Please feel free to download, print, put in your window, make into a card to give to a neighbour, give to your little ones to colour and keep them occupied.
Please feel free to download, print, put in your window, make into a card to give to a neighbour, give to your little ones to colour and keep them occupied.
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PE with Joe Daily exercise videos for children on YouTube
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50 Things to do with your Child (Some of these could be done in the garden)
Years ago, just after the end of a relationship, a friend of mine sent me a DVD of The Secret-it was quite a while ago…does anyone still have DVD players?
I was fascinated, but not quite convinced, by the idea that if you put something out into the universe, thought about it enough, lived your life as though you already had it, it would come to you.
Over the years there have been times when perhaps the universe has dealt me a good hand.
I spent time visualising going on a date with the really hot man I’d been texting for weeks, or finding a house which ticked all my boxes and was within budget, and those things did come about. (I went on the date-just the one though, he was hot but sadly that was about it, and I did find a house-the house I now live in.) But was that the universe or my dedication to the apps? (WhatsApp and Zoopla respectively.)
Recently, I’ve been attracted to the idea of positive manifestation-putting things out there and waiting for their arrival. But I’m sure there has to be slightly more to it than that. I’d be lying if I said I’ve done a whole lot of research into it (other than looking on Pinterest for inspiration for my own vision board) but what it has made me do is think about my goals in a positive light.
I’m someone who always seems to have a project on the go, even more so over the last year or so. Being busy and finding a creative outlet has been part of my healing process, as well as a form of escapism. But at times it can feel as though I’ve got so many things which I would like to do that it can become overwhelming and I end up doing very little.
So whether my vision board is the start of the universe manifesting its bounty on me, or a way to focus on things which I would like to come into my life in a more, well visual way, it has helped me focus on the things I would like to achieve in the coming months and years.
One of them is to write more, and here I am writing-so perhaps it’s working already.
I decided to put mine in my spare room/office/laundry dumping ground; I put up some cork tiles I found in the shed (which is mostly full of useless junk left from the previous owners, I will clear it out one day…in the distant future) and then found images in magazines which represented my goals for the future.
Picking some affirming statements, I quickly wrote them out and put them up too.
I still need to add to it, there are a few other things which I’d like to manifest into my future (a man might be nice- I have been dating someone for a few months now so *maybe* the universe already has that in hand…watch this space).
I’ve also made a few more quotes on the iPad which I want to print off and put up. (I’ve linked them here for anyone who would like to use them for their own board-sharing’s caring, as Poppy constantly tells me, when I have something she wants.)
So whether it’s through the power of positive thinking, the universe bestowing its blessings upon me, or just as a reminder that there are things which I would like to work for in the near future, my vision board is having a desired effect. If nothing else, it’s a positive focus, things which make me happy, a reminder to do more of what I love and it’s also been quite fun to make…and we all know how I love a project.
Everything happens for a reason, a statement which is true-but so often used to attempt to offer some form of comfort or acceptance of things which have happened.
As if to say one event happened to help another manifest itself, that there is a greater good, one that perhaps we cannot see. We almost instinctively look for the silver lining, the light in the dark to rationalise and accept something which we find hard to process and deal with.
But that isn’t the reason things happen, some things will never be a reason for a greater good or to pave the way for something more wonderful to happen. Whilst everything does happen for a reason, the reason is the cause of the effect. Not to help unfold the future.
I have been guilty of thinking, ‘everything happens for a reason’ in the past- at the end of a relationship, or even just discovering I had lost my favourite pair of sunglass. I have tried to console myself with the thought that a path was being laid out for me to meet the most amazing partner, someone who would fulfil all my fairytale wishes; or having the perfect reason to buy a new pair of sunglasses which before I couldn’t justify.
And at the time it worked, somewhat. It offered a chance to look back on the reason why the relationship ended and confirmed the knowledge that I deserved better, in turn helping to accept the temporary heartache; it was for a greater good-eventually I would be so much happier. I wouldn’t end up being a modern day Ms Havisham with a dozen cats.
You just have to look on Instagram for a million motivational quotes about the universe having things in store, everything happening today is to serve the purpose for a brighter future. It’s perhaps easier to compute pain if we believe it is for the greater good, and when we know the pain will be temporary, maybe it’s easier to believe that everything does happen for a reason- to instinctively look for some form of hope and believe the universe has a predesigned agenda for us. But when you are faced with everlasting heartache, it’s impossible to believe that was the way it was supposed to be.
