The busy- mum-do-gooders’ Bloggy Blog – The reason why . . . .

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So by anyone’s standards I’m a pretty busy lady, a full time working mum of two young girls who in her spare time likes to organise the occasional fund raiser to help those in need. It was like an epiphany when I decided to embark on my first event. After following the tragic story of murdered MP Jo Cox, a mum who went to work one day and didn’t come home to her young boys, it broke my heart. I saw her very brave widow Brendan Cox asking everyone to ‘Get Together’ in memory of his wife, I turned to my husband and declared ‘I love a party let’s do a Get Together!’ He rolled his eyes in a gesture of here she goes again but replied with ‘Go On Then’. The idea was born. I wanted to create a day to remember a special woman, bring the community together and make it accessible to all – so it had to be free too. Having always been the one who liked to keep my head well below the parapet I raised my head high above it and got cheeky and within just a few days I had a line-up of local artists, lovely raffle prizes a volunteer face painter and a way to raise money for a bouncy castle with the help of local We Shall Overcome founder Ste Goodall. I then put it out there on social media and asked if those attending could bring a donation however small on the day for the local Food Bank (a cause championed by Jo Cox). The response was amazing, and the day went far beyond what I had imagined it would for a day of music, games and togetherness. Afterwards people praised me on what had been a wonderful day and asked what I’d be doing next! At that point I hadn’t thought about it but a few days later it hit me . . . An alternative ladies’ night! Music, Boozy teapots, a fashion show (That story is a blog all of its own – what was I thinking ha!) and a chance for local female run businesses to showcase what they do: Women Shall Overcome was a reality (under the umbrella of anti austerity movement We Shall Over Come) another free event but this time raising donations of toiletry and hygiene products for homeless women –  By far my most ambitious party idea to date!! With the help of the lovely Louise Nulty at the studio we pulled off one of the most fun, heart-warming, informative and supportive female lead celebration of Female Empowerment the town had seen and raised tonnes of sanitary, toiletry and practical donations to be distributed to 3 homeless charities in the area. Again it was really hard work and a little bit stress full but I loved every minute!!!! So I get asked time and time again, why do I do it and the reasons are really simple:

  •    The sense of achievement is out of this world and will Hopefully leave my girls a legacy that they too can have a go and do anything they want:  Leading up to both events I have been involved in up to now there has been a bizarre chain of emotions from ‘I’ve got such and exciting idea’ to ‘Oh my word what have I done, I will never pull this off!’. When the sleepless nights kick in and no matter how many things are ticked off the to do list it keeps growing and to top it off you’re not even getting paid for it, your family and friends will quite rightly question your sanity, but once you pull it off and get the pats on the back, and a well done it feels good and what feels even better is the two pairs of little eyes looking up saying ‘ that’s my Mum’. I have included my daughters in my charity events and explained to them the reasons why we look to help those in need and if I’m the littlest bit lucky this will be a mindset they can take into adulthood and make the world a little bit better.

 

  • The warm feeling in your tummy when you see all the amazing things people donate and do for a good cause:   Somedays you can send yourself around the proverbial bend thinking of all the things that need changing in this world to the point the logical solution is .. . . there is so much to do and just a little old me what can I do I’ll leave it to someone else! But the truth is if we all just did a tiny little bit and come together that is when we really make a difference, really make a change and finally get our voices heard together – when you do just a little something and see how people get on board and want to do good too it really does leave you feeling a little bit fuzzy inside.

 

 

  • The People you meet:   Everyday we are out there meeting and mixing with new people . . .and I’ll let you in to a secret . . I love it.  Meeting new people, finding out what makes them tick and just how different, and just how the same we all really are! Sometimes though we come across a person or people who make us momentarily stop in our tracks and have a little re think about just how we are living our lives. They make us stand up a bit straighter, listen a little more carefully and live our lives just a little bit better. Then on some even rarer occasions someone comes along who makes you think ‘Wow I wish I could be like that’ people who are consistent in their selflessness and seem to touch the hearts and minds of those around them  . . .I came across this such a person and her two daughters recently. When  putting together my most recent event,  Hearts4homeless were brought to my attention through the power of Facebook, a mother and daughter team who spend their spare time going out meeting with the homeless of Liverpool providing food, toiletries, blankets and most importantly a listening ear. They tirelessly spread the word of those in need, referring to every single person they meet as their friend and looking for new ways to  get people involved and raise the much needed donations of food, toiletries and dog food that are not accessible to those in need on our streets.

