Wednesday, 24 May 2017

My Toddler is Walking, Running and Jumping!

Back in March I wrote about how my toddler wasn't walking yet, well, a few weeks after that blog post went live, she bloody well did it! She took her first proper steps infront of me and Ginge. I am so glad and grateful that we both got to watch her achieve something so momentous that it will be remembered and treasured forever.

I can recall the event vividly: it was early evening (about 5pm) and we had gone upstairs to change Little One's nappy ready for tea time. It was still dark out so we had switched on the light in her bedroom and after a while of playing games and coaxing her to the changing mat, we eventually got the dirty nappy off and managed a swift clean and swap for a fresh one. Ginge carried on playing with Little One and when she got tired and stood up, he moved away and encouraged her to come towards him.

Now, when I say 'encouraged', what I really mean is a Father's last plea and desperation for our toddler to start walking. Hilarious in hindsight but at the time it was a stressful and hopeful moment that we thought would never happen. Annoyingly, we didn't have our phones on us to video her taking her first steps! Anyway, after Ginge kept crawling backwards to widen the gap between him and Little One, she seemed to get fed up of waiting for him to come to her and so, she went full speed ahead pretty much pelting Ginge with her whole body as she struggled to regain her balance. She didn't seem to walk in a gingerly fashion as we had imagined, but sort of ran at him like 'speedy gonzalez' on acid...

...Fast forward another month, and our toddler can not only walk, but run (even on the spot) and jump. Yep, she can jump like a kangaroo on a spring board. Not quite as high but still, it's impressive with how much bodyweight she has to carry for such a little tot. Can I just say, when Little One first walked, I cried actual tears. They were streaming down my face and I couldn't stop crying. I must've looked like a right tit! But all that pent up emotion had reached a climax. Months and months of frustratingly waiting for her to walk and when she didn't, it was a little disappointing. Not to sound ungrateful and horrible about it, but I was beginning to become envious of other parent's children who were already walking and able to do more activities other than the slide and swing combo at the park.

Everyone I know has had their child walk much sooner than ours did. It was starting to irritate me too as so many people kept making a comparison. However, I feel extremely proud of Little One as she waited until she was ready and now that she can walk, she does it with great speed and ease. Something other's haven't mastered yet. It's funny isn't it? That some of the toddlers who are behind everyone else with learning how to do something can suddenly grasp it like it was an automatic ability.

She has only been walking for around five weeks so will be due her first pair of proper shoes, and that will be a huge outing for us. I might cry again. My toddler has definitely made me a better person and a very emotional one too! Before having a child of my own, I couldn't really understand why Mum's got all gushy and teary over things that seemed quite silly. Now I get it! I really do! I feel so bad for judging other Mums when they welled up and cried buckets over milestones. It really is special and something you don't appreciate until they grow up and you know you'll never experience it again (not so much for me, I'm still holding on to the notion that Little One will have a sibling someday).

Most friends and family said that once Little One starts walking, I will regret wanting her to do so...I have to say, I haven't had any such thoughts. I just simply embrace and enjoy every moment of her achievement.

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick

I've never thought to try lip lacquers until recently as more brands are introducing new formulas for longer-lasting lip colour. One in particular is the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet range in the colour option 'Grand Cru', which looks like a deep red from the packaging but actually dries a vibrant red in a matte finish. 

 I bought mine from Boots at a cost of £8.99, although it is stocked online at Asos, Superdrug, Amazon, Marks and Spencer's, Feel Unique and many more.  I like the light texture of the product as you can build up the lip colour to how you want it. Even one layer is enough to last all day.

A few weeks ago I wore this on my lips for a night out and it really did last 24 hours, especially having spent most of the evening drinking and eating. The lipstick did not budge!

The packaging is gorgeous and looks far more expensive than it actually is. For a high street lip lacquer, this is a bargain steal for the price. I was really impressed with this product so much so that I bought some more in this range in other colours.

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Guest Blog Post: Depression and Anorexia Nervosa

As part of mental health awareness, my friend Nicola, an entrepreneur and business owner, has written a guest blog post to highlight an issue that lacks understanding from an outsider's point of view. Here she sheds light on her ongoing battle with having depression and an eating disorder.

