Friday, October 25, 2013

Alternative to Operation Christmas Child, make a sick child smile


 We know it is early but Post Pals is doing the Elf and Reindeer schemes again this Christmas as they create lots of smiles, but we need YOUR help. Could you use your imagination, send a Christmas card or do a 'shoe box' of smiles?

 Maria is being the “Head Reindeer”. A Reindeer is someone who is assigned a Pal and their siblings and sends 9 cards during the month of December, one from each reindeer, talking from the reindeers perspective i.e. talking about the sleigh getting full, getting ready for the big night, loving carrots being left out etc. It is not only fun for the children receiving the cards, but also for the volunteers getting to do imaginative writing. In the past one girl believed the reindeer wrote to them as she helped look after her disabled brother. Another little boy was very relieved as Father Christmas definitely knew he was in hospital so wouldn’t be missed out. If you would like to volunteer to be a reindeer please send an email to Maria at

 Kim is being our “Head Elf”. She will assign an Elf (volunteer) to every child and the elf then gathers gifts up to the value of £15 and sends them in December. It is a little like the Christmas shoe box appeals we are all familiar with. Anyone of any age can be an elf, whether it’s little children picking gifts which they think someone their age would like, or adults who now have a good excuse to buy that pink fluffy present! We like to assign 2 Elves to every child as in the past people have committed to being an Elf but then not sent anything (or let us know they couldn’t continue) so that means we have 240 volunteers to find! If you would like to volunteer to be an Elf please send an email to Kim at and include how many children you would like to be an Elf to, and any requirements i.e. a young girl. We have a particular problem finding volunteers for teenage boys so if you would be happy to take one on please let Kim know.

You can of course send Christmas cards or gifts (of any size or value) to individual children by following the “5 Easy Steps” on the home page.

After writing this I will post an email, please consider forwarding it to friends, family, posting on blogs, message boards etc. Hopefully we can bring lots of sparkle to families who have had a very difficult year. I will sign off with a little poem which I like,
I heard a little Christmas in the laughter of a child,
I saw a little Christmas in a snowman’s jolly smile,
I felt a little Christmas when I have a gift away…
Just little things…
An yet they filled my heart with joy today
Nikita with a bear from her elf, (Nikita passed away on Christmas Eve)
Email to send. Hello, this Christmas I’m planning on making some sick children smile simply by sending some post. Post Pals brightens the lives of seriously ill children (most of whom are fighting cancer or going through transplants) and their siblings by featuring them on the website with their own page, with their story, interests and a forwarding address. Members of the public from around the world can log on and send cards, letters, emails and small gifts to brighten the child’s day and let them know someone cares. Post Pals does this all year around but at Christmas they run some special schemes. Reindeers (volunteers) are assigned to a young child and their siblings and during December they send a card from each of Santa’s reindeer, talking about anything from loving it when carrots are left out or how full the sleigh is getting. It is great fun to use your imagination and the children really enjoy it, one boy was so relieved as it meant santa definitely knew he was in hospital at Christmas and another girl thought the reindeer wrote to them as she was good in helping her mum look after her disabled brother. The elf scheme is another project, a little like the Shoe Box appeal we all know. You’re assigned a child and you have a read their page to get to know them. Then you gather up gifts to the value of £15 and send them off to the child in December. Post Pals needs to find 240 volunteers for this so please spread the world about how to make a difference this Christmas. You can also send christmas cards or little gifts to any child, just log onto click on “News” to find out how to volunteer and see how a simple gesture can make a big difference. About Post Pals; – Post a Smile on a Sick Child’s Face Winner of Queens Award for Voluntary Services 2008 Supported by Princes Trust and Children in Need Patron Fearne Cotton Post Pals on the BBC

A tribute to my Nan

Last week would of been my Nans 88th birthday but she passed away last September. I wasn't able to go to her funeral or her 'sprinkling' as I call it (scattering of her ashes) as I was stuck in hospital and too unwell. If I had been well enough I would of wanted to say something during the funeral so thanks to technology I was able to record what I wanted to say on my iPad and it was played at the service.

As a tribute I thought I would share what I said, I've changed names except mine though ie granddaughter instead of Vikki

"I searched the Internet for a nice reading or poem, there are thousands to choose from but none of them felt right to me. I saw one written as a letter sent down from heaven and instantly remembered the stacks upon stacks of letters and cards that my nan proudly received from penpals, many of whom she kept in contact with for decades. It got me thinking, if Madaline could send a letter down, what do I think she would say and how would I reply, how do you fit a life time into words on just a page. I think she would say.

Dear Son, Daughter-in-law and Vikki
I got to heaven safely and peacefully, I was instantly reunited with daughterand Husband like I had dreamed of doing for 40 years, I am sorry that I can't also be with you on earth too.

 I had some hard times in life but I also had many more happy times, especially socially with friends, most of whom are with me here and of course with my family, 2 young children and husband and later as a mother to a grown up son and as a grandmother.

