I am amazing
This is my first blog post of 2018 and I just want to mention the bad bits of 2017 first so then I can MOVE ON.
This time last year I christened 2017 the Year of Fun and in many ways it was but it was also the year of heartache. My dad died, I have 3 colleagues, who also lost a parent, 2 of my dad’s best friends lost a son and I started divorce proceedings. So there you go, 2017 was definitely a rollercoaster of a year, it’s not ideal to lose a parent and a marriage at the same time to say the least… Strangely seeing my dad very sick gave me the courage to say enough was enough and finish my marriage. Indeed when you see someone’s life slipping away, it gives you that kick up the arse to move yours in another happier, healthier and better direction. My dad would approve and would be proud I’m sure. My dad would also be very proud of the changes my sister has made, I won’t elaborate but the way she is turning her life around is one of the highs of 2017.
Last year, I made 17 goals ( 17 Goals For 2017 ) and here’s a recap of what I achieved and didn’t!
Listen to more live music (lots of different genres) anybody want to be my concert buddy?! FAIL: I did see Adele, which was great and Bananarama but not much else. Must try harder this year!
Have a girls night out at least once a month MIXED: I haven’t kept track of this but I do feel like I’ve seen girlfriends at least once a month. This is something that is important to me so I think I might host a girls’ dinner once a month at least and plan ahead so then I know this will happen!
Go back to Ibiza DOUBLE SUCCESS: I went back twice! White sangria on a beach on a Sunday afternoon, staying in the same hotel as Eva Longoria, Lychee martinis at Nobu and sunsets at Experimental beach – there isn’t much else to say!
Sort my hair out without becoming too mumsy FAIL: I haven’t changed my hair, it’s still the same mid-length kind of brown…
Go clubbing in Berlin with my friend M FAIL!
Be more stylish – Not sure I can be the judge of that!
Do something really out of my comfort zone – not sure what yet! SUCCESS-Spending time with people that are SO different to you and going to places you really don’t normally go to and going to Ibiza twice – enough said
Regain confidence, I lost some in 2016, need to get it back! SUCCESS: a picture speaks a thousand words
Keep the blog going and make it better and get more out of it- MIXED It’s still going but that’s about it, except for some free (but very nice by the way!) Polish bread and cakes…
Reduce meat and dairy consumption by a third (have a veggie hello fresh box one week a month) SUCCESS!
Go to reformer pilates at least 4 times a month FAIL
Get a subscription to Vanity Fair and the Economist SEMI-FAIL: I now have an Economist subscription, don’t always read the whole thing…
Speak to Arabella in French 95% of the time FAIL: I need to decide to speak to her in French or not, it’s just not 100% natural but I know she will thank me later…
Feel more goosebumps SUCCESS: listening to Adele live, admiring the beauty of Santorini, watching A at her first ballet class
Cry more tears of joy – Well…let’s just say that there have been tears in 2017 and mostly not of joy but I have definitely been happy despite everything
Have more “this is amazing” moments – SUCCESS: despite the double D situation well I definitely have had those moments I was hoping for. These were the highs:
The weather being perfect the day of my dad’s funeral, I mean unseasonable warm and not a cloud in the sky. Admiring the view from a hot tub in Santorini, sledding down a mountain at midnight in Switzerland in absolute silence, cycling round Formentera, taking selfies with Eva Longoria, brunch at The Ned on a Sunday ( I know I am slightly obsessed!), yellow tail sashimi at Nobu by the sea in Ibiza, watching the most amazing sunset on the first night of my holiday in Mauritius with my mum and daughter and being proud that I could take us there. Spending the day at a country hotel with very old girlfriends, watching Arsenal at the emirates in the best seats, seeing so many of the people I love at my birthday drinks, seeing friends become parents and so many of the funny things A comes out with. Getting drunk on Sangria on a Sunday afternoon in Ibiza and having to walk for an hour through fields because there were no cabs whilst laughing your head off, watching A dance in our hotel in Mauritius with the traditional dancers, an area at Reading festival being named after my dad