Left: Nicola Davis
 Right: Kiki from Kiki and Ginge Blog

My name is Nicola and I am the owner of Nicola Davis Crafts. I specialize in the bright and bold art of silk painting and sell my work in galleries, events and online. My business actually started by accident, I had always loved art and textiles, and in one lesson during my A-Levels I was taught silk painting. We only did a few minutes of it but I was hooked and bought some starters materials and used YouTube tutorials to teach myself. Then, near the end of my A-Levels I was diagnosed with anorexia and took a lot of time off school. I did eventually pass my exams and took a year off to get better but during that time I spent hours painting to keep myself positive. After receiving plenty of positive feedback from friends and family I decided to start selling my work and built it up to what it is today: my full-time business.

I have had mental health issues since my early teens. During school, I had depression and when I was 16, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. Before I got ill, I already knew quite a bit about mental health as my family had been affected by various mental health issues, however, it was a shock to learn that not everyone knew as much about it as I did. It was only when I was in recovery from my eating disorder that I realized just how important it is to raise awareness of mental health in general, as many of my friends and family missed the early warning signs of my illness until it was too late. Ever since, I have been very vocal about my illnesses and my every day struggles in order to ‘normalize’ these types of conversations and raise as much awareness as possible.

At the worst point in my eating disorder I was like a different person. I was incredibly tetchy and had mood swings throughout the day, often taking things out on those closest to me. Not only was I exhausted from starving myself but I would push my body to its limits by over-exercising any chance I got. It was a really horrible part of my life and I missed out on so many social events in order to avoid food. My mum had noticed something wasn’t right but it was only when I reached a dangerously low weight that others knew how serious my illness was. 

I remember wishing that someone would ask if I was okay but no one did. In my head this meant that I clearly didn’t look ‘sick enough’ and so, got much worse.  But looking back I am aware that my friends simply didn’t know what to say and were too scared of hurting my feelings by commenting on my weight. Now, since being so open about my illness many of my friends and family have also opened up about their own mental health issues and I am pleased that they now feel comfortable enough to do so.

My mum was the first person to notice something wasn’t right and took me to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), who then diagnosed me with anorexia. Up until then I had been dealing with my depression myself and with the odd private therapist but being back in the system really helped me learn that I wasn’t as well as I thought. I did resist treatment at first but it was at this same time that I finished my A-Levels and I saw this opportunity as a fresh start and began recovery.

My family was very supportive as well as my boyfriend who stuck with me throughout all of this. I managed to recover slowly and was then sent to adult services, being an outpatient with Cotswold House. Since my recovery, I have been working with Beat to raise money and awareness - as certainly in my case if more people had known the warning signs then I may have not got as sick. I also wrote a cookbook for people with eating disorders - ‘My Super Sweet Recovery Cookbook’ - donating 10% profits to Beat. I also try to support other mental health charities when possible such as Mind.

I have recently started speaking at various schools in order to raise awareness of eating disorders and mental health issues in general, and will also be a speaker at the Eating Disorders Summit in London later this year. Talking openly about my experiences has really made me realise what else could be done to help others in my situation. There were lots of things that could have been handled better with my treatment (i.e. clearer communication between doctors and my school) and I am trying to spread this message to help both professionals and schools approach eating disorders with more care.
Since speaking up about my eating disorder, I have made some really close friends who are going/have gone through the same thing and I am really grateful for this as we wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for me being so public about my past. The only downside is that from time to time people can ask really intrusive questions about my past, which I don’t feel comfortable answering, and it can sometimes bring up really horrible memories. However, I now feel strong enough to be in charge of what I do and don’t open up about, and I have learnt to keep a healthy balance between reflecting on the past and focusing on the future.

