Thursday, 7 September 2017

THE TRUTH ABOUT WORKING WITH CHILDREN


Hey guys,

Here I am, back again with a blog post all about working with children. I know there are many stories and myths floating around about what it is like working with children... But is that what it is really like?

Third year of uni, I was so broke and I knew I needed a regular income. I was not in uni a lot, so I decided to get a full time job. Now this was my third year of uni, so I had deadlines and a dissertation to write whilst juggling a full-time job. Yes it was very hard, but I was desperate and I needed a resolution. 

There I was late one night searching through Indeed.com looking for a job that I could use to fit around my studies. Nothing. Nada. I could not find anything for the life of me, so I decided to let out a silent prayer to God. I refreshed the page and a 'sponsored' job popped up on the top of the page. This job was looking for a creche assistant in an English learning school in the city centre with an immediate start. I thought to myself, "I have the qualifications so why not?" So I applied right away. Within 4 days, I was interviewed and given the job. 

Now this were to be completely different to the work experience that I previously carried out. The majority of the students in the building where I work are Muslim mothers and fathers who have come over from Saudi Arabia to learn the English language, so we therefore work in the creche inside of the building to care for their children. The language barrier between ourselves and the children is quite high, and I was scared that I wouldn't be able to create a bond with the children. What I found out though, is that because of the language barrier the bond between the children and yourself is stronger because they have to give you all of their trust. Over time, the children to begin to understand English and they pick up new words too which is even more rewarding. 

So what is it really like working with children?

Getting to know the children

First thing's first, you have to get to know the children and this is not an overnight job. It can take weeks to eventually know the children on a personal level- know their comforts and discomforts, know when they're tired, how they like their bottles being made etc. Every little detail to their personality is important. That important that we have to ensure we observe and note down their improvements and what they like/what they don't like. 

A child may only like to sit in his pram for the entire time that they are in the creche. Even though this is annoying and frustrating on your behalf, you have to respect that the child thinks of you as a stranger so you have to earn their trust. Eventually, they will be running around the rooms and interacting with the other children. I think the creche that I work in can hold up to 28 children ranging from 0months to 5years. That is a lot of children. Each child is unique and has different needs and preferences that all have to be acknowledged.

Language Barriers

Now not all establishments that care for children will have language barriers, but because I work within an English learning school and Manchester is a large city within the UK, there are language barriers in place. 

Believe me when I say this was daunting when I first began at work. I did not understand a word of what was being said to me, I felt like I couldn't communicate with the parents properly and I felt as though I was not going to get anywhere with the children. It is hard work. You feel like you have failed when a child is sobbing uncontrollably for their mother, they are crying to you in Arabic and you cannot understand what they are saying at all. All that can leave your mouth is "Mama soon". Eventually, I began to pick up words and phrases from the Arabic language without even thinking about it. The parents are great at helping you too. They will provide you with useful words and phrases that can be used with the children to make it easier for both parties, and it also gives us creche assistants the opportunity to get closer to the parents and the children and take another new challenge on. Something that I love.

Although the language barrier may seem like an issue to some people, it has encouraged me to self-teach myself Arabic. This is through online teaching, but also working where I work and being given that opportunity to converse with the parents. 

The illnesses and the sicknesses

It is true what they say about getting ill when you work with children. If one child has something, not only will the other children quickly pick it up but so do the creche assistants. This can range from a common cold, to a sickness bug to head lice. It is inevitable what you are going to encounter and have to deal with. This can put a lot of people off working with the children, but it honestly isn't all as bad as it is made out to be. It is not that common for a child to get ill and pass it on in the creche. It isn't all of the time that you pick up an illness from a child you were comforting a few weeks back. Everyone gets ill, and unfortunately because children have weaker immune systems than most adults they encounter it first. It's just the way the cookie crumbles. 

The messy bits

You cannot be shy when it comes to the time of changing a nappy, a leaked nappy or cleaning up sick. It has to be done, and you probably will have to do it. I can honestly say, this was the highest factor of working within the care environment that was putting me off. 