You always looked out for me Son and although I was confused at the time I am happy I got to spend my last months near to you, DIL and Vikki. I sometimes struggled to express my love and pride in you although I told lots of other people about how good you were to me.

I used to be scared of dying but now I know it's a peaceful release, I believed my whole life I would be with God one day and live forever in a heaven that has no sadness or pain. Time has no meaning here but I do spend it with everyone ive loved and lost, looking down on you and here a little drop of brandy is recommended, it medicinal for the soul.

Today is my funeral, a day to be sad, shred tears and feel the loss but day by day I want you all to become happy once more. Feel no guilt as you did all you could and more for me all your life.
 I am at peace with myself in heaven and want you all to be at peace on earth.
Lots of love mum (Madeleine)

My reply would be
Dear Nanny Maddy, I miss you but know you are where you need to be. I've been reflecting on your life a lot since you passed away.

My early memories of you coming to stay are more feelings than formed pictures, a great excitement bubbling in my tummy as we waited at the station, frantically seeking your face as the windows go by in a blur, I would guess which carriage you would emerge from and run to door to greet you. When you opened your bag to produce your milk, bread, baternburg cake and woolies pic'n'mix including coconut mushrooms i felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Your stay would be fun, emptying mums cupboards to play shops on the stairs, teddy bears picnics in my bedroom, running around playing trains, you teaching me the snowplough method of tidying up which i still do and not forgetting the time i told you my special strawberry cream was magic wrinkle cream, it wasn't until I was about 20 I realised that maybe you hadn't believed me and had smothered yourself in the sickly sweet cream just to make me giggle. I also thought the way you could make your teeth move was fascinating and no matter how much i tried i just couldnt move mine so I would beg you to do it again and again, it never occurred to me that you had false ones! We would also sing old songs, most of which you had changed the words to, we would walk to the park and buy penny sweets on the way home.  There were also church trips where we would light candles for Amy and others you had lost but you were always careful I didn't get communion by mistake by placing your hand across my mouth when the priest bends down to me. I was always a bit sad when you would pack to leave but knew i had an important job, to hold the sides of the bag together or sit on the suitcase to help zip it up.

I liked visiting you as well, either having waffles, bacon and cheese while sitting on the sofa surrounded by cuddly toys or going out for lunch where we would chat and laugh or going into towm. We would play Dizzy Bugs and Ants in Your Pants, flick marbles on your many rugs or you would tell me stories from when you were younger, i would spend ages looking at all your trinkets and ornaments many of which had been purchased on the holidays you loved so much. I didn't stay with you many times but have lots of fond memories of when I did especially you teaching me how to knit, bus journies and our trip with Fred to SouthEnd.

Of course I could talk all day about the happy times we had together but I don't want to make this letter too long, mostly I will remember 3 things,

Our daily crazy half an hour's, dancing like mad people, swinging teddies around and singing random things, I thought at the time that you did this every day even in my absence!

The frequent response to something as ' ooooh good gracious'

And lastly I will remember you being a fantastic Nanny, who loved unconditionally, always made time to play or talk with me (providing coronation street wasn't of course) and someone who I felt would always be there for the big moments in my adult life. Although both of our Illnesses kept us apart thrmajority of time in recent years we were still connected. Even though your mind and now body has left us we will still be connected, as love never dies.

With all my love, your granddaughter Vikki
Ps)I hope Royal Mail delivers this ok to you

Friday, October 18, 2013

Christmas gift idea - A year of good wishes!

Name- a year of good wishes
Cost- pennies

 Take a strip of paper, write a wish for the recipient on the non patterned side and using these Instructions fold them into a star shape. It's easy and kids can make them, it's a good way of using up strips of paper chain links. You can make them out of lots of types of paper, here is one I did with purple sparkling paper left over from an iris folding kit.

You could just give a small amount in a pretty organza bag, have kids hand them out or you can make 365- a wish for every day of the year and present them in a vase or pretty container that you already have.

A simple, pretty and meaningful gift

Monday, October 14, 2013

Maris Piper comfort food at its best

I'm a big potato fan and love Maris Pipers as they are both lovely and versatile.

It's national potato week and the Potato Council is asking bloggers about our favourite ways to eat them. I love lots of different potato recipes from the fancy dauphinoise to potato salad in the summer and the humble roastie in winter. If I had to pick an all time favourite though it would have to be cheesy mash and it's so simple.

Boil Maris Pipers until they are soft, mash and add a chunk of butter and splash of milk (I only use a splash as I like mine quite thick), add black pepper then stir in grated cheese. It's also nice adding finely diced onion which has been lightly fried first. Plonk onto a plate and enjoy this real comfort food!

This post is an entry for #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge sponsored by the Potato Council for Potato Week 7 – 13 October, celebrating Maris Piper potatoes and how we like to eat them. Learn more and find recipes at

Love your gums with Oral-B

BritMums are working with Oral B to get us thinking about gum health.
I think gums are one of those parts of our bodies that we don't really think about much, we worry about needing a filling in our tooth but not about the things that hold the tooth!

