So Anne, how’s life going? And whatever happened to that blogging break?

By | October 21, 2018

Well, it’s Sunday – and it’s been a little while now since I stepped out from behind the blog and the books. As my life is about to change a little, I thought I’d indulge myself today with a bit of an update. Make a cuppa, and find a comfy chair – it’s a bit of a long one!


Blog related stuff first, and I suspect that many will have noticed that my summer “break” – much looked forward to, and frequently mentioned – didn’t really go quite as I’d intended. And it was entirely my own fault – I have to accept that I’m just totally incapable of saying “no”! There are now occasional gaps though, and that will continue – whole groups of days when I post nothing at all, not feeling the need to apologise for it any more, and I’m actually finding that quite liberating. During my “break”, I did manage to fit in the reading of a few books that won’t be appearing on my blog for some time – some forthcoming reads needing an early assessment and sometimes a quote, that have, without exception, been an absolute joy. I sadly made fewer inroads into my “want to read” list – and even fewer into what I call my “promises”, the reviews I’d planned to do but just hadn’t been able to get round to reading.

With apologies to everyone I’ll disappoint, particularly those authors who’ve sent me their books and especially those who have been waiting a long time, I think the time has now come to move on – admit defeat, set aside the backlog, and start again. I see a blog tour or an upcoming release that I find impossible to resist, and the commitments – however pleasurable the anticipation – always start to pile up again. And then there’s all that social media. When others so generously and unfailingly share my posts on Twitter, it would be terribly rude of me not to do the same for theirs – although I might not do so every day (today has been a “fail” day), and maybe not every one.


So, that brings me to the personal bit…

It crept up on me slowly – my inability to say “no” might just apply a little here too – but Mum is now staying with me at weekends and spending most weekday afternoons with me too. Her vascular dementia is worsening, and it’s been very difficult watching its progress over the last few months. Books – as always – have been my escape and salvation, and my thanks to every author who’s provided me with so much enjoyment as life has become increasingly challenging.

Mum (93 in December) is now unable to prepare food for herself, and we started meals-on-wheels some weeks ago (lunch four days a week, just to give me a break): it did take a while for her to understand that she should eat the hot meal when delivered, and I still sometimes find the meal tray in her fridge or dumped uneaten in her bin. She’s become frightened of going to the lounge at the sheltered housing development on her own when they have coffee mornings, films or entertainment – she can’t remember where she lives, and is unable to find her way back to her flat. She forgets – daily – how to turn on her television, and can’t change the channels. She won’t shower on her own – she’s too afraid of falling.

We’ve tried carer visits – they do a little cleaning, make her a cuppa, chat with her for a while – but even if we increased their frequency, it’s not really enough any more. Mum’s started ringing me at night, telling me she doesn’t know where she is – she doesn’t recognise her lovely flat as “home”. And she’s quite sad and very lonely, her perception of time very distorted (“I haven’t seen you for ages” – often when I’ve left her a few hours earlier). So I take her to lots of local events for the elderly (especially where there’s singing involved – she may not remember where she lives, but she knows every word of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s!), and she really enjoys the company. She loves chairobics and line dancing, we go to the cinema (she particularly loved Mamma Mia 2…), the occasional classical concert, the theatre, the odd shopping trip, outings in the car, afternoon teas and lunches out. Her memory may be non-existent – thank heaven for diaries and post-it notes, when she remembers to look at them – but she’s still capable of deriving immense enjoyment from our outings, and long may that continue.


But the time has definitely come for the next big decision…

I’ve been looking for a while now at more permanent care options – we’re extremely lucky that we have the means to enable us to pick and choose – but really struggled to find anywhere I liked without a very, very long waiting list. And yes, just in case you’re wondering, I did consider mum moving in with me – but my house isn’t really suitable, and I really think she’d be far happier and considerably safer in the care of professionals. I will admit I was thinking about my own quality of life too – I’ll be 63 next week, my life now revolves entirely around mum’s needs, and I would rather like to be able to enjoy life just a little before I become unable to do so.

