Saturday 15 December 2018

December.... 52 Months... #TBCSmiles

Christmas is almost here and 5 years in we are getting used to our new sort of Christmas. Some things change in more ways than others. I have a real problem looking ahead and I only started buying presents two days ago, but we're doing it. It'll happen. We're further ahead than this time last year.

We knew doing decorations would be hard and started at the beginning of December, so our living room now looks amazing and we have a huge LEGO Winter Village. When the tree is up it'll be perfect, and it's first time we've felt able to really go to town with the decorations since losing Elspeth.

She is constantly in our thoughts anyway, but now more than ever because she loved Christmas so much. She looked forward to it for months and every Christmas song on the radio or Christmas movie on the TV reminds us of her, and the fact she isn't here. Every gift idea seems it would have suited Elspeth best. In honesty we've kept ourselves busy to stay distracted...

December may be hard, but we've still managed to collect plenty of smiles and I've caught a few of them on camera. We've been to see Father Christmas, Black Beauty, Slapstick and The Forest Of Forgotten Disco's and we've definitely discovered the benefit of woolly hats....

You guys didn't let us down and shared tons of gorgeous smiles of your own. It may be cold outside, but I love the snuggly warmth to the indoor photos at this time of year. Thank you to everyone who has shared their photos using the hashtag #TBCSmiles. Anyone can join in, just tag a smile, grin or laugh. The more the merrier - quite literally!

Here are 9 of the biggest and brightest this month as chosen by our 8 year old...

These smiles were shared by the following Instagrammers, and if they made you grin, check out the hashtag on Instagram:

All the effort to make Christmas happen is exhausting and it has been hard work. We've had to set ourselves goals and stick to them. As we get closer to Christmas both young boys have had days off school where they've really just needed it mentally and emotionally. We are all shattered and have had permanent colds and sore tummies for the last month. I haven't sent any cards yet, but even still we really can't complain because this is the best December we've had since Elspeth left.

You get stressed and wound up and regularly you just have to stop and ask yourself "what is really important?". The main thing we've all been excited about is having the big kids back here. That's what my family really need for Christmas and it's already sorted.

Each year since the first we've made a list of what we really NEED to make Christmas happen, what we'd LIKE and what would be NICE. Doritos appear in the third list several times. The first list is always surprisingly short. Even most of Christmas dinner only really makes the second list.

When you can pull out what is really important, you understand that the rest is just sparkle. We don't need to stress about sparkle, if we've got the essentials then we can always make our own glitter. And it can be created from almost anything...

From all of us here at The Brick Castle
May your Christmas be the best that it can be xxx

If you will have time alone this Christmas and you'd rather be with other people, then you can. You can ask for help or offer help to hundreds of charities and organisations such as Crisis At ChristmasThe Trussell Trust and The Salvation Army. Animals need year round care, so your local sanctuary or shelter may appreciate some of your time. No-one needs to be by themselves on Christmas Day. Don't be shy to ask, it's why they are there.

If you are struggling with Christmas or the period afterwards, please don't become a statistic. There are so many reasons why you should stay and so many people who will be left wishing you were still here. Please talk to someone. The Samaritans (tel 116 123) are on hand 24 hours a day. If you are a young person or are worried about another young person, you may feel more comfortable talking to Papyrus (0800 068 4141) or Childline (tel 0800 1111).

We have collected our smiles since losing our 16 year old to suicide in 2014. Every one is a reminder that we can do it, and one of the reasons why it's worthwhile. Every smile is a very precious treasure.


  1. What beautiful smiles!
    Sending big hugs! I think of you often even though we don't really know each other.

    1. Thank you Kim, and a big hug for you back. I hope your Christmas is an excellent one :) x


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