Shine UK 

I became involved with Shine UK which is a Christian weekend for girls, two years ago. 

My dearest and best friend asked if I would be interested and encouraged me to have a think about it. She was one of the core team organisers that oversees the weekend. 

She described the weekend and to be quite honest it sounded awesome. I will go into more detail about this later on in the blog. 

I reculantly said yes for a number of reasons. Firstly, my faith has been well and truly tested for a few years for various reasons. Some of which I will talk about in this blog. Secondly, I was at such a low point in my life I could not a see a path to take. My mental health was a mess to say the least. To add to it I was trying to juggle teaching and being a good mummy to my daughter. Other issues contributed toward this part of my life being nothing more than that disaster but that’s for another time. 

The weekend of my first Shine arrives. It’s my first weekend away from my daughter. I start to panic a bit, well a lot. Will I be good enough? Will I show my faith or lack of it?  Will I let my best friend down and the other core team organisers that knew me too? Will my lack of confidence in general get the better off me?

My friend knows that I always try to give my best in everything I do. So, on arrival on the Friday, I got stuck in to the setting up and preparing what needed to be sorted. However, before this my friends sister came and gave me a Helen hug. These, quite frankly, are the best hugs ever. They feel like a bear hug but with one key aspect. They are filled with a love, care and support you can’t ever imagine. I could have burst into tears there and then.  Both my friend, her sister and family have had their share of battles but what flows, if not oozes out of them both and the other Shine Angels I met was a faith, Grace and peace I knew but had been searching for because I lost it! They had the God factor. 

In fact it smacked me straight in the face as I was meeting the other Shine Angels. The calmness, peace and faith that could be felt was astounding. It was a blessing to be there. I had a rubbish day at work and I was so mentally tired but this was the pick me up, the kick start I needed to rediscover what I had lost. My faith! Boy did I need.

Among all the other baggage I was carrying, God was preparing me for 3 battles: nearly loosing my dad, my husband being diagnosed with heart issue meaning our daughter will need to be tested and then a situation at work that caused so much grief and stress. They do say bad luck comes in threes! Ha ha. 

God had prepared me for what lay ahead that weekend. He helped me through these and created a path I so desperately needed. The situations didn’t dissappear but I had the strength to get through them and to be placed upon the most incredible journey. 

The Friday night and Saturday worships were spent mostly in, tears!! Whilst in worship a lot of the anger, frustration, hate and the feeling of being lost came out. I tried my best to hold it back and on many occasions I succeeded. Was this the right thing to do? Truthfully, probably not. I didn’t want to burden anyone. Non of the Shine Angels knew this until now. Unfortunately, I spent much of the weekend doing this until Sunday in the prayer tent with my dearest friend. I couldn’t contain it anymore!! My dearest friend in the world had stuff to do as a core team member. Yet, this incredible human being spent, what I can only remember as an eternity just sitting with me! We said nothing to each other. She knew where I was with things, what I had been battling for years and years. She didn’t need to say anything. We sat there and every now and again she would lean over and hug me. Very much like her sisters. One of support, peace and grace.  A hug telling me that things would  be OK. As this time was ending  I will never forget her words.”it’s time to let all the hate go, everything you have been through let it go, everything that has happened to you” She was right. I had to. I gave it to God and I still am.

We have known each other for seventeen amazing years and she has been a blessing as well as cheeky!!! She knew I was interested in my husband, the night of my 30th but I lacked the confidence. The rest as they say, is history. She was my Maid of Honour at our wedding and accepted being our daughters Godmummy. She has been at my side through the best and worst times of life. I hope she will continue to do. In fact I know so. 

There is no other way to describe her. She is a Angel sent from above. 

That weekend brought about sense of faith I had experienced when I first started having a one! I found it at university and I remember it like it was yesterday. The warmth in my tense shoulders. God placing his hands on them saying I am here and am with you. A warmth so deep on my tense shoulders that I had never experienced before, at Shine it was tears. The tears from trying to juggle and work everything out on my own. 

I needed peace, Grace and rest. For me, Matthew vs 28-30 summed up what I needed. 

 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and I will recover your life. I will show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”. 

Wow!

