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I tried wheelchair rugby and it was #BRUTIFUL !

January 19, 2020

The knot in my stomach tightened, my legs felt like lead, I’m so rubbish at sports. I walked up to Britannia Leisure Centre. I’ve never played rugby. I’ve never been in control of a wheelchair. What if I humiliate myself, let my team down? Nobody will want me in their team. I’ve already arrived late.

I opened the swing doors to the sports hall, sports noise blasted out at me: a referee whistle, cheers, clapping and laughter. I felt a buzz of excitement. I had arrived at the Bolt Burdon Kemp wheelchair rugby event.

A few days before, I had been thumping away at my computer, I work from home and I was feeling quite isolated. My email inbox pinged. ‘ooh a non-work email!’ an invitation

“I am emailing to check whether you may be available and would like to attend the Wheelchair Rugby event organised by Bolt Burdon Kemp… I have played wheelchair rugby before and loved every minute of it! The event is run by Wheelchair Rugby Experience who take into account different levels of abilities to ensure that wheelchair rugby can be enjoyed by everyone. It can also give a great insight into what it means to be a wheelchair user… if this is of interest to you, it would be great to see you there!”

I didn’t hesitate. “yes. Yes. Yes please !”

“Wonderful” was the reply “see you there. “

I Googled Wheelchair Rugby Experience…

The day, lead and run by Paralympians, will provide a competitive day with a focus on specific issues of trust building, decision-making, communication, leadership, honesty, problem-solving, and change management. This experience will challenge your team’s dynamics and encourage self-reflection as well as being great fun. It is shaped completely with you in mind and we will guide you through building your Wheelchair Rugby Experience.

wheelchair rugby experiene buildmumahouse
©www.wheelchairrugbyexperience.com

As soon as I arrived and I was welcomed by staff from Bolt Burdon Kemp and my nerves melted away. The event was so well organised and the atmosphere was warm and supportive. I was allocated my team colour, introduced to my team mates and we were each given a pair of gloves. Now for the safety briefing and introduction to wheelchair rugby!

Rugby wheelchairs are something out of Mad Max! Steel and structural, they are designed with a metal hoop around the base, protecting your legs and feet when in rugby ‘combat.’ The wheels and every detail have been designed to protect you and keep you upright so that you can feel safe and that you too, can smash and tackle fearlessly.

I learnt that the gloves were not just to keep my hands from blistering. They helped me grip the wheels of the wheelchair, and helped me to spin the wheels and try and go as fast as possible…and also when in a manoeuvre to tackle opponents.

Keep your arms away from the wheels or you will get friction burns!

This is how you pick the ball off the floor and this is how you ride with the ball on your lap.

Suddenly the whistle blows and we’re off! Of course I was not as rubbish as I thought I would be, of course I felt safe in the design of the wheelchair. I was having fun and doing my best to do my bit for the team. On the side lines, keeping an eye on the game and the players, whizzing over to help, advise, encourage, give tactical advice were the professionals. 

Game one was over. Everyone from both teams, wheeled around and we did high fives, shook hands “well done” gripped each other’s arms. We were all equals, we looked each other in the eye and laughed “great game.”

I wheeled over to the side line. I stood up and walked away from the wheelchair and suddenly as I went to share a joke with a team mate I felt very vulnerable. Today I could stand up and walk away, skip about and run but there were team mates that I had just played with and they couldn’t. They were busy transferring into their own wheelchairs. 

The day tournament was organised by Bolt Burdon Kemp – BBK – a firm of solicitors who specialise in a range of cases including serious injury claims. During the day I had some really insightful conversations with their solicitors and their colleagues about their work. BBK represent people who have sustained brain injury, spinal injury and they deal with medical negligence and accident claims. I began to realise how complex injury cases are in terms of the legal proceedings and how passionately they represent their clients. Each of the solicitors I spoke to had a detailed knowledge of their area of specialism, not just in terms of the law, but also the medical facts. What made me really stop and think was when they explained to me the impact on a person’s life, physically, mentally and how a family is impacted not just financially. I also spoke to a few people in our teams who had had life changing injuries. We spoke about how their lives had changed, their legal battles. I heard how one person who, experiencing the Invictus Games, had been inspired and motivated, leading them to train and become an athlete at an international level.

My Wheelchair Rugby experience totally blew me away. I met some fantastic people, we laughed, we pulled stomach muscles, I was totally outrun by team mates who were disabled and wheelchair users. I experienced how it feels when a room is not wheelchair friendly or a conversation goes on above your head. Most of all, I realised how important the support of a team is and how sport lifts us all.