And then, as I was beginning to despair, we had a major stroke of luck – I read about a new-build care home, flagship of a very highly rated local chain (Hadrian Healthcare), opening in Harrogate in November. Mum’s had her assessment, and they’ve now offered her a place as one of their first tranche of residents. It’s called The Manor House at Harrogate – just across the road from Valley Gardens – and we went to take a proper look on their open day yesterday. It’s absolutely perfect – and she’ll be moving in around three weeks’ time, as soon as their CQC certification is in place and the final touches completed. The picture below is an artist’s impression, borrowed from their brochure – but it more than lives up to its promises, both inside and out.

Her room is just gorgeous – very large, with a massive south-facing bay window overlooking the gardens, plenty of room for some of her own furniture and as many personal possessions as she wants to take, and a well equipped ensuite bathroom. It’s on the ground floor, a short level walk from the beautiful dining room (fine dining, with meals planned in consultation with the residents), and near both the hairdressing and beauty salon, the Bettys-style tearoom, and two more comfortable lounges.

The staff we met yesterday were wonderful – care is 24-hour, and as hands-on as each resident wants or needs. Mum immediately took to the care team who will be looking after her, kissing them all goodbye and telling them how much she was looking forward to living there (in fact, she’d have happily waved me off and moved in there and then…). I was really impressed by the social events co-ordinator too – who chatted with her about her plan to explore and capture everyone’s life stories so that they really get to know their residents as individuals, to inform the programme they’re putting together so there’s something for everyone. And when Mum’s condition worsens – as it inevitably will – they do have a floor specifically designed for the needs of people with more advanced dementia, so she shouldn’t need to move again unless she needs more intensive nursing.

When I’ve mentioned my plans to others, they’ve tended to say that I must be finding this a difficult decision. Maybe I should be, but I’m actually not. I’m just delighted that Mum will be safe, and will now have the level of care she needs and deserves: she certainly won’t be lonely any more, and I’m positive she’ll be a great deal happier than she now is, alone in her flat. And as the home’s only eight miles away, I can still be very much part of her life – when she can fit me into her busy schedule, of course.


So until the move takes place, and while I manage the multitude of things that need doing both before and after, do forgive me if I let the blog and social media slip a little. I’ve committed to a lot of by-dates and blog tours, and I’ll take a look as soon as I can to see what remains manageable – if I find I’m struggling, I’ll let people know well ahead of the dates. I will be getting better at saying “no” for a while too – but I promise I’ll always say it nicely – and I’m also going to stop making review promises for dates I just can’t guarantee to keep. One thing I do plan to change permanently is the way I’ve been agreeing dates with authors for reading and reviewing their books – I’ve missed so many targets, with no possibility of catching up, and it’s made me feel that I’m letting people down rather badly. So, with apologies, fixed dates for blog tours only from now on – other reading will be on an “as soon as I can” basis, although I will keep an eye on publication dates when I can.

So if you’ve read this far, thank you. And wish us luck…! xx

51 thoughts on “So Anne, how’s life going? And whatever happened to that blogging break?

  1. Sarah Hardy

    Oh Anne, made me so emotional reading about your mum. My gran suffered with dementia and it really isn’t easy on loved ones. The new place for your mum sounds lovely. Hope the move goes as well as it can. x

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Sarah – I’m confident that this is totally the right decision, and we’re both happy to have made it xx

  2. lollyrugs

    Anne sending you the biggest hugs you are definitely doing the right thing for your mum. I worked with people with dementia for many years and seen the toll it took on families. Your mum will be safe and well cared for and it’s sounds like this home is going to be one with a good ethos and life stories are so important for those looking after some one with dementia you then you see the whole person. As to the blog and shares never feel guilty or apologie lovely lady, you need time for yourself and anyone who doesn’t understand that well good riddance to them. Take care and hope the move goes well for your lovely mum x

  3. Claire Baldry

    How lovely that your Mum will be one of the very first residents. The ‘Care Home’ equivalent of a maiden cruise. I hope she will spend many happy years there, and you will have more time to renew your energies, which will enable you to keep supporting her in her new purpose built setting. Thank you for sharing Anne xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      And many thanks for your comment, Claire xx

