Who are Younique and what are they about?

Younique are a family. It’s not just about selling a product it’s about empowering women to be whoever they want to be..

Younique was started by Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft, a brother-and-sister team, in September 2012 with a mission to uplift, empower, and validate women across the globe. Derek and Melanie firmly believe that all women should feel valued, smart, and empowered through opportunities for personal growth and financial reward!

Younique founded Younique Foundation in 2014, to help bring healing to victims of childhood sexual abuse and raises awareness to prevent sexual abuse. Did you know that 1 in 4 women will be sexually abused before age 18. 60% of these women will never talk about it. 90% of these women know their abusers.

The Younique foundation owns the Haven Retreat where women survivors of childhood sexual abuse can go for FREE (you just have to pay for your travel)  and where they learn about:

Education – Understanding trauma and the impact of abuse provides a necessary foundation to apply healing tools and strategies.

Acceptance – That all women are worthy of living their best lives and all survivors deserve to be free from the pain of sexual abuse.

Community –  No one understands the healing journey as well as another survivor. The Haven is in a beautiful mountain environment where you can disconnect from day-to-day life and build a support community of other survivors.

Younique Foundation

The Younique foundation builds on survivors of sexual abuse reclaiming hope.

When you buy from me, you’re not only getting an amazing product, but you’re helping women survivors of childhood sexual abuse and as a survivor I thank you from the bottom of my heart x

http://www.facebook.com/melsbalmyarmy

http://www.melsbalmyarmy.com

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Bullying

To see me now I look like a confident 45 year old woman right? That confidence is attributed to the one person in my life that supports me and allows me to be me and above all else, makes sure that no one will ever hurt me again, my husband..

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You see I wasn’t always this happy, confident woman…. I used to be scared and bullied and allowed people to hurt and humiliate me….

My first memory of being bullied and humiliated  was not by another child, but by my teacher at primary school. As a young child I would often wet the bed, something so very common. In the United states alone between 5-7 million children wet the bed every night  Bed wetting

In our last year of primary school we were able to go on a camping trip. During this camping trip, if your tent was untidy then to let everyone else know and to shame you, a rubbish bin was put outside your tent! Because I wet the bed every night, our tent constantly had the bin outside and I was laughed at and pointed at by other children who knew no better because the teacher, an adult, was allowing them to do this. Bed wetting isn’t something to be ashamed of and children shouldn’t be made to feel humiliated by this.

In secondary school the bullying only got worse. To hide my bullying I behaved like the school joker and became so disruptive that I would get moved from my class and it worked, however I went from the frying pan into the fire. I have always been small and at the age of 12 I was still only about 4 stone. This seemed to give the bullies a free for all with me.

The bullies would either stop me getting off of the bus so I would end up the other side of town and have to walk home in the rain for 3-4 miles or they would sit next to me punching and kicking me, so I stopped getting the bus and started walking 2 1/2 miles home . The bullies however figured out my route home and jumped me on the way home kicking and punching me to the ground.

Another incident saw me cornered in the girls toilets by 6 girls telling me if I didn’t punch another girl who was one of their friends, then they would punch me… I didn’t hit the girl so instead I got punched by all the girls as they left the toilets…

For a few weeks the bullying stopped and they actually became my friends, but what I didn’t know was this was a rouse. One night, one of the bullies had arranged to come to home with me and we would meet their friend later on… I was ashamed of where I lived as I grew up with my dad who was a lot older than everyone else’s dad and we didn’t have much money so it took a lot for me to let anyone come to my home… Later on when we had met up with the friend and her boyfriend we were walking down a path laughing when out of nowhere, the one who had come home with me punched me in the head so hard, knocking me off my feet and sending me flying down a hill. They both came down the hill reigning blows on me and kicking me while I curled into a ball crying and pleading with them to stop. They eventually stopped and ran off laughing… I cried all the way home, hoping that they would not find me again…. I didn’t tell anyone and tried to get the day off school the next day pretending I was ill, but my dad made me go to school where people laughed at me because they knew what had happened.

