A personal post for Sunday…

By | May 20, 2018

Hello everyone! I was planning just to write a short post to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Annual Bloggers’ Bash awards – if you haven’t heard (maybe your wifi has been on the blink?!) I was so delighted to win the Best Pal award yesterday for the third year running. I should really say “third and final” – the rules say that winners must step aside after three, to be sure that other blogs and bloggers can have their moment in the spotlight, and that feels right to me. There are so many outstanding bloggers out there – many of them some of my very best friends – and I’ll enjoy sharing their success in future years. And I really must congratulate again all this year’s winners, runners up and nominees – you’ll find the full list here.

But then I realised that I haven’t really stepped out from behind my Being Anne persona for quite a while, and I thought this might be a good opportunity to do so. (Make yourself a cuppa – this is a long one…!)

All about me – and mum

Let me tell you more about my life at the moment. Many of you have been here with me through the last couple of years’ ups and downs – the sudden death of my brother, the loss of my Dad, moving my mum to live closer, her illness and our enforced stay in Madeira, and her subsequent vascular dementia diagnosis. Thank you so very much for all your support through all of that – I appreciate it more than you can ever know.

After all that, life settled into a fairly comfortable holding pattern. Mum (now aged 92), much of the time, is fine, and still living on her own in her new flat. Cooking for herself is getting more difficult (I write post-its on M&S meals as she can’t understand the instructions, and it’s often easier if I cook for her at my house): changing channels on the TV is becoming a bit of a challenge too. As well as some social events at her sheltered housing complex, Wetherby does have a wonderful dementia support group: they organise fish and chip lunches, quizzes, singing afternoons, chairobics sessions and professional entertainers like club singers and magicians, and Mum really enjoys all of that. I deliver her, pick her up, and make sure her TV is sorted for the evening ahead (with notes saying “press 2 at 6pm” so she doesn’t miss Eggheads…).

There are good days, which can be a total gift, but there are sometimes really bad days – on the bad days, Mum really can’t function much at all. My focus is on building memories, while Mum can still retain a little (if I’m honest, at times very little). We’ve recently had a break in the Lakes with much driving round, lunches out and afternoon teas – if you ask Mum, she’ll tell you we were in Scotland and it rained a lot, but I do know she thoroughly enjoyed every day. In June we’re off for a week in Swansea and the Gower. That’s where Mum was born and brought up, and she hasn’t been back in the last 40+ years – I’m hoping it might trigger some more good memories.

The thing that breaks my heart is that Mum has little concept of time, and tells me how lonely she is. Carers visit three mornings a week, there’s a lovely lounge where she can mix with others, and I do everything I can – I see her every day, we go on trips and outings, to the theatre/cinema, and for afternoon teas and lunches (my waistline is really suffering!), and she loves spending afternoons at my house when I cook for her and we watch old movies. I am starting to wonder though if she might soon be ready for an environment with a little more care and attention than I can give. But for now, we’re coping. Just about.

Many of you will know too how much I like to travel, the more exotic the destination the better – at the moment, that’s sadly impossible. I do sometimes have days out – launches, events, meeting up with friends – but it distresses Mum when I’m not around, so I do keep outings on my own to the minimum. I’m now looking at respite care to give me a bit of a break, maybe week in the sun – if I’m honest, my tank is getting a little empty.

Books and blogging

The books and the blogging really did turn into my lifeline. When I’d had a difficult day, when mum had driven me to distraction, it was always a real comfort to format an extract, to address a review, to put together some interview questions, to frame a guest post – or sometimes, just to lose myself in the reading. But recently – and I know it’s because of all the other pressures – blogging has become a little bit less of a pleasure, with not enough time to enjoy the wonderful books that are the reason I started doing it in the first place.

I always said I’d stop blogging if I lost the enjoyment, but I’d miss it far too much – instead, I’m going to take a proper break. For July, August, and September I’m going to step off the treadmill for a while – just take some time to smell the roses, and read books I’ve chosen for myself. I’ll still publish reviews on Being Anne – I can no more stop sharing my love of books than I could stop breathing – but I’ll do so as and when I want to. Maybe once a week, maybe more often… but maybe less often sometimes too.

