The poppy - a message of hope for caregivers and anyone else who wants a happier life

I found this poppy when I went out yesterday and decided to put what was going to be this week's blog post on hold for a week so I could share this instead.

There it was, growing on its own, in the middle of paving, where cars are often parked, when there hasn't been much rain lately.

It's not a subtle metaphor, is it?

What messages are you taking from it?

- The one about triumphing in the face of adversity? - The one about persevering?

- The one about the end results being worth the effort?

- The one about hope? Success? Bravery? Wonder?

E-mail me at with the subject “Poppies” with the key message that you take.

For me it was a mix. My first reaction was one of awe and admiration, and then slowly the others came to mind - bravery, hope, perseverance, success, triumph. And these reminded me of the amazing women I have the honour of working with. Women who have overcome an assortment of challenges while caring for loved ones, who have my absolute respect and who show what can be achieved.

And if the poppy can do it, and all those women can do it, so can you. Whatever challenges you are facing, there is evidence that you can overcome them - because you've overcome challenges before. What inner strengths have helped you before? How can they help now?

When my in-laws started to need care, I knew how to look after both them and myself – because I’d got it so wrong in the past, when my other half was signed off work with stress and my life was turned upside down too. These blog posts are mostly based on the things that helped me, the lessons I learnt the hard way and what I realise with the benefit of hindsight would have helped. I’ve collected some of the other key learning points and tips and made these available to download at

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