In the usual Kerry style I threw myself into the weekend.  I was asked to come back the following year. Without hesitation I said yes. I must have done something worth while. 

Anyone who knows me knows I have a love of sport and fitness. This is one of the reasons why I was asked to volunteer. Though out the two years I have run a number of sessions from basketball, my favourite sport, to stretch and relax, early morning fitness, Circuits and core stability. 

I definitely need to up my game for this year. My 3rd year.  Ideas are flowing!! 

Not only this but there is lots of worship with the worship band, arts and craft activities. Last year was bag making to name one. There are outdoor activities like rock climbing and leap of faith, a film and slient disco. The slient discos are one of the best experiences ever.  I have partied the night away for two years straight. The list of activities is endless. 

Worship and guest speaker 

The weekend also includes guest speakers from other Christian organisations. Last years message was based on the story of Esther, unpicking what it means. Through out the weekend emphasis was placed on being a warrior princess. This was amazing. If I feel like things are getting a bit to much I remind myself of this. I am right where I should be! “I have come to my royal position for such a time as this!!!”

There is opportunity for girls to text a question, anonymously,  and then have it answered by a panel of Shine Angels, made up of guest speakers and core team members. It can be about anything. 

The prayer tent is an integral part of the weekend. At any point the girls can go and received prayer, chat, or ask any questions they may have and get pampered too. Nails etc done. 

The tuck shop is always a hit too and this keeps me going through out the weekend, especially the Saturday from doing early morning fitness right until the end of the silent disco. Obviously breakfast, lunch and dinner are also provided but this gave me much needed fuel boost to keep going. He he. 

My second year at Shine was such a different experience. I was much more confident, I knew what to expect, there was no mental or phyiscal exhaustion this time. I was in a better place and I knew it! It was very noticeable according to the lady who organises the weekend. I didn’t feel so tired or worn out. I was living a freer and lighter life. Even with so much still going on. 

However, I admit there is still work that needs to be done. The lady who organises the weekend called me over to have words with me. I thought oh no what I have I done? Her exact words were ” I have a bone to pick with you!” my reply “erm ok” She told me I was amazing and I need to recognise this. I was very humbled by this and to this day I need to start seeing and believing it more. Another Shine Angel told me I give lot to the young people without realising. I do get myself in things. One being a dance off with a girl who attended the weekend. I failed epically. I had fun though and the girl smashed it. 

After leaving my teaching job of twelve years and feeling like I failed most days. I remember these words every time I go into a school as a supply teacher. 

Through out my two years as a Shine Angel it has been amazing to witness young people starting out in their faith, rediscovering it as I have, or gaining more self respect and knowing that they don’t have to go through life with this false image that they see everyday. 

Two quotes sum up, for me, what I think Shine is all about. The first:

“What I am is good enough if only I would be it openly”

The other from the book of Esther. 

Everyone has a purpose, everyone has gifts and talents, everyone is unique and beautiful. Everyone has a a royal position!

For the last two years I have been on a journey I never thought imaginable.

These amazing ladies, that organise the weekend and the Shine Angels, I have met along the way have had an impact not only  on my life but those who attend the weekend. They are role models, both as Christians and encouraging young people that they are amazing just they are.

 These incredible ladies have brought me closer to God. My faith is being restored. He has a purpose for me. He always did. I always thought it was teaching but for him it was a different type. His purpose, for me, now, at this moment, is being the best mummy and wife I can be, supply teaching, being a Tiny Soccer coach, being an independent Usborne Books organiser, a Shine Angel, an activity organiser at Spree, being given the opportunity to become the activities coordinator for Shine this year and helping out on my daughters school Ptfa. Using my gifts, talents and passions that have been given to me and I enjoy what I am doing. I don’t have to work at home ’til all hours marking, lesson planning etc. 

Where will I be in the future? Who knows but I can’t wait to find out. 

 Just looking at that list of things I am involved in. I think I might need a bigger diary!

For the first time in a long time I am right where I should be. I am happy, I am learning to put my faith and trust in God again. MANY people have noticed a positive change in me. My dear friend has told me that she has not seen me this happy for a while. 

I have the work life balance I have always wanted. My beautiful little girl is put first, I have a wonderful husband who I love with my whole being and who is a devoted dad and husband. I think he feels the same!!! Ha ha.  I love having different things I can sink my teeth into. 

