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Newquay mum, Nina Peters, has created a community interest company and brand, Shield Us, to help those who have been shielding be able to leave their houses with less anxiety.

There are lot of people who have hidden conditions which make them vulerable to this pandemic. As social distancing relaxes, some people seem to ignore it completely, which for those at highest risk means they either are foced to stay indoors or they need YOU to be aware of the need to respect the ditancing rules.

That’s where Nina’s campagn began. You can read more about it here;

If you know anyone who could find these shirts and pins useful please visit her shop, as shown above.

If you know any societies or businesses who could help her raise awareness of this, help her get this logo recognised. Please let them or her know, contact information shown later in this post.

Please note:

I am in no way connected to this brand, I just saw the piece on BBC Breakfast this morning and its such a good idea and could help so many people that I’m using this blog post to hep raise awareness about it.

There are so many conditions that are hidden, and as a #spoonie a #zebra I so relate to this. This applies to so many conditions that are hidden, if someone can’t see your illness or condition, too often it means its ignored, and you just don’t have the energy to be a poster person for your condition.

If you can think of more, please contact them yourselves or pass on the links to Nina’s pages, as shown below

NinaPeters #ShieldUs contact info

There are so many hidden conditions, people on medications that lower their immunity levels, those who’s illness/conditions makes them more vulnerable to illness. Please respect that.

What would my logo have been…’Step back, to save a life!’

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie

 

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Message in a bottle scheme is genius idea from the Lions Club, it is a plastic bottle with a form u fill in,  that contains ur medical information and other key information, which you then put in the fridge. If there is an accident or you get ill, someone from emergency services will check the fridge to see if there is one there. It saves time and it saves lives. Make one NOW before you need it, while u have time to find all the information for it in a calm way.

Why do I want a Message in a bottle?

Sometimes there isn’t time to think, sometimes stuff changes in a heart beat, and you are in the worst day of your life. Be kind to yourself, fill in those forms on the good days, and if that terrible day does ever happen. Know you DO know what to do, and will be able to make a difference, however scary things get.

If the first paragraph didn’t appeal to you, here are some other ways to think about this. You have home insurance so if stuff goes wrong at home, you phone someone and they sort it, right?

If u have a car u have insurance so it gets fixed n you maybe have breakdown cover so its one call n they know all about you?

If there is an accident or emergency, at home, you can just open the fridge grab the bottle and know u can save lots of time and stress, knowing all the emergency services may need to know, is right there. If you brain melts, you’re still covered.

If you have close relatives or friends who have you as their chosen person to contact in times of accident, having a copy of this information about them could really help. If emergency services ask you about their stuff, you can go to a folder and look at that info and know. (you probably only need household ppls info in your fridge tho)

The Message in a bottle scheme is FREE, if u have a printer and the link below u can make it now without leaving home. Its simple to do and no ongoing fees? Its a no brainer right? Don’t just clap the NHS, take some steps to make your life and theirs easier in case of sudden accident or illness.

Examples

Your other half gets really sick, what do you do?

Your child gets hurt, what do you do?

You phone 999, later they ask u questions like what is his/her,their GP information, is he/she/they allergic to anything? Can u answer that? In that moment of panic?

Can u answer that right now, while you are sitting safe at home with everyone well? How well does your brain help you in a crisis, are you calm and know all the info or does your brain melt, and you flap? (which is also a normal valid response to any of that too)

Saving time saves lives. The more information you can give the emergency servies, the quicker and better they can take care of you or your loved one.

NO judgement but if the answer is no 😦 then please have a look at the form and consider filling it in. Would it feel better to know that if anything bad happened, you could open the fridge door and know all the info you might be asked for is in there? You could just read it out, or hand it to the emergency services?

Where can I get a message in a bottle? Can I make one myself at home?

