Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ella and The Happy Badger spread some furry happiness

Today I have had 2 furry visitors spreading joy. The first was a gorgeous PAT dog called Ella, she is a chocolate lab which has to be one of my all time favourite dogs, my other furry visitor was the Happy Badger who stopped by my blog.

The Happy Badger just loves creating happiness and with help from www.ao.com he is asking bloggers to write about their favourite charity and he will kindly donate £50 to it.

There are many charities close to my heart, Neuroblastoma Appeals for children to have cancer treatment the NHS doesn't fund, Christian Blandford Fund which does so many things. A lot of charities and appeals are for big fancy amazing things and while that is needed there often isn't support for the smaller day to day things that can make a difference. The first thing the Christian Blandord Fund provided was decent curtains for the children's ward so poorly children no longer woke up at 5am in summer. Other charities close to my heart are DEBRA, Tymes Trust, Me and Dee, Chelsea's Angles, the list is endless so I asked if could choose two and the Happy Badger kindly agreed to make a £25 donation to both charities.

The first charity is AYME. It supports children and young adults with M.E and provided so much support during difficult times to my family. When I was 17 my M.E was so bad I was bedbound, unable to talk, stand, sit up or do anything and was desperately isolated. Members of AYME sent me cards even though I couldn't reply and it became the only thing that made me smile during those difficult months. You have to leave AYME when you turn 26, it used to mean people didn't have support but now they have AYME Grads for older people. I would like for half of Happy Badger's donation to go to the AYME Grads SAMS team (sams= severely affected members) so more bedbound adults can receive cheerful post.

The post I received from members of AYME, inspired me to set up the charity Post Pals which asks members of the public to send cards, letters, emails and little gifts to cheer seriously ill children up. It will be used to send some personalised cards to children who have watched a sibling battle a horrible illness before passing away. Often when a child dies so does all the support a family received so we aim to keep helping the families for as long as they need that support.

Thank you Happy Badger for creating smiles with your generosity.

Ps) Can you believe just after writing this I had a surprise visit from Popcorn the hamster!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Creating smiles in hospital with craft goodies!

I've not been blogging much as I've been in hospital for a little bit and it doesn't leave much energy for writing.

I come to this hospital a couple of times a year and nearly always have the same room. It has cream walls and pastel curtains and while it doesn't scream 'hospital' it also doesn't scream 'Vikki' so I like to make it my own.

Last year I had a very bad relapse and was stuck here for 3 months, lots of people kindly sent me cards which we pegged to the curtains. It started off with staff pinching a couple of pegs every time they went to the laundry but after a while we would of caused a peg shortage so Mum brought me pegs just for the job. I was very honoured, look at my amazing room.



Things like stickers added to objects makes it more 'me' too, last time I was sent these great Boffle toppers and I added one to the fan.



I won an amazing prize recently after nominating someone for 'crafters who care' in Crafts Beautiful, I was blown away by what arrived, what a stash! It's all from Paper Cellar and I love it all! I adore craft stuff and could spend hours just looking at it and I could add this to my little stash in my cupboard or I could use it to make some people happy.


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There was a great bunting kit with 5 floral pictures but are double sided with different patterns so you have to decide which are your favourite and then simply string them with the gold thread provided. It makes around 10 meters of them and my room here is small. I decided to make a smaller one which a care assistant is going to give to a very long term patient to decorate her room with. I also wanted to do a card but I don't have any glue. That wasn't a problem though after remembering the beautiful ombre colour projects I keep seeing online. In my amazing prize stash was lovely pearlised card and pearl tapes in different colours and the range of colours made me think of ombre. I simply added them as stripes in rainbow order, I am hopeless at doing anything straight but its the thought that counts! It left a space at the bottom and I would of used sparkly letters to put the persons name but due to patient confidentiality I did 'Hello' instead. I was rather chuffed with the end result.

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I looked at the bunting and thought that if I was at home I would tie some ribbon around it but then remembered in the amazing prize stash there was tissue paper and 3 colours of raffia. Again I was pleased with the outcome.