 

 

So now I’m am thinking about what to do for my next project to help those most in need so WATCH THIS SPACE!!

External links for more information:

https://www.facebook.com/Hearts4homeless.16/

https://www.facebook.com/weshallovercomeweekend/

https://www.facebook.com/jocoxmoreincommon/

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A weekend in politics for a rebel without a clue 🤗🤗

 

I attended the Labour Women’s conference over the weekend. This will be surprising to many people I know and yet seemingly unsurprising to many others. It was a great weekend for lots of many different reasons. I found the weekend to be empowering, uplifting and very informative.

I haven’t come from a political background, and up until recent years did not have much opinion or thoughts on political matters. I voted the party my Mum did who voted the party her Dad did. I remembered there being much excitement in our area when Tony Blair was voted in and the cries of Woe when the Tories gained control once more in 2010 but besides this I didn’t know much more. It was never discussed in school, even less in the workplace as a young woman starting out- unless it was with guffaws and jokes from the men and I suppose I allowed myself to get in the mindset that it was nothing really to do with me!

My interest began to be piqued around the time of the campaigning for the Brexit referendum. People who before had never really seemed to take an interest were animated and forthright in their opinions. Daily headlines and news reports rolled out cheap laughs at politicians and sensationalised points from every side. No one seemed to know what Brexit would bring but everyone had an opinion, then on the 16th of June the unthinkable happened. A bright lovely Mum of two, recently appointed MP for Batley and Spen was murdered. This stopped me in my tracks. A woman, similar age to me with 2 young children, the same as me had her life snubbed out so senselessly. It affected me profoundly in many ways. What legacy was I leaving for my children? How could I try and make things better the same as this woman had done and how could I find out more about what makes our country tick?

A lot to wade through by anyone’s standards. I started to look locally what really mattered to me that I wanted to try to do to make things a little better for my girls. Inspired by the Jo Cox legacy I thought about ways to bring the community together and looked at issues causing isolation and feelings of despondency.

I began to think about my passions, and what I thought I could do. I loved bringing people together and I wondered if there was a way I could use this to help in particular for those using food banks and those facing period poverty. I decided to run events to raise donations for these causes and this led me on an extraordinary journey.

I began to reach out to the community and met wonderful people. Those involved in the setting up and running of the food banks. Those with their own tales of suffering and difficulty. Those dedicated to volunteering and giving. I was both heart warmed and and saddened in equal measures …… surely something had to be done but who would do it? Was politics the answer to make change? Hearing from others we had to ‘get the tories out’ and ‘end austerity!’ To make the changes so desperately needed.

When I signed up to go to the Women’s annual labour conference I’m not too sure what I was expecting but I knew I wanted to find out more. It’s fair to say I did. Firstly what an amazing mix. The

Youngest attending delegate at just 15 and the eldest 84. Just looking around I

Loved the mix of young and old, funky and more traditional looking. And as I sat over a brew I really loved that serious debate and conversation was taking place in every corner.

A highlight was Dawn Butler’s speech, it was funny, inspiring and rousing giving a glimpse to a future with real practical change to benefit everyday families. Plus a nod to Dolly Parton using the lyrics of 9 to 5 to highlighting our outdated work methods – what’s not to like?

Who knows how much change we will see and how soon but my dalliance with the world of politics has definitely taught me the following things:

1. Start em young! It took me to become a Mum and get to the wrong side of my 30’s before I took a real interest in how changes can be made even in my local area. I know there is a lot to be said for gaining life experience but the younger we get the next generation to take accountability and want to make a positive contribution the better in my mind. I think more education in schools and more readily information for how young people can get involved in their local community is needed more than ever. Along with a culture shift around the Idea that you have to fit a certain mold to get involved.

2. Everyday is a school day. You are never to old to learn. At nearly 40 years of age I thought my brain sponging days were done! Oh no my friends the event taught me things at every turn and made me question even more. Even though I do believe there is a place for better education about the our political system and ways to inspire people from a younger age to make a change never be put off starting out if your older …….. we all have our dishes to bring to the table and life experience is a wonderful thing!