A great day, we all won. 

Bolt Burdon Kemp are specialist claims solicitors covering brain injury, spinal injury, military claims, abuse claims, medical negligence and accident claims.

Make a Parkinson’s Fidget Cushion by Juliet Bawden, My Guest Blogger from creativecolour.org

December 18, 2019
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“My aunt has Parkinson’s disease, a complex condition that affects different people in different ways. The symptoms most often associated with Parkinson’s affect movement. My aunt often needs to do something with her hands and so I decided to make a Fidget and sensory cushion for her. When my children were very young I designed an activity cushion complete with buttons, laces, Velcro for them, so this is a similar idea but for an elderly person.”

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Juliet Bawden Fidget Cushion – back

I’ve invited Juliet Bawden from https://creativecolour.org/ to write about her fidget and sensory cushion, and share step-by-step instructions how she made this brilliant gift for her aunt on my blog. This fidget cushion has proved to be a simple and well designed item for her aunt, and it would be good for anyone with Parkinsons. Juliet’s Fidget Cushion can also be personalised to make a sensory cushion for reducing anxiety and agitation for someone living with Alzheimers, it can be adapted to be an activity cushion, an aid to stimulate communication between family, carers and a person living with dementia, Alzheimers or even Autism.

When Juliet was developing and then making this Fidget Cushion I would look forward to catching up with her. I learnt so much about how she was addressing her aunt’s needs with the design and how Juliet worked to improved the cushion’s functionality. I was as delighted as she was when it was finished…it proved to be a big hit not only with her aunt but with her aunts’ friends too.

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Juliet Bawden Fidget Cushion – both sides are full of interest and stimulation.

 

 

Fidget Cushion by Juliet Bawden from creativecolour.org

“This is my prototype, and as I write it is about to be road tested by my aunt. I became so excited by all the materials that I gathered together that this cushion has a back and a front to it. This maybe overkill so I suggest you only make a front to the cushion so that there is a flat surface to lay on the recipient’s lap.

My aunt’s symptoms include memory loss, so I felt that as well as giving her something to do with her hands It was important to engage all the senses. Sounds, smell, touch, sounds all help to plug in to their memories.

I read a report by someone on the internet, who makes these cushions for different clients. Her wise advice is to use textured fabrics and embellishments to occupy restless hands plus a clear pocket to add a photo, memo or reminiscence item.

The cushion is made from recycled materials so hopefully the planet, the charity shops, my bank account and my aunt will all benefit – not forgetting me, who enjoyed making it.

I bought a cushion that did up at the front with buttons. I chose garments and haberdashery made from contrasting fabrics and materials. The instructions given below are to make the Fidget Cushion shown here, however yours will be different from mine depending on what materials you can find.

You will need

Cushion with a cushion pad

Stitch ripper

Scissors

Sewing machine

Pins

Needle

Threads

 

Some or all of the below :

Shirt with pockets and placket

Garments or old cushions with applique or other decorative details

Pieces of ribbons and lace

Shiny buttons

Zip

Long silky scarf

2 x Small square silky scarves

Small furry teddy or letter or number

Lavender bag

Bells

Materials – look out for a variety of textures and colours

Instructions

These instructions are specific to the cushion I made and yours will be different depending on the bits and pieces you find.

 

 

Everything is based on this embroidered cushion with a button opening.

  • Step 1 Cut two pockets from a shirt leaving a 1 cm seam allowance so you can sew the pockets into place. Cut down the side seams of the cushion so that the front is separate from the back and you don’t inadvertently sew through two layers at once. Sew the pockets into place on the front as in the photograph.

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Cut pockets and backing off shirt

  • Step 2 Remove a zip from a dress. Insert it between two pieces of contrast cloth to make a zipped pocket. Sew this on the back of the cushion.

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    Remove the zip from a dress

  • Step 3 Remove flowers from a child’s dress and sew these onto the cushion front.

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    Remove flowers from child’s dress

  • Step 4 Cut away flat flowers from a child’s dress sew these onto the cushion back.

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    Cut away the flowers

  • Step 5 Adding a 1cm seam allowance, cut the placket from the front of the shirt and neaten. Cut 10 cm pieces of ribbon and fold in half, pin them onto the cushion front with the base of the placket on top. Sew the placket and ribbon loops onto the cushion front and popper on the other piece.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

    Neaten edge of placket

  • Step 6 Applique hearts cut from a different cushion, onto your cushion.

