Should I stay or should I go?
This week has been a little out of the ordinary as I’ve been out of the house a lot more than usual.

On Monday we had to pick up my eldest from her work and take her to another hospital, it would have taken her an hour and half on the bus but we managed to get there in half hour by car.

On Tuesday I had my hospital appointment, such an awkward time 3.20pm right as the younger kids leave school. So hubby had to leave me there and go back for kids before coming back to pick me up.

Wednesday, it was eldest son’s turn. I had to take him to the bank and to pick up a parcel. He doesn’t get out much either, and doesn’t like going out without me.

Thursday I managed to rest and not go out, but I didn’t mind being stuck inside after such a busy week.

I do find it difficult going out and I tend to avoid it if I can. But I also get cabin fever staying in all the time. I think I’ve coped well this week, I’ve not suffered too much from going out. In fact the evening have been okay, it’s when I get into bed that the pain starts and I can’t get to sleep. My consultant has told me to increase my night time medication which does help me sleep. I’m going to do it tonight when I know I don’t have any early morning commitments tomorrow and I don’t have to worry about the effect lasting through the day.

I have decided that I need to get out more. It will become more difficult when it gets colder but as long as I wrap up warm I should be okay. (Although I’ll still need to avoid rain as much as I can.) I have not been to the local shops in ages. I used to pop over there all the time and all the shop keepers knew me, but now it’s hubby they have to deal with. So getting over the shops more is in the plan.

Also, I would like to do some supermarket shopping each week. I can’t do a full shop, it totally wears me out, but I could do a top up shop or go for fresher meat and vegetables than I get in my delivery. Honestly, some weeks  I can order five different types of meat and fish and they are all due to go out of date in three days…so I have to freeze some and it just doesn’t taste the same after being frozen.

I would also like a day out with hubby each week, maybe an National Trust property, or a market, or a pub lunch. Without the kids, just the two of us, sounds good! Maybe we could even just go down to the park and take my rollater with a seat so I can practice some outside walking.

I’ve already planned a day out with the kids for the half term break, we are going to carve pumpkins at a local farm. I think I’ll pick one of our local National Trust places for more activities and a second day out. The kids like to vegetate in the house too, but getting out and about is so much better for them and creates so many lovely memories. Most of my (very few) memories of my Dad are ones when he took me out for the afternoon. The park, the pub (With garden) and the bluebell woods, I remember them so well despite him passing away when I was only 8 yrs old. I want my kids to have those memories too.

So, what do you think, would you be happy if  you were stuck indoors day after day? Or would you push yourself to get out more even if it was uncomfortable and caused you further pain? I already know how I feel.

I shouldn’t stay, I should GO GO GO!

The Reading Residence

I need your help! 

But I’m not asking you to give it to me for free. I have a lovely little gift to give away to one lucky participant in my little blog reader survey. It’s so short it literally takes just a couple of minutes to complete. Then if you put your e-mail at the end I’ll enter you into my prize draw.

I am trying to learn more about people who read blogs, why do they read them, what are they looking for in a blog post and what makes them come back again. I want to create a blog reader persona and you can help me, even if you don’t really have much interest in blogs there must be something that brought you here today. It doesn’t matter if you read hundreds of blogs a day, or just one a month, I really want to hear from you. The questions are simple and multiple choice, so you just have to tick a box or boxes. And like I said, it really won’t take up much of your precious time.

Now what am I giving away as a prize?

How about some chocolates from Thorntons?

Thorntons are currently promoting their Autumn Collection of chocolate, toffee and fudge, perfect for when the nights start to draw in.

How about a lovely box of chocolate covered toffees. First gooey then chewy!

Or Maybe you are nuts about nuts and would prefer this lovely box of nuts and praline collection?

Can’t make up your mind? How about a classic collection where you can choose from Creamy fudge to Honeycomb, Coffee Truffle to Turkish Delight. Something for all tastes in this delicious selection.
Can’t decide? How about a perfect Autumn Bundle containing no less than Ten lovely selections to suit everyone’s taste.
Have I tempted your taste buds? Feel free to click through and take a look at what’s on offer but don’t forget to go through Top Cashback first. All links are my affiliate links but you can just visit the main Thorntons site if you want to browse through yourself.
So my dear chocolate (or toffee) lovers, this survey is very important to me but I know you are all really busy. That’s why I’m offering a box of Thorntons chocolates in return for your time in answering my questions. 
Strike that!! I’m going to be giving one lucky participant TWO boxes of Thorntons Chocolates! All you have to do is fill in my survey form below and enter your e-mail at the end for your entry. E-mail addresses will not be collected, they are purely for identification for the give away, so please don’t forget to fill it in if you want to enter.
 Please see details at end of post for how to enter. Prize draw ends 27th October.

