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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.

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

curtains, sewing , making curtains, how to make curtains, Ann Ladbury, BUILDMUMAHOUSE BUILD MUM A HOUSE, Jola Piesakowska

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.

how to make curtains, buildmumahouse, rufflette cord tidy, lifestyle , curtains, diy

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…

sewing ann ladbury, sewing book, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, how to make curtains, lifstyle, forever home

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.

dunelm, buildmumahouse, how to make curtains, guide, lifestyle, diy

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

 

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…

Continue Reading…

Turn the lights on with a wide rocker…!

September 5, 2019

They were all the rage in the 1970’s and have proved to be spot on after your 70’s. I’m talking wide rockers, wide light switch rockers.

I installed MK Logic Plus wide rocker switches in my mum’s house and they have proved to be a delight for her to use. Easy on her arthritis…and as they are MK they have an light, smooth but positive switch action. Last year they went in at number 7  in  my Top 10 items in a forever home.

BUT I just didn’t realise how much of crush I had developed on my mum’s light switches over the last year…

…until my son moved into a 1970’s built flat.

I went all swoonie over his light switches. Super wide rockers, the type that you can switch on with the palm of your hand, almost as big as a polaroid picture. Needless to say I went home and by midnight had located them on Ebay.

 

Tenby Clipper switches as found on Ebay

Tenby Clipper wide rockers as seen on Ebay

They’re big, bright and easy to use and the rocker has a nice tactile texture on the surface….great when you’re trying to find the light switch in the dark.

Then the text arrived that changed all of that.

Sleek and Chic JUNG Switch Classic LS 990

jung, buildmumahouse, light switches

C) Jung Maanufaktur

My son did a bit of a dig around and found these: Jung wider rocker switches, sleek, tactile and in a massive range of colours.

Jung wide rocker

He’s using primary colours in his new flat and has chosen these Le Corbusier colour palette JUNG – totally unique.

The light switch is called the JUNG Switch Classic LS 990 and it comes in the 63 original Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier. I’m going to have to do a separate post on Corbusier colours so watch this space, but in the meantime what is so special about his colour system is that each of the 63 colours that JUNG Classic LS 990 switches come in can be combined with any other in Corbusier’s colour system.

JUNG Switch Classic LS 990 Corbusier Colours

This is so fantastic for anyone at any age – it opens up so many design possibilities and a lot of fun as Corbusier JUNG light switches also match the KEIM colour palette. KEIM paints are totally natural, water-borne, liquid silicate paints with an extremely durable, colourfast, sustainable protective finish environmentally friendly and formulated to ensure a longlife, colourfast, protective finish with low maintenance.

Keim colour palettes, colour, buildmumahouse, paint, corbusier

Keim colour palettes

Lightness coefficients: When colour provides safe navigation.

When it comes to accessibility, the colour concept should also take into account that some people may have restricted vision and perception of colour. By using high-contrast colours of different saturation and lightness levels may help to improve navigation and perception of space.

According to the DIN 32975 Standard for “designing of visual information in the public area for accessible use”, particular contrast values have to be taken into account. To calculate them and to select the desired colour combination, the lightness coefficients of the respective shades are required.

This means that you can pick a light switch colour that will give you a visual contrast between switch and background making navigation within the room easier: perfect for making your home ageproof or providing accessibility but fitting in with your personal style.

But what I love about these switches is that they feel like a quality product when you use them, the screws are obscured and you have a  functional object that looks sleek and chic. The finish is a matt because these switches have been handpainted using a special process. No need to compromise on your style just so that you can build your age proof home.

JUNG Switch Classic LS 990 in Orange Clair 32081, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, corbusier, light switch, big rocker

Find more Corbusier colours and JUNG switches on Buildmumahouse Pinterest. Installation of Jung switches is a bit baffling as there are visible no screws, visit my YouTube channel for instructions  https://youtu.be/QTf2ePYa4X0.

The right LED can change your life!

August 14, 2019
jola piesakowska pot luck restaurant cape town led lighting buildmumahouse Build Mum A House

Do you find that you can’t see as well at home in the evening? Do you need to ask for help to change light bulbs? Would you like to make savings on your electricity bills? Would you like create mood lighting in your home?

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 23.11.03

LED bulbs may be the answer! I think that the right LED can change your life. There’s been a lot of change in light bulb technology and loads more choice in the shops since ordinary light bulbs started to be phased out. That’s why it can be tough getting a clear idea of what LED bulb to buy.

Long Life

For me LED bulbs were a no brainer. My mum can’t reach her ceiling light bulbs and the thought of her being stuck in the dark while I raced over to change a light bulb meant that I was delighted to buy bulbs that can have 25,000 even 50,000 hours of life. These new LED bulbs have a long life but always check the pack for life span – look at the amount of hours not days, after all you don’t know how many hours consitutes a day for some manufacturers! It seems that there isn’t an official standard for LED bulbs and reliability does vary between manufacturers

Energy Saving

Elderly people living on a budget could be tempted to skimp on how many lights they have on at home to make savings on the electricity bills. A combination of low light and poor eyesight means that tripping can become a real hazard. The good news is that LED bulbs use 90% less energy than a traditional light bulb (incadescent)… so you can make a saving on your bills as well as lighting your home well. Look out for bulbs that have gills on them – LED lights are cool to the touch and need to be kept cool. That’s exactly what those gills are doing: allowing the heat to dissipate.

Choosing the right bulb power can be confusing – I made up a chart that helps me decide which bulb to buy:

buildmumahouse jola piesakowska led lights lumens

This applies to UK power supplies

Next question… I’ve seen it on the pack. What on earth is Lumens? I found the chart below on a fact sheet produced by the Electrical Contractor’s Association website and it explains that lumens measures the amount of light radiated by the bulb. There is a further measurement and that is lux – but it’s not often a bit of information that is printed on a bulb box.

Build Mum A House Buildmumahouse

Quality of Light

When I was building my mum’s house she only had a few ‘must’ s and having a bright kitchen was vital for her. She was adamant that only a florescent tube would deliver enough light. However the plans had an open plan kitchen / living area. Florescent tubes are are white and bright and light up all the area around it, not so good if you want to create mood areas. LED lights have been fantastic, they give a directional light. I found that I was able to choose not only the angle of the beam but also the colour of light that is given off

  • daylight bulbs for the kitchen area
  • warm light for the sitting and relaxing area.

source: www.eca.co.uk

source: www.eca.co.uk

and finally there is the question of CRI I found this chart on the Philips website and it explains it quite simply that you should look for a CRI of 80-90:

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 22.55.50

Yes, its confusing and you need to shop carefully… but these are expensive bulbs, they should last a long time and they can make a difference to your quality of light in your home.

TOP TIPS to help you choose the right LED bulb

  • Check for lifespan for estimated in hours not years/days.
  • Look for a well built bulb case with gills on it to keep the bulb cool and last longer.
  • Check out the angle of the light bulb – LEDs are directional so pick a wide angle for a good spread and narrow angle for highlighting.
  • Daylight colour bulbs are good for hobby areas or food prep areas. Warm lights are great for a relaxing area and are closer to the look of traditional bulbs.
  • For hobby areas where accurate colour can help the definition of what you are working on, look for a bulb that has a CRI of 80 to 90

I’m looking at mood lighting on my Instagram account Buildmumahouse and would love to hear from you if you who have any experiences or advice to share of setting up mood and task areas in your home