Happy Monday everyone. It’s the other Helen here. Welcome to my very first blog. Its all about me.
I was born in the early 70s and share my birthday with a very famous Scottish poet! Walt Disney World in Florida opened in the same year that I was born with Amanda Holden and Gary Barlow also sharing the same year of birth….…in fact I’m younger than Gary by 5 days. I can see you all now on Google………yes I am that old!!!
Most of my childhood was spent in Barrhead with my mum, dad and my older brother David. I went to Cross Arthurlie Primary School then onto Barrhead High till I left when I was 16. I was very fortunate to do quite a bit of travelling with my family. When I was 5 I spent a year living in Kingston, New York in America. Although I don’t remember much about my time there, I do recall the amazing snow during the winter and I have a very vivid memory of being lifted out of my bed, put in the boot of my parent’s estate car in my nightie where my brother and I slept in sleeping bags whilst they drove over 1,000 miles down to Florida to take us to see Mickey Mouse for the very first time at Easter as a surprise. That was my first experience of Walt Disney World and I suppose that’s where my love for the wee mouse and his friends started. Disney has certainly changed from that very first visit all those years ago.
In 1981 the family were off on our travels again but this time to the Far East to Japan for 2 years. I lived in a beautiful modern house, with orange, lemon and lime trees growing in the garden. The house was in a little town called Motomachi in Yokohama. I attended Yokohama International School and let me tell you the walk up the very steep and windy path from my house to the school every morning was tough, even at the tender age 10. Pupils from countries all around the world attended the school and my best friend was from Belgium. I played hockey and took ballet classes and even learned Judo. I loved my life in Japan and one day, perhaps when I retire, I would love to return. I know my house and school are still there. Whilst travelling I visited places like Hawaii, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon and Thailand to name a few.
In late 1993 I started ‘dating’ (oh that’s such an old term) one of my brother’s best friends, Andrew. He quickly became my sole mate and we were engaged on New Year’s Day 1994. I found my ‘happily ever after’ on 10th June 1995 when I became Mrs Grant. This was one of the most wonderful and happiest days of my life! This year we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, unfortunately in lockdown and we will no doubt have pizza for dinner, but I can’t believe how quickly the years have gone by. 1999 saw the arrival of Stuart, with my wee miracle Ben making an appearance in 2005. We have lived in the same house in Newton Mearns for over 23 years. My family are my biggest achievement and make me extremely proud every single day. I often take a quiet moment during the hustle and bustle of our busy family life and think to myself ‘how did I get so lucky’. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am or be where I am today without their constant love and support. They are my rocks.
I love my holidays and like some of my Cartmill colleagues share their passion for Disney. I was due to visit Mickey and his Friends this summer, but have postponed it till next year. Although I am hugely disappointed, I have to stay safe and healthy. A certain someone’s ‘special’ birthday will add to the celebrations next year…..ooops I’ve said too much! Holidays are special and as my sons get older, I treasure every moment of having family time, playing board games, movie nights, being silly. Time is so precious. Make memories.
I absolutely love my job and working at Cartmill but I do lead a very busy life outwith the Centre. I am a Beaver Scout Leader and currently run 2 Beaver Colonies for a local Scout Group as well as studying for my SVQ Level 6 in Playwork qualification and one day I hope to continue my studies to become a CDO.
I am a ‘swimming mum’ which involves taking Ben to very early morning and evening training sessions 5 times a week as well as supporting him at competitions. Those early mornings getting up at 4.30am are hard but are worth the sacrifice to see him train and compete. If you ever see me in the playrooms and I look like I’m half asleep, come and give me nudge!
I enjoy baking, cake decorating, singing and have done amateur dramatics for over 30 years, including playing a knife in Beauty and the Beast! I love music especially musicals, Les Misérables is my favourite stage production with Michael Ball and Alfie Boe being my favourite performers.
I love my dogs and I train specialist assistant dogs for people with physical disabilities (someone in a wheelchair). I am a volunteer ‘Puppy Parent’ for a charity called Canine Partners. A puppy parent is someone who looks after a puppy from 7 weeks old and teaches them basic commands like sit, down, wait and socialises them in places like supermarkets, restaurants, buses, trains. At around 14 months the puppy leaves the puppy parent to go to advanced training where it will learn how to open doors, empty washing machines, tug clothes off and get help in an emergency, to name a few. These dogs can do around 300 every days tasks. I have puppy parented 6 puppies since 2012. I have had Ocean, Hazel, Ezra, Tamia, Max and currently have Ambrose.
Being in lockdown is hard and we are all doing amazing and I’m so proud of all the Cartmill children for being so patient during these tough times. Whilst supporting my colleagues by working in the Hub and completing several online courses from home, for me, staying at home has made me slow down enjoying family meals every day, going out for walks, playing games or just sitting round the table talking. Please stay safe and healthy and hopefully I will see you again very soon.