I am a warrior princess !!! 

I am finally beginning to understand my purpose!

After all life is also about making memories and cherishing every moment and I am certainly doing that with Gods grace and this incredible journey I am on. 

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What an Incredible Year!!! 

It has been a while since I have posted anything and this is because I have been on the most incredible journey, experiencing different things I can blog about and making new friends along the way. 

This post is, perhaps, a generic one because it doesn’t focus on one aspect and is more of a summary of what I have been involved in this year.

September 2016 I left my teaching job of twelve years to embark on a new journey.

 This new journey was supply teaching among other things but more importantly, for me, to have quality time with my beautiful daughter. She needed to come first for a change. 

The first couple of months from September to mid October was difficult. I was so used to being busy and have always worked, from the age of 15 and paid my own way. Probably younger than that if you count the pocket money for helping around the house doing chores. 

It was a shock to the system to not work and it really did have a negative impact on me for a while. The house, however, has never been sooo clean!!! 

I had a few days work here and there at the start of September thanks to a wonderful friend. The rest as they say is history.  I have had steady work with her school for the rest of the year. General cover, Pe (my subject) and secured seven weeks work in science.  She got me the foot in the door and I did the rest according to her.  I have been asked to come in time and time again and we will see you again next year. The feedback I have received from this school has made me feel so valued. Loved working there. 

Along side supply I became a Tiny Soccer Star coach, and I have loved every minute coaching 1 and two and half year olds and 3-4 years. I have loved watching their faces when the learn a new skill or do it better than they have ever done it before. 

I also decided to start a small business, Mighty Minds Book Shop by becoming an Independent Usborne Books organiser. It doesn’t bring a huge amount of money unless I build a team but I love doing it and it something different. It gives me a little extra pocket money and keeps my mind busy.  My daughter and nieces will never want for books again. 

This year has also made me realise how much school ptfas do. I joined my daughters school  thinking it will be a few evenings and daytime events here and there. I was overwhelmed at how much they do. The events, the organisation of events to help buy things for the students in the school. The list is endless.  I am in awe of the amount they do. It has been incredible to meet so many amazing and inspiring people. The time they put into the school is amazing. 

I consider myself to be Christian however my faith for various reasons has been well and truly tested for a few years. These are different stories to tell another time. 

My dearest and best friend who has been by my side for 17 years of my life, including being my maid of honour and accepting to be my daughters Godmummy, has seen me at my worst and at my best, I think.  She  asked me if I would like to volunteer for a Christian weekend called Shine UK. This is a weekend for girls to explore their faith, take part in different activities through the weekend, from slient discos to arts and crafts and fitness activities to name a few. 

I reculantly said yes. Knowing her faith was incredible compared to mine. However, it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have been volunteering as a Shine Angel for two years now and the team that organise the weekend, have asked me to become their activities coordinator this year. To say I feel blessed and humbled by this is an understatement. I, of course, said yes and this year I will embark upon the next chapter of my Shine journey. I can’t wait. 

I will definitely say I was more confident this time around and it was very noticeable. To the point of I was told you need to realise how good you are with young people. This coming from the lady who organises the weekend!! 

This will be my 3rd year. 

To say I admire the lady and team who organises Shine is the biggest understatement. I am in awe. They ooze faith, a peace and calmness I have known but been searching for again in my faith. Each and everyone of these incredible, phoneminal ladies, again having their own fights and battles while still remaining in God’s grace.

I must have proved my worth because I was asked to help out at Spree West Midlands this summer, by the lady who puts these weekends together. Again another Christian weekend for young people with football tournaments, laser tag, bushcraft, slient discos, work shops to name a few! 

Again, being the insane one, I agreed to do early morning circuits and jog at 7 am on both days, stretch and relax and core stability on fitballs on Saturday afternoon and some fitness sessions on the Sunday. Yes you read that correctly!!! Zzzzzzzz by Sunday evening ready for work Monday morning. 

By Saturday midnight I gave myself a target to beat from Shine. What’s the target I hear you thinking? Well it was to complete over 39,500 steps I managed at Shine!! 

Did I do it?

