Friday, 26 October 2012

Loosing track of time ..and thoughtful thankyou

Loosing track of time, forgetting what day of the week it is  all pretty normal for busy mums . For me with fibromyalgia & my  OCD it is a sign that I am doing to much and am feeling overloaded . So this week I thought I would extend Thursdays Thoughtful Thank-you idea onto my blog just to thank those of you who have supported my endeavor this year to change and to try so many new things.  Of course I have a 7 yr old who I can thank for telling me today is actually Friday , so I thank her for being on her toes.



I also wanted to thank the lovely networking mummies for having given me such a fabulous opportunity to lead the NWSURREY Facebook group for the 3 months  and I really hope they find a leader who will love it and keep it going as it is a fabulous way of getting support, making new friends, extending your networking and finding out about how other mums juggle business and family . I am thankful that they understand that right now I have to step back and am pleased to say my carers have stepped in already to help me out at home and I have begun new medication.

  
For me it is a huge time of change again and I am juggling moving house and more hospital appointments that I was not expecting this time of year.  I am very aware that I cannot do everything and that I need to focus on a few priorities at a time and have had a hard time deciding how much I can do over this winter . So I have also chosen to not continue with my work from home and am helping my team adjust as a new leader will be taking over allowing me time to get on top of my personal life and to pace myself.




When I began networking I was homeschooling and had hoped that my hospital trips would end over the Summer. In fact they have become so frequent that I have had to accept the help of others and place my youngest not only into mainstream school but some days into after-school club too. As a stay at home mum this is heartbreaking but right now I have to accept that I need the help.
 I  decided to accept the offer of going back to see a psychiatrist and the additional support from the counselling and am thankful for that too.
 



My son and daughter from my 2nd marriage only come home at every other weekend ,   in order for them to achieve their full potential and to fit in with their dads wishes I had to accept that they would be better off and that everything happens for a reason. I look forward to their extended half term and want to make the most of every minute with them whether it be baking or just chilling together every moment is precious and I was so proud of them in their parade it bought a tear to my eye.  My eldest son is moving out for the first time and I am really looking forward to helping him set up and bake him some healthy things to pop in his freezer.
I am thankful for every day that I get to spend with my family.










Saturday, 20 October 2012

It is that time of year for sweets ..our neighbour hands out toothbrushes instead LOL!





 From the moment I first saw my baby scans I began to start taking more care of my body . Each pregnancy proving a tougher challenge on my teeth, hair and bones and I was determined to do everything I could to be the best 1st home for each child. Of course once they were born there were new challenges of teething, nursing,weaning and more recently 2nd teeth being coveted by my youngest who is currently walking around awaiting her first two big teeth. Everyone thinks their child has the cutest smile but how do we protect that smile with all of todays tempting treats especially at this time of year?
October in our house has always been a tricky balance with such a wide age gap between my children , what some of them found fun others simply down right hated. My son who has aspergers hated having his teeth cleaned . He would begin a tantrum as soon as he saw it was that time of day and no matter how many tricks I tried we struggled . At the age of 7 he had to have all his back teeth removed , it came as a huge shock as we had tried everything we could but his teeth were crumbling and they felt it would be better to remove them before they damaged the new teeth beneath. I felt the guilt any mum would feel as I stood by helps-less as I watched my son getting sedated.  After this traumatic event we found some great fingerbrushes online via the National Autistic Society and we set about with coloured timers and stickers for all of the children and we had everyone on board as no one wanted to go through what their brother had. Hi teeth at the back had gone so he was forced to learn to eat and chew with his front teeth . It took until his 14th birthday for all of his back teeth to grow in and he now has the pearliest whites anyone would be proud of. But he learned the hard way!
Sensitive teeth -ouch!










In 2002 Phoebe was diagnosed with meningitis resulting in hearing loss and loss of sight in one eye the only thing that got her through was the prompt medical attention she received and the fact that she had not dehydrated as she was being tandem fed along with her new baby brother - did you know breastfeeding not only helps with immunity but also is much better for your childs teeth?

