the power of cake

We had two events on Rare Disease Day, and two cakes. What’s a celebration without cake?

cake NIRDP

Cake is for sharing amongst family, friends and community. It is a great leveller. People gathered to admire, to photograph, and enjoy. There are no hierachies as far as cake is concerned. No need for formal introductions when admiring someone else’s hard work. There were smiles and laughter from all.

Cake brings a party atmosphere. There were no brightly coloured balloons, but there were sweets on arrival, finger food for meals & people were dressed up (I wasn’t wearing pyjamas!!). There were presents- not simply free pens from some exhibitors, but awards. The NIRDP public service award went to Kieran McCarthy, MLA and the NIRDP community award went to our mate Ditzy. (The long term reader may remember tales of driving round the region with Ditzy and the always attendant chaos.)

Days later some of the symbolism of cutting the cake occurred to us: not only honouring the cutter as in a birthday, but marking a new togetherness as in a wedding. The message was we value you, and we want our relationship to be long term. Our cake cutters were the Health Minister, VM (lead for Clinical Genetics), Ditzy, Kieran, AK (Chair of the UK Rare Disease Forum) and DS (head of Commissioning for health & social care in NI)- patients, families, clinicians,policy makers and politicians. Cake to mark the development of community.

All that, and it tasted great!

Learning from Rare Disease Day 2016- always choose cake; you’ll think of a good reason later.




May, be better


April felt like a mush of busy/ tired/ sore. Grumpy McGrump ruled. My weight loss got scared by the approach of the target, and reverted to ‘on a bit, off a bit, on a bit’- pah. That wasn’t the only self imposed target I missed. April felt full of ‘failure’.

I’m done with all that. (Yes, of course I can just will myself to be healthy, thin and successful…)

May will have sunshine, peonies, visits to the caravan, and many beaches.

Fintra, Donegal

I will be better at planning. I will stop putting my hand up for extra tasks. I will do what I can, when I can. That is good enough.

My birthday is at the end of May, so there will be cake. Lots and lots of cake.


My inbox today has greeetings from shops, offering birthday ‘rewards’ for shopping with them.

Cake, beaches, shopping and sunshine.

Bring it on.

a challenge overcome

With my 30% discount voucher crumpled up in the bag, I headed off to explore.

I needed new jeans.

Traditionally, this is a tortuous process. I trek round shops and trawl websites in despair. Where are the jeans for sturdy, pear shaped, short legged people? Nowhere. I wonder if I should get the dressmaker to be creative, based on the worn through, wide jeans of many years ago. Maybe I should wear heels rather than sneakers? Heels? Nah, that’ll never work.

And so it goes. The last jeans I bought came in the post, so I could deal with the horror at home. They’re smaller in size than I’ve bought for many years, and my excitement at that caused me to overlook an unlikely detail. They are the only jeans ever to be too short for me. More daylight hours have revealed that I look like a policeman, circa 1984, with my trousers flapping round my ankles. All that’s needed is a bullet proof vest and some heavy weaponry.


The discount voucher didn’t apply to the luxury department store where I like to browse, but I looked at their jeans with my normal ‘aaargh’ angst. I was almost relieved to see a price label of £220- too expensive for me to expend brain power on.

After coffee and cake, I made it to the right shop. I braved bundles of denim. I didn’t blanche at the array of mysterious shapes- ‘Boyfriend’, ‘sexy Boyfriend’, ‘slim’, ‘super skinny’, ‘always skinny’, ‘don’t you wish you were skinny like me’, ‘curvy’, ‘bootcut’, ‘perfect bootcut’, ‘legging style’, ‘skinny ankle skimmer’ * – my rule of thumb was that anything including ‘skinny’ in the description was to be avoided.

Sizing is no more clear- some garments were in regular UK sizing-10, 12, 14, 16 etc- some in American sizing- similar numbers, but are they bigger or smaller? Is a US 12 a UK 8 or a UK16? Others were S, M or L. Most of the jeans were defined in inches- 26, 28, 30, 32 etc. I eventually worked out that wasn’t leg length, but most of the jeans don’t come as high as the waist, so why would it be a waist measurement? Being my shape, the biggest area the jeans need to cover is going to be more than 32 inches round. Where to start?

I was brave enough (thanks to that cake) to lift two styles and two sizes and just try them on. No other way to work it out, just get on with it. (So easily said, so rarely done.)

I did it. I walked into a shop, tried on several pairs of jeans and bought a pair I like. I didn’t feel like a fraud, or a fatty or a fake. I’m not any of those things, and I’m beginning to believe it. There seems to be a connection between losing a bit of weight and gaining a little confidence.

I’m quite enjoying this discovery.



*some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent

worth reading

Sometimes, my bloggy buddies write powerfully and I react in a post. Other times I read posts or articles and think ‘wow’ or ‘what fun’ or ‘oh, yes, that’, but I don’t share it further. I should, I think. There is a lot of great blogging.

Grab a hot drink.

Slice the cake.


t, on being inspired in today’s post, postponed

DorkyMum, sharing a discussion on birth trauma

Debbie, on rediscovering the joy of music

Tinman’s unique take on a photochallenge   

Peter’s powerful comment on language

If you don’t follow those bloggers, you really should; they always have me inspired or laughing or thinking. What else could I want?

This isn’t a blog post, but an archived article from a journalist, discussing the space left when a parent dies. It made sense to me, so you get that too.

I am too good to you.