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Today I and another care assistant who shares my love for all things craft were looking at the items in more detail. I fell in love with some self adhesive 12 by 12 cut out designs. 2 butterfly ones in yellow and purple and 2 flowery ones. The carer suggested they would look nice on a window and she's right :) My windows are blacked out so no point in my room but the butterflies are pegged up but after I leave they are going to be added to some of the younger patients windows (we are all young, average age here seems about 90. I swear the first time I was here people kept asking about schooling, its not that I look really young I just do in comparison!). The 2 flowers designs are being added to some older ladies windows today, they should look nice both on the window and the light patterns they will create on the wall :)




Monday, August 19, 2013

Travel Supermarket Holiday Postcard Competition



I thought of writing about the holidays I went on in my early teens, where I saw the holiday through grown up eyes, then I stumbled on a very old photo. The photo is of 5 year old me (so in 1990) in Gran Canaria watching my Mum, Dad and 2 family friends come down a big water slide, despite how young I was at the time, I remember watching and thinking about how I would go down the slide myself one day when I was big. Life seems so simple at that age, full of innocence and joy.


This small disjointed memory started to call up other ones from the holiday, sure, I know lots about the 2 weeks away as my parents have told me about it but these are the holiday memories of 5 year old me;

-Decorating a turtle with glitter glue (Mum said I was part of the Turtle kids club)
-Sitting on a camel and feeling a bit unsure as it got up off the ground
-The camels walking in a long line, I had Dad on one side and Mum on the other.  Unfortunately Mum now understands the meaning of the phrase 'bladder like a camel' as the one in front weed on Mums foot, she was stuck and couldn't go anywhere and I just watched this river of camel wee wash over Mums foot! I can still see it like it was yesterday!
-Family friend who was crafty dressed me up in yellow tissue paper to form a canary, I then had a ribbon saying "Miss Gran Canary"
-My Dad and 2 teens who were with us all wearing bright bermuda shorts
-Feeling very happy.

So there are my holiday memories from 5 year old me :)  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

#Spend20K Challenge

The National Lottery is changing its Lotto game in October and a lot more people will be able to tick 'win the lottery' off their Bucket Lists or treat themselves to things they wouldn't normally. From the 5th October players will get £25 for matching 3 numbers in the draw (up from £10) and 4 numbers (from £60 to £100), and a new raffle guarantees at least 50 winners of £20,000 each draw! And the best bit? When the jackpot rolls, so does the raffle, meaning hundreds more guaranteed £20,000 prizes.

If I was lucky enough to win £20,000 this is what I would buy;


Firstly as I love butterflies I would like these for my wheelchair

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And then a visit to a butterfly house

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I'm in hospital at the moment and would buy a box of chocolate from Hotel Chocolat for every single member of staff, both the ones I see and the ones busy working behind the scenes.

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I would also buy Bodyshop body butters for all the patients.

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For my Mum I would buy diamond earrings, something she has always wanted.

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And helicopter flying lessons for my Dad.

For my Grandpa who I (and now lots of others do) call 'Grumpy' a garden make over which is both pretty to look at and easy to maintain.

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For my Nan who is severely disabled I would hire an eye gaze computer so she can communicate and would also always have cream roses in her room.

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For my best friend Kate I would buy and send to her, her all time favourite cupcakes made by Heaven is a Cupcake

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Lastly, if you win the lottery your allowed some fun, the kind of fun you could never normally justify. I have a secret *sshhh*, every since watching Fun House as a kid I've wanted to fill an entire room with balloons, they had a tunnel filled with one and it looked like so much fun! I'm wondering if the hair on the program was a fashion choice in its day or if it was just so much static from the balloons?!

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“This post is an entry for BritMums #Spend20K Challenge sponsored by The National Lottery, with more ways to win more money on the new Lotto game. Find out more about new Lotto, which starts in October, here

Friday, August 9, 2013

Favourite childhood travel memory

Everyone's childhood is different, I'm one of those very lucky people when asked to recall a happy childhood memory I find it near impossible to narrow it down from years of everyday happiness.

Buntlins are asking people though to recall their favourite childhood holiday memory, I'm finding it so tough to decide!

My grandparents had a little bungalow in Norfolk and I used to go there all the time either with my grandparents or my parents. I loved everything about Norfolk but the county border didn't mean anything to me, we finally arrived in Norfolk (in my mind) once we came over the big hill and could see the sea and windmill in Weighbourne, the excitement was huge and we were here!