With the countdown to Christmas ahead of us already I am relived to say that in this house we have 3 different flavoured natural toothpastes which the kids all use regularly and they have finally grown up enough to understand why I have been so eager for them to look after their teeth all these years . For me my challenge was how to best use up the last remaining toothpaste which never gets squeezed out by the kids , so I looked online and found the perfect cleaning tip. I am pleased to say the toothpaste is wonderful at cleaning /polishing up tarnished silver . I first tried it on some cutlery before thanksgiving last year and then just this morning I decided to wear my spoon bracelet and found it had tarnished , so i polished it up along with my silver earrings too and I have to admit I am pleasantly surprised. So as I was encouraged to run a competition I thought I would combine the two ideas ...Good luck to weaners, teethers and tantrum suffering mummies everywhere , my thoughts are with you x

For more information email







Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hampshire Networking Mummies Business Mum of the Month Star for October


I have just been awarded Hampshire Networking Mummies Business Mum of the Month Star for October and been asked if I would blog a little about how I got it so here goes ..

If you have been following my blogs you will know I had a stroke in 2009 and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, leaving me wheelchair-bound and chemically sensitive to just about everything. I was rushed back to hospital in July of last year to have a drain inseted to release the pressure compressing my optic nerve and discovered I had multiple chronic infections which has eroded my sinus wall and had a silicone leak into my lymph-nodes.  I had to undergo a full capsulotomy and removal of the PIP implants in January of this year and decided it was time to address some of the other toxins I had introduced into my life.  My sister ( https://www.facebook.com/Easy2WorkFromHome )  introduced me to the idea of working from home after I achieved such a great result when trying the products to detox and loose weight myself. I was sceptical of changing brands, but soon realised that change is good and that we under estimate just how our everyday household products can impact our health and the health of our children . 

I did my research and found lots of people were having health issues who had written some great feedback on how the products worked. (http://whyilovemelaleuca.com ) I soon learned there was more than banishing chemicals from my laundry and cleaning products. I chatted online with others about what they had tried .This encouraged me to even switch to safer skincare and make up products, before I knew it I had so many compliments that I looked better – They also wanted to know why I was no longer stuck in a wheelchair!


I went along to try my first networking meeting in Hampshire and I had to overcome the idea that I would have to step out of my comfort zone. At first I sold the membership to friends and family introducing them to a new way of shopping that was simple ,smarter and saved them money.Then I met with Tarryn Hunt  a wonderful coach who also leads the Hampshire branch and we explored the idea of stepping just 1% out of my comfort zone a day. She began encouraging me to develop a wider circle of influence.


I achieved my goal of beginning to build a team for myself and am growing in confidence daily. I made sure I stuck to my goals and kept track of the money I was saving by switching products and was able to use this to pay off my outstanding store cards and debt, taking the first step towards being debt free.    I made it into the Top 100 Business awards  so I was thrilled to see networking was more than worth it.Most of us would rather build relationships, ad most of us feel more confident taking advice from friends, we love to shop around, get the best deal and know who to ask for what , networking mummies provides the support you need and links you up with others in a fun and friendly manner .

I love the fact that I choose what hours to work and that I do not have monthly targets other than those I set myself to achieve. Even better I love the fact it does not feel like work at all – I describe myself as a dream maker and an avid listener – I listen to what people dream about doing and see if I can do anything towards helping that dream come true.  I work from home quite often from my comfy bed. Often mornings for me are very difficult so those are the days I work in PJ’s. I pace myself and it seems to work.

As you can see I was so inspired by the group I signed up to start a Surrey Group myself http://www.networkingmummies.com/networkingmummiesnwsurrey.html and spend just 5 hours a month on my own business with http://www.encouragingnaturalbeauty.co.uk/ . I am chuffed to receive the award from Hampshire as the group is very friendly and interactive. The nice thing is we all support each other . I have sourced all sorts of things through networking from birthday cakes ,candles, jewellery,chocolate, better phone tariffs, yoga classes and so much more . Along the way I have made a fabulous network of friends who I meet up with monthly and in the meantime we have a great interactive page on Facebook which keeps me on my toes and reminds me I am not alone .


