About Me

I'm Steph, once I was a marketing professional, now I am a carer, a widowed parent and a freelance writer.  How did all that happen?  How do any of us know what will happen in our lives?

Hence the title of this blog, none of us know what is in the plan, we may not have control of what is happening to us but we have control over how we respond to it.  That's what this blog is all about, my story, how I chose to respond and hopefully by telling my story helping change the world, even just a little bit.

I've been writing it since 2008, initially just as a way of capturing events but it's grown and grown since then and I've even written a book of the same name which you can buy here.

So here's a bit more about me:

Until Daisy's arrival I was a driven, ambitious, marketing professional, working full time and worrying about childcare, global warming and the best route to get to work.... This all changed when she came into our lives.  Daisy was born prematurely in 2004 and soon afterward was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition - Costello Syndrome.  At the age of 3 she developed intestinal failure and since then has to receive all her nutrition directly into her bloodstream via a central line into a main vein near her heart.

Suddenly I was confronted with a situation which was not in the plan, my career went out of the window and I found myself a stay at home mum of a small, vulnerable girl with very complex needs. If that wasn't enough, not long afterwards my eldest son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (now called high functioning autism) and we found ourselves on yet another special needs learning curve.

It was not a surprise when a few years later my youngest son was also diagnosed with a form of high functioning autism too, called Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).  My life has always been a challenge to manage Daisy's increasingly complex care, support my eldest daughter and provide stability and some predictability for my sons.

As if all this was not enough, in November 2014, my rock and soul-mate, Andy, was diagnosed with incurable advanced bowel cancer, the disease that killed my dad 15 years previously.  We soon realised that our experience with Daisy had prepared us for this latest challenge and we met it head on with positivity, optimism and a fighting spirit (as well as a wicked taste in trench humour).

Andy died on 14th December 2015 and I began a new chapter of my life as a widowed parent.

Our hearts were truly broken, none more so than Daisy.  Her health had begun to deteriorate before Andy died and 13 months after he died , Daisy joined him as she took her last breath in the intensive care unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  Although the death certificate said septic shock I truly believe it was her time and she needed to dance with her daddy in the stars.

By writing this blog I try to reflect the issues faced by so many families like ours and speak for those who cannot speak out.

My other passion is running - it keeps me sane and gives me time to myself to gather my thoughts in an otherwise hectic life.  I have run several marathons (including 4 London Marathons) and an Ultra marathon and have raised around £10K for our hospice in the process. I also love open water swimming and road cycling and have competed in a few events in these fields and also put it all together with a few triathlons under my belt too.

And here's a few things to help you get to know me better:-

1. I love live music, especially going to festivals, Glastonbury festival is my spiritual home, it's where I go to recharge my batteries for the next 12 months ( and if I can't get to Glasto then I go to Latitude).  I love being in a crowd singing along to my favourite song or discovering new music as I walk around the festival.  I love the music of Bowie, Dylan & Cash.  My blog strapline "don't think twice, it's alright" is from one of my favourite Dylan songs

2. I met my husband, Andy, when I was 20.  I was at the University of Kent studying for a degree in Anthropology.  We met in a pub, it was not love at first sight but over the weeks I fell in love with his intellect, wit and mutual love of food and music.

3. I was born and raised in Wales but on graduating from Uni, Andy and I moved to London so that he could attend Drama school, London is my home town, I love living here, I cannot imagine living anywhere else in the world.  I consider myself London Welsh.

4. Four children were always in the plan, the rest we made up as we went along. (for those who are interested in the detail; Theo was born in hospital after a very long extended delivery with lots of interventions, Xanthe was a drug free hospital water birth, Jules was a drug free home water birth, Daisy was a premature caesarian delivery).

5. I liked gin before it was fashionable to like gin.

Have a look at this post I wrote explaining why I blog - Why I do it?


  1. Recently, I was awarded "The Lovely Blog Award". It's a beautiful pass it on award and I simply couldn't not nominate you (blow double negatives!). Thank you for your wonderful writing and your wisdom which is slowly teaching me to remember myself in the midst of chaos! http://simpletangles.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/moved-to-tears-ive-been-awarded/

  2. aah bless you Benedicte! As I said before we have so many parallels in our lives - I think another one for both of us is the therapeutic benefit of writing xx

  3. Peter Turnbull2:34 pm

    Fantastic site Steph - I have some idea of what you're going through with your young plates and grown up plate - keep them spinning, they're worth it and you're doing a brilliant job xxxxx

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  5. Bowie, Dylan and Cash I get 100%. Running not so much - I did try it for years but I was terrible at it and finally gave it up in favour of hill walking. The hardship you have faced is something I cannot even imagine but the warmth and positivity in your writing is a genuine inspiration. I've been deeply moved by what I've read here. Thank you.

  6. Dear Steph,
    Your beautiful and truthful blog is moving and inspirational. My darling daughter, who we sadly said goodbye to in February, also went to Shooting Star Chase, and I remember you and Daisy happily bathing her doll outside on a hot day in late summer I just want to say thank you for writing this-it helps me to be strong and positive. I wish all your family all the very best.

  7. Steph, I read your story in the New York Times this afternoon and was moved to tears ... I don't have the words to say what I'd like to, but I am so very sorry for your losses and what you and your family have had to endure. I am familiar with loss and grief in my own way, but I can't quite fathom what you've experienced myself. I know I will be returning to your blog again and again for encouragement on how to "just keep swimming".

    xo Jaime