Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Background

***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

We are starting this journal to record our attempts to keep the world from ending.

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We are down to three known havens; Rivendell and The Shire in the Atlantic Ocean and Moria in the Mediterranean. Whether the others are still going, we have no idea. The same with major cities; cities far away from the havens have fallen off our grid. We don’t know what’s happened to them. We are failing.

The supplies aren’t keeping the plague away like they used to. What’s more, they’re running out; as fast as we build supply centres, they are destroyed. The Hollow Men are ravaging the mainland, but we must still fight on.

Five of us are charged with leading in these final days. Not because we are able to lead but because we are willing. I am Ama Frey. Rivendell is my home haven, and my skill is moving people around so they are where they need to be. Jasmine is also from Rivendell. No-one knows her surname, and she always covers her face, though no-one knows exactly why. There are rumours that she grew up inland and escaped the Hollow Men. Her knowledge of the mainland means she can transfer supplies more easily; every little helps when the world is on its knees.

Thomas ‘Toad’ Clearwater and Mohawk Toby are from Moria and knew each other before the plague. Toad was a farmer in his previous life, so he can make and deliver supplies quickly. Mohawk Toby was a labourer working with Toad; he is good with his hands and keeps building our supply centres so we can keep resources flowing to the havens. Lastly, Rock Theren is ex-military; he co-ordinates our efforts to keep supply lines open and supply centres intact.

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Together we will try to save the world. We know we can’t save all the cities, but we will do what we can to save most of them. If we fail, we hope that someone, somewhere, finds these notes to know that we may not have succeeded but we tried.

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Taking the kids swimming… And conquering my own fears!

Originally written as a blog post for AquaTots:

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I grew up in a single parent household with my mum and my brother; she cannot swim, and was scared to take me and my brother in case anything happened to us, as she did not feel confident in the water.

I had swimming lessons for a term in Year 4, but most of my class could not swim, so I didn’t actually learn anything then! Fast forward a few years to starting secondary school; we had weekly swimming lessons in Years 7 and 8, and in the first lesson, we were pretty much told to jump in the pool and get to the other side – as a non-swimmer, this was my idea of hell! I did it, but it really knocked my confidence. By the end of the first term, I could swim front and back, and jump in off the diving board, as we had to do, but I never enjoyed swimming due to the constant fear, and I HATED putting my head under the water

Even as an adult, this has stuck with me, and I have never put my head under the water since school, just paddled, but I was also adamant that my kids would not grow up with the same fear I had. When I watched my husband and brother-in-law on family holidays jump in, dive and splash around, I knew that’s what I wanted for my kids, not the absolute fear that me, my brother and my mum all share (I will say that I absolutely do not blame my mum! She is terrified of the water still, and I do understand why!)

I was adamant that my own kids would not share my fears, so we started swimming lessons when the eldest was just two weeks old, and at six months we switched to AquaTots as their system was much more progressive. My husband swam with Thomas each week, and I watched both of them enjoy the experience and learn so much together.

When Thomas was 16 months old, along came Katherine, and we wanted her to have a similar experience, so she enrolled in AquaTots at three months old. This time, Paul was insistent that I swim with her, so that I could experience the same bonding experience that he did with Thomas. I was apprehensive, but wanted to give it a go!

From the start, you are introduced to exercises gradually, and build on previous lessons and experiences. Even in Duckling course, you are taught how to release your child safely under the water, and there is absolutely no pressure to go underwater if you do not want to, but if my three-month-old can be submerged independently, then why can’t I?! So I finally bit the bullet and went under with her… And I can honestly say that it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared!

I have now gained the confidence to push off the wall underwater with Katherine and push her towards Sam, and regularly go under with her for the turning exercises. I am looking forward to learning even more skills with my daughter, and thanks to AquaTots for being the push to increase my confidence!^7F06220BEC16F15C695480B9D1DE69CC7AFA28EC368912B828^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

Being A Cloth Bum Mum

Originally written as a blog post for Baba+Boo

I’ll be honest, reusable nappies weren’t high on our list of things we would do when we had a baby; in fact, they weren’t even on our list. When Thomas was born, a friend bought us a set of cloth wipes and a Doctor Who nappy [we are huge Doctor Who fans, and even have a full-size pet dalek called Delilah at home!], and I genuinely thought ‘what are these?’ But after several months of badgering (thanks, Pip!) we loaned a nappy kit from my local nappy library and things spiralled from there…

Perhaps we were lucky, but we never had any issues, even when starting out. The kit was straightforward to use, and we soon learnt which nappies we did and didn’t like. Hook-and-loop was a no-no as Thomas could undo them, we found pockets easier to customise in terms of absorption, and who doesn’t love a pretty pattern?! As time progressed we needed to make changes to our stash – extra bamboo when Thomas started flood weeing, two parters for night-time, along with extra hemp – but nothing a little experimentation couldn’t solve.

