From strength to strength — change-effect

You won’t remember, nor should you, but back in 2011 I wrote about you. It was about being yourself, being strong, being able to make your decisions and hold your own in a world where people will be quick to tell you how you should be, how you should feel and what you should say. […]

via From strength to strength — change-effect

Brexit; end of life as we know it?

Slight exaggeration with the title but no doubt things are going to definitely change.

I didn’t pay much attention to the build-up prior to the EU referendum and as it drew closer I become increasingly very fed up with just listening about immigration, this seemed to be the main topic on politicians and members of the publics minds. I hadn’t made up my mind and if I wanted to information about how staying / leaving the EU would affect me financially and how it would affect the economy, I would have to find out myself. That wasn’t an easy task as the reality was no one really knew the answer as to what would definitely happen were the UK to leave or to stay in the EU. I was being asked to vote on a decision which could potentially have serious implications on mine and the rest of the country’s future based on assumptions and what ifs.

I did voted and am not ashamed to say I voted stay, simply based on better the devil you know and I didn’t then and still don’t now, trust or have much faith in our government to actually do right by the people of the UK.

As it so happens that on the 23rd June the majority of the UK voted to leave the EU; 52% to 48%. This has caused an uproar with petitions and demonstrations calling for a second referendum. The petition calling for a second referendum was started in May, long before the referendum took place in June. Since the Brexit vote has reached 4.1 million, due to the large number of signatures will now be debated in Parliament on the 5 September, this by no means the decision will be overturned and a second referendum will take place.

Even though I don’t agree with the decision to leave, it is a decision that was made by the people of the UK, mostly by a generation who want to go back to the UK they grew up in, that unfortunately no longer exists and will not ever exist again. The younger generation are concerned they are the ones who will be dealing the repercussions of this vote for years to come.  Not everyone voted, even on my own Facebook a few people posted their reasons for not voting (turnout of 72.2%, according to the Electoral Commission) but still a democratic decision has been made and that decision has to be followed through.

Unfortunately following Brexit, the pound has taken knock though I think this is from the initial shock of leaving the EU and (fingers crossed) will bounce back once things have settled down.

There is the worry about those who have come from Europe to work in the UK and have established themselves here.

I currently work for an NHS Health Trust, if you don’t already know this then where have you been but a percentage of NHS nurses are from outside the UK, the NHS is already suffering a shortage of nurses. Not to mention the £350 million EU money Nigel Farage apparently pledged to spend on the NHS but has since back tracked on that pledge saying this was a mistake made by the leave campaign.

The Brexit vote has also shown the ugly side of all of UK pubic with a few unintelligent, racist, ill-mannered people have decided that this vote has given them right to openly be abusive, racist and rude to those they deem should leave the UK. Skilled people from inside and outside of Europe work in the UK but are now fearing for their futures with even the likes of Michael Gove saying ‘we’ve had enough of experts’, coming from the person who is an expert in putting undue stress on the education system and stabbing his fellow politician in the back to get ahead himself.

I know there are two sides to every story but the reality of this situation is going to hit home soon and the rose tinted country the Brexit politician’s painted is not something that is going to happen overnight, there are going to many changes and guaranteed a large percentage of the public aren’t going to be happy with them. It’s going to take about take two years to fully leave the EU so the country should have enough time to figure things out.

At work I’ve been trying to give daily Brexit updates to try and keep in loop as to what is happening. Not going to lie, I don’t always understand the economic reports but I have become a bit more interested in what is taking place and trying to learn about the implications of decisions being made. This is all serious, but is a topic of conversation and gives a bit of entertainment, least in the way I share the updates.

I still not convinced the vote to leave was the right one and that for a period of time at least we’re screwed. What’s done is done, it’s a case of suck it up and see what happens next.

Charity and baking!

It has been a busy few weeks. I took part in Race for Life in Basildon, have started raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society and have a few birthday cakes to also bake!

Race for Life

Race for life numberYoungest sister, her friends and I took part in the Basildon Race for life. Out team name was ‘The Flying Squirrels’ and we managed to raise £470 through our Just Giving page.