Spend New Years Even 2017 thinking back on what an amazing year 2017 was, ideally on a beach or a ski slope. MIXED – I didn’t make it to a beach or a ski slope but I was happy on New Year’s Eve, happy 2017 was over but also much more at peace emotionally than I was on the 31st of December 2016, which really was a low low. 2017 was as amazing as it could be given the circumstances
Obviously I have no idea what is going to happen in 2018 but here is what I hope for:
• To learn how to relax more, every time I go to reflexology I get told that I seem unable to switch off
• For all the pregnancies around me to go well
• To stop feeling the sense of failure I have at being a single mum
• For A to be happy despite the change in her circumstances
• For more highs and less lows
• To kick arse at work
• To be there for all the people that were there for me this year
• To keep meeting new lovely people
• To dance more
• For anybody I know considering a big change to find the courage to do it
And finally I want to thank all my friends and family for every call, every text, every email, every thought and every minute they spent with me last year. For being there for me when things were really tough. It took the worst of circumstances to remind me but I can tell you that I am very lucky and have many amazing people around me. I hope to see them all more this year. You know who you are, you are my family.
On that note, I am closing the door on 2017 with my head held high and my heart open.
Now that is something I’m never going to try and figure out again. The other day I was re-reading the post I wrote at the beginning of this year with my goals for 2017 Here and realised quite a few had been reached against all odds! And the odds are the 2 D words (so you know not just any odd hurdle…), no need to spell them out.
I might not know where I’m going (seriously after this year, I have no idea!) but I’ve been to some amazing places this year and as the sun slowly starts to set on 2017, I can confirm the following (this is probably going to sound like an empty list of platitudes and cliches but here goes…) :
This is a bit of a random post, I will definitely write one at the end of the year to go over how many of those goals I reached!
As for 2018, come to mama…
PS: yes there are a few Lady Gaga “Joanne” references in this post…
As it is Father’s Day I wanted to share my eulogy from his funeral a few weeks ago.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!
First thing Dad, more people have turned up to your funeral than my wedding so you did well there! Rest assured that I’ll make sure that in future people will always say 1,000 people came to Marcus’ funeral and Robbie Williams sang Angels. You know what I mean dad.
I want to thank my family and friends, who have supported me recently, in particular Sandie without whom I could not have managed to do it all over the past few weeks. The bad times definitely show you who really cares.
Ironically you were one of the only people I knew who didn’t have a Facebook account, yet there is a group with 170 members dedicated to you.
It is a testament to the man you were that so many people have sent messages and raised money for today. Special mention to the WOMAD crew (in particular Steve, Angela, Geoff, Soly, Dick Vernon, Jack, Stevie and so many more), WOMAD which turns out is not only the World Of Music and Dance but also the world of friendship, love and generosity. We are forever grateful.
I want to quote a few of the notes left on the Facebook page (I’ve edited them a bit) because the world needs to know what a man you were. One thing is for sure, you were definitely one of the boys:
Nothing will ever be the same to be honest.
How many people have the honour of knowing their dad was a legend, so unique and so unforgettable? Lana, George, Max and Tallulah, we had our extraordinary dad, I know he wasn’t perfect but man he tried. And Lana Banana, you did him proud, you were there til the end, something I couldn’t do and that’s because you’re an Armstrong, we all are and man am I glad I never changed my name. George and Max, you have clearly inherited his physical abilities and strength, George you look more like him every day (in a good way!). Max, whenever I would ask how you were, he would say “Max is lovely”. Tallulah, one of the only full size pictures he kept was of you, he was so proud of you and always told me how well you were doing at school.
He loved us all so much, may you never doubt that.
Dad kept 2 cards: a fathers’ day card from Tallulah and Michael Eavis’ invitation to his 70th birthday at Worthy farm. These were the loves of your life, your family and your festival family
Dad, this is what I am thankful for, why I was proud of you and what I promise.
