Help, my mind is going to explode.

Oh my goodness it’s official my head is going to explode this week has been both physically and mentally exhausting and it’s not over yet. 

I really need to find ways to relax and quiet my mind because right now it’s running in messy mode.

I’m not sure if it’s just being a mom but I’m so tired of being expected to have all the answers. It’s as if I must be the encyclopaedia of life, the walking diary and literally the fountain of all knowledge. 

I’m actually at the end of any level of patience I had. 

Is it a mom, a wife thing, where we automatically assume the role of social secretary, diary planner and of course filler of all paperwork or is it that I’ve just created a living nightmare for myself. 

Take my husband for example he sees the passing on of a message to me the end of the subject. I will either note it in the diary, return the call or sort the situation out. The fact that he probably knew the answer at the time of the question is not lost on me just that he never seems to think about answering the question himself. Never thinks about opening the family diary arrahh.

I’m just so so tired, I do not have all the answers and I certainly cannot be all things to all people.

What I would give for a nice day of relaxation. A spa day with deep massage and complete pampering.

A day where my mind can be my own, anyway that so isn’t going to happen so I’m turning to you all. I need ideas on how to get my mind some peace. Techniques to reduce my anxiety and find some calm. 

We did join in on World Book Day

It was so lovely to see the country celebrating World Book Day last week. It was such fun seeing all the outfits and the imagination that the day brought about. My little one isn’t at school yet so we actually didn’t dress up but I’m sure if he had been given a choice he would have gone for his favourite The Gruffalo.

Still we did join in with the day by doing our favourite thing. We read stories. My little one loves nothing more that to be snuggled up on my lap reading story after story. It’s such a special time for us both and certainly is building up the close bond between us.

These were our reading material for World Book day. We had such fun reading these from the Scholastic World Book Day 2017 range


I think the Scarcrows wedding was a big hit for my little man as it’s by his favourite authors but I loved the Peter Rabbit one as it reminds me of those I’ve read to his sisters in the past. 

Writing this I’ve realised that next year little one will be at nursery so maybe it’s time to start planning that World Book Day 2018 outfit now.

No pressure 😳

*A big thank you to Scholastic for these books, we certainly loved them. 

If it’s reading inspiration you’re looking for, Scholastic’s bumper World Book Day Book Club is ready and waiting for you to discover it. Packed with exciting reads from kids’ favourites – like Wimpy Kid, David Walliams, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – at pocket-money-friendly prices, and positively bursting with new releases, film tie-ins and home learning activities, the only problem will be choosing what they should spend their £1 World Book Day tokens on. World Book Day tokens can be redeemed online up until 5th May, and every order over £10 will earn the school or nursery of your choice 20% back in free books – so you can spread the joy of reading on World Book Day and all year-round.

#BeBoldForChange – International Women’s Day

Today is International women’s day, a day where we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. But also a day which marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

This years theme is #BeBoldForChange. A challenge for all to take a bold step towards achieving gender parity.

Being a mom to four girls it was obvious from an early age that it would be a fight to get them to not fall into a stereotypical box labelled “roles for woman.” That from school sports to toy adverts everything seemed to try and define them from an early age. 

I didn’t want this for them I wanted them to know that with hard work and determination anything was possible. That gender roles were a creation of society, not a must be. That being a woman is wonderful thing but should never be the reason to allow the world to treat you unequally.  

It’s far from easy being a woman in today’s society, whilst the barriers are falling they are taking their time. Woman are taking some of the top jobs in this country we only have to look at our current prime minister yet many woman are still having to make sacrifices that men would never consider.

Have you ever asked a man if he wants a “career or a family?” Probably not because for men the two are not mutually exclusive. Yet for a woman they often are.  

#BeBoldForChange. 

I want my daughters to be bold in all they do. To reach for their dreams, to become who they wish to be, not what society tries to conform them too.

I want a world where violence and sexual assault is never about what the girl wore or how much she drank.

A world where who they love is not judged. Where love is love regardless of sexuality.

I want my children to grow up in a world where every girl has the right to an education. 

A world where no man ever has the right to beat his wife and marriage is about love not ownership.

A world where no girl is at risk of Female genital mutilation for the illusion of purity. 


A world of equal pay and equal respect.


A world with no gender bias. 

It’s quite symbolic that a 100 years on we are still in need of an International Women’s Day it actually speaks volumes. 

That it is definitely time to #BeBoldForChange

I hope and pray that in less than a 100 years time women will be able to look back and see what we have achieved whilst living in a world of gender equality. Where gender parity is a given and a world where all are treated equal with respect and dignity regardless of their gender. 