  4. anneallen21

    Oh, Anne, you’ve had so much to deal with! I think you’ve been brilliant with your mum and it sounds like you’ve made the right decision for you both. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some ‘me time’ soon and enjoy what should be an easing off time of your life. Take care and good luck to you both x

  5. gemsquietcorner

    Sending much love to you Anne. I’ve worked in care for over 15 years and see the impact Dementia has on loved ones day in, day out – you have made the right decision and your mum’s new home looks lovely and I’m sure she’ll be wonderfully cared for.
    I hope you enjoy a little ‘me time’ soon 😘

  6. mrsbloggsbooks

    Oh Anne. The first and last parts could have been written by me. For the middle bit about your mum, the home sounds wonderful and it must be such a relief to know your mum is safe and being cared for. You have had a struggle though by the sounds of it. It can be heartbreaking to see your parents suffer

    As for blogging – do what you can, enjoy your books and that’s all. You’re allowed!
    Life gets in the way for us all doesn’t it and we can’t always keep up. I’m lucky if I get one blog post out per week! 😀

  7. maggiecammiss

    I’ve been in this position, Anne, and I know you’ve agonised over the decision, but it’s the right one, for both of you. It took me a while to get used to not having Mum around after she moved into residential care. It’s such a big hole to fill, but sounds like you’ve got plenty to occupy yourself with. Enjoy your freedom, and don’t feel guilty xx

  8. Jan Ruth

    I’ve been through much the same agony of decisions over my Mum too, also a dementia sufferer, and almost 92. Glad you found a solution to suit both of you. Best of luck for the future.

  9. Karen

    The home looks and sounds lovely and perfect for your mum, and you can relax more knowing she’s safe. Very best wishes to you both for the move. xx

  10. lindasbookbag

    I’m delighted to hear the visit went well and your Mum will be looked after properly Anne. I know what an impact looking after her has made on your life and am thrilled for you both that it should soon ease up a bit. I’m with you on the book backlog. I have four blog tours I have agreed to for after Christmas and am trying to say no to every new post so that I can read and review in MY time after the current batch are complete. Good luck and have a lovely birthday next week!

  11. Ali - The Dragon Slayer

    Dear Anne, I can feel for you on so many levels. The new place looks wonderful & the facilities sound amazing. If mum is secure, happy & being cared for then hopefully you can regain a little of your life although she will always be at the forefront of your mind. As for saying ‘NO’ I’m only just starting to do that myself & it is terribly liberating, to be honest I wish I had done it sooner.
    Enjoy the books you want to read when YOU want to. Best of luck to you both & I hope the move goes smoothly xxx

  12. Anne Cater

    Anne, this is such a heart warming post. I feel as though I’ve been with you on this journey for such a long time (I estimate we’ve been friends now for over 12 years! Where did that time go?)

    I can sense your relief that you’ve found such a perfect home for your Mum and that you can at last, take some time for yourself. You deserve it

    Much love xx

  13. booksaremycwtches

    Such a beautiful post Anne. I hope you and mum both can enjoy the months ahead once she is settled.

    Much love and Cwtches xx

  14. brmaycock

    Big social media hug (since I don’t know you personally). Well done on all of your decisions and take care of yourself X

  15. Cathy

    So glad you’ve found such a lovely place for your mum. I can understand completely how you feel, my mum suffered from Alzheimer’s. Hope you can enjoy some down time xx

  16. Sue Featherstone

    Anne: I’m so happy you’ve fund somewhere both you and your mum like and where she will be both cared for and loved. I vividly remember the relief when my husband’s mother, who also suffered from dementia, was admitted to a care home. You don’t realise how heavy the worry burden is until it’s lifted…Best wishes and a happy future for both you and your mum. x

  17. Morton S. Gray

    Sounds wonderful, Anne. We’ve discussed mums before so you’ll understand why I shed a tear whilst reading this. We haven’t quite got to the big decision yet but it is looming. My health has taken a battering over the last few weeks so I applaud what you are doing. You need to think of you too. Mx 💐💐💐💐

