Childreach and Cabana Competiton

 We recently spent a fabulous day at the CopaCABANA beach on London’s Southbank, and were introduced to the wonderful charity Childreach International. Having been exposed to a lot of child poverty when I was in Asia in my twenties, boots on the ground charities are very close to my heart.

Childreach International’s mission is simple

“To restore child-rights and empower children to create positive change through community based solutions, ensuring children have improved access to education, protection and healthcare. We will work in communities to develop and demonstrate best practice, engaging and collaborating with key players to take our work beyond the boundaries of our organisation.”

Watch this 47 second video for more details

Exclusive giveaway to win a VIP Family meal at Cabana Brasilian Barbecue

“Cabana is the UK’s hottest grill from Brasil! Flame-grilled skewers cooked fresh to order, with street food, cocktails and interiors inspired by the beaches, streets and markets of modern Brasil.” 

Cabana Brasil support the work that Childreach International does in Brazil. They are kindly giving one lucky Mummy Tries reader the chance to win a VIP meal experience at one of their eleven restaurants nationwide. Mum and dad will be welcomed with a round of caipirinhas, the iconic cocktail of Brasil, before the whole family enjoy the full Cabana experience. Expect classic street food dishes, flame-grilled barbecue skewers, tempting desserts and more.

Simply enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! 

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Competition terms
– UK entrants only
– meal experience is for up to four people
– no cash equivalent given
– winner will be notified by email
– best of luck 🙂 

This competition has been listed on the following sites: U Me and The Kids, Super Lucky, The Prize Finder and Competition Database 

I’m in danger of turning into one of ‘those mums’. Actually, who am I kidding? I already am one. I make comments that other people don’t even think, let alone say out loud. I openly talk about my failings as a parent, and fears for the future. I’m not afraid to make bold decisions if it will enhance my family’s lives. Ultimately all I want is for my children to grow up happy.  

I think it’s largely because of the way I grew up. Dysfunctionally without a doubt, but lets not beat around the bush here, I was also abused in all directions. Sexually. Emotionally. Physically. The damage my childhood had on my mental health as a young adult was monumental. I partied hard, and drank far too much. I got myself into a lot of trouble, and very almost crossed the line to the point of no return.

CSE007_Facebook3Turning it all around

I made a conscious decision one day to turn my life around, and with the enduring support of my then boyfriend (now husband) and great friends, I was able to break the cycle of negativity. I had the strength to disassociate myself from toxic influences, and stop myself from repeating behaviour that had previously caused me so many problems. I even went on to write a book about my experiences, which remains one of my greatest achievements to date.

I have often wondered how different life would have been had I not met the incredible people I did on my journey. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m pretty sure it would have had disastrous consequences. This is what life is like for plenty of young people across the country.

Children who’ve emerged into adulthood full of demons from the things they’ve seen and had to do just to survive. Not a friend in sight to help them on their way. Thankfully charities like The Children’s Society exist to help these people rebuild their lives.

The Children’s Society need your help!

In less than one week (13 June), MPs will debate the protections available to 16 and 17 year olds being sexually exploited like Eva, Chloe and Jemma. Please take action to support the high-profile Seriously Awkward campaign, which has reached approximately 75m people in the media with over 400 items of news coverage and influence this crucial debate for young people being down by the law.

Please tweet your MP (right now) by clicking on the box above or using this simple form, and ask them to be there to back the changes needed.

The first time the bill was debated in Parliament earlier in the year, a record number of campaigners asked their MP to be there. Despite being only a few lines in this enormous bill, it became the most talked about the campaign at the debate.

You may not think so, but one tweet can have an impact, and will make a huge difference at this vital stage of the campaign

Thanks in advance for your support! Should you wish to learn more about the work The Children’s Society do, please head over to their website. I also found the video below really useful, do check it out if you have a couple of minutes to spare.

 

We Need to Protect Our Teenagers from ExploitationTo say that I grew up chaotically would be an understatement, dysfunctional is a better way of describing my childhood.

I was abused by my babysitter when I was 8 years old. We moved house lots, which meant always being the ‘new girl’ at school, which made me vulnerable to bullies. My step-father’s on/off presence created much confusion. As did the lies, such as being told that he was my biological father only to later discover that he wasn’t. The list could go on.

A tough start in life

When I was 15 I attempted suicide. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t want to actually kill myself, but I desperately needed someone, anyone, to listen to my cry for help. A week or so later, as I was getting ready to go back to school, I had an argument with my step-father and he punched me in the face. It was something new, for as mean as he could be with his words, he never usually hit me. With the blood still drying on my white shirt I remember thinking that he’d handed me an opportunity to get the hell out of dodge. I gave my mother an ultimatum no parent wants to hear from their teenage child.

“Drive me to London and still have a daughter, or I’ll go anyway.”

