It's my life, but not as I knew it!

Archive for the ‘charity’ Category

Act With Kindness

The Fred Rogers’ quote “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping'” has been used often to try to help with recent global events. I know I have spoken to Biscuit and Cracker about this, in an attempt to stop them being so scared by the news images which have tragically become part of our everyday lives.

Rest assured, those helpers are always there; whether that’s our amazing emergency services, individual helpers who go over and above to help others or whole communities coming together to provide support/shelter/etc. Those helpers are there after terrorist incidents, natural disasters or events like the Grenfell House fire. They are both visible and working behind the scenes (let’s not forget our 999 call handlers who got Police to the London Bridge area in order to neutralise the terrorists within 8 minutes of the call to them). But can we all be helpers?

Of course we can. I don’t mean that we should all metaphorically don capes and throw ourselves in to potentially dangerous situations, but knowing that we can all help in our own way. We can be kind to people. We can treat them with respect. Rob and I are raising Biscuit and Cracker to be tolerant, to listen to other people’s views and to respect them (VERY different from agreeing with them btw), by understanding that if it doesn’t directly impact on you then your opinion is limited and by being kind. This means remembering that words have a huge impact, that your actions/inactions can hurt people, and that empathy is one of the most vitally important skills you can ever use.

I am always honest with Biscuit and Cracker with what’s going on in the world (it’s their world too after all). They are aware of who Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Jeremy Hunt are and what their views are (if you’re wondering; “he’s a silly man who doesn’t like people who have different colour skin than him”, “he’s mean as he doesn’t think boys and boys and girls and girls should get married” and “he’s a stinky poo-poo head because he doesn’t think paramedics and nurses are important and do a brilliant job” respectively). I admit I struggled watching the DUP politicians (with their anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice stance) being given such airtime on TV and such power in Westminster. I respect that they have different views to me, but I severely dislike their damning words regarding things which are so personal and their judgments on people (nothing wrong with the saying “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”). There’s no kindness in what they say.

One final thought, before my random ramblings come to an end (thank you for putting up with a slightly different post from Biscuit and Cracker today); be kind to yourself. Sometimes we find it easier to be kind to others, but we shouldn’t leave ourselves out of that.

Look after yourselves and I hope to see you again soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Picture That Affected Us All #RefugeesWelcome

On Thursday 03/09/2015 the world woke up to pictures on the front page of most newspapers which I know I will never forget (and which I’m not sure we ever should). 

I have read discussions on social media about whether we needed to see these pictures. They are horrific to see and have caused heartache across the globe. However, it is undeniable that the world seems to have stepped up and started caring since we have seen them. The Independent reports that it took the decision to publish the images of Aylan Al-Kurdi on its front page because

… it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees. 

The original article can be found here (warning: the images are very distressing) and led to the Indy’s Petition calling on David Cameron to accept more refugees in to Britain (I urge you to join the thousands of people who have already signed up). 

Today is the last Saturday I will have with my own three-year-olds (they are the same age as Aylan was when he stepped into the dingy with his parents and brother) before they start school. We have had a lazy morning  watching Postman Pat and having cuddles on the sofa. Sitting there as a mass of limbs and kisses reminded me (as if I would ever forget) how lucky we really are. Lucky to have a roof over our heads, lucky to have food in our cupboards, lucky to have freedom of speech and lucky to have each other.

I can’t imagine leaving behind our home, our friends and our family (those who are left after the near-total destruction of the town) and taking my two small children on a dangerous journey to an unknown land in the hope of safety and security. Yet this is the situation facing hundreds of thousands of people. Refugees don’t need to imagine doing this, they don’t have a choice. To me, the quote which Warsan Shire, the Somali-British poet, wrote in her book Long Journeys. African Migrants on the Road has really stayed with me;

“no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land”

Please remember that there are many things we can do to help the refugees. Please search for them and see what is in your power to do. A great example is my school friend’s gorgeous son who was so touched by the pictures of Syrian children he saw on the news that he set up a Just Giving Page to purchase sleeping bags for them (and if a 5 year old can think like this, I know we all can).

As a human I know I have grieved for all the senseless loss of lives. As someone lucky enough to live in a free and safe country I know we could, and should, do more. And as a mother I know I have hugged Biscuit and Cracker that little bit harder and tighter since I saw poor Aylan lying on that beach.