Another incident was when a friend of mine was being bullied in the classroom at lunchtime so I stepped in to help her. The bullies then turned on me. In front of about 20 other girls who were cheering the bully on, one held me down while the bully hit me over the head  15 times with the school atlas, which in the 80’s was a huge hardback book. My friend that I had saved from being attacked, now became one of my tormentors and started cheering the bully on. Their reason for doing this is because they thought I had called them a ‘Slag’ which is what they  and their ‘friends’ told the headmistress. Rather than punish the bully for assault, because that is what it was, I was punished for being mouthy and using bad language.

Out of school I really only had one friend who was the year older than me and so I spent most of my time indoors on my own as my dad was mostly at the pub.. I did have a boyfriend who later became my ex husband from the age of 14/15, but I didn’t really open up to him about what was happening. I had no support network as I lived with my dad and didn’t have a relationship with the absent parent or my family. So I just swept it under the rug and didn’t tell anyone what was happening… I would spend hours on the CB radio making new friends because on there I could be who I wanted to be and no-one knew who ‘Mad Mel’ was unless I gave information away… I would often talk to a kind lady on there who was housebound and who tried to get me to tell my dad, school or police, but I never did because it would only make it worse…

Nights were spent crying myself to sleep because I didn’t want to be here anymore and I didn’t want to go to school again… I would tell my dad I was poorly and would say that I would tidy the house if he let me have the day off school… I missed so many days that eventually the education officer came round and I promised to go back to school… Going back to school meant more beatings, being harassed and heckled at. Having my hair pulled, being spat at on the bus, tripped over in the hallway, being slammed into the wall by girls walking past in the hallway,  who got their friends to ‘accidentally’ push into you while laughing their heads off… I had so many bruises and yet no-one ever noticed….

So when it was time to leave school I wanted to stay on and go into 6th form, but some of my tormentors did that so I left school with nothing…

I am not writing this blog entry for you to feel sorry for me, I don’t want your pity,  I want you to think twice before you say something to someone that might push them over the edge… You never know what torture someone is going through, so rather than say things to them that you might find funny, try and be nice to them! This is why I get so passionate about people being nasty to others because of the way I was treated growing up… It’s only since I have been with my husband Shane that I have truly felt able to have confidence about who I am and not allow myself to be victimised by anyone anymore.. For 38 years I allowed myself to be bullied and controlled in one way or another! Even now I still find it hard to make friends and the only person I will truly be open and honest with is my husband because so many people before him have used what I have told them against me…

Calling someone a name, just because you think it is funny, is BULLYING!

Sitting in the classroom laughing and whispering about someone else in the classroom is BULLYING!

Laughing at someone because of their sexual orientation, Gender, Race, Religion is BULLYING!

If you have children make sure they have the support and facilities to be open about what is happening to them and if your child is the bully, make sure they know that behaviour is not right! Make your children aware that bullying is wrong and what the consequences to not only them, but also their victims lives will be!

End of the ‘White Helmets’ the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team

So by now, most people would have seen the announcement from the Royal Corps of Signals regarding the disbandment of the ‘White Helmets’ the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team

“We can confirm that after 90 years entertaining and thrilling crowds with their dazzling arena displays the iconic ‘White Helmets’ the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team’s forthcoming season will be its last.
The Royal Signals has come a very long way since those formative days using motorbikes to carry messages across the battlefield and are now ‘Leaders in a Digital Age’, using cutting edge communications technology to carry out its vital work (including in Cyber capabilities) with highly trained personnel at the helm operating it.
The team, the oldest and most famous motorcycle display team in the world, has made a considerable contribution over the years to the Army’s Community Engagement activities performing spectacular feats of balance, death defying crossover rides and outstanding acrobatics to thousands of people at home and abroad. The general public will have their final chance to see the team as they tour in 2017!
Personnel employed within the team will return to their core responsibilities in the Field Army.
This decision is not financially motivated and is about modernisation.”
Announcement 

This decision has come as quite a shock especially for me as most of you know my son is one of the current team members…. So this blog entry is a post to show how proud I am, not just of my son, but also the whole of the team who become like family to each other…. 

ben

I remember the day that my son Ben had his graduation ceremony for the white helmets… I was nervous, but also very proud….

ben-pass-out

 

Then Ben jumped through the fire. My heart was in my mouth as Ben went through and burnt all his face.

