sign that you’re going to enjoy yourself. Burgers and chicken lover over here, so I was in my element.

Being the Little Miss Piggy that I am, I received quite a few boxes of chocolates AND some sweets so, you bet I’ve been eating them all. So much so that I might resemble a pig after all of this, but it’s all about enjoying yourself right?

There might be some surprises along the way…

I had a lovely surprise when one of my best friends turned up (keeping 2 metres apart of course) to drop my card off along with some unexpected gifts. She also brought a card from another one of my lovely friends. Talking of surprises, I also received a bouquet of tulips, box of chocolates and teddy from Danny, along with a card from my best friend and her baby boy. You know those things that pop up with confetti when you open them and they turn into a little gift cube? Well, I had one of those but unfortunately I opened it too quick and obviously didn’t now what it was prior to it being delivered so I didn’t get a video. Part of the message read “auntie Tasha… can’t wait to see you” so you can understand how that melted my heart.

Receiving birthday messages

I still received a generous amount of cards and birthday messages over social media, text, WhatsApp etc. As I’ve already said, my two best friends made a special effort, where one of them even made me a card. My brothers came to see me from their cars as I stood at the front door which made me smile too. Anyone who knows me, knows just how much I love a good card. I received a cute personalised one from my nephew too. I’m so thankful for all of my family and friends who thought of me. Each of them made it a birthday I’ll always remember even though they wasn’t there in person to see me.

There was so much thought put into my birthday this year with so much to smile about throughout the whole day. One thing that was missing was a hug from my mum and dad but at least I was able to be healthy and safe in my home and still enjoy the day. This birthday made me realise how to make the most out of any situation. Whatever it might be, there’s always a positive outlook on the horizon if you look close enough.

So, it’s your birthday next? How are you planning to spend your birthday in lockdown?

I am grateful heart on wooden background

There’s Always Something to Be Thankful For

It’s crazy to think that our generation can say they were here when the Coronavirus lockdown was happening. We don’t know exactly how long it’s going to continue for but we do know how to do our part in keeping ourselves and others safe. Feeling positive during the Coronavirus pandemic can be difficult so, I’m sharing some of the things I’m thankful for and you might be too.

More time to spend with your significant other

Not everyone is lucky to live with their boyfriend/girlfriend/partner during the pandemic so I understand how lucky I am. Some might say they’re ‘stuck in the house’ with each other 24/7. But the way I look at it, you’ve got company all day and they are there to put a smile on your face.

Danny still checks in on me when we’re doing our own thing.  When I think about how we spend most of our times at work, we’re lucky to still be working in our house and seeing each other during work time. Our routines haven’t completely gone out of the window; we eat breakfast, lunch and tea together; have our film nights; and be there for one another if either of us are feeling a bit low.

Having health and happiness

As miserable as the COVID-19 climate is, continuing to do the things that makes you happy feels good. Okay, so, I can’t go out shopping in the home section all of the time or go on days out but there are several other positives. A number I’ve mentioned above plus, more time for cleaning and organising; a hug from Danny any time of the day. Don’t feel guilty for having these moments. You’re allowed to smile and do the things that help to maintain a positive mindset.

Although I was unwell for a couple of weeks, it could’ve been much worse. That’s the thing I keep telling myself about all of this. There are people losing their lives all around the world; families facing such heartbreak; and parents who can’t see their children or as much as they would like to. It’s important to keep a healthy mental and physical balance. Can we exclude the amount of Easter eggs I’m going to eat though? I think I’ve earned the chance to indulge after giving chocolate, cake and biscuits up for Lent.

More time to spend in the sun

We might not be allowed to go into the outdoors as far and as much as we would like to but there’s still ways to enjoy the sunshine. If you have a house, choose from your front or back garden; if not, try a walk around your local area. Some people underestimate the power of going outside and getting a breath of fresh air. I think it was taken for granted when we weren’t limited to where we could go before coronavirus hit us.

If you’re lucky to get your hands on some gardening bits, have fun and get things off your to-do list. Danny is planting new flowers in the back garden as I’m making my way through de-weeding the front. I cut my hands the other day (silly of me for wearing no gloves) but it feels good to get involved with the hands-on stuff!

Making the most of technology

If you didn’t hear on my Twitter @tashalifestyle, my mum has come a long way in her world of getting to grips with technology. She can now send photos on WhatsApp and calls a video call ‘Face WhatsApp. Bless her heart.

It’s so nice to keep in touch with friends and family over the phone, messaging, via apps. My mum started to cry at the end of a call last week because she just wanted to give me a hug. I cannot wait to squeeze her, the same goes for my dad and brothers whether they like it or not (mwuahahaha).

It’s also nice to FaceTime with people you don’t usually, like our nephew over the weekend, so cute! Unfortunately, I can’t keep in touch with my niece so she’s another little soul who’s face I can’t wait to see.


So, these are just a few things to think about. As bad as things might seem right now, it will get better. Each day is another day closer to hitting some kind of normality. Take the time to realise what’s important and you’ll see all of the things you’re thankful for. Remember you’re not in ‘prison’, you’re staying safe.

close up of pink petal flowers

Things to Do During the Coronavirus Lockdown

As surreal as the lockdown in the UK might feel right now, there are plenty of things you can do to stay occupied. Unfortunately, for the most social groups of people this is probably quite difficult. Also, it can pose challenges for those who are out of/can’t work. I’m lucky enough to be working from home so I still have some kind of routine. It does feel strange not having to travel to and from the office and I miss seeing my colleagues face-to-face.