I would love to hear your cleaning and/or detox tips so do email me amandacsharp@gmail.com - perhaps you would even do a guest blog for me on going green. I am hoping a few of you will be inspired to get in touch. I will  of course run a competition for  anyone who writes to me with their story . Details of that will follow in Sundays usual Blog Hop .

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Shining a light on Atypical Autism & Aspergers

 On the 28th of September 1995 my second son was born in Winterpark Birthing center - did I know when he was born that he would be different - of course not but as we celebrate his 17th birthday and the changes he has gone through I wanted to blog about his journey and let others know how an original diagnosis of Autism changed my views on flapping and self esteem- sometimes you just have to see the world though their eyes . Hope you enjoy the view ..
 First off I should explain my son was a selective mute , he could make noise mainly a wooshing sound and the first thing I wanted to know was why if he had a voice did he not feel the need to use it . You can see from this photo he has a wonderful sense of fun and I have encouraged him to express himself non verbally and we have had a lot of fun exploring ways to bring him out of his shell.
 I guess we are lucky in that we have accepted the fact that he has no fear he will literally throw himself at anything this is more to do with his personality than his Asperges but many on the spectrum have no concept of fear and danger.
 Some experts suggested a genetic factor , which of course has certainly duplicated a strong similarity to his father and I recognise a lot of my OCD traits in my son and can also empathise with his difficulty in intepreting the outside world of facial expressions and social rules . But neither his father nor I knew anything about ASD until he turned 7 years old.  We knew he was developmentally delayed and we already had a son who had a diagnosis of ADHD so when our daughter was born a neurotypical we suddenly realised just how different our boys had become.
My little girl interacted with us , my boys interacted with themselves. journey into parenting turned on it's head as I sat with several mums finding out what to expect in my sons future . I was determined to take action to make sure he would not only be accepted in society but to arm him with the tools he would need to fit in . If that meant pretending to be normal then I would make him the best actor and applaud every performance to the last curtain!
 My son was asked how was he feeling about being in a new school and he lead his teacher by the hand and placed his head in the school photocopier by this stage he had undergone 4 years of intensive speech therapy and had integrated into a mainstream school. He could talk - well monologue to be honest . But he still could only show his feelings in a on verbal form.
When he was asked to give a desciption of who he had seen messing up the boys cloakroom his answe had us in fits of giggles as he said well it was a boy , wearing the same school uniform as this (pointing to his own) I did not know him so I did not ask him his name as you know you should not talk to strangers - well that narrowed it down - NOT!
 When he was very young the two boys were full of laughter , trips out would usually involve keeping a very close eye on them as they would just suddenly run out of steam and settle on the floor without telling us . They were attracted to colour and texture and so we knew we would generally find them tucked in between clothing racks on in this case squatting in a market stall .
 Naturally his preferred socialising was parallel play on computer games and to this day it still is his favourite method of interaction. When we did invite friends over to interact he was more interested in their shoes as his first way of recognising people and deciding if he liked them was based on shoe recognition. he once told me he knew his teacher would be kind as she always wore the same shoes everyday so he could recognise her no matter what else she was wearing.
 In order to engage in a conversation I had to learn to liteally hold him still and remind him several times that he was meant to look at me so that we could engage in conversation - this took years for him to master and when he meets new people he still finds it difficult to engage eye contact .
 The world was and still is exhausting for him even though he now has a new diagnosis of Atypical Aspergers due to his impressive progress he still has to remove himself now and then to restore and recharge - clearly he is now much to big for his sisters pushchair but it served it's purpose and it never bothered him to lift one of his siblings out so he could take a nap right up until he was 10 !
 Of course being adventurous by nature he has his fair share of accidents , the hardest thing for the doctors is figuring out just how badly injured he is and which side to xray. In 2000 they had to xray both his legs as he is known as 'cross wired' , it turned out to be the leg he was sat upon that had a multiple spiral fracture with the doctors said was incedible as he should have been in agony.
 In 2009 he was thrown several feet as a van hit him and again he came out not knowing where he was damaged miraculously apart from a lot of debris from the road not a single bone was broken . In fact I was pretty pleased as he has Oshgood Shlatter syndrome and the accident could have left him in a chair - a lucky escape , they suggested he must have been incredibly relaxed and floppy like a baby as the van hit him as this was the only logical explanation for such little damage.
 One of the cutest things we experienced and he has learned to disguise was his flapping - often seen at meal times and when running or just generally excited . His arms would be extended and sometimes we were sure he would just take off !
 At first we assumed he would grow out of it , but we soon found out this is quite common along with his spinning and rocking. We had to find ways of helping him cope with this as he found it frustrating and seemed unable to control it .
 At school he was always known for being quiet and polite and most of all being a big smiler. He smiled all the time. He would be in pain and smile, he would be confused and smile and you would ask him are you okay and his reply would simply be 'okay' . This echolalia as it is known is also very common . The unwillingness to show a change of expression also confused the teachers and his friends as sometimes he seemed to be grinning at them in a mocking manner!
 He was and still is quite happy to come and reverse himself into you and can come over on his terms for a cuddle , these days its a big bear hug when he feels like it .
 Overtime peer pressure and a few comments from his friends he learned to take the flap behind him and this lead to a familiar stance of hands behind his back firmly clasped which he pulls off pretty naturally these days . These days he fits in at college , he has made some solid friendships and they all know he has difficulty with some of the more social activities , he holds is own, he is a popular lad and I am very proud that the little boy who once was so silent is now as noisy as any other teenager .