3. The power of women. I know this is something I bang on about a lot but the overall feel for the entire weekend was of support and compassion. No opinion or idea poo pooed even when met with opposition. I have long since said the old stereo type of women catfighting and insulting is well and truly dead and this weekend once again proved this to be absolutely true!

So all in all I think it’s fair to say I enjoyed my toe dip into the world of politics. Who knows if it will lead to anything else but it has certainly given me much food for thought and some very interesting ideas. If your a woman and you’ve been thinking of finding out more here’s some links to a couple of great non party affiliated sites you can check out 😊✌️

https://5050parliament.co.uk/about/

http://www.parliamentproject.co.uk/

Inspired to inspire ….

Shout it out ……

This time last year I posted my very first blog post about my foray into organising fundraisers and community events as a hobby and the reasons why. This year having embarked on the same crazy journey again for the second time I feel the need to comment once more on the absolute amazingness of the women of my town and shout about their awesomeness !

First of all Louise nulty the absolute backbone of widnes’ creative hub and probably the calm to my storm! Sometimes in life you meet people who get what your trying to achieve even when you don’t quite know how to articulate it yourself! Louise is definitely one of those people. When I first went to her with the idea for women shall over come (probably a little bit drunkenly after the regular Stand up at the Studio night) I had a list of things I wanted to achieve, a fashion show, live acts, a chance for women’s voices to be heard, helping local charities and cocktails …….. it did not sound like a well thought out plan! But rather than run me to the hills the idea was embraced and nurtured and between us we pulled off an amazing night for which I can’t thank her enough! Louise has been actively involved in community projects for many years encouraging everyone from all walks to explore creative ideas and express themselves.

Number 2 on my list is the too talented Kirstie Atherton of Frank and Biscuit. Someone I have known for many many years as a childhood friend of her sister. Her creativity knows no bounds having shown total genius in other creative aspects before embarking on her journey as a bone fide real life designer and dress maker under the guise of Frank and Biscuit. Kirstie truly has an eye for the unique and beautiful whilst maintaining a passion for empowering her customers by making them feel good about themselves. Again I quite out of blue got in touch with Kirstie with the idea of the fashion show …. talk about biting off more than you can chew!! But between us we pulled it off – a beautiful moment, primarily down to Kirstie’s designs it has to be said, but also filled with music, madness and making some wonderful women (who were all volunteers) feel amazing getting to strut their stuff on the catwalk!!

One of the best parts of Women Shall Overcome is the people we meet who are involved in the local charities we give the donations raised to! This year it was an absolute pleasure to have 3 ladies representing and talking about their charities. We had Fran from Brennan Lodge who I have met several times and has such a genuine compassion for the service users she works with. Fran runs a temporary accommodation home in Widnes, where men and women often end up because they have absolutely no where to go other than the streets. Fran’s passion for helping her residents find a way to become and more importantly feel like a valued member of society really shines through! Then we had a lovely lady called Louise who has stated the Widnes Red Box Project. Louise runs her own business yet has made it her mission to put a Red Box in every business place in the town to be filled and placed in schools and places where young girls can then access the donated products for free in a bid to eliminate missed education days due to period poverty! Finally we had Terri the founder of Nightstop in Halton. A charity that has been going for many years now providing support and temporary accommodation for young adults between 16 and 25 as well as offering other support services for mental health and other issues faced by young people locally. Terri has been receiving well deserved recognition for all her hard work and dedication having been nominated for several awards this year. The purpose for this unabashed, unashamed shout out is not so people think oh isn’t that nice! ALL of these women have qualities I admire and there are a whole lot more women I could be shouting about too!!

In times previous we were made to feel ashamed of admitting what we admire in others, caught up in the myth that we are all only interested in gossip and criticising and dragging each other down! Well I know from experience this is not the case, I have found that women coming together are supportive and empowering, willing to point out each other’s strengths whilst offering support in areas some may have felt weakness. And I have also learned that when I see something in someone I admire rather than resent or feel bad in comparison I just make it my aim try and take on more of the characteristics I admire! I look at everyone around me as lessons to be learned and hope that someday, somewhere there will be a little bit of something some one sees in me maybe that makes them want to do something a little bit different too! In the meantime I will continue to champion and shout out for my sex thanking my lucky stars these strong empowering women are around to inspire me and others 😊 peace out ✌️

Ps: If you want to find out any more about the stuff these inspirational women are up to or involved in check out the links below!

http://www.frankandbiscuit.co.uk

http://www.nightstopcommunitiesnorthwestcic.co.uk/

Brennan Lodge – Home | Facebookhttps://m.facebook.com › Places › Widnes

The Red Box Projectredboxproject.org

It’s nice to be nice ….