Trendy Tot Thursday (05/03/2015)

This time of year is hard for ‘Trendy Tot Thursday’- whenever they have cute clothes in to go out, Biscuit and Cracker at bundled up in jumpers and coats (and, let’s face it, there’s only so many times you can feature these). That’s why you’ve recently got lots of photos of the twinkles playing at home, where you can see the clothes they’re wearing.

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During our recent family holiday to Italy, Biscuit and Cracker had these United Colours of Benetton organic t-shirts bought for them by their Auntie and cousin. Cracker’s is a brilliant vibrant orange colour and declares “I am 100% here and now”. Biscuit’s is a simple white with bright pink sweets on it and “pretty, sweet, cheery” written on it. They are lovely and soft and are great for layering in this unpredictable weather. Cracker’s trousers are from Zara, bought for a bargain £2 at our local charity shop and worn pretty constantly by him as they are light and comfortable. Biscuit’s leggings are part of a set from Marks and Spencer, alongside a pretty smock dress we featured a few weeks ago. She loves the flower design on them and I like the colours of soft blue, soft pink and yellow. Biscuit tends to only wear trousers at home as they don’t often stay up on her petite frame!

I hope everyone has got to enjoy the recent sunny weather. According to the news we shouldn’t get used to it as we are due for rain and gale force winds (something to look forward to there)!

I hope you enjoy reading our Trendy Tot Thursday as much as I enjoyed writing it! Check out The Mother Geek and Clearly Bex for more!

Hope to see you again next week for another Trendy Tot Thursday, and please feel free to stop by and say ‘hi’ whenever you have time!

Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You…

…well maybe not EVERYDAY but I certainly conquered my fear on Saturday when I clambered into the back of the smallest aircraft I had ever seen and squeezed onto the floor with 13 other people wearing the very latest in fashionable jumpsuits, hats, goggles and harnesses.
Let me get one thing straight, I hate flying. I even hate going onto one of those huge jets that whisks you away on holiday, most long haul flights I have taken have required a lot of rescue remedy to get me through them. So this mini plane with it’s teeny engine was not filling me with confidence, but I had made a promise to myself, the friends and family who sponsored me and to the amazing charity that is Saying Goodbye and I was not about to let anyone down. To tell you the truth after 15mins of spiralling upwards to a height of 12000 feet I was more than willing to jump out, just to get out of the plane!!
Skydiving is an absolutely amazing experience. From actually being told to scream your lungs out when you initially hurtle out at 200mph to the gorgeous views when your parachute opens, it is so cathartic and rejuvenating. I don’t think the smile has even been wiped off my face now, 4 days later! Plus, doing something for a charity that you know does such good work can never be bad.

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I would like to thank the Saying Goodbye team for providing me with the opportunity to do good work in this fantastic way and Skydive at Headcorn (especially my lovely instructor, Del) for looking after me so well on this, my day to remember.
If you would like to support this charity and sponsor me for my skydive then please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/charliisiddu1 x

Jump For Love Skydive for Saying Goodbye UK

When I originally booked my Jump For Love for the amazing charity, Saying Goodbye (a division of the Mariposa Trust) it was booked for February. Then came those winter storms that brought 80mph winds and a flooded runway at Headcorn that delayed it slightly… until tomorrow in fact (gulp)!

This delay has meant that I have had more time to think about what on earth it is that I am doing as well as finding out more and more about what amazing work Saying Goodbye does and raise more and more money for them.

People may not have heard about Saying Goodbye, or the support it offers bereaved parents (who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death, however long ago) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. It is run by Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates who started it after experiencing their own losses.

Working as first a children’s nurse and then a neonatal nurse means I have had first-hand experience at seeing the devastation caused by the loss of a child through illness or accident. I have seen how broken these families are when their little ones won’t be coming home with them. Through Saying Goodbye UK I have also learnt of the rates of stillbirth and miscarriage in the UK, a rarely discussed and more hidden aspect of baby loss.

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If this charity could support just one family through the worst time in their history, then surely it would be worthwhile? But it doesn’t, Saying Goodbye includes all families who are broken in this way. Their memorial services are open to anyone who has lost a child, in any way, at any time, however long ago it may have happened. They understand the pain doesn’t go away.

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I am absolutely petrified of flying, but as soon as Saying Goodbye asked people to do this Skydive for them I knew it was something that I wanted to be involved in. For the thousands of babies and children whose parents have empty arms and a heart full of tears, I wanted to support them and show them that they will not be forgotten.

My fundraising page is here, or you could undertake a challenge for them yourself…?!