Saturday, 6 October 2012

Follow link to find out about Wibble 

Thankyou for nominating me for the mumsclub award.
 It has been a fun week of networking and fundraising with some very talented mums. I attended the Wibble launch and had an amazing evening. I also wet along to get my leaders pack from networking mummies UK Ltd and had a lovely lunch with the other leaders from across the country and managed to come back full of ideas on how to make our events a good balance of online support to back up our face to face networking.
I also had the pleasure of being up for Serial Social Networking Queen with mumsclub alongside some very dear friends who I have voted for in their categories as they have supported me from my very first step into taking an idea forward into the business community. Ces has designed my new facebook image and my website and is the talented author of the light direction as well as hosting her own support group called Supportive Business Mum's VIP's and Venita also hosts her own support goup called SheBizPower Activity Group her mission statemets says it all : Offering ambitious & innovative women worldwide a platform to meet, connect, share & discuss. To support these women in their journey to business success by offering a.o. exposure, information, courses & meetings.
I now help lead a group on facebook for NWSURREY

Thank you to the ladies at Hampshire branch who nominated me for the month of October for supporting their activity x
So what is it like to go to your first networking meeting in real life as a mum ? It is actually a lot of fun. The nice thing about the networking mummies meetings I have attended is that they ae really relaxed.
Everyone gets a 60 second slot in which to introduce who they are , why they are here and what they hope to gain , some show short demonstrations and some share stories on products or their own personal success. We get to share ideas and join each other for workshops and taster sessions and children are welcome. Today I went to my first recruitment fayre and took my 7 yr old , we had a lovely 2 hours together with other mums and children and the time flew by. Of course more importantly for her she was nominated this week at school by her teacher as star of the week so we have Rory for the next few days and are doing a lovely activity diary on what Rory does when he leaves the shelf in the classoom.  I do think rewards are key with children and let's face it even when you have just had your 41st birthday there is nothing nicer than hearing that you too are up for an award . On that note I am about to reward myself with an early night and a lay in so my blog hop post will go up tonight . Whatever you do , take time to reward yourself with something - as mums we all work had and need a little 'me time' . I would encourage you to take a look at https://www.facebook.com/HeatherBestelCoaching/app_137541772984354 October is a magical month so take some time out x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Reflections from a broken mirror still create the most amazing light..



 Fans of my previous blog may remember how few photos I had taken of me during my time of being confined to my mobility chair and even though most people I meet now will talk to me and ask me about it many did not like to pry and I became invisible an occasional reflection in what I perceived to be a broken mirror - I took this amazing shot when I made the first transition of half on my feet half in my chair .It was a quirky little bathroom in Spain and that is bare rock from the mountain you can see in the reflection - as you can tell I am fascinated with nature's beauty.

