Thursday, 30 December 2010

Crisis at Christmas...

After seeing conversations about it on Twitter I decided to look into volunteering at a Crisis homeless shelter over the Christmas period. I will admit to being a bit of a wuss, so much so that I don’t read newspapers or watch the news, as the constant barrage of bad news is too much for me to deal with. Hollyoaks, X-Factor, films any minor sign of affection, sympathy, happiness has me choked up. Over emotional? Possibly, but that’s the way I am, so I tend to live in my own little bubble, unaffected by the devastation of the outside world.

To say I was apprehensive is an understatement. I was really nervous and wished I’d signed up with a friend so I’d have someone to hold my hand. Having only American TV depictions of homeless shelters and ‘soup kitchens’ as my point of reference I was expecting it to be pretty dire. But it wasn’t. It was amazing. It was in a girls school, where the guests were provided with bedrooms, storage for their belongings, hairdressers, manicurists, a masseuse, entertainment, 3 meals a day with endless amounts of snacks, a television room, a clothing service where they had their pick of donated garments and the help and assistance of willing volunteers.

It was actually difficult at times to differentiate between the volunteers and the guests. I met some really amazing people that I will never forget. One of my favourites was the elderly lady with the wild white hair, who told me the top I was wearing reminded her of rags and I should dress more elegant. She was such a fun, vibrant character who so fully embraced the Bollywood dance class, even though she came half way through, that she was awarded a standing ovation. There were those I couldn’t believe were homeless and had I seen them on the street I would’ve assumed they were going to work or the shops or something. Another favourite was the lady who asked me to accompany her to the shop, we spent ages walking while she fantasised about living in one of the houses, she touched me greatly, even more so when she wanted to go to church and the only church we came across was closed. There was also the guest who went for a walk and came back with an elderly lady she’d seen who looked lost and disoriented. Would I have done the same thing? Doubtful. These women had huge amounts of pride and spirit and I hope from the bottom of my heart they get the help they need to change their circumstances.

Volunteering at Crisis is one of the best things I feel i’ve done. Giving money to charity is always worthwhile but I do often wonder how much of the money goes to those who need it. Giving my time felt like I was actively helping, even when I was just talking to, eating lunch with or going to the shop with the guests. I will definitely be doing it again next year, although it feels like a long way away and I will look into ways I can help between now and then. A great way to spend a period that was once about family and is now about gifts, it made me remember how much I have to be grateful for.

Did you know: That sellers of The Big Issue have to buy it themselves? They buy it for £1 and sell it for £2. I shall be laden with Big Issues from now on, as I will not have the willpower to stop myself from buying from every vendor I see.

Told you I was a wuss.

PR xx

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The return of the Mummy Grudge

Once again i'm blogging on the road, you all know that means... TANTRUM!!

So this morning my darling (use this term loosely) mini-me spat at me!! In the midst of an already scale 7/8 tantrum, she rounded up all her mini-flem soldiers and deposited them very ungracefully on my arm!! WTH!! The rest of the tantrum pales in significance to this utterly disrespectful act of defiance. Had she been an adult it would've been handbags at dawn!

Now i'm totally on the against child abuse team, I even give a monthly donation to the NSPCC. I'm all for bending down to their level and speaking to them, letting them know what they've done wrong etc, etc... If, however I had spat at my Mum I would've graciously held my hands out and accepted, expected even to get a smack. I probably would've thought less of her had she not smacked me and would've proceeded to spit at every possible opportunity. She obviously would not have beat me about the head with a stick, but held my hand and smacked me.

I, however was in such an utter state of shock at the flem monster within my already quite adept monster that I bundled her onto the naughty box (eventually, she could not smell the danger and kept following me) and walked away. I left her there while I bathed, dressed and done my hair.

On the way to nursery she kept trying to engage me in conversation of which I ignored, because as is always the case, she had forgotten the incident whilst I was still incandescent with rage and visibly seething!!

So over to you... Controversy here we go!!

Would a smack, as i'm sure most of us received at some point growing up, have been so wrong? Would it have made any difference to her spitting or not spitting on future occasions? How do I ensure she knows how utterly unacceptable spitting is?

Over to you....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 13 December 2010

TeyaLilly Trading...

So... My week of networking events, markets and fairs has come to an end. And, as is the way with my fabulously random life I ended it in a&e. Oh yes, my tiring, but worthwhile week of hauling my cards to event after event, talking to, selling to and even on occasion buying from people ended with me in accident & emergency doubled over in pain and being likened to the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Are you suprised? No. Me neither.

On Monday on my way to the first and furthest event my cute little wheelie suitcase BROKE! BROKE! Before I even made it to the train station, which resulted in me carrying a suitcase full of cards up and down stairs at train and tube stations and the 15-20 minute walk from station to venue either side. My poor underused biceps have been in a state of shock ever since.

By Friday and the school fair, I was a professional display table setter upper and could carry all my display tools, cards and phone in one hand. The FREE promo bookmarks went down a treat with the kids and it really made me smile when a little boy came and bought a card =)

On Saturday at the gift fair I was set up and reading a book 20 minutes before it even opened. Although not many people came to this event, everyone that did bought a card =)

And on Sunday, even though I was hunchback-like and it was outside in the cold I was still ready before all the other traders. Get me. But after being up half the night and not being able to stand up straight I had to give in to my knackered body, call in help to man the stall and seek help from the emergency services. They scared me with words like 'hernia' and 'appendicitis' but it turned out it was neither and I was sent home after 4 hours with the greatest painkillers ever and some antibiotics. My poor body couldn't cope with the manual labour I put it through and shut down in protest.

The cards have been well received and the feedback has been amazing. I'm really excited for next year as I have new characters coming and so many ideas for other products i'd like to add to the range. And the prospect of seeing my cards in shops. Whoop whoop!!

If you haven't already, have a look at and follow TeyaLilly on twitter for updates.

All comments and suggestions welcome xx