On my first day, one of the first things that I had to do was relieve a choking baby and change a heavily leaked nappy. When it comes to the point of actually having to do something, you don't ask yourself questions. You don't consider doing anything you just do it. You see past the messy bits, and realise that the children are helpless and can't do it for themselves so you have to help care for them. This really increases your bond with them. 

I've had heavily leaked nappies, children throwing up all over themselves, I've been urinated on but it doesn't change my perspective of the job. I love it nevertheless.

Attachment 

You will get attached to the children, it is inevitable. There's always that one cheeky toddler that catches your eye, the adorable 5 month old baby with the biggest smile or the little girl with the most gorgeous curly hair. But the children choose you too. You will always have at least one child acting as your shadow throughout the day; demanding your attention by throwing countless amounts of Duplo and train track pieces at your head... But it's all part of the job! Fab!

When people say, "don't ya cry when the kid leaves? Couldn't do that job me." Yeah I have cried. I can remember when it was one of the children's last days in the creche, and they were flying back to Saudi Arabia the next morning meaning I knew I would never see them again. I had spent every day for 8 weeks with this little boy, caring for him and being a part of his life. It absolutely broke my heart and I sobbed. It didn't put me off my job though. I meet incredible children all of the time, and when it is time for them to leave I feel proud and privileged to have been there for them at the beginning of their lives. It makes ya feel goooood.

So, if you're considering working with children or you have the qualifications but don't know if it is the path you want to take... I honestly advise to go for it. It isn't something that I pictured within my career path, but I am glad that I chose something different and I am glad that I chose something which has a positive impact on children's lives.

  




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

CHANGING YOUR LIFE



Have you ever sat there and wondered if you are living your life the way you truly want to live it? Have you ever thought about what you could do to change your life for the better?

Looking back at how my life was, I have noticed that I truly was not happy in the slightest. I felt as though I was a permanent people pleaser- always being a try-hard to do things that people noticed and felt happy about, or constantly doing things for people even if I did not want to do them myself. I faced a lot of struggles that I thought I would never overcome, and I was taking medication for the depression and anxiety that I had at the time. In all honestly, I felt numb. I felt like I couldn't experience the same world that everyone else around me was experiencing, and I felt as though I was in a thick-skinned bubble. Naaaaat good a tell ye. 

So, what on this earth did I do about it? Changed my life, that's what. 

One of the changes I made was by coming off the anti-depressants. Not everyone agreed, but at the end of the day it is my life and my choice so only I can really make the final decision. People thought that I wasn't going to be able to cope, but I did it. I did it and I managed to survive. The reason I did this was because I felt as though I wasn't going to be able to fix what problems I had without feeling proper emotion and feelings. When you're on medication, this just masks those feelings that you have so you feel permanently numb. I thought that by feeling real and raw emotion again, I could teach myself how to deal with it rather than just to cover it up and never really dealing with it. 

Another 'thing' that I did was began spending time around people that I felt comfortable with, that made me feel a genuine happiness and that made my life seemingly easier. I was sick and tired of comparing myself to people and being a people pleaser that I looked at other people around me in a different light, and noticed that they were different to some of the people I currently had in my life at that time. So I slowly took myself out of situations, kept myself to myself and followed life the way it was taking me. And I would not go back.

Something that had to be done was that I needed to open my eyes. I needed to start taking advice and listening to the people closest to me. I had to use other peoples advice to begin making changes to my life, and I tell you with all honesty that it needed to be done. I am very stubborn so I always think that I am right. This means that I don't like to take other people's advice and think that they're right for a change, so by doing this I felt like I was losing a sense of pride but I really wasn't. These people closest to you see in to your life and notice things that you wouldn't because you're living it. Taking their advice really would be a smart move you know. 

Confidence was a huge issue I had with my life, but one of the main confidence killers I had was my eyebrows. For anyone who knows me, they will know how much my eyebrows used to be the bane of my life. I am talking about eyebrows here as if I actually had some, but the truth is I really didn't have much. My eyebrows were sparse, VERY short and probably non-existent if you were looking at me from a distance. So after my 21st birthday, I decided to get them microbladed. This is a form of semi-permanent tattooing which means that I won't have to get them done for another 18 months, but by gum are they a life-saver. I honestly couldn't tell you how much it has done for my confidence. Not only do I get the chance to wear less makeup without worrying about filling in/drawing on my brows, but I feel confident in front of people with NO makeup on. Something I never thought would happen. 