Thomas was in cloth full time from the age of four months until he potty trained at 2.5 years. As his younger sister, made an appearance when he was sixteen months old, that also meant a year with two in cloth; a lot of people have asked how we managed to cloth two at once, but it honestly made no difference having two children to having one, we just had to do a nappy wash more frequently. Katherine is now 17 months old and has never had a disposable nappy or wipe used on her. During our cloth bum journey we have travelled abroad, stayed in hotels and stayed in chalets with no washing facilities, but still managed to use reusable nappies the whole time; our philosophy is that if you want to, you will find a way. Plus, I’m too tight to buy disposables when I already have reusables to hand!

At the start of our cloth journey, I’ll be honest, my main motivation was to save a little money; by the time Thomas was ten months old, the cost of the reusable nappies we had bought had balanced out what we would have spent on disposable nappies over the same time period. But as time went on, I realised the environmental benefits of reusable nappies, and reusable items in general, and have since used reusable breast pads while breastfeeding, currently use CSP, and am venturing into reusable toilet roll (no different to using cloth wipes on a baby, and saves us a fortune) We have never run out of nappies, and never had nappy rash. The hardest aspect of reusable nappies for us was learning to fit them correctly, as they do fit differently to a disposable; once mastered though, you never forget. Oh, and toilet training Thomas was a little challenging as he wanted to wear his superhero nappies, but once I’d hidden them away, he was fine with switching to pants!

And so to the present day… Having taken advantage of a free loan of reusable nappies from my local nappy library to get me started, I wanted to give something back through volunteering. Through the WHNAS, I have loaned nappy kits to dozens of local families and supported them in their own cloth journeys I have done demos to local groups as well as individual consultations as well as spreading the word about the work done by an unsung network of volunteers across the country. We are available at all times for advice and support, and we do this around our own families and jobs. If I can give just one piece of advice to anyone considering reusable nappies, it would be this; use your local nappy library and take advantage of the wealth of experience the volunteers have to offer.DSC_0162

MacMillan Cancer Support – World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

***TRIGGER WARNING – SENSITIVE TOPIC – CANCER***

Friday 29th September 2017 is MacMillan’s Cancer Support World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, so I will be baking a lot of cakes this week to support this fantastic cause.

I have two reasons for this:
Firstly, I like baking, and any excuse is fine by me.
Secondly, and to me, more importantly, this is a cause close to my heart. I have recently lost a member of my close family to cancer and have other friends and family who are still battling or have been fortunate enough to win their fight.

Everyone knows someone who is or has been affected by this deadly disease. 1 in 3 of us will suffer during our lifetime, and as the population ages that number will increase. Consider your own immediate family and work out the odds: for me, this means that at least one out of me, my husband and my two children will contract cancer. If we are extremely lucky, none of us will, but that just means that another family somewhere will get more than their fair share to deal with.

There are more than 100 different types of cancer, so diagnosis, treatment and prevention is an uphill struggle. Whereas all cancers are basically caused by body cells dividing indiscriminately, and it is at heart a genetic disease, environmental factors, such as lifestyle choices, can make a huge impact on certain types of cancer. The more scientists find out about the causes of cancer, the more questions it raises.

MacMillan Cancer Support provide medical, emotional, practical and financial support, as well as campaigning for better cancer care. And because cancer affects more than just those facing it, they offer support for friends and family too. If you want to find out more about how you can participate, you can do so here: https://coffee.macmillan.org.uk/

You can get involved as much or as little as you want to: from hosting your own coffee morning for friends, colleagues or family, to making or buying cakes to take along to an event; donating the spare change in the bottom of your bag (everyone has some!) to volunteering on a regular basis. Everyone really can do something, and for me, that’s baking. Please do what you can do.

[Photo is of a gingerbread AT-AT made at Christmas. It’s designed to have fallen like that, honest!]

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Introducing Team Mills!

I have been considering setting up a blog for a while now, and finally bitten the bullet, so here it is. While I don’t consider us as a family as particularly fascinating, we do have some interests and hobbies that some might consider unusual, and this is our opportunity to share them with you!

We are a family of four; well, four humans at least, plus a dog, cat (sometimes two) and a dalek (more about her in a later post) and our main interests are board games, Doctor Who, and I personally love reusable nappies and baking. An odd combination, I know! We like pretty much anything geeky, to be honest, and we have started the kids young in the ways of the force.

Mr Mills works in IT; I still don’t know exactly what he does after 9 years together, but he can fix my laptop if it goes wonky, so that’s all I need to know! I’m an ex-teacher, now childminder, and I genuinely love working with kids. Bear is a typical toddler who doesn’t stop talking… EVER and Hoglet is a diva with a temper and a smile that will melt your heart.

We will use this as a platform to share our love of sci-fi, reviews of board games, cloth nappies and toys, pictures of baked goods and ramblings about our life in general

Happy reading!

[Photo credit: Helter Skelter Photography]