Fortunately, apart from a few drops of rain the weather improved Race for life tagswith the sun showing its support! I have been one of the lucky ones who have not been touched    by the big C, but seeing all the other runners and their families supporting them you can’t not help but feel some kind of empowerment.  We’ve decided we will take part in next year’s Race For Life but will try and run a bit more of the 5km.

London Memory Walk

One of the girls who I walked the Race For Life course with, her nan sadly has Alzheimer’s. To support the Alzheimer’s Society we’re all going to be taking part in the London Memory Walk, 3rd September 2016. At work I had tried to take part in this charity’s cupcake day but things got in the way, that hasn’t stopped me starting the fund raising efforts though! A.S CakesI started 4th July by putting 12 cupcakes in the reception area at work, 50p each to see how they would sell. Within 40 minutes all cupcakes had been bought!

I don’t want people to get baked treats overloaded so have decided to make it a weekly thing, have something in reception at the beginning of the week and once it’s gone, it’s gone until the following Monday or Tuesday depending on when I have time to bake.

I had a biscuit stall over the weekend, with some of the left over biscuits I put together some biscuit bags with a mixture of gingerbread and shortbread biscuits. Cakes_BiscuitsA friend brought in a selection of muffins, all of which we put in the reception area for this week. So far they have done well with all biscuit bags sold out and only one muffin left! I will see what ingredients I have in the cupboard and decide what to make next week.

School Fete

Cookie stallAs I mentioned I had a biscuit stall over the weekend at a school fete. Kingswood Primary Schools is the only school I do anything like this with, last year I had a stall at their Summer and Christmas fetes, with biscuits selling out on both occasions. They must have liked me and had good feedback as a member of the PTA contacted me asking if I wanted to have a biscuit stall again this year. My friend Christine has always helped me with the stalls in exchange for a selection of biscuits. For a pair of short people it is always an experience putting up the gazebo, though it didn’t rain the wind definitely made things that little bit more challenging! One of the things I really like about this school and the stall holders they offer spots to is how friendly and polite they all are. We didn’t have enough pegs to secure the gazebo and another stall holder selling homemade jams and cakes loaned us some. Without those extra pegs I definitely don’t think our gazebo would have survived!

Even though I didn’t sell out of everything this time it was still enjoyable and a few people remembered me from last year and bought from me again, plus I had some biscuits to sell at work.

I have been asked to make a few birthday cakes for people I know. I’ve decided that baking as a business isn’t for me, even though it didn’t ever really take off, the few cakes for strangers that I did make, it was too stressful for me alongside a full time job. I like to bake for fun and to make the odd cake for someone here and there. It won’t ever make me a millionaire because I don’t charge the earth for the things I bake but I somehow manage to make people happy enough that they’ll come back and ask me for a cake or bunch of biscuits again or raise money for a good cause which in turn makes me happy, that’s good enough for me.🙂

#MHAW16 #DAW16

Give-timeQuick post to remind everyone that Mental Health Awareness & Dementia Awareness Week begins today.

Despite the publicity these days surrounding mental health and DAW16_A4_Posters_Page_2dementia there is still a lot of work to be done to raise awareness about these conditions and how not only those with a mental illness and dementia are affected but also their families who most of the time are full time carers.

brentwood forum 2016 WPHave a look at the different events taking place in your area and go along, put aside any assumptions and preconceived ideas about what people in these situations are like and what they might be going through, meet the people whose lives are affected on a daily basis and talk to them.

If you’re in the Brentwood area tomorrow, pop along to the Cream Tea event supporting Mental Health Awareness week at The Spread Eagle.