Until that day 
#BeBoldForChange

Dear Brodie – Sweet Sixteen

Dear Brodie

When you entered the world our family was in chaotic place. Your sister was regressing and everything seems crazy. From the moment you were born you became our calmness. That’s not to say you were quiet far from it but you had a way about you that made everyone feel at peace. Especially your big sister Livvy who at only 22 months older than you became your best friend, each one another’s shadow.
You were such a little dot, with eyes so blue you could almost swim in them and the cutest dimples ever seen. Whilst you may have been tiny your personality was larger than life. Not loud or boisterous just so determined. This determination was especially apparent when it came to caring for your sister. You became her voice making sure everyone knew what she wanted or needed but most importantly that everyone acknowledged her. I remember you vividly telling a room of mom’s that they shouldn’t talk over your sister but should talk to her, I think you were four maybe five. Never was anyone going to ignore your sister, not on your watch.
I have loved watching you grow, your kind heart and your compassion is in everything you do. I remember how school completely overwhelmed you, how you just didn’t understand how people could be mean to each other, how seeing someone sad broke your heart. The times you came out of school in tears and I would worry about what had happened to you and you would reply ” not me mom” just that someone else had been sad or there had been an argument and your empathy for them had caused your tears.
You were such a protector, you still are, from the friends in your class to your siblings you have protected them and defended them in all that you do. From educating people on disability to staring down rude people who were looking at your sister or brothers as if they were weird. Nothing is ever too much for those you love. Even your bigger sisters were under your watch, I remember you threatening to strangle your sisters ex boyfriend for “hurting her heart”.
You are my wise owl, your clarity and judgement is just simply based in love.
No ego just endless compassion.
How I love you my baby girl ( yes you will always be my baby). How your singing drives me insane but it’s the first thing I miss when you are not here. How your playful nature and your dopiness has brought us the greatest of laughs.
You have so much energy, at times I have prayed for an off switch from the Super Brodie days to the stroppy teenage ones your endless enthusiasm for life is contagious.
I actually cannot believe you are 16 today, my baby girl who refused to wear trousers is now sweet sixteen. I know every mother thinks their child is special but you my wise owl so are.
Never lose your trusting heart, never stop reaching out with your kind heart. Never stop getting cross at the injustice in this world and never never forget how incredible you are.
I love you my sweet dimples, every single piece of you. You make me so proud to call you my daughter.
I hope you have a fantastic birthday spending as you asked with your family and friends and with plenty of your favourite thing in the whole world FOOD.
Happy sweet sixteen to the kindest, sweetest girl I know. I love you Brodie Lea xx

To important for bias.

Have you ever wondered how you view life?

How we each have our own unique way we understand, commute things.

How our own life’s experiences relate to our understanding.

I was once told by a detective that there is nothing more confusing than eye witnesses. How five people could watch the same event unfold yet describe it back in extremely different ways.  How bias and expectation could change how they saw things.

I’m seeing this greatly today in the current political sphere especially around the subject of the NHS.

How people who have never had to use the Health service or only once in a blue moon are falling for the Conservative facade of a failing system.

I’m so tired of reading that more money won’t save a failing system or the biggest myth that doctors are asking for unfair contracts.

That privatisation is the only way to save our healthcare.

Bullshit and lies.

On July 5th 1948  Aneurin Bevan launched the first NHS hospital, his philosophy was simple. A service paid for by the people through taxation but all healthcare given freely at the point of delivery. The cost through taxation was to be fair as people would pay according to their means.

It was and still is one of the greatest achievements of any government here in the U.K. The NHS saves lives every single minute of every day. The Doctors and nurses work tirelessly and are often under appreciated for the wellbeing of everyone.

When a patient turns up on a surgeons table, he doesn’t stop to ask before he makes his incision to check the man can afford his fee, the surgery costs. No he works hard to save or to give a better quality of life.

The midwife preparing to deliver a baby doesn’t check the financial wellbeing of the mother. No she is too busy checking the physical wellbeing of the child and the mother.

A life is a life, one is not valued above the other and that’s the way healthcare should be and should stay. One for all, free at the point of delivery.

Let me tell you about my experience of the NHS. I was actually one of those people that moaned about waiting lists, moaned about crowded GP Surgeries. I was healthy, my children were healthy it was easy to moan from position of healthy privilege.  Then suddenly my world changed. My beautiful daughter became a regular visitor on the children’s ward. Nurses started to become my friends and Doctors became literally her life savers.

