Thursday 30 October 2014

Quick update


I am having some trouble with my computer and I am hoping to get back online soon.  I would use my mobile, however, it's not great for posting on.

Angela x

Tuesday 28 October 2014


A few days ago I came across Cazamic on Facebook and I am glad I did as the sculptures are beautiful and very unique.  I contacted the woman behind the sculptures, Carolyn and asked her a few questions about Cazamic.

When did you first become interested in Ceramics?

I have always loved art and making things. As a child I used to spend hours sculpting with homemade salt dough.  But it wasn’t until I hit 30 that I ‘found clay’ as I it were.  I went on an art access course at Telford Colleges of Arts and Technology and worked with lots of different mediums.  Clay was always my favourite.  Around my time at TCAT I sculpted a bust of my then partner and the college really ranted and raved about it. 

The principle asked for a poster to put in his office and I was told I MUST go to university and study ceramics.  I also sculpted the witch sculpture which people were impressed with.

A couple of years later I took myself off to university where I did a joint degree in Ceramics and Computer Science where I got a 2:1 BA with Hons. I was concerned I wouldn’t find work in Ceramics which is why I also did computing.  But it was the IT which I went into once I graduated in 2006.

Below are some images of a couple of things I made at university:

Also while I was at university (2004) I found out there was a local china museum in my town so went and volunteered to help for some experience. This led to a part time job as a china flower demonstrator which I still do on a very part time basis still to this day.

Below are some pictures of the flowers I make at Coalport China Museum which were inspiration for my flower people:

When did you start to produce your own pieces?

Since my degree I have always made a few things but I just never knew which direction to go down.  I was in November of 2013 when I came up with my idea for the flower people.

Where did the idea come from for the Flower People?

I was making some wispy figurines which I did start to develop some years previous when I messed up the head.  I decided to put a rose on its neck as a head and it took off from there.  These are the very first flower people I made:

What other pieces do you make?

Currently I am just making flower people and some wisp figurines and the odd bit of work with bone china flowers.  As bone china has 50% bone ash it’s a great clay to add memorial ashes into and then make flowers with.  I recently made the following picture frames as a commission. These flowers have someone’s ashes in them:

I also make wedding place name holders and candles holders using bone china clay:

 How long does it to make each sculpture

They can take up to an hour to make one.  Then they covered and left to dry.  There is some more time spend smoothing edges and joins as they are drying.  Then they need to be leave for a good couple of weeks to completely dry.  Then they are fired at 1240C at a slow bisc which takes around 12 hours ( 14 hours to get to temperate and another 10 for the kiln to cool).

What advice would you give someone wanting to make a career from their art?

Just do it and don’t let any tell you can’t.  Believe in yourself, work hard and keep trying. 

Sunday 26 October 2014

Yoga for Anxiety

We all know how tense and sore our muscles get when we have been in a high state of anxiety for long periods.  No matter how we try we can't help our muscles to relax.

I have found Yoga for anxiety from Anita Kaiser 

Anita offers a yoga and wellness course on DVD and I have had the pleasure of trying this out.  You don't need to be really flexible for this and you can take it at your own pace.  If you need to pause the dvd that is not a problem.

Let me run through the contents of the course and give you my views.

Intro video 

This is a short video telling you what to expect and what you will gain from taking part.

Half hour yoga video

This has been put together with the beginner in mind so like I said don't worry about being flexible or having to get into weird positions.  I really enjoyed doing the yoga and I could feel the tension in my muscles slowly disappear and I felt very relaxed afterwards.  I also got a great nights sleep too.

Half hour yoga nidra mp3

This is an MP3 audio that you can listen to on the go and yes that includes when you are doing that stressful weekly shop at your local supermarket!! Who knew Asda could be so relaxing!

20 minute breath practice

I love learning new breathing techniques that I can use when I am stressed and anxious and we all know that they are a big part of ridding ourselves of that panic attack.

Bonus 5 minute breathing technique

This can be done when you don't have much time but need to be relaxed, stress free and focused on the task ahead.

I really enjoyed taking part in this course and I will continue to use it twice a week.  Not only has it helped my muscles relax and they are not painful but it is also great exercise,

To find out more please visit

Trust me you will not be disappointed.

Thursday 23 October 2014

BBC Free Speech

This week I recorded a show on BBC3 called Free Speech as they were having a discussion about Mental Health.  I am glad I watched it and to see so many people speak openly and honestly about their conditions and their views was amazing.

