In 2013 I became a carer for my father upon the sudden death of my mother. My father had suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was knocked down by a car in 2008. He subsequently had a minor stroke in 2014 and was then diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2018.
Becoming a carer has been a tough journey, but an unexpectedly rewarding one too. It has taught me a lot about what really matters and has significantly altered the way I look at life. It’s also made me passionate about the way we care for the most vulnerable in our society and the way we support (or often fail to support) those who do the caring.
I volunteer with the Aberdeenshire Carers Support Service and with Carers UK. I am also a member of Headway (the UK Brain Injuries Association) and active on Twitter, building my connections with carers and carer organisations across the world.
I’ve had what can best be described as a varied career. After a history degree at Glasgow University, I worked (amongst other things) as a town planner, interior design sales assistant, environmental education co-ordinator, tour guide, careers counsellor, student finance adviser and Christmas tree pruner.
Throughout this diverse employment written and verbal communication skills have been a common theme: talking, listening, interviewing and writing. Of all these skills, writing is certainly my favourite. When I began thinking of ways in which I could raise awareness about caring, it was to writing that I turned. Initially I wrote my own blog and this has developed into writing guest blog posts and articles for other organisations.
I’m keen to keep developing my writing and am currently half way through a distance learning Freelance Features Writing course with the London School of Journalism.
I lived in many different parts of Scotland before I returned to my childhood home here in Deeside in 2013. That gave me plenty of opportunities to explore the hills and landscapes across this beautiful country. The natural world has always been an indispensable part of my life. As a carer, I find it a wonderful place in which to switch off and tap into a different rhythm of life.
I am a volunteer Flora Guardian with the charity Plantlife Scotland, where I help to monitor rare wild plants as part of the Cairngorms Wild Plants Project. This work has given me a new appreciation for the natural world around me, as I learn to look at the small scale as well as the big vistas. From wildflowers to lichens and mosses, it’s opened up whole new micro world of flora to explore.
I’ve written for the Plantlife Scotland blog and helped out at some of their public events, aiming to communicate my love of plants to the wider publ