COMPETITION ENDED.

A few Terms and Conditions:

  • UK Only (sorry)
  • Competition closes when survey ends on 27th October 2017
  • Prize is 2 boxes of Thorntons Chocolates
  • Prize may differ from items shown but will be of the same value
  • One winner will be chosen at random
  • Winner will be chosen by e-mail address left on survey form
  • E-mail addresses will be collected for competition purposes only, if you don’t leave your e-mail I cannot accept your entry but you can still fill in the survey form.
Remember, I can’t choose a winner unless you have left your e-mail address for identification. E-mails will not be collected for any other purpose.

Sorry, I’ve had to close the survey early, all entries so far are received and ready for the draw on the 27th. If you have only just arrived here and not yet entered then please feel free to leave a comment saying you wish to be entered. I can then rip your e-mail from the comment and no-one else will see it. You will need to comment and say you wish to enter so I can take your e-mail though as although I can see your e-mail it would be unfair for me to take it without your wish. All e-mails will be used for competition entry only.

If you did wish to subscribe to my blog you can do so using the bar at the top of the page or the section in the sidebar.

Choosing books for older children or teenagers can be a problem. When Star was little she’d be happy with any new book, now she’s a little more fussy and likes to choose her own reading. Sometimes, though, I come across something that would make a great addition to her library.
Insignificant Events in the life of a Cactus is a book that should amaze and delight any young reader.
Hardcover: 272 pages
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Sterling (7 Oct. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1454923458
ISBN-13: 978-1454923459
Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.3 x 20.1 cm

The Blurb

Aven Green didn’t lose her arms in an alligator wrestling match or a wildfire in Tanzania. That’s just what she tells people when she gets the “looks.”  The truth is Aven was born without arms, but, at age 13, that hasn’t’ stopped her from doing almost anything. Then her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown Western theme park in Arizona, and Aven has to leave everything she knows behind. 

Aven struggles to make friends at her new school, where the kids can’t seem to see past her missing arms. But her life takes another unexpected turn when she meets Connor, a Classmate who also feels isolated because of this own disability. Together, they discover an old storage shed at the park that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your fears. But Aven’s about to find out what she’s capable of….and how far from insignificant she is.

First Impressions 

The book is hardback with a cover which takes you straight into the wild west of Arizona. I love the cactus chapter numbers It’s a nice touch. Each chapter is only around six pages long so it’s very easy to read in short bursts which can be attractive to young readers. Watch out for the surprise picture in the back.

The Verdict

I couldn’t put this book down. Aven is like no character I’ve ever met in a book before and it’s not because she has no arms. She is charming, clever, inspirational, brave and very humorous. The story is in first person so we get to see all of Aven. She is human, she has feelings that can be hurt, she also notices other people that often get ignored. She’s sees the good in everyone and helps them to see it in themselves. She is far from insignificant.
The story revolves around Aven’s new life in a run down theme park in Arizona. Her adoptive parents are the ones that have taught Aven everything, but is there also some part of her birth mother in her too? 
I’d recommend this book to any young reader, whether they have a disability or not. It really makes you think about how other people are feeling. It’s also very inspiring to read how other people manage to do things that you could not imagine doing.

Star is now reading this book and she said she’s enjoying it a lot.

I received my review copy of Insignificant events in the life of a Cactus from The GMC Group
It will be available for purchase from 7th October 2017

Do you remember banker Selasi, a contestant on last year’s Great British Bake Off? This year he is supporting World Vision, a children’s charity, with their new ‘Share a Meal’ Campaign. How would you fancy sharing a meal yourself with star baker Selasi?


Win a meal for two with Selasi!

Love Great British Bakeoff, but having Selasi withdrawal symptoms? We can help. The Share A Meal competition gives you the chance to get up close and personal with the coolest baker. (And we’re not biased just because he’s a World Vision UK ambassador!)
If you’re missing seeing Selasi on screen, enter our Share a Meal photo competition for your chance to win a meal for you and a friend cooked by Selasi – and help vulnerable children at the same time. 