So a funny thing has happened to me since I starting getting involved in putting my little events on In the local community …. people remark on the good work I do and say things like ‘oh what your doing is so good I wish I had your energy’ so I’m going to let into a few little secrets no 1) – the good work I supposedly do is really only as good as the people who get involved and donate …. without them there’s really no do gooding at all!

And no 2) – I really,really enjoy it! It’s like a hobby to be honest! Some of the events I’ve done have worked really well and some not so much but I’ve enjoyed every bit!

One thing sooo many people have said is that they wish they had the time or the energy to do some do gooding …… well here’s three easy do gooder tasks you can do no matter how short on time, energy or money You might be that can give you that warm gooey feeling in your tummy that do- gooding does!

1 volunteer ) whoah i hear you all say I’m soooooo busy I can’t possibly volunteer! But seriously take a look at what’s going on in your local area. Loads of events and groups are looking for people to just give a few hours here and there or as a one off. And let me tell you something it feels good to know you’ve given your time and made a difference ……. whether you give one hour or one week your contribution has meant something much bigger can happen!

2 Donate to the local Foodbank ) I know this is a cause I talk about a lot but it is something I feel particularly passionate about! It is so simple to give to the food banks as most supermarkets and banks and other shops all have drop off points. When doing the weekly shop just buying a few extra items you will barely feel the pinch …. and this is definitely an instance of every little helps because if we all just donate these few items it makes a massive practical difference to those in need!

3 pay a compliment ) We are bombarded with negativity from the media it’s sometimes hard to out a positive spin on things. People are so quick to complain but if you see/hear something that you think deserves a well done, or that looks nice or just a big fat thank you ….. say it! It’s always nice to hear something nice and positive about the way to do something, or the way you look, or even how you’ve made some one feel if you’ve made their day a little better even in just those few moments it’s just always nice to hear something nice 😊

So my challenge to anybody reading this is to try doing one of the above and see how it makes you feel …. and when you tell people about it you might just inspire them to do something good too xx

Happy do gooding everyone!

You got the love…..

So as we approach this year’s Great Get Together I can feel the stress levels start to increase. I’ve taken on a slightly heftier task this year with more going on than last year so more to co ordinate but I have to say I am super lucky that this year lots of people have agreed to help out and give some time to ensure the day goes smoothly. It is something I really struggle with when talking about the events I’m involved in is…. using the term ‘I’ and I have often been pulled up and asked ‘well who’s the we’. The we is EVERYONE who gets involved. The artists giving their time for free,volunteers helping on the day and those who come along, get involved and bring any donations they can! But I have to take this opportunity to give a huge shout out to my husband without whom I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things I’m so passionate about! And please don’t take this as a cheap shot for me to gush ‘oh my husbands better than yours’ because ladies I still have to remind him to pick up his socks and put the toilet seat down and he always complains I don’t ball up his socks ( yes I know WTAF who’s got time for that!!). Plus we still have days when the exhaustion causes us to be snappy and sometimes a little bit mean ….., but I know I’m lucky to have someone who encourages me and our two girls to be strong females ( err yeah let’s see if he’s still as keen when they hit their teens 🙈). He never puts down my crazy ideas and keeps me off the Ceiling when my stress levels reach mountainous peaks! So this is a shout out to him and all the other husbands, boyfriends, brothers, Dads and friends who support and encourage their strong women too! 😊 I know I am lucky and that others may not have the support I do so this is my big fat thank you 🙏 xxx

A flexible friend ……..

I’ve seen a lot recently about flexible working for women! Those who know me will remember after a particularly rubbish experience going back to work after baby number two I found d myself out in the big bad world looking for a job with two young children. On one instance I went for a job interview which went really really well ….. you know one of them where they are basically telling you you’ve got the job but they can’t ‘tell’ you? Before we wrapped up I told the interviewer Some what tentatively I had two young children so some flexibility to working hours would be great to allow school drop offs etc as I knew their core hours were 8 till 5, to which he immediately replied ‘ ah yes we have a flexible working policy don’t you worry!’ Brilliant I thought and trotted off awaiting my call to duty!

