Loosing yourself in a vicious online crowd.

Sometimes we see ourself departing away from the real person we really are, it's easy to happen and it can happen to anyone, any of us, me and you included.

I've always said I believe in my own thoughts and if you're a friend of mine on Facebook you'll know I'm not afraid to speak my mind and put my opinion across. I don't dress the same as the latest fashion, I watch The Only Way Is Essex and that is as far as it gets with celebrities, I don't purchase nor read online magazines filled with the latest celebrity news, I don't need to have the in crowd as my friends and the latest technology baffles me, not amazes.

A few months ago, I noticed with a few comments from others, I wasn't my usual self. I got in with the wrong crowd virtually online and I saw myself interacting in online secret verbal insults, although I never started such conversations, I realised I was soon laughing out loud to others insults of innocent people who didn't know what was being said about them.

If I can't personally talk to someone about a problem I may have with them, I don't interact with them, I block them from my online life as much as I possibly can, I don't have no need to visit their blogs and so, I don't need or want to know about these people. However, it's easy to listen to others and soon draw up your own image of these people without even talking to them and getting to know them myself, not fair is it?

Although I didn't call anyone out from our online blogging world, I did sit and listen to someone else insulting people, I regularly used the shortened lol phrase, short for laugh out loud and I did say things I shouldn't of, things I am not proud of. I wasn't trying to impress no one as these conversations were between two people, and no offence but having these people in my life didn't make me happier, it withdrew me even more and cause personal relationships in my real life away from the internet.

I always wondered what had been causing my chronic psoriasis to get so bad, my parents would say to me something must be stressing me out, although I have issues with my housing and confidence, I always dismissed me being stressed, until I had a near enough break down, full on Britney Spears style ready to cut myself away from anyone and everyone, the blog included.

My psoriasis is the worse it's ever been, it keeps me awake, it stops me from attending events and social functions, I have to wear gloves to prepare my own food along with my sons, it drives me up the wall - literally! I stand against the brick wall outside my home and scrape my skin against it for some relief, relief from the constant and irritating itching. My body is sore and weak, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, I'm tired of trying to remain myself from scratching away at my already sore and damaged skin, I bleed, it stings, I scratch, I scar.

I had been diagnosed with chronic psoriasis at the beginning of this year, it had considerably got a lot worse during the previous year or so. I sat down with doctors amazed at how bad my skin was, although not the worse they'd seen, it was the worse they'd seen for someone of my age. Treatments of all sorts was failing to work, tropical treatments, steroids and tablets failed to make a major difference with moisturising creams just giving a tiny little impact away. I sat down with specialist who tried to work out what was happening, what was going on to cause such a severe and bad outbreak, the answer was stress.

I told them I blogged, and I wrote, I told them about my Facebook rants and told them I had felt a lot more angry with people in general, did I blame my psoriasis for this they asked? No was my reply, then I realised it was because of these people that my psoriasis was so bad.

I knew things about strangers, I knew about their relationships, the emails they received, the conversations they had, the type of homes they had and I had no or little contact with these people. I listened and read insult after insult, backstabbing and hurtful to the victim who knew nothing about the conversations, I would read links to blogs I had been sent, and started noticing things I would never usually notice, dirt on the cooker, the state of the walls, the clothes the children was wearing. I laughed out loud at people's blog post, and their blogs, their tweets, their homes, them. I had no right to, I never will, I'm not a bully and before this "friendship" I was never like that.

Close friends and family members noticed a new me, I didn't. I would be out, anywhere, a park or a supermarket, in town or on the bus, and I would stare at people, looking for imperfections because this was the life I had started to lead. I made my decision long before Britmums, but I waited until after to have my clear out, knowing things we're going to be awkward as it was, I wanted Britmums to be as smooth as possible. Looking back, things wouldn't of made a difference no matter the time I made the change, the change back to the old me.

I stared at these people who are the same as me, all living a different life from different backgrounds and homes, who write as a passion and/or living, some I had never spoken to but I knew a lot about them. Some thing's we're told to others in confidence, but I knew, along with others these peoples secrets. I never felt so alone, I've never had a panic attack, and I don't know what one feels like, but something happened that weekend of Britmums, I realised more then ever what a total monster I had let myself become due to others influences.

