I am looking back at the journeys where my life suddenly changed quite radically.

1. From Romford Road to Epping Forest

I was born on the Romford Road but very quickly, my mother decided she did not want me in her life.  I was taken to a convent in Epping Forest.  So you could say I became a convent girl at a very early age.    As a child, very occasionally we would travel through Epping Forest and I would get the strangest feeling.  It was only in my forties that I discovered that once it was home.

2. From Epping Forest to Dewsbury

I was fostered at the age of 11 months and by the people who would eventually become my adoptive parents.  They were older than the norm so it was felt they would make a good fit with a child who was also that bit older.   So unusually, I was adopted outside of the local area and found myself as a Yorkshire lass.  Mum and Dad took me home on Bonfire Night so I have two birthdays like the Queen.  Mum said it was so exciting taking their first daughter home and how it felt like all the fireworks were marking a new chapter for all of us.

3.  From Dewbury to Cambridge – Stage 1

This is the first life-changing journey that I remember.  My Dad drove me to my interview for entrance to Cambridge University.  It was my very first interview for anything and very daunting.  I remember babbling all the way down about war poetry and all the things I would say depending on what questions I was asked.  I will never forget walking through the arch and seeing college for the first time.

4. From Dewsbury to Cambridge – Stage 2

It was a glorious day as we set off to get me settled in at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University.   My parents wanted to make it a lovely day so we stopped for a picnic on the way down.  Dad had bought a copy of the good university guide to reassure me that Cambridge really was good enough for me lol.  We arrived and the magic began and continued for 3 lovely years.

5.  From Cambridge to Dewsbury

I don’t think I had ever quite believed Cambridge would end.  I remember travelling home and it felt like my whole world had ended.  Goodbye to wonderful friends, lovely architecture and parties most nights of the week.   I remember feeling bleak and also wondering how on earth I was going to tell my parents that actually I had decided I did not want to be a lawyer after all.

6. From Dewsbury to Carlisle

It took me a long time to work out what to do next.  I ended up getting a job in an  advice agency in Carlisle.  This was the journey with Mum and Dad where I had to face the rather uncomfy fact that , like it or not, I was an adult and had better start making my way in the world.  I remember thinking what a beautiful county I was moving to and Mum saying about a zillion times that I would be OK and it would all be amazing.  I was in Carlisle for 3 years and apart from meeting the man who would hurt me most in the world, it was a good time.

7. From Dewsbury to Exeter and Back Again

My Dad drove me down to collect my things after I was told by my then partner that he had moved a girl in whilst I was away for the weekend.  I remember Dad saying that if I let said fella con me again, it would be the end of my relationship with Mum and Dad.  Of course, when someone decides they don’t want you and you still think you love them, things are not simple.  I remember feeling sad and tearful all the way down.  We collected my things and headed North so that at the age of 29 I could start all over again.

8. Back to Convent Girl

My college friends decided to start to repair my broken heart.  We went on a sunny weekend to Wales where one of them had surprised us all by becoming a nun in an enclosed order.  I remember meeting up with my friends at Birmingham New Street and suddenly feeling like me and realising that when you are part of a couple, some of that gets lost somewhere.  We laughed, we had fun and one of my friends remembers me talking on and on about the man who is now my husband.

9. The Journey to Motherhood

When I went into my labour with my first child, I got into our car and within minutes it broke down.  It was the middle of the night and we lived in the countryside so it was hours before a taxi turned up for us.  I remember the driver was playing Beatles music and told me to scream along as much as I wanted.  I took the poor bloke at his world.  This definitely qualifies as the noisiest journey of my life and the one with the best prize at the end of it.

10. BritMums Live

I am going to BritMums Live this year having missed out last time round.  I have a feeling it is going to change my life in ways I cannot imagine yet.  It feels significant.  So right from the moment I set off, I am going to savour every moment.  Time away from family responsibilities, time to maybe discover how to let my hair down and time to travel to the next chapter.

 

As part of my promotion of diverse charities throughout June 2012, here is a guest post from Scrapstores UK.

Let’s start an epidemic and make creativity is contagious

There is an exciting epidemic sweeping across Britain and its called Scrapstore syndrome. Closely related to make-do-and-mend-alitis the symptoms are known to be highly contagious on account of the enormous amount of fun people have when they are exposed to scrap.
The source of the syndrome can be traced back to 90 specific scrapstore locations across the UK.  First documented in the United States and Australia in the 1970’s; a rogue strain was brought to the UK by backpackers who had been exposed to the phenomenon on their travels.