  • Next time you are in the pharmacy in the UK, look for or ask for Lions Club Message in a Bottle scheme. They may be able to give you one. But if you have a printer and can read this page, then why not make your own, right here, right now? Its simple to do.
  • Print this; PDF of the form for Message in a bottle https://www.scas.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/message-in-a-bottle-form.pdf
  • Print it double sided and its only one sheet of paper. If your printer doesn’t do that, ask it to print just page one, then put paper back in and ask it to print just side 2.
  • Make a form for every person in the house.
  • Fill it in
  • Put it in a bottle or envelope in the fridge. (wash out and a plasic milk bottle or similar, just be sure to lable the bottle and leave it in the fridge somewhere promonant)

****IMPORTANT****

Keep the information on the forms up to date, if your meds change, your gp changes etc, please print a new form. Print on high quality NOT draft, draft uses less ink, but means print will fade faster too.

**************************************************************************************

If you have no idea what your NHS number is, do you have a prescription? Have a look at the top of the prescription and it will state your NHS number. If you don’t have that, fill in as much as you can, and add other info as you are able to find it.

Its a great form you can specify who looks after you if u have a carer, who you want someone to contact for you, if you have someone who relies on you, if you have pets at home who would need to be taken care of. As well as all the usual allergy questions, gp, next of kind stuff. So its really good.

Links

Mine was from pharmacy and I wanted to share it with you here but here is more about the scheme

Though this is a UK based project, I’m sure the Pdf of the form will be of use to those in other countries too, you can add any extra information you need to to it.

We are all living in challenging times at the moment. Lots of us feel anxious, worried, want to help but don’t know how too. Lots of us are running the ‘what if…’ story in our heads.

I don’t want my post to create fear, this is something you CAN do, for yourself, for your family for those you care for, and for those who will be taking care of you. Its an empowering thing, and brings peace of mind, knowing all the key info is there for when you might need it most. Its an act of kindness to your future self who is having the worst day and needs all the help they can get in that moment.

/messageinabottle #messageinabottle

This is a timeless post, its not just for right now, its for everyone, everywhere, you can do this, you can make a difference.

Stay safe and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

 

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Just a heads up that I plan to put some calming ideas on this blog starting in July. Think art books, artists, card decks for inspiration, meditation links that kinda thing. If my hands allows some books that have projects that calm the mind n soul too.

The world sure is loud, shouty, spiky at the moment, so I’ll try to share some gentle things with you to help you through.

I fully respect that what one person finds calming, may well drive another nuts, so as with all things, take what resonates, step away from the rest. I don’t want to use the mindfulness word, as for me I find that devisive. Its a very marmite thing. Personal soap box moment on this topic; like any great idea that is shared, each person tweaks it a bit, adds their own spin and for me there are some parts of what is touted as mindfulness which (to me) feel judgemental. As if, you are failing if you don’t do this or that.

THAT’S not me and not for me. There is far too much of that in the world. Eek did I fall on my own sword there ??? Did I judge others, SORRY. Its simply that Mindfullness stems from Buddhist ideals, ways of life, things to live by, and that’s totally fine. My issue is as its been shared and rebranded as mindfulness it seems to have been modified past the original concept. I have found it being used as a mental health as a tool but in that situation as it was presented badly [to me] it was being used in ways that felt judgemental.  I own my part, I have tried to use it in situations that it turn out not to feel right for me, not at the right time and not in the right situation.

However, personally and for myself I feel surrendering to this current world situation is the way through for me. I have learnt Reiki from You Tube and will share where. Meditated lots, which has helped my anxiety grately.