I THANK YOU:
I always tell the story how one of the only times in my life when I’ve been really irresponsible was when I decided to have a party in my hotel room in Abu Dhabi. Tony Paiton told me “ your dad would be proud of you” I knew this meant it would end badly! But man, was it fun. Story of your life basically.
Now this is the hard bit for me. I know you never thought I was proud of you but I really was dad and this is why. I would not have changed you for a thing, you made us strong.
I AM PROUD OF YOU:
I PROMISE TO:
Very few people can say “ if I die tomorrow, I’ll die a happy man because I’ve done so much in my life”, you said that and you meant it. It gives me great relief to know you died happy and typically under your own terms. As per Mark Twain (thank you Adrian): “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time”
Over and Out, it’s time to switch the radio off.
Linking up to Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog Posts
This time last week I was in Mauritius with my mum and daughter making the most of our last day in paradise. It was hot, the only worry on my mind was “will the taxi turn up on time tonight for the airport?” and I was completely relaxed after a great 10 days of not doing much.
This morning I’m sat on a train going to Dorset to start dealing with funeral arrangements for my dad, who died a few days ago. There are so many worries on my mind that I can’t even process it all or sleep past 6.30 at the moment.
About 6 hours after he died, I thought “I’m over this, I feel fine” , people have probably written essays on that type of reaction. It must be some kind of defence mechanism and it’s probably not very healthy. I’m not over it and I’m going to write about it. Some people might not understand why I want to make my feelings public but I know it’s going to help me and frankly at the moment I really don’t care about being judged. I’ll post as many photos on Facebook as I want, go out as much as I want and just deal with it however I want to.
What makes me sad the most is that he couldn’t live his last years to the full due to pain and illness, that’s a shame. I’m the eldest of his 5 children and I was lucky that he gave me away at my wedding and met my daughter – my brothers and sisters won’t have that and that’s painful. If my youngest half sister graduates from university, I’ll make sure I’m there and unlike dad, T I promise you that when they are handing out a diploma for a slightly boring sounding degree I won’t shout out “I bet he’s fun at a party!”. I think this was before he fell asleep and Granny had to poke him because he was snoring so loudly…
Yep that was typical dad (typical of him, he definitely wasn’t a typical dad in good and bad ways) – he spoke his mind and didn’t give a damn what anybody thought. What was also typical and sometimes comical (and sometimes very annoying) was his ability to exaggerate a fact…indeed dad was not perfect by any means and had an uncanny ability to “enhance” the truth. He worked at festivals and clearly met famous people but which ones he “saw” versus “met”, I’ll never know and now I don’t care.
In times like these you start to see the influence people had on you. My love of rugby comes from him, I didn’t inherit his love of Chelsea FC though (#arsenal) nor his love of Stella, man that stuff is disgusting.
I do love a festival though and I will forever be grateful for all the summers I spent working and having fun at festivals, it seriously enriched my life. The people I’ve met, the music I’ve heard, the experiences I’ve had at festivals are a big part of my life and I will always be thankful for that.
So what was amazing about my dad? He embodied our surname “Armstrong” – he worked outside most of his life and could do work guys 20 years younger couldn’t, he had tons and tons of friends from hell’s angels to a disabled guy, who he looked after at WOMAD and made sure he had a pass to the site every year to people he used to play rugby with and what seems like half of the UK’s festival crew. Anybody who met him would always remember him, he really would help people if he could, he was flamboyant and fun and I recently discovered that he said years ago “if I die tomorrow, I’ll die a happy man” and that gives me great comfort.
He lived most days like it could be his last, this did mean not much sleep (which eventually caught up with him) but he had more good times in his life than 50 average people put together.
I get my belief in “carpe diem” from you dad and I’ll do my best to live life to the full (I might just be a bit more reasonable and sleep more!). The Armstrong show must go on.
I’m kind of exhausted, drink anybody?!?
Happy Monday everyone!