Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. A day to appreciate and say thank you to all of the amazing women who have helped you to become the person that you are. I am very lucky to have many people who have inspired me as I’ve grown up, both family and friends.

To my family,

Thank you for…

Being there when I needed someone to chat to, about my happy day or what is on my mind.

The time you’ve given up to chat to me over coffee and your understanding heart.

All the hugs you’ve given me and all the happy time we’ve shared.

The meals out, the holidays, the days out and the big family meals together.

The times you’ve held my hand when I’ve been scared and for being my voice when I needed it.

And the way you’ve supported me, helped me to grow and never given up on me.

Thank you for always being the amazing, loving and caring people that you are ❤

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Autumn Adventures

Over the past few weeks I have had the chance to take part in some amazing adventures through volunteering. I will be posting more about them individually over the upcoming weeks but I wanted to share my happiness 🙂

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Recently I’ve taken part in 2 residential volunteering opportunities. Both are very different to each other but have brought me so much happiness and I am proud to say I was part of both of these. One thing the children and young people on these camps remind you is that anything is possible. That is something I always take away with me and I always leave happier than I arrived.  The photo is of a thank you that I received from Barretstown that reminded me why volunteers are so important.

Fireworks:

Yesterday I went to a Firework display in my local park. It was absolutely amazing and great to spend time with people who are important to me. We then went out to KFC which was a lovely added extra.

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I’ve recently joined this fantastic group called Happy Mail on Facebook. Everyone in the group is so friendly and I have met some
great people because of it. I have sent a few parcels to people and have afew more to send over the next few days. This is a photo of a beautiful parcel I received earlier in the week which made me smile lots!

Family time:

The only downside to all of this is that it means I’ve not spent much time with my family over the past few weeks. When I am away I miss them loads but I got to spend some happy time with them again this evening. I’ve also been very lucky to have a few lazy days with my boyfriend recently which I have absolutely loved ❤

Day 3/100 of Summer Happy

Wednesday 3rd June – This week  seems to be flying by! How is it Wednesday evening already?

Today has been a very happy and stress free day. We decided to hold off on moving house for this month which has taken a huge pressure off this month and means I can properly look forward to the next few weeks.

My photo for today is of a certificate I received from Caudwell Children earlier this week. Caudwell is an amazing charity who I have had the pleasure of volunteering with for just over a year now. I started as a short breaks volunteer and then became a fundraiser for the charity which I enjoyed massively. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to volunteer for them regularly recently but I hope to get back to it over the summer.

I learnt a lot during my time as a short breaks volunteer and fundraiser. Most importantly, not to get disheartened if people don’t respond to you! I would regularly send out over a hundred emails and only receive a handful back. At the start I worried I was doing something wrong but it is just because everyone is so busy with their own lives and work that messages get missed or people can’t donate for whatever reason. I also learnt how important building relationships with those you are helping can be. I will always remember watching a few teenage girls change their behaviour as they learnt new skills and made friends with others in the group.

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This evening I spent time with my boyfriend. We watched a movie, had tea and enjoyed spending time together. Today started off as a bad pain day but it is amazing what reducing stress and taking a day off can do.

How is your week going? How are you? Please let me know in the comments below 🙂

P.S. Always remember – You are amazing!

Papercutting

Papercutting is my  latest hobby. It is something I can do without using up much energy which is important at the moment. With each cut I can also see my skills developing which is very rewarding.

Those of you who know me well will know I am not a patient person and can get bored easily! So it may seem like an unusual thing to do. But actually it is amazing how, even in the few weeks since I started, my patience with the cuts has increased. I have always enjoyed art (oh the fun art diploma days at school!) but it is something which has never come naturally to me. I can’t draw to save my life.

This weekend is a bank holiday weekend and I am very lucky to have spent last night with my family, which always makes me incredibly happy. Today I am catching up on some last minute work before spending the rest of my weekend with my boyfriend, playing games, watching movies, reading and of course papercutting.

Here are my first three cuts:

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With thanks to Charlie for the Autism template & Emma @ Diva Cuts for the girl on the swing template 🙂

Here is my current papercutting supplies & book I received through the post at the same time. Not huge but I am expecting it will increase quickly!

papercuttingWishing everyone a wonderful weekend, whatever you’re up to!

Happy Weekend!

All week I was really looking forward to the weekend and it certainly didn’t disappoint! My weekend began with a fantastic night at AltTango. I love being able to help my family out, it makes me very happy, as does seeing so many people enjoying their evening and dancing. I can’t wait until I can dance properly again!!