I’ve had quite a few customers comment on how brave they think I am for opening up about my illness, in fact I think this aspect has made my business much stronger as my customers can connect with me better and I am able to create a more personal relationship with them. I have also got some really heartwarming comments from readers who have found my book helpful and this feels amazing, more so when it is someone I don’t know personally and has taken the time to contact me. On social media I do often get people asking for advice and I have always tried my best to help. I always let my followers know that they can contact me whenever they like so they can talk to someone who has been through a similar situation, and I think this has been a very helpful resource to some, especially those who aren’t yet open about their illnesses with friends/family.

One of my favourite quotes is “be so good they can’t ignore you”. Whenever I feel like I am struggling, or that my efforts are going unnoticed, I remember this and it always gives me an extra spur of energy to keep going. I still do have some really bad mental health days, especially since I am still battling depression, but I try to surround myself with positive things and supportive people, and they will always pick me up if I fall. One day I would really like to start a family and this has always been at the heart of everything I do. I want my business to be successful so that I can support them and I also know that I can’t have a family if I am sick, so this always pushes me to stay healthy for the future.

My best advice to anyone reading this who has a mental health illness or suspects they might do, would be to simply take things step by step. When I am struggling it can make even the smallest of tasks seem impossible but if I split it up into really small chunks I can often surprise myself. I am also very strong-minded about being in the moment. If you are not happy, then stop what you are doing and focus on what makes you happy. Imagine what the ‘perfect’ life looks like and allow yourself to strive for this. So many people think it’s too late to reach their dreams but you will never know if you don’t try!

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Weird and Annoying Toddler Behaviours

If there's one thing a parent can appreciate, it is the complex behaviours a toddler displays on a daily basis. My own toddler has picked up and even created some pretty strange behaviours. Here they are:

1) Licking my face - is it my facial moisturiser or leftover doughnut icing that she is tasting? Not really sure why she does it but hey ho, I'm certain there is some sort of sensory enjoyment.

2) Screaming - she screams when she wants something, she screams when she doesn't want something, she screams when she's feeling too lazy to do it for herself, she screams during sing-a-long songs, she screams when she's saying hello to other children, she screams when she's happy...she just won't stop bloody screaming.

3) Hissing - like a cross between a grisly bear and a snake, she hisses at me, at Ginge, at the grandparents. Just about anyone she meets will get a hiss even if it's not straight away. I still don't know why she does it, but it is hilarious!

4) Cupping my face - using her teeny tiny hands, she holds my face as a sign of endearment and to show her love...she also likes to do this to make sure I'm paying her attention.

5) Petting my head - she's got into the habit of petting us all on the head like she would a dog. It's rather odd but cute at the same time. She seems to pet men's heads more so than women's (not sure if there's a hidden agenda there).

6) Stroking - whether its on my arm or on my back, she will undoubtedly stroke me. Could this be a sign of comfort like we show her when she's hurt or upset?

7) "Mine!" - you'd think she'd repeatedly say, "no", but alas, my toddler has started saying, "mine" to everything she wants. She reminds me of the seagulls in Finding Nemo when they're obsessing over who gets to eat the fish..."mine, mine, mine...MINE, MINE, MINE...MINE! MINE! MINE!..."

8) Attacking Ginge - charging like a bull, she'll run and dive at her Daddy, and laugh hysterically at herself. Such a crazy child! This is her new game - fun times! *sarcasm intended*

9) Bouncing - imagine Tigger except there's no stripes or tail and just a hyper toddler using my bladder, pubic bone and face to bounce on. We thought, 'great, we can get her a bouncy castle' as if it would solve all bouncing problems. But no, the novelty has worn off and she's resorted to bouncing on her knees on any hard surface she can find - the concrete floor, lino, patio, carpet... She's bouncing obssessed!

10) Sleeping on my face and neck - I've noticed a lot of these behaviours involve my face...does she have it in for my face?? Can't explain the bizarre occurrence of her lying on top and stretched out over my face which ends up in me nearly suffocating. I know she likes to be close to me but this is just taking it too far.

11) Wearing undies on her head - does anyone else's child put boxers on their head and parade around the house like its a fashion show? Nope? Okay then, now I feel awkward.

12) Walking on her head - so, my toddler likes to try and do a headstand and then walk along the's hard to picture but think of an upside down cat having a seizure - not normal.

