Charity Begins at Home

Boys legsToday was a special day. I watched my son’s ten year old classmate – the son of my good friend Hazel – walking into school for the first time, after years in a wheelchair and thousands of pounds spent on physiotherapy. He was holding his mum’s hand and beaming with pride. Hazel’s son Oscar, like my J, has a physical and intellectual learning disability and there is a special relationship between us mums who know only too well the meaning of that ‘one small step’, which means nothing for mankind, but means the world to us and our children. It means that all the weeks, months and years that we’ve spent trying – and praying, and trying again until we are shattered  - have finally paid off. That one small step will keep us nourished mentally and will give us the renewed energy to keep on going for another year. more »


A Good Night’s Sleep

ID-10057562I’ve just finished reading a great book on how to cure insomnia. It’s called “The Effortless Sleep Method” by Sasha Stephens and it kept me awake half the night because I couldn’t put it down. Seriously! I rarely have a problem getting to sleep but I’m no stranger to waking with a jolt of adrenalin after the first 3 – 4 hours of deep or slow-wave “delta” sleep and staying awake for 2 or 3 hours more, if not for the rest of the night.

My problem started after I had children. My son J, who has a severe learning disability, would wake after that first period of deep sleep. We all do this in fact, but whilst most of us barely remember doing so and will roll over and go back to sleep, it’s common for kids with a learning disability to figure that as they’ve woken, it’s time to get up. And that’s precisely what J did for 2 out of 3 nights of the week, eventually dropping off around 5 or 6 a.m. – if, indeed, at all. Now, even when J sleeps well, (he wakes on average maybe 1 or 2 nights out of 7) I have fallen into the pattern of jumping at the slightest sound from the moment my deep sleep period is over and quite often even if there is no sound at all. I will then follow the pattern set for me by J and remain alert for most – if not the rest – of the night. more »


Unhappy Valentine’s Day?

1308606009_ce76b95664No Valentine’s cards this year? Me neither. My husband is working away during the week at the moment and he called me on Thursday to ask if we could “do the Valentine’s Day thing” at the weekend instead. “You know,” he said. “The thing where I get you a card and a bottle of cava and you forget to get me anything?” “Oh, yeah. Sure,” I laughed.

To be honest, Valentines Day means nothing to me. It used to when I was younger and single, in that I never got any cards. Valentines Day was just an annual reinforcement of my negative self-image that would sustain me for the year to come. The truth of the matter is that I wasn’t popular at school and even when I started to have boyfriends, none of them was ever really the hearts and flowers type. Later, during my many years as a single woman in my late twenties and early thirties, I didn’t get a single card. I learned not to expect one either. I just wasn’t the type of woman that had romantic men running after her. But it didn’t mean that I wasn’t loved.

If the prospect of Valentine’s Day traditionally fills you with dread and simply exacerbates feelings of loneliness, isolation or loss then you may find this blog post from Girl on a Wire as heartwarming as I did.

I too wish to dedicate Valentines Day to all my lovely friends.


“Blue Skies, Broken Hearts” image Copyright © Brandon Weight


Access to Justice?

My days were spent in a courtroom, subjecting myself to the ritual humiliation that comes with being newly qualified.Access to justice in Britain is being seriously eroded. There is a real danger if the proposals of the Justice Department in Transforming Legal Aid are allowed to take effect that the right to a fair trial will be reserved for the very well off, and that those on low incomes will be pushed in and out of the criminal justice system like sausages in a factory, with a big tranche of the public that earns more, but not a lot, being forced to represent themselves. This will doubtless result in a huge number of miscarriages of justice, the like of which we saw in this country in the seventies and early eighties.

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Ten Steps to Career Resilience

I recently came across this very interesting article by Carole Pemberton, who is an executive coach at Career Savvy Women. Carole has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.

Building resilience into your career isn’t just about strength, keeping going in the face of difficulty or refusing to give up when confronted with adversity. Holding on to a career goal that’s not deliverable, or going above and beyond in a job that isn’t giving anything back, will do nothing but sap your confidence. Sometimes it makes sense just to let go and move on.

Even the most resilient people have the ability to be flexible in their actions, thoughts and emotions, and adapt in the face of difficulty. Resilience involves knowing when to change direction; knowing when staying angry, defiant or resentful isn’t helping; and knowing that there are always other possibilities, and recognising when they appear.

Resilience is often seen as an innate quality – you either have it or you don’t. We can all think of people who seem to deal with whatever life throws at them, and others who seem to collapse when faced by difficulty. Does DNA make the difference? more »

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