Low and behold the call did come and I was offered the job ….. yippee and with such a forward thinking company to have a flexible working policy to help mums get into work! As we were confirming the offer details I broached the subject of hours. I’d worked out plans whereby I could reduce the hours or consolidate some hours working later some days…..ah yes I’ve spoken to Hr instead of working 8 till 5 with an hour lunch we would be able to let you do 8.30 till 5 each day with a 30 minute lunch break……….. WHAT? Errrrr that’s not very ‘flexible’ !!! So I was left with the option of putting the children into breakfast club meaning in my first hour I’d earn the grand some of around minus £9.50!! Or turn it down and continue my search!? I turned it down.

Companies love to boast about their ‘flexible’ working policies but when it comes to actually putting these things Into practice there is such a reluctance to explore ideas and working patterns that could actually work for families…… not just Mums but Dad’s being able to opt for more flexible working patterns to share the load too!! Well that’s my rant over. It’s because of tales like this I’m thrilled to be volunteering at the upcoming Pregnant than Screwed event on the 12th of May ….. see link below!

I’m pleased to say I am now working for a lovely company who do appreciate the difficulties of balancing work and family life and do actually understand what the word flexible means!! 😊

https://www.pregnantthenscrewedlive.com/

Remember why……..

I again am writing this post after a rather lengthy break as I have been chocka block organising the Great Get Together at the Snig … Mark 2!!!! How bloody exciting 😊 This year has been amazing as so many people have wanted to get involved due to the success of last year’s event so we are set to be even bigger and better! What I have found this time round though was early on in the year when I first began to put the wheels in motion I got so hung up on the logistics and how I could improve on last year that the reason I embarked on this crazy idea in the first place seemed to get a bit lost and the passion behind why I wanted to bring the community together and raise donations and awareness for the foodbanks wasn’t burning as brightly …… so I took a big step back and revisited the ideals that had struck me so much last year! I’ll admit in some ways I feel more part of our community than ever as I’ve been so blessed to make many new friends and wonderful connections but have things improved any in general from this time last year…… and seemingly it has not! Already this year we have been told to hate the Russians, approve of bombing the Syrians and tighten our belts whilst even more of our taxes are literally taken out of the mouths of babes with the axing of over 24000 free school meals in Merseyside alone! Knife crime is a daily occurrence in our capital city as people are more divided and desperate than ever before and our foodbanks are forever on the look out for donations to in an attempt to keep up with demand! So more than ever now we need a day to forget the hatred and divisions in our communities and to all come together for one common purpose to enjoy, support and where we can give to our neighbours in need!

I hope we can achieve this in even just the smallest way at our Great Get Together this year and want to thank absolutely everyone who has got involved this year to make it the wonderful day I just know it’s going to be!! If you would like to mow more about what’s happening on the day or get involved take a look the the Great Get Together at The Snig Facebook page 😊

Once the veil has lifted …

So on this night that is the eve of International Women’s day I am sat listening to some great female led music on the radio and my mind wanders to the past 12 months since the last international Women’s day and what has happened in my life in between! The first thing that pops in my mind is that this time last year ….. I was Probably barely aware of international women’s day. Although in the recess of my brain somewhere I have a vague recollection of mentioning this in the male management heavy office I was working in at the time and was met with titters and sarcastic comments about the very idea of celebrating women! Looking back this was perhaps the start of my veil being lifted.

This was probably the start of me wanting to embark on a personal journey of empowerment.

What I mean by this is that over the past 12 months or so I feel as though very thin layer by layer a veil has been lifted from my eyes making me look on life very differently than before! Some of these beliefs and ideas had been simmering somewhere but once certain understandings are in your head …. you can’t switch them back off again! These are the ideas that have encouraged to embark on activities and events that were born from a passion that something wasn’t right! One such understanding has been about feminism and the crazy perceptions people still have about what being a feminist is! And another is the discrimination and blatant harassment that is happening each and every day! A lot of this has been down to the media coverage such as the me too campaign and the momentum that has been gathered around women standing up together united in wanting to be heard and treated with respect. I truly believe in the idea of feminism, fighting for equality for all and noting that this does not need to be at the detriment of men but inclusive for all! For me international women’s day should be a day to remember and celebrate great women of the past of course but should also be a celebration of women now, coming together and empowering each other in today’s modern world, not just those blazing the trail but those who support the trail blazers be them women or men! Those who spend every day nudging people’s ideas and perceptions of how it should be without grand gestures and help to lift the layers of the veil like mine so I turn can help others lift theirs. This is why I am looking to start a women’s group in my area for women like me, looking for support and encouragement to get involved in things that matter to them and show that when us girls get together great things truly can happen 😀💪

What is a feminist any way?

