Thursday, 18 July 2013

Inspirational women

A little while ago I came across an article written by Steve Biddulph an Adjunct Professor of Psychology and author of 'Raising Girls' and 'Raising Boys'.  I have to admit to not having read the whole 'Raising Girls' book but the messages that he writes about in this particular article struck a chord with me.  He talks about the ages of ten to fourteen as being the time when girls most develop who they are and what they think and believe in. (Maybe this isn't too much of a surprise.) He then goes on to talk about the importance of other female adults in the lives of girls - adults that are not clones of us as parents.

"...they also need to meet eccentric, interesting, different and original kinds of women. Of all ages. Women who do stuff that breaks the boundaries - explore, create, innovate, fight for what they believe in, women of every size shape and kind. That way your daughter can borrow and steal all the great aspects of being a woman that she wants from a wide and wonderful palette. She needs real or surrogate aunties, people who stick around, tell her home truths, talk about topics we would blanche to even mention, but she needs to know about"
(full article HERE)

Now isn't that good advice...?

I set about thinking about the females in my daughter's life, and I have a mental list of lots of amazing women that I want to chat to her about.

I don't think we talk enough about the women close to us as we just take it for granted that they are who they are. We might point out the odd inspirational figure from celebrity land, but when was the last time that we had a real discussion about someone that we know?

I know plenty of amazing women. In fact, I bet I could find something eccentric interesting, different and original in almost each and every one!

Some women however can top the interesting and different category and can blow me away by their buzz for life..

Let me tell you about two friends of mine; Let's start with Vicki...

Vicki has a story - a story that she copes with daily. At the age of 19 she was incorrectly diagnosed with bone cancer and this resulted in the unnecessary amputation of her leg. It's shocking...
Yet this incredible woman is as resilient as is possible.  She manages a full house of three children and a husband who is often away with his work and on top of this runs her own successful business.
Wait...on top of all that she constantly thinks of others.

I could break your heart with tales of some of the challenges that Vicki has faced yet she always finds time to do something that puts a smile on your face.

Now let me tell you about Lisa...

Lisa moved from England to Australia at the start of 2011 - right into the catastrophe that was the Brisbane floods! Shortly after the family arrived, her then 2 year old son Charlie was diagnosed with leukaemia...

Charlie and his family have been catapulted into a constant routine of hospital visits and treatments. Life has well and truly been turned upside down! There have obviously been horrid times, but Lisa has the most beautiful positive attitude and is making the most of all opportunities that Australia is offering. However, Charlie's treatment has prevented the family from being able to visit 'home'.

So in steps Vicki....

When the three year leukaemia treatment comes to an end, Lisa is planning to take her family back to visit England and Vicki has decided to fund raise so that Charlie can look forward to a big treat.

In Vicki's words -

I have decided to put my newest (mad) hobby of open water swimming to good use and raise money for him. I will be jumping into Salford Keys on Saturday 20th July. 
Any sponsorship would be very gratefully received!!

I am so happy that my ten year old knows women like Vicki and Lisa. 

Women who despite the obvious demands and difficulties that life has thrown at them
 will see the best side of a situation and rise to meet a challenge. 

I would love it if you could find something to support Vicki and Lisa and let them know that they are great!

Vicky's fundraising page is HERE
She also has a blog called 'Carry on Cancer' HERE

Lisa also has a blog HERE 

Thank you, diolch

Thursday, 11 July 2013

When a bit of home comes to Australia

You know that feeling that you get when life is happening at full speed and you have a hundred and one things that you would love to sit down and blog about but your days just merge into one and the moment seems to get lost?

So much has been going on around here - good stuff.

Stuff that I so wanted to record on this blog but time slipped by.  So I am going to indulge and go backwards. Spend a little time capturing a few of those moments that have been making my memories...

I went to Sydney last weekend.... and so did thousands of others!

I went to watch the third and final test of the British and Irish Lions v Australia. I was fortunate enough to watch the first test in Brisbane and it was great being part of the atmosphere that a Lions tour brings.

Being Welsh I was brought up watching rugby. I was a child in the glory years of the 70's when Welsh rugby was at its best. Seeing as the British and Irish Lions only play in Australia every 12 years it was no surprise that I was keen to watch them.

We even had the chance to go and watch some players train one afternoon and Sibs got to meet some of them. 

She was keen to share her knowledge of who's who in the team.

A good friend of mine is a primary school teacher in a small school in Wales and her year 5 class have been following the Lions tour and learning about Australia at the same time. We got one of the Welsh players to pose for a photo with a personal message to the class. They were thrilled (understatement!). A few days later we arranged a Skype call with them and the children were so excited. It was lovely to be a part of it. There we were on a Monday evening chatting in Welsh to a classroom on the other side of the world - magic!

thank you Alex Cuthbert

It was a bit last minute, but some tickets became available for the final test in Sydney and in a very unlike me manner I decided to grab the opportunity and go.

If I though the Brisbane match was amazing, Sydney was something else - it was really special being a part of it.

Walking along George Street in Sydney on Saturday afternoon was incredible. It was full of the most glorious of Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh accents. There was even singing on the train on the way to the stadium courtesy of some Irish lads. Everyone wanted to chat, everyone had a story to share about their adventures following the rugby.

It was reported that there were around twenty five to thirty thousand British and Irish fans inside the stadium with many thousands without tickets  outside soaking up the atmosphere. Even though the Lions fans were probably outnumbered 3 to 1 they easily produced the most noise. I have never heard anything like it in a rugby game.

There are plenty of reports about the rugby game but here's a story that I want to share...

I'm sitting in my seat about half an hour before the game starts just enjoying the people watching. I'm surrounded by Australian Wallabies supporters all decked out in yellow and there is one empty seat to my side waiting to be filled. Next minute a red jersey appears and makes his way to the empty spot.

I have a red scarf on and he immediately strikes up a conversation along the lines of "Where are you from then?"
We exchange the safe "I live in Brisbane but I'm from Wales" chit chat and it turns out he lives in Singapore and is also from Wales...
"Which part of Wales....?"
We establish that we originate not too far away from each other and then it gets interesting.

(You can see where this is going...?)

He tells me where his family farm is and I tell him that I have really good friends who farm in the same place and we quickly come to realise that he is the first cousin of some very close friends of mine. So close that we both had received messages that day from the same person commenting on the rugby game that we were now sitting next to each other watching!

Oh my goodness...out of 83,702 I was sitting next to someone that I had a connection with.

We took the obligatory phone photo and it was sent across the world to share.

Even though I am thousands of miles away from home, every now and again I don't feel too far away...

Congratulations to the British and Irish Lions team and supporters for a great tour with a special 
llongyfarchiadau i'r bois o Gymru!