It’s ironic really that I haven’t spoken to her for longer than a decade, but that’s a whole other story. On that day, she dutifully drove me to her sister’s tiny two bed flat, which was where my adulthood started. Sleeping on the floor between my three cousins’ cot and bunk beds. Not being legally able to work, I did cash in hand jobs, where men three times my age would get me drunk and try to have sex with me in grimy pub toilets.

The next ten years that followed were lived with my finger firmly attached to the self-destruct button. I drank too much, partied too hard, and bumped uglies with people that I am ashamed to admit to. I suffered countless bouts of depression, and had two full on mental breakdowns. I was taken advantage of many times and in many ways, and that was WITH a roof over my head. What would have happened to me had I not had floors to sleep on?

What happens to the thousands of children who don’t have any options, and fall through the cracks?

As the law currently stands, police are unable to step in and protect older teenagers from sexual exploitation in the same way that they can protect children under 16. By making a few amendments to the Bill, the Government can change this. On 13 April The Children’s Society are holding an event in Parliament where child sexual exploitation project workers and young people from their Seriously Awkward team can speak directly to MPs about why 16 and 17 year olds are at particular risk of exploitation.

Please help The Children’s Society by asking your local MP to attend this crucial event. Simply complete this form, which should take less than 30 seconds, so that your MP can speak to the experts. The Children’s Society want 16 and 17 year olds who are being sexually exploited to be protected from harm, get the help they need, and the justice they deserve. Please ask your MP to stand up for these vulnerable children.

For more information about the Seriously Awkward campaign, please visit The Children’s Society

#SheHelpedWhen Canesten invited me to take part in their #SheHelped campaign, and share a personal story about an amazing woman from my life, I didn’t hesitate to get involved. One lady will always shine through the rest, the brightest star in the sky.

My Grandma

To say that she was incredible would be an understatement. When my Grandfather was killed in an horrific car accident while they were living in the States, my Grandma – who was six months pregnant with their sixth child – came back to the UK to raise her family alone. She was ousted by her in-laws, because in their bitter grief they blamed her for ‘making him go to America’. She worked full time to ensure there was always a roof overhead, and food on the table.

Although there were thirteen grandchildren, I know that she had a soft spot for me, and we shared a very special bond. When things were rough at home, I’d pack a little bag and say I was ‘running away to Grandma’s’. I used to sleep over at her house regularly, and she would spoil me rotten with her amazing food and warm affections. Over time my memories have become blurry, but I clearly remember her cooking. She used to make soul-warming chicken soup that could disappear a cough or sniffle after one mouthful. Her desserts were divine, and there was always plenty of peanut butter in the cupboard because she knew the grandchildren loved it on toast.

Over the years many people have asked me how I managed to end up so ‘normal’ after my severely dysfunctional start in life. I have no doubt that it was because of my Grandma’s influence.

One day when I was seven or eight years old we were at her house and my step-father pulled up outside in his car. My mother went out to see him, cue lots of shouting and crying. Then she came back inside and made me go out to the street to say goodbye because ‘daddy was going to kill himself’. He had a shot gun in the passenger seat and was absolutely paralytic drunk. He didn’t go through with it, and it was my Grandma who picked up all the pieces as she usually did back then.

During my childhood, down was up and right was left, but my Grandma was my stability. Unfortunately cancer took her away from me when I was eleven. I’ve often wondered if my life would have turned out differently had she stuck around for longer. What I do know for sure, is that my early years were enriched by her presence. I was lucky to have her, even if she did leave too soon.

Share your own story of being inspired by an amazing woman for your chance to win a £75 John Lewis Gift Voucher! 

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**Disclaimer: this post has been supported by Canesten, but all thoughts are my own. Click here for my full disclosure policy.**

“Canesten are helping women around the world, providing education and solutions for their intimate health. We are helping those women who are less fortunate than most of us. That is why we wanted to support, in any way we could, refugee women affected by the Middle East crisis who are living in sub-standard conditions in camps and settlements in various countries. So we offered a substantial donation of Canesten thrush products (around £320,000 worth) to International Health Partners, Europe’s largest charity coordinator that organises the safe and responsible donation of medical products and supplies to developing countries.” 

Listing this giveaway on: The Prize Finder, Super Lucky Me and U, Me & The Kids Blog Competition Linky

The Children’s Society need your help! They are asking us all to urge our local MP to stand up for 16 and 17 year olds in Parliament. I’ve already contacted mine, will you contact yours? 

Karen Bradley MP 2.jpg
The Government have introduced the Policing and Crime bill to Parliament. This Bill provides a crucial opportunity for them to make important changes to how 16 and 17 year olds are supported and protected.
 
Please let your MP know about our key asks and request they attend the Second Reading debate. Their attendance will help to highlight the issues faced by this group of highly vulnerable young people and show Government what a vitally important issue it is. 
 
Please fill in your details here and ask your MP to speak up for exploited 16 and 17 year olds. It took me 28 seconds to complete the form, surely you can spare less than half a minute for this worthy cause?