The first known UK outbreak occurred in Hackney; London where it is still flourishing. The idea quickly spread and continues to grow thanks to a dedicated band of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure this highly infectious idea reaches up to 74,000 community groups so that millions of people are able to enjoy scraptasticly fun activities.
The outbreak is being transmitted by word of mouth, press and social media. People involved in arts, crafts and play are particularly susceptible to being entranced by the shiny textures and bright colours.

Be warned; the known effects are:

  • Excessive smiling, laughing and wellbeing
  • Talking and sharing of ideas and projects
  • Making friends and enjoying yourself
  • A compulsion to experiment and be creative
  • Sensory overload from the variety of scrap
  • Withdrawal when unable to visit the scrapstore

 

There is no known cure however those affected are encouraged to talk about their experiences and upload photos of their creations when under the influence of Scrapstore syndrome to the scrapstoresUK website and Facebook page.

An alternative treatment is to simply give in completely and become a Volunteer in a scrapstore.

How do scrapstores work?

A scrapstore receives clean, dry and non-toxic materials from local industry and/or businesses that would otherwise be disposed of either in land fill or incineration. Most scrapstores have a membership scheme where you pay an annual subscription and a nominal charge for materials, some are funded to be able to offer  resources free to ‘paid up’ members.  
Who uses scrapstores?

Children’s centres, Early years settings, Registered Childminders, Out-of-school clubs, Activity Clubs, Scouts, Brownies, Cadets, Respite Carers, Arts and Crafts Clubs, Mainstream and Specialist Educators, Home Educators, Art and Design Student Groups, Family Support Groups, Day and Residential Care Centres, Adult Further Education Settings, Families, Artists, Schools and Pre-Schools.

Every scrapstore, no matter the size, is independent, run by a small but committed group of staff, many or all of which are often volunteers. ScrapstoresUK is the national charity created by the scrapstore community to support and represent them, to be a common voice with the media and national businesses and to be a facilitator to share the knowledge spread out across the scrapstore community.  ScrapstoresUK has a board of Trustees, the majority of whom run scrapstores.

If you have not yet been affected by Scrapstore Syndrome please visit www.scrapstoresuk.org website to find your nearest scrapstore or to donate to our charity so we can help more scrapstores.

 Main scrapstoresUK helpline:           0844 997 8000     

Website: www.scrapstoresuk.org    

Email: info@scrapstoresuk.org   

Twitter: @scrapstoresUK  
Head Office Address: Unit 14, Gilsea Park, Mona Close, Swansea Enterprise Park, Swansea. SA6 8RJ
scrapstoresUK registered charity number: 1126044 company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, number: 07864468.

Life is getting back to normal after the Jubilee and so if it is Thursday, it is time to list my reasons to be Jubilee.

1. I am cheerful about living in a community that puts on so many events and where the business supports them so that they are rather fabulous.  Arts and crafts event for children, art exhibition, quiz, carnival and so much more.

2. I am happy that whether everyone appreciated it or not I did put on a good show for the Jubilee decorating the house and making lovely tea parties for days on end complete with special plates, tablecloths etc (of the luxury paper variety).

3. I am smiling about enjoying the good telly bits of the Jubilee.  For me, this was most of it.  I am not a Royalist but I enjoy the history, the fashion and the soap opera involved in us having a Royal Family.

4. I am relieved that I have finally sat down and worked out the logistics about going to BritMums Live.  That email about it being only 2 weeks away was a bit of a wake-up call.  Childcare is sorted so the next step is to arrange an outfit or two and a haircut.

5. I am indulging in the joys of Half Term making things with the children and sleeping it a little bit.

6. My Dad arrived home yesterday and announced he is taking me and the children out to a pub lunch today. 

7.  More people are signing up to ensure money goes to their charity of choice every time they shop online at no extra cost to themselves.  I am encouraging folks to support Tommy’s the baby charity but you can sign up and choose a charity of your choice to benefit here http://www.give.as/savingbabieslives   The more people sign up, the more money goes to good causes and that makes me very cheerful.

8. My very independent cat lay on my knee for hours last night.  Such a good feeling.

 

Dogs are great companions for people of all ages and sizes. They’re goofy, lovable and give you sweet licks when you’re feeling down. Even more, there are breeds that are absolutely great with kids!

Still, when it comes to our youngs, they need a few guiding lessons to interact the proper way with dogs. And, as a parent, it’s your duty to teach your child to love animals and be comfortable around them. You want to teach your child how to be safe around dogs including those they know and don’t know. That way, they can grow up to really appreciate dogs to the fullest.

