She'll kill me for saying this...but no, I don't mean Mum's 68!!! hahaha nope ...remember my Nanny that I was telling you about a couple of weeks ago??? Well, she turned 68 on the 10th of September. Now usually we take the time to figure out what she'd like/needs for her birthday, but with her moving home and everything that went with it, this year was a little bit different...
I should probably start this thing off by giving you a bit of a background into my Nanny...you see, she's never really had much and lived a pretty simple life, but 33 years ago she gave a gift that I could never put a price on...she gave me a very stable life...How??? Well, my parents were rather young when I came along (17 & 18) so our family didn't have the best of starts. They both still lived at home with their parents and neither of them had much money, but what they did have was support and a heck of a lot of determination. With very little money between them, my parents both needed to work in order to support me. Now ordinarily that would have meant having to pay for my childcare or passing me from one friend/relative to another in order to make a living...Not my parents though...Nope...33 years ago my Nanny gave up her right to earn a decent living and make a better life for herself in order to allow my parents to give me the best possible start. She was my babysitter...not that my parents were never there...no, no...just that when they were out working full-time to provide for themselves and me, my Nanny took care of me. Like I said, it wasn't the best of starts, but they made it work...and at times when they were struggling, again my Nanny would be there...not with money, but with love and support. I can't say that I remember everything about those days, but I do know that when money was really tight, I always came first...Mum and Dad would often come home after a hard days work to a dinner of just beans on toast while I was fed by my Nanny because there simply wasn't enough money...it was tough, but I have no regrets...my childhood was far from the poverty stricken one I'm probably making it sound like!!! haha...I really was a happy child...when my parents weren't around, I had my Nanny and when Nanny wasn't there I had my parents back...I knew where I was and what I was doing...I never for a second felt like I wasn't wanted or unsure of who I was with...I wasn't surrounded by the best of things nor did I have the latest craze toys...I had more than that...I had love, support and a developing sense of imagination that came from spending time building tents or playing shops with my Nanny or my parents.
Now eventually things changed...we moved into our own home...my parents got married and inevitably that brought me my Brother and Sister. Having been an only child up until the age of 8 I'd have been forgiven for holding some resentment towards my siblings for taking attention away...but that wasn't the case...I still had my parents and my Nanny...nothing had changed...well apart from I now had small things drooling over my favourite toys!!! As the years rolled by, my Nanny became more and more important in our lives. During the school holidays she'd look after the three of us whilst Mum and Dad continued to work to support us. Again, you'd be forgiven for thinking that we were just left to get on with things...but it wasn't the case...school holidays were amazing times...my Nanny took us on little adventures...little adventures that didn't cost money that is!!! We'd pack up a picnic and head off to some little play parks not far from us...we'd take trips to the local duck pond ...we'd spend hours sitting in the strawberry fields filling punnets with half the strawberries we picked whilst eating the other half!!! They were some pretty amazing times...times I got to spend with my Nanny.
I've always counted myself extremely lucky...lucky to have born whilst my parents were so young and full of energy...lucky to have a Nanny that was just 35...35!! When I was born who had enough energy to spend hours during the school holidays traipsing about from one place to another to ensure we got the most our of our days and extremely lucky to have had such a stable and loving upbringing....and why was that??? Well because in my opinion my Nanny made the selfless decision to give up her life to give me a better one. She could quite easily have gotten herself a full time job and spent the time earning herself the money she so rightly deserves, but instead she worked the odd part-time job around her babysitting hours and then once we were old enough she became a dinner lady at our school in order to still be able to have the school holidays off to look after us...not many people in this world would have done the same thing.Ooo and not only has she done this for us...nope, my Nanny also did the same thing for my 3 Cousins...the only difference is she's now a lot older with a lot less energy to do the things she did with me...but like I said, I was the luckiest one of all of us...I got to see her in her best years.
So, now you understand just a fraction of why my Nanny is so special to me, I'll get back to her birthday!!! Nan's always been a bit of a complainer when it comes to her birthdays/christmas...she'll give her typical "you lot shouldn't spend so much money on me" "It's too much" and "I feel bad that I can't buy you as much as you buy me"....but what she always seems to forget is that there's 5 of us in our side of her family...5 adults to buy for just her...whilst there's just 1 of her to buy for 5 of us...1 of her on a measly little pension that she gets because she chose to provide for us instead of herself...Plus as we tell her time and time again...no amount of money will ever be able to repay what she's done for us over the years, so the things we do now are our way of trying to say thank-you.
As I mentioned before, this birthday was a little different to the others...this year she moved home. Only once she had moved home did we realise just how little she has...so we brought her all new curtain for her new flat...we brought new cutlery, new utensils, a new table cloth...and all the little bits and bobs that have helped to make her house a home. Mum recovered an old ottoman that was once ours (it's still got Crusty's 101 dalmation stickers on the inside!!!), she recovered the little wooden chair Nan had in her bedroom that was once part of my Grandma's (Nan's Mum) table set and she even made a little cushion to match. This years presents weren't so much about what we wanted to buy her, as they were about what she needed to make her life easier. When we moved her into her new flat we discovered an old cork board that had been left behind, which we knew would be come in handy in her kitchen. So with a little bit of paint and some ribbon, it turned into this ...
Whilst spending time with Nan at her new flat, I noticed she was writing her shopping lists on scraps of paper or the back of envelopes. She even stole the little pack of post-it-notes we'd left behind whilst moving her and was writing her lists on those!!! So I decided that somewhere to keep her lists would be ideal, and with the cork board now covered it was the ideal place to keep them...
So with a bit of cardboard box covered in pretty paper and an old clip from off of a no longer used clipboard, I made the little clipboard that will now house her shopping lists notepad!!!
Ooo and after digging about in our craft stash, we couldn't resist adding the odd cupcake or two for decoration!!! So this became one of the presents we gave to Nan on her birthday...and how much did it cost??? well, just the price of the ribbon, some pins and some paint...the rest was all pulled from stuff lying around the house. But then again, even if we'd brought her a notice board, it wouldn't have meant half as much as this one does to her.
Now when it came to cards for Nan's birthday, I've already shared most of them with you in previous posts. In fact there's only one I have left to show you. That was the one that was stitched by Crusty and put together by me...
Nan's got two little budgies that my Aunt brought her years ago...they annoy the heck out of me with their constant chirping away, but she loves them!!! So when it came to choosing an image for her card, Crusty knew it had to be the birdcage with two little birds...added to the floral paper, I think it makes quite a pretty card, which thankfully Nan agreed!!!
Ooo and seeing as Nan's now living in her new flat with lots of new friends, she of course needed some cupcakes to share around ...after all, what's a birthday without cake???
Don't worry, Crusty made these cakes, so not a sinking middle in sight!!! Mum and I then made the little flowers for decoration...
which added to the very pretty looking cases made some rather vintage looking cakes...bit like the birthday girl herself...vintage looking!!!
One last thing before I go, Nan's settled into her new flat unbelievably well...so well in fact that everyone now calls her by her nickname...Biddy!!! Why Biddy?? Well because way back when she turned 60, we started calling her an old Biddy, which then became Biddy/Bids. Even our friends started calling her Biddy!!! So when it came to her moving into her new flat and people needing to remember her name, we told them to call her Biddy as it was unsual enough to remember!!! So Biddy stuck, and now everyone calls her it!!! Ooo and Biddy received no less than 11 birthday cards this year from all her new friends...not bad for someone who's just moved in is it!!!
Love you Bids