13) Whispering - it creeps me out but there are periods in the day when she'll start whispering in her baby language and will come closer to my face like she's got a secret to tell me, or wants to bite my face off.

These are just to name a few from an extensive list of oddball behaviours that my toddler does everyday, is your toddler the same or am I on my own with this one?
What are your laugh out loud moments too?

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Top 5 Soft Play Centres in Bristol

Here are my top 5 soft play centres to visit in Bristol:

Photo credit: Playspace

What to do there?
Soft play area with seven play zones for different ages (0-10 years):
1. Multi-level structure with a giant wavy slide, ball cannons, tube slide, rope bridge, tunnels and look outs
2. The Imagination Zone for role play
3. 'WOW' Toy Play Area full of developmental toys
4. Toddler Village with a bouncy castle
5. Baby Area
6. Sports Area
7. Activity room for arts and crafts, cooking and messy play

Cafe/restaurant with a takeaway menu
Toilets with baby change

Opening times:
(School Term Time)
Monday - Saturday: 10am-6:30pm
Sunday: 10am-5:30pm (applies 7 days a week for bank holidays)

(Half Term and Holidays)

Monthly Play Pass (includes: unlimited entry for one child and one adult)
1 years old: £13.50
2-3 years: £17.50
4-10 years: £19.50

Six Month Play Pass (includes: unlimited entry for one child and one adult)
1 years old: £45.00
2-10 years: £60.00
Family Pass: 2 children (£80.00), 3-5 children (£120.00)

Annual Play Pass (includes: unlimited entry for one child and one adult)
1 years old: £71.25
2-10 years: £95.00
Family Pass: 2 children (£140.00), 3-5 children (£180.00)

Normal Pass
Under 1's (Off Peak): £1.50 (Peak): £1.50
Babies accompanying an older sibling: FREE
1-2 years (Off Peak): £3.75 (Peak): £4.75
2-3 years (Off Peak): £5.00 (Peak): £6.50
4 years (Off Peak): £5.00 (Peak): £7.50
5-10 years (Off Peak): £6.00 (Peak): £7.50
Adults (Over 60's): FREE (Off Peak): first adult FREE/£1.50 (Peak): £1.50

2) Jump
Photo credit: Jump Bristol

What to do there?
Soft play area for all ages (0-12 years):
Ball pits, inflatables, football pitches (indoors), climbing frames (space, galleon and enchanted castle themes), toddler zones, bouncy castle and so forth
Weekly activities: singing and dancing, messy play, cooking, arts and crafts, and painting
Group and school bookings

Toilet with baby change

Opening times:
(School Term Time)
Monday - Friday: 10am-6:30pm
Saturday: 9:30am-6pm
Sunday (bank holidays and school holidays): 9:30am-5pm

Weekends/School Holidays/Bank Holidays
Babies: £2.50 (FREE on entry with full paying sibling)
1 years old: £7.00
2-12 years: £9.75
Adults: FREE

Midweek Term Time
Babies: £2.50 (FREE on entry with full paying sibling)
1 years old: £3.50
2-12 years: £7.25
Adults: FREE

After School Discounted Tariff (After 3:30pm Midweek Term Time)
Babies: £1.25 (FREE on entry with full paying sibling)
1 years old: £1.75
2-12 years: £3.60
Adults: FREE

Photo credit: Little Giggles

What to do there?
Soft play for all ages
Interactive apparatus
Merry go rounds
Flying balloons
Hamster wheels
Water bed
Light slides
Special events - magic shows, childminder morning, members only day and so forth

Toilets with baby change

Opening times:
Monday - Sunday: 9am-6pm
(Closed: Christmas day, boxing day, new year's day and Easter Sunday)

Annual Pass
£20.00 introductory fee (includes: 10% off party packages, 10% off in the cafe and access to exclusive members only events)

Under 1 (Member): FREE (Standard): £2.00
1-2 years (Member): £3.00 (Standard): £4.50
Over 2 years (Member): £6.50 (Standard): £9.50
Adults: FREE

