Shelley is one very special friend, a person I trust with my worldly secrets and plans, many of which were chatted about with her over the past few years over a good strong cuppa and a slice of cake. Cake was always a must with Shelley around, she’s always been a girl after my own heart.
Scribble scribble scribble… Anyone fancy making a busy ceremony writer a cup of tea? I’m gasping over here…
It’s in fact been an extremely hard and very upsetting end to 2012 with the dreadful news that my good friend has been taken away from us earlier than she should have been, at just 30 years of age, Shelley passed away in a car accident just before Xmas and left so many broken hearts I couldn’t even dream to think how many. She was a kind, generous and extremely loving friend and she is going to be stupidly missed moving forward.
I spent my Xmas feeling not only extremely sad by the news, but also very lucky to be alive and healthy, not wanting to sound morbid, as if I sit around feeling sorry for myself she would be having serious words with me for doing so. She helped you to pick yourself up quickly, whether you intended that to be the case or not.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I felt I wanted to say my goodbyes to Shelley with a blog post dedicated to her and to thank her for her support and friendship not only from day one with The Secluded Tea Party, but with my own personal life too.
Shelley would probably tell me off for giving her so much love in this blog post, telling me she hadn’t done much and be as modest as she always was, but she more than deserves to be remembered and read about in days/months/years to come and for her own work to be enjoyed as we have enjoyed reading and hearing about it over the last few years as her friends and family. Her blog was her love and her work had a smile in everything she did.
I feel weird talking about her in the past or in the present, not wanting her to be lost in my thoughts at all, although I feel that will never happen, she simply couldn’t be lost.
I have such lovely memories of Shelley, as she had of many other events herself, they are all memories and photographs that I will treasure for the rest of my own life and smile every time I think of her and her advice and smiley attitude towards any crap that came our way. She was always the voice of reason, always knew how to make you feel better on a down day and damn it, she was always right. Always.
Such a wise girl!
Shelley Prowse-Davis, fondly known as @indycelebrant or @LifeCircle_SPD more recently through Twitter. She always did like a good re-vamp, either helping me in depth over a good strong cup of tea after work, curled up inside away from the cold and dark, she was a fantastic brainstorming partner in crime. She would often Tweet me and ask me how things were going, if it was a particularly bad day or an indecisive day both in business or in my home life, she was there at the end of the phone or email to help me out with her straight forward way of thinking things out.
Actually, you know what? Forget the wine – a cup of tea is just what I need.
Shelley helped me with proof reading and blog posts, both in style as well as spelling, etc. She actually helped my website to read how it reads to this day. I am currently re-writing parts of it and she isn’t here to tell me what works and what doesn’t and it really upsets me knowing she won’t be there and we won’t be able to be there for her in return. It makes me realise how much we can take each other for granted in that way and makes me never want to reschedule a catch up with a good friend again, we had planned to reschedule our last cuppa back in October and I can’t tell her how much I regret that we didn’t arrange it sooner.
I first met Shelley when she came to my first Secluded Tea Party, hosted at Cambridge Cookery School.
Shelley had been following me on Twitter and had decided that I was right up her street to fulfil her love of afternoon tea , bringing the lovely Maria (aka Feisty Tapas) with her for a jolly good afternoon out.
From there, Maria and Shelley both became part of my life on a regular basis, having them visit my tea party table regularly, together and separately as well as coming to mine for a brew from time to time.
Astounded by the Dr on the BBC this morning. Coeliac is more than just a ‘wheat intolerance’!
Shelley always loved the idea of bringing her lovely partner, Leah, along but as she had Gluten Free needs, she hadn’t brought her along until I insisted that she did. Queue the most stressful week of prep for the lovely Leah hehe, making sure I didn’t make her unwell from wheat products was a silly worry of mine, but one that meant that Shelley could share her love of tea with her. I wouldn’t have had it any other way and as a result, I got to meet Leah on several occasions and not leaving her out of our passions, it was what I admired most about Shelley. She never let Leah be forgotten, even when cake was involved : )
Shelley would visit afternoon tea venues with me when I was reviewing for my blog or for my recommendation column. One hilarious afternoon we spent together was at Hotel Felix in Cambridge, where we had decided a chat about future collaboration plans in their garden would be a superb idea for afternoon tea. In THEORY it was a great idea as it was mid summer 2011, however the reality of wasps dive bombing our jam and clotted cream proved too stressful and we agreed to take it inside and sweat buckets in their conservatory whilst we chuckled to ourselves. In fact, it’s a venue that never made my good books due to the afternoon tea not being that great on the day, of which Shelley would nod in disappointed agreement to today reading this. What made it an extremely memorable day to this day was that she shared the tier with me and helped me troop on regardless (always a hard job eating afternoon tea haha ; ) with her eating the things I didn’t fancy and vice versa. We were a reviewing team match made in afternoon tea heaven!
