I was going to share a delicious chocolate cake recipe with you today but I can't switch my brain off from the recent terror attack in Manchester. I just can't fathom how someone can intentionally target an event full of children and young people. They had their whole lives in front of them yet due to the actions of those monsters they will never see the sun rise again, never feel loving arms around them and never experience life to it's fullest.
I grew up in Belfast during the Troubles and I saw first hand what terrorism can do. Yes, I understand that people are fighting for what they believe in but to do it in such a callous way that targets the innocent, well that is inexcusable.
How dare they decide that they will plant a bomb that will ruin lives and break the heart of the nation.
I sat at work yesterday and struggled to focus. Manchester is an hour away from Leeds - we have been there for concerts, for days out and to fly to far flung destinations. It's a running joke amongst Yorkshire people that those in Lancashire are from the wrong side of the Pennines but in reality it couldn't be further from the truth. Two cosmopolitan cities standing side by side with a glorious mountain range running in between. It's the north of England, slightly colder than the rest of the country but a place that you will be welcomed warmly with a hot brew.
As I scrolled through social media there were heartbroken pleas from families searching for their loved ones. One picture in particular caught my eye and it was that of Saffie Russos A few hours later it was announced that she was one of the victims. I was sat at my desk in work and it took all of my strength not to break down there and then.
She's 8 years old! She's a child who probably begged her parents for concert tickets. A little girl who was excited for a big trip in to the city to see her favourite singer but due to the act of a complete psychopath, her life was taken away from her on that fateful night.
There have been so many terror attacks over the past couple of years - London, Nice, Paris, Berlin and they are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. So many innocent lives lost or left with lasting mental and physical scars due to these extremists and their twisted views on reality.
I spent most of yesterday longing for it to be 4:30pm so I could finish work, pick Ethan up from nursery and cuddle him close. I want to protect him from the evil in this world but I can't. Instead all I can do is teach him love not war just like my parents did for my brothers and I growing up. We were distinctly aware that there were people who automatically disliked someone because of their faith but my parents always taught us to like people for who they are not what they are.
Last night Ethan woke at 9:30 unsettled and crying. I scooped him up, cuddled him close and lay in bed with him for an hour drinking in his features and thinking about all of those families in Manchester who will never get to see their loved ones again.
How can the world be so cruel? I know people always say that good will win over evil and it was heartwarming to see the people of Manchester rally together but it shouldn't have to be like this. No one should have to experience a terror attack whether they be a victim, a distraught mother looking for her child or the emergency services frantically trying to save as many lives as possible.
We can't let them win, we have to stop future attacks and if that means troops on streets then so be it. I would much rather see armed police and soldiers on patrol that have to see more heartbreak splashed across our media.
I saw this quote yesterday and it moved me. They may try to bring us down, but we will always help each other get back up again.
To those who lost a loved one in the Manchester attack or have been left seriously injured, I am truly sorry. May you find the strength to get through this.