Well, not only did I reach that I smashed it completing 40,500 steps. I blame it on the silent disco and partying the night away. So I need to set a challenge for Shine in November!!!

I have now finished my first year of supply and nearly completed my first year of Tiny Soccer coaching as well as being an Independent Usborne Books organiser and being the PTFA at my daughters school. 

Am I happy?? The truth; absolutely yes. I may not have the steady income but it has taught me a valuable lesson- live to your means. The other lesson I have learnt, everything happens for a reason- God has a plan for me I didn’t know existed until now!! 

The time I have with my daughter is to be cherished. I no longer need to work all the hours to get data recorded, spend hours writing lessons plans and deep marking or writing reports. I go into the school do my job and come home. My mental health  is once again, good. I no longer feel I am rubbish at being a mother or teacher. I have the work life balance I always wanted after having my daughter. 

I am right where I should be at this moment in time. 

After all life is about making memories and cherishing every moment. Those that take your breathe away and those you need to learn from. 

I am a warrior princess. 

Teaching Antics: Karate Kid 

It feels me with pride when a student or students of mine excel at a sport and this story is no exception, apart from some aspects fill me with dread when I recall this particular one.

The student in question had been taught by me for a few years, and had kept a secret well hidden until year 11. She approached me to inform me she wouldn’t be in my GCSE PE lessons for at least two weeks. When I asked why she said she was off to Italy. I was a bit taken a back at first! A student being taken put on holiday in term time! The story then unfolded as to what she was actually doing. 

With pride, I can tell you that she was representing Great Britain at Taekwondo, along with her twin brother. 

However, the reason for telling this story will unfold and the reasons for fearing for my life but also the funny side.  

This particular lesson was in year 11 core PE time and we were doing basketball. 

Now, my love of this sport is an understatement. Any opportunity I get to play I will. I decided to join in and make up the numbers. 

On this particular occasion I wish I hadn’t. The Taekwondo girl was playing well so I stupidly decided to mark her. 

I cheekily used my basketball knowledge and experience to gain the upper hand! What a big mistake. 

I used my body well to box her out and grab a few rebounds. She hated this. Keep in mind I am only 5ft 2 and she was around 5 ft 10 maybe 11.  Well to me she was that tall!! I was quite chuffed I finally got some rebounds. 

However, the next part of this story sums up how short I actually am. 

So, we both go in for the rebound this time. She manages to get around me and grab the ball. However, I am trying my best to get it too. 

The next thing I know she has the ball and her tactic to do this was to lift her leg up into defensive kick technique right at my head!!! Yes, you read correctly. Her knee was pretty much directly in line with my head. Thank goodness she didn’t kick. My head would have come clean off. 

I must point out that this wasn’t done maliciously, it was done as she went to balance. I think and hope. 

I feared for my life and I saw what could have happened. 

She bent her leg luckily. 

The next part of this story was when she was in 6th form in year 12. It was an enrichment lesson. So, basketball was the sport. We both went up for the rebound. I managed to land with the ball somehow. 

What happens next?? I dribbled the ball down the other end of the court and dunk it on her????? No of course not. I am 5 ft 2. Ha ha ha ha. 

No, what happens next? Well let’s say this. It hurt and hear is why. 

I didn’t stay on my feet long. The next thing I know my legs were swept out from underneath me and I landed with a thump. Flat on my back. That’s right. I was pretty much horizontal in the air for a few seconds. Like the slow motion falling in film when the person arms and legs are moving around when falling from a building. All for getting a rebound from her. It was done in gest as I knew this student well and the rapport I had with her was good. 

It took me a few moments to realise what had happened, regather myself and make sure nothing was hurting. Oh apart from my pride.

 I looked up and noticed her smiling with a hint of ha ha I got you. 

A bit similar to this. 

If you have ever seen the first karate kid film. I feel like the dude that had the major ass kicking from one kick right at the end of the film!!! 

To this day I speak to the student for a catch up every now and again and these two stories always come up in the conversation. Miss remember the time……  

After all it’s about making memories. Even ones that hurt sometimes. 

Mighty Minds Book Shop 

I won’t bore you with too much of my back story as to why I chose to join Usborne Books but I will tell you this:

I was a PE teacher for 12 years and I loved it. I still do in many respects. For the first 10 years it was my life! I lived, loved and breathed teaching. I did 5 clubs a week, fixtures, trying to make lessons as fun as possible so more girls like PE. 