Another memory is from when we went to Tenerife, I was very much a water baby (as a toddler my favourite thing in the world would be to be thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool with my armbands on) and so water features heavily in happy memories! As soon as we put our stuff down in our apartment after arriving I would be desperate to get into the pool, asking again and again if we can go yet. I loved that pool. In the evening I would go to the kids disco and dance my feet off, I can still remember all the moves to 'Star Trekking' and the words to 'crocodile marching'.

As tough as it is to pick one favourite, my all time best childhood holiday memory is the sheer pleasure you feel as you jump into the pool for the first time.

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“Competition sponsored by Butlins Holiday Parks, helping your family make memories.” 




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Give some hope and some smiles

I made this quite a few years ago, please take a moment to watch. The first part is sad but you will be smiling at the end!
If you would like to make a poorly child smile by sending some cheerful post then you can by going to www.postpals.co.uk

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Quotes for my bed, I can't decide!

I have a profiling bed, aka a hospital bed. It's not too notable but the wooden footboard just screams NHS at me!

I currently have fabric bunting going across the foot board but I've decided that I want to add a nice quote. I love all the vinyl wall stickers on eBay, I could seriously cover every inch of space in the house with them, from beautiful butterflies and gerberas (a theme in my room) to beautiful quotes. I think my favourite would be one I saw above a baby's cot, 'Twinkle twinkle little star, do you know how loved you are'. As well as loving butterflies and gerberas, I love Harry Potter! Good old Dumbledore was full of fantastic quotes. One quote goes around FB in the form of a sticker on a light switch;

 "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light"

I just love the quote and think its so true, it's also ironic due to the darkness in my room! Someone already sells it on eBay but I don't like the font. I was sure I wanted it until I saw my old 'cover' photo on my Facebook;

 "I still dare to dream, and as long as there is a dream of better things to come, I can face tomorrow with a smile".

I like the quote and think it sums up my attitude, I cope by dreaming of what I will do when I am better. My body may lay in bed all day every day but my mind is frequently in Hawaii or some other lovely destination. I can't decide, which one would you choose?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nappy cakes

I make nappy cakes, I sell them from time to time just so I can buy stuff to make a new one. It's a hobby not a business but I have the following already made and ready to ship or be collected (Surrey). 

Nappy cakes are made from nappies and lots of baby items like blankets, muslins, outfits, toys etc and sometimes has treats in for Mum and Dad too.



Girls nappy cake, includes lilac butterfly hooded towel, Huggies, Johnson's bed time bath, Johnson's baby lotion and a lovely pink and purple toy from Hamely's baby range (crinkly wings, a heart mirror, pull the flower on the tummy and it vibrates, different textures etc and has a fabric/Velcro loop on the back so can be attached to a cot or pram)
£35




Colourful nappy cake for boys or girls, includes fishy hooded towel, Huggies, Johnson's bed time bath, Johnson's baby lotion, long feeling cloth, muslin, Mummy duck with baby ducks on her back and reusable cake board.

£25

I also do custom ones and tons of different designs, here's a few I've done;

I turned all this





into this




And these Tigger items


I n

Into

Valkee ear light


As part of my condition I have light sensitivity so I live in darkness. Most people think that just means I have my curtains closed but actually I have a blackout blind which is sealed around the edge of my window with wood holding them in place, over that is heavy curtains. The curtains on the landing are kept closed as are the doors because otherwise too much light comes around the door frame.  So as I was saying I'm light sensitive.

I don't suffer from depression, its amazing I don't as most people deprived of sunlight do, unfortunately though this combined with being unable to walk has resulted in osteoporosis. My hormone levels are all out and my sleep pattern is all over the place. I always knew the sun gave us vitamin D, that it affected sleep patterns and a lack of light causes people Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but I didn't know how much your Circadian rhythm controls.

Someone mentioned to me that a Norwegian friend used a Valkee ear light to help with a lack of sunlight and that it had really helped them. I did some research which involved Googling and asking my friend Dan who keeps up to date with all thing science and research. I found some studies about 
about the ear light vs a sad lamp and results seemed positive, Dan said there had been a positive article in New Scientist recently. Information on the site said that the ear light improves energy, depression, SAD and sleep disorders (it should be noted it can't provide Vit D so still need supplements).  I decided to bite the bullet and order a Valkee ear light.

The ear light looks just like an iPod but instead of speakers there are little lights which sit inside your ear. It couldn't be simpler to use, pop the ear lights in, press the button and in 12 minutes it will beep and turn itself off. There were different size covers for the ear lights but I prefer to use them without.