Bath 2016


imageIn March, friend and I visited Bath. What a lovely place to visit, so full of history and tea shops! I loved how you would get a little teapot which had loose tea leaves, and a tea cup. No tea bags or mugs for the tea shops of Bath! Tea is not just tea, the selection of flavours available and aromas you couldn’t help but try something a bit different. I quite like the spice tea but definitely think loose tea leaves make a nicer cup of tea but I don’t have time to stand and wait for the tea to brew, even though it is only 2 minutes and I don’t own a teapot!

imageThe bed and breakfast we stayed in, Aqua Sulis was clean, spacious with friendly staff, especially Ana. Breakfast was lovely and filled us up for most of the day. Me and friend did eat a lot whilst in Bath but we did also do a lot of walking!

Whilst in Bath we visited the Therma Baths. This place has an open roof swimming pool. Because of it’s popularity you get a two hour time slot & it is a bit expensive, but it is an experience if you like visiting spas. The changing rooms were unisex so that was a new thing for me, both me and my friend were ok with that, but it could put some people of going there.

imageYou can’t visit bath and not go to the Roman Baths! imageIt was interesting and a nice place to visit. We bought the tickets that also let us visit other attractions such as the fashion museum.

I am fan of the V & A museum in London so was excited to visit the fashion museum. It wasn’t as big as I was expecting but had some nice displays & you could play dress up!

I do like a bit of afternoon tea, my friend booked us a slot at Guyers House. imageWe definitely weren’T disappointed by the amount of food or the service. The place itself is out in the middle of the sticks but the grounds are pleasant and the interiors has that whole country Manor House feel. There was so much food that we had to take away some of the cakes as we could barely move let alone eat any more food.

I’m thinking where else to visit in the UK. Me and youngest two siblings are thinking of a family break, we want to take our parents with us as well. Dad hasn’t been very well lately so wherever we choose we don’t want to be driving for two long, 1.5 hour from Essex possibly at the most, and somewhere parents don’t have to do a lot of walking but get to visit the place as well.

Suggestions are welcome.🙂

I will try and plan a few more short breaks for this year but it’s going so fast, before you know it I’ll have blinked & it will be November!


Basildon Baking!

This job and the different extra curricular activities of mine have definitely been keeping me busy!

My main role is reporting but of late I have been getting involved in some of the events the Patient Experience Coordinators arrange or are a part of. The most recent one was Time to Talk where it was all hands on deck and all members of the team were at various locations representing SEPT and showing our support for this excellent cause.20160203_212151[1] I was based in Basildon where the Basildon Disability Equality Forum held a bake off style event in support. I was asked to donate a cake and I could hardly refuse! My cake didn’t win but it was for a good cause so I can’t complain really. Also this baking has created some more opportunities for me.

A lady I work with asked me about making a birthday cake for her husbands 60th, nothingFB_IMG_1455440572355[1] overly fancy but nice all the same. I know not everyone likes fondant icing and buttercream icing is nice but I wanted to do something a little bit more memorable than just a simple victoria sandwich. The birthday boy’s favourite chocolates are Maltesars, he was pleased with the cake.

20160213_193510[1]I sometimes on a whim make a cake for one of SEPT’s volunteers, he out of the blue asked about a birthday cake for his niece, they had been let done by the original cake baker. I said yes as it would be a good opportunity to get back into working with fondant and creating fondant toppers. I’m not going to lie, I did panic a little bit over this cake as I really wanted to do a good job and still wanted the cake to taste good. Overall I think the cake turned out well.

For now my cake baking for others has gone a bit quiet but baking for friends and family still continues, no harm in trying out new recipes when I have ready and willing guinea pigs at work!

SEPT Star Awards

Amongst all the birthday celebrations, at work there was also an awards IMG-20151118-WA0007[1]evening which my department were also involved in helping decorate the venue and helping out in the evening.

No one was really sure what to expect but all the crazy OCD arranging by those in the Communications team paid off as the whole event was a success enjoyed by all.

Dress Shopping

The evening dress code was 20151118_171654[1]black tie wear, I very rarely wear dresses, in fact the only dress I own was bright red! That didn’t quite fit in with the events or even staff dress code. This warranted a trip to Lakeside, most girls can spend hours shopping, neither me or my sister are one of those girls. So you can imagine how happy we were when the first shop we went in I tried on three dresses, liked two of them, bought them and they were in the sale! All that was left to get were some tights at our next stop not only did we find suitable tights but also a coat we both liked & fitted us perfectly. We both bought the coat in with the understanding we didn’t  wear them at the same time when we’re together. That was it, shopping done in about an hour, off we went for dinner. Perfect!