Given the fact that even parents need guiding from time to time, we put together a small guide to walk you through the process.

 

Make sure you supervise each interaction

If this is your family dog, then you won’t necessarily have to be there for every moment your child is around them. In fact, you’ll want to focus on teaching you child from a young age on how to interact with the family dog. However, if your child is around your friend’s dog or an unknown dog, then you’ll want to supervise the interaction.

 

Always ask for permission

Kids easily get excited when they see a dog, so they’ll run up to it and try to pet it. This is a big no-no. They may intimidate the dog or make it feel that it needs to protect itself. So, if your child wants to approach the dog, always ask the owner for permission. If the owner isn’t around, do not allow your child to pet it as the dog may feel the need to protect its territory.

 

Approach slowly

Your child needs to approach the dog in a calm and slow manner. With a closed hand, they can extend it out to allow the dog to sniff them. If everything goes well, which it usually does, the dog can be patted under their chest or under the chin. You don’t want to let your child pat them on the head as the having a hand reaching over their head may make the dog nervous.

 

Play the tree game

You want to have your child comfortable around dogs. If they’re jumping around or if they’re yelling, this is going to make the dog scared which could lead to your child getting nipped – especially if the dog is not your family pet. So, teach your child how to act around dogs by playing the tree game. When an unknown dog comes up to your child, they should be standing still like a tree. Their arms should be by their side with their eyes down, without making any noise. You can pretend to be the dog while you crawl around them, sniffing them.

 

Let your child give them treats

What dog doesn’t love treats? Exactly! Let your dog build a positive association with your child by letting them feed the dog treats. If the dog is unknown or a new family pet, you want to show that your child isn’t a threat but rather a part of your pack.

 

No hugging

Children love to give hugs which in any other situation, is great. However, the same doesn’t apply to dogs, especially unknown dogs. Though many people think dogs like to be hugged, they don’t. Hugging a dog can make them feel uncomfortable placing them in possibly a threatening state. This could lead to the dog becoming scared enough to nip or bite which is an issue since the head is very close to the dog’s mouth.

 

Show them what makes a dog angry

Dogs aren’t that different from humans. Do we like it when someone puts their hand on our dinner plate while we’re eating? No. Of course, dogs don’t like having their ears and tail pulled, being yelled at, disturbed while sleeping, and having their toys stolen from them. You’ll want to make the connection that your child and dog are similar in that sense so that they understand what they shouldn’t do.

 

Show them positive and negative body language

You want your child to know the difference between a happy dog and an annoyed dog. This will be useful for both unknown dogs and your family pet.

 

Positive body language

  • Natural or wagging tail
  • Relaxed facial expression
  • Isn’t holding eye contact with you
  • “Smiling” mouth
  • Relaxed, floppy earsNegative body language
  • Intense, direct eye contact
  • Lips pulled back, exposing teeth
  • Growling, aggressive barking
  • Ears are pulled back
  • Tail tucked in between their hind legs
  • Hunched and/or tensed body
  • Pacing
  • Raised hair down their backs or shoulders

Include your child in activities with your dog

If you want to ensure that there’s a bond developed between your child and the family dog, then you’re going to have to make sure you include your child in day-to-day activities. Go on family walks, let your child give them water (you should be the one to feed your dog), and allow your child to be a part of grooming. Now, if your dog isn’t a happy pooch when bath time rolls around then it’s best your child isn’t there. However, if your dog likes to get shampooed and massaged then let your child join in but make sure you’re using the best dog shampoo that’s safe for dogs.

 

Is your child not following the rules?

If your child isn’t following anything you’re saying and disobeying these very important rules, then you need to remove your child from the dog. Give them a clear reason why they’re being removed from the dog so that they understand that these rules are in place for a reason. If they follow the rules, give them positive reinforcement to show that they’re doing a great job! Your child has to learn that dogs and all other animals are living creatures that are emotional just like you and me.

 

Now that you know what you need to do to have your child comfortable around dogs, the sooner you introduce this, the better! Depending on your child, they make need some time to warm up to dogs and get used to being around them. Also, your dog may need some time to get acquainted with their new tiny friend! Make sure your child knows the rules and that you supervise a positive friendship developing between your child and their dog.

 

 

 

Author Bio:

 

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna’s passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed. She also helps curate contents for DogsAholic.com

I was sent some Nail Glitter by GOSH.

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