In a world that is too often full of sadness, tragedy and sorrow, it is good to reflect on the kindness that happily coexists. My week has been full of kindness received, and kindness given.
Being able to write about kindness is wonderful.
Fundraising in Hugo’s memory
You may remember we were fundraising in honour of Hugo’s first birthday. Our initial aim was to help First Touch buy DVD players and headsets so parents could watch Best Beginnings’ Small Wonders films next to their baby’s incubator. Thanks to the kindness of our family and friends, we beat both our original and our increased target.
Thinking of how we could honour Hugo’s memory with the remaining funds, I was reminded of how much Martin and I enjoyed reading to our baby. We had only one children’s book of our own (Guess How Much I Love You), and there were a few books in the parents’ room, including Mr Men and picture books – we read them all so many times. So, some of the money has bought two sets each of Mr Men and Beatrix Potter books (one set of each for the intensive care and high dependency side of the neonatal unit, and the other set for the special care baby unit).
Not only does reading to your baby help calm them, research has shown that it can help aid their brain development.
JustGiving also emailed me to say that Hugo’s page was amongst the top 3 per cent in February – amazing.
CIPR Accredited Practitioner status
A couple of years ago I was proud to become an Accredited Practitioner of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Being an Accredited PR Practitioner means you are committed to professional excellence, as well as developing your skills. Unlike many professions, accreditation is not obligatory, but it is important to me because communications/PR is often perceived as a ‘fluffy’ profession. As a result, I like to demonstrate that I have worked hard for my career and skills, and that I know what I am talking about.
You gain Accredited PR Practitioner status by earning a certain amount of continuing professional development (CPD) points. The CPD year ends in February. In February 2014, I was just a few points away, with training planned to fulfil the remaining requirement. That, like so much else last year, went awry.
Losing my Accredited PR Practitioner status wasn’t important to me for most of last year, and I had mostly forgotten about it until I saw a tweet from my friend proudly proclaiming he had retained his status. I responded briefly saying I was sorry to have lost my status, and the CIPR got in touch asking me to email explaining more. They sent a swift response saying I was able to retain my status because of the special circumstances. In addition, voluntary work counts towards CPD, and everything I have done last year on my blog counted for this year, too.
Thank you, CIPR, and Paul for sending the initial tweet that sparked the conversation!
A friend offered us a pair of complimentary tickets to the famous dog show, as he was unfortunately (but fortunately for us!) unable to go. Martin and I travelled up to Birmingham yesterday, eager to make friends with lots of dogs.
Yesterday was gun dog day, and we met countless springer spaniels, retrievers, setters, and related breeds. We watched flyball, which was incredible, as well as a police dog demonstration and a gun dog display (full of naughty spaniels who wanted to steal the show).
Visiting the Guide Dogs for the Blind stand, we were invited to go through their sensory tunnel. You are blindfolded, and have to feel your way through – there are different textures on the walls and floor, and a range of sounds. Being deprived of my sight even for those few minutes was a bewildering and humbling experience. We signed up to sponsor a guide dog puppy (a beautiful black Lab called Isaac). A guide dog’s two year training period costs a staggering £28,000 and there are more than 700 people waiting for a companion to help them gain their independence. The £8 a month we’ll be paying to help Isaac train to be a guide dog is a small price to pay in comparison to what it will mean for his future new owner.
We had a lovely day. I have always been a believer in animals as therapy, but I am now in no doubt.
Present from Beth
My lovely friend Beth sent me this beautiful scarf and hanging photo frame. The butterfly in the frame matches the scarf perfectly. Beth said she saw them and thought of me. I was really touched by the kind gesture.
Clarks Shoe Laces
I have a lovely pair of burgundy brogues from Clarks. They were bought last year, and came with the standard laces. Clarks brogues are now available with a choice of standard laces, or pretty ribbon ones.
I looked on their website to try and buy some but couldn’t find them. I got in touch with Clarks on Twitter hoping to be able to buy some, and to my surprise they offered to send me some. I received a dark green and a navy pair of laces. Both are a gorgeous complement to the colour of the shoes. I put one pair of each laces on the shoes for the photo – I shall wear one or the other when I leave the house! Do you have a favourite colour? (Note to self: remember to change them over…).