  18. Helena Fairfax

    Hi Anne, I’m so glad you’ve found the ideal place for your mum. It must have been a tremendous relief to see her responding so well to the staff and have given you a lot of peace of mind. It looks a lovely place! I do hope your mum settles.
    Thanks so much for continuing to share your reviews. I’ve picked up some wonderful reads from following your blog that I wouldn’t otherwise have tried. Best wishes to your mum and you xx

  19. jessiecahalin

    Best of luck, Anne. The love for your mum shines through in your words. I am thinking of you. I raise my coffee cup to you every time I visit Coffi in Cardiff Bay. xxx

  20. Jenny HarperJenny

    Well Anne, this all sounds so familiar! Though my own mother’s journey was completed some years ago now, everything you have said really resonates. It’s great you have found such good care. Stick with it, even when things don’t go quite as you expect. There are always ups and downs, good days and bad, items that go missing or strangely appear (my mother arrived for my son’s wedding in a green coat I’d never seen before, but it was very smart!). Other residents might prove difficult, or noisy, or disruptive. When things deteriorate with your own mum, it will get even harder – I spent a few visits In tears in the office with a sympathetic nurse! But if the home is good and she relates to the staff, all will be well. You’re doing the right thing. Good for you – and good luck. Big hugs!! Jenny xx

  21. noveldeelights

    We went through the same thing with my grandmother (also in her nineties) last year. It was hard to take that step initially but knowing she’s safe and cared for makes all the difference. Your mum’s new home looks and sounds lovely. Best wishes to you both! xx

  22. jorobertson2015

    Sending you the biggest of hugs Anne. It’s a difficult decision to make but it sounds as though you’re Mum will be very well cared for in her new home. Wishing you both the best of luck for this new stage of your lives xx

  23. Chat About Books

    Sending lots of love to you and your Mum, Anne. It is such a relief to find a safe and happy home for our loved ones when they are unable to live alone. My Grandad had vascular dementia and alzheimers, which was heart-breaking. He was very well looked after in his care home which was a huge comfort to us all.
    Take care of you xx

  24. carol warham

    So pleased everything is working out for mum and for you. Many of us do understand the difficulties you are facing and you are absolutely doing the right thing. Mum is going to love being in that lovely home and you are going to be able to relax and take care of yourself. Sending lots of love and best wishes

  25. A Knight's Reads

    Big hugs to you Anne and your mum. I do hope she settles in the new home in the same way she took to it yesterday. Wishing you lots of luck over the coming weeks xxx
    PS and I totally agree with how hard it is to say no and it can get easier but sometimes it’s so hard x

  26. June Moonbridge

    Gosh Anne you have your hands full. I hope you know that when I say I understand what you’re going through I’m not saying it just like that. You did the best what you could for your Mum and I’m pretty sure this is not all. Like you said, you cannot forget about yourself too.
    Sending both of you a lots of love and nothing but sunny days together. x

  27. Jill's Book Cafe

    Hope all goes well with the move. It sounds a lovely place and can offer what you both need, company and care for your Mum and peace of mind for you. Good luck going forward xx

  28. booklover01

    Thanks for the update, Anne. Life has to come first before books and blogging and you mustn’t worry about letting anyone down. Everyone will understand. I wish you and your mum lots of luck and am sending you big hugs.

    Love from Sonya xx

  29. jessicaredlandwriter

    Oh my goodness, Anne, what an emotional time you’ve had. Reading this, I felt like I was standing right next to you as you battled with the right decision for you and for your mum, but it sounds like you’ve absolutely reached the right decision together for you both. Your mum’s new building looks gorgeous and it sounds like she’s going to have such an amazing quality of life there. Saying “no” is one of the hardest things ever so I can completely relate to that, but you’ve found a sensible way forward. You’re so incredibly generous with your time and your support, but your life, family and health must come first. Thinking of you both xx

  30. jena c. henry

    Anne- your mother is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing it all and I wish you, your Mom and your family all the best

  31. Judith Barrow

    Oh, Anne, I have been there and know just what you are going through. You are right – your mum will be safe and as happy as possible. You have to look after yourself as well, You do so much for others – now take a break; everyone will/should understand. We have all appreciated the reviews you have so generously given – and all you have done for authors. But now is the time to think of you and your mum. Please bear that in mind over the next few months. Anything you need from those you have helped – feel free to ask – I’m sure you will get the support in return. Look after yourself. xx

  32. The Cozy Pages

    Thanks for sharing such news with us. I’m really happy you found a lovely place and that your mum likes it so very much. I wish you both all the very best.