The NHS started to extend into my home, prescriptions, medical equipment, Physio things needed to help keep my daughter well, help keep my daughter alive.

Not once before an emergency seizure medication was given was I asked for my bank details. Not once did they turn around and say “I’m sorry you cannot afford this”.

Because guess what, I wouldn’t have been able to.

Already this year Doctors and nurses have saved the life of my son. They worked through the night, standing by his side. Oxygen, high dependency machines.  The NHS continues to work to keep him well, only today did our wonderful community nurse come to take bloods and swaps.

Our NHS is something that here in the U.K. we should be extremely proud of. Privatisation doesn’t work, I only have to look to other counties for evidence of this. Insurance companies refusing to pay for treatment, disabled children going without equipment, because rules have changed and what was once entitled is no longer considered necessary.

Privatisation works for those that can afford it. It’s as simple as that.

Our NHS is not dying it is slowly being strangled by those that wish to exploit the system for their own personal gain.

Those that do not care about people just pound signs.

I’m tired of seeing photographs and reading stories of people being left in corridors in hospitals waiting for treatment.

Does this happen?

You Bet.

But it is not because a system is failing but because a government will not fairly fund the system. We are not running out of beds because they are all taken up by asylum seekers, there are beds. Wards and wards are being left empty simply because the government will not fund the staff needed to keep them open.

This is the truth, the government are risking lives for no other reason than to force a public service into privatisation. So that the services can be slowly deemed as failing and the only option left is for the white knight of a private company to come in an save it. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.  No private company can offer a service without a profit its as simple as that and profit always has and always will come at someone’s cost.

Our cost, the millions of people who work day after day to make ends meet. Who though no fault of their own find themselves in need of treatment.

Our NHS has probably been there for most of our lifetimes. It was there when we were born, when our children were born. When we have needed it.

Now it needs us.

It needs us to drop our biases and work together to save it.

It needs all of us to realise that one day we may need to use the NHS to save our lives and to fight now to make sure when that day arrives it is still there to do so.

Doctors, nurses, medical staff all need to know that we stand beside them. That we are not falling for the right wing media hype that the crisis is their fault, mismanagement, lack of compassion, egoistic junior doctors.

We need to stand together to fight against the lies that the NHS is dying and fight to save it and restore it.

 

10 Ways To Support Your NHS from the NHS Support Federation 

1. Sign the NHS supporters’ pledge
If you haven’t already done so, please sign our petition – and encourage your friends and family to as well.

 

2. Lobby your parliamentary candidates
Contact your MP and other parliamentary candidates. Give them key information and ask them what they are doing about it. MPs use the content of their mailbag as an indicator of what the public care about. Sending them a letter takes a few minutes using our platform, or you could make an appointment to see them. Alternatively use our lobbying tool.

 

3. Follow us on Twitter and help spread the word
Retweet links to reports and infographics. This is a good way of highlighting key facts on funding or privatisation and getting others involved in doing the same. start a ripple and watch it spread. Join in with mass tweets where NHS supporters collaborate to promote a single message.

 

4. Join a local campaign group
See if there is a local NHS campaign group in your area, to join and help protect local NHS services.

 

5. Help as volunteer researcher
You may have just the skills we need to gather and analyse information. Contact us if you have some time to help us with internet or desk research, james@nhscampaign.org
6. Distribute campaign materials in your neighbourhood
Print off a supply of campaign flyers and post them around your neighbourhood. If you feel like talking to people, then ring or knock before you leave the flyer. Some NHS supporters set up stalls in their local shopping centre or railway station to talk to residents and collect support. Try and encourage people to visit this website, find out more and to sign the NHS pledge.
7. Distribute our campaign materials at work
Email links to the facts and NHS news that stand out the most to your friends and wider networks, it will help to get their attention focussed on what’s happening and why. In a more traditional way, feel free to print off pages from our website to copy and circulate them.
8. Write your local paper or take part in a radio phone-in
The letters page is one of the best read parts of the paper so can help to let local people know what is happening to their NHS. Use the briefings and key statistics to help you. Don’t just shout at the radio, why not phone in them and give them some of the facts.
9. Ask your trade union branch to affiliate
If you’re a member of a trade union, encourage your local branch to affiliate to our campaign.
10. Donate to our campaign
We rely on the help and generosity of NHS supporters to run campaigns and organise research. We are an evidence based campaign, so your donation will help to establish what’s happening and to get it into the media and then to the public.
Setting up a direct debit is particularly helpful as this can help us to plan, research, and coordinate our campaigns more effectively in the longer term. However, one-off donations are also gratefully received and used  to protect the core principles of the NHS.