I bumped into the lovely Laura and told her how I was feeling, I had never felt so alone and it was all my fault. I got caught up in a nasty and vicious circle, I however couldn't be two faced like these others in mention, I couldn't laugh at people's homes and lives and talk so friendly to them to their faces, so I didn't make no contact at all, just a few weeks before Britmums, I was sent a link to their blogs and I laughed at something I had no right to, how could I go and smooch with these people after knowing what I had done? This isn't me, and if I didn't make contact, it isn't necessarily because of this reason, as there seemed to be a select group of people who was the victim of the nasty group.

I was messaged just a few days before Britmums and was warned of what I was telling a certain person because she was running all my business, people, strangers, people I had never heard of, knew about my personal life, the problems I had, the items I spent my last bit of money on, they knew everything. I should of known though shouldn't I? After all I knew a lot about others, who were deemed close friends of the accused, I still know it all now, I've kept all the conversations but I've not done nothing with them. I'm not a little school girl and I'm not going to run and tell people to befriend people because of my turnaround.

I would however tell everyone to be careful what you say to people, your business and personal life stories are not safe, I know about arguments, financial decisions and I knew the news before it broke on your blogs. There's one thing I wish I knew sooner, if I was getting told personal information about said close friends and I was an apparent said close friend, it should of been easy to guess that if their business was being blurted out, then mine was most probably being blurted out too!

I believed some of the loveliest people you could meet were bullies, I believed they was horrible nasty people, just because I let someone else voice opinions for me. I did stick up for a few people, the most recent one before my clear out was one of my closest blogging friends Hayley, I've gone on to tell Hayley what had happened because I want to fix them mistakes I made. I really want to tell another lovely about the things that was discussed about her, but it's so awkward and hard, some things that was said are really nasty, and I know it would really upset her.

Although I didn't throw these insults I did reply with OMG, wow and lol, I didn't stop the secret bullying, I didn't stand up for people who had no chance to stand up for themselves. This person is a fellow young mother like me, who does excellently well, I am so proud of her and I'm sorry for not standing up for her, I'm sorry for writing lol so many times instead of saying that's not very nice.

Last week I started my treatment, I've only managed a whopping 18 seconds in that mean machine at the hospital so far, and I've only had three sessions (one at 13 seconds and two at 18 seconds), so progress is going to be small. However by cutting these vile bullies out of my life, I'm a much happier person, I'm myself again, I'm the Jada I was before I got involved with these people, and my psoriasis is gradually getting better.

I'm scarred for life because of the vicious circle I participated in. I made my skin worse because of the stress it was causing me, and this went on for a little over 12 months. I wish I got out of it sooner, I wish I had not been so stupid and stuck to the way I was brought up.

My parents aren't rich, they don't own their own houses, but they done the best they possibly could. My parents would never sit there and slag people off infront of me, or on the phone to me, or insult other people's blogs. My parents have not raised me to be that person because they are not them people themselves. My parents brought me up with values, morals, manors, dignity and respect.

I'm ashamed of the person I become, I'm ashamed to of let my beliefs leave me, all for the sake of a few very stupid and immature laughs. Now I feel like I can't interact with these people because it's eating away at me inside for laughing at them in someway or another. I think I've paid my price and I'm glad with help I realised the faults before it was too late.

I've lost friendships, but honestly, I've gained - not lost! I've gained more wisdom and knowledge, I've learned another life lesson, I've taught myself why I am the way I am. I was brought up by loving and respectful parents who didn't raise me to become that person I did for them 16-18 months.

I had my clear out in June and since then I have been more content and happy with myself. I think and dwell on things too much, and even though these innocent people have no idea of what was spoken about behind their backs, the guilt eats away at me inside.

I hope one day, I can say sorry to these people in some-way or another. I should of walked away the minute that rubbish started, I'm sorry.

I know this is going to cause anger and upset, please do comment with your thoughts, I want to address this issue in the way I know best, the way I was brought up to address problems and that's by speaking, to people personally, not behind their backs.

Jada x

17

LEGO® 70801 Review: Melting Room


In The Lego Movie, which I'm hoping you've all seen by now, if not don't worry, the movie was only released onto DVD and Blu-ray last week, I would however recommend you go and get it before the weekend, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a sell out! Back to what I was saying, in The Lego Movie, the Melting Chamber is where Emmet and Wildstyle first meet. This set is based on that scene, where we see Wildstyle go all crazy and wild to rescue Emmet, or maybe the Piece of Resistance!


Danger! Emmet has been captured by Lord Business' Robo Police, who've taken him to the Melting Room. A Robo SWAT has chained and cuffed Emmet to a tilting, rotating laser machine and is trying to zap the Piece of Resistance from his back using a huge adjustable laser. Help Wyldstyle slip into the Melting Room undetected, smash through the chains with the axe, and free Emmet.

