I was born in Houghton -le-spring 1978, one of 5 children. Where all of my family are very artistic which comes from my father’s side. I would always admire my fathers writing and emulate it. I very much loved drawing and writing, I would spend hours on practicing my handwriting, which is one of the main features of my work today. I recently actually bumped into one of my teachers who explained she felt guilty giving me lines as it was so elegantly handwritten.
I married at the age of 22 and had 2 children whilst running my own floristry business. However, the business only lasted 6 months as the landlord absconded with the years rent which I had paid upfront and due to this I was left out of business. Following this I had my 3rd child William and was then a full time mum.
Around this time my marriage started to deteriorate and when my youngest child was under 2yrs of age my then husband abandoned me, to make matters from bad to worse I then got a phone call from my then husband who was at the airport to say he was leaving us homeless and had sold the house from under my feet.
Due to this I was put in contact with “Wear side women in need” and lived there, in Washington for 3 months, living in one room with 3 kids and a shower. The Unit helped me to recoup some money from the divorce enabling me to rent a property close to my parents. Upon my soon to be ex husbands first return from abroad, the stress caused me to have a nervous breakdown and I admitted to hospital for 3 months, unable to walk.
Upon investigation I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the spine, tendonitis in all of my joints, a thyroid condition and IBS, this was a huge shock to myself and my family, being a single mother just got so much more difficult. Upon leaving hospital I was left to fend for myself and had to take a taxi home, then upon returning home there was a notice on the door to say that I had been evicted, due to me being in hospital unwell all my finances had not been dealt with, so again I was left homeless with a zimmer frame in the pouring rain with 3 children and just the clothes on our backs.
It was at this point my brother gave me £50 to go the local council offices and ask for help. We were moved into a hostel until a property became available, we were there for 6 month, and was one of the most difficult times of my life, having to come to terms with my newly diagnosed illness, and again being homeless, as well as overcoming a nervous breakdown. As medication took effect I became more mobile, and I was moved to a halfway house where we lived for 18 months whilst we waited for a council housing, during this time I was also burgled 6 times, eventually I was offered a small house by family.
However, from this point my life started to improve, and on my daughters suggestion I enrolled into college where I studied art and design for 6 years, working to a degree. It was during this time I met my partner Damon, and we have since had a baby girl who is now 4 yrs old.
One day I decided to make a xmas tree decoration for my daughter and after posting this on facebook I was inundated with requests to make the decorations, and so from this LoveArt was born and within the 2 years I achieved over 20k followers from various social media forums and a VERY full order book!
However life has a funny way of telling you to slow down and take a breath .. in March 2016 when Harmony was 23 months old she was rushed to the hospital and transferred days later to the RVI having found that she was suffering terribly from the nasty brain infection know as Encephalitis 😞 – it has the same strain of chicken pox and can be very deadly … thanks to the dedication of the nurses and doctors harmony turned a corner and surprised us all by fighting this awful infection and was home after 2 weeks .. as she was getting stronger I noticed that harmony wasn’t hitting milestones like my other 3 achieved well before her age and that same August Harmony was diagnosed with Autism and Multiple Chromosome deletion 😞 that was a lot to contend with , with managing a booming business .. unfortunately I had to choose one or the other as my concentration and passion for life was diminishing fast – so that Christmas was the last term for my Crafty love life .. closing the books was the hardest thing to do but being able to be there for Harmony 24/7 was the easiest decision to make and so I did .. the months that followed was a dark time – I withdrew from society and kept out of the sunlight I was so sad and felt like I had let myself and everyone else down .. this all made my musculoskeletal pains worse and I tell you it was tough 🤦♂️
During 2017 days rolled into months which passed by full of personal sadness mixed with daily triumphs regarding harmony eating without throwing her plate full of food on the floor, or kicking me repeatedly because her film had finished- she had quite a kick for a 2.5 yr old !!! Some days I couldn’t hold back my tears and cried alone in the bath so the older children didn’t see or notice .. but Damon did and god love him he tried so hard to pull me out of the darkness back into the light where I belonged …
I began to notice my hair falling out a few months after I hit rock bottom and was making my stress worse and worse – to see your beautiful hair all over the pillow and carpet is soul destroying and I could not see a way out –
I wanted to scream and cry but I knew I had to stay strong – not just for everyone else this time , but for ME .. after 3 months of daily photos proving the hairline was diminishing rather quickly, I decided to shave it all off so rather than it being negative all the time , it would turn into a POSITIVE to watch my lovely hair return to its full frizzy glory !!
Damon was the perfect candidate for the job of shaving it all off ( see video) as he was there holding my hand through it all – and he also has shaved his hair down to a grade 1 so we the same – bless him.
So now it’s onwards and upwards ! And just last week Harmony turned 4 yes old and finally turned to me , smiled and said ‘mammy’ – not only was this the best day of my life , but the tears I cried were finally those of joy