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Another week closer to Christmas!

I can't believe how close to Christmas we are now! Sorry that this week's blog post is a bit later than usual, I've been busy! With Christmas approaching, I need to start getting my head around Christmas shopping. The question is, do I opt for online shopping and avoid all the pushing and shoving? Or, do I take full advantage and take my wheelchair and mow people down when they start getting physical?! The wheelchair has it's uses you know! The actual 'real problem' I have when it comes to Christmas shopping is the wrapping up - it doesn't happen! My sister, after much moaning and grumbling, does it for me. It's also a problem the other way around, all the relatives wrap presents with so much care and so much selotape (even my parents are guilty of this!) that on Christmas Day, I can't even get into my presents! Everyone is done like an hour before me! So, dear family and friends, do go easy on the selotape this year as I would quite like to be able to get into my presents, there is enough suspense as it is on Christmas morning! As I said in my blog last week, this week I was going to go and meet 2 other people with Cerebral Palsy who I got into contact with through my website! And that's exactly what I did yesterday, I went to meet Laura and Josh! It was amazing to actually think that I was meeting people because of something I'd set up! It was a great day and it was actually so funny to share experiences. It was also good as Laura goes to the same university that I have a place for, so it was really helpful to hear from first hand experience what the university is like to go to when you have Cerebral Palsy and what help is available. I've also persuaded Laura to come and try athletics, so that's where we're off to tonight. Isn't it quite funny that we both have Cerebral Palsy and we're going to athletics?! Not the cinema, or Pizza Hut, or out for drinks etc., we're going to athletics, London 2012 you did an amazing job! I discovered the other day that I have a hole in my UGG boots, which is so annoying, but is unfortunately of no surprise. I have 'flat' feet (i.e. I have no foot arch), so combined with the 'Cerebral Palsy walk', or wobble as I like to call it, I go through shoes like there's no tomorrow! When I was at school, obviously I was on my feet quite a bit, I had a new pair of shoes every 4-5 weeks - just call me Imelda Marcos! I do try and limit the amount of times I wear my UGG boots to preserve them as long as possible, but for once they're a supportive shoe that's actually fashionable! For many years, I wore Pedro boots, which I'm sure you've all heard of, and if you've not heard of them, how on earth did you get away with not being even associated with them?! Now, if you're a boy, okay you'd probably not buy them out of choice, but they did at least look a tad 'normal'. However, if you're a girl and you're anything like me, they were like social death on your feet! I hated them so much, they were big and black, a bit like Doc Martin's, and would have looked quite fitting on someone like a bin man. I've seen some recently, and they do look better, however when I was at junior school, they were horrendous. I was also extremely self-conscious, I know people who do wear them and actually look pretty cool, so I guess it's just personal preference. Please don't now go to your parents, 'I'm not wearing my boots because Ellie's blog says they're horrendous'! They were very different when I was 7-8! I'll try and find you a picture. I can also remember, at the time I thought the whole physio/orthopaedic/orthotic team were seriously trying to make my life a misery. Now that I've matured (haha 'matured'!), I've only realised that they actually probably had my best interests at heart. So, seriously, just be co-operative (easier said than done, I know!), and the boots or whatever it may be in your situation, won't be forever! I'll introduce you to this week's guest blogger. Nikki Charlesworth has Cerebral Palsy and is 18-years-old and is from Nottingham. Nikki contacted me on the CP Teens UK Facebook page (, please do 'like', I do most updates on here!), and asked to be a guest blogger, so here she is, thank you Nikki!

'Hello! I’m Nikki. I’m eighteen years old, living in Nottingham and currently taking my Art Foundation Diploma in my gap year before university. As a result of being born 9 weeks premature, (I once told two friends I was nine months premature, I won’t be doing that again!) I suffer from a moderate case of Cerebral Palsy, affecting the muscle tone and balance in both of my legs. Therefore I don’t have the most graceful of strides, and appear rather like that of a toddler who has just discovered what her feet are for. It is not long before I fall head over heels with my nose touching the floor! I have returned home from a short trip to the beautiful city of Venice, and anyone who has been there will know it isn’t the most accessible of places! After many steps and bridges, steps and bridges and even more step and bridges, my feet were definitely worse for wear! I just thought I’d share a few things with you which I’ve learnt through having CP, and how my attitude has changed through the years - from the childish naivety, to the teenage anxiety and pretending-it’s-not-there, to now, finally coming to terms with it and spreading awareness. Accepting it. Cliché I know, but I may as well have a good attitude towards something I cannot control, for the simple reason that I cannot control it. Disability is diversity. By confidently going against the ‘norm’, you are raising awareness and leaving yourself open to questions. You’re truly ‘indie’ (I couldn’t resist) and hey, one of my friends even thought my walk was ‘part of my look’! It’s only ignorance and fear of the unknown. I’ve learnt not to be awkward when people ask questions, it’s a chance to educate friends, replacing ignorance with understanding. It may be the umpteenth time we’ve said it, but it’s the first time some people have ever heard it. We get used to what some people may say are ‘awkward’ conversations, but it can come as a gift when talking to others who feel they have the ‘abnormal’ status, and we can really sympathise with each other and build strong relationships on that. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope to be blogging again soon! -Nikki.'

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