Last but not least (and probably one of my favourite changes to my life)- finding Jesus. Again, for those of you that know me will know that I recently publicly gave my life to Jesus through being Baptised. Easily one of the best days of my entire life. This gave me the opportunity to show that I can repent and change my life for the better.

I changed my life, and I have never been so happy.

Monday, 17 July 2017

THROUGH THE STORMS



I was sitting on the bus to work the other day, and whilst I was people watching at the traffic lights, I thought about how different everybody's lives are. You look at someone and you notice their image and what they look like, but you will never truly understand somebody's life by just looking at them. 

Everybody goes through struggles in their life time, and experiences storms which they think they may not get through. I, like other people, have experienced this and thought that I would never see the light at the end of the tunnel- but I can guarantee that it is there. I never saw it until the day that I found Jesus again, and I decided to instil trust in to God for Him to help me. Although God promises us a joyous life, He also promises us struggles- however He will guide us through them with the ability to gain strength.

Jonah and the Whale
When thinking of going through storms with the help of the Lord, I thought about the story of Jonah and the Whale. In Jonah 1-4, God sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach against it due to it being full of wickedness. Jonah didn't want to go because he knew that Nineveh was against God and he felt under threat if he was to go there. Jonah tried to escape and travel somewhere else using a ship, however there was a great storm. Jonah knew that God would have sent the storm because he did not carry out what God had asked him to do, so Jonah asked God to throw him in to the sea. God did it, but Jonah didn't drown because God sent a large whale to swallow him whole. Jonah was in the stomach of the whale for 3 days, but then he prayed to God and said that he would do what God wanted him to do. Jonah went to Nineveh and spoke of God's word. The people confessed their evil deeds to God, meaning that He didn't destroy Nineveh.

Caterpillar to Butterfly
Another theory that came to mind when thinking about storms was that of a caterpillar to a butterfly. In order for a caterpillar to turn in to a butterfly, it needs to go through the cocooning process. At the end of the time in the cocoon, the caterpillar has to struggle out of it in order to gain strength in their wings and to be exposed to the outside world. If the caterpillar got help and the cocoon was torn apart, then the caterpillar would not have the strength of the wings to hold it through flight. It would not have had to learn how to gain strength if it didn't go through the struggle in the first place.

The moral of this post is to just show how instilling our trust in God through the hard and difficult times in life, allows us to find strength to make us grow and keep us strong. Like I stated earlier in the post, God promises us a joyous life but He also promises us troubles. This doesn't mean that God isn't good... Because He very much is. He sends us storms to teach us how to deal with those situations, and to make sure we are strong enough to face them head-to-head with the power of the Lord. 

Philippians 4:13
"I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."

Isaiah 40:29
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Psalm 46:1
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."

Sunday, 26 February 2017

My Testimony

Image from HERE
Everyone has a story. Everyone has a story which has led them into one direction or another- whether this leads to happiness or misery. Some people may have experienced either happiness or misery and some people may have experienced both. I am one of them. I wrote a post which led to misery, about my mental health story which you can find here. But this is the other side, this leads to happiness.
(P.S. This is going to be quite long, I apologise. Just hang in there!)

This post is solely about My Testimony. How I found God, and how I found my connection. This is something which I never thought that I would write, but it is a huge part of my life and something which is going to be alongside me throughout the rest of my journey.

When I was younger, my Gran always ensured that my eyes were open to the Lord. She bought me my first book about Bible stories, she took me to churches, she showed me her church a lot whenever I was visiting her, I performed the flute in church and there was other events which happened on a regular occurrence. However, at the age of 9 was when I experienced my first sinister set of events in my life, and due to this I didn't believe there was a God anymore. I no longer found myself looking for God's house in the clouds, and He slipped further and further away from my mind. A few years later, God came back into my mind and I began re-thinking His existence.