Saturday was fantastic from start to end. It began with waking up to a sunny day, listening to music and getting ready for the day ahead. I spent the day in Liverpool with a few Team v Midlands leaders and our mentor, Sanya. These meet ups are always lots of fun and this was no different! We spent a couple of hours chatting in Costa about our campaign plans. There were some amazing ideas and we all helped and fed off of each other. I cannot wait to see some of these ideas in practice! CC5iLzsWYAANJO5

We then did something I would never have thought of doing, even at the start of the weekend. We went out into Liverpool and handed out campaign booklets. It doesn’t sound like much but for someone like me who isn’t very confident in talking to people I know, let alone approaching random members of the public and asking them whether they had registered to vote and handing them a booklet, it is huge. I pretty much floated back to Stoke in a bubble of happiness, eager to share my achievements with my friends and family. Even the long delay didn’t dampen my mood.

After a quick stop at home to get changed and eat it was finally time for Stokie’s ❤ I love the atmosphere at Stokie’s and being surrounded by family and friends made the night that extra bit special. Lots of happy conversations and hugs and I even got to dance! The day ended with some lazy time reading.

Today has been a lazy day before another busy week of campaign planning. I feel very lucky to have all of the wonderful opportunities I have and to be supported by my family like I am. Next weekend it will be time for Uprising’s My Voice, My Vote residential training weekend which promises to be yet another amazing weekend.

I hope your weekend has been happy & inspiring too. Wishing everyone a happy week 🙂

Do what scares you!

Hey! Team v Leaders…

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while and now seems like the right time 🙂

If you’ve seen my social media pages you will see how much I like an inspiring quote or article. My wish for this blog post is that you, YES YOU! start to see just how amazing you are.

During the #DoYouCare? Campaign and more recently in my own life I have started to do things that scare me and take me out of my comfort zone. You know, when you feel like there is no possible way something is going to work out and then guess what? It works out amazingly and you spend the rest of your day, or week even, wondering why you were so worried in the first place!

Personally I am talking about my school workshops in front of over 50 students at a time then more recently spending my first night in hospital ever, by myself. But I am pretty sure right now that you have something in your mind that you are so happy and proud that you have achieved.

So this campaign, Swing the Vote, I think we should all challenge ourselves. As this is not only our last campaign but also Team v’s last campaign too we really need to go all out. Why don’t we all do something that scares us or pushes us completely out of our comfort zone? It doesn’t have to be something that is huge to everyone else, just a little personal challenge. I know if you’d asked me this at the start of the year it would have been to make a phone call to someone. Something most people do every single day but terrified me!

I know I have learnt so much already by stepping out of my comfort zone and know you will too ❤ Why not write below what it is and my guarantee to all of you is that it will be worth it. This way we can all support each other even more.

Remember – You are amazing 🙂

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My first ever school workshop!

What do you get when you multiply anything by 250?    A school workshop of course!!

Or at least that is what it felt like last week in the run up to my workshop! Everything wasn’t counted into groups of ten, twenty, fifty or even a hundred but a massive 250.

When I accepted a local secondary schools offer of speaking to all 250 Year 7 students I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves. I went into the meeting expecting to do maybe two or three workshops of around 30 students in each… how wrong was I!

In fact it turned out to be 4 workshops, an hour in length each with the smallest class being 50 students. But prep for 250 students is the same as prep for 30 students right? Wrong! So very wrong!

The day before the workshops I was still going over any potential questions I could be asked, putting the addresses into the Do You Care? booklets, sticking sticky notes to all of the worksheets and printing. The printing felt like it was never going to end, as did the bits of sticky tape I was cutting off to stick the addresses into the booklets! I was determined that just because I was speaking to a high number of students that they would get the same level of workshop and resources as if I was speaking to a much smaller group.

Here are a few photos that explain the day before better than words:

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But if I could go back would I change it? Not at all. I loved everything about it, the preparation, the adrenaline the morning before leaving for the school, walking around the house listening to music at 6.30am when I’m normally fast asleep, spending time and sharing the day with other Team v volunteers, mentors and staff… everything about the day really 🙂

Knowing that I’ve passed my knowledge of young carers onto those students makes every moment worth it. If it wasn’t for Team v and this opportunity then those 250 students probably wouldn’t have thought about young carers that day.

Hearing one young person saying they weren’t aware of their local support service since moving but were now going to contact them and many other students open up about past and current experiences. That is why I do what I do. It’s why I love Team v. It is also why programmes like Team v are so important, not just for those volunteering but for the huge impact they have on communities and local organisations.