 

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To this day he still has his “Tiger” stripes on his face. A sign of bravery some would say? More like stupidity lol…

 

ben-and-rob

I said before that the team are more like family and this is because they have to learnt to trust each other. They have to know that their colleagues have their back when doing these stunts. Like this stunt where the one crouching lets the ones on the floor know that a bike is coming by using his hand to signal.

Some have said that the white helmets are just a drain and they are glad it has been canned… I would love to see these people do these stunts… Its not just about riding a motorbike round a display ground. Its about connecting with the audience and showing them that the forces isn’t just about going to war. They rehearse and train for months beforehand. They are currently on training camp as I write this and their graduation for the new white helmets is April… in between shows they are training….

wh-training-3 wh-training-2 wh-training-1

I think one of the teams defining moment was being on “Through the keyhole” with Keith lemon… Years ago Anthea Turner was sitting on the edge of a truck and the scene was a motorcycle would jump of behind here.. Infact as it did it caught her hair on fire… So they used the White Helmets as a clue….

keith-lemon-white-helmetsben-and-keith-lemon

Watching my son and his team mates do these stunts can be fun, but it is also scary and heart in mouth times for me… The thing I love the most about these displays is the children in the audience and their screams of delight as the bang on the fire happens, or when a rider jumps the car

or the screams when the white helmets play chicken with each other.

If you’re in any of the below places this year, make sure you go along and watch the last year of the White Helmets:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/White-Helmets-The-Royal-Signals-Motorcycle-Display-Team

8th April – 2017 Graduation Ceremony – Blandford
22nd April – St George’s Day Festival – Lytham St Anne
29th April – 1st May – Abbey Hill Steam Rally – Yeovil
7th May – Durweston May Fair – Blandford
14th May – South Suffolk Show – Newmarket
31st May – 8th June – TT Races – Isle of Man
10th June – Families Day DMS Whittington- Lichfield
14th June – Downlands School – Blandford
15th June – Garrison Retreat Ceremony – Blandford
17th June – RSA Reunion – Blandford
18th June – RMAS Heritage Day Camberley
24th June – Armed Forces Day – TBC
8th – 9th July – Rempstone Country Fair – Leicestershire
15th July – Colchester Show – Essex
20th July – 22 Signals Regiment Families Day – Stafford
23rd July – Bikewise
11th – 12th August – Shrewsbury Flower Show – Shropshire
24th – 28th August – Great Dorset Steam Fair – Tarrant Hinton
1st – 3rd Sept – Chats worth Country Fair – Derbyshire
9th Sept – Normanton Gala – Yorkshire
16th September- Preston Military Show – Lancashire
30th September – Closing Ceremony – Blandford

Lets give the white helmets the ultimate send off and show them your support because they’re an amazing bunch of lads that have spent the past few years making other people happy with their shows…..

If you also want to show your support please do feel free to sign the petition that someone created to try and stop this decision.. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/183035

So this blog post is for you ‘White Helmets’ the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team. Thank you for 90 years of displays and lots of “oh” and “Ah” moments…

Ode to an Army wife 

​An Army Wife she wears a mask, accepts her role no questions asked. Army quarters we do our best, but boy our patience they do test. They send our soldiers far & wide, but our feelings we learn to hide. We are often lonely,scared & sad & to be honest a little mad. But when the years have all gone by, and we ask ourselves why oh why? We’ve known the answer all along, because it’s in our soldiers arms we belong x x x

Anon 

Lupus warrior

One of the biggest questions I get asked is “What is Lupus”? So this blog entry is dedicated to just that….