I was worried it might have a negative effect on me so started using it for only a minute and built up. The idea is that light is able to travel through the ear canal to the brain which is covered with light receipting cells. I had no idea if its my brain or eyes that are sensitive to light but thankfully I've had no negative effects. The standard time of use is 12 minutes and it comes programmed for this but if you plug it into your computer (with a USB cable) you can change the length of time on the Valkee website. I use it when having breakfast and can still hear perfectly. 



I've not noticed a difference to my energy levels which isn't a surprise but I think it might be helping my sleep pattern. My sleep pattern was going through a better phase but seemed to last a lot longer than normal and when I stopped using it I found myself slipping onto sleep reversal again. I'm going to keep using it!

They are expensive, £186.50 on their website but I got mine on Amazon for £139, for me it has been worth it. I was disappointed that such an expensive product didn't come with a charger, just a USB cable but I either charge it from my laptop or with my Kindle charger, I'm amazed at how long the battery life is. I would recommend them to people with SAD or light sensitivity.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Road trip, its the journey not the destination that matters -£50 Road Trip Challenge

Moneysupermarket are running a £50 challenge to go on a road trip and write a blog about it. My first thought when seeing the challenge was 'I want to go on a road trip', the second was remembering that I am housebound, so I passed on the challenge. That night though the famous quote came to mind, 'life isn't about the destination but the journey that gets you there'.

My ideal road trip would be to the coast, down to Worthing and see the sea, or up to Norfolk which holds so many happy childhood memories, however I had an appointment up in London and London is a pretty cool place!

I spent a while thinking of how I could turn a hospital appointment into a road trip, then Mum, Dad and I set off. 

My appointment was over lunch time, we normally would just skip lunch and hope Mum doesn't have a hypo but as this was a road trip we packed a picnic in cool bags. The best part of the picnic was the ice locks as it was such a hot day, I ended up cuddling them!

We went right through the centre of London and did plenty of sight seeing from the car, it was such a beautiful day and it seemed like the whole of London was sparkling.

First the Houses of Parliament and London Bridge. We reminisced about the time we went there for lunch, we were invited to an award ceremony and served fish and chips for lunch. I think we accidentally went to a fairy tea party though, look at the size of our fish and chips!
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Houses of Parliament on our road trip


Big Ben (or to give it its correct name, St Stephens)

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I love all the detailed lampposts in London

We saw various statues

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Of course the London Eye, it was such a beautiful day the people on it must of had stunning views but surely would be roasting in the glass capsules.

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I really like all the hidden little gardens London houses yet I've never really noticed them before, I was surprised as to how many can be seen from the car or at least ones you can catch a glimpse of while passing. This had a lovely looking garden under this clock.


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We got to the hospital and I have to say even the hospital looked fantastic and the blue glass was glinting in the sunlight.

After my appointment we took a slightly longer trip home than we would of done had this not been a road trip. Both my parents used to work in London and my Dad still does. They showed me the buildings where they both worked, the place my Dad recently had an interview, pointed out where I had watched The Lord Mayors parade as a child, where my Dad currently works and even the boat which they had lunch on recently. It was lovely hearing their memories and seeing the places rather than them being just a name.


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For most of the time in London we could see the new tallest building- The Shard. Are we the only ones who think it looks unfinished? Like the builders forgot to fill in the top part!

We saw where the Great Fire of London started (Pudding Lane). It's one of my favourite things about London, so much history and culture juxtaposed against modern day buildings. Somehow planners have managed to make it all fit together. There is so much to see within a short distance of each other and seeing it from the road was different from my past London visits.

On our way out of London we stopped at Mcdonalds. Just before I became housebound they brought out Mcflurries and I had one, why did I have to discover these heavenly ice creams just before becoming bedbound? I just adore them, more so than any other ice cream. I always go for the Smarite one as I love how crunchy it is but this time was contemplating trying a different one, no pun intended but I was thinking of trying a Crunchie one. While debating with myself I remembered we are on a road trip, why only have one just because its the social norm? I would never think to order 2 ice creams at the same time but that's exactly what I did and I loved it! Felt a bit naughty having 2 but my goodness they were nice! We sat in the car with the windows down, eating our Mcflurries and watching the world go by before returning home.


Who knew appointments could actually be enjoyable if you approach them from a different view point? Oh and to make the day even better, I don't have the horrible condition they thought I did!