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    Applique hearts onto cushion cover

  • Step 7 Make a small lavender bag and sew that onto one of the pieces of ribbon and place it in a pocket. Attach other items, like the soft number 8 in our picture, by pieces of ribbon so that they can be taken out but not lost.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, www.Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for care

    Sew a lavender bag onto the ribbon

  • Step 8 We attached 2 scarves in the side seams. So that they could be knotted together or tied in a bow.

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    Attach two silken scarves

  • Step 9 Turn the cushion cover inside out and sew the side seams together catching the edges of the placket and the scarves in the seams. As the cushion has a flap turn it through this to the right side out.

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Since writing this. The fiddle or fidget cushion has been road tested by my aunt and many others in her care home and it is very popular.

 

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Juliet Bawden Fidget and Sensory Cushion

Juliet Bawden is a designer, maker, author and journalist has written over 70 craft books either exploring and making the things herself. 
Recently designing, making and writing for magazines including : Coast, Simply Sewing and Reloved as well as for the web site of both Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley. Juliet has run workshops at the Fashion and Textile Museum for Heals, King makers of Candy Crush and many others.
Juliet is also a colour consultant and explores and writes about colour and craft on her blog: Creative Colour a UK design, craft and interiors blog.

Some of the techniques and others can be found in Juliet’s latest book, read my review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An amazing spa bathroom for any age

December 2, 2019
Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse bathroom sink ageproof bathroom

I was at a location house a few weeks ago, owned by interiors stylist Catherine Woram and architectural designer Michael Bains. I was captivated how beautiful the entire house was. Every room. But it was the bathrooms that did it for me – I need one of these! Each bathroom was full of beautiful, clever details all in perfect harmony. A perfect retreat from the stresses and strains of the world, your own private spa.

small moroccan bathroom

The flat whiteness of the walls and painted floor are fresh and uplifting. The huge over mantel mirror bounces light all around and by painting the ornate frame white it looks perfect over the basins. The sense of light in this room is perfect for anyone with weakened eyesight: details are crisp and defined.

Catherine Woram has used an shabby and ornate console table as a basin stand. Its fun and its chic. Complementing the shabby paintwork and wooden top is a rustic copper basin.. and a very modern chrome u bend. It looks fantastic and this basin stand is in fact ideal for anyone who needs to pull up a stool when using the sink. Wouldn’t it be perfect if an ornate basin stand like this was wheelchair friendly too!

The basin and tap styling is Moroccan French rustic chateau meets modern, sleek chrome. These levered taps are easy to use for anyone with reduced mobility, the narrow console table/basin stand also means that you wouldn’t need to stretch forward to reach them. This is exactly what Build Mum a House is all about. You shouldn’t need to compromise the look of your home for ease of use.

TAPS AND MIXER

White floor boards, pale flat greys shades, chandeliers, copper basins. I took some photos on my phone to try and capture the magic… and then as I turned to leave the room I noticed the bathroom door lock. Absolutely beautiful, inspired, on theme AND completely up my street.

In 1970 I was 8. I got stuck in a Hayling Island beach car park toilet. As I had gone to leave, the catch on the big brass mechanism was so fiddly, the old penny dropped down inside the brass mechanism.  I was left behind in the locked cubicle. I wailed. Finally, a very kind lady heard me and put another penny in the lock. Released, I ungraciously ran out, humiliated, in tears, to join my sister who had already got back into our parents’ car!

That’s why I like a nice and easy privacy lock on a bathroom door.

It’s not about lack of mobility and everything with being a bit clumsy. I am not alone on this one. I know I’m not.

And do you know what this bathroom features as a door lock? It’s light and easy to use, large handle that is good for a weak grip and very pretty. The lock on the door is a Moroccan Aldrop and latch. No, I didn’t know they were called that either. This is a very nice decorated version of a metal sliding bolt, that you can see when you wander round the souks and admire the ancient Moorish buildings and their intricate front doors.

bathroom lock

Buildmumahouse is all about finding chic interiors that are perfect for age proof living, for aging at home, for anyone with mobility issues, young or old. This beautiful bathroom is perfect, it’s a visual feast and it addresses many practical issues. Proof that a beautiful interior can be ageproof.

If you would like to see more of my photos fof inspirational interiors then follow me and go to my Buildmumahouse Instagram account, click here  And for more well designed and easy to use bathroom locks go to my bathroom Pinterest boards at Buildmumahouse.

 

 

 

 

 

Buildmumahouse Guide: How to make curtains?

October 13, 2019
how to make curtains, sewing, craft, diy, curtains, buildmumahouse guide, jolapiesakowska, lifestyle

In 1981 my mum bought me a book, “Sewing” by Ann Ladbury, the Mary Berry of Sewing. This has been my bible of curtain making ever since and I am now sharing Ann’s brilliantly simple book with a few tips from me and my mum.