Unfortunately the rat race of assessment, planning, deep marking, monitoring and hardly any work life balance took its toll. 

When my daughter was born, over 3 years ago and I returned to work, I found it hard. I dropped to part time and was working 7 days a week but getting paid for three. My work life and life changed the moment I held my beautiful daughter for the first time. I realised that my new job was to the be the best mum I could be to her. 

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. There are many mums who do work 7 days a week and are amazing mums, inspiring teachers and are mums with other professions that work long hours. 

I bow down to them.

Some of these amazing women, I consider some be good friends. I think the world of them for doing this and still being the best mum. I know some mums who have chosen to give up work and I bow down to you too. Too all of you.  You are completely amazing. 

I knew something had to change when the dreaded Ofsted phone call came. It was my day off with my daughter. I sat at the dining table working all day and night to try and prepare outstanding lessons, resources and have everything ready, but one thing still makes me feel so guilty about that day. It was a day I was supposed to have my daughter! She kept coming up to me and asking to play. I, stupidly, said I have to work. What a fool I  was. What would you have done?? It’s too late but I would welcome any ideas. 

For many reasons, I left teaching in September 2016.  I am now a supply teacher, Tiny Soccer Star Coach and have a little side business selling Usborne Books. I am so much happier. OK, granted I don’t earn as much as I used to and  I don’t get paid in the holidays. Work can be a bit sporadic too. This was one reason I  joined Usborne Books at Home. 

To bring in a bit of money in the holidays and where possible to top me up AND I wanted to try it! It was time to try things I wanted to try. As a friend put it a mum venture. 

Stock to display and sell. 

There are plenty more in my stock. 

I have access to amazing books for my daughter or use some to sell.  It depends on how you want to work your business. You can work your business in hours that suit you. I am still on a learning journey and really want to make a good go of this. 

I joined in November 2016, for £38 and you get £150 of books and stationary to start your business. I joined with a very good friend of mine and I am her mentor. We did it as a joint adventure and where it takes us. Well watch this space. 

What I enjoy about selling these books is getting to chat to new people, holding pop up stalls in different places, selling to friends, family and hopefully nurseries and schools. I also enjoy the perks. Free books. Half price ones and a business I can work around me and my family. 

My mum did a lot of her Christmas shopping. “wow, this saved me a lot of hassle, thank you”

However, you can’t beat seeing children’s faces when they get the books. 

One happy little customer

For me, education is important. I cherish the fact that I will have been able to educate my daughter to the best of mine and my husbands ability. Both through having a better work/ life balance, being able to be a mum and having access to fabulous books. 

If you are interested in knowing more about Usborne Books at Home please ask. 

You can also find me on Facebook: Mighty Minds Books Shop. 

This sums it up for me. 

After all I cherish spending time with my daughter, whether it is reading, playing or taking her to classes. Most importantly I want her to have as many amazing experiences as possible. 

After all it’s about making memories and the Usborne Books journey is definitely creating some amazing ones. 

Comedy Gold: The Trip. 

So, this story sums up the cheekiness of one of my new basketball team mates. Well, after 2 years with the team now we still have a giggle when we chat about this particular one. 

I look back on this story with embrassment and with a smile on my face. 

The team is a friendly one and always up for a laugh. So, a laugh at my expense was not going to come cheap!

After warming up and doing our usual shooting drill from various spots in and around the key it was time to look at dribbling under pressure. As a shooting guard or point guard these two skills, for me, are an important part of my game. Dribbling being a part of this particular comedy gold moment. 

The mens team had a game after our training session and their coach was sorting their kit out and the bag was on the side line.  

The particular drill we were doing was one where the player dribbling the ball had to loose the defending player. 

Curry showing how it’s done. 

As usual I went with the other point guard who is ten times better than me! Little did I know how sly her tactics would be. We will come back to this. 

So, after a few times zig zagging up and down the court and myself being in a rather unhappy mood. I can’t remember why, my team mate tries to cheers me up!! 

Did it work? Well let’s put it this way. She was crying with laughter, I was red with embrassment. The rest of the team were trying to piece together what and how this moment of comedy gold happened. 