I have learnt not to try to fix my mental health issues, been TRYING to fix for years and that’s not helped or worked. I have learnt to walk WITH stuff. Allowing it to be what it is, and witnessing it, giving it space to be, doing my best to take care of myself during the worst of times, and then waiting for the gaps in the clouds, the storms to break. When I  realised others can’t, won’t help then it was time to use a different approach. The phrase ‘no one is coming to save you.’ is one that has been repeatedly shown to me in this journey.There are more options that NHS offer, they simply have to stick to budgets and what NICE guidlines allow. It is what it is, not bashing anyone but waiting lists were long and its a circle of pillar to post for precious little of help, things aren’t going to be better with more people in need of help after the c19 situation. We gotta build our own boat here folkes. Work out what works for us, gather that, stick close to those who love and support us, who love us for who and what we are and beilive in. I have learnt that as someone wise also once said; ‘Its better to be alone, than be someone you are not’

So next month I’ll start to share what I’m using right now, see if it helps you too.

Holding safe space for all those struggling right now.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

UPDATE: If you were sad not to see the promised posts. Tech fail, my computer fell over. My health is suffering so I’m not able to post as much as I used too. I will post when I can.

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Our present circumstances are turning a lot of us into ‘have a go heros’ on the home hairdressing front. I was a little ahead of the curve here, and before lockdown was even on the cards, had decided to let my hair grow out from very short to jaw length. I figured I could ignore it and hair clip annoying bits out of the way or bandana my way through the worst bits.  I also decided that I might give a fringe a go, just for a while. Now I’ve not had a fringe in over 40 years but as my hair grows really fast, I figured it would grow back fairly quickly, even if I mashed it.

So being a research girl, the first thing I did was hit You Tube for tutorials. This went well and I’ve shared my playlist further down this post. I later found there were also ‘hairdresser reaction videos’ and I watched a good few of them. Don’t like to see anyone being critisised without love n helpful suggestions but…at least by watching them, I found which ones I had been considering to take OFF the ‘to try’ list. If you are going to give this a go, I quickly realised searching for video’s BY actual hairdressers, was a good plan and also looking for ppl showing videos on hair that is similar to you own and had AFTER pictures too. Though watch out for that, as some only show after they have had help sorting out what they had done to themselves.

I got the tools needed on Amazon, and today was the day! Though my hair is still fairly short, being wavy n thick, any hint of length and it turns Marg Simpson! I’m currently looking a lot like Einstein! My hair’s superpower is the ability to stand out with NO product at 90 degrees from my head! sigh, I have to own the mad professor image don’t I.

Here is what I learned from cutting my own fringe

Be REALLY honest about your spacial awarness abilities before you try to cut your own hair!

If you are someone who drives, ask yourself how easy you find reversing round a corner, reverse parking, or reversing with mirrors generally. Is it easy peeezy or are you a curb kisser! I kiss plenty of curbs perfecting my reversing. Its why I go REALLY slowly and avoid reverse parking whenever possible. I’m talking old school reversing, using just all your mirrors, not fancy cars with camera’s every few inches, tho I’m sure thats a whole new skill set, I’ve not tried that so I can’t comment on what that is like. But if the whole steer in the opposite direction to the way you want to travel fries your brain…then diy haircuts are gonna be harder too.

If your hand eye co-ordination needs some work or spacial awarness isn’t your superpower…this haircutting lark is gonna be more challenging.

Do you wear glasses? I hadn’t factored in how tricky the process would be, with glasses on! Needing to have your glasses on to see what you are doing but then they are in the way for the bit you want to cut!!! Ahhh. (no I don’t wear make up so it hasn’t been an issue till now!)

Now Im NOT saying cut your hair with kids play scissors that are so blunt they barely cut paper but if any of the above applies to you, I’d highly recommend practicing the process you see on You Tube with the kids play scissors, just to learn the spacial awareness thing, before you start lopping bits off you didn’t mean to, especially from body parts you wern’t intending to trim! (not even kidding!)

Work out where your fringe sits with dry hair, wet your hair comb out n see where it lines up to on your head, this will give you some idea of how much higher it will bounce up to when dry. Maybe my hair being thick n wavy is making this even harder. No wonder I’ve had so many bad haircuts even from profesionals over my lifetime.

Here’s how it went with my fringe.

