A very special celebration…

A very special celebration…

Happy birthday to my lovely Nan. She’s 95 and is the most wonderfully loving and compassionate person, with a big personality to match! Quite simply, she’s an inspiration!

Celebrating my Nan's 95th Birthday

 I’ve always seen Nan as my third parent. She was there every step of the way when I was growing up and I feel truly honoured and blessed to have had her this long as I know many people who lost their grandparents long ago. I know I’ve had her for 37 years but it will never be enough and I want her forever!

 We worked out yesterday that my Nan lost my Pops 30 years ago, meaning she’s been on her own now for three decades. Family is all important to her, and she does everything for us, giving up a huge amount over the years to support all our generations. When Mum found herself on her own 28 years back, Nan gave up her life and job to move nearer. She was always there, for family holidays, every milestone and celebration – and of course for Sunday lunch each week! She’s been Mum’s rock and best friend for all these years.

 Last year our family was rocked when this amazing strong woman became poorly. Things were so bad she had to go into respite care – my suggestion of having her stay with me in our town house was quickly squashed because she couldn’t climb the stairs. It devastated me sending her to a home, but I quickly realised it was the best option for her at the time.

 I visited her every day and the longer she was there the more I felt I lost her. She was becoming depressed and wanted to go home. We found some careers so we could settle her back into her own flat, but the nursing staff – who had of course grown to love her too – begged me not to take her home, but it was about what she wanted, not us. Even if it meant the end, Nan so deserved to be happy.

 Well all I can say is ‘wow’, because, ever strong-willed and determined, Nan fought against the odds and came back to us in body and mind! And last weekend we celebrated her 95th birthday in style.

 The party was an excuse for me to get creative of course. I made her a knitted cake topper which she adored and got her business head on straight away saying I should sell them. The idea has crossed my mind too but they’d have to come with a safety warning as I was terrified they were going to catch fire. I was very eager for her to blow the candles out before my house went up in flames! 

95th Birthday Cake TopperKnitted numbers birthday cake topper


I bought Nan a beautiful handmade badge from Emma Giacalone who I met at Holly Tucker’s Congregation of Imagination event on Friday. The colours of the badge spoke to me as they were similar to those of the suffragettes and I feel like my nan is a fighter through and through, as those amazing pioneering women were. I did plan on making my own badge, one of my mini hoop rosettes, but Emma’s work is so gorgeous and us small, creative businesses need to support each other after all! 

95th Birthday BadgeEmma Giacalone badge


I bought lots of balloons from my local pound shop (everyone who knows me knows I love a pound shop!) and I went nuts with the decorations creating a balloon garland. It was surprising easy. I blew up the balloons (using my pound shop balloon pump!) in different sizes and then strung them together using some nylon thread which I stitched through the end of the balloons. 

Balloon banner for a 95th birthday partyDIY Balloon banner


Lastly I wanted to make my Nan something special, so I made her a photo album. I bought the album and made my own cover using felt. I embroidered her name and added knitted details to the spine and a tassel, all in my Nans favourite colours. I then filled the album with photos from when my Nan was a child up until now. It made her cry so I knew it was the perfect gift for her. 

Personalised photo albumHandmade photo album for a 95th birthdayPersonalised photo gift for grandmother


She was also adorned with lots of hand-made cards from her great grandsons which she loved more than if I’d given her a winning lottery ticket. 

95th Birthday celebrations


So, here’s to you Nan. The most amazing woman I know, who also created another equally amazing woman (my mum). Thank you for everything. I can only aspire to be as loving, intelligent and witty as you in my 30s, let alone my ninth decade – and I’m already planning your 100th birthday party!

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Just beautiful, on all counts! What a family to promote WOMEN so well<3

sandra carpenter

Wow Shell, I’m so proud of you, what a incredible blog. Yes, your Nan is a amazing woman and you are a amazing grand-daughter and daughter. xxx


Oh, brilliant Michelle. You made me laugh and cry with that one.
Your nan is a true star xxxx


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