Friday, 30 November 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

Two posts in one day, aren't you lucky! lol.  As you can probably tell from my last post, things have been a bit crap round here recently.  Along with everything going on with PJ, my car broke on our way home on Tuesday and it's going to cost me £170 to fix.  I also managed to burn my lip while cooking the dinner last night (don't ask!!!), so I need to remind myself of the good things that are going on!

Here are my reasons for this week:
  • I have had my hair cut (lots), coloured and my unibrow and moustache waxed over the course of this week.  I have let myself go somewhat for the last few months and have decided to try to find 'me' again.  This little bit of grooming has made me feel loads better.
  • We have taken the first step to getting PJ the help he needs to get better. 
  • It's almost December, so the Christmas tree and decorations will be going up this weekend.  Always a magical time I think.
  • We are going to a Family Quiz Night tomorrow, run by our local Scout Group.  PJ will also be collecting his Chief Scout Gold Award on the night...proud mummy alert. :-)
  • Next week both Aled and Noah will be doing their Christmas concerts.  Aled has been showing us his dance moves and it looks like there will be some Gangham style moves!!
  • I have a job interview next Wednesday.  I've had so many knock backs jobwise recently that I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but keep your fingers crossed for me!
  • It was payday yesterday....always a good reason to be cheerful! 
Jackie. x

Keep CAMHS and carry on...

For the last few months I have noticed my eldest PJ has become depressed.  He would come home from school looking all down and say how he's feeling really depressed.  When asked why, he would say he doesn't know.  PJ does have a tendency to over exaggerate things, such as if he was to knock his ankle he would tell everyone that he's twisted it.  Because of this, I palmed it off as teenage angst and attention seeking until a few weeks ago when things got worse.  

About a year ago he deleted his dad and me from his facebook friends list and therefore, although I will log into his account every so often to check all is as it should be; most of what he puts up is between him and his friends.  About 3 weeks ago while I was at work my husband got a call from his sister asking him what PJ's status was about as she was worried.  I logged into PJ's account and he had put up a status about how he was hearing voices in his head telling him he wasn't worth it and how down he was feeling.  I read through some of the comments and the majority of people who commented were worried about him, but he did have one 'friend' tell him how he looks like he's attention seeking and if it's all a load of crap then PJ will get a beating.

After seeing this status I decided to deactivate his Facebook account.  I wasn't sure if he was just attention seeking, but even so, how far would he go to get the attention he was craving.  I explained to him that although it is best to talk to someone, putting a status up on Facebook was not the way to go.

I made an appointment to see the doctor, which PJ agreed to.  When PJ first started coming home saying he was depressed, I offered to take him to the doctors, but he always said he wasn't that bad, so the fact that he agreed to it this time was quite a big step.

We went to the doctors and PJ told him how he was feeling.  From what he told the doctor, the 'voices' that he's hearing seems to be his thoughts.  I don't know about you, but when I think, it's in my own voice, which is what PJ was hearing.  The doctor decided the best course of action would be to refer him to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

We went to the CAMHS appointment on Tuesday and saw a lovely lady, who is a Family Psychotherapist  She carried out the assessment for PJ to find out the best way forward.  She spoke to us both together to build a bit of background information and then spoke with PJ alone.  We were there for about an hour.  At the end of the session she told us what she thought was the cause and how she would like to treat him.  Her diagnoses shocked me and I was so annoyed with myself for not realising it.  She has put PJ's behaviour and  his current mental state down to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Back in May PJ had been mugged for his mobile phone, which had knocked his confidence for a while.  As it was so long ago, and PJ appeared to have regained his confidence, it didn't even occur to me that this could be a factor.  How wrong was I?!

Going forward, PJ is now being referred to the Anxiety and Depression Care team and they will start him off with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  I think being able to just get it out of his system has been a huge relief for PJ and already he seems happier.  It's going to be a tough few months for all of us I think, but hopefully, at the end of it, I will have the old PJ back.

Jackie. x

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Anti-Bullying Week

This week (19th-25th November) is Beat Bullying's anti-bullying week.  As someone who was bullied as a teenager, I feel that we should do all we can to put a stop to it.  The statistics page on the Beat Bullying website shows just how wide spread this problem is.  Almost everyone I know has either been bullied or knows someone who was bullied.