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In November 2000 I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by Professor Graham Hughes at  St Thomas hospital . Normally when someone gets a diagnosis like this they are upset, but I hugged him because for 14 years I’d had to deal with doctors treating me as if I was making things up, misdiagnosing me with anorexia because I had up to 20-30 mouth ulcers and I couldn’t eat and had dropped to 5 stone… They thought the ulcers were caused by me not eating rather than the other way round… They thought I was allergic to cheese, so I stopped eating cheese…They thought my headaches were caused by sinusitis and gave me 2 sinus operations… So being told I really had something wrong with me that was causing all these horrible symptoms was a relief even though most of the information gave me a prognosis of 10-15years…. 

Lupus is an autoimmune illness and in basic terms my immune system sees everything in my body as alien and that it should not be there, so rather than look after my body, during a flare my immune system goes on a rampage and attacks my body causing things such as:

Mouth ulcers
Being tired all the time
Feeling like I had the flu
Achy and painful joints
3 under 12 week miscarriages
19 week gestation stillbirth
4 live premature births at 25, 33 weeks and 2 at 36 weeks
Bells palsy at 15
Brain fog
Bad headaches

Inflammation of my gall bladder ending in an emergency cholecystectomy
livedo reticularis or as I called it corned beef legs.
Emergency admission to hospital for bleeding ending in a hysterectomy
Fluid build up around joints in my hand ending in a ganglion removal
4 Emergency admissions for esophagus pain needing morphine pain relief.

Since my diagnosis I have tried lots of medication from injecting myself every day with heparin and being on warfarin, however now my daily medication consists of Hydroxychloroquine to help my joints to not get inflamed, ADCAL calcium due to low bone density, Tramadol for pain relief  and Prednisolone steroids to suppress my immune system… The only trouble with forcing my immune system to not attack my body, is that it also cannot not fight off infections… Getting a cold for most people is fine, they can deal with it, however for me it can mean pneumonia and a hospital visit with strong antibiotics…. 

Even though I have Lupus, it doesn’t define me and I will not let it beat me… 

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Sometimes though I can be too stubborn for my own good. When I am not in a flare or crash as I call it,  I push myself to do more.. This is a catch 22 because it can then lead to a bigger crash…

Being a student nurse is hard enough without Lupus…  I still have brain fog which means it is extra hard for me to unpick essay questions or indeed to write essays or complete exams… However I am lucky that my tutors are aware of my Lupus and have taken the time to understand it and it’s effects… 

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So that’s my Lupus in a nutshell….If you or someone else you know either suspects they have Lupus or have been diagnosed with Lupus and you need someone to talk to, or even if you just want more information on how Lupus can be managed, please do email me on melaniebourner@gmail.com

For more help and information on Lupus, please click on the links below 

St Thomas hospital Lupus clinic

London lupus centre

Lupus UK sufferers

Lupus family group

Lupus warrior

More help and support associated with associated illness and conditions can be found on the links below:

APS support UK

Hughes APS support

Fibromyalgia/ME support

Hysterectomy sisters

Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths FB group

Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity

Bliss – For babies born premature or sick

Facebook – Friend or foe?

Since it’s launch in 2004 and now with over 1 billion users, facebook is seen in the homes of many people either on their laptops, desktops or mobiles. People share everything from their exercise routines, pictures showing them pouting like an orangutans bum in the local toilet or in their bedrooms trying to flog you the latest amazing make up that will make you look like 16 again. Pictures of what they’ve had for dinner both before they digested it and after, their relationship status and even their pet’s habits, but is Facebook really a friend or a foe?

In the July 2014 issue of the journal “Computers in Human Behavior” they reported the findings of the study “Social network sites, marriage well-being and divorce: Survey and state-level evidence from the United States”

The study concluded that although the it didn’t show if Facebook was directly to blame, the data presented in this study provided evidence that Facebook use was correlated with reduced marital satisfaction and divorce rates. Survey findings

A 2012 study by the University of Bergen and published in the Journal of Psychological Reports: Disability and Trauma reinforces, showed that when posting a status or getting likes, the brain reacted in the same way as someone addicted to drugs such as cocaine.

Facebook has become such an intrinsic part of our lives that now we’ve had to create laws to include cyber bullying and making it an offence for anyone to either bully or be part of the bullying of an individual on facebook and other social media sites.

