Wednesday, 24 November 2010

NCT – A No. 1 Source of Support and Networking for Parents

The NCT (National Childbirth Trust) is the largest and best known childbirth and parenting charity in Europe. Run by parents, for parents, the NCT is rooted in local communities across the UK, through its network of 330 local branches – run by volunteers.

10 good reasons for being a member of your local branch – mine is Chorley and Leyland!
1.      Have fun whilst supporting a worthy cause.
2.      The NCT is a unique service, which gives you the opportunity to network with other parents.
3.      Your membership will ensure that the NCT is here to support your children, when they become parents.
4.      Your membership will help NCT campaign – which will bring about changes for ALL parents.
5.      NCT members help raise the profile of parenting.
6.      Your membership allows NCT to campaign on behalf of those who cannot do so for themselves.
7.      Membership gives you the opportunity to give something back to the NCT.
8.      Being a member of the NCT enables us to continue training new volunteers, teachers, breastfeeding counsellors, postnatal support workers and branch volunteers.
9.      Your membership allows the NCT to act as a voice for ALL parents in the UK.
10.  Be a member to say thank you to all the volunteers who have supported you through pregnancy and the experience of becoming a parent.
Of course when you do become a member, you realise that these are the reasons you joined (and  they are very good reasons) but  that in addition, what is available to you and your family on a local level is almost impossible to access in any other way and has endless benefits to you and your family.
As a member, at branch level you become part of a network of support and friendship, regular activities and events, professional workers and advice -  allowing you to enjoy parenting , share your experiences and for your children to grow and play with friends.
As a volunteer at branch level, you become part of the team that keeps the branch running, enjoying roles that use your existing skills and help to develop new ones, receiving support from all other Team Members who in their branch roles and ‘supporting teams’ help to facilitate the activities and events that are available. All volunteers receive training where it is needed at branch & regional levels.  Every event and activity and all funds raised at branch level is as result of the dedication and commitment made by volunteers.  All of the funds raised contribute to the activities and support of the NCT on a National scale and so volunteers are priceless and very much appreciated locally and by the NCT as a whole.


At Chorley and Leyland Branch, we have a Branch Team that includes:
·         Branch Co-ordinator (previously known as Chair)
·         Treasurer
·         Membership Co-ordinator
·         Parent Support Co-ordinator (includes organising Stay & Play Sessions – previously known as Coffee Mornings)
·         Mums to Be Evenings co-ordinator
·         Bumps & Babes sessions co-ordinator
·         Branch Secretary
·         Newsletter Editor (of our Award Winning Newsletter)
·         Publicity Officer
·         Branch Web Master
·         Nearly New Sales Co-ordinator
·         Nearly New Sales Team (Sellers; Advertisers; Volunteers)
·         Maternity Services Liaison
·         Agent for Bras
·         Agent for Breast Pumps
·         Agent for Valley Cushions
These roles are all voluntary positions and available to all members should they wish to contribute their time to the NCT. There is no fixed timescale to how long the role is to be held as we appreciate circumstances change and that family comes first.  Some roles are shared and ALL roles are supported by the Branch Team (previously known as Branch Committee).
Some of the regular activities that we hold at Chorley & Leyland are:
·         Mums to Be Evenings – for parents to be to get to know each other.
·         Bumps & Babes sessions – held fortnightly for parents to be and babes not yet mobile.
·         Stay & Play sessions – (for everyone) held weekly for parents to meet up, share experiences, receive support and especially to have a cuppa and nice biscuits, while the children play in a toddler/baby safe environment and have fun making new friends.
These sessions are held at other parent’s houses, so are informal and cosy. Sometimes we meet up in play centres where the children run around and have fun and parents still get their cuppa and nice biscuits.
Some of the events in our social calendar are:
·         Quiz Night and Hotpot Supper
·         Easter Fun Day
·         Nearly New Sale (May)
·         Cheeky Monkeys Party (June)
·         Halloween Fun Day
·         Nearly New Sale (November)
·         Members Christmas Party/Meal
·         Children’s Christmas Party