There have been quite a few reading and reviewing promises I’ve made recently that I just haven’t been able to fulfil – that saddens me, and I’d like to apologise to those authors that I’ve let down. There are some books among that number that I’d still really like to catch up on, and are likely to be among my “free choices” over the summer. But should I fail, please forgive me. Any reviews and tours I’ve promised over those summer months – just a small handful – will, of course, be delivered.


It would be wrong of me to finish without mentioning Twitter, and the magnificent support everyone gives me there. I always try to share as many posts by others as I can – and I’m constantly overwhelmed by how many people share mine. You do know how grateful I am, don’t you? I’d really like to say it more often – and the authors I feature often do it for me (thank you!) – but I find it just impossible to keep up, and I’m so sorry. I do plan to be on social media a little less over the summer – but no cold turkey, I’ll still be around, I’d miss you all too much.

Goodness, that was rather longer than I intended – but I just wanted to let you know what was happening. I know too that many of us have lives that aren’t 100% visible to others – and I know so many of you are coping with a great deal more than I am. I send you all my love…


69 thoughts on “A personal post for Sunday…

  1. Kate Braithwaite

    Lovely post, Anne. Make sure to take care if you as well as you take care of your Mum! The book world won’t forget you if you take a wee break. Sending love xx

  2. noveldeelights

    Not at all surprising your tank is running on empty, Anne. I hope you find ways to replenish your energy. Take extra good care of yourself. Fierce hugs to you and your mum. xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Eva, thank you – and I’ll share those hugs! xx

  3. Karen

    Many congratulations on winning the Best Pal award Anne, thoroughly deserved. Whilst reading your post I was nodding at times in agreement – you are an amazing support to your mum, I know from my own experience how difficult and trying it can be at times. Enjoy your summer break and also enjoy reading those books. I hope you manage a small holiday too to recharge your batteries. Much love xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Karen – and I know far too many people have had similar experiences. I’ll see what I can do about that holiday xx

  4. Swirl and Thread

    Anne I really love this post. Huge congrats on your award..so so well deserved. I plan on doing the exact same this Summer for July/August. Reviewing as & when…no deadlines no self-imposed pressure. A little break is needed methinks!! Your Mum sounds a wonderful lady and she is so v lucky to have you. xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Enjoy your break too Mairead – equally well deserved. And I’m really lucky to still have mum too xx

  5. Jenny Harper

    Congratulations on your award Anne – it’s very well deserved. We haven’t met, but from our bits and pieces of correspondence I’ve discovered what a warm and generous person you are. Being a carer is exhausting, and although it can bring many rewards, it’s also draining. You’re doing an amazing job with your Mum and have no reason to put further pressures on yourself. Enjoy a break, come back to it when you’re ready – and really luxuriate in your reading! Love and best wishes, Jenny x

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you for those lovely words Jenny xx

  6. Carol Lovekin

    Your award is well-deserved, dear Anne.
    As for the rest – you are amazing – part of a tribe of wonderful, & often invisible, women caring for their parents out of love. It’s hard work though & taking a break from blogging will give you a wee respite.
    Enjoy the summer!
    Fondest love xXx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Carol – and yes, I’ve most definitely found my perfect tribe xxx

  7. whatcathyreadnext

    Congratulations on your award. To win it three years in a row should show you, if you didn’t know already, how much people enjoy reading your blog and how much they appreciate you sharing their posts and your interaction with them. I know I do. Enjoy your break and your summer reading. I hope every book you pick up brings you joy and plenty of lovely thoughts to share with your mum.

