Friday, 19 October 2012

Do you know the 5 signs of Breast Cancer?

On Tuesday I was tagged by @kateonthinice on her blog, via Britmums, to raise awareness of Breast Cancer. I wasn't on twitter during the day, I was attending the funeral of my Aunty Pat who bravely fought (for several years) and eventually lost her battle with Breast Cancer. I didn't know there were 5 signs...did you? I just thought I'd notice a lump. Anyway nothing more to say other than check your boobs. 1. Itchy, sore, or reddened breasts 2. Upper back pain 3. Nipple changes 4. A change in the shape or size of one breast 5. Pain, swelling, or a lump in your armpit There are 3 things I want you to do Head to: for your FREE guide on touching, looking and checking your breasts. Share that link to help raise awareness of breast cancer signs. Join in the Twitter party on Friday this week (19th October 2012) from 1-2pm with @BreakthroughBC and @BritMums Write a blog post about breast cancer and link it up here. If you can tag your blogger friends to do the same, that will be very much appreciated too.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

There for the Grace of God, go I.....

As I write this I don't know if April Jones is alive or dead. Either way the outcome is and will be for a very long time a tragedy for those around her and for her to deal and live with. A while ago I was asked to take part in Blogging for Madeline. You can read my post here about how many times I lost my children whilst on holiday and on day trips. I'm not proud to report I've ever lost my kids, but things happen, you cannot be in control of your children 24/7. I tweeted this, this morning 'I think I'm a good parent, educated, married, stable life....I've lost my kids numerous times, don't judge #apriljones #thereforthegrace...' 'Remember the place you live is different from everyone else, we've raised kids in country, towns and abroad #apriljones' 'Don't judge people by your values & standards as there is always someone ready to judge you and you'll say they're not justified #apriljones' I also replied to someone that I didn't think 7pm was too late for a 5 year old to be playing outside. I had a mixed response. To me allowing a child to roam free is going to end up in trouble, whatever age they are, wherever they live and regardless of the family situation. But then I know a lot of parents who never gave their children any freedom or responsibility and they've turned out......well we all know someone, we all disagree with how other people raise their kids, but do we ever stop for a minute and think about our parenting, the decisions we make? So your child has tea at someone else's house and they come home and tell you 'mummy, my friends mum said I could have pudding if I ate all my food, but I didn't like the food mummy and she gave her daughter pudding but I didn't get any' Honestly? You'd be aghast, you'd complain, you'd tell all the mums in the playground, you may even approach the parent and you'd certainly not let your daughter go play there again. Or are you the type of parent that would be aghast if your child was given pudding after they left their food? Same response no doubt? I'm a child of the 70's I remember growing up in a cul de sac up North and clearly recall playing outside in the summer when it was dark, walking the mile each way to school with my friends, we moved South when I was 11. When I had my kids I moved to a cul de sac, in the country, the only community apart from the Doctors and shop was this cul de sac, opposite the school, we took it in turns to take the kids to school, we had a walking bus (without the hassles) I lived there from 1993-2002 when I left my kids were aged 10, 7 and 3. They played outside in the late afternoons, early evenings with the other children, they climbed over the gates and the walls and you often fed extra kids or yours came home with an ice cream from one of the neighbours, they crossed the road to the park in groups, the older girls collected the baby in his pram and took him for walks. I'd spend hours in the woods calling the children in for dinner. When we moved in 2002 we moved to a town, we lived on a street, 7 miles from a city, a ten minute walk from the main line from Birmingham to London. We opened our front door and launched our kids into their new surroundings and they limped home as no one was out, kids just didn't go out to play, the park was empty apart from a few older teenagers on the swings. School told me that my kids were too street wise for their ages and it intimidated some of the other children. My kids are angels, but they ain't trouble either, a few spats over the years, a couple of fights and a few visits from the police about things my children witnessed, but weren't involved in. I worked for 15 years as a youth worker, inner city and in the country, there are good and bad kids wherever you go and that means there are good and bad children. You just don't know how a bad parent could have such a well adjusted kid and vice versa, but it happens. Twitter is full of critism for the parents of missing April Jones, people are judging the family by their own upbringing, their values and standards and it's just not on. Tell me what do you think of a young woman having a child out of wed lock, barely out of her teens, her child has never seen his Father, the mother could walk past him in the street after 20 years and not recognise him. She then lives off a few government benefits, sticks him in a creche and works, marries, has two further kids then leaves her husband, the youngest child only a year old and soon after sets up house with a new bloke and his two kids? Do you identify or more likely do you judge? I know that woman and her kids are well adjusted, been to college, left home to follow good careers, call her up when they need help, have set up savings accounts and pensions, talk to her when they need things and ask for help. Tonight, I, that woman get on a plane to go and spend 3 weeks with those children. They don't think I'm a bad mum, I don't think I'm a bad mum, but some people do because they don't know, they only choose to see things the way the media portrays people. So don't judge April Jones's family, don't even judge the family of the man who has been arrested.......there are bad people everywhere and there for the grace of God, go I.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Supporting people with disabilities in South Africa

I'm cheating a bit with this post by adding to a blog thats had over 3,500 hits since I posted it in October last year. The reason for doing this is because I've sold the original bags and I've made some more. If you want to buy a bag click here for more info.