When my son died, there was a reason. He was starved of oxygen, his brain was damaged and not enough was done to save him. Those were the reasons. Not romantic or philosophical, not to be written in typography on a picture of a mountain and hung in a frame.
So when someone said, not too long after his death, everything happens for a reason, I wondered what reason they might possibly think it might be. Did they believe it would help to make me a stronger person? To test my resolve, my ability to pick myself up from the depths of despair; to appreciate life more and take little for granted? Did they think that it had happened because something greater was in store? If so, I can’t possibly imagine what it might have been where I had to lose my child to have it-and whatever it was, I didn’t want it. Or perhaps they just didn’t think. They didn’t think about the connotations of such a phrase.
When we are faced with the darkest of times, it feels almost instinctive to find the light, rather than allow the darkness to prevail. Allowing myself to sit in the dark times, to feel immersed in the cloud of grief, without looking for a silver lining was something I had to learn to accept it was ok to do. It is ok to have moments, days, nights, weeks where the cloud feels heavy, and they do not need to be balanced out with rays of light, or looking for the stars. The bad doesn’t happen to pave the way for the good, they will run along side each other.
Life can be so wonderful, but it can also be tragic. It will break your heart yet offer hope; it is full of contradictions and uncertainties.
But even in the moments of darkness, one thing remains- a love which is so hard to explain. I used to feel as though I needed to look for the light in the dark, to try to find the positive or some reason. But sometimes in life, there is no reason that will help to make things better, but I do believe there is love. There is wonder and there is love, and in those moments where the light fails to find me, love always does.
After doing as much work as I could do myself in the house last summer, the real renovation started in September 2018. It began with the bathroom, and then simultaneously the kitchen. Because the boiler had to be moved from upstairs, into the kitchen, both rooms had to be ripped out at the same time. To say the few weeks that both rooms were out of bounds were tricky would be an understatement. But thanks to Deliveroo (Uber Eats, Just Eat…any app which brought food to our door) and my lovely friends and family who let me pop round with my towel and loofah on the way home from work, we got through the stage of no hot water.
To have the finished results, it was well worth it (although obviously at the time I thought, ‘What the f*£k have I done?’ on several occasions.
As Christmas very quickly approaches, I’ve had a few messages asking for gift idea for little ones who won’t be at home with their family on Christmas Day.
So, I thought I’d put together a little gift guide, including some of the gifts which we were so kindly given to us this weekend for Gabriel’s birthday.
To help celebrate National Doodle Day, I thought I’d popped up a link to a downloadable/printable Autumn Doodle which I did last year.
National Doodle Day is an opportunity to take home a truly unique piece of art by a well-known celebrity or illustrator. All pieces are now up for auction on eBay, I’ve just had a little look and there are so many I would love to buy.
The money raised from the auctions of these doodles goes to supporting Epilepsy Action and by buying a doodle you will help more people to take control of their epilepsy. Expert advice will continue to be provided by the Epilepsy Action Helpline and website and you will help more people to beat the loneliness that epilepsy can bring by expanding Epilepsy Action’s network of local support groups.
I have found that doodling and working on the commissions over at Doodle Pop! and having a creative outlet has been a real help to me over the last 9 months. It has meant I have been able to fund raise in Gabriel’s memory and I have been honoured to create pieces for such special people and occasions.
If you would like to support Epilepsy Action and make a donation after downloading the Doodle Pop! ‘Hello Autumn’ doodle, follow this link here. #GabrielsGift
Losing my baby was never something I had ever thought about, why would it be? For 41 weeks I carried Gabriel and there was never an inkling of a concern that I would go home with just a small box containing some of the clothes he had worn, his hand and feet prints and a lock of his hair around my neck. But in just a few life-altering moments my entire future was changed and I now live with emotions which I would never have known possible.
I think of Gabriel constantly, he is always there in my mind’s eye and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can picture his perfect little face with the longest eye lashes and cutest button nose. I can still feel the softness of his skin and how he fitted so perfectly into my arms; my heart bursts with love at the mention of his name and I am so thankful for all the memories I have and that I am able to treasure the time he was with me.
But that doesn’t take away from the pain, the overwhelming aching that is also always present and at time all consuming that anything else becomes impossible. The knowledge that he will never get to live the life which I thought he would, that his brother and sister will never be able to play with him how they should have, and I will never see my son grow into the handsome young man he should have been. That there will be no birthday parties or milestones met, there won’t be any ‘firsts’ and there will always be a person missing in our home.