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you for your lovely words Cathy xx

  8. suemoorcroft

    Congratulations, Anne, not just on another well-deserved award, but on having the courage to step off the treadmill and see to your own well-being. I know it’s not always an easy decision but I hope you feel lighter and brighter for having made it. Biggest hugs. It’s very hard to care for someone. xxxxx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Sue – and yes, considerably lighter and brighter today xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Nicola – I hope so too! x

  9. booksaremycwtches

    Sending you and mum love and Cwtches.

    Congratulations on your award Anne, so well deserved.

    Swansea and the Gower is a stunning area to visit, I hope you both enjoy.

    A break from blogging sounds like a great idea. I’m cutting down with the idea of a break August/September.


    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you – looking forward to the visit to the Gower, and hope you have a lovely summer too xx

  10. Author Barbara Copperthwaite

    Lovely Anne, firstly HUGE congratulations on your award. You thoroughly deserve it, and I can’t thank you enough for all the support you’ve given me over the years. I hope you know how much you mean to me.
    It’s hardly surprising you need a bit of a break and some ‘me time’. Do what you need to do to look after yourself. Sending you much love and hugs xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you for your lovely words Barbara – love and hugs to you too xxx

  11. jessiecahalin

    Anne, your big heart shines through this wonderful blog post. I am thinking of you and sending my love from Wales. You deserve the accolades and have earned a break.

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you so much Jessie xxx

  12. lindasbookbag

    Oh Anne! Congratulations on your award but more importantly on everything you’re doing for your Mum. I know how hard it has been for you and I send you my love and support – proper support too if there is ever anything I can do… xx

    1. Anne Post author

      It’s been a hard few years for us both Linda – thank you for your kind words xx

  13. Helena Fairfax

    Congratulations on your award, Anne. It’s thoroughly well-deserved. You have felt like a pal through your posts and you’ve introduced me to many books I might not otherwise have read. Your mum is so lucky to have you. I do hope you enjoy the summer and that you have a chance to read and relax and take care of yourself. Best wishes xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you for your lovely words Helena xx

  14. Cathy

    Congratulations, Anne. Take care and enjoy your break. Hope to see you back later in the year xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Cathy xx

  15. writeanne

    Look after yourself Anne. Your commitment to your mum is wonderful but I hope you find a way to take a refreshing and refilling break. My dad had vascular dementia so I know a bit about how it goes with that cruel condition.
    Enjoy your summer of reading and wel done for taking some of the blogging pressure off yourself for now
    And congratulations on your blog win. So well deserved.

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Anne – having decided to take the break, I feel better already xx

  16. Jill's Book Cafe

    Congratulations on your well deserved award Anne. Enjoy your break, it’s important that you look after yourself as well as your mum. xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Jill – looking forward to carving out some “me-time” xx

  17. Fionnuala

    Oh Anne, you’re such a lovely lady and big congratulations on your award – so well deserved. And what a pal you are to your Mum too… I’ve recently lost my Mum after a long illness with Vascular dementia. I know exactly what you mean about witnessing the worst, doing your very best (and her inability to recognise this) and also savouring those ‘mastercard’ completely precious good moments. If you ever need and ear, do DM me 💛 xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you so much Fionnuala – I’m so sorry for your loss, and that you’ve been through this too. And I will treasure those precious good times xx

  18. lollyrugs

    Huge congratulations on your award Anne, and so sorry to hear about your mum it’s a god damn awful diease. We’re all human and sometimes we need to take time away from our blogs to breathe and take time out for ourselves. Enjoy your break and spending time with your dear mum x x x I worked with people with dementia and their families for many years so please feel free to message me if you need an ear x

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Lorraine – I’m breathing easier already! xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Ah Lainy, proud to have you in my life too. Much love xxx

  19. yvonnembee

    Huge congratulations on your win and very well deserved. Loads of love and hugs to you and your family and completely understand your need to take a step back. I’m taking the same months off due to work commitments and I’m looking forward to reading some of my tbr’s as well.

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Yvonne! Not such a break for you, with the work commitments, but right decision to stop spreading yourself too thinly – enjoy your summer x

  20. The Cozy Pages

    Congrats on your very well deserved win Anne. I’ve learnt quite a bit from you since I started blogging last year and your support has been greatly appreciated.

