Sunday, 17 May 2015

Shortlisted for NCT Stars Award

I have been volunteering for NCT for over a year now, and am about to be voted in for another year. It's been an interesting year, I started just for something to do to stop myself being brain washed by CBeebies and use the skills I already had in customer service. The branch was needing new blood and new thinking, I was shocked to find that in this day of age, social media wasn't being ultilised to communicate not only with their members and the community.

A few months after my introduction I took over their social media pages and am very proud of the growth they've experianced over the past year. I still get chills when I read the stats, all those, "Are you on our Facebook?" questions has been worth it. I haven't done it alone, the team have stepped up and chipped in their ideas and posts when I haven't been able to and they've done a better job than me in some circumstances.

Beth this week has had another bad cold, keeping me up until silly times in the morning. Friday was no exception, I crawled into bed at 8am and woke at 11am to find an email in my inbox annouching the short list for NCT Star Awards for the South region. The awards are acknowledgment to the volunteers and am nominated by your colleages and parents who we help. As a district we had 5 nominations, the highest other than one other district nationally, some amazing hard working people in there.

Imagine my surprise to see my name appear towards the bottom.

I have never, ever been shortlisted for any award ever, and it's even better it's for something that I really love doing and feel like I am giving support to people who felt just as lost as I do/did as a parent. The results are on 12th July at the end of a training day, with the winners going to the national awards. I am also shortlisted with another blogger who works for the Aylesbury district, Cassanda from Mummy on a Budget so if I don't win, then it would be nice to see her win it.

I do want to thank people for my nominations, it really does mean a huge amount, a lot of people forget that we volunteer our free time to make sure that their playgroups and Nearly New Sales happen. The amount of work that goes on behind that scenes is significant but we do have a huge laugh doing it and the team we have is just amazing.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week; Mindfulness

This year's theme is Mindfulness, which is perfect timing as I have just started exploring this after reading Ruby Wax's book on the subject called Sane New World. Mindfulness just you to focus on the here and now using breathing techniques and meditation. Stop pulling that face, it's not a "new age" thing.

Mindfulness is not about clearing the mind, it helps people observe the way they think and feel about their experiences, whether good or bad. This can really change the way you manage and react to stressful situations, giving you a valuable tool to stay mentally healthy, and an ever-expanding body of evidence shows that it really works.

For me who suffers with anxiety and worry, it makes me acknowledge that I can experience these things and its normal for me. Once I labelled the emotion and the physical attributes it made it feel smaller.There are different versions, but the most common and most useful I've found is RAIN:

Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with kindness;
Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying
with the experience.

Mental Health Foundation is promoting a four week course with Be Mindful and most importantly it's free.They want to be able to introduce this as part of the range of therapies offered currently as it has been proved to be successful and will hopefully help people awaiting treatment.

For me, it has already helped more than CBT as I'm not going over past events which can make me feel more anxious. I find it's more soothing and I come out of it refreshed. I do as little or as much as I want, I also use Buddify app from Google Play (£1.99) which provides guided medications for different situations. It has been a revelation to my mental health.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Bethany Update - Month 15

 We have had our first, unsteady little steps on our 15 month birthday. She stepped away from Hubby and did a few steps towards me, we made a huge fuss and chocolate buttons were rewarded. For the next half an hour all she wanted to do was take a few steps between us, getting to the point she was turning herself around to go again. Beth slept very well that night.

 Before this we conquered the stairs that lead to our flat, we decided one night just to see if she could as she doesn't often encounter stairs. A few steady steps later and it was like she has been doing them for months. 

 To me, it seems that this month she's grown into her toddler self and lost the last of her "baby" features. She's also got taller, where she couldn't reach the second shelf of our unit last month, this month she can clear the shelf of DVD's. Beth is still a petite little girl, only just finally fitting into her 9-12 month trousers and tops. I did get her measured for some shoes but she's so petite that she just sneaks into infant shoes and has been recommended to wait a bit longer (Note: How expensive are children's shoes?! My mum said they only last a few months too!). 

We still go to our playgroups, NCT on Monday which I help run and two during the week. Her independence is starting to come through she is happy to go and play with other children, we have had a few bullying problems but working with the Mum's we are working it out and harmony is starting to happen. Her favourite play things at the moment is pretend toys like tea set, an old mobile phone, and a teething necklace. I have an kitchen set hidden away that I cannot wait to get out for her as I think she'll love it.

Her talking is coming on, the babbling is turning more in words, granted I don't know what most of them mean, but you can tell that she wanting to talk more. She loves sitting in her buggy, waving and chatting away to everyone. She'll give toys, books or food to people after passing her initial shyness, she's warm, joyful and I really don't want her to lose that.

Apologies for the lateness of this post, please refer to Colds, Conjunctivitis and Ear Infections