Here are just a few of the statistics given:

  • 69% of children in the UK report being bullied
  • 87% of parents report that their child had been bullied in the past 12 months
  • 20% report bullying others
  • 85% had witnessed bullying
  • (admirably, 82% of them tried to intervene).
  • It is estimated that at least 20 children and adolescents a year commit suicide because of being bullied 
  • 1 in 3 young people who experience bullying truant from school (42% of young people who have been bullied truant)
  • 20,000 young people truant everyday as a result of bullying
When you see the facts in this way it really does hit home just how much bullying affects our lives.  One of my biggest fears is that my boys will suffer in the same way that I suffered. 

I was 12 when I first got bullied.  We had not long moved from Carmarthen, which is a small town in South Wales to a village called Gorslas.  The move meant that I needed to change school.  At first all was fine.  I made new friends and life was good.  I did end up hanging out with the smokers and, at the age of 12 I had my first cigarette.  Unfortunately, this was a habit that stayed with me until just over three years ago!
I can't even remember what I was bullied for.  All I remember was that I felt my life at that school was hell.  I did have friends who stuck by me, but day to day I was scared of the girl who was doing the bullying. 
After about 4 or 5 months, my mum told me we were moving back to Carmarthen.  I was so happy.  I thought that the hell would end.  I didn't realise that it was just the beginning and things were going to get much worse.

We moved back to Carmarthen and again at first, all was good.  I was back with my old friends from primary school.  I was the type of person who got on with everyone.  I enjoyed being with the 'swatty' kids, the 'bit weird' kids and, as a smoker, of course, I hung around behind the sheds with the smokers.

The biggest turning point was at a friends party when I was 13 or 14.  I was sleeping over that night, but it was quite a big party and my friends house was huge.  I can't remember if the bullying had started before that night, but certainly it was then that things got worse.  Two of the girls in my year decided to start on me.  I don't remember why, but in them having a go, one of them started to hit me.  In trying to protect myself, I somehow managed to break the chain around the girls neck.  This of course riled them up worse.  I spent most of the night locked in the bathroom hiding away from them.  One of these girls was someone I had grown up with, someone I thought was a friend.  I didn't know who to trust or who would turn on me.  

After that the two girls got worse.  They wanted me to pay for the broken chain.  Of course, I didn't have money and my parents wouldn't give it to me.  After a few weeks of harassment another girl got involved.  This one was a year younger than me.  She took it up to the next level and beat me up after we got off the school bus.  My eye had swollen up and I had visible bruising.  I think my mum took me to the hospital or doctors, as I remember being told that I had a suspected crushed nerve around the eye.  This time my mum got involved and called the police.  They came round and took photos for evidence and I believe they charged the girl and fined her.

Of course, it didn't stop there.  Now, not only am I guilty of breaking a necklace, I am also responsible for the girl getting charged.  Now they wanted me to drop the charges.  Even if I'd wanted to, there was nothing I could do as there would be no way my mum would have dropped any charges.

For the remainder of my school life I was bullied daily.  I had things thrown at me, called names, threatened, had nasty things being said to me.  In one lesson they even tipped a fountain pen cartridge over my head.  Although I had friends, no-one intervened or stood up for me.  Some would try to comfort me when things were bad, but no-one would stand up to the girls.  In fact, most of my smoker friends were also friends with the girls, so they just didn't get involved.

I started to skip school.  In my last year at school I was probably out of school more than I was in school.  I found that I would hang around with boys more than I would with girls.  Boys were less likely to turn on me or get bitchy.  Of course, this then earnt me the reputation of being a slag, when in fact, I was actually a virgin until after I had left school! 

At one point I wanted to end my life.  I think it was after the ink incident.  I felt like I couldn't take anymore.  Luckily, at the time, I was seeing a boy who wasn't in my school and he helped me through this worst point.  

My mum had been to the school, but the school wouldn't do anything as most of it wasn't seen or took place on the bus.  I had nowhere to turn.  

Things only changed after we moved again, this time to Swansea.  I was still in the same school as I was near to taking my exams, but I no longer had to catch the same bus as them.

Even now, after 16 years, it still affects my life.  I am still wary of the type of women who remind me of those girls.  I keep my head down and only let a few people close to me.  I still get on better with guys than I do girls.  I don't complain to people or businesses (although I do come home and whinge to my hubby after! lol).  I rarely say no to anyone outside of my immediate family.  