In my previous Buildmumahouse guide I explained how to measure up for curtains. Once you have all your measurements and you’ve got your fabric here’s how to make them up.

Making a curtain is simple, the only sewing skills that you need are cutting a straight line and sewing a straight line. Add to that using a steam iron: my top tip is press every seam as you go.

Now you’re ready, let’s go

What equipment do I need to make curtains?

IKEA BUILDMUMAHOUSE SEWING CURTAINS

IKEA sewing kit has most things you need to make curtains

  • Pair of long, sharp scissors for cutting fabric
  • Steam Iron
  • Long Pins
  • Tape measure or a metre long, wooden ruler
  • Loads of matching thread
  • Loads of basting thread in a contrasting colour
  • Seam unpicker
  • A big space to lay everything out

I prefer cutting and pinning out curtains on the floor, especially if you have fitted carpets (so the fabric doesn’t slip around) …but remove rugs before cutting the cloth! Otherwise find a big table to lay the curtains out.

Making Unlined Curtains

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C)Mitchell Beazley 1976        MAKING UNLINED CURTAINS STEPS 1,2,3

  1. Measure your window following instructions here and cut your fabric to size. Fold in a double hem 1.25cm down each side, press into a crisp fold and baste or pin into place. Machine stitch the edges down but hand sew velvets and satins. Measure and double fold up the bottom hem. Press and pin in place, stitch by hand or machine.
  2. For a crisp look on soft fabrics, stiffen the top of the curtains with iron- on interfacing. Cut a strip 1,25cm narrower than your top hem and don’t overlap the side hems. Iron the strip 1.25cm in from the raw or cut edge. If  you are not gathering the curtain using heading tape, turn down the raw edge 1.25 cm over it and then turn down the top hem, press with the steam iron and pin or baste in place. If you are using heading tape for the gatehring then cut the interface the same depth as the top hem and iron in place it along fabric edge.
  3. Stitch the top hem by machine. If the heading of the curtain is not to be gathered so that you can show off the fabric design  sew hooks or rings to the top edge.

Choosing the right heading tape

c) Mitchell Beazley 1976 CHOOSING A CURTAIN HEADING

I can’t better Ann Ladbury’s instructions but my top tips are

Don’t knot the loose cords at the end of the curtain use a Ruflette Cord Tidy. If you take your curtains down to dry clean them, or wash them you will need to undo the cords and flatten out the curtains. Untying the knotted cords is a real pain.

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Just remember to position the loose cords at the outside edge of each curtain.

Click here for a guide to width allowances for the different heading tapes and always double check with the sales person.

How to Make Lined Curtains

There are a lot of different weights for curtain lining, the heavy blackout lining is almost rubbery on one side and its also good with draughty windows. Because the blackout linings are bulky I always make them as a detachable lining, really handy when you take large curtains to the dry cleaners, see below. For a really simple explanation of how to make up a curtain just look through figures 1, 2, and 3. It’s all there…

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c) Mitchel Beazley 1976   Anne Ladbury Sewing   HOW TO MAKE LINED CURTAINS

John Lewis in Kingston, London is the best department store for all things curtains an lots of valuable advice, Oxford Street used to be the best place for all your curtain and it’s still ok. Recently I have swopped my allegiance for Dunelm they have a really thorough haberdashery and their collection of fabrics is small but good value for money and a good selection of Orla Keiley. IKEA do a cheap range of fabrics in their Scandinavian styles and some simple haberdashery at hard to beat prices.

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On my Pinterest page I have collected loads of fabric designs and curtains styles, click through to BuildMumahouse to look through and get inspired…

 

Mobility issues and LIDL- #LIDLSURPRISES

September 19, 2019
wheelchair-checkout-and-trolley-lidl-suprises-buildmumahouse jola piesakowska

Is Lidl the only UK supermarket that has useful stuff for the elderly, disabled and anyone with reduced mobility? Are they tackling mobility issues head on?

Today, Sunday 18th September 2016, I would definitely say YES!

lidl-suprises-wheelchair-and-trolley-at-checkout-buildmumahouse

We’re all queuing up at Lidl checkout, today.

Doing my Sunday shop today, I came across a whole range of mobility aids that are really well priced and really useful. It is fantastic to find these products on the High Street and also to find a supermarket that addresses the needs of its customers. From items that help to open a jam jar, to low mobility exercise kit, these are basic items that are hard to track down and being sold at very pocket friendly price.