We cannot stay silent anymore, we need to be asking questions of this government, demanding that they protect our NHS. If we don’t speak up now it will NOT be there when we need it.

 

 

 

A wonderful resource 

Having a child with complex needs means I often get to spend more time that I would like in hospital. In fact over the years my local hospital has felt more like home than my actual one. Livvy spend weeks at a time causing chaos on the children ward. I have some incredible memories of my time on ward some which are painful but others full of laughter. We were so lucky to be surrounded by first class paediatricians and nurses and not forgetting the support workers. They all made what was often some of the scariest times of life less fearful. 

Medicines and treatment are only one part of the solution when it comes to getting children well. They need a holistic environment that relaxes and reassures them allowing them to heal. 

This Is why I was so happy to be at yesterdays official opening of the new Paediatric sensory room on Ward 21 at the Walsall Manor Hospital by the Deputy Mayor.

I actually didn’t spend anytime on ward 21 with Livvy, she didn’t hang around long enough to visit on the new children’s wards. But the old Canterbury Ward was a place we spend many a week. A place where my youngest Brodie spend many a hour in the playroom whilst the nurses cared for her sister. She spend hours being occupied by the wonderful play support staff whose passion for the children they support is evident in all that they do.

Conversations spoken 15 years ago of wishes for a fully functioning sensory room today got to come true and I honestly don’t think you could have seen happier staff than those there today. Such well deserved pride.

The sensory room is perfect it’s going to be a place where children can relax and recover. A place where children with extra needs or not can escape the confines of the ward to a little place of harmony. Healing the soul as the doctors heal the body. 

I can personally attest to this as thanks to my visit on ward with my little man a few weeks ago we got to experience first hand what a wonderful resource this sensory room will be. He absolutely loved it. What’s even more special is the fact that the ward now also have a portable sensory unit which means that this resource can be brought to the beds of those that cannot visit the room. Those hooked up to machines or oxygen, they too can have a sensory experience at their bedside.

At the opening yesterday I was joined by a family that have walked life’s journey with me. A family who I met actually on the old children’s ward, a family who have become my family. Livvy and their handsome Ryan met on the children wards over 13 years ago and became the closest of friends. We share so many memories of them together, memories that light up our lives and fill us with joy when we recap on them. They simply were double trouble, but both of them were such great gifts to our lives. 

It was so lovely to be there yesterday and imagine our two in that room. Climbing over the equipment, loving all the lights. Both really benefitting from this amazing resource. Whilst it was nice to be lost in our memories for a while just watching the children play yesterday warmed our hearts. This sensory room is going to bring much joy to this current generation of children and hopefully many more. I know we will personally love using it if ever little man decides to visit again (please not for a while). It truly is a special place and well done to all those that tirelessly campaigned for such a resource and a massive thank you to all those that donated and fundraised towards it all.

Of course we don’t want to stop here, Walsall Paediatric unit still have a lot more that they would like in place to offer the most holistic environment for the poorly children that crosses their door. Their next wish is to revamp the waiting area in the paediatric assessment unit. A place where children are often unwell and frightened. The first point of course on their journey or stay. How incredible would in be to have a interactive waiting area that could occupy children as well as distracting their fear. I know this would be so amazing for both the children and their parents.

If you would like to support this next venture please get In touch with Georgie the fundraiser at Walsall Manor give her a call on 01922 656643 or email her @georgie.westley@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk let her know that this is the project you wish to support. Please tell her I sent you so that she knows where you heard about it. 

It is so hard when children are ill, unlike adults they don’t often understand why and what’s happening to them. This is why the environment they are treated in matters so much. This paediatric sensory room is going to be a wonderful resource in reducing this fear allowing children the space they need to aid their healing. So thank you Walsall Manor Paediatric unit for all you have done and for all you do in keeping our children well. 

A work in progress 

I often describe myself as a “work in progress “and I truly do believe that’s a good definition of who I am. Yet the other day someone said that by doing this I was putting myself down. 

Am I? 

You see as far as I am concerned I have a lot left in this life to learn. That’s not to say that I haven’t achieved a lot I certainly have, but there is so much out there left for me to absorb. 

I love the fact that the world is full of knowledge and life that I have yet to learn or experience. Places to visit, people to meet. Every one of these new moments crafting me into someone new. 

I cannot describe the joy I feel when my mind gets blown by something I never knew. By an emotion I have yet to feel. 

I absolutely love being a work in progress, it allows me scope to make mistakes and try again. 

Perfection is so overrated. 

You only have to look at the beauty of a broken jug to know that life is a celebration of imperfections.