These three girls made my life a living hell while I was at school and because of them I have grown up as a person with very little self confidence.  I often wonder if they ever regret what they did to me, or are they like many of the chavvy mothers I see at my son's school who stand around judging everyone else.  The ones who give me dirty looks when one of my boys plays up.  Somehow I think that they are probably the latter.

I also wonder how they would react if their children had to endure what they had put me through.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but how would they handle it?

This is just my story.  There are other children out there who have had to deal with much worse bullying than this.  No matter how bad the bullying is physically, it's the mental scars that never heal.  That is why we must make bullying unacceptable.

Please visit the Beat Bullying website and see if there is anything you can do to help.

Jackie. x

*Statistics taken from the Beat Bullying website.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Mug Swap

Last month I took part in a Mug Swap organised by the wonderful Hannah at Cupcake Mumma.  The idea is simple, Hannah pairs you up with someone and you try to get to know each other a little bit and send them a mug to (hopefully) match their personality.

I was paired up with the lovely Sarah-Jane.  Sarah-Jane doesn't write a blog, so I couldn't get any clues that way.  However, she did send me an email with her likes and dislikes.  She told me that she likes to knit and sew and loves to drink tea and hot chocolate in the colder evenings.  She also loves the colour purple and spotty things.  Through email conversation I discovered that she also likes her hot chocolate with marshmallows as do I.

With this in mind, I wondered around my town looking in different shops for mugs.  Unable to find a purple spotty one, I did find this one, which I teamed up with some sachets of hot chocolate, a little whisk and a bag of marshmallows.

About a week later my old neighbour knocked on my door with a parcel for me.  She had kindly taken it in from the postman and brought it over to me.  I had totally forgotten that when I signed up for the mug swap, I was still living at my old address!  Thank goodness for the kindness of neighbours!

Sarah-Jane had send me this gorgeous mug, teamed up with a packet of marshmallows and some craft packs.  I absolutely love it and can't wait to start making something with them!  Thank you again Sarah-Jane!

Why not check out Hannah's blog to see all the other fantastic mugs that were swapped. 

Jackie. x

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Knowing Me, Knowing you meme

I was tagged by the lovely Shay of Shay and Family in this meme.  The purpose of this meme is to bring bloggers together, to learn about the person behind the computer screen, it's a great way of making new friends.

The Rules

  • Nominate five other bloggers in your post (All must have less than 250 subscribers)
  • Post five random facts about yourself
  • Answer the five questions that the tagged has asked you, then list your own five questions to ask others
  • Let your five friends know you have tagged them by commenting on their blog/tweeting them

My Five Random Facts

  1. Although I talk with a welsh accent, I was actually born in South Africa.  That really confuses some people when they ask me when I'm from! lol.
  2. I have 6 tattoos and would love to have more. 
  3. I love teapots, but very rarely use one!  I now have three, but they stay on the kitchen windowsill for decoration purposes only. 
  4. I'm a HUGE Twilight fan and getting stupidly excited about the next film coming out in just over a week!
  5. On a Tuesday night, I play darts for a local women's team.  I'm not particuarly good at it, but it's a good night out.

Five Questions I Was Asked

Do you have a nickname? If so, what is it and how did it come about?
I'm really boring and don't have a nickname.  Even at school I never really got one.  I'm sure my hubby has a few choice names for me though! lol.

If you could eat only one thing for a whole week, what would you choose?
Ooh, that's a hard one.  I think it would have to be pizza.  I love it.  But I think I would have to change the toppings every day though!

What is your biggest 'pet peeve'?
People who just don't turn up to things you have planned.  I don't mean those who have cancelled beforehand, I mean the ones who say that they're coming and then just never show.  Unfortunately for me, I seem to have a few friends like this and it really gets on my goat!

What's your favourite item of clothing that you own and why?
I don't have many clothes.  Since putting on weight, my wardrobe has gotten smaller, so there's not much in there!  If I could get away with it, I would probably wear my pyjamas all of the time.  Failing that, it would be my jeans.  They are so versatile as they can be worn casually or dressed up with a pair of heels and a sparkly top.