The show raised some very interesting questions, some of which I have noted down and will answer and I also heard a story which utterly shocked me.

One panelist, Jon Ronson, told us a rather shocking and utterly disturbing fact. In America, children as young as FOUR years old are being diagnosed as bipolar and prescribed anti-psychotic medications!!! Why? Simply because they are having temper tantrums.  I was in tears. How can anyone possibly diagnose a four year old child with such an illness when it is clear that in most cases the child is being like any other 4 year old.  My son has tantrums at times but I would never take him to the doctor and say "oh I think he has a mental illness" I would love to get hold of the parents and ask "are you having a laugh? you are OK with that?" Madness utter madness.

Moving swiftly on! Below I will answer some of the questions asked with my own views.  Please feel free to leave your answers in the comments section below this post.

Can you like your mental illness?

I did not like having anxiety. Not one bit. I 100% hated it. HOWEVER if it wasn't for anxiety I wouldn't be the person I am today and this blog would not exist.  I didn't like it but in a way it helped me deal with what was wrong in my life and re-evaluate what I wanted to do and what was really important to me.

Do doctors need more training in mental health?

YES. I feel that some doctors simply say "oh well here have some tablets bye" It is like they don't care but looking back it was down to them not having any real understanding.  More training needs to be given as many more people are going to their GP's with these conditions and need to be supported and given the right care and treatment. Not given medication and sent on their way,

Are doctors too quick to hand out antidepressants?

I think we all know my views on that already! Now don't get me wrong for some people these medications are a lifeline and really do help but on their own are they really the answer? Panelist MP Sarah Wollaston said that access to talking therapies should be greater and offered alongside medications.  I agree with her and she also said that these therapies work better for some than medications.  I am currently waiting for my first counselling appointment and cannot wait to get started.  Having someone to talk to, outside of family and friends, can be a massive help to people.  

Some other important points were raised during the show.  

Waiting times for access to counselling and other therapies are ridiculous.  You don't wait long for treatment with a physical illness so why do those with mental health conditions need to wait months and sometimes years?  They are looking to cut times down and I really do hope this happens as how many people are in desperate need and are high risk!

Education is key.  We need to teach children,  at high school age, about mental health. There is an emphasis on physical education so why not teach them about mental health too?  Maybe then this will reduce the stigma attached, raise awareness, get them talking and helping each other in time of need instead of bullying and laughing at people who are suffering.

What are your views?

My coffee morning - ideas needed

As you all know I am holding a small coffee morning next month to raise funds for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health)

It will be a family affair and I will be holding bigger events next year once the halls are all free from Christmas and New Year parties (is it really that time of year already)

I am charging £3 entry to my coffee morning.  I know it's not much but every little helps!

Homemade rolls, cakes, biscuits, tea, coffee, juice and sandwiches will be on offer.

I am looking for ideas for entertainment and games!!

A cake raffle maybe? Or possibly a quiz?

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments below

Monday 20 October 2014

Letter from Santa

As a child I loved writing my letter to Santa and telling him about all the lovely toys I wanted and I know my children are the same.

I did wonder how I would reply and make it look authentic as if Santa himself had replied.  I don't need to wonder anymore.!!  Thanks to

Lapland Mailroom offer you a choice of lovely letters from the man himself :)

They offer 4 fabulous letters to choose from.  3 are suitable for any age and are slightly different. The 4th is for baby;s first Christmas and is a beautiful keepsake,

Every letter can be changed to suit each child at the time of purchase.  All you need to enter is the child's name, address, best friends name and the present they really want.  Only things that Santa will know!

MAIL PACKAGE ONE: Letter from Santa - £6.95

MAIL PACKAGE TWO: Letter from Santa with activity pack - £7.95

MAIL PACKAGE THREE: Baby's First Christmas - £6.95

Please note for a limited time you will receive a personalised "nice child certificate" for free (normally priced at £2.95)

I received the letter with activity pack and certificate.

I really cannot wait for my children to open these letters from Santa, which will be "delivered" in December.  The fun activities mean they can get everything ready from the Santa Stop Here sign to the Christmas card. They love colouring in so this is perfect.

The Activity pack includes

  • Colouring in Santa Stop Here Sign
  • Elf Yourself Activity Sheet
  • Colouring in Christmas Card
  • Door hanger for the children's bedroom
  • Colour and keep Christmas tree decoration.