    I wish you and your Mum all the best during this difficult time and I hope there are still many ‘good’ days left for you to enjoy together.

    Enjoy your Summer.

    1. Anne Post author

      That’s so lovely of you, Nina – thank you xx

  21. Thorne Moore

    Smell the roses, Anne. They are still lovely. Love, Thorne (caring for her 92 year old mother).

    1. Anne Post author

      Ah Thorne, familiar territory for you – hope you can enjoy those roses too xx

  22. Voinks

    Congratulations on your triple achievement, Anne, and thank you for sharing what must be an emotional decision. It’s sometimes the little things with dementia that become the most ‘scream-worthy’ for the carers, and then the guilt kicks in, even though it’s not justified.
    Enjoy your summer and your memory-building time, but remember to make me-time for battery charging too. We’ll be here for whenever the temptation to smell the FB/Blogger roses becomes too much. 😀 Have a great summer. x

    1. Anne Post author

      Val, thank you – I’ll try and keep the guilt at bay, and enjoy the summer. Hope you have a good one too xx

  23. cleopatralovesbooks

    What a lovely post Anne and I commend you for keeping an eye on the positive when I know the reality is so tough. Enjoy your free reads and of course well deserved congratulations

  24. booksandwinegums

    I hope you have a lovely summer of rest and books, Anne. Enjoy your Swansea trip – the Gower never fails to make me feel happy. x

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you – many years since I’ve been to the Gower too, and very much looking forward to it xx

  25. Morton S. Gray

    This post made me cry and not least because I am beginning to recognise in my mom the symptoms you describe 😢. Have taken some of your comments to heart – “making memories”. It is so hard when you almost become a parent to your own mother, so I empathise entirely. I’m finding it hard to take time away now and often feel guilt and angst ridden when I do, but know I have to keep myself whole to help.

    Have a lovely break from the blog and thank you for the support.


    1. Anne Post author

      Sorry to make you cry, Morton – many good memories for you to make too, I hope xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you – and congratulations to you too! I do wish I could have been at the bash, it looks like such a lovely day – maybe next year…

      1. thebeasley

        It really was a lovely day. Hopefully, we’ll see you next year. And thank you! x

  26. jessicaredlandwriter

    Aw, Anne, what a beautifully-written post. I wasn’t aware that of your situation and I felt like part of your family reading that. I completely understand why your tank would feel on empty and you more than deserve some you-time. You give so much to everyone else, it’s time to take some time for you.
    All the best xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Jessica – really looking forward to the me-time! xxx

  27. Kathryn Freeman

    What a time you’ve been having, Anne. No wonder you need a break. I hope you get your time in the sun, and time to read. And many congratulations on your triple ‘best pal blogger’ crown 🙂

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Kate! xx

  28. Hayley at RatherTooFondofBooks

    Congratulations on the award, it’s so well-deserved! I know from experience just how hard it is to look after a parent, especially one whose memory is fading. It’s exhausting and heartbreaking, and it causes such guilt when you’re giving all you possibly can and still more is needed. I’m always here if you need a chat. Sending lots of love and hugs xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Hayley – sending you all the hugs too xxx

  29. carol warham

    Sending lots of love and hugs. I know exactly what it is like and you need time to recoup your own strength and time to relax. Have a wonderful summer. You’ll be in everyone’s thoughts and good wishes, I know.

  30. juliehoustonauthor

    Big congratulations on your award, Anne Thoroughly deserved. And you now deserve a break!! I completely understand why sometimes you just have to stand back and say enough is enough. Think about yourself – and your Mum – and give yourself some me time. Julie xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you, Julie xx

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  32. Sara Gethin

    I hope you have a relaxing break from blogging, Anne, and huge congratulations on your award – thoroughly deserved! Enjoy your holiday with your mum on Gower – I hope the sun shines for you xx

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