A feminist is someone who supports equal rights for women. (www.vocabulary.com)

Definition of feminist – a person who supports feminism. (en.oxforddictionaries.com)

Feminism – The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. (en.oxforddictionaries.com)

As we approach the centenary of women first winning the vote I have been considering why there are still so many struggles for women today. I have pondered the question of what is a feminist for a very long time and had my own ideas of what I thought symbolised feminism and have on many occasions considered myself to be a bit of a feminist. Strangely though it is still a word with connotations of burly angry man hating women who don’t shave their arm pits in some kind of strange protest against society and so when making a statement of being a feminist I’m often met with rolling of the eyes and a knowing “mmmm whatever silly lady” look.

When I was younger, through school and college, I naively believed we were all afforded the

same opportunities in learning and that anything boys could do girls could too! To some extent I still believe that women and men can aspire to be anything but it’s the subtle ways of society that steer us in certain directions that causes such a big difference in aspirations. I also now realise that the real extent of the differences really come to light when decisions around starting a family come into play. I directly experienced this negative treatment, when I decided to start a family – I was overlooked for training, prevented from progressing while male counterparts did so and ultimately lost my job to my maternity cover. Having experienced this and being the mother to two daughters I have felt drawn to finding out more about modern feminism and how prolific sexism and inequality still is today. If we look at the definition of feminism I don’t think anybody would have an issue defining themselves in this way but in a poll in the Uk in 2016 only 7 per cent of Britons actually identified themselves as being a feminist ( The Telegraph 2016 Fawcett Society Poll). This gives proof to the fact that there are still negative connotations around the word.

In October last year I was involved in putting on an event called ‘women shall overcome’ it was done with the purpose of raising toiletries and donations for homeless and struggling women in the local community, and when putting it together we decided to make it a celebration of all things female, we had representatives from WASPI, local female entrepreneurs and female artists and the atmosphere was electric. Women are amazing when they pull together and support each and show that anything is possible. I truly believe that as we embark on this centenary year of suffrage landmarks there is a real shift in feminist belief and power. The long overdue fall from grace of Harvey Weinstein will hopefully have men in all types of business think of the treatment, comments and slurs they have allowed ( and often encouraged) in their own places of Work. I can personally pay testament to negative and crude comments I have endured over the years for fear of being a ‘prude’ or not ‘one of the boys’! When in truth I’m neither of these things nor want to be I just wanted to be treated as an equal in a society where this meant hanging your own standards out to dry!

This is why groups like Pregnant then Screwed who I have been an avid follower of are so important and why this year I will be looking to connect with more those people who were inspired and encouraged by women shall overcome to work together in supporting women and men in need in our community! So let’s make 2018 the year

that women really do rock the world xxx

http://www.pregnantthenscrewed.com

The real gift of giving ….

So I have been told that I need to be wary of becoming too boring with my blogging (Thank you husband!!) and had decided not to write any more posts until after Christmas but after a wonderful morning spent with the lovely folk who volunteer as part of the Trinity Kings Cross project I really felt the need!

After the wonderful feedback from the Women Shall Overcome event I talked to Louise Nulty about doing something else to give back to the local community she told me about a project she helps out with through the Trinity Kings Cross Project with a group of lovely volunteers who collect food and gifts to go out to families most in need in the Halton Area. These are lovely sprightly warm volunteers who tirelessly work year on year to ensure that families in Halton who otherwise would be facing a bleak Xmas dont go without and received an unexpected treat of much needed food, some treats and gifts so that they too get to feel the Christmas spirit.

I went along wondering what I would be expected to do and was thrilled to find my self in a real worker bee hub, a hive of activity, really well organised and all taking seriously the work towards getting amazing gift packages from Kind donations of food gifts and money from people in the local area. As dawn French would say these people are in their autumn/winter-years but I must say the energy and drive puts most young people I know to shame and without any payment except the feeling that they did their bit! I loved how we all worked as a conveyor of people packing, unwrapping counting and checking to ensure no families parcel went without. I stopped one of the ladies to ask about how they began the undertaking of this mammoth task and was promptly told off for chatting instead of packing, in a good natured way of course and this just reinforced for me the seriousness with which these people took the task at hand ….. and I loved it!