Here it goes. It was my turn to defend. I am starting to try and turn up the defensive pressure on a good point guard. Her tactics I can only describe as a moment of pure evil!!!! However, she was clearly thinking out side the box or bag!!! 

Remember the coach sorting the kit out for the mens game? 

Yes, well this bag ended up on the court some how! No, not in the centre on the left hand side of me. I had passed it the previous time and thought “someone will move that”. Now at this point my healthy and safety alarm should have started ringing big time, as it should have done with my team mate. We are both pe teachers by trade. As you can read my alarm started bleeping. However, it was obvious that the alarm needed to ring instead of bleep. 

The next moment resulted in me turning bright red and laughing until my sides hurt.  

It’s like a video on You’ve Been Framed. Guess what happens next?? 

Now if you guessed that I jumped over it? Wrong, if you thought I picked it up and moved it, wrong again. 

If you guessed that my team mate spotted it and pretty much moved me into the kit bag you guessed correctly. However, what you might not have guessed is the final part if this comedy gold. 

Imagine something out of Benny Hill, or Morecambe and Wise and you might just have the start of what the outcome was. However, if the name Miranda means anything to you, you can imagine the outcome. “Such fun”. 

I was walked backwards straight into the bag. My feet got caught in the handles, I slipped and away I went. Arse over tit. Excuse the language. I fell into the bag and that is where I stayed for the next few minutes gathering what just happened, my team mate wetting herself and the rest wondering how on earth I had ended up in the bag. 

Similar to this but in a bag. 

The bag was that big you could have zipped me up and taken me away. 

I can only describe what it felt like, which was one of those comedy moments when someone falls into a bin and has their legs and arms sticking out, while their actual body is stuck. You know the ones I mean. How embrassing!!!! But such fun!! 

Like this. 

To top it off, in the scrimmage towards the end of the session, I have also learnt to tie my shorts up as they ended up around my ankles pretty much. Thanks team mate. 

After all life is about making memories! Even ones you want to forget but can’t. 

Rock and Roll Soft Play 

I was looking for something for my daughters first birthday. We had a lot of people coming and thought doing something at home would be better. 
I googled soft play and found Rock and Roll Soft Play. I liked the fact that Karen had been hired for other functions like weddings and christenings not just birthdays. I read the reviews and was happy to see what she could offer. 

The thing that initially attracted me to the company was their unique animal theme. Once I had decided that this was what I wanted to go for I contacted Karen. 

To say she was helpful was an understatement. I was not sure which hire package to go for, the medium or the Ultimate Rock and Roll package. We had around twenty  1-5 year olds coming so I wanted to make sure they were all catered for and had a good time. 

The Ultimate Rock and Roll package is what I went for in the end, due to the numbers of children and Karen made sure that all ages would be kept entertained. This was my biggest worry. However, Karen put together a package of soft play equipment that did keep everyone entertained. Including this adults!!!! 

Prices vary from £80 to £120 pounds. Karen has just introduced the Dinosaur Rock package for any budding Ross Geller characters out there. It looks awesome by the way. 

The whole process for booking was easy. Once I had the date in mind I checked with Karen to see if the package I wanted was available. It was. I asked for her to reserve the date completed the booking form sent to me by email, returned the form and transfered the deposit. All in the space of two days. Closer to the time Karen emailed me to remind me I needed to pay the remaining balance even though I was on the ball and knew o had to sort this. Done and then it was time for the day to arrive. 

One of the aspects that was fabulous about Rock and Roll Soft Play was we had the equipment for pretty much the whole day. Karen set up at around half past eight to nine o’clock and collected the equipment around half past three to four. I thought this was brilliant. 

Fun in the sun

Example of the equipment that can be hired. 

Would I recommend Rock and Roll Soft Play?

Yes. I thought the value for money was excellent and we had the soft play equipment for pretty much the whole day. Karen has definitely spent a lot of time thinking about the theme for her company and what equipment she wanted. I think this shows. 

Her professionalism was excellent. She helped me decide what was best suited to the children I had coming and even added a few pieces of equipment for the older ones to use. Perfect. 