Thank you for listening

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The Baby Show 3: Morrck

Every now and then you go somewhere like the baby show with a specific idea of what you want but no idea if anyone even makes it! A situation like this is what led me to the fab people of Morrck and their brilliant products.
I have made no secret on this blog about my love of babywearing and how useful babywearing-related products can be. When the twins were really little we could babywear them with a normal jacket or zip-up hoodie and it would do up over their backs, as they started getting bigger this started to be impossible but we struggled through. Then came a very blustery and chilly day in London and we decided to babywear and walk along South Bank. Rob had a baggy enough jumper on that Biscuit was zipped up nice and warm, but there was absolutely no way that my jacket would do up over Cracker. So I did what any parent would do and sacrificed my lovely warm jacket to him. I took it off and wrapped it round him, leaving my arms exposed and blue! That’s when I knew I wanted a babywearing jacket.
At the next show we went to, thankfully quite soon after that happened, I discovered that Morrck do a fantastic ‘Maternity and Beyond’ coat. This is a reversible blue/red waterproof coat that fits like a normal coat, but has removable zip-in panels that you can add and use either when you are pregnant or when you are babywearing. This means that it will last you from the moment you find out you’re pregnant with your first to when you stop babywearing your last (and beyond, I’m guessing it will come in useful at numerous sporting events etc), with no need to go back and get another coat for when you’re slim between babies or when you’re not wearing them. I wear mine ALL the time, whether I’m wearing one of them, pushing them in the buggy or popping out by myself. It is long enough to cover their toes (also to cover your bottom), has a hood for those particularly miserable days and adjustable elastics to make it more fitted when you are baby free! It is something that always gets admiring comments and is a very asked about product when I’m out and about.

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From the shows, we also found out all the other lovely products that Morrck make, from their car seat/buggy wraps to the beautiful toddler ‘Wrapture’ coats which I may have purchased yesterday in blue for Cracker and red for Biscuit!
Another bonus of the shows is being able to connect with the people you’re purchasing from, something lost when you buy online. We have visited Morrck over a number of shows now and they are some of the loveliest people. We always stop and chat and see what might be new on their stall or in development. We have been chatting lots recently to them about a babywearing coat for Dads to wear (as Rob normally has one or the other of them in his sling when we go) so watch this space…..
Oh, before I forget to mention to the twin mamas and daddas in the audience- this is a very twin friendly company. Isobel has twins of her own and offers a TAMBA member discount. They also have TAMBA as their chosen charity.

We have not received any money or products for writing this review. We met them at the Baby Show and love their products and amazing customer service and I wanted other families to get to know them too!

Skydiving for Charity: a Jump for Love!

Happy 2014 everyone! This is the year that I turn 30. It is also the year that I am doing a skydive for Saying Goodbye: the babyloss charity. I am sure these two things are entirely unrelated….!

When I first came across this charity on twitter (follow @SayingGoodbyeUK) I could barely believe the statistics regarding rates of miscarriage and stillbirth in the UK, yet it remains a subject that people don’t talk about. Approximately 250,000 babies are lost through miscarriage every year- that is about two every single minute. There are also approximately 4,000 stillbirths, that’s nearly 11 babies every day. This doesn’t include all the babies who pass away in infancy. Saying Goodbye offers support to all these parents and others affected by baby and infant loss through national remembrance services as a division of The Mariposa Trust .

I started my training as a children’s nurse 11 years ago and for the past 5 1/2 years I have specialised in neonatal (babies less than 28 days old) intensive care. The nurses and doctors (and physios, vent tech, dietitians, lab workers and all other members of the multiple-disciplinary team) work tirelessly to help get these babies better. I have, unfortunately, witnessed tragedy and loss during my time and seen parents going through the utterly worst time of their lives. Saying Goodbye offers these families somewhere to grieve with others who understand the pain and who won’t judge. I knew I wanted to do something to support them.

I, as my friends know, am terrified of flying, so the idea of Skydiving seems absolutely crazy to me. But as no-one would sponsor me for eating chocolate or having a nap I needed to “go big or go home”. The idea is that on 15th February 2014, 254 people will undertake the “Jump for Love”- one for every 1000 babies lost through miscarriage or stillbirth. We need to raise at least £395 to undertake the jump at all but we would like to aim for £1000 (£1 for each of those babies). As I only have 40-odd days I think this may be a pipe-dream but it is an aim and I would love to get as much as I can.

If you are feeling generous after the over-indulgence of Christmas and New Year and if you can see what a worthwhile cause is is, then please join me to help break the taboo of loss and donate now. My fundraising page is here, every donation matters.

Thank you.

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