After Gabriel’s birth I stayed with him in the hospital for 5 days. I spent hours looking at him, talking to him and telling him how much we all loved him and all the things we had hoped for him. I told him about his big brother and sister and how excited they had been to have a little brother at home. I kissed his perfect face endlessly and had the natural urge to care for him. I gave him a bath, changed his nappy, put clean clothes on him and held him for as long as I could. I needed to nurture him, to do the things which I had anticipated doing and whilst I was never going to be able to do all the things I had imagined, I was able to care for him and be his mummy in the hours we had together.
Leaving my baby behind in the hospital was one of the most unnatural things I have ever had to do. I never once imagined having to leave him in a place he didn’t know, with people who didn’t love him and whilst I knew he wouldn’t feel fear, I felt an awful amount of guilt for leaving my precious little boy. I worried about who would look after my son, who would keep him safe and hold him if he was scared…but then the reality that he would never feel those things would hit. Trying to comprehend how things could change so drastically in such a short space of time was near enough impossible. I held on to the knowledge that he had been safe when he was with me and for all the months I carried him he felt love and comfort; he heard our voices and felt our touch and he was very much a part of our lives, as he always will be- just in a very different way to how we imagined.
Nearly four months have passed from the time he came into the world, and in those months I have wanted to and needed to continue to be his mummy-just as I always will be. I have attended appointments which I never thought I’d need to, spoken with professionals I should never have met and arranged his ‘Special Day’, as we call it. I have shared his birth with those who followed my pregnancy on social media, as well as parts of the uncertain path which we now have to walk. I know that whilst Gabriel is not here physically, his short time on this earth has touched the hearts and lives of many and I am so very proud of him.
Being the mother of a baby who now dances amongst the stars brings with it feelings which are at times so hard to comprehend, emotions which can’t always be contained or the ability to find words to really describe. Whilst I feel a massive amount of injustice, anger and sadness about the events which led up to, and ultimately resulted in, my son dying, I can still smile. I think of Gabriel and I smile, I look at his photos and I smile, I talk with my 3-year-old daughter about her little brother and we both smile because he was beautiful, he was perfect-he was everything, and more than, we thought he would be whilst I was pregnant. My chest burns with the love which I have for him, for the perfect little soul he is, for all the happiness which he has brought, because he did. There is great sadness, insurmountable sadness, that he is not with us now but that does not take away from all the joy he brought to our lives. All the nights where I watched him wiggle around, all the times his big sister blew raspberries on my tummy and ‘shared’ her toys and food with him, the times I was able to see his little fingers moving on a monitor or hear his heart beating at my antenatal appointments, all the moments I was able to spend with him, holding him and stroking his hair. And all the joy he still continues to bring, to know that he is part of our family, that he is a part of my friends’ families and his name will always be spoken by those who met him, along with many other wonderful people who I have never met but offer a wealth of support through social media.
We will always play with Gabriel’s toys, lay under his blanket, read his story books, look at his photos and look after his teddy bear. He will always be present in our lives and I will always smile when I think of my little Gabriel or talk about his chubby cheeks, all of his dark hair or how he kept me up all night in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, anticipating his arrival and then meeting him for the first time and falling in love as soon as I held him.
I am so proud of all my children, my eldest son who continues to amaze me with his maturity and kindness, my little daughter who brings such happiness to our family and so lovingly speaks of ‘her baby’-her little brother, and my beautiful Gabriel who has touched the lives of so many and whose legacy will grow and will support and help many others-all in a lifetime which was cut far too short but in a memory, which will last forever.
Thank you for joining in this month’s Happy Post Swap, with the theme Hygge-think all things cosy.
Here is a link to a printable card, if you’d like to print it off and pop a note in with your happy post.
One thing that will always stop me in tracks is when my phone beeps to alert me to a message and there on my phone is picture someone has sent me, of somewhere they have ‘taken’ Gabriel. I just love to see his name and the thought that someone, someone where has thought of him whilst in some of the most beautiful places is so comforting. My little boy is remembered, his name is spoken and it now is in places all over the world.
From the very beginning the support I received from people I had never met was something which I will never forget. The outreaching of support, love and kindness from people all over the country, and in some parts of the world, has been at times so overwhelming.