Shortly after this, my dad left home and I found myself in a very volatile and nasty relationship. He claimed he was a Christian and with God, but I couldn't understand why God would allow him to do such evil things. This pushed Him further and further away from me once again, and I felt as though I was back at square one. 

It came to GCSE's, and I found myself sitting in a Religious Studies class. Through these two years, God was constantly playing on my mind as if I had something to feel guilty about, but I just didn't know what. No matter how much I wanted to accept God's love and presence, I just couldn't because of what I had seen or been through. 

It reached A-Level time, and once again I found myself sitting in a philosophy class. It was heavily based on God, so I had no choice but to learn and listen to God's word every day. On my 17th birthday, my mum gifted me a Bible. I would read this, but not pay any attention. I would read and read this Bible to try and find some guidance to God, and just look for some message from Him... But there was never anything that came to me. Through my A-Level times, I always had this urge to connect with God. But I felt embarrassed. There were people around me who were openly Christian, expressed their love for Jesus and God every single day and were genuinely happy. I envied them but still did nothing about it. 

It came to university time and I chose Philosophy. I had never been further from God in my life, but I continued to question Him and speak to Him in private or when I needed guidance and love most. In my third year, I met Nathaniel and my eyes opened. His family are very connected with God, and I became envious of how much love they had for Him... and He had for them. So from then on, I decided to quit thinking about what other people may think of me and my choices, and I went in search of a connection with God. And I am so glad that I did. 

Believe me when I say that this hasn't been an easy journey so far. I have had revelations which have been soul-enhancing, but I have had one which terrified me so much. I never believed that people could feel God, but after experiencing it for myself I completely understand how God's love feels.

I will elaborate in another post regarding my revelations, because they are something which need to be read with understanding and yet again they are personal experiences, but I genuinely feel that they could help others finding their faith or experiencing the same thing as me at the moment. I have been to church for the past three Sundays (since I started going), and this is with CCM (Christ Church Manchester). I have cried there, cried after there, cried before there, not wanted to go and not wanted to be a part of it. But I still go, and I still fight these feelings of despair inside of me. 

Where am I now? I am still building that connection with Christ, and I am loving every moment of it. I feel the love when I need it, I am heard when I need listening to and I am helped when I need love. I need to express that this post isn't trying to get anyone to find a connection with God- because that is something personal but I just wanted to share my experiences and story. 

What I want to do next? I am looking to be baptised. This is something which I feel strongly about in myself, and I will document that also as another story in my journey. But one that also leads to happiness. No more misery. 

Here is My Testimony so far. Here is my story. Here is how I found my everlasting connection with the Lord.  


Thursday, 27 October 2016

'YOUR SOUL IS ROOTING FOR YOU'


I don't like to state that I suffer from depression anymore, I like to classify myself as a 'survivor'.

Ever since I have started thinking with this mindset, I have genuinely felt a lot happier within myself.  Taking myself off my anti-depressants was a huge decision for me, and I thought that things were going to take more of a downward slope for me. I thought to myself that I need to find something that will give me a more positive outlook on life, and that would stop my mind seeking the upmost negative in most things.

Now seeing as though I study philosophy at university, and my next door neighbours this year at uni are all so spiritual (and this constantly gives me good and positive vibes), I kind of decided to look at things in a more spiritual light...

Studying the soul is one of my all-time favourite hobbies however, I never take time to look into my own soul and see how I can make it even better. For me, the soul is what makes us and what enables us to have the character that we have, and if we don't continue to care for our soul then we could lose ourselves and who we are.

So being off my anti-depressants, I noticed that my soul was going grey and I needed to be more positive about my life, day-to-day.

I noticed that everything happens for a reason, good or bad, and some form of good will come out of this at the end. Even if it doesn't happen straight away.

The world is a beautiful place, and you have a purpose. Remember, it isn't the world that is ugly, it is merely society and the way the world works. 

Last but not least,
Your soul is rooting for you.



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Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Villa | Levens

On Sunday 28th August 2016, me and my family went to the 'Villa' at Levens for my Grandad's 50th birthday meal.