Post a picture of a Share a Meal event on Instagram and share it using the hashtag #ShareAMeal and tagging @WorldVisionUK to enter.
Terms and conditions are available: www.worldvision.org.uk/shareameal 

Star baker, Selasi – who recently visited the desperate children and families living in Uganda in Bidi Bidi, the world’s largest refugee settlement – is asking people to share a meal with friends and family and donate together to support World Vision’s work with the world’s vulnerable children. 
Following his visit, Selasi said: “It’s heartbreaking to see pain and hunger etched onto the faces of orphaned children and hear their harrowing stories of rape and violence. It is vital that, as a community, we come together to do what we can to help provide these kids with a better future.”
Hundreds of thousands of children are streaming into Uganda’s refugee settlements from a brutal civil war in neighbouring South Sudan. Many flee after seeing their parents murdered and walk for days or weeks without food or shelter. They hide in the bush during the day, moving at night to avoid being killed by fighting parties. They arrive at the border alone, traumatised and hungry.
World Vision is helping to feed children in the refugee settlements, find them foster families and give them a new start. However, global funding to tackle the humanitarian crisis is nowhere near enough and food supplies are running out. Children survive – just – for months on meagre rations of beans and flour. Far more must be done.
Tim Pilkington, World Vision UK CEO added: “World Vision UK feels strongly that we can’t stand by while children in Uganda go hungry or fail to grow because they don’t have enough good food. We are confident that through Share A Meal, we can help some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”
To find out more, visit worldvision.org.uk/shareameal

The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is an opportunity for growth

Last week I began this post and just couldn’t finish it. Things were not going well and being positive was far from my mind.
We had a pretty awful week including arguments, emergency hospital visits and many tears. The stress levels were through the roof, which is a big achievement in our three story house!

Now things have settled a little and we have a plan to prevent (hopefully) future breakdowns like this and I can look back and reflect. The bad things will get better, I’m sure, so I’m going to keep working on them and now look at the good things about last week.

  • The kids went back to school completely stress free and they all had a fabulous week
  • I focused on getting ready for my consultant appointment (Tomorrow) and I know exactly what I’m going to tell him and what treatment I expect. There is a choice of treatments so I’m feeling positive.
  • I had a gorgeous bouquet of flowers which, although they were for a review, they have really cheered me up with their lovely colours and beautiful fragrance
  • On a day when I felt I was hitting rock bottom, I let my friends know and they sent me loads of love and support.
  • I’ve been out twice, once with hubby and the other time with hubby and the kids. It always makes me feel better to get out of the house. ( I could say three times, but I’m focusing on the good things so the hospital visit doesn’t count.) 
  • I have my holiday voucher so I’m going to book next years summer holiday. I’ve already decided where we are going (South Devon) and we are going for a full week instead of a mid week break, and we are going in the Summer holiday instead of Whitson. (Although we do tend to have really nice weather at Whitson which is never guaranteed in summer.) 
So, despite having a really rotten week, I can still find the positives. These little things that don’t solve my problems but give me hope and happiness. 

What do you do when life throws you lemons?

When stressed I also have things that keep me calm and happy and stop my mind from going into overdrive. These include;
  • Crochet. I like to make small things so I get my achievement sooner. I love amigurumi which is a Japanese term for small stuffed creatures. 
  • Colouring. I have a plethora of colouring books which meet my every need, I also have many pens and pencils but I do like pencils best.
  • Reading. I have trouble reading because it gives me headaches and I tend to fall asleep, but a good book takes me away into another world and I love that. I’ve read nearly two books this past week.
  • Baking. Although I do have trouble with this now I do still love to bake and really enjoyed making bread last week.
All these things help me to practice mindfulness. The times I am engrossing myself in these activities I am focusing on them purely and everything else doesn’t matter. This teaches me to be in the moment. what ever has happened in the past has happened and there is nothing you can do to change it, whatever happens in the future hasn’t happened yet, so you can’t do anything about that either. The only thing you can do is live in the present and whatever you do right now is what is most important, so make every day count.

An awful week may have happened but it’s past now and today is a new day, today I managed to finish this post!

Every morning we are born again. what we do today is what matters most.

School Runs and Shopping Trolleys

Debs Random Writings

Photo by Madison Nickel on Unsplash