Photo credit: Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park

What to do there?
Adventure playground (including under 5's)
Go Kart track
Climbing wall
Death slide ('Big Red Slide')
Rope swings
Canon arena
Softplay area
Indoor slides
Animal handling - 13 sessions to choose from all year round
Wildlife enclosures
Riverside trail - boating and fishing lake, and obstacle course
Group and school bookings

Indoor and outdoor activities
Gift shop
Toilets with baby change and disabled access
Outdoor picnic area

Photo credit: Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park

Opening times:
Monday: Closed.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10am-6pm

Standard (Weekends, bank holidays and school holidays)
Off Peak (Tuesday - Fridays, Term time/after 3:30pm)

Adventurers Pass (includes: tractor ride, train ride, quad bike ride and a bag of animal feed)
Adult (Standard): £13.00 (Off Peak): £9.50
Child (Standard): £13.50 (Off Peak): £10.00
Toddler (Standard): £7.00 (Off Peak): £6.50

Normal Pass
Adult (Standard): £9.00 (Off Peak): £5.50
Child 2-16 years (Standard): £9.50 (Off Peak): £6.00
Toddler Under 2's and walking (Standard): £3.00 (Off Peak): £2.50
Babies in arms and registered carers: FREE

Annual Pass (3 to choose from: Full silver, off peak silver and gold)
Full Silver
Adult: £90.00 (£7.50 per month)
Child (2-16 years): £95.00 (£7.92 per month)
Toddler: £30.00

Off Peak Silver
Adult: £55.00 (£4.58 per month)
Child: £60.00 (£5.00 per month)
Toddler: £25.00

Adult: £239.00 (£19.92 per month)
Child: £333.00 (£27.75 per month)
Toddler: N/A

(A Childminder Annual Pass is also offered - Child Pass: £35.00 per child)

5) i-Play
Photo credit: i-Play

What to do there?
Soft play area (only 2 storeys high):
Slides, rope bridges, tunnels, revolving platforms, bouncy balls, slopes and more
Activities: baby ballet, baby massage, dance and language sessions, and sing and sign

This soft play centre is in the centre of Bristol (Broadmead) and is smaller than the other five, but still provides enough fun entertainment.

Toilets with baby change

Opening times:
Monday - Saturday: 9:30am-5pm
Sunday: 10am-5pm

Happy Hour: 2-3pm Term Time only
Under 1's: £1.50 (FREE with a paying sibling)
1-2 years: £3.50
3+ years: £4.50
Adult: 50p

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness: Depression, Suicide And Me

I have a mental health illness – depression. Having depression is a common illness and it is also one that people find difficult to understand if they don’t have it or know someone who does. I want to blog about depression to spread awareness on mental health and to help others gain a better understanding of it. When I’ve discussed depression with other people they think about an individual feeling a bit down or severely depressed. There never seems to be a middle ground. Most people will experience depression at some point in their life, but won’t always admit it or accept it. I don’t consider myself to have depression anymore, but that I have times when I may feel a bit down but it won't stop me from living my life.

When I was severely depressed, I was in my late teens and the change in my mood was gradual. I was always shy and lacked self-esteem and self-confidence growing up, which didn’t help at the time. I didn’t have an eating disorder as such but when I was depressed I used to switch from binge eating (to make myself feel better and often sought comfort in unhealthy food) to losing my appetite altogether and would start to lose and put on weight like a yo-yo dieter. There was a period in my late teens and into my early twenties where I gained almost two stone in weight, I was at one of my lowest points in life. This may be hard to imagine for those that know me as I have a very petite/slender figure now.

As well as the physical changes to my body, emotionally I believed every critical word said to me and would internalize it. For instance, when I was racially bullied throughout my school years which was physically as well as verbally (one contributing factor to me having depression), I was told I was ugly and stupid. I honestly believed this was true, as I had no self-worth or self-belief that I was something more than this. It really saddens me to know that this was how I once thought and felt about myself because now I am different and don’t recognise that part of me anymore. It also disheartens me knowing others made me feel that way and that I, in part, allowed them to. My lack of confidence was so bad that I eventually began to tell myself that no one would love me because I was worthless, useless, ugly and stupid, and all the other nasty comments and labels I was called. I even hated my appearance and resented myself for being a different race – in fact, I wished I were purely Caucasian instead of being mixed race so that the bullying would stop! Reflecting back on this, I actually felt ashamed to be different, I was embarrassed by my cultural and ethnic roots. So much so, I rejected it for years by refusing to learn and speak my mother’s first language and fully embracing the cultural lifestyle.