A few days ago I reviewed Cloud Cuckoo Land and couldn't of been more happier with the colours, I don't think I was speaking from a female perspective, but from many people's point of view, the set is really colourful and really appealing! The Melting Room set which I'm reviewing here seem's to be very dull and morbid colours, apart from the odd flashes of red, the set is almost entirely grey and black.
As always the set comes with a set of instructions to help you via a step by step guide on how to make three bags of various sized bricks into a set! This set took Spud 20 minutes to build, and some help from mummy to clip some pieces into place. The picture quality below is bad, the booklet is dark, but not this dark!
So again, like yesterday, I'll start off with the characters! The Melting Room contains three characters of which all three are mini figures. We have Emmet, but a different one to the one mentioned yesterday, Wildstyle who is again different to yesterday's Wildstyle and Robo SWAT.

Robo SWAT has a rather unique Lego face, instead of the most common yellow and peach heads, the Robo SWAT is silver, in true robot style imaging! Robo SWAT carries around a gun, Emmet gets locked in with some handcuffs and Wildstyle rescue's Emmet with her axe! Robo SWAT has the enemy SWAT uniform on and sports a black cap.
Again, like yesterday, both Emmet and Wildstyle have two faces! Emmet can be found looking stern and smug, or really worried, he has his signature hair, his uniform and the much desired Piece of Resistance upon his back. Wildstyle is not that much different from yesterday's look, apart from her rather cool hood!

The set features a high-tech tilting and rotating laser machine with a control dashboard and adjustable laser, the plan is to laser the much desired red Piece of Resistance off of Emmet's back, but luckily Wildstyle comes to the rescue, defeats the Robo SWATs and Bad Cop is left seething from their escape!

The set isn't very appealing to me, a big Lego and The Lego Movie fan I just don't think it's my kind of personal preference set. Spud however, who's reviews do count the most, as from a child's perspective loves the set and is using the laser on more then just his Lego, he's been using the layer on lot's of mummy's items too, and forgetting where the had put them!
Based on the price of RRP £11.99, I think the set is worth it, you do pay for what you get and although little, the characters alone are worth purchasing the set for!
Luckily this is another set that doesn't require stickers for the controls as they're already pre-printed bricks. It's just a shame not all Lego sets contain no stickers, I have the world's most silliest unsteady hands I think, and always manage to ruin that part!
The Melting Room is not the smallest sets from The Lego Movie range, it is however the second smallest. Albeit small, the rotating possibility on the stand and the laser is quite realistic, not that I'd know as every time I speak to Emmet and Wildstyle they completely ignore me ;).
The Lego Movie is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray and includes a child's free ticket to Legoland inside.

Also don't forget to check back for our day three of The Lego Movie set feature reveal!

Jada x

P.S - Everything is awesome!



LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of The LEGO Group. © 2014 The LEGO Group.
©2014 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved
0

LEGO® 70803 Review: Cloud Cuckoo Palace


If you've watched The Lego Movie, you'll already know a little bit about Cloud Cuckoo Land, if not, you're in luck my friend because on the 21st July, The Lego Movie was released onto DVD and Blu-ray for each and every single one of us to enjoy! Everything is awesome!!! So if you've not got a copy of the movie yourself, put on your everything is awesome shoes, sing the song (if you know it), skip or pop along to your local supermarket or entertainment store, stock up on some popcorn and get ready to watch the most anticipated animated movie of the year!



Cloud Cuckoo Land is a land up in the clouds where there are no rules, no limits, no bushy moustaches and no bedtimes! Accessible by travelling up a rainbow, and home to the sweet and plucky princess Unikitty! Cuckoo Land is built from every kind of piece using every type of Lego imagination! Unbeknown to most, it's also the secret meeting place of the Master Builders, but shh, you didn't hear that from me!


Cloud Cuckoo Land is my all time favourite Lego set, the box is colourful, the instruction booklet is colourful, two of the characters are colourful, and the whole piece itself is colourful! I'm a real girly girl at heart, and the pinks, whites and pale greens and blue's does the trick for me! Spud isn't that keen on the colours, due to them being a little bit too feminine for him, but he's pleased with the characters that come with the set.




As with every Lego set, inside the box you'll find the instruction booklet, giving you a step by step guide on how to build not only the set itself but also the characters. It took Spud around 40 minutes to build this set, and the majority of that was trying to stop buttery fingers from dropping the round 1x1 Lego bricks!



Let's start off with the characters, you get five characters in the set, three minifigures; Emmet, Wildstyle and Executron (a robot), you also get two other characters, Unikitty and a big snail!



One thing I despise about Lego is the sets that come with stickers which you need to put onto certain bricks, I don't have a steady hand and when Spud requires my help to place the stickers into place, I always fail awfully and feel that I've let him down. I was pleased to see that the snails eyes and Unikitty's face was pre-printed Lego bricks, and so, no awful steady hand was needed!



Unikitty and the snail are the most colourful charachacters from this set, both myself and Spud love the way the snail has been designed, particularly the shell. We also love Unikitty's unique shape, and of course that pretty cool unicorn on top of her head!



Next up is the three minifigures, Spud tell's me that the Emmet featured in this set is the only one of it's kind from The Lego Movie range, he also tells me Wildstyle's hair is a much desired Lego piece and the Executron is also a valued member to add to his collection.



Both Emmet and Wildstyle have two faces, the Executron however only has the one, complete with shades he's looking every part a member of the enemy gang!

Emmet and Wildstyle both have a happy/smirky look on one side of their faces, but switch their heads around and you can find quite a stern look spread across Wildstyle's face, and a worried looking expression spread across Emmet's face.



Spud has four Emmet's in his collection, I apologise if I have the following three after the first one incorrectly made, my little Lego master is sleeping peacefully in bed, and therefore can't tell me if I've built them all correctly! The second and third Emmet's featured below have the same face, one is showing one side, and the other shows the other side.



The whole point of this set is for the Execruton to get the Piece of Resistance from Emmet! Meeting some fellow master builders in Cloud Cuckoo Land, Emmet and his friends are unaware that Emmet has had a tracker (in true Lego stud style form) placed on his leg, and so, tracking him down is proving to be easy!



Of course though, Emmet's newly found friends are unwilling to let the Executron get hold of the Piece of Resistance, and so, with thanks to some objects in Cloud Cuckoo Land, including a flower launcher, the Executron is outnumbered and defeated! The flower launcher is quite impressive with it's launches, and can quite easily shoot across the room! Again, this piece is colourful and very appealing to the eye!



In regards to the main part of the set itself, can you see the beautiful array of colours and understand the appealing to the eye statement? I'm not a big fan of green at all, but I'm loving all the colours featured in this set, including the pastel green! For a rather small set, there is a lot to take in, including the stepping stone features, the sun and the spirals!



The sun is on a clear stick which can be moved to a certain degree! The spiral wheels that you can see, and the flower wheel all spin and rotate! It's the simple thing's that add to a Lego set, and this feature is definitely one of the best!




I love the unique shape to the set, the flowers, and the whole candy feel about it! Cloud Cuckoo Land is the most colourful place in the movie, and one of the happiest scenes to be viewed. I think Lego have excelled in making this set to represent just some of what we see during the movie!



The Cloud Cuckoo Palace set retails for a suggested RRP of £17.99, it's the cheapest set to buy to add Wildstyle's hair piece to your collection, it also feature's Emmet's unique face and of course let's not forget how wonderful the colours all look and work together!



Just a few more things before I sign off, you do get some spare pieces as with each Lego set, but Spud placed them into his huge boxes of Lego before I could snap the pieces!

The Lego Movie is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray and includes a child's free ticket to Legoland inside.

Also don't forget to check back for the second review from our The Lego Movie set feature reveal!

Jada x

P.S - Everything is awesome!


LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of The LEGO Group. © 2014 The LEGO Group.
©2014 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved
0

30 Sessions Of Treatment, A Start To A New Future!

I've had psoriasis since I was a young child, this year after my condition getting more severe, I was diagnosed with chronic psoriasis. Living with psoriasis is unpleasant, it's not only irritating, itchy and sore, but it's also very unpleasant and knocks your confidence down to zero.

As many of you have witnessed yourselves, we've had some wonderful bouts of weather recently, everyone's showing off their arms and legs and dressing along with the summer sun we've pleasantly had. Then there's me, too ashamed and embarrassed to show any flesh other then my hands and feet, because I refuse to wear gloves and anything that covers my feet in the pelting sun.

The problem is, is one of the worse effected area's of the condition on me personally is my hands, I cant cover my hands by wearing gloves, and even in the winter when I do wear gloves it just makes things worse, those of you who know me must be thinking how can it get any worse, it drives me insane, so insane I want to chop my own body parts off!

After trying every treatment available from my GP, I was referred to the hospital a few months ago and put in touch with specialist who could hopefully help me. I had my initial appointment where the specialist said although not the worse he had seen, it's one of the worse cases he's seen for my age. The specialist booked me in for a skin test appointment, and then told me to expect a waiting list time of 6-8 weeks once they had the results of my skin test.

I went for my skin test appointment yesterday, I lost my dignity once again by having to strip down naked, completely naked, not even underwear allowed in front of a female nurse, and a younger student male nurse who was Irish! I love the Irish accent, I could not believe out of all the people I could of lost my dignity to at the hospital, it was a Irish nurse, thing's could of been worse I suppose! I forgot to mention I also had to get naked with the specialist at my first initial appointment.

So having gone from being a once not over confident, but confident enough woman, I have now lost all my confidence thanks to my psoriasis, and now I've lost my dignity two times in one month, it won't be the last either as my treatment starts today, yes today!

Sitting down, I was told my skin is already permanently damaged, my condition is not curable, but it is treatable and they're going to try their best to help me. I've skipped the waiting list due to the severity of my skin, and I'm starting my treatment today! Thing's got a little bit too much for me and I broke down in front of both nurses, including the Irish one! No chance of him marrying me now ay!?

I cried because I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, I hope and pray I am one of the statistics who would come under the success rate. I cried because this whole process has been horrid and one I never wish on anyone, and I cried because I fear I am ruining Spud's school summer holidays.

I start my treatment today, and the next session on Friday. I'll be attending the hospital three times a week, for 10 weeks, that's 30 sessions in total, and depending on how my condition is looking they may have to increase the course by a further couple of weeks at the end of the planned 10 weeks.

I've tried to plan as much as possible during the six week summer school holiday for Spud, he himself has been through a really tough time this year, he's had two operations, numerous amounts of doctor and hospital visits and just last week has been referred back to the hospital after a retraction from his 5th operation.

Now, I need to either find childcare for him for three times a week, or drag him to the hospital with me, neither is fair on him. I feel like such a horrible mummy, I know in the long run this is for the best, and something I've always wanted, but do you ever feel like the timing could of been better?

I'm getting all teary writing this post, so I'm going to sign off now! I'll hopefully be able to write about this again next week, it all depends on how the treatment is going to leave me feeling!

Jada x


0

Unique Young Mum presents, The Lego Movie Feature!


Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you're part of a team, everything is awesome when we're living our dream! Do you recognise that song? I'm hoping a lot of you are going yes, even the one's who are cutting some fine evils at their screen as they read this saying to themselves; ''are you kidding me, who doesn't know that song, my children sing it from morning to night, everything is awesome!''. If you don't know the song that means you've not watched The Lego Movie and I'm just sat here typing this like how could you NOT of watched The Lego Movie!?

Tomorrow, the 21st of July 2014 to be precise, just because it's Sunday today and a lot of us are dreading the Monday morning routine all over again, tomorrow is going to be a different Monday, tomorrow is the day that The Lego Movie is released on DVD! Can I get a whoop whoop!? Nope, okay, that's fine, you be a spoilsport! For the ones who are excited just as much as me and Spud, I salute you, hand to my head, and a high five through the screen!

If you or your children have not watched the movie already, I highly recommend it, not just because we're massive Lego fans over here in the Unique Young Mum household but just because the world is too serious and sometimes we need something to cheer us up! With the cast of Emmet, Unikitty, Wildstyle, Bad Cop/Good Cop, Benny, Batman, Lord Business/President Business, Abraham Lincoln, Green Lantern, Virtruvius and more, the movie is destined to bring at least one smile to your face!

Here's a sneak peak below, of what's coming up! I know Lego fans are on the verge of their seats here, I promise, you won't be waiting long!


The animation is something that surprises me entirely, getting bribed by puppy dog eyes and a few pleas of pleases, I treated Spud to a viewing of the movie on the first release date at the cinema's! We ended up going to see it three times in total, we've had what seemed to be an agonising wait for it's release onto DVD and BluRay but finally, the day is dawning upon us, with only hours to go, I can only hope one of the supermarkets have a copy left tomorrow after the morning school run! Otherwise, I'll be collecting a excited little boy from school, who's going to be extremely disappointed when I arrive empty handed!

I'll be reviewing the movie hopefully sometime during the first week of the school summer holidays, Spud breaks up on Friday 25th, so it will be the week commencing Monday 28th of July sometime! I could most probably review the movie now after watching it three times at the cinema's, but I'd rather re-jog my memory, and pick up on a few extra lyrics I'm unsure of!

To celebrate the launch of the most anticipated movie of the year, but in Spud's eyes the century, I'm going to be reviewing a different Lego Movie set over the next couple of weeks starting from tomorrow. Spud luckily has seven sets based on the movie, otherwise I would of had to go and purchase him another set tomorrow to stop my OCD demons getting involved!

I'll give you one more sneak peak of one of the sets we've got coming up during the feature long set of reviews, it's one of my favourites, can you tell why!?


If you're not a Lego fan, I understand, each to their own! I'll of course be posting about other stuff too including last minute gifts to present to the teachers!

Until tomorrow,
Jada x

P.S - Everything is awesome!!!
0

Afternoon Tea & Pimms Fundraiser - Part Two!

If you've read part one of this post, then you'll know what this post is all about, if not, please do pop on over and read part one here. Please note that names have been changed to protect identity's.

A variety of tea's were served, including green, herbal and normal tea! Along with Pimms, and then for the folks like me who don't like tea or Pimms, soft drinks and juices were also available.
For the day, we planned to have afternoon tea and Pimms, with a few raffles to see the day through until the evening. However, due to the circumstances of Mandy being rushed into hospital a few days before the planned event, the day changed, but thankfully was not cancelled, as of Mandy's wishes.

Before going into detail, I'd like to say again another huge thank you to all the companies that was involved, there will be a part three of this post thanking all the companies involved. We was sadly let down by a local bakery just two days before the event due to one of their ovens breaking, and so we was panicked as we had no cakes arranged!

We went from having zero cakes to hundreds (literally), so a huge thank you to those companies who rushed last minute to get items out to us. Without your help, we would not of raised as much as we did! So thank you!

Just a SMALL selection of the cakes we had! There was cakes covering the kitchen, in the outhouse, in the fridge, piled up on the stairs, in the front room! Everywhere you looked was filled with cakes!
My brother Paul is very fortunate to have a great network of different professions around him, his mother Julie (the pair of them being the main two event organisers) works at a florist company who very kindly leant us the hot water urn, the beautiful tea sets, the chair covers and much more. The event was hosted at a family home in the end, to keep cost to the organisers as low as possible, however a entry fee was charged to each person, this covered their food and drink and every single penny made was given to Mandy.

We had two tables, and borrowed the other one, both gazebos was also very kindly lent to us! As was the chair covers and some chairs!
My big brother Paul, is fortunate to have great organising skills and could even make a old pair of shoes into something pretty! Our original idea as mentioned changed last minute, however Paul made the day absolutely beautiful and perfect! I, along with our sister Chelsea, Paul and his partner William set up the tables, and decorated as best as we can, but Paul done so so much!

The beautifully decorated tables! Each guest had a cup and saucer along with a spoon, a side plate for sandwiches and cake along with a napkin and fork. Each table had a teapot, which was filled with hot water from the urn, a beautiful matching jar filled with milk, and sugar for the guest to help themselves too.
 Without him, we would of been eating plain bread for lunch and as for Pimms, well a cheap lemonade with a slice of lemon would of been the maximum folk would of been drinking!

Paul checking the tables before the goodies were loaded onto them!
Before we knew it, the guest had started to arrive, it was a honour to have Mandy's mother attend the event, as she too is fighting cancer, it's true what they say that thing's come in three's as Paul's stepfather has just been diagnosed with cancer and has recently had a 16 hour operation to remove the cancer. Julie (Paul's mum, my dad's first wife) however, held her strong face and done so amazingly well!


Guest included family members, friends, partners, colleagues and Paul's clients.
Julie done a fantastic opening speech of the day, thanking all those that had come and those who couldn't attend but who purchased tickets and donated prizes. Julie was full of thanks to myself on behalf of the companies who donated so much, whether prizes or cake, she was eternally grateful! It was an emotional speech and Mandy's mum felt the love and thanked Julie with a kiss and cuddle.


Julie and Mandy's mother embracing a much needed cuddle!
We planned to have a opening raffle, a evening raffle and a later raffle with the idea of bronze, silver and gold being the themes in ideas of prizes. However due to the very near cancellation of the day, with Mandy being hospitalised, we decided to do a tombola, a lucky dip and one massive raffle!

The tombola was 50p a go, or three turns for £1. We ended up having more on the table then when I first took this picture as some guest very kindly brought prizes to donate along with them.
I'd say about 90% of the guest won at least one item, we had so much, it was lovely to see so many win. Myself, Paul, William, Chelsea and Julie was unable to participate due to us being part of the event team, but we was equally as pleased to participate in helping locate prizes with tickets ending in 0 and 5.

A line of guest waiting to pick out their tickets.
Next up was the lucky dip which cost £1 per go, but you was guaranteed a prize. We had to put a cover on the bucket due to the small winds we had that day! There was packaging flying all over the place and a quick game of chase by myself and Chelsea to get the foamy pieces back into the tub! There was around 25 prizes in the lucky dip, again all donated from companies, family and friends! I know quite a few guest was hunting for the Yankee Candles of which Julie donated.

Roll up, roll up, £1 per go! I was 'manning' this table, and so, forgot to ask someone to take pictures of people digging deep whilst I help a cover over the top!
After the lucky dip and tombola was finished, which didn't take that long as guest were kindly digging deep into their pockets with excitement like little kids, the sandwiches and tea was served, followed by the cake. The sandwiches (well the bread and the fillings) were purchased by Paul and Julie (the two main organisers).

Just two stands of the cakes, each table had two stands of cakes each.
The guest had a choice of sandwiches, from egg mayonaise, tuna and cucumber, cheese and tomatoe, cheese and cucumber, salmon, ham, ham and cucumber and egg and cress. There may of been more, but I was so busy helping I only managed to nab a cheese and cucumber one whilst getting the next lot of plans ready.

A variety of sandwiches, and a huge variety of cakes in all shapes and sizes!
Each table also had a stand of cakes placed on them, I would like to tell you all the different cake varities, but there was just so many, but I'll name a few, lemon meringue, red velvet, lemon drizzle, chocolate, popcorn, Victoria sponge, butterfly cakes, lemon swirl, white chocolate, red forest fruits, carrot cake and many, many more!
 
Julie doing the Afternoon Tea speech, unaware of me about to snap a picture!
As you can see in the picture above behind Julie, as well as there being two stands of cakes on each table for the guest, we also had a table full of cakes, once cakes we're being emptied we would just keep replacing them! We had chocolate swirl cakes, jam swirl cakes, coconut macaroons, Byron Bay cookies, cherry bake-wells, scones with cream and jam, the cakes we're literally endless!

This is the tables I am referring to in the paragraphs above, how beautiful does it all look?

Did I mention that guest were welcome to Pimms throughout the whole day? Paula very kindly got into the spirit of being the drinks tender and could be seen going around with a jug of Pimms offering guest a top up or a cup of tea or coffee.

Paula topping up a guest glass of Pimms, it's a tough job winning  a cake in the tombola, why not wash down your happiness with some Pimms?
Paula in the background of the picture below, making up another jug of Pimms, its just a shame Paula was driving and could only enjoy one glass herself! Paul takes a little five minute break with our Dad and Dad's partner Liz. I love the sign Eat, Drink and be Merry, it was one of the ideal quotes of the day, considering the circumstances!


Liz, my dad, Paul and Paula.
After the tea, sandwiches and cake was served, it was time to do the raffle. Within the weeks leading up to the raffle, Paul and Julie each held a book of raffle tickets and sold the tickets to family, friends and even Paul's clients (he's a hairdresser). Paul finished his book, which held 999 tickets, and Julie's £very nearly finished! Each ticket was sold for £1 each, or a strip (five tickets) for £2.50.

Julie's tickets were pink, and Paul's were blue, no gender discrimination intended! After all, Paul is gay and would much rather prefer pink!
With the raffle, we did plan to ask Mandy to do us the honours of picking out the tickets, that way it was as though she was 'picking' the winners. However as Mandy was hospitalised a few days before, we asked Mandy's young daughter and her only child to do us the honours, it was a emotional moment.


Julie and Ella opening the raffle.
Thank's to all the fabulous companies who donated raffle prizes, we had so so many prizes to give away and each person there won at least one thing which was amazing! There was also many winners who was not at the event themselves, but who's tickets were picked and their prizes was allocated! We had so many prizes, we literally had to put a piece of paper into some envelopes with what the winner had won!


And that's not all, guest arrived with more donated prizes! Julie's work also donated a beautiful bouquet of flowers!
When I said so many, I really wasn't kidding, all the chocolate and food related prizes were kept underneath the table out of the sun! We was so blessed to have such a great day weather wise as the day before we encountered lot's of rainy showers! Luckily, the Mr Sunshine decided to play with us the whole time!


Winners take their pick of the bunch!
We decided as everyone is different and has their own taste, we would let the ticket winner choose their own prize from the table, one by one each prize was taken from the table, with happy guest filling their bags with prizes!


Liz and my dad won loads, they spent around £100 on raffle tickets, and on the tombola, lucky dip and cake sell. They went away with the Lego prize I had my eyes on, here's Liz giving me a cheeky thumbs up, I'm sure she's saying nah nah nah nah nah, I won, I won! Bailey the puppy dog quite fancies them chocolates!
Once the raffle had finished, more cake, yes more cake, tea/coffee, soft drinks and Pimms were served. Everyone took a break and reflected on the fantastic day we had. I was really pleased to see so many smiles on so many faces, I was just sad at the reason behind the gathering, and wish we was gathering for something else, and not a fundraiser.


Paula decides one glass won't hurt and enjoys a glass of Pimms!
Surprisingly to the guest of the event, as only the organisers knew about this, but we had one more special raffle tucked tightly up our sleeves for those who attended the day. Apart from members of the organising team, everyone's entry tickets were put into a basket, and three lucky winners would win something off the table.


The first winner goes up and picks the hamper, full of cake and not into cosmetics, he leaves the Victoria sponge prize cake for someone else, and the Lush star prize set for another event guest.
The first winner picked a lovely home made/hand made hamper by my brother Paul, when I've mentioned before that Paul's qualities are endless they really are! From hairdresser to beautician, from handy man to baker, from crafter to fundraiser, he really is a talented man!


All home made by Paul! He is a man of many talents!
The next person to take to the stand was a Lush obsessed lady, I believe she was able to win all three smaller Lush sets in the raffle by having her name pulled out three times, I'm pretty sure she was as shocked as everyone else when her name was called again for this surprise raffle!

LUSH star prize winner!
The last winner didn't get to choose what prize they had, but they did however come away with a prize winning cake! It was only Paula wasn't it, the lady who was determined to kick start the diet the following day! Sorry Paula!

Mmm, prize winning cake, but she was starting her diet the next day! Maybe she could burn it off at the festival she's attending this weekend thanks to the fabulous prize she won during the raffle! The third post will contain all the details on prizes and companies involved!
Then, well, the day had very nearly come to an end. Everyone was offered more tea/coffee, soft drinks and Pimms, and MORE cake. A few took up the drink offers, but no one requested any more cake, I think everyone was so full, it was just the organisers who hadn't had any chance to eat anything. I made my dash away to the cake stand and spotted the last vanilla butter cream cupcake with a white chocolate star on top! My favourite!


But wait, we still had tons, and tons of cake left! It was like the store room of a bakery, we went from having no cakes due to the bakerys oven breaking, to hundreds, literally hundreds of cakes! We decided to have a last minute bake sell and we're pleased that so many cakes went! We made up a box for Mandy to feast upon, along with some sandwiches, we all know about boring hospital food is don't we! The cake sell was a huge success and all helped towards the final!


Ella* and her partner with the two tickets to Drayton Manor they won!
There was one person at the event, who held the hearts of many last Sunday, that was Ella, Mandy's daughter. Managing smiles and enjoying herself the best she could, we all thought of her so much, and still do. Having to deal with a terminal illness of your only living parent must be extremely hard. I know so many are proud of you Ella! I hope you have a wonderful day at Drayton Manor, and I hope you enjoyed the rest of the items you won!

William - Paul's partner enjoying a bottle of Hiver that Ocado very kindly sent.
Once everyone had left, it was time for the organisers to have a quick break, bar Julie who had to go and visit her husband (also battling cancer) in hospital, and Chelsea who had to get home to her little boy. My nan very kindly watched Spud for me, and so I stayed behind to help Paul and William. Our sister Paula also stayed behind to help, and Paul's auntie Debbie was also there being a fairy God mother washing up all those cups, saucers, plates, and cake stands!


Mandy.
Take care Mandy*, we are all thinking about you during this difficult time. I've heard you was ecstatic to hear we raised a whopping £925 for you and Ella. I know it's impossible, but try not to worry, none of you will ever be alone. Your family are wonderful, and your daughter is a absolute beautiful and wonderful person! I admire you both, and the strength you have.



In honour of Mandy and Ella who's names have been changed to protect their full identity.

Please find part three of this post to be published very shortly.

Jada x
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