These letters really are amazing and I know my children will be happy when they receive them.

You can order your letters at  The letters will be sent from 1st December and will arrive a few days later.  They also offer a next day delivery service which allows you to receive the letter the next day before 2pm.

Lets keep the magic of Christmas alive.

Family Fever

Sunday 19 October 2014


Have you ever loved a band so much that you followed them their whole career and I mean from day 1 when they were a support act to the last day of their farewell tour? I have, along with thousands of others.

That band were called Westlife.

1998 and I am in the SECC to see Boyzone and on walk "Westside" lets just say they got a bigger reaction from the crowd than the headline band!!  I was hooked from day one.

After that it was a blur of buying all their singles, album and waiting for their first tour but before that I went to see them on the Smash hits tour.  

When they announced their first tour I managed to secure front row centre seats. I could not believe my luck.  The night of that show came and I stood in front of Westlife and was so nervous and excited I really had no idea how to react, especially when Nicky sang "What Makes A Man" towards me.  Yes my legs turned to jelly lol.

I went to their concerts 2002 and 2003.  Sadly from 2004-2008 I missed out on their tours for reasons I won't go into here. I still bought their albums, dvds and singles.

2009 after a years break my boys were back!!  New album AND a new tour.  My fab husband bought me tickets and I was hyper from then until May 2010 when me and my friend Maria went to see them.  The lights went out and they walked on.  I was in tears. All the excitement was too much.  The whole show went by in a blur.

Their next album, Gravity, came out and another tour announced.  I saw them twice that tour at the SECC then at Hamilton Racecourse.  Yet again I was not disappointed.

3 months after I saw them at Hamilton thousands of hearts broke, including mine, when Westlife made the following announcement.

After 14 years, 26 top ten hits including 14 number one singles, 11 top 5 albums, 7 of which hit the top spot and have collectively sold over 44 million copies around the world, 10 sell out tours and countless memories that we will forever cherish, we today announce our plan to go our separate ways after a greatest hits collection this Christmas and a farewell tour next year. The decision is entirely amicable and after spending all of our adult life together so far, we want to have a well-earned break and look at new ventures. We see the greatest hits collection and the farewell tour as the perfect way to celebrate our incredible career along with our fans. We are really looking forward to getting out on the tour and seeing our fans one last time. 

Over the years Westlife has become so much more to us than just a band. Westlife are a family. We would like to thank our fans who have been with us on this amazing journey and are part of our family too. We never imagined when we started out in 1998 that 14 years later we would still be recording, touring and having hits together. It has been a dream come true for all of us. 

Kian, Mark, Nicky and Shane 

I couldn't believe what I was reading.  Then I really gave it some thought.  The guys are the same age as me and had been in Westlife since they were teenagers.  They were grown men now and it was all they had known.  As much as I was upset my favourite group would be no more I 100% understood why they decided to disband.

May 27th 2012 and I am at the SECC watching my 4 Irish lads on their farewell tour, which the fans nicknamed the The Tissue Tour.  I was not too bad that night I managed to hold it together.

June 19th 2012 and my fave band done something for me that I will never ever forget and am so grateful for its hard to put into words.  They put me on their guestlist. Yes you read that right. After I was scammed (don't ask) the newspaper had contacted Westlife and told them I had been a fan since 1998 and explained what had happened. When I got the phone call I broke down in tears. I was stunned utterly stunned.  I remember sitting in the crowd that night thinking this is it the last time I will be at their concert.  I cried a lot that night.  That is when I realised it was all over.

23rd June 2012 and I am sitting in a local cinema watching their last ever concert at Croke Park.  It came to the speeches and that was me. I was gone.  After that concert finished I was actually ok.

Westlife gave the fans many happy years of fun, excitement and amazing memories.

From the bottom of our hearts we thank you xxxx

Thursday 16 October 2014

Fundraising for Scottish Association for Mental Health

As you know I am very active in raising awareness, offering support and speaking out about my experience with mental health conditions.

I am hosting a small coffee morning on 22nd November which will be the first of many fundraising events I will be hosting over the next year for SAMH - Scottish Association for Mental Health

This is the first time I have held an event and I am excited and nervous.

I have a Just Giving page for those who would like to donate

Thank you

Wednesday 15 October 2014

A day of baking.