In addition we have:
·         Organised Walks
·         Girls Nights Out
·         Parents Nights Out
·         Pamper Evenings
Since we have the opportunity to spend time with each other as families and as groups, we inevitably and naturally build friendships that are solid, supportive, based on trust and bring us back together even when we have been busy for a while with family commitments. Being a part of a local branch allows for networking that is flexible and there for you when you and your family need it most.
As a member of Chorley & Leyland Branch I have been involved with the Branch Team for most of my youngest child’s life (K’Boo). The NCT has been a lifeline for me and I have made some fabulous friends that I would love to keep in touch with even after K’Boo has started school. She is almost 4 years old and I hope to help contribute to organising activities that enable parents to keep in touch as their families develop and grow (organising more weekend events). My eldest daughter (H’Boo) is 11 years now and has enjoyed helping out in school holidays and at Nearly New Sales. She recognises my friends from the NCT as true and loyal friends and the NCT has been an important source of support for her also.  Even at her age (a well-established In Betweener) she loves to come to the Easter and Christmas Parties and is happy to help out and join in with the children’s activities (particularly craft and dancing).
Some of the roles I have held as a Branch Team Member are:
·         Membership Co-ordinator
·         Nearly New Sales Team (Volunteers Co-ordinator)
·         General Team Member – helping organise, promote & run events
I have also been noted for my ‘bare faced cheek’ (by none other than @kateab) for my methods of acquiring goodies and prizes that help us raise funds (hey, you don’t ask – you don’t get). These include:

@kateab herself has been and still is a valuable part of the Branch Team and has held roles such as Treasurer (which she still supports) and Regional Co-ordinator. As her children are a little older now she is not able to offer the huge amounts of support and guidance she has contributed to the branch over the years. But I do know that she is missed and is still regarded invaluable to the running of the branch and we would love her to be around (even if her team keeps winning the Annual Quiz Night every year :o)

The Children’s Christmas Party this year is at St Bedes Social Club, Clayton le Woods, Chorley on 12th December.  Father Christmas is attending and will be giving out fabulous presents to all of the children (age appropriate and approved).  There will be a party buffet, cakes and refreshments and fun and games for the children (and adults). Tickets are £5 per child and free to accompanying adults (there is tea and coffee for sale and a bar).  If you would like a ticket, please contact @kateab or myself. All families welcome.
Our Christmas Party/Meal for adults is at Dante’s on 16th December, where as many of us that can make it get together for a ‘well earned’ night out and the odd glass of vino (has to be 3, 5, 7 or 9 glasses to be odd), garlic bread served as standard, rather tasty Italian waiters and a bit of a boogie on the dance floor (which is easier after a few glasses).  If you want to join us (honest we’d love you to) drop us a line.
To find out more about Chorley & Leyland Branch email:

To find out more about the NCT and events near you log onto:

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Monday, 22 November 2010

Trunki - the genius invention for travelling kids

When  @Beckicklesie asked us all for recommendations on  a suitcase for kidder, I was prompt to reply with a ‘Trunki’. But why was it the obvious choice for me and how did I come to this conclusion.
Well, we in the Honie House (House of Lynne, even) are rather frequent travellers  (usually rather long flights and in-land travel to be expected) and along with our 3 children (who have very different needs), having the right luggage is essential.
Rob and I (age not disclosed, lol) have two large suitcases with all of our own clothes, shoes and holiday stuff for the hold packed in, along with those of the children.  We carry an ‘in flight bag’ each, with what we need for the flight and a light change of clothes, toothbrush etc. (had lost luggage incident once –once too many!). We carry our cameras, books, iPod in our ‘in flight bags and Rob also carries the laptop and O’Pops ‘in flight entertainment’ usually just his iPod as long flights tend to have reasonable in flight entertainment anyway.
H’Boo (now 11 years) is rather simple: her clothes, shoes and stuff for the holiday goes in my very large case.  Her ‘in flight bag’ is very personal – space for books to read, her iPod, DS, lip balm, spare underwear and light change of clothes (lost luggage only happens once to ensure this) and anything a tweenie (or inbetweener) needs to take to keep them re-assured they are normal. Her ‘in flight case’ need to have wheels, because it would be ‘impossible’ to carry – of course!
O’Pops (now 10 years)is disabled and although he requires ‘in flight entertaining’ he is unable to carry his own luggage on board – Dad has to carry him, O’Pops hand luggage and his own on board, so light is good!  Rob packs O’Pops holiday clothes, shoes and stuff in with his own suitcase and also O’Pops ‘in flight stuff’ in with his own also.
K’Boo (almost 4 years) has been travelling since she was 7 months old and is brilliant at it. She often does an extra set of flights in the year with us – as O’Pops and H’Boo do a holiday a year with his Mum and her Dad respectively!
K’Boo likes to pack her own ‘in flight entertainment’ which usually consists of: pencils/crayons; a colouring book; Dora doll; Woody; extra paper; her hat; sunglasses; a pack of hair bobbles; anything she could get her hands on around the case (that we forgot to hide) and the light clothing/toothbrush (in case of lost luggage). She steals anybody’s iPod or my iPhone (which we stock up with about 30 episodes of whatever is current entertainment to her – Dora & Toy Story lately!
So why Trunki?
Well we used to take the stroller to the gate and have it there when we reached our destination (with the exception of return flights to Manchester – who usually throw it on the conveyor, no matter what the bright pink tag says). But as she has got older, even if convenient, the stroller is not what she always wants.  I had seen so many kids on Trunki’s and thought “that looks cute, but I bet it’s not practical”.
Think Again – it is genius!
She packs it herself and is excited about the holiday from the start. It has anything and everything she needs inside and so it’s all in one place, it’s spacious – has a safety belt inside for teddy, colourful – and themed, fun and extremely strong - so supports the weight of any child till they get bored of the concept, it can be pulled by the strap when they get tired of sitting on it, they offer to pull it themselves, it can have its own comfy seat as an extra – which converts to a simple carry bag for when you are on holiday (crayons always at the ready when needed). Trunk is the answer to airport nightmares and it’s theirs – so they want to take it and look after it!
So what changed my mind to buy Trunki and discover all this?
It was on a shopping trip to Liverpool One with Daddy and I, that Kate decided to get bored in the middle of John Lewis and allow herself to wander off (as children like to challenge us with at this age). “I thought she was with you” we each said to the other (as we often end up separated from each other anyway due to ‘shiny bit syndrome’ – a ‘got to have it’ sort of disorder!).

It was moments before we were re-united, as she often shouts when she has found whatever she was looking for (which is whatever she feels is suitable entertainment for the moment).
And that entertainment was a pile of plastic cases, with colours and odd bits of extremities to resemble funny little animals and things (Tipu an orange tiger, a Gruffalo, Freddie the fire engine, Bernard a stripey yellow bee, Harley the ladybird, Penelope the princess carriage, Terrance a blue one and Trixie a pink one).

She had pulled out the orange tiger and started shuffling around on it. Every attempt I made to put it back was with tantrums and complaints and so I resigned to letting her sit on it as we shopped.  I soon realised how ‘easy’ this actually made the rest of the shop in there and how I always knew where she was. She smiled the whole way round, laughing as we negotiated the aisles and displays put out, stayed quiet when we stopped to look at things and didn’t complain once.
Until we were leaving John Lewis that is!  I had explained to K’Boo that she could sit on Tipu Trunki until we had to go, but that it lived in the shop and we had to leave it there.  Mmmh, this did not make leaving huge open doorway any easier.  She stood firmly inside alongside the abandoned Trunki and said it was her friend.  Rob got fed up with this and said he would nip to a shop he had to get something from (which has left my memory now) while I negotiated my way out of this.
Well, we did manage to leave the store and Rob was pleased to see this on his return.What he did not expect is Mummy to be holding the end of a strap attached to an orange booster seat that looked very much like ‘Tipu’ the orange tiger.  K’Boo had a very big smile for him and it was decided that this was probably going to be a good buy, after all. 
Well it was – and I would wholeheartedly recommend one of these for lots of reasons, not least for safety, practicality and to avoid tiredness and tantrums.