You have the means to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
That's a no brainer.  I would go to Cape Town, South Africa.  I have so much family over there, that it's like a second home to me.

Five People I'm Tagging

  1. The Mummy Returns
  2. Just a Normal Mummy
  3. Motherhood or Madness
  4. Mummy with More than Two Point Four
  5. Mama OWL

Five Questions For Them To Answer

  1. What one item could you never live without and why?
  2. If you could live in any era of time, which would it be?
  3. What would be your biggest tip to other bloggers?
  4. Tea or Coffee?
  5. What's your favourite film?
I hope you enjoyed my answers and don't forget to go visit Shay and the others I have tagged for their answers!

Jackie. x

Monday, 5 November 2012

When one door closes.....

On Saturday I worked my last shift on my weekend job.  The end of the season has now come and the theme park that I work at has now closed for the winter.  Although there have been days when I just wanted to have a lie in over the weekend, I have really enjoyed myself in this job.  I've not once dreaded going into work.  I found myself feeling quite sad that it's all over.  I am still deliberating whether I will go back next season.  It will all be down to where I am in my life next year.  As Noah is now in nursery and Aled in full time school, I do feel that it's time for me to get a 'proper' job.  This is easier said than done though, and I don't seem to be getting anywhere in my job hunt.  If I don't have a 'proper' job when the time comes to re-apply for next season, then I won't hesitate.

It's not been all sad this weekend though.  On Saturday night I gathered some of my female friends up and had an Ann Summers party.  It was a bit quiet compared to others I have been to, but we all had great fun.  Since booking my party a couple of weeks ago, I have been debating with myself as to whether I would be any good as a rep.  I spoke with the party rep who did my party for me and now, after careful thinking and speaking to hubby, I have decided to go for it!!

Hubby is worried that I will get us into debt by spending more than what I earn, but I've assured him that that shouldn't happen.  For a start, alot of the underwear don't go up to my size!  My main concern is the confidence thing.  I've been looking online and reading forums where alot of other reps have been worried about the same thing and on nearly all of them, an experienced rep has assured the poster that your confidence does grow with the more parties that you do.  I really am hoping that this is the case for me!

As the old saying goes....When one door closes, another one opens.  Hopefully this is my new door!

Jackie. x

Friday, 2 November 2012


We decided not to go Trick or Treating this year.  I was working Wednesday night, but also, Noah had a chest infection, so we thought it was best to keep him at home in the warmth.  That doesn't mean that we didn't have some Halloweeny fun though!

As I mentioned in my last post, the boys went to a Halloween party on Saturday and got to dress up then, looking very dapper in their Frankenstein costumes.

Aled very pleased with his handiwork
Over the weekend I had bought a couple of pumpkins while out doing the weekly shop, so on Monday we decided to carve them out.  During the day, I got Aled to draw a face on a piece of paper, of which he drew about 5 or 6 pumpkin faces (more or less looking the same!).  When daddy got home from work, he then cut the top of the pumpkins and it was our job to gut it.  Aled really got into this and had a great time digging all of the seeds out of the pumpkins.  Noah, on the other hand took one look and refused to help out! 

The finished pumpkins
Hubby then took Aled's picture and used it as a template for the bigger of the two pumpkins.  Aled was delighted to see the face he had drawn on the pumpkin.  As Noah had decided not to draw a picture, hubby thought of the idea to put the boys names onto the other pumpkin.  Using a marker pen, he drew out the names and then cut them out, being very careful to not just make a big hole with the rounded letters.  The overall effect was fantastic.

As we are a first floor flat, we put them out on our balcony for everyone to see.

On Wednesday, I decided that it would be fun to make some Halloween cookies.  I had bought some Halloween cutters from Avon and had also received some more in the Cake Decorating magazine that I subscribe to.

I used a very basic biscuit recipe and weighed out the ingredients for the boys.  With quite a bit some help from me, we made up the dough and then rolled it out.  I let the boys choose and cut out the shapes.  Noah thought it was great and told me it was like playdough! lol. 

Noah wanted to try out all of the shapes, however Aled decided that the bat shape was the best.  We were very pleased with the result and they also tasted yummy!

Although we didn't make a huge fuss over Halloween this year, we had our own little bit of fun.  Maybe next year we will do a bit more. 

Jackie. x