The Christmas Letter 2022

Well I highly enjoyed writing last year’s missive so I thought I would go ahead and do another one!

Let’s see, looking back on 2022, well…

In January we started the year with a glorious sunny walk in the woods, just me and my gorgeous girls on New Year’s Day which was a lovely way to blow away the cobwebs and start fresh and new.

Continue reading

The road to nowhere…

Well I am slowly starting to feel better again, and I’ve had a few much-needed calls with good friends which has certainly helped with my crappy mood.

The last few days I’ve just felt tired, knackered, exhausted, and had near-constant headaches. The trouble is I can’t tell how much of it is a Covid-relapse, and how much is just tiredness from being stuck at home alone with a 3-year old with no break, rest, or respite while trying to recuperate, and how much is due to having a low mood and feeling really miserable and down in general.

On Friday, I realised that I need to keep my poor car Polly running long enough for us to be able to collect the new car, and the battery keeps dying due to total lack of use. It is a struggle to start these days at all, and so we decided to take a drive.

Now technically we’re isolating and can’t go anywhere or come into contact with any people, even though it’s clearly a false positive test at this point, so you know what we did?

We drove around the ring road. We aimlessly circled Oxford. That’s how rock and roll my life is now.

We couldn’t use the Sat Nav, as it’s software designed to take you to your destination via the shortest/fastest route possible, so it’s very hard to make it take you in an aimless circle with no purpose only to bring you back home where you started.

Turns out the ring road is harder to navigate than I anticipated, so we managed to get lost twice, which feels like a new low.

We drove for 24 miles, and with the wrong turns drove for almost 50mins, which I hope is enough to keep the car battery going a bit longer. The kid had a mini nap in the car, so it was surprisingly peaceful just driving in a big circle around and around. It’s really sad but it felt like an outing, and it’s the furthest we’ve physically been from the house in about 5-6 weeks. If you’d told me a year ago that I would consider driving aimlessly around the city with no purpose or reason an exciting trip out I’d have thought you were insane.

Now, of course when you’re isolating you’re supposed to stay at home, but frankly after 16 days straight in serious hardcore didn’t-leave-the-house isolation as a single mum alone with a toddler, and then going into another 10 days, I feel that our sad, aimless drive around the ring road was ok and was still within the spirit of the law – we stayed in the car the whole time, didn’t stop anywhere and didn’t go near anyone else – which is more than Dominic Cummings can claim…

Was our journey essential?

For Polly, yes, she barely started and needs to limp along a bit more until we can go get our new car.

For the sake of my mental health – also yes, but I don’t know how essential my personal mental health is to the people who make the rules.

On Sunday I had another bad day – shocking headache all day and super tired. I had to give in and take a nap at 3pm as I physically couldn’t stay awake any longer so the kid watched cartoons while I dozed on the sofa, then got an early night. I’m chomping through paracetamol and drinking tons of water but it doesn’t seem to help at all with the headaches, feels like my brain is being squeezed in a vice. My temperature is still going up and down and is higher than it should be. I am still getting little mini-flushes of fever now and again, and in general my resting body temp is definitely higher than it normally is though I haven’t had a proper fever again since Tuesday.

Hoping it starts to get better soon, it’s all very very boring now, I’m tired and fed up and cross with it all, and just so over it. Something is just not right with my body at all, and I’m really bored of waiting to see what it will do next.

Only 5 more days in isolation to go….

When the stars align…. there is usually admin involved.

My dear beloved readers, they picked me!!!

After all three social workers (mine, hers, and the family finder) met with me, the family finder sent me some lovely feedback about how they thought I was wonderful and they are all in strong agreement it’s a really excellent match, and they picked me!!! This means they are not looking at anyone else to be this little girl’s parents, and they are going to book in a linking/matching panel date for me sometime in June or July.

One more hurdle achieved! Continue reading


Here’s the mini-round up:


It’s been about 18 months since I started my adoption journey, and about 8 months since I was approved. Child 3 and Child 4’s social workers both said no to me in the end (I just found out today about both).

Child 3 they are moving ahead with another, better match, and Child 4’s Social Workers decided that they wanted 2 parents for him so won’t consider my profile (so in their case it is specifically because I am single).

So round we go again on the merry go round. Continue reading

Medical Science….

One of the best things about living in Oxford is our incredible research hospitals. I’ve been part of the Oxford Biobank for nearly 8 years, and every 2 or 3 years they ask me if I’d be interested in participating in a research study to help doctors understand certain diseases.

I’ve always been extremely grateful to have such good health, and am so conscious it can be taken away at any moment, so I’m happy to donate a little time and a few bodily fluids in the name of science every once in a while.

This particular study was looking at how brown fat burns when activated (the fat used to store energy for hibernation) in healthy bodies vs people with a genetic disorder, which involved measuring my carbon dioxide output while they cooled my core temperature down (hence the bubble) and checking my temperature, blood pressure and taking a few vials of blood here and there.

The nurses as always were wonderful, and I like being able to give something back every once in a while.
#MedicalResearch #OxfordBiobank

Avoiding it doesn’t make it go away….

So, while I was in Yemen, the final restructure paper was released and people started having their impact meetings. I read the paper, and sure enough my role was cut as I had expected, and as predicted the new adviser roles were a grade above mine in terms of pay. However, my counter-proposal was accepted and in my impact meeting, they explained that I could be included inside the ring-fence for the role, alongside the other advisers at risk of redundancy. So I was able to interview for the new role, and based on the outcome of that, would either be offered a permanent job with a pay rise, or be made redundant.

I was feeling very hopeful that I have a strong skill-set and would be a good candidate for the role, and felt reasonably confident it was going to be ok. My bigger concern previously was that I wouldn’t be allowed to apply for the role at all due to my pay grade, so once that hurdle was overcome I was feeling calmer and more reassured that it will all work out. Continue reading

Woman vs Hose – epilogue


Just in case any of you were in doubt as to Mother Nature’s sense of humour, I should tell you that eventually I got the hose working (with a friend monitoring the tap for floods), and after giving the garden it’s first proper soaking in weeks, about an hour later it started to rain… Literally the first time it has rained here in 2 months….

She’s got an evil sense of humour has mother nature.