To pinch Louise Nulty’s sentiment it felt great to do something for no other reason than to give some time to help others ( even in such a small way). It got me thinking about all the volunteers who tirelessly give their time, not to gain praise, notoriety or money and gifts but just to ensure those less fortunate are helped in some way. These are the heroes we should be shouting about at Christmas giving the acknowledgment deserved for what they do to help others…… my worry though? That life is so busy and hectic that in the future people may not feel the need to give their time and that’s why I want to shout from the rooftops about the wonderful work these people do and that if you really want something special for Christmas the warm fuzzy feeling you get from giving some time and being around such lovely people is something money can’t buy and will stay with you for a long time after Christmas Day has been and gone!

Too busy being busy ?!?!

So as I have said previously I am a pretty busy Mum…… as we all are! And what comes with that as I am sure sooooo many of you are aware is that one or two of the plates that are spinning fall off and smash!

Well I had a bit of a smasher today, I am very, very fortunate that my husband and I have very supportive parents who help us out immensely when it comes to childcare. We have a pretty good system going were by they share the school pickups two days a week each. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t have same support and we will be eternally grateful. However, as a ‘busy’ mum there is still an element of logistical planning involved ensuring all the children are picked up at all the right times well today I kinda c*cked it up!

Very kindly people have been passing items onto me to go to the Homeless Charity I have been trying to help out a little by getting their name out there and raising donations for them when I can. I promised that I would get these items over to them today ( Plus I think my husband was getting a bit sick of looking at the ever increasing pile of stuff) So I arranged to go with another friend so we could take them and some food to all go out on the rounds tonight. When I made this arrangement I :

1) forgot my youngest daughter only does half a day at nursery on this particular day of the week

2) forgot the Grandparents were having a bit of a swap around on their pick up days due to prior arrangements and :

3) as always completely underestimated the time it would take to get to the drop off point and back (a bit of a recurrent theme in my life I’m afraid).

So as I was jauntily on my mini road trip to drop off the donations the realisation of number 3 first came to mind so I put my pragmatic head on and phoned my brother to see if he could be at the nursery for 12 and hold the fort entertaining my youngest until such time as I would return – all in hand I thought. At 12.08 I arrived at the nursery and when I pulled over I had a missed call from one of the grandparents so I called back…….OOOPS. Somewhere in the crossed wires and whilst I was off good deeding and oblivious 2 x  Grandmas 1 x Grandad and an uncle to boot ( I’m

Sure there’s a tune to that!) had all turned up at 12 o clock like the welcoming committee to collect one very happy (to see everyone) 3 year old. Yikes did I get a ticking off for wasting everyone’s time! On a plus note though I was happier that my royal c*ock up meant everyone had shown up rather than no one I suppose?

It got me thinking about the speed at which we are all living our lives. Do we ever take time to just be? I spent the next few hours really beating myself up about the mistake I had made, was I a rubbish mum taking on too much, would things be easier if I didn’t have to work, am I putting on the Grandparents too much? Should I lay off the good deeds? But the truth is I like so many other people have no choice but to be living their lives a million miles a minute just to keep up!

I’ve said time and time again that due to the government pushing up the cost of living so high there is very little chance these days for women to be a stay at home mum. Then the distinct lack of support for parents when they do go back to work mean more than ever we are relying on Grandparents to pick up the childcare.

Everywhere I look at the minute I see people struggling, increases in homelessness and food bank usage, more people depressed and suffering anxiety and this is why I keep trying to do just a little bit to help. The thing is i don’t think it will ever stop growing or stop getting worse. I do think if we all do a little bit together surely we can make things a bit better but does this come at too big of a cost to ourselves and what’s the alternative if we don’t? We live in an age where we are bombarded with images created to make us spend money we might not have and make us feel that we are worth less than everybody else if we don’t! Surely what makes us better people is what we do for others and time we spend doing this not money? So although I’m going to do my best to avoid any future logistical issues I’m going to continue spending what little time I can spare thinking of ways to help others and who’s picking up the children from where rather than the next gadget I could buy!