  • Wet hair
  • Sectioned hair
  • Combed to where I wanted
  • Turned away from the mirror, leaned over the sink
  • Got the scissors and ….
  • Tried to cut it, ahh glasses in the way,
  • Looked over the top of my glasses, blurry vission! I can do this cut anyway and OWWW. Spacial awareness fail, point cut into my finger!
  • Shifted position, still can’t see though glasses over the sink.
  • Sat on the floor, repeated the where I want to cut it part of the process,
  • This time kept looking in the mirror as I cut, this meant I could see through my glasses 🙂
  • Spacial awarness still a problem, it was a bit easier keeping one side of the scissors in contact with one of my fingers but was at risk of getting chomped again.

Result

Its not great, but its not that bad either, I’ve had worse that I’ve paid for.

I think I’m going to give my first finger a layer of micropore tape for protection, next time. Then I can try the keeping the back of the scissor in contact with the second finger AND not slice into the first finger!

I’m going to let go of anything attempting to be perfectionism on this project. Just keeping my hair out of my eyes, one way or another will do.

My hyperflexing is a big problem with this, my fingers bend too far, this not only makes it painful to do things but also means that my fingers when I hold them straight, bend up like bananas. This makes cutting a straight line a challenge for me.

If you have a go yourself, let me know how your first time went. most important thing I want to share from this is

BE CAREFUL those scissors don’t just cut through hair, they cut through SKIN too! So if you don’t want to cut your fingers be careful where you put them and where you put your scissors. I know its obvious but I’m not a wally, and I chopped into my finger! Have some plasters nearby for your first attemps, just in case.

Poor spacial awareness is a thing for some of us, its nothing to do with intellegence, its just a thing. I have dyslexia and aparently dyspraxia (problems with co-ordination and spacial awareness) often comes free with dyslexia. If you are someone who walks into door frames when you are not drunk. Gets hoods or sleeves hooked in door handles, then please be extra careful n practice with some blunter tools before you reach for the hairdresser grade stuff.

I wish you luck with your hairdressing adventures. Here is the You Tube Playlist I gathered on the subject Hairdressing tips Please don’t take the fact its here as an endorsement, like anything you try from the internet, its At your OWN risk.

Just know that in time however bad it looks, for most of us it WILL grow back. There are still hats n clips n bandanas and right now, unless they live with a hairdresser, or have been doing this themselves for years, no one is gonna have perfectly cut hair. And its unlikely anyone will come round so unless you are going live online anywhere, no one is gonna see you!

best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie

PS If you are wondering if I’ll share pictures of my hairdressing attempts NO WAY. I’m a shy soul n don’t put pictures of myself online.

 

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As someone who is housebound, who struggles with dexterity I rely on online food deliveries. In the current situaution with COvid 19, lockdowns and no online food slots unless the site already has you listed as vulnearble, its hard to access food. And harder still to find out how to get classified to access these vulnearble people slots. We are al in this together and we need information in one place as much as possible, so after lots of research I’ve found the following.

How to register as Extremely vulnerable person. .Gov online form

There is a .gov site to register as Extremely vulnerable https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable I link direct to the site as criterior may change as things are moving so fast with all this. The local foodstore I use will only offer slots to those on their own vulnerable person list. and now points people to that .gov site to register. Please read this blog section Disability rights, for lots of helpful resorces.

I started this, and the first question was ‘have you recived a letter from the NHS as being recognised as extremely vulnerable.?’ eek no, I can’t go out, struggle to lift thingshold things or carry things. Couldn’t possibly gather food, in trolly, unpack it at check out, re pack it, get it to a car to load, nor carry it back in the house and that is why home delivery is vital to me but in purest terms no I haven’t had a letter and I was scared that if I said no now, that it might hex it and prevent me being able to use that site again, if their terms changed in the coming weeks.