For the past 10 days I’ve had Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms so I’ve stayed indoors (self-isolating). The only places I’ve been includes the bins at the front of the house and going into the back garden. Those who are on the COVID-19 high risk list have been urged to stay at home (shielding), whilst others are staying 2 metres apart (social distancing) and under restrictions to only go outside for:

  • Shopping for necessities
  • Exercise
  • Medical reasons
  • Traveling to and from work if ‘absolutely necessary’

Take advantage of the time you have to relax

If you’re anything like me and you struggle to just relax and chill, now is the time to understand why you should do it more often. ‘Me time’ is really important. I’ve talked about ways you can relax before. Pamper yourself or take the time do something you usually put aside because you don’t always have the time e.g. reading a new book, starting a blog etc.

Clean up and tidy up

I always find something to rearrange whether it’s clothes in the wardrobe, the cupboard under the sink, the medicine cabinet, you name it, there’s always something. Why did I have 6 boxes of plasters in the medicine cabinet, who knows? I love to organise and keep the house clean and tidy so this an everyday hobby for me.

Binge watch TV series or films

Okay, I’ll admit, I do this anyway. But there’s no harm is watching more right? Make the most of those Netflix subscriptions. I’m making the most of some girly series at the moment, including a bundle of Gilmore Girls episodes (my 3rd time watching the whole series from start to finish). And as Disney+ is out in the UK, you might as well sign up and be ready for all of your Disney favourites. I’m so looking forward to reliving my childhood!

Do some gardening

If you have the tools available, why not take the opportunity to venture into garden. It’s never really been on my to-do list before. However, since we moved into the new house last year, the back garden has been an area I like to spend my time in, when the weather is nice enough. I’ve had fun tidying the garden, cleaning the patio, and painting the fence.

Keep in touch with family and friends

The most important one on the list. Check in on your family and friends. And don’t forget about your neighbours, especially those who are vulnerable. There are many options such as: a call, text, social media, instant messaging like WhatsApp, video calls e.g. FaceTime etc. Some groups of people are also using quiz/gaming apps to keep them in high spirits.

As miserable as everything seems at the moment, do something that you can look back on and know it was time well spent. Think about the positives and have a forward-thinking perspective to keep you motivated.

pathway made from decking with hearts at the side

Don’t Let Anything Stop You From Dreaming

With everything that’s going on at the moment, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what happens next. It’s so easy to feel unmotivated or doubt many things right now. But it’s down to you and the perspective you have that makes a difference. There were so many things I was looking forward to in 2020, it was going to be the year.

  • June 2020 – New York
  • July 2020 – finally going to see Alicia Keys
  • Somewhere after that – buy a puppy (I’m a changed woman)

Never stop dreaming

You can wonder, it’s only natural to think things like… “I wish… We could’ve..” blah blah. But for me, the thing that matters the most is the health and happiness of those around me. Yes, I’m gutted that we might not get to experience the trip of our dreams to the one place I’ve always wanted to return to. But it doesn’t mean that we have to stop dreaming. There are countless of things to be thankful for and many things we’re blessed to have, putting each other at the top of that list.

I also think that as much as you to try plan things, life happens. It always will. If the current situation around the world doesn’t teach you the importance of not taking the small things for granted, I don’t know what will. Time is more precious than some people realise.

Putting all of this into perspective I know that good things can still happen. No matter how long it takes, I’ll keep dreaming until it’s real. And that’s why I’m not afraid to share it. I don’t talk about every single detail of my life with others everyday. But sometimes as long as you know what you want and you’re not afraid to go for it, you can do anything. When it comes down to it, there are much bigger and special things to look forward to than trips, no matter how exciting there are/were going to be.

Anything can be in store for the future

There’s so much the future can hold – good and bad. But I think even during the hardest of times, if you have each other, you have everything. That’s something I’ll never take for granted. And as most of you will have read before on my blog, I’m a big believer in doing things in your own time. Life isn’t a race.

It’s like when I tell people about how I’ve longed for a family of our own for quite some time. They seemed shocked. Perhaps it’s because I don’t put it out there. I’m already afraid that it might not happen because of complications mum has had in the past and wonder if I’ll experience it too. Kinda stupid I know because we all have our bodies but it’s true. And she does have 3 children who adore the bones of her. Some might wonder, why haven’t you got there then? It’s not about ‘getting there’. Me and Danny talk about these things and have known from the get-go what we want. I can only imagine how heartwarming it would be. Until then I might just have to bombard you all with some puppy love when that happens! Can you guess what Disney character’s name we’ve picked?

There’s always something to be thankful for

When you think about these things, it shows you what matters in your life. As much as I’d like to venture outside more often and continue my usual routine, it’s not much of a sacrifice when I still have the luxury of working from home, Danny’s company 24/7 (yes I genuinely love it) and my health and happiness.

Think about all of the reasons to be happy If you’re missing someone right now, FaceTime them, message them, call them.