I don’t remember if anyone noticed this change in my mood and personality apart from my Nan whom I used to confide to about anything and everything that bothered or upset me. She never judged but I knew she quietly worried about me. Maybe later on when I had gone to university was it more evident I was showing signs of depression to everyone else around me. I think my family was too proud and partly in denial about suspecting something was wrong. I was good at putting on a front - a happy face to hide my sadness.

It was 2005 when I had left home and moved away to another city to study and I was in a toxic relationship which happened to be my first serious one (it was also controlling and at the time thought it was real love – obviously it wasn’t). The relationship I was in made my depression worse because it wasn’t the right one for either of us. Whilst I was at university, I felt real life slipping away from me due to the stress of financially supporting myself as best as I could, the workload, a bit more bullying from other students, a family bereavement and not being focused on my studies (I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or study so just followed the crowd, like a sheep). 

The pivotal turning point in my life was when I received the news that someone close to me in my family had passed away after a long battle with cancer which became terminal. My mental state spiraled downwards and out of control. I was a hideous mess. I wasn’t coping at all and being away from home made me feel more distant from everyone than before. I can’t remember the exact date but I do remember that in January 2005, I attempted suicide. This was the first and only time.

I had taken an overdose, which at the time, I thought was the right thing to do, not for myself, but for my family and friends. I believed they would be happier and better off without me being in their lives. I believed I was a burden to them and that I wasn’t loved. Over the years, I’ve heard many individuals say that people who take their own lives or have had failed attempts are selfish for doing so. But the thing is, in that moment, that’s not what I was personally thinking about and I doubt others in my position have either. My attempted suicide was a direct result of being depressed and not understanding it and what it was and had done to me. I wasn't thinking logically or reasonably, it was quite irrational. I had originally asked for help by telling my friends how I was feeling including having suicidal thoughts but they brushed it off and didn’t believe me. They probably thought I was attention seeking. In a way I was but not for gratifying reasons. I genuinely wanted help and needed it.

The worst feeling in the world was being in a hospital bed overnight and all alone. I was extremely frightened and anxious, as I didn’t know what my family would say when they found out or if I would be in trouble. I was lucky to not have liver damage from taking such a high dosage of medication. I had to have a drip in my arm for 16 hours, as that’s how long it took to rid my body of the drugs I had taken to try to kill myself with. I cannot express the pain I felt for knowing I had caused distress and anguish in my parents. It was an emotional time and although some of my family was angry with me, in time, it helped when we could all openly talk about it.

After I left the hospital, within minutes I had decided I wanted to leave university and come home to recover and try to go back to normal life. My relationship with my then boyfriend had ended and I was left feeling isolated again. My depression got worse to the point I couldn’t get out of bed. I would sob and cry everyday until my eyes were red and puffy. I refused to eat and even when I did feel hungry, I was so low; I didn’t have the motivation or energy to get up and get food, or even wash. I had spent two weeks in my bedroom drifting in and out of sleep and crying uncontrollably. If you don’t have experience of depression, this is really difficult to explain but you cannot comprehend the pain I felt. I wanted to feel happy about life but couldn’t, and I didn’t want to face the outside world. I felt trapped in my own mind and negative state. I also felt ashamed and was in denial about my attempted suicide for a long time, years in fact.

The day I left hospital, I had been signed off as not being a threat to myself or others by the hospital psychiatrist...not a threat? I had tried to kill myself and they were letting me leave. This wasn't right and I'm hoping hospitals do more than just ask a few questions that don't particularly determine a person's mental state after doing something so drastic and dangerous to themselves?! There was a lack of support and care from the NHS at the time, please tell me it has changed and become better?