Sample of NHS England letter sent to Vulnerable people

Off for research for the criterior for being extremely vulnerable. At time of writting 27 March 2020 I found this sample of the letter which is the one the NHS are sending to those ppl they currenlty consider at risk. Here is the PDF I found on NHS Englands website. https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/at-risk-patient-letter-march-2020.pdf

SO currently hoping that a friend who is going to try to get food, when she can is able too, and stays well. If she can’t the does it mean no letter= no chance? The online food shop I use says they are getting the vulnerable persons list from the .gov in the next week, so it sounds like, if you aren’t on that list forget it.

Disability Rights UK

https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/

I did find the Disability RIghts UK website has this page re CV19 its impact and lots of helpful links on there too https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/coronavirus Totally brilliant website for resources and information

Also useful to know was the page Disability rights linked to on the 3 month delay on any face to face assesments for various benefits during governments delay phase https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/march/face-face-benefits-appointments-cancelled

Where as I fully understand how difficult this is for the .gov and the shops to mange, as it has happend so fast and SO many pp need help. It also feels that those most vulnerable, who can’t use phones, who struggle with forms, who have no internet and no advocates are going to be at great risk, not just from covid 19 but the impact of not being able to access food and help.

Even if you can use a phone, the lines are so overwhelmed its said to be near impossible to get through.

Websites of food shops are unstable at best and finding the help information isn’t easy. Have a good look at the Disability rights site, it was WAY more helpful for what is where.

Notes through your door offering help?

Its hard to know who to trust. If a stranger puts their number through your letter box, are they amazing ppl, heros do you feel safe to give them all your details? Are you someone who doesn’t trust facebook, or online apps, even if you have the tech to access them. We are told all the time not to put our information online, if you share it with others there is no way of knowing their privacy settings, who can see their contacts lists? Friends of theirs (who you don’t know) friends of friends? As someone who is vulnerable this is terrifying! Its not about being paranoid, its just that though there are absolute heros out there, there are also those less kind, who are ready willing and able to take advantage of someone who is less able n if they are asking a stranger for help, clearly has limited other support. Watch your backs, and stay safe.

I hope this blog post is useful to you. Please share it with those you know who are struggling to access help.

Best wishes and thanks for reading. Stay safe and see you soon

Billie x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 26 March 2020, at 8pm, the UK is coming together to applaud those in the NHS for all their hard work during the Covid 19 virus pandemic. But I would like to thank them not just for right now but for every day, every night, every missed family occassion they have put their own needs asside to help others. You are the often unsung heros of the land. Thank you so much for all you do.

Thank You

Now more than ever its vital to say thank you to those still out there, risking their health, their lives to helping us.

I will also make a version of this for the window, and show it to everyone who is still out there; delivering post, emptying the bins, bringing food, supplies. you are heros too.

All too often these heros are facing verbal abuse just for doing their very best. Working long hours, driving miles and miles, often without the needed protection in the current virus crisis.

Lots of us are scared, for ourselves and our families, for the world.

THEY are too, and they are STILL out there, still HELPING YOU.

SO before you moan, or rant or rage from a place of fear, at those who are just trying to help. Take a breath, and if you can’t be kind, be quiet.

Please make your own versions of this for your windows, show those still out there, you care, you see them and their hard work, effort and appreciate them.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

PS. Turns out this is the 1000th post on this blog. I’m glad its a special one.

Thank you everyone who has visited this blog, left a comment or found this blog and is posts n links useful.

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I was awake this morning at 4.30am, its not unusual. My brain whirring away, all the things I wanted to post about the current situation. Eventually I got back to sleep, then Classic FM woke me at 8am, and it has played soothing sounds all day, THANK YOU!!! So instead of a long list of to dos, instead I share links to safe spaces, to kind folkes on the internet who have online classes as reduced prices and other things that have helped me in the past and I want to share with you, we may have to stay apart from each other but online we are together. Here we go with a list of SAFE PLACES online

we are all in this together by Kelly Rae Roberts

Kelly Rae Roberts Created this and asked ppl to share it, so thats me doing that. Credit to the creator https://www.kellyraeroberts.com/

As this is an art blog, lets start there.