So what happens to your money when you buy a bag?
How does buying a bag help people with disabilities in South Africa?

I don’t work, I volunteer and volunteering costs me money. But where can I get the money from to assist with my volunteer work and just what exactly do I buy with the money raised by selling bags?

To start off with there are NO personal expenses, No fuel allowance. I give my time and transport costs willingly.

Volunteering gets me out, it starves off the depression, it allows me to integrate, learn the culture, the language, make friends, explore new places.

I ‘m a volunteer with Santa Shoebox. I am the sub coordinator for Pretoria and this is my 3rd year with them.  I don’t fundraise for them, just help with promotion, collection and distribution of boxes at Christmas time. Every Celebration day I attend, I bake cup cakes for each child at the facilities and if I identify a need I can meet and resources are available then I assist. But I do this outside of Santa Shoebox, as in I’m not representing them when I bake my cakes or meet their needs.

Through Santa Shoebox I have become involved with 2 organisations that I volunteer with independently.

I volunteer at Kungwini Welfare Organisation. I am involved with their adult home for people with disabilities, there is little government funding available and they rely on donations, both financial and in goods, goodwill and volunteers. I am also involved with the Children’s home. Their biggest fundraiser is their Nickel Xmas Market.

I’ve also recently become involved with The Viva Foundation in Mamelodi at the Alaskan Informal settlement. Where I spent a weekend with my son painting shacks as part of their Art Festival and I hope to become more involved with them.

At Kungwini I assist in the workshop, I help thread machines, I talk with people, I paint pots, I check quality control, I assist with orders, I identify needs and I try to meet them.

I do this by buying needles, threads, light bulbs for the machines, cottons, glue, paint, brushes, hand held devices for attaching press studs. I rinse out tin cans and plastic bottles from home to use to make crafts. I collect donations from friends, clothing, shoes etc. In the children’s home I provide them with toothbrushes and paste. I teach them how to clean their teeth and what will happen if they don’t, I challenge inappropriate language and comments. I talk about the world, share experiences, go horse riding, help tidy bedrooms, creating a feeling of ownership. I take and print photos, creating a record for these children to take with them through life.

By buying a bag you can help support me with this.

I want to be able to fund this year’s cake baking,  Last year I baked 2000 cup cakes, this year alone I’ve baked 350.

I want to print photos of every activity I’m involved with in the children’s home and help create memories.

I want to buy paint and brushes for Viva Foundation for their next Arts Festival.

I want to be able to buy items needed for the Workshop, to help them grow and develop their crafts to enable them to raise more funds from their Nickel Xmas Market.

I want to be able to have my own stall at a Market selling their crafts and my bags.

I want to be able to buy printing ink to advertise and spread the word about these organisations.


But I’m NOT asking you just for your money. I’m asking you to get involved with helping me, by buying a bag, as a gift, for personal use, telling your family and friends about where it came from and where the money goes and how it helps support people with disabilities in South Africa.

I will blog, tweet, post photos. I’m happy to discuss sponsorship requests from Media and PR companies to aid my work.

In October I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I need to find a reputable organisation to go with, source the equipment and clothing needed. Set up fundraising pages (need to get donations from other countries here). I will be using some of the money I raise from selling bags to fund this. I will be paying for my flights, accommodation and the trip myself, unless I can get a sponsor for this. All funds raised from the climb will go to Kungwini to help meet some of their many needs.


I will be in the UK the end of this week and I'm bringing with me an assortment of goodies made at KWO by adults with physical and learning difficulties. I've been learning the trade along the way, so there are a few hand made gifts by me. The workshop at Kungwini Welfare Organisation
Hand bags - Colour and sizes vary (approx 40cm x 30cm) fully lined £10.00
Bag logo
Beaded Hearts - Colours will vary £2.00
Necklaces - Colours will vary £3.00
Broaches to liven up your winter coat or bag - Colours vary £2.00
Key rings - Colour and styles vary £2.00
Postage and packing extra. Stocks are limited on this trip. Contact me via twitter @chickenruby or through my blog to order