  33. Susan Maclean

    Yes, Anne, it is time for you to “be Anne” for a while…. and I am glad that you have found your Mum a place where she can be cared for 24/7. I do hope she will be happy there in her own way. For you? Time to reflect on all sorts of things, I guess, but glad to see that giving up blogging is NOT one of them! Here’s to loads more time for reading and reviewing, and how about a few afternoon teas without a worry! Bless you.

  34. Swirl and Thread

    Anne as ever you have written from the heart and it’s an honour to be a witness to the beautiful relationship you have with your mother. Right now Anne she is your priority. She’s your Mum… The books and blog are secondary really. Take care Anne. Trust your instincts. Trust your decisions. Your Mum is so very lucky to have you as her champion. Xx

  35. Sara Gethin

    All the best for your mum’s move, Anne – the new place sounds amazing and it must be a weight off your mind to know she’ll have such excellent care. Hopefully you’ll be able to relax more and enjoy your own hobbies again once your mum’s settled in xxx

  36. Laura Laakso

    Self-care is so important, even though saying no can be the hardest thing of all at times. Enjoy the break and I do hope your mum settles well into her new home. It sounds fabulous!

  37. Love Books Group

    Sending you so much love Anne, you are making the right choice for both you and your lovely Mum. It really is very tough and I hope the move and getting Mum settled in, helps you to have your life back again knowing that she is in good hands and you can relax a little. xx

  38. Graeme Cumming

    I did wonder why I was still seeing so much of you, Anne – not that I’m complaining!
    Hope it all goes well with your mum’s move.

  39. janelovering

    It sounds like an excellent opportunity for your mum. Dementia is such a cruel illness, anything that makes coping easier for sufferer and their relations can only be a good thing. Good luck to you and her for the future.

  40. Janet MacLeod Trotter

    You are being a wonderful daughter! The new home sounds great and I hope your mum settles there well. Don’t feel guilty about the blogging – just enjoy the reading and do the bits you want to do. Take care of yourself too xx

  41. Cass

    Anne, I’ve been travelling, so I have only got round to reading this today, when I’m back at my desk.

    The home in Harrogate sounds wonderful, and with Valley Gardens on the doorstep too. i genuinely believe you have made the right decision for both your mum and you. You’ve been, and still are being, a wonderful daughter. <3

    My dad had vascular dementia, and I know how hard my mum struggled to look after him (he was some years older than her, and much taller than her 5 foot petite frame). Her life went on hold for years, and she was completely worn out when he passed away. You have clearly been a great support to your mum, but now it's time for her to get professional care 24/7 and for you to pick up the reins of your life – and that means only blogging when you want to, and reading for pleasure now and again!! 😉

    Sending positive vibes your way, Anne, and lots of love.


  42. Julie Morris

    I was so moved for you by this post, Anne. I know you are trying to do your best by everyone and I hope your mum is very happy in her new home, it sounds fabulous.

    As bloggers, I think sometimes we feel way too much guilt. i totally understand, we want to make everyone happy and not let anyone down but, this is only a hobby and sometimes you just need to put yourself first. I am sure no one wants you putting yourself under unnecessary stress because of the blog. If they do, they aren’t worth worrying about.

    Lots of love being sent your way. x

  43. lynneshelby

    Anne, this post is very moving, and I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found such a good place for your mum. I hope she will be very happy there, and you will be happy knowing that she is receiving the best of care. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, and enjoy reading the books you want to read. Best Wishes,
    Lynne x

  44. Aislynn d'Merricksson

    Oooh, your poor mum! I can’t imagine how terrifying to forget where I lived. It sounds like you have a good solution in hand though!

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