Jane Davenport who is awesome and encouraging as an art teacher, has some great videos on You tube and courses on her website. The classes have demos, so if you want to get a feel for her teaching style do pop over for a look.

Journal baby, journal.

When the going gets tough, I love me a journal! I can tell it how it is, learn stuff, vent, whatever is needed. There is no judgement, correction, blame or shame in my journal.

Susannah Conway Ohh let me count the ways I love Susannah Conway. When my hubby passed, her Sacred Alone course helped me find little pieces of quiet among the noise of grief. Not that this course is aimed at grief, and she has lots of courses on different topics. Currently though she is offering her Sacred Alone course half price, so rush over now to sign up for 14 days of emails, bring a journal, a pen and an open heart and let her hold your hand, while you navigate in the Sacred Alone time, and how to sink into it, appreciate it and explore it.

Class starts today 23 March 2020. The half price is £47 but its SOOOOO worth it, journal along and you find out what makes you feel safe in alone times. Creating your own road map/ self help book, for what works for you. That is priceless.

If pennies are tight and that is too much, do sign up for her newsletters, she calls them Love Letters they will get you access to a lot of free content on the site like meditaions.

 

Connect to nature from your window

Are you taking time to connect to nature from your window? Are you wondering what type of tree that is, what the bird is that’s sitting there? https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/spotting-sheets will help you identify all kinds of different birds, trees and other wildlife that you may be taking more time to notice.

Mental health support sites

If you are already struggling with mental health issues, the current situation may well be making it feel worse. Here are some places that may help.

If you are new to staying indoors and finding it tough, I will be posting more ideas in the coming weeks. Do try the websites above which may help, and Blurt shown here is also brilliant for coping stratgies.

Please use phonelines responsibly. If you have the option of family and friends at the end of a phone line, or email, please consider reaching out to them first, if that feels safe to you. There are lots of us who don’t have that support and rely on these other options.

Blurt

Do you wish you had something to look forward too? Want to send a friend a self care parcel of love n kindness? Blurt is the place to go.

BLURT are fantastic, please, pretty please if you are finding right now hard going, do consider signing up to their newsletters, they are soo encouraging and supportive https://www.blurtitout.org/

Blurt have a blog, which will give you a feel for the topics and tone of the newsletters. A shop which; heads up, right now has special offers on their self help card packs https://www.blurtitout.org/product-category/self-helpful/card-packs/ so if you like the idea of having a thought for the day kind of thing, they are brilliant.

Blurt also has something called Buddy Boxes, these are to help you connect to your sences, so there are things like chocolate or tea in there, something for the bath or a lip balm perhaps. They are non gender specific and you can buy them as a one off box, a monthly subscription, and after the month the box was live, there are often the items from the box that you can buy individually. Perfect as a self care parcel for a friend, you can buy from them and have them sent to a different address. Perfect for yourself too.

See you another day, with ways I am stepping gently with myself through these uncertain times.

Be gentle and kind to yourself and others.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie

 

*******************Trigger warning ******* That thing in the news

ONE mention of that thing in the news, Blurt also have ahub page for tips for managing what infomation you read about and from where, and helping with the emotions that may be bringing up for you. Blurt CV hub page

How I’m doing this, checking in ONCE a day on the official announcement, then turn it off. Going round n round, over and over it, istn’t helpful and creates more fear. I then take time to process, brain dump on paper if needed to quieten my brain, and then do something that feels KIND and soothing to my soul, to help my system recover from the triggers. That marathon not a sprint quote is spot on, listening to news 24/7 would freak anyone out. Its hard to process that level of information and if you fry you head in week one, how are you going to get through the long haul. DISCERNMENT is what is needed.

You do you, always. x

 

 

 

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