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A Telephone Call…

Sometimes it can be the smallest of things that make you realise just how much your life has changed over the past few weeks, months or even years. For me this came in the form of a phone call last week with my Team v YNC.

But lets rewind a little so that this makes more sense to you all. Put simply – I used to HATE talking on the phone. I don’t even like talking to my family on the phone. I think it is the immediate response, that you must react to what the other person is saying straight away. You can’t see their reaction or have time to think about what you’ve just said and how it has been received by them.

The thought of talking on the phone has never been a happy one for me. Nor was the idea or talking in public, in front of anyone, even a small group. But as part of Team v, and life in general, these are things I HAVE to develop if I want to become a more confident and happier person. So that is exactly what I am doing 🙂

Last week I spoke to my YNC for half an hour on the phone. A whole 30 minutes (and 16 seconds… it’s those little seconds that all added up!) of talking about the campaign and asking each other how we were. It was the first time that I can ever remember being so excited waiting for a phone call as I couldn’t wait to share the happy news of my campaign. Once the phone call was over I had the biggest smile on my face. Not only did I achieve my personal goal of being able to have a proper telephone conversation without being a big mess of nerves but I was happy and reasonably confident whilst doing so.

Then yesterday I met with the development worker for Stoke on Trent’s Boys Brigade. They run a local youth session for young carers and I knew we would be able to work together on this ‘Do You Care?‘ campaign. Our meeting went really well and I think I was able to talk more clearly than I did when I met with Stoke on Trent Foodbank in my first campaign (Beyond a Tin of Food).

I have challenged myself this campaign more than ever. I will be running workshops which involve talking in front of 5o Year 7 students, running events at a Sixth Form, my local YCMA and two Youth clubs where I will be talking to many young people and I will also be speaking on a local Radio station early in March.

This is basically a long winded way of saying that personal achievements can come in all shapes and sizes. Remember that they are all important to firstly recognise and secondly, to celebrate.

If you want things to change then you firstly have to decide that you are ready to allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Yes, it is incredibly scary, I’m not going to lie to you. But I promise you it is so worth it – always. Decide that you want to throw yourself at all those little things that scare you, one at a time. To all of the Team v leaders, I know that things may not always go according to plan but always remember you are amazing and we’re all achieving so much 🙂

I believe that if we all take a moment to look back on how much you’ve personally grown over the past year then you will amaze yourselves. So what’s stopping you? Do it now 🙂

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Tuesday Inspiration #6

oscar-wilde-be-yourself-quote-450x567A little reminder to always be yourself and do what makes you happy.

It is all too easy to lose yourself by trying to please others, whether that is by doing something you don’t really want to do, wearing clothes you don’t really like or by letting an opportunity pass you by that you know would benefit you through fear of what others will think of you.

Always remember, you are beautiful inside and out just as you are 🙂

 

You’re not alone…

This post is for all the Team v leaders who may feel overwhelmed or that everyone else is ahead of them. It is to remind you that you’re not alone 🙂

In the early hours of this morning I was sat staring at my computer screen wondering what on earth have I taken on. There seemed so much to do and so little time. Every time I complete something on my to do list I end up writing two or three more things down, it was getting longer rather than shorter!!

I’ve never organised my own event before or had my own team of volunteers. I’ve never had to think about how I am going to serve tea and coffee and in what sort of cups four weeks before an event. Talking to and meeting new people is something I find difficult let alone running meetings where people are relying on me. Suddenly, as part of this campaign, these are all things I needed to do.

It all felt very overwhelming and after more than a few stressy hours I knew I had to take a different approach. I took some time to myself and went in search of a quote. I can spend hours looking at inspirational quotes but I came across this one and it pretty much summed up how I was feeling:

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I decided the first step was to take what I wanted to do back to very basics and created this:

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These are the five areas I need to work on and over the next few days. I plan on working out exactly what needs doing for each section and working out the steps I need to take to do so. Rather than seeing it all as a never ending list of tasks I need to do this way I hope I can feel proud as I complete what needs doing in each section.

No doubt I will still have feelings that my events aren’t going to work out, that I’m way behind everyone else, that there is simply no way I can do this any more! But hopefully this post will be a reminder that I’m not alone and will remind any of you feeling the same way that we are all here for you.

Remember, you are making a difference just by being part of the Team v journey. It is not about creating the biggest events or having the most volunteers or spending your days stressed out that you have so much to do and no time to do it.

We’re all in this together and together we will achieve amazing things. Always remember it’s important to be happy and feel proud of what you’ve achieved.

Have a wonderful week and keep smiling. We can do this 🙂