 

lidl-buildmumahouse-shower-stool

lidl-shower-stool-buildmumahouse

Right in the middle of the shop – no hiding of ‘disabled items’ in a corner, Lidl’s shower stool is proudly displayed.

This Shower Stool is not great for my mum’s needs – she really does need arm rests and back support, but for a basic Shower Stool, this is definitely Lidl addressing mobility issues – yes its true, #lidlsurprises. The shower seat height is adjustable, it has non-slip feet and would allow anyone who needs a bit of support the chance to enjoy their shower, and even give their feet a good scrub without fear of falling or slipping. When I was recovering from a broken leg, this stool would have been ideal.

Arm and Leg Trainer

The next item that caught my eye was the Lidl Arm and Leg trainer. This is such a good exercise item. From a seated position you can exercise your legs or arms and help yourself keep moving.

  • 2-in-1 effective training device for targeted strengthening of arm and leg muscles
  • Can be used whilst seated
  • Built-in computer with 7 functions and large,
  • easy-to-read LCD display – shows workout duration, speed, distance and calories burnt
  • Adjustable resistance for a range of strength levels
  • Size approx. (cm): W42 x H31 x D38
  • Max. 100kg

arm-and-leg-trainer-lidl-buildmumahouse

Kitchen Aids

My favourite items are the kitchen aids. A bargain at £2.49 and so useful.

lidl-surprise-pricing

#lidlsurprises: My Top Three Lidl Kitchen Aids

Grip Impaired Power Bottle Opener

lidl-bottle-opener-buildmumahouse-lidlsurprise

Didn’t know such a thing existed but this exactly what I need to open screw top bottles of fizzy water. The Power Bottle Opener is ideal if you have a  weakened grip, the extra turning power you get from this gadget makes a huge difference. Also a must for carers.

Grip Impaired Lid Opener

lidl-lid-opener-buildmumahouse lidlsurprises

Did you know a tool like this opens vacuum-sealed jars? For years I have followed the advice of a friend’s granny and I bash the edge of the jam jar lid on my worktop marble slab until I dent it so much the vacuum seal is broken. Well, no more! I now have the Lidl Lid Opener: #lidsurprises again!

The Nail Saver: Ring-Pull Can Opener

ring-can-opener-lidl-buildmumahouse-lidlssurprises

What can I say other than no more broken nails and no more bent tea spoon handles. Yes, I bought the Lidl Ring-Pull Can Opener. I also bought one for my mum so that she doesn’t do a Yuri Geller and bend all of her spoons either.

I Didn’t Buy These but I’m Sure Someone Will:

Lidl Key Turning Aid

key-turning-aid-lidl-buildmumahouse-lidlsurprises

I bought my mum one of these from an online supplier a couple of years ago. They are great for anyone with arthritis but my mum found them too cumbersome and refused to carry it in her handbag… so when I built her house, I bought a front door lock that has proved to be easy to unlock. But I’m sure someone will find that key turning aids are perfect for their needs.

jam-jar-opener-lidsurprises-buildmumahouse

If you are a regular Lidl shopper you will recognise what’s gone on here – the item has been taken out of the box and I couldn’t find any others still boxed up.

This is a jam jar opener, its a cumbersome, ugly thing but apparently it works.

#LidlSuprises?

I love the packaging design, well thought out, clear and also witty (see how 2 boxes next to each other can make up the image). Pricing is fantastic. Usefulness spot on. It’s great to see such a wide range of simple and effective mobility aids in a local supermarket and not just in a online disabled catalogue.

Massive thumbs up to Lidl, but I do wish these kitchen aids weren’t in blue and white.

Think outside the box! You’ve go the products right. Now give us some COLOUR, Lidl, we want our kitchens and homes to look lovely and personal.

5 Easy Steps to Make Your Garden Accessible and Enjoyable

September 18, 2019
Sunny garden living #london #tooting #balham #palm #interior #inspirationoftheday #Blissful #exterior #exteriordesign #textile #pattern #foliage #leag #green buildmumahouse Jola Piesakowska garden design

“I love my garden but I don’t have time for it.” “I miss my garden but I’m too old and too ill to go out there and do any gardening.”  At Buildmumahouse I’ve found that there are 5 easy steps that you can take to make your garden, patio or balcony more accessible.

It’s really important for anyone old, weakened by illness, depressed or less able …and their carers alike… to take a break, open up their horizons and enjoy all of the benefits of focusing on the wonder of nature. Doing a bit of gardening, helping plants thrive and picking the fruits of one’s patch is so good for all of us.

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring bulbs-buildmumahouse-jola-piesakowska

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring

These are 5 simple steps to make you garden more accessible and enjoyable…

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