So perhaps this goes some way to understanding why Facebook is so addictive to some people and so important in people’s lives.

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, we never had anything like social media and those who were not as fortunate to afford a landline, our only sources of communication was either face to face, writing letters or giving your boyfriend the local payphone number and hoping and praying that when they called, no-one would be on it.

If we argued with someone we just didn’t talk to them for a few days and then you were asked by a mutual friend why you were not talking to them. Now you’re unfriended and blocked on Facebook or if you dare unfriend someone, you’re questioned as to why you’ve done it. It’s like every action you take in life now is queried and questioned out in the open for everyone to see. Although now with the facility to unfollow someone means that I don’t have to see things they post.

So what are the type of friends you have on facebook? You have that friend where you have to think about what you’re writing because you just know they will take offence to it. This is because they have an ego the size of Australia and think everything is written about them or when you do write something they have to reply with something about them.

Or you have that one friend who never comments on anything until you get something wrong and then bam they’re there commenting…. Other types of friends are the ones who never interact with you at all and just like to be nosy at what is happening on your page, however if you have a facebook cull and remove them, they’re the first to challenge your decision.

Facebook has it’s good sides especially for someone like me who lives miles away from family and friends as it means I get to see what they are still up to. I am also a member of groups of things that interest me or where people are in the same situation as me.

So i’ll leave you with the question for you to answer, is Facebook your friend or foe?

Are you a RAKtivist?

This week I have seen lots of stories about being a RAKtivist and wondered what this was about. On their website Random Acts Of Kindness they define a RAKtivist as

RAKtivists are an extraordinary class of kind do-er’s. They truly believe that kindness can change the world and exemplify that in their day-to-day lives.

To me acts of kindness can be simple things such as saying hello to someone who walks past you, to helping someone with their shopping. Did you know that when you say hello to a random stranger in the street, you could be the only person that has spoken to them in weeks and by saying a simple hello, you are making them smile and they might not feel so alone.

I remember when I had my interview for my university place and they asked me why I wanted to be a nurse and I had flashbacks to the forums I had been on asking what things would I be asked in my interview. One of the main things they said was don’t say “Because you care or want to look after people” as this is not what they are looking for. However, when it came to the question, my response was exactly that. Why else would I want to be a nurse, it’s because I care about people and because I want to look after them. This is the same with RAK’s, it’s because you know that your one simple act could have a profound effect on someone.

Did you know that according to Age UK, over a million older people go over a month without seeing anyone. That’s like solitary confinement. Could you imagine going to bed each night wondering if tomorrow you will see someone. When I was working for BT as a 100/999 operator in my very younger days, about a third of the callers would be those who had no-one else to talk to. They knew that if they called us, that we wouldn’t put the phone down and could sometimes be on the telephone for over an hour, but I didn’t mind because to me they were like my nan and they sounded so lonely.

Whenever I go shopping on my own, because if I go with my husband he gets impatient, I will say hello to as many people as possible, or if people look lost I will try and strike up a conversation. At times I get odd looks, but hey, who cares, as long as the person i’m talking to is ok and happy then i’m happy. My husband hates it and quite often tells me that “You chat shit”. I can talk for England and I do love to talk 🙂

Of course RAK’s are not always just about the person you are doing them for. I think I would be lying if I didn’t admit that when I do a RAK, I feel awesome, is that wrong? I only think it’s wrong if your RAK is more about making you feel good and not the actual act itself. It’s like the 3 laws, if you do something for personal gain then it will come back threefold in a negative way.

So what will your first RAK be? My first RAK of 2016 is going to be delivering some hats and blankets to the local Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Poole Hospital. Over the christmas period I have knitted and crocheted Blankets and premature baby hats.

 

My reason for doing this is because my daughter was born at 25 weeks gestation weighing 1lb 9oz.

My husband and I will be going over to Poole hospital in the next few days with the hats and blankets. With the blankets the best thing to do is to put the blanket next to the mother’s skin for 24 hours and then use on the baby, that way the baby will have the mother’s smell.

So what will be your first RAK of 2016? Click HERE to find out more information about being a RAKtivist or to apply.