Since my son is off school for the October week and Sophie's playgroups are off too I thought why not have a baking day.

I decided to make some homemade soup and homemade rolls.


I made Lentil soup and put some carrot and turnip in there too.  It is quick, simple and cheap to make.

First I put some vegetable oil in the pot, let it heat up a bit then added the carrot and turnip to fry it off a bit.  I then added some lentils.  You wont need to add lots of lentils as they swell.

Once everything was mixed nicely I added the water bringing it to the boil.

When it was boiling I added a vegetable stock cube mixed it all together and turned it down to a gentle heat to let it simmer checking on it every 10 minutes.


The recipe for my rolls and bread can be found here  I would post it here but it is quite long!

Again, simple and cheap to make but can take a little prep time.

dough before 

dough after proving

Ready to go into oven

Yummy rolls ready to eat

I honestly prefer homemade soups and bread because you know exactly what is going into it and it works out so much cheaper than buying it in the supermarket.

Why not give it a try?

Monday 13 October 2014

Christmas Wish List

Thought I would share my Christmas wish list with you.....might be different to what you were thinking.

  • That my children have a wonderful day
  • That we all have fun at Christmas dinner (going out this year)
  • That James is stress free
  • That my family have a good year
  • That I get better and can finally live my life again

I don't think that is too much to ask do you?

I would also like

  • NHS waiting times for mental health support to be slashed
  • For people to continue to raise awareness
  • People to be more open and honest about their experiences with mental health conditions
  • The media to give fair and non-judgemental coverage of mental health issues.

Let's hope that I get what I want for Christmas xx

Saturday 11 October 2014

Shane Filan - My Side Of Life

I love reading and I love music so you can imagine my excitement when my favourite singer, Shane Filan, announced he was releasing his autobiography this month.  Lets just say I pre-ordered it and waiting patiently, OK not so patiently, for the postman to bring me my copy.

Shane Filan, My Side Of Life arrived yesterday and I decided to wait until the children were in bed before I started it, well it does deserve my full attention after all.

Me and Shane July 2013 Radio Tour, Edinburgh

Shane's autobiography tells us about his rise to fame with Westlife, meeting the love of his life Gillian and the dark days after he was declared bankrupt.  He has been quoted as saying he wants to help others who have been in a similar situation.  

I am currently on chapter 5 and honestly I have had a good laugh already, especially the part about him dying his hair blonde and getting a fake tan so Simon Cowell wouldn't recognise him!! 

Once I am finished the book, no doubt after more laughter and some tears, I will tell you more about it BUT if you love reading a good autobiography I honestly recommend buying Shane's book. You won't be disappointed.

To buy a copy please visit

To find out more about Shane

I hate the guilt

As many of you will know I have recently been told that all the issues I am having just now, the feeling unwell, not having energy, not being able to leave the house due to it all, is down to my hormones.

I have started my medication for this and I am on day 3 of the first course. So far no change but it is very early days.

Not a day goes by that I don't feel guilty.

I look at my children and wish I could be a better mum.  A mum who can go outside and run around with them and take them places.  With all these symptoms I can't do this stuff and it breaks my heart.

Then I look at my husband.  My poor husband who has to deal with all my rants and tears.  The man who does it all and I mean everything, apart from the days that I have the energy to do anything which seems to be rare.

This has caused many argument between us.....of course he is frustrated, angry and upset I understand that 100% I know he gets fed up of hearing me moan I can't blame him for that.  There are times I bottle it up because I don't want him to know how I really feel.  I also know many people who think I am just lazy and don't want him to be happy or have a life away from me that is so not true.

He goes to London in a few weeks and I am nowhere near the way I want to be.  I wanted to be better by November because I knew he was going away.  If the doctor had diagnosed me sooner maybe I would have been and everything would be back to normal.

I am only 34 I should not be feeling like this and it hurts,  I want my life back but clearly my hormones have other ideas.

Until then I guess I just need to feel guilty every single day, even though I hate feeling that way.

Friday 10 October 2014

World Mental Health Day 2014


  • 26 million people live with Schizophrenia

Today is mental health awareness day and the spotlight is on Schizophrenia.  Let me tell you about the signs and symptoms.

  • Delusions - unusual beliefs
  • Hallucinations - seeing things and/or hearing things that are not there
  • behavioural changes 
  • muddled thoughts - come from the hallucinations & delusional thoughts.