Check out the website for product information, history and fans of Trunki

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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Silent Sunday

"What's to say?"

  Woke up Sunday morning. Simple breakfast and Eva playing 'Penny to my Name' from my playlist.  K'Boo found 'her moment' and I got to capture it. Perfect, silent Sundays are made of moments like this.
Silent Sunday           

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christmas Memories

Thanks to a recent post about Christmas memories I responded but it was a little too long to submit. So I finished it off here....... I might add and tidy it up later - but here it is 'raw' and rough on the edges.

I felt a bit the same about my friends and their expensive Christmas lists and always getting large amounts of money as presents at Christmas also.

My memories include:

My siblings (I was the youngest of 4) rushing me upstairs to see the red light in the distance from the back of our house. They said it was Rudolph's nose and that I had to get to bed or Father Christmas wouldn't come. Years later I discovered it was a ligt in a house in the village across the fields.  It was there every night of course - but the magic was so real at the time!

My Mum used to work till 2am, so my Dad used to prepare Christmas Dinner the night before. His conditions were that Mum had Bells whiskey in and had made him a whole tin of mince pies (stored in a Quality Street tin of course).

Peeping at the presents in the wardrobe of Mum n Dads room - we didn't see what they were - but used to pop  a little hole in the wrapping and try to guess. Wrapping has improved a lot since the 'paper thin' days.
Putting decorations up on Christmas Eve and being careful not to drop the old fashioned glass baubles.  It was tinsel and paper chains in those days - decorations have improved a lot since :o)

Over the years as my older siblings got older still - it was Dad and Me in the house on Christmas Eve and he would prepare the dinner as usual and I would put up the decs, balancing on chairs and play all the old Christmas albums (Jim Reeves, Andy Williams and the like). 

Later we would sit and eat mince pies and I would sample my first tastes of Christmas liquours (sensibly of course) like Royal Mint Chocolate Liquor and Baileys . We would wait for Mum to get home and my older siblings to come home from their nights out and then open 'just one' present, as it had gone midnight.
As my siblings grew older and had children of their own, these children became a massive part of Christmas for our family and my parents house at this time of year and we would have Christmas dinners for 20 on a make-shift table (Dad was an engineer). These were magical family Christmases.

I had my first daughter in 1999 (at the age of 28) and spent a lot of time at Mum n Dads (Christmas was no exception) and Christmas took on a new light for me and was just the best time of year. I could do Christmas every day at Mum n Dads, I thought.  Being a parent now - I truly knew how precious those moments were for my Mum and Dad and the magic continued ......

I would wait for the Rotary/Round Table Father Christmas to come and take my daughter out into the street (donned in padded snowsuit, hat and mittens) to show her his sleigh - her eyes would light up and I recall how I remembered the same feeling.

Padded snowsuits and snowball fights, first steps in the snow (soft enough to catch her fall) are things I remember with a lump in my throat.

Just a year later my Mum took ill and  I spent the last Christmas with my Mum (my husband decided to take off just days later too). She passed away later the following year after my daughter's 3rd birthday (August 2002).

Dad comes to us at Christmas now and this year he is giving me all of his old albums  for keeps, as my current  (almost husband) and amazing man is a bit of an audio enthusiast, lol and his turntable alone was enough to impress the likes of Dad, never mind the glowing valve amp'. 

We have 3 children between us (as Rob has been married before and has a son and we have K'Boo now) and the magic is re-lived with family Christmas courtesy of us with H'Boo 11 yrs, O'Pops 10 yrs and K'Boo almost 4 yrs.

Christmas is a time of exciting preparation, long-served traditions, hoping for the snow to come, letters to Father Christmas, the Rotary/Round Table Sleigh, your child's first school Christmas play, checking out other peoples Christmas lights in PJ's, decorating the tree with things made at nursery/school (the best decs), Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, giving, receiving and all the family round for dinner.

I can't wait to hear those records again and look forward to making more memories of the same for many years to come.

I Love and miss you so much Mum and Love you so much Dad - thanks for the best memories ever and Christmases that were priceless!!!!!!