My family wanted me to get help straight away but I wasn’t ready to do so. Instead, I focused on taking time out and going to college and retraining in something else. This was the best decision I ever made for myself. Although it took me almost two years to pluck up the courage to visit my GP and talk about my problems, my parents knew not to push me and that people will only want help when it is on their terms. There was a huge sigh of relief and a weight lifted when I eventually booked a doctors appointment. This was the first day of my journey to being better mentally, physically and emotionally. When I asked the GP for a referral to see a counselor, she immediately got me in contact with a psychotherapist and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions. I attended quite a few sessions for about a year. I also did some research around mental health and read up on depression and suicide through MIND, a charity supporting and helping individuals who have a mental health issue. Their resources were invaluable to me.

Within a year of my therapy sessions ending, I was a different – new – person. I no longer viewed myself as ugly, stupid, worthless and all those other ghastly labels I believed I was. I felt like I had purpose and significance. I had 75% of my confidence back and felt stronger in myself. To this day, I am 100% ‘recovered’. I still have down days where I feel depressed but my therapy sessions taught me coping mechanisms and retrained my brain to think about things differently, turning something negative into something positive. Re-evaluating a situation as well as having positive affirmations in my life has helped a lot.

Talking openly to more family members and friends, even colleagues, has made a huge difference in that they look at me differently. With more respect somehow because of what I’ve had to overcome in my life and being so comfortable with discussing such a personal matter. We always remember the negative events in our lives and the positive ones get lost. I try everyday to find something positive to focus on and appreciate. I try my best to pass this on to anyone I meet who has had a terrible experience similar to mine. The benefit to raising mental health awareness is growing a community around you and expanding your support network. The downside to this is when people use your problems in a scrupulous way to take advantage of your weakened state. There are some people with a mental health illness that are vulnerable such as, being preyed upon by domineering partners like I was at one point.

If there’s one point I want to make it is that mental health should not be overlooked and seen as a disadvantage or used in a negative way to take advantage of others. It’s also okay to not be okay all the time.  We all have our low moments, there’s nothing wrong with that. My advice to anyone reading this who may have a mental health illness is acceptance – accept yourself as you are even if that’s a wreck, accept your problems, accept you need help, accept help when given/offered, accept the uphill battle, accept the triumphs, accept change and accept it won't happen overnight. You are all worthy of being here and my door is always open to anyone who would like to talk or get advice. Please don’t feel like there isn’t someone there to talk to, to have listened to you and know what you’re going through.

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Twin Mummy and Daddy

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Toddlebike 2 Review

The Toddlebike 2 Pre-Balance Bike cost £25 when we bought it in store, however, online it is showing the price as £23.95 (bargain as now even cheaper!) We got it from John Lewis but it can also be purchased from Amazon including the first version otf the bike.

It is available in the colour red and black, and the age range of use is from 18 months old. Saying that, we got it for Little One's first birthday (12 months old) and she's loved using it ever since she unwrapped it, which was five months ago. It was a hit with all her toddler friends too who came to her birthday party. They were constantly pacing the living room whilst sat on it and there were a few arguments over who's turn it was next. As the saying goes, 'the proof is in the pudding', and the children certainly agreed with it. 

What I really love about this balance bike is that it only weighs 0.8kg - lighter than wooden or metal framed bikes - so it is easier for children to manoeuvre and for us adults to carry! It is great for helping your child learn how to ride a bicycle without the need of stabilisers or pedals and before they can even walk. They learn how to balance, turn/steer using the handles and to grip a bike, and to push themselves along using their feet and legs.

The measurements for the balance bike are: width 20cm, height 34cm and depth 48cm. 

There are four wheels set close together making the Toddlebike more sturdy and it is easy to clean, especially if used outdoors. We plan on taking the bike with us on holiday this Summer so it will be getting lots more use out of it.

There are no disadvantages so far and I highly recommend this balance bike for your child above all others. Side note: Ginge also recommends this bike and I trust his opinion when it comes to bicycles and learning how to ride a bike (he is an experienced cyclist - once sponsored to compete in several disciplines and represented Team GB in BMX).

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