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I'm not really sure how to start this post but feel it's necessary as I've received many kind words from  so many readers. Thank you xx You see, my mum passed away on 2nd July. It was unexpected and I'm absolutely devastated.

Long time followers will remember her from the blog. She loved doing a spot of modelling and considered this space to be as much hers as mine. Mum's last appearance (here) was in fact a couple of weeks after she had, had a mastectomy back in December.

Looked pretty good didn't she.

But that was Mum. Always immaculately turned out, and I mean, always. There was never a slobby Sunday or can't be bothered Monday. In fact, she was up and out of the hospital bed a few hours after her op, fully made up, matching earrings and necklace ready to go home.

Mum had breast cancer 28 years ago, fought it courageously, never complained and got on with her life, giving the disease no room to breath. It skulked away beaten.

At 71 she was fit and healthy, loved a bit of Zumba, walking with her friends and generally living a full and active life. She was told late last year that she had breast cancer again - that was a blow for all of us. We chose not to share this on the blog. I planned a big come back post. Hey, look at Mum, she's back. But sadly it wasn't to be and on Saturday morning, 2nd July, Mum passed away (unexpectedly) in hospital, surrounded by her loved ones, on what was my parents Golden Wedding anniversary. We truly believe she held on, Dad would have felt cheated had they not made that milestone.

Of course Mum was the life and soul of every party. She knew everyone and a trip to the shops for a loaf of bread could take upward of 2 hours as she stopped to talk to this person and that. She had the most incredible memory for names and faces. Mum loved a tipple, it was a standing joke that 30 years ago she met up with her best friends in the pub one Tuesday night to talk about keeping fit. Of course 30 years later, they still met up in the pub on a Tuesday night....to talk about keeping fit.

She never stopped from morning to night, keeping a beautiful home that Dad built for her, visiting friends and of course shopping. Oh she loved to shop. Her dressing room is crammed full of clothes all beautifully laundered with matching jewellery swinging from the back of the door. Poor Dad had a couple of cupboards for his stuff! I did her colours for her many years ago and she never once deviated from her palette. A truly wonderful disciple she was.

We introduced her to Facebook and suddenly the world was her oyster. She bought herself an iPad and would happily sit and stalk my friends, telling me what they've been up to. That was funny. Mind you, she had online shopping off to a tee and quite happily browsed eBay for the latest fishing reel that Dad decided he couldn't live without. And let's not even talk about her iPhone, an extension of her right hand.

Her crowning glory was her hair, it never looked out of place. Never! People would often comment on how lovely it was. I thought she would struggle when she lost it through the chemo. But she didn't complain once. She chose a wig, it was pretty good actually, but boy did it itch and was relegated for special occasions only.

Mum spent her last 7 weeks in hospital. Complications they said, even the doctors were scratching their head and no one is still sure what caused them. Bodies are complicated things aren't they? The care she received on Ward 3 of Weston Park Cancer Hospital in Sheffield was incredible. Special people those nurses - they hang their wings up in the staff room when they arrive for work.

And then she was transferred to the Critical Care Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. The tenderness of her nurses, Emily and Martin was humbling.

Mum's funeral was a celebration of her life. She wouldn't have wanted a somber occasion. As we drove towards the chapel, we could see the line of people snaking around the building and beyond. Just wow. So many, paying their respects to MY MUM. Flashes of pink, her favourite colour from pocket squares to ties to shawls and jewellery. It really was a lovely sight. I chose a pale pink dress - she always said I don't wear enough colour. I think she would have approved.

I haven't talked about how caring Mum was. It's only now almost two weeks later that I've finally been able to make sense of what people have told me. Yes of course as a family, we all knew she was kind and selfless. But when you find out what she actually did for others in their own hours of need, it kind of blows you away.

And so all I need to say to this incredible woman is Happy Birthday Mum, you would have been 72 today. I'm so proud to be called your daughter.


Taking A Break xx

Forgive my absence, it's been a difficult week after losing my beautiful mum on Saturday. Thank you so much for all your kind wishes. I'm taking a break from the blog for a while to spend time with my family.