Every day matters and I think you believe this more as you get older. Perhaps because we have lost loved ones and become aware of our own mortality or just because we value ourselves more, every second starts to count much more.

A New Year is just around the corner and I think many of us will be happy to see the back of 2016. Political decisions may not have gone our way and lots of us are reeling from so many deaths this year of folks who inspired us with their writing, comedy and music.

So what will you do with 2017?

Do you like a paper diary? I know there are apps and stuff but I personally love the look and feel of a good diary. I am happy to recommend the Every day matters diary which encourages us to have a year of inspiration for the mind, body and spirit. Sounds good right?

I love the A5 size diary because it is so attractive and not just on the outside. It is very colourful inside with a vibrancy that cheers the soul. If you are a fan of inspirational quotes and affirmations, this is the diary for you.

The diary works as ordinary ones do so you can keep track of your appointments and to-do lists. However, you can also use it as a personal development workbook as it has searching questions and monthly themes such as positivity, love and empathy.

There’s a section for your to make important notes at the back so that you can launch yourself in a super-charged way into 2018.

Every Day Matters 2017 Diaries
A Year of Inspiration for the Mind, Body and Spirit
By Dani DiPirro PositivelyPresent.com
Paperback- £12.99 (Desk Diary), £6.99 (Pocket Diary)

Random acts of kindness really do change lives.

This week, I was delighted to do one in a charity shop. An immigrant couple and their toddler were in the same shop as me. I think it is fair to say that I live in a place where immigrants are not viewed as particularly welcome. I wonder what it is like to be viewed with hostility and suspicion on a daily basis. I wonder what it is like to live in fear and perhaps particularly after the Brexit vote when attacks on the different seem to have increased.

As children will, the toddler was attracted to a colourful toy. The father presented a £20 note to the woman on the till who ranted that she could not take that. He went to his wife who handed him a £10 note. Again the woman on the till rejected it in an offhand manner.

Now as a mum to tweens and a teen, I still remember that when young children want a toy if they are denied it, a tantrum may well follow. I watched as the couple tried to find change smaller than a tenner and failed to do so.

The woman behind the till did not care. I intervened as the couple became more and more flustered. It turned out the toy was only 50 pence so I threw a pound at the woman who said I was so kind. She managed to find change for me interestingly.

The couple expressed surprise and thanks. The toddler was happy.

Job done for just 50 pence.

It cheered my soul and as it will the universe paid me back with friendly smiles and wonderful surprises.

Random acts of kindness are great. They show the way we should live. They ensure the recipient gets an easier time of things. As for the giver, there is no greater feeling than knowing you made a difference, albeit a small one but perhaps one that brightened someone’s day.

It’s a week where I am pleased with myself for standing up for other people.

Earlier in the week, I was in a charity shop when I noticed a board game with convicted paedophile Stuart Hall on the front of the box grinning. This was placed on the shelf highlighted as potential Christmas gifts. I did not like the idea of it being there at all. I am very much of the view that it can’t help victims of child abuse to keep seeing images of those that abuse in the media and so on.

However, we are too often encouraged not to make a fuss so I walked out of the shop but remained troubled. The next time I was in there, I bought some Christmas decorations and Stuart Hall was still there. Suddenly, I found myself stumbling through words trying to highlight the issue with the two women behind the counter. One seemed a little aggressive and as if she could not see what i was getting at. The other starting googling Stuart Hall and then went into the back presumably to find the manager or something.

At this point, I was embarrassed and flustered. Imagine my surprise when the woman who had being off with me suddenly disclosed to me that a family member had abused her as a child. So as well as apologising for making a fuss I was now saying sorry to the woman for bringing back unpleasant memories. She said I had no need to say sorry and I left the shop.

I went in again today and noticed that Stuart Hall was missing. As I was browsing the bric-a-brac, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It made me jump. It was the woman again saying they had got rid of the game. I felt a bond, two women one a victim and one not united against child abuse.

I am not naming the town I was in or the charity shop brand as it is not necessary.

What I will say is that perhaps charity shops should be issuing their staff and volunteers with guidance on products that have a connection with child abusers.

On reflection, I am proud of myself for having my say, blushing, stumbling but raising my voice all the same. The more we do this, the less power abusers have whatever game they think they are playing.

We are already big fans of top surfwear brand Saltrock. We were delighted when they offered us the opportunity to review an outfit and enjoyed looking at so many stylish and affordable options on the Saltrock website.

Saltrock clothing review

Although we aren’t surfers we do love exploring the British coastline. Everyone knows I am never happier than when beside the sea taking after my late Dad. The children love it too and I relish seeing them away from screens! Give me sun screen over the XBox one any day of the week!

The most adventurous of my children is Ramsey who is 11 years old. We found him a great outfit that kept the cold at bay whilst he took full advantage of a spontaneous weekend away in Dorset. He had a grey and black hoodie and grey jogging pants. The material was soft and comfortable. The clothing washes well which is a good thing as Ramsey is always getting mucky on his adventures because life’s a beach!

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Saltrock’s fur-lined hoodies, plaid shirts, cosy knits and beanies are perfect for weekend hikes, coastal walks or bike rides with the kids. In Ramsey’s case they are great for climbing too! Nobody believes me but Ramsey climbed before he could walk!

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This picture shows what Ramsey thinks of Saltrock clothing so we will definitely be back for more.

clairejustine

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Pink Pear Bear

Dear Jo Cox

When you were killed someone contacted me as they thought I might know you. I didn’t and as far as I know was never in the same room as you. You were clearly an incredible woman and you should still be here.

Jo Cox

I wish I had met you. I think we would have got on and perhaps more importantly got each other.

I was raised in the same area as you. That place has so many problems including generations of poverty and what Theresa May can write off so lightly as “just about managing”. Adversity creates strong communities at best and a pride in your roots.

I was surprised to hear you were shy, something I have suffered with all my life. I too get people to make phone calls for me when I bottle it. And like you, somehow against all the odds, I found myself at Cambridge University and was the first graduate in the family.

Cambridge just made me even more left-wing as I saw how easily you can be written off for having gone to the wrong school or not having the right accent. I have always worried about my Yorkshire accent and yet listening to you speak in the House of Commons, you used your voice with its beautiful accent not trying to pretend you were anyone but you.

You were a few years younger than me so our paths did not cross in the beautiful city of Cambridge.

How brave you were to go off to live in another country working in Brussels. Another beautiful city. Your family must have been so proud of you.

Then to Oxford and Oxfam where I worked for a period too. No wonder I was asked if I knew you. You and I have shared pavements.

How you juggled all the amazing feats with having a young family I do not know.

Yesterday I read your husband’s description of you life and how you put your children first. It made me make changes to my day to ensure I was doing the same with mine. Too often I put other responsibilities first when what matters is making memories with the children.

I have often wondered about returning to West Yorkshire. Should I return whatever skills I have to the town that welcomed me into their community and funded my through university. People who never left probably think I have had an exciting life and that is true. But how I miss the familiar structures of home. That place has a great way of instilling the right values and perhaps particularly in its women. Now I am wondering if I should leave the country altogether as it has not served me and my family well. I wonder what you would make of that.

You were killed and that can never be put right. But so many things can be and I hope all of us are moved by your story and your strength of character and take baby steps to be better mums, to think globally and to do out bit.

Rest peacefully.

The Pramshed
Diary of an imperfect mum