It's ironic I should come across this challenge just after posting the other day about how I'm trying to look after my mouth with coconut oil, there's lots of articles about how it can help your gums and keep plaque (which is causes by bacteria) at bay.

Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste is new and Oral-B want us to think about gum health with a 'Love your gums' campaign. I was very surprised to read that 50% of pregnant women will struggle with swollen or bleeding gums during pregnancy.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge  sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Christmas idea for kids who stop believing in Santa / Father Christmas

Christmas to me is all about the magic, be it the type of magic which gets Father Christmas around the world in one night or the type of magic which brings strangers and families together and when most people go that little bit further than normal to be friendly.

It's sad when kids no longer 'believe' or are at that stage when they know but ask their parents for confirmation. It's awkward and I've seen a letter gain popularity, it's long and very wordy, plus very American. Nothing wrong with American (nearly all the gifts I want to get my family are all on American sites) but it goes on and on about Santa being a spirit and a feeling, I think for things like this short and sweet is best. I saw someone on a forum who said she told her child there are magic believers and magic makers in the world, now as they no longer believed they were instead a maker. I've taken this idea a step further (and will be entering it into MSE Festive Fiver competition if they do it this year).

Here is my idea.....

Name- Your a magic maker.
Cost - Free

For children who no longer believe in Father Christmas, tell them that in the world there are magic believers and magic makers, they used to be a believer but now it's time for them to become a secret magic maker. Give them a little token for becoming a Maker, anything from a little badge to a shiny pebble. Then working together come up with some ideas for creating magic, it could be snowy footsteps from FC for a younger sibling to see when they wake up or doing something anonymously for a stranger. Not only does it take the sting out of no longer believing but it helps keep FC real to younger siblings and makes the older child feel really special.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Benefits of coconut oil and oil pulling experiment

Tomorrow I'm starting oil pulling, it's simply swirling oil around your mouth for a while in the morning. It claims to have all sorts of positive results, detoxing your liver and boosting your metabolism. I confess I'm very sceptic of this, hopefully I'm wrong but I'm certainly not doing it for those 'benefits'. If your interested in the claims then this website is informative

For me though I have problems with my mouth, from lots of tooth decay (thank you 10 years of daily vomiting and being housebound so not able to visit the dentist), one tooth has even broken off and only has the route, currently I have a nice big abscess above it. Aside this my mouth is frequently filled with red sores and ulcers, I've been prescribed steroids to use as a mouthwash but I'm trying to be more natural and after reading the benefits of coconut oil I've decided to give it a go.

There is a brilliant article here which explains the benefits and different ways of using it. I plan to start with a small amount as it's expensive and look for a cheaper supplier of it while still making sure it's good quality. It's meant to be great for cooking with (although high in calories), some people just eat it off the spoon (it's solid at room temperature but melts in the mouth) and my friend starts his day with a spoonful in a cup of coffee to hide the taste. I've ordered mine from Ocado, there's a few different ones which cost between £2-£4 for 100grams.

I'm sure having oil in my mouth will be weird at first but fingers crossed it helps!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Christmas hot chocolate cones - gift idea

My first Christmas idea is hot chocolate cones, they aren't expensive to make but if presented nicely make a fab gift. They can be given to friends, family and kids either as a Christmas present or a 'night before Christmas' gift (making Christmas Eve that little more special).

You need:
Cellophane cones from ebay
Hot chocolate (I use cadburys)
Candy canes or North Poles (the same as candy canes but straight)
Mini Marshmallows
Some ribbon

Take some nice hot choc and spoon it into a cellophane, I like to use around 4 tablespoons so it's just over half full, then twist the top and tape it down before cutting off any excess. Slip this into another cone (of the same size), pour on mini marshmallows (you can add some edible glitter if you have some), this is the secret to a good looking chocolate cone other wise the powder and marshmallows will mix). Twist and tie the top with ribbon. Curl the ribbon and then make a tiny cut in the middle of the ribbon at the bottom and then tare it so you end up with 2 strands of curly ribbon, much prettier than the normal way of doing it. Next you need to cellotape the candy cane to the front of the cone. Print a label with instructions of how much hot chocolate to add to milk/water. An alternative to this is adding a poem called 'snowman soup' (just google it) but I'm not keen on the poems and I prefer the cone to look simple and stylish without having paper with the poem attached.

Coming up soon on Blog Full of Hope...

I'm going to be writing quite a few entries soon on a few subjects.

The first is ideas for Christmas. I LOVE Christmas, it's October and I've already watched a Christmas film while planning gifts and coming up with ideas of things to make or buy.

The second is my quest to get healthy, now it's not as simple as cutting out sugar and going to the gym as I have various illnesses but I will be experimenting with things we can all do to improve what goes into our bodies.

The third subject is about competitions. Entering competitions is my hobby and I'm having a lucky year prize wise, people are always asking how come I win as they enter 'loads and never win anything'.

So settle down and I shall begin :)