Awards Ceremony

The awards evening itself was busy, the following day both teams involved in putting together the event were receiving thank you, no pay rise but we did get a box of chocolates😉

We all looked absolutely fantastic, in the words of one of the directors which was meant as a compliment I hope, ‘You all scrubbed up well’.

However I can honestly say I’m in no rush to go pixlr_20151119103838622[1]through it all again, the following day all of us who helped out looked like zombies. There was no amount of makeup that was going to help brighten us up. So you can imagine my reflief when the builders in the area cut through the water line to the building so we were all sent home early. When I eventually got home, straight to bed and that’s where I stayed until the following day!

Birthday 2015!

It has been so busy these past few weeks and it is only the middle of November!

Earlier this month was my youngest sisters birthday, naturally she got spoilt rotten,MAC makeup and she had her nails done, the girl looks better than me most days even without the makeup & all the pampering!

pixlr_20151122160017891[1]Last week was mine and my brothers birthdays. I worked on my birthday but was completely spoilt by my team-big, massive shout out to
the Patient Experience Team at SEPT who made the day brilliant! I wasn’t expecting as much as I did, cake, flowers,gift card, lots of kinder chocolate and to top it all of I had happy birthday sung to me in operatic tones, what more could a girl ask for! Forget being 37, it was more a case of behaving like a 7 year old.😀

The Day didn’t end there, most people would like their birthday to pass pixlr_20151122161243327[1]them by & fear getting older. Can’t stop the ageing process so might as well enjoy it!

That evening I went to my parents and got my obligatory birthday balloon and had more gifts waiting for me!

I can’t not mention this as my other 20151115_205008[1]brother doesn’t usually do things like this. The weekend before my birthday minus sister with kids and mum the rest of us went out for a birthday meal for me and my brother made me a birthday cake! It was really good, even if it wasn’t, I’d have still eaten it. So technically my birthday began two days before my actual day of birth.

This year I have been thoroughly spoilt.😀. pixlr_20151122162035840[1]Who says getting older has to be a bad thing. It’s all about perception, how old people think I am vs how old I actually am, seems to work for me, plus I’m lucky I’ve got good genes.😀

License Plate Update

Panic over, my 4 wheeled baby has her identity back, as in she now has new number plates!

The lazy owner that I am, I have not yet followed through on my promise to have her valeted and washed, in all fairness the weather has been completely rubbish and I’m having to drive through a muddy building site to get to work so all that cleanliness would have been wasted. Maybe it can be her present from Santa  for Christmas?

Trick or Treat 2015

This year Halloween was so much fun!

20151031_165951[1]I was a little bit more prepared this time and made a few Halloween biscuits & put together treat bags filled with sweets and the biscuits. I also put a few random decorations up on the windows and had a lit candle in the window. I completely underestimated the number of children who would knock on my door that night! Last year I had maybe a handful of children trick or treating, this year there had to have been 20151031_183317[1]between 25-30 little princesses, draculas there was even a cute ‘Chucky’!. Did get a few older kids but to keep the peace gave them sweets as well. I was exhausted by the end of it all, at one point I thought I was going to run out of sweets but fortunately by then things had quieted down.

Some people thing trick or treating is a nuisance and it is an American things but I think it all depends on the area you live in and to maybe have a bit of faith in the kids and their parents. I have to say the children who came to my house were all accompanied by adults some of whom even dressed up themselves. It’s a bit of fun for the youngsters abs yes they get lots of free sugary treats, but that’s a problem for their parents to deal with as their little darlings run riot whilst on a sugar high!

Whilst at the homeless meet up I did hear about how there were a group of teenagers who unfortunately do ruin it for the others running around throwing flour and eggs at people’s houses and cars. Guess I was one of the lucky ones this year and got the nice monsters!