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So what does it mean to turn 16 in todays society?


It’s hard, right?

Growing up is so damn hard! Trust me I know, I taught high school students! Social media has everything to answer to. Our children are much more advanced than we were we when we were that age.

God, I sound old! In my day…….!

Tia’s school experience wasn’t the best. It’s not how it was meant to be. She was always wishing her life away. The best advice I could ever give her was to explain how it all goes by in the blink of an eye and these people need mean nothing to her. They would not define her. I told her to use this negative energy as fuel for her success and I’m proud to say it’s all going good. It’s all about talking to them. I say, no matter what, you can tell me anything.

How can I help her if I don’t know?

This stuck and it is the relationship I have with all three of my children. We are a very open family and I love it that way. From a young age, I have spoken to my children about career paths, their qualities and basically getting the best from life. Tia always seemed more mature, she was always ready for college and University. That’s her focus and even my ten year old son researches what he will study after school because he chose what he wanted to do for a career from a very young age.

It’s hard isn’t it, this parenting lark?

You’ll always question if you are doing the right thing but what is the right thing. If they are safe, loved and well cared for, then they’ve all got their own personalities that will help guide them. All we can do is guide them the best we can by setting an example, showing them how to treat others, how they should expect to be treated and letting them know there’s a lot to do once you step out into the big wide world and fend for yourself, so we prepare them for that in the best way we can.

August 2003

Tia’s had quite an adventurous life. Born in Portugal to a Scottish father and an English mother, we had the greatest life then. It’s always great when the sun is shining. I had met Tia’s father out in Vilamoura when we were both living there. It was instant fireworks. Nothing much has changed!

After a scary labour, Tia was born by an emergency c-section in Hospital Particular do Algarve  , a private hospital that was nearly an hours drive from where we lived in Vilamoura. She was 6 lbs 9 ounces and I’d never known love like it till I lay my eyes on her. We were smitten and I instantly had a new best friend!


Due to work we left Portugal when Tia was one and a half and returned to Lancashire. After 6 months we moved to Cambridgeshire, again due to work commitments. Less than 6 months later we moved to Aberdeen to be near family after the stillbirth of our niece. Again due to work, we soon moved back to Lancashire. We stayed here and bought a home but we only stayed for a couple of years. Tia kept getting sick and had been hospitalised with pneumonia. The doctors told us that it was due to the climate change. I tried to stay in the UK but I longed to return to Portugal and see Tia in better health. I’d been trying for another child for four and a half years and after finally getting my way that we would return to Portugal, I fell pregnant!

Tia was going to be a big sister!


So off we tottled back to Vilamoura. That was an adventurous drive back, I drove whilst pregnant and it was the worst sea crossing I had ever been on. Like I wasn’t being sick enough already! I swore that I would never leave Portugal again and that I had finally returned home. How very wrong I was because around 32 weeks pregnant the ventricles had changed in my unborn sons brain and I was put under hospital care. He was born fine and the hospital struggled to see anything wrong. With a head that was growing off the scales, Portuguese experts still struggled to identify a problem, so when Wallace was 9 months old, we returned to England and were told that he needed life saving surgery to reconstruct his skull.

Back for good!

So that’s it, it seems like we’ve been back for good. It has been just over 10 years since our return and there was a further three house moves, oh plus another child! We’ve currently been in this house now for nearly 6 years and it is home. The only house that’s really felt like home since Tia’s birth house all them years ago. The children tell me that we are never allowed to sell it. Surprisingly, anyone that comes in the house says it feels like a villa so I guess we did find our perfect home.


Fast forward to Summer 2019 and we had decided to go to Portugal for the summer and let Tia celebrate this huge milestone in the place she’ll always see as home. I planned a great party with friends old and new and Tia’s lovely boyfriend Nathan flew out for a week too, which made it even more special. It was a great day with great people.

For Tia

It seems there wasn’t your father and I without you. You’ve always been there and you’ve always been my best friend. You’re strong willed, on the ball and so engaged with what needs to be right in the world. Just look at your CV, just wow, you blow me away with your dedication to learning and working. You work every day nearly as you’re always planning. I love to hear you talk about your future plans and it’s amazing to hear. I wish you all of the best for your amazing future, it certainly seems bright!

Here’s to planning the 18th!!

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