The only down side. I wish she had the Dinosaur Rock package earlier. My daughter loves them and this would certainly have been one I would have looked at. That said, I was still extremely happy with what we hired and this really made my daughters first birthday even more special. Thank you, Karen for helping to make it so. 

If you would like more information please go to their website http://www.rockandrollsoftplay.co.uk or find them on Facebook page Rock and Roll Soft Play. 

The areas that are covered are around the West Midlands area. Bedworth, Bulkington, Hinckley, Leicester, Rugby, Stratford, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and Warwick. 

Or if a franchise opportunity is something you may be interested in? You get everything you need. Equipment, flyers, insurance, website, help with marketing and the business from Karen. 

It would suit a mum or dad looking to stay at home and work flexible hours to suit you. Potential earnings could be the same as a full-time and no child care costs to pay. 

After all it’s about making memories and Rock and Roll Soft Play certainly helped with that. 

Empower AH: Sports Rehabilitation and Sports Massage  

Empower therapy room. 

I love my sport and fitness and I always will. 

However, there becomes a point where the amount of exercise can become unhealthy for you or cause you a nasty injury. 

I, unfortunately or fortunately experienced both. I loved training and would spend a good amount of time at the gym or playing or playing basketball. 

I was not allowing my body the rest it needed. As a result I badly sprained my ankle over seven  years ago. It was in the last few seconds of a Basketball game. 

I am not ashamed to say that I needed this to happen to make me see some sense. 

The result was a few weeks on crutches, a couple of weeks off work, rest and recovery time for my body. I struggled with being less active and probably went back to sport and fitness too quickly. after 6 month. To this day I still struggle with the same injury.

I rushed to get my ankle fixed. My first physio, wasn’t great. One thing he did do, which helped, was getting rid of the scar tissue that the sprain caused. I thought friction treatment was the most painful thing ever! That was until I experienced childbirth. Yep, that has been my most painful experience too date and probably ever, with friction treatment coming in second. 

I must admit from my first experience of physio and the negative experience I had I was a little apprehensive to try again. 

Saying this I had the chance to visit Alison at Empower and give it another go. 

Alison was lovely. When we met she was very professional. To begin with I had to fill in a health questionnaire  and then some documents about my injury.  This allowed her to get an idea of what had happened to my ankle, how and when. 

After the initial questions she moved on to assessing my ankle with a series of tests to establish how strong it was and  where to go from there, based on her knowledge and experience.  

Ready for the session!! 

Just as I thought. My ankle was weak and needed strengthen after the sprain, and many more that has happened since the first.

She moved on to more friction treatment which I was dreading. It definitely wasn’t as painful as the first time and even though my ankle still niggled as she did it her knowledge was fabulous. ” you will find that it should be tender for the first few seconds and then the pain should subside”. She was right! From that moment I started to pay even more attention. Throughout the treatment she kept asking questions and I answered as truthfully as I could. She gave me a breakdown of how the ankle works and its structure. As a pe teacher I found this even more interesting, especially with a basic understanding of the body.

Ouch, a little bit anyway!!! 

Her questions also included examples of what exercises my old physio got me doing. Alison looked amazed, not in a good way. She didn’t understand why I had been given them and explained that I need to strengthen the ankle and work on my balance. Basically I needed to retrain my ankle and build strength its strength up again.  

From this assessment Alison gave me few strenghtening exercises to do. Standing on each leg for  few minutes whenever I was standing still. Once this became too easy the next advice she gave me was standing on a pillow as this made the floor uneven and then on  a wobbly board like the one shown in the photo  below. The other was to find a step and rise on to my tip toes and then lower my heels below the the step.  

Wibble wobble 

On to tip toes and lowering down to floor  

So, would I recommend Alison at Empower?

Absolutely yes. My first experience of a physio was a lot to be desired. However, I felt that she delivered the goods  I came away happy with how the rehabilitation session went and knowing what I needed to do in order to make and see an improvement  in the strength of my ankle. I now try to do these exercises as much as possible and looking forward to seeing the progression I make. 

Alison even followed up with another email recommending even more exercises to do as my ankle starts to strengthen.

If you are interested in seeing what Alison can offer you, you can email her at empower.ah@outlook com.

After all life is about making memories and learning from experiences, good and bad.