The 'Villa' is now a hotel and restaurant, however this wasn't always the case. Originally, it was called 'Brettargh Holt', and was a family home for the Brettargh-Yates family in the era of 1871.

Later, it was owned by Sir Charles Walker who had a passion for orchids. This passion led him to build greenhouses against the garden walls which still remain. When Sir Walker died in 1920, Brettargh Holt was auctioned off and turned into 'Levens Hotel' by Micheal G Shaw in 1928.

However, Levens Hotel failed to obtain a liquor licence and was then sold onto the estate by Sam Ashcroft to the 'Sisters of the Sacred Heart'. In 1944, Brettargh Holt was turned into a convent and followed by a home for single mothers in 1946. This provided accommodation for up to 35 mothers and their babies.

Most of the children were adopted onto other families, but some still remained with their mothers. The society arranged for around 30-40 adoptions per year. In 1968 admissions ceased, and then the Salesian Sisters of St John Bosco ran the house and the grounds surrounding it as a retreat from the 1970's. This was for youth groups such as the 'Brownies'. In 2012, the Sisters left the building and it was then sold on to become the 'Villa' as it is now.



When we arrived, we were the first ones there as it was a surprise for my Grandad. We were greeted by a long table which was beautifully decorated, and we added the balloons that we bought. 


The meal was 3 courses. With a wide range of food to choose from, I decided to go with a Twice Baked Cheese Soufflé, Rib-Eye Steak (cooked medium rare with peppercorn sauce), and a Guinness Chocolate Mousse for dessert.



The soufflé came in this huge dish. With minimal garnishing and a sweet cider sauce, it contrasted really well with the cheese in the soufflé. The soufflé itself was light and fluffy as it should have been, and was filling itself for a starter. 



For my main I decided to have a steak because why not? To be honest, my steak was quite hard to cut - even with a steak knife, and it had quite a lot of fat on it. Apart from that, the rest of the second course was delicious. 



I was quite sceptical when it came to dessert. I was very full but I really wanted to try this mousse. I have never had Guinness before, so I did not know if I was going to like the dessert, but it was absolutely gorgeous. The jelly on the top of the dessert was very alcoholic, so it was easy to tell that this contained the most Guinness. The rest of the dessert was a rich chocolate and it went together very well. The ice cream that came with it was salted caramel flavour, and so was the sauce alongside it. I am a fan of salted caramel so I knew that I was going to like this aspect of the dessert. 


Overall, my experience at 'The Villa' was very enjoyable. The food was gorgeous but the company was even better. The hotel still had aspects of the convent, and you could tell that the design of the hotel was thought through to keep history in the building. I would highly recommend coming here if you are visiting the Lake District for a holiday or looking for somewhere to hold a special function, or just want a lovely meal. I couldn't have asked for a better turn out for my Grandad's 50th. 


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Thursday, 25 August 2016

How I Feel About Going Into My Final Year Of Uni

It is official. I am growing into an adult.

This time 2 years ago, I can vividly remember packing up all of my belongings and preparing to move into halls... and it only feels like yesterday. Today, I am currently sat writing a blogpost about how I feel about going into my final year of uni and ordering pretty stationary. 

If I am going to be 100% honest, I feel distraught about going into my final year of uni and nearly completing my degree. These past couple of years have legit flown by, and been the best 2 years of my life. I have met my life-long best friends, learnt important life lessons and found the person who I really am. 

Alongside learning everything from my degree, I feel as though I have also learnt the basic things in life which will stick with me throughout my future. I've learnt how to do a food shop every week (even though some may not see this as necessarily 'hard', trust me), I have figured out how to manage money for rent/bills/food shopping/luxury items, how to lead a balanced life and how to live my life and make the most out of it. 

As much as I do not want my uni experience to end, I have to accept it. It definitely has been a rollercoaster of events, but the best years of my life. 

For those considering university, I would always say go. Do not just go for the university lifestyle- always have a life plan ahead of you and focus on your goals and education, but the lifestyle will follow.

Make the most out of it. 

"Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings"
- Salvador Dali (1904-1989)