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Happy New Year! ... 2014!

Well, Happy New Year everyone, I can't actually quite get my head around the fact that it's 2014 - I'm still mentally in like 2010! I'd like to start off by thanking everyone for the support shown in 2013 when I set up CP Teens UK. When I told my friend Jared my idea, I was so unsure to whether or not it would work and 'take off'. Firstly, I'd like to thank Jared for believing in my idea and providing me with a website and domain etc. through his brother's company - without Jared I probably would have spent hours, days, weeks and probably even months sorting a suitable website out, so from me and all my followers, thank you so much Jared! I would then like to thank every single one of my followers from Facebook, to Twitter, to the staggering number of hits I am getting everyday on the website. It is amazing to think that I only started this in September 2013, and in the first 4 months, I have 110 'likes' on Facebook, 323 followers on Twitter, and the hits everyday on the site! Thank you to all of you, setting up CP Teens UK was a definite highlight of my 2013 because of all of you and I hope that CP Teens UK can grow even more and you'll all keep following in 2014! Also, a quick but big thank you to my local supporters whose coverage and support for me gave an incredible boost to CP Teens UK when I launched in 2013, these are: Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust The Sheffield Star The Derbyshire Times The Chesterfield Post I hope that Santa was good to all of you, he was extremely generous to me! I got an exercise bike which will be great for my athletics training and for keeping me moving! I used to love riding my bike when I was little, but of course at that age it was acceptable to have stabilisers/a bike with 3 wheels - I'd love to see people's reactions if a 19-year-old rode past with a pair of stabilisers on! I know that you can get 'special' bikes, but unless you've got a few grand free, you're not going to get one! And, even if I did have a silly moment and buy a specially made bike, would I even use it that often?! I can't ride on the road as that would be dangerous and most probably like a very funny comedy scene (if you ignore the danger!), so I'd probably be arrested before I've even started - I'll stick to the stationary exercise bike in my back bedroom on that note! Here's a photo of me when I was little on a 'special' bike provided by some service. When you're little, you get everything thrown at you from every service under the sun! To be honest, things were forced upon us that we didn't even need and were not actually helping one bit. But, when you turn 16-18+ (depending on where you live), it is as if your Cerebral Palsy disappears overnight!

For Christmas, I also got electric Salt & Pepper Mills so for the first time, I can do my own salt and pepper! The best thing is though, these salt & pepper mills were made by the brand Russell Hobbs, so they are totally 'mainstream' and off of the same shelf as any other salt and pepper mills and not made by some disability specialist who quite often seem very keen to make things look extremely 'special' and out of the ordinary! So, if you struggle with holding a salt/pepper milll and doing that twisty action, I recommend Russell Hobbs - they even light up, so you'll be aright when eating in a power cut! This year, I'm keen to update the website a bit and maybe give it a fresh look. I asked on Facebook and Twitter if people who use the website would like to send me a photo or even photos of themselves and/or others with their permission for me to use on the site? I was thinking of putting them on the rolling banner on the homepage, I just thought it would be lovely to get all your faces on here! Please, please do send me some to: I'd love photos of teenagers/young people, obviously with Cerebral Palsy, but there's no age limit really - although my website is aimed at helping teenagers and young people with CP, it is actually used by all ages and the teenagers on here were once children with Cerebral Palsy and will be adults with Cerebral Palsy! Any other ideas for CP Teens UK will be greatly received - you know that my motto for CP Teens UK is 'for teens with Cerebral Palsy, by teens with Cerebral Palsy', so you need to tell me what you want! Do you like guest bloggers? Or should I do a guest blogger every 2 weeks? Or even every 4 weeks?! Don't be afraid to contact me with ideas, it's for you at the end of the day! On a personal note, this year with starting university and stuff, I'd like to become a much more confident person. I don't know about anyone else, but quite often I hide behind the people who I know and are close to because of my Cerebral Palsy. With new people, often afterwards I think 'I don't even care what they think about me, I am me and I can't change it if they don't like me', but I want to have the confidence to stand there and talk to people and just go for it there and then instead of thinking afterwards, 'why did I hide away etc.?', if you get me?! I worry far too much and I don't want to get to university and panic, hate it and drop out! I am one of the most sociable people and sometimes I just wish I could give myself a kick up the bum! At school, I was totally in my comfort zone as I was with the same friends I'd been with all the way through, I had the same teaching assistant all the way through, the entire school knew me so much so random students used to say to their friends on the corridors 'mind out for Ellie', and I had the same teachers year in, year out. I absolutely loved school, but looking back, I was far too cozy in my comfort zone!

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