When is the last time you were happy with a photo of yourself - or the image you have of yourself? Most of us hide behind a camera happily pointing it at others .
 This was taken over Christmas my mobility scooter - I was happy this side of the camera! You can see on the unit behind the girls lots of photos in which I was happy many of them media shots that I had done to educate people about their carbon footprints, or parenting, standing up for labour rights (as in pregnant not politics- although I did do a political campaign lol) I spent 15 years as a volunteer loving every active moment and yet I did not feel any light within me after my paralysis set in . I felt like someone had come over and inserted a dimmer switch which was on a remote and I had no control over - some days I could shine and would be seen other days my light was so dim I retreated into my own darkness , invisible to the world.  I had to face the fact that I owned that switch and I sought help to get control of it.
I began with getting back into volunteering and was welcomed back into the community. Some of you came along to support me when I took part in the Fashion show last year and I blogged about how wonderful it felt to be able to be on two legs albeit only for a short time - at this stage I thought life was as good as it could get .I paced myself and did just a couple of hours a week and still had carers in for all my personal needs and was on a cocktail of high prescriptive drugs and undergoing intensive therapies.
 I made the most of pacing myself and at every opportunity was out volunteering right up until my health took one final turn for the worse . Having tasted freedom I began to dream of a new reflection and of helping others to discover their own unique natural beauty and was forced into  action. I wanted out of my chair for good and with the help of my sister embarked on the task of loosing weight for my next operation.
On New Years I celebrated loosing weight over Christmas as  I was booked for my procedure to remove my toxic PIP implants on January 22nd. I had a full removal despite being assured that my ongoing health issues had no relation to my implants my surgeon agreed that removal and a full capsulotomy was the only option for me.


 My hubby and I took the opportunity to visit newcastle and I caught sight of myself in the hotel mirror and said to my husband I want that mirror - he laughed and said what are you talking about . I told him it made me look slim and he said well you do look different have you not looked. The truth was I had not dare so I bravely took this reflection and posted it on my FACEBOOK wall much to my friends horror !



  As soon as I realised that I could take control of the dimmer switch and choose when to be seen I grabbed it with both hands. It has not been easy and there are days when I do still dim down these days - it is not because I am in hiding it is purely that when I am overloaded in so much pain I do not want to see the sympathy in your eyes , I do not want the children pointing at my walker or my stick and asking why . But on the days or even half days when I am not working from home in my Pjs behind a static image on skype or a screenname in a webinar I turn the lights up bright , not on me but from within me . I shine them on others . I love to support others , I love to make people smile ,laugh and engage with them on a personal level. I am an open book - but this light runs on batteries and every now and then I retreat to recharge . On that note I just want to thank everyone who has supported me from my old NHS blogs, through to the Power of Now group, and so many other groups which finally lead me from living behind a screen to getting back out and doing what I love most . Now I share with you a new me - a reflection on a good day taken on my Birthday last week - and yes my carer came to dress me, and the photographer made me relax and the make up artist put me under her magic spell - but the light I shine is from within a broken mirror . There is no cure for what I have - but I will be sure to fight it every day and for those of you who think you have lost your dimmer switch email me and maybe I can help you find it xx


 Birthday Photograph a new me, relaxed confident and below the two wonderful groups which I support. Wibble an amazing online forum for women in business. The Launch I attended was inspirational and I adore Cheryl she always sees me no matter how dim I may appear .She has superwoman vision and can spot even the lowest of lights shining in her group.

 I also want to thank all the lovely ladies who helped with our Networking mummies Macmillan Coffee which we held the day after my birthday . Even on a bad day I use my time to encourage action with my facebook group and endless twitter and Linked in - I probably drive my friends crazy when I am having a healthier day but they are used to me by now !

It started with a dream, a need , a helping hand or two but action was the ultimate key. It took a lot of people to rebuild what I had lost and for that I am very grateful.  I can honestly see I really found a business community with family as its heart!