The exact causes are not known but some believe the following can be classed as a cause.

  • Genetics - it can run in families, although this is not certain
  • Pregnancy and birth complications

Triggers for those at risk from the condition

  • Drug abuse
  • Stress

If you or your loved one are showing signs of Schizophrenia please go to your doctor who will put you in touch with your local community mental health team and will also give you the support you need.

For more information please visit the following

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Helping people with mental health conditions get back to work

I had a wonderful job working for a major credit card company and I can honestly say I loved it. Sadly once I was signed off work with anxiety, stress and depression I was never treated the same way again.  I lost my job. Well I was told that if I handed my notice in I would get paid my final wage if I didn't they would dismiss me and I would get no payment.  Needless to say I handed my notice in and went straight to a lawyer.  The company denied that is how it happened and also claimed it was nothing to do with my mental health condition. So why did it happen then?!

So many employers have no idea how to deal with employees who have mental health conditions. They seem to think that they are no longer capable to carry out their normal duties and don't know how to act around them.  I can tell you how to act around them NORMAL.  Just because people have a condition does not mean they are any different or need to be treated differently.

I was offered a staged return to work. The first few days I was in for 2 hours then built it up from there.  I was not happy though as I was stuck on filing and photocopying.  My old position was given to someone who did not have a clue what she was doing and who was left alone as my old work colleague was out on audit,  I had to help her on numerous occasions yet I was pulled away and told that I was no longer capable of working in that role.  I was heartbroken to be told all I was good for now was filing, photocopying and distributing the mail.

Looking back I wonder had they known more about mental health conditions and how to help someone back into work after time off or even straight after diagnosis then maybe I would still be working there.

I agree staged returns are a good idea to settle the person back in to their old position as I did find that helpful myself but surely there are other ways of helping.

I think ALL employers should offer the following

  • Staged returns
  • flexible hours of working in the first couple of months
  • time off for counselling appointments
  • invite the counsellor into the work place to see the employee
  • Support from a colleague until they are more settled.

ALL employers should be entitled to
  • Better education on mental health conditions
  • Help in supporting a colleague returning to work

If seeking a new postilion elsewhere the new employee should not discriminate against the person. Too often people who decide to be honest on their applications are overlooked because they have a mental health condition.  Why? They are just as capable as anyone else.

IF you are currently working and find you are being treated differently to your colleagues do not be afraid to speak out.  Contact your union rep or contact or

If you are finding it hard to get back into work contact your local citizens advice (link above) or pop into your local job centre and ask if they are running any schemes to help you back to work.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Increase in patients being prescribed antidepressants.

I have just read an STV news report that there is an increase in patients being prescribed antidepressants.  To me this is concerning as I am not sure why there is such a rise.  Is this down to more people getting the help they need (which is a good thing) OR is it simply because GP's don't have the proper training regarding mental health conditions and are handing them out like sweets as this is seen as the easy way?

In Scotland, between 2013 & 2014 more than 778,000 patients were prescribed at least one antidepressant.  This is a 4% increase from between 2012/2013 and a 22.8% increase on 2009/2010. This is quite a significant rise.

Most people will know I am not a fan of SSRI's (Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Citalopram, which is widely used for mild depression and even anxiety.

Recently I had been prescribed Citaolpram.  I had initially been offered it in 2006 when I was diagnosed with anxiety and I refused to take it.  This time I decided to give it a try.  I really wish I hadn't

A few days into taking the tablets, at 1am, I came into my living room sat down and told my husband that I wanted to kill myself.  He couldn't believe what I was telling him.  He looked so hurt yet I had no real control over what I was thinking and I broke down.  Deep down I knew I did not want to kill myself but I had this overwhelming urge to take my life and luckily I saw sense and told him rather than carrying the act out.

I stopped the tablets, the GP was not too impressed, but there was no way I could continue taking these horrible little pills.

Now I am not saying that this will happen to everyone, that is not the case, some people will be fine on them others not.  Like any other medication. There are side effects, again like every medication, but some are quite severe so ALWAYS ask your doctor to go over these with you.  Realistically they should go over these without you asking.

My point is are doctors handing them out too quickly? I think so.

Counselling helped me through my anxiety and I did not take medication so I don't think that every case of anxiety should be treated with medication straight away.

I also believe the GP's should be given more training in mental health conditions and better guidelines set for them to follow.

What are your views?

**Read the full STV report here