She was great fun, not only over a silly hour or two such as this, but a girl with ideas and ambition to admire. She was becoming very successful in her new calling when I first met her, as a non religious celebrant, she was always beaming from ear to ear about the latest happy couple she had met and agreed to help with their ceremony.
Shelley had a knack of making anybody with an unusual request when it came to their wedding ceremony feel as though they were the most important people in the world, even being involved in a Doctor Who wedding, she loved the bizarre and unique side to marriage and it shone through. It got us chatting one day about teaming up to offer Afternoon Tea Catering alongside her more civilised ceremonies, but alas, it hadn’t quite reached the finishing stages, which is a real shame as I know we would have had a ball working alongside each other to make her clients have the day of their dreams.
In fact, I recently got engaged myself, over Xmas to be precise and Shelley would have been amongst the first people to tell the exciting news to. It will be a low key affair, close friends and family only, a very unique and fun day, one to make her proud. She would have been my saving grace when it comes to plotting the day itself and she would have been the perfect advisor when it comes to making it our own. I will miss her for this alone and she will be a part of the day when it comes, no matter where or what the day may be.
Her blog advice will be read and re-read to keep me sane as I get closer to my big day.
She was there for my live Radio Tea Party with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, getting into the spirit of it before, during and after the event, she helped that event to be so much fun and she stayed and helped me clear away afterwards, against my wishes, as always. She was a bugger for that, but it was always an argument I would lose, so took her help as we nattered and caught up over dirty teacups and folding table linen.
Shelley was also very much into listening to food podcasts and had been listening to the lovely Anne at Eat feed for years. Anne was a new friend to me at the time of my first ever Blogfest (A blogging event that will be returning, I promise) and Shelley had Tweeted about her being star struck that her favourite American podcaster was here… in the SAME ROOM as us… How could this happen?! She was so stupidly excited, it was like as if David Bowie was in the room with ME… it was the same excitement and genuine eagerness to meet her podcasting idol in the flesh. Anne has become a very good friend to me since this too and she has moved to the UK in the last few weeks, Shelley would have been so thrilled to have joined us for more tea and cake eating, she really would.
She had even started to podcast for her wedding blogs in the last few months, one of which she recorded with me at the end of this summer. I am truly gutted that I will never hear the finished result, as we had such a great time chatting about afternoon tea and weddings.
Oh yes! the EatFeed lady is here!
Shelley was also an avid reader and writer and had a fountain of knowledge when it came to self-publishing and gaining confidence through writing. She was a lifesaver last year when asked to help a friend of mine, Ruthie at The Art Salon in Cambridge when she was let down by a speaker at her Writer’s Retreat. Shelley joined the lovely Tim Hayward, both of them as a favour to me, where they both spoke to us all at the retreat individually on their experiences and thoughts towards writing. I think this was her first experience of public speaking on her passions for this subject and she was in her element, helping to inspire everybody in that room, she was a natural speaker and educator, I have pages of notes from that day, which I still use for inspiration today.
Morning all! Got asked last night to give a talk to a group of writers about the alternative ways to get your work out there.So Excited!
Needless to say, Shelley, you are going to be sorely missed.
I didn’t expect this post to be so long, I’ve just written about my memories and want to make it known how much I will miss your company. But I promise, I will be staying in touch with Miss Feisty Tapas and the lovely Leah, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have met these other wonderful ladies and my life would have been just that little less exciting as a result. Life really is too short, scarily so and I don’t want any more regrets, although I’m sure there will always be a few I can’t do anything about, I will try to not let it happen.
A note from Leah, which I am hoping she won't mind me sharing, as I am sure this may reach the people who knew Shelley more than I can do via email:
There will be a celebration of Shelleys life at 1pm on the 10th Jan 2013 at the Sawston Free Church. Together we will remember all of the things that we love about her - her humour, love, compassion, intelligence and spirit. To help share these aspects of her personality, please bring a few photos if you have some as there will be a memory board at the church for people to add to, with cards for people to share stories, memories etc of Shelley. There will be tea (of course) afterwards, it would be lovely if everyone could bring a plate of something yummy to share with everyone. There is a good pub opposite the church for a swift half afterwards. Flowers from family only please, with any kind donations to go to Greenbelt Festivals. With regards to dress, Shelley would want everyone to be warm and comfy, so if your warmest cardie is red, then wear red. Please send this email on to whoever knew Shelley, all are welcome. The cremation itself is family only, so we will see you all at the church.
Gluten Free cake will be made, Shelley wouldn't have had it any other way for her fabulous Mrs and it's the least I can do to ensure that for her.
Lots of love,
Miss Sue Flay
(She never would call me Jo : )
Just some of Shelley’s fantastic blog posts that you may enjoy reading too: