Monday, 15 January 2018

The start of (Not Another) Blue Monday

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Ever since New Year, my mind has been running away with me. The more I tried to 'rest', the more ideas seemed to be brewing inside. I find it hard to switch off, but when I have ideas, I also find it very hard not to get excited or follow them through. This, was one of my ideas and I've spent the last few weeks teaching myself how I'm going to adapt it to my energy limitations.

(Not Another) Blue Monday

Blue Monday falls on the 3rd Monday of January and is known as officially being the most 'depressing day of the year'. Well, there's not a better day than today to start my idea for my blog.

Over Christmas I spent a lot of time, like lots of others, scrolling through social media platforms. And quite frankly, I didn't like reading most of it. Facebook was plastered with comments about how the local youths are now ruining the town. And from one comment, comes a snowball of negativity. Blaming parents, blaming organisations, even blaming buildings (yep). This is just one example. I've seen negative posts on all social media platforms about a whole range of subjects. All age ranges, sexes, ethnicities, disabilities - the lot. 

I'm not a one-man-band who's going to change any of that. But using this blog, I do want to shine a light on some good people who are doing things, which often are going unrecognised, in the community. Too often we jump on a keyboard to complain (and I am guilty for this) but we should also be praising those who are making a difference. 

Monday's are usually quite 'blue' anyways; usually as it's the start of the week and you have that  typical Monday feeling. Which is why, my  posts will be up on a Monday, to brighten Monday up (hopefully!). I can't promise they will be every Monday, they may only be once a month, but I have some amazing people ready to interview who are doing incredible things.

So, if you'd like to follow the interviews which I'll be doing, click 'subscribe' or check on my website on Mondays and click (Not Another) Blue Monday. If you're doing something good in the community and would like to be interviewed, do get in touch, my details are on my 'contact me' section. I'm not looking for people who have raise thousands of pounds, or have given huge gifts. I believe that the world can be changed one small act of kindness at a time.

Kate x


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Random Acts of Kindness Advent - With Bearhugs

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Merry Christmas!

Well, it's been a hectic month leading up to Christmas for me. Project Parent is at it's busiest time and I was volunteering with a few extra things, so it was really quite difficult to get some time to myself. As per usual, it's made me pretty unwell, but, I was able to go to my sisters for an hour on Christmas day which was amazing. Now it's time to rest and one of the things I wanted to get back into doing was some blogging. I wanted to share this lovely advent calendar which Bear Hugs set up again this year. It's about spreading a bit of kindness and I've loved taking part. I wasn't able to do them all in order due to being either ill or frantic with Project Parent, but I finally managed to cross them all out before Christmas.


1 - A simple one, I shared this on my social media sites.
2 - This day I was in bed, but I knew I would be because I had a stall at my first craft fair in years the night before. There, I took the opportunity to smile at everyone. It didn't take much effort, as I was genuinely so happy to be out in the community and with my crafts again. But it was a lovely hour out!
- I spread the word about 3 local charities (or charities to-be) which I either help with or use - Happy Faces, Chilli Studios + Calvert Trust Kielder. I did the same with 3 national ones - Post PalsSmile For ME + Spoonie Survival Kits.
- I took my hospital time to compliment a nurse
5 - I spent some extra time with my nephew Jack. We watched some tv in bed and snuggled in.
6 - This was a tricky one for me. I need to do it more often. I had a nice bath and put some body lotion on. But, then I ordered Jayne-Hardy's self care project (you can get it here) so I could plan in more time to be kind to myself
7 - I ordered a nice box of treats for a friend, Laura, who had a terrible day. When it snowed heavily she ended up staying at ours for 5 hours because the car broke down and it was all a nightmare. So I sent her a Bearhugs box to her address with some nice goodies in to cheer her up as a surprise the net day.
8 - I thanked my mum who'd gone out the way to get lots of the Project Parent shopping for me
9 - I told my carer she was great because I had a lovely morning out
10 - I sent a nice text to a friend
11 - I bought from a number of small, independent businesses over the Christmas period. 3 examples are Handmade by Holly who made a beautiful bear for my sister, Crafters Emporium who made some lovely hair ties and Mrs BArts who designed a giraffe coaster for my friend.
12 - I love hugs, but my boyfriend got extra hugs for dealing with me whilst I've been so busy and poorly.
13 - We sent 50 of our Project Parent boxes to Post Pals this year which was fantastic. I'll continue writing to pals when I have the energy.
14 - I helped mum tidy up some of the front room
15 - Instead of making a drink, I took a lady out for a drink who wouldn't usually go out and bought her a cuppa.
16 - I dropped little compliments throughout the day
17 - I let my Project Parent volunteers know I appreciate all they do and how fantastic they are
18 - I sponsored a number of causes over Christmas including St Oswalds, North East Pageant Network and Compingoo Christmas Appeal.
19 - I went for a cup of coffee in the lovely Elisa Rose cafe and stuck one of my friends 'spread the smile' posters on the toilet door. Look up @spreadthe.smile on instagram to see their lovely work
20 - This one was a bit mixed up, as it says 'give feedback to a boss about good customer service'. I very rarely do this, but I did write in to tell a man who always helps me in paperchase out as well as telling Ringtons they are generally the most amazing people ever. But, then i got a package from a boss. I had been chosen from One Stop (nominated by my boyfriend, bless!) to receive a hamper at Christmas for my commitment to the community. I was so shocked, so it felt truly amazing!
21 - When writing my Christmas cards I was able to write little notes to people I haven't managed to speak to in a long time. It was really nice.
22 - I gave my mum my extra self-care book (as I ordered 1 then got 1 for Christmas!) as she needs some extra self-love too
23 - I sent a text to a couple of friend to let them now I was thinking of them
24 - I would like to send more RAOK post, keep in contact with people more, make sure I spend some time taking care of myself, put aside time/energy each week for my family and continue volunteering.


So, I really enjoyed taking part and I think it was a lovely concept. I hope everyone had a good Christmas and looks forward to what the New Year brings.

Kate x


Friday, 17 November 2017

The big one-zero

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Children in Need night, for everyone, is emotional. For myself, it's always a little bit extra hard as 'ME anniversaries' do stick with you. This year marks a decade since a became ill; a whole ten years. And, being 23, it's creeping up to the stage where I will have been ill more of my life than I have been well.

Chronic illness life hasn't proved itself to be much less challenging despite the added years, mainly due to my number of complex complications. I don't document as much of it anymore, but we still have a lot of hurdles. For example, today I had to sleep all morning (prepped a lot of this blog in advance - organisation is one of my stronger points!) because I spent all afternoon in hospital sedated for doctors to take biopsies of my throat to try see why my swallowing muscles are getting so weak, when they are already pretty sure the results are going to come back as 'it's just Kate's EDS', which means no treatment plan. As per usual, I got in there and I was a 'very complex case' meaning they needed a consultant opinion and my blood pressure dropped to a lot lower than they wanted. A 5/10 minute procedure lasted 2.5 hours in total. Buy hey, all done for now. We, and I say we because it really is my whole family who battle this with me, just try to make the best of each situation and when I can do things, I go for it.

I've been through a whole range of severity with my conditions in the past years, from paralysis to hospitalisation for a month. But, the 'well-er' times, and even now when I'm not great but really am learning how to manage with my own body, I have a bloody great time. I have had experiences, opportunities and learnt things which I never even dreamed I could do. And I really want to celebrate today all the things in these 10 years which I've managed to achieve.

I'm not one to really talk much about my achievements. Yes, I'll promote some of the volunteering and causes I work with, but this is a post I can turn to when I'm struggling and think 'look what I did'. It's not meant to big headed, egocentric, or anything. This one is just for me.

Through a lot of my years with my conditions, I've just had to try 'get through' things. I still have to take each day as it comes, I still have extremely difficult days but now I feel like I have slightly more of a path which I want to pursue. I've found a love for volunteering, a love for art and a continued love for dance. I appreciate little things more, which everyone with a chronic illness will say. It was a good few months ago since I was last able to go for a 'walk' (well, wheel) in my chair in the fresh air and it's beautiful. Spending time with my family, my boyfriend and friends is precious. Life, and time, is precious to me. So, in these 10 years, here are the things I've had the amazing opportunity to do, learn and love.

Volunteering
I now see volunteering as a huge part of who I am and when I got asked the other day what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, the answer was simply 'I want to help people'. My volunteer journey started at a young age where I helped assist dance classes weekly, but really took off when I got poorly. In 2013 I was chosen to be part of the vInspired programme which I can hand on heart say changed my life. I gained confidence, I made a difference, I received a £1,000 scholarship at the end of it and I met my best friend. I then was chosen as one of only 12 in the UK to become a mentor for the programme, but didn't manage to attend many of the sessions because I was so unwell. They all became my family though and that was honestly a life changing experience. My next 'big' volunteering venture came from running Project Parent, which I speak about below, and because of the success I became a mentor for O2ThinkBig. I've also now become a trustee for Prudhoe Community Partnership. In between all these big voluntary opportunities, I volunteer for a number of causes regularly and just generally love helping out. I've completed 2,250 hours of voluntary work now which I've built up throughout the years which I'm pretty proud of.

Running my own projects
The first project I set up was in 2011 and was my own small jewellery and crafts business. I used to go around the local fairs and sell online, but when this got too tiring I cut down on this. To this day, I still craft but on a much smaller scale.
Inspired by this, in 2013 I set up a project called Crafts for ME. I was given a £500 grant and I gave out gift boxes of crafts to people who were poorly with the condition. The idea behind it was that it would give them something to occupy them but also help keep muscle strength through their arms for severe patients. Once the funding ran out, the project closed and I was planning my next idea.
In 2014, Project Parent was founded. Starting with a £300 grant from O2ThinkBig, I gave out 30 gift boxes at Christmas in Newcastle. The next year, I was awarded the top grant of £2,500 so we expanded to 5 hospitals across the UK plus 2 charities which help families who are in & out of hospital. Now, Project Parent is self-funded by the very hard work of myself, my team and our donors. We give around 400 boxes to 6 hospitals a year plus supporting the charity PostPals and involving local community youth groups.
In 2015, my mum and I made up Christmas gift bags for the women at our local inpatient mental health ward. We continued this last year with the help of Danielle, and this year, it's getting bigger. Through selling crafts (which are yet to be revealed) we are hoping to raise enough money to buy everyone in our local children's unit (yes, all 40...) a small filled Christmas gift bag. Only recently I became aware of how isolated our local mental health impatient unit is, despite being so close, so if it goes to plan - we'll see! Continuing with the mental health theme, with the help of 4 incredible girls we started up a community DBT group as the limitations of the mental health services are getting tighter. I ran 4 workshops myself, which was both challenging and so rewarding for me, and the feedback was incredible.

Crazy Activities (usually in the name of charity!)
Linking to my volunteering, I started fundraising. I started off with the Sport Relief Mile then advanced to the Great North Run, which I have now completed 3 times in my wheelchair (and walked/jogged/stumbled along the bit at the end!). I zip-wired across the Tyne bridge for ME North East and then did an amazing indoor skydive for them at a later date as no doctor would sign my off to jump out of an actual plane. I've zip-wired in Scotland with my friends, swam with dolphins, been on a king-swing at Calvert Trust... I'm still a bit of a thrill seeker!

Awards/Achievements
The fact I managed to do my GCSE's was a miracle, as I had about 4 weeks home tutoring and only managed 15mins at a time. I still got amazing results, as I did with my a-levels. My A-levels actually took me 5 years and I did one year of this via online learning (which was documented by The Guardian as it was a new thing at the time!) and most of the other time through self study. I love learning though, so it was amazing. I got offers for the uni's I wanted; Durham, Newcastle + Northumbria but never managed to go because of my health.
Dancing has always been a huge part of my life, which is why giving it up was heartbreaking. But, with an awful lot of hard work, and a lot of adaptations, I managed to get my dance teaching qualification (with 97%!) and get my first job which gave my some incredible opportunities (not everyday you're with Chloe from Dance Moms or Twist + Pulse).
Project Parent won 'Most Inspirational Project of the Year 2016' - O2ThinkBig which was absolutely incredible. My parents represented me in London and it made all the hard work even more appreciated. The next year, one of my good friends nominated me for NTW NHS Positive Impact Awards. That was also so special too and just an amazing night.

Other highlights
There's probably a tonne I'm going to miss out, but from modelling opportunities, holidays, to my first guest speaker appearance I seem to always have something to be excited for. I've met some incredible people, been to some amazing places and done some amazing things.

A thank you
A thank you to those who have been part of this time, whether it was the whole 10 years or just bits of it. Thank you to those who make me smile on my bad days, take me out so I don't miss out on the worlds adventures and who keep believing in me.

A final note
These beads represent every medical appointment, procedure, admission..etc I've had since I became ill. I haven't got my beads for this year or through the last half of 2016 (so I have quite a lot to add!) but I guess this gives you a bit more of an idea of chronic life. Each bead represents a battle I've faced, but one I've got through.
It wasn't the life I had planned, but I have been utterly blessed with opportunities and experiences.


Kate x

'Fall down seven times, get up eight for ten years'




Sunday, 29 October 2017

Unrest - My thoughts

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Unrest - My thoughts


'Unrest' is a documentary on ME. A very brave woman, Jennifer Brae, documents her journey through the illness and how she comes into contact with many who are in the same situation; suffering with the same awful condition just like her. Now, I'm not going to review the film as quite frankly, there are lots of people who have but I'm going to say this - it's incredibly moving and real.

I will mention certain parts that were particularly influential for those who haven't (or perhaps have!) seen it though who might think 'it's just a documentary on ME'. One, was how Jen was very emotional and open about thoughts of killing herself because her quality of life was that bad, then later on we were shown the horrific suicide rates of those with ME. The next, was how a young girl, Karina, was forcibly removed from her home and placed in a psychiatric unit because in Denmark they believed that ME was a mental condition. This isn't just happening abroad, this is still happening in the UK with people being sectioned. Finally, we hear about the complete lack of funding and continued understanding of an illness which is destroying an unbelievable number of lives.

Moving on, what I wanted to talk about was the Q&A session afterwards as well as some extra thoughts I had on the film. One topic which was brought up was the 'label' of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs ME. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is used my medics, whilst as sufferers tend to use ME. There is an awful lot of debate around the subject, mainly because 'chronic fatigue' doesn't exactly do it much justice as it sounds like we are just a bit tired plus it has a lot of stigma attached, but personally, I think we just need to start working on the cure. Yes, the label might affect some people's views, which in turn may cause issues for funding and other problems... But, the real issue we face is fighting to get the support we need at the moment, the funding to do more research and more understanding around the illness. We should all work together, no matter what the label is at the moment, and have that as a smaller objective, and try really focus on what's going to make the greatest difference.

Next, were two of my points I was too scared to bring up myself. Firstly, in Unrest we saw Jen's husband, Omar, who was an amazing support to her. But what we could make another film about is the support needed for ME patients. Carers, friends and family are doing an amazing job of looking after those with ME with very little support themselves and very little recognition. They aren't applicable for respite, they aren't getting support like other charities can provide because of funding and they are often not seen because the ME patients are so severely ill/have such high care needs. We know the huge amount of ME sufferers now, but for each one, we are talking around 4 people who need to support this individual. I'm not anywhere near as severe as the people on the film, yet I have 2 daytime agency carers plus my family and boyfriend who have to all take it in turns. ME is not just affecting us, it puts a huge strain on those around us too. And they're all doing a bloody good job.

My last point was one mum + I were talking about on the way home. So we saw the film at a small cinema screen, and because we were all so flipping' broken they literally had to make a wheelchair park for everyone to leave their wheelchairs at the front. I took a picture and there were 8 there. And I was shocked. All the adults there who needed wheelchairs, had been given (excuse my language) crap wheelchairs. No support, too big, falling apart... Every one of them has severe enough ME to not manage to be able to walk more than a few metres and we all know that it is a long term condition. Now, I love the NHS, don't get me wrong, I seriously don't know what I'd do without it, but why aren't we giving people what they clearly need and deserve?! Give them a decent, fitted wheelchair then not only can then live their life a bit more and be comfortable, but they can get to medical appointments, to physio, to treatment. Why is it that as soon as you become an adult you don't become applicable for the things you clearly need. I sat, feeling so guilty as I have an amazing wheelchair (which I wouldn't have made it out without, I even had to be reclined after the cinema because my blood pressure dropped) and here, around me are another 7 who need this. I wish something was out there to support them too. But this is the thing, and it's not just with wheelchairs. As soon as you write 'ME' down it makes it 10 times harder to get any equipment, forms are harder to fill in for help and there are such little services available. It's sad, and I hope it changes soon.

With the points made throughout the film and those which come afterwards, its obvious that more research, funding and understanding is needed. Hopefully Unrest will start up more conversations, educate more people and might be shown to that one junior doctor who eventually finds a cure.

Kate x

unrest.film

Saturday, 30 September 2017

September

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September has also been blessed with a lot of opportunities and has been a rather busy month. Unfortunately, as the month went on I started finding it harder and harder to do my usual things like get out and I was hit by a really nasty relapse. So, the last week of September has been mainly stuck in bed and celebrating even just making it downstairs for an hour to watch a dvd, but I know to roll back and let my body rest to try slowly get back on my feet a bit more. Anyways, here's some of the things I've been up to in September in a bit more detail.

September doodle by myself 


Stocksfield Festival - We took a tombola and a cookie stall down to my local fete and raised a staggering £144. I had an incredible team (thanks Danielle, Elisa and my parents!) who helped a lot during the day as I wasn't well, and Carly had been sorting out all the prizes with me beforehand to help with my limited energy. The time I managed to spend down there was lovely and I especially love it being in my village as I get to see people I haven't been able to for quite awhile!

Lifespan Annual Celebration - This years Lifespan ball was at Durham Hall and it was a beautiful setting. Mum and I volunteered for an hour with their raffle tree then stayed to enjoy a lovely dinner with the guests. I was also in charge of social media for the night which was a new task for me which was quite fun and we had a fabulous time. We didn't stay for the auction/entertainment as I wasn't feeling well after dinner, but from the pictures the whole night looked like it was a great success.

Calvert Trust Kielder Filming - I was so excited and nervous for this filming opportunity but I have to admit I think my brain fog got the better of me that day. I met with the CT team at the Hilton and showed them my speech. I was so proud of what I'd wrote but being so tired that day, but brain remembered very little of it (or words!). Anyways, Charlotte was especially amazing (and very patient!) and helped prompt/interview me so once I relaxed we got rolling again. Now it's just the final countdown for the ball - so exciting!

Project Parent - Project Parent is generally starting to get very busy. I'm so thankful I have such a good, close knit team now otherwise It'd impossible. We've organised lots of events from book swaps, to halloween competitions. We've been sorting out merchandise which I'm just confirming with SALTO who have been stars! I've just got all the budgets in for everyones boxes for this year and we have started purchasing things for this years boxes already. On top of grant applications, thank you letters, website updates and keeping up to date with everything, its very busy.

Others - I had a sort out of my craft things and managed to donate things to Ferndene and Prudhoe Poppets. I absolutely loved getting shown around Prudhoe Poppets especially, they've done one incredible job and I was astonished at the number of children/parents there. We're now looking at joining up at Christmas for some Project Parent boxes! I go to Chilli studios with one of my carers fortnightly for an hour which I'm really liking, I wasn't ready a year ago but now I'm loving doing some crafts with a group. I've started making some crafts to sell for charity and for Christmas (got to start early when you have ME!)

Love as always, Kate x




Thursday, 31 August 2017

August

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Hey,

So, I realised that I've once again neglected my blog. I quite frankly just don't have the energy to keep up with it at the moment, but really want to keep everyone up to date with the exciting things I've been helping out with and I think it's a great way to document things. I went through a phase where I was able to blog every week but I've decided that I'll try to blog once a month now, if I can, unless there's something 'big' I want to blog about.

Every month since the start of the year, I have done these doodle drawings. I use them to remember all the achievements and good times I've had, as sometimes it's really difficult when you're stuck in hospital for the majority of your time. I shared my first few drawings online and I got some really lovely comments. Now, I even have people messaging me asking when this months doodle is going to be posted, which is so sweet. They're not perfect, I do all of them freehand and first try but it's a nice thing to do. So, I'm using the doodle drawing to expand and share, particularly volunteering wise, what I've been up to in the month.


Clarty Bairns - I started the month by helping out for two short sessions at Clarty Bairns outdoor obstacle course. I help Challenge Northumberland, the event organisers,  every year and absolutely love working with the family. I sit and sign people in/out but enjoy seeing people having fun on the course. In fact, I saw my sister complete it and raise over £50 for Project Parent in the process.

Project Parent - Danielle and I help our first proper 'meeting' and it involved a lot of pizza + sweets. We ended up covering the whole floor with paperwork, filling an A2 sheet with plans/ideas and working too many hours (for me anyways!). It's starting to get busy already, we've changed our boxes so my leaders are now in charge of what's going into their area, which at the moment still has ended up being a lot of work for me. I have lots of ideas, lists and emails - just not quite the energy to stretch and it's only going to get more hectic! I took my box along to 'Unicorn and Dinosaur Tea Party' too which was too cute, didn't do much promotion mind but welcoming kids was a lovely morning. 

Community DBT group - We all know the NHS is full of cut backs, but when I found out that one of the therapy sessions being used at the mental health centre had been cut from 1 year to just 8 weeks it really put things into perspective. It meant that this therapy felt like it was rushed and came to an abrupt halt, so, after some research I realised that we could rent a room and continue the work with a similar structure in the community. A group was set up and we all helped run a community based DBT group for people who needed extra support and I think it was remarkably successful 

Visit to Ferndene - Moving one from that, I visited Ferndene as the did a talk for PCP and really need some young adults to go in to help out with the children, especially with particular skills. I agreed that I'd go in and do some art sessions with them once I had some spare time/energy, but they're helping us with an art workshop with Frank (which will be continued in a minute) anyways. 

Workshop with Frank Styles - As a trustee of PCP we wanted to make a mural for the Spetchells Centre involving the youths in Prudhoe. I did the first day of the workshop yesterday where we worked on people and silhouettes and I've attended (some) of the final workshop today. It's been an amazing experience with a very talented artist so I can't wait to see the final piece.

Happy Faces - This is a new group for young people with additional needs which has opened at the East Centre in Prudhoe. It's something I'm passionate about, being inclusive, so I went along to see how it was working. I was pleased to see it was very successful and I'm very proud of everyone involved, and of course, looking forward to seeing it grow!

So, I've had quite a busy month, especially when I put it down on paper. I've managed to do about one lot of volunteering/community based things a week which has been so lovely to get back to, especially after my pneumonia, but I know I've overdone it so I need to roll back a bit. I do the majority of it with my carer but now everyone will be back at work I'll have to get back into more of a routine, and, not to be pessimistic but I usually have a winter relapse so I need to be prepared. But I'm enjoying what I'm doing and little bits + often (well, every week or so) is the way to go!

Hope everyone is okay. 'Til next time, Kate x






Sunday, 25 June 2017

Fashion & Fizz Charity Night

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When Laura Jane, fundraiser for Lifespan, asked if I would model some clothing for a charity fashion night I couldn't turn something like that down. It's been such a long time since I've done a catwalk (and I was very relieved it was about 5 metres long haha!) so I was super excited to help out.

Lifespan brings ease and support to people with any serious and life limiting illness, and, to the family and friends who care from them. They visit at home, in hospital and hospices. They provide continuity if care helping the patient and their family through the illness. They work alongside GP's, consultants, hospital teams, Macmillan and other nursing teams to address the physical and emotional needs of the patient. They provide things like complimentary therapies, nutritional advice, counselling, art workshops, befriending and sitting service and bereavement support. 

I've took part in a few fashion shows before and I know what a huge job they are. This one though, was spectacular. And for a first go at organising and running a fashion night, Laura did a bloody good job!

I arrived at Matfen Hall and it was the most ideal setting. It obviously helped that the sun was out, but it was perfect for a lovely night out. Once I'd found my way through the maze of corridors (honestly, you could get lost for hours in that place!) I arrived to get my hair and make-up done. I met some of the other models, firstly, the little 4 children who i'm pretty sure screamed at me to chase them then ran off! Then I met the 'mature' models who were from Laura's 'mature movers' class she runs. Finally, I met the other adult model Rebecca + later on the other 2 joined us. I got there looking rough as anything. I'd spent from 10am-3.30pm in hospital and then discharged myself because I wanted to go to the show - whoops. I'd had (and still have...) some sort of severe virus which causes a widespread weird rash which is just what you want when modelling, but instead of staying in hospital I was a bit rebellious. I'm so glad! Toni and Katie Jane first of all worked wanders on my hair. I had it curled then put up and it looked fabulous. I then had my make-up done by Susan which was absolutely stunning. Nichola was doing Rebecca's too - both girls are so talented and made us look catwalk ready!.



We had a very quick rehearsal and fitting, I've lost a lot of weight so getting anything which is a little 6 to fit my body at the moment was a bit of a nightmare but we made it! First up was the children. They were modelling The Little Wardrobe from Shotley Bridge who had the most adorable clothing. All the little models did so well - getting 4 changed quickly was crazy but they were oozing with confidence. Little Emily even taught me how to catwalk she was so good! Here's a picture of Dacey, Laura's daughter, who was absolutely fabulous. 


Then, we were on modelling Captain Tortue who I originally had never heard of. They are a french chic brand and I really loved their clothes. I was put in the comfiest pair of cropped denim jeans (which I ended up buying - £20 in the sale!) and an off the shoulder jumper with scarf. Then mixed it with a sparkly top. The other girls had a range of sports wear and dresses. All their clothes were comfy and unique, so it was a privilege to model for them.

Next, the mature models went on for M&Co. They had a lot of orange/red for their first change of clothes and I really liked the patterns. Then, the most summery numbers came out with floaty tops and white jeggings. They all seemed to have a lovely time to that was fabulous.

Finally, we had the ball gowns. We had a little issue as a lot of the dresses were too big for us, but we managed. I had a lovely blue wrap dress (which I 100% was wearing as a cape until Rebecca twisted it around me before I went on stage!). Rebecca had a lovely sparkly fitted dress with a more neutral one, whilst Rachel had 2 neutral ones with a lace one I particularly liked. I always like modelling the ball gowns, makes me feel like a proper princess so it was fabulous to end on that.


Alongside the fashion show, there was a shopping area with stalls from handmade crafts to clothes. It was a fantastic night giving people the opportunity to shop and chill out in a beautiful location and for a fantastic cause. I can't stress enough what a brilliant job Laura Jane did and I really hope she does another one again. The first one is always the hardest but I can see this being a really good event.

Anyways, from me, that's it. I walked far too much so I've been in bed ever since so I'm on strict rest for the next few days at least. But, I wanted to share what a fantastic time I had. I hope one day I'll be able to organise an event as big and as successful as that!

Kate x