I do not see the image of myself as a work in progress as a put down or a lack of confidence, far from it. I see it as an adventure, a adventure of a lifetime yet to live.

A story of moments, experiences and sensations.

I cannot wait.

Happy 35th Birthday Dear ZOO..

Walking back  again through the toddler years with my new little one has filled me with so many déjà vu moments.

Holding my little man in my arms I am transported back 15 years to when my girls were little enough see on my lap.

So many things have changed, yet still many are the same.

One thing that i’m really loving is the opportunity to read again some of my favourite children’s books. Books that my girls left behind as they grew older.

One extra special blessing is that now my big girls are enjoying rereading their favourites to their little brother.

 

One of those old favourites being enjoyed is the Rod Campbell lift the flap book Dear Zoo.

 

Can you believe that this wonderful book was first published in 1982, that makes it 35 years old, WOW.

To celebrate this special birthday Macmillan Children’s books have released this special edition with a beautiful shiny gold jacket and specially designed gift slipcase. The celebrations don’t just stop here though, Macmillan Children’s books have an exciting year planned to celebrate 35 years of Dear Zoo, including a live on stage version, an Easter treat at ZSL London Zoo. Find out more at http://www.dearzooandfriends.com

I am surprised at how long this book has been out but not by its success, my girls loved lifting the flaps and arguing over what they considered to be the best pet. My son gets rather cross when we send the lion back I think he would prefer to hold on to the lion, my eldest always wanted to keep the giraffe.

Happy Birthday Dear Zoo, thank you for 35 years of story time and here’s to many more years of enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I was gifted a copy of this book for this post, but my love for it is completely genuine and truthful.

#Earlymomentsmatter

Completing my degree in Therapeutic Childcare last really drove home the importance of a child early years. The impact early negative experiences could have on the whole of a child’s life. The need for awareness and support in this area is high and so much more needs to be done to protect our children. This is why I am truly happy today with share with you the UNICEF campaign #Earlymomentsmatter.


During the earliest years of life, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second – a once-in-a-lifetime speed. These connections contribute to children’s brain function and learning, and lay the foundation for their future health and happiness. A lack of nurturing care – which includes adequate nutrition, stimulation, love and protection from stress and violence – can impede the development of these critical connections. 

According to a recent series in The Lancet nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty. But the need for greater investment and action in early childhood development is not limited to low-income countries. Disadvantaged children living in middle- and high-income countries are also at risk. UNICEF estimates that millions more children are spending their formative years growing up in unstimulating and unsafe environments, putting their cognitive, social and emotional development at risk.

 

Investment in early childhood is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing the ability of all children to reach their full potential – increasing their ability to learn in school and, later, their earning capacity as adults. This is especially significant for children growing up in poverty. One 20-year study showed that disadvantaged children who participated in quality early childhood development programmes as toddlers went on to earn up to 25 per cent more as adults than their peers who did not receive the same support.

Early childhood development interventions, such as the Care for Child Development package that includes training community health workers to teach families about the importance of playing with their children in a way that stimulates healthy development can cost as little as 50 cents (USD) per capita per year, when combined with existing health services.

 

UNICEF is calling for governments to increase investments in early childhood, expand health and social services offered to young children, and strengthen support services for parents and caregivers.

My job as foster carer has brought me into contact with children whose early lives have left them for the want of a better word damaged. There whole personalities have been formed in environments of fear of neglect. They brains were hard wired in worlds that weren’t safe. It’s heartbreaking to watch a child who doesn’t know peace.

Here is the UK today is Valentine’s Day, let’s share the love and share this campaign. Let’s celebrate the love of our children and the worlds children and let’s support UNICEF in their campaign to protect our children.


1000 connections in the first 1000 days let’s make them positive ones.


#earlymomentsmatter

For a reason

It is said that people come into your life for reason. Some are to be lifetime friends, others for a fleeting moment but each and everyone of them have a purpose in your life. 

Never have I been as sure about this than over this last week. Walking through one of my life’s hardest times. I have been completely blessed by the people I have met on this journey. 

From a mom whose hand I held as we prayed to keep our boys off ventilation. Who cried in my arms when her son returned back from intensive care.

A family whose mother I want to adopt me, who kept me sane when my heart was in chaos. Who may not really know how I much appreciated the late night chats when the stillness was causing my anxiety to rise. 

The dear friends who have messaged me throughout and those who knew to give me space, you have all given me strength this week.

We still have a journey in front of us, but I am forever grateful for those that have walked with me for a moment and those that are always by my side. 

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