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Saturday, 21 April 2018

What it is like living with Parkinson's

People continue to be surprised that I have Parkinson's, I have written about this before ,and I hope that this new post will be useful if you either have Parkinson's or you know someone with Parkinson's

Parkinson's does not define me. It is not who I am. I love my life, I live it to the full and I am bouncing with health. 
This is purely to answer people's questions an how you can help somebody newly diagnosed

I would not have life any other way. 

First of all, what is it?

I have young onset Parkinson's YOPD which is different to the  Parkinson's we normally see in older people who shake a lot.

It is a chronic, progressive neuro-logical disorder affecting movement, speech, body language, handwriting and swallowing. Approximately 120,000 people in the UK have Parkinson’s disease and around 10,000 people will be diagnosed each year.

Although the majority of those diagnosed will be aged over 60 years, one in seven will be under 50 years and one in 20 will be less than 40 years. The term ‘young-onset Parkinson’s disease’ is used to describe the development of Parkinson’s disease symptoms in individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 years.

The lack of awareness that younger people can also develop Parkinson’s disease has sometimes meant that we can experience difficulties obtaining an accurate diagnosis or finding appropriate information and support.

We can feel isolated and alone.

The loss of  dopamine results in loss of a lot of our communication skills, and has a marked effect on all aspects of my life and relationships with other people.

Difficulties with communication, loss of self-esteem and feelings of embarrassment (because of eating difficulties, walking, writing etc) makes people like me withdraw from social life, which leads to isolation and lonliness.

 Fatigue, anxiety and stress, common features of Parkinson’s disease , can also be contributing factors to feelings of depression and sadness.

Our lives have changed dramatically and not for the better.

We rely on drugs to treat the condition which must be meticulously timed. Lack of awareness about side effects and the on-off syndrome causes misunderstanding too. We can often complete a task when "on" - when medication is working -  but unable to perform the same task when "off" - medication not working or worn off.
This makes us appear difficult.

 Lack of facial expression or freezing of the facial muscles can make us appear sad or dissinterested and leads to losing friends believe me!
Having YOPD is doubly difficult because all services and support are geared towards the elderly with little for younger people.

Do please take time now to watch my YouTube video 
If you receive my blog posts by email you need to either visit my blog or go to this link     YouTube video   to find it.

If you watched the video PLEASE do! And please share it, you will know that I had a fall last week, which is common. I broke my lovely overlocker , which is now temporarily held together with sticky tape. Thank you to Brother who are repairing it for me

I also damaged my much loved Horn sewing cabinet, so thanks to Horn who are repairing it for me.

The far reaching results of random acts of kindness like these cannot be stressed. We none of us know what is around the corner, so whoever you are and whatever you are doing please stop right now  and make that phone call, send that card before it's too late. We all have the power within us to make another person happy right now.

If you have just been diagnosed or are close to somebody who has, there is life outside Parkinson's, it's not the same life, but it's a good life still.

Here is another YouTube video explaining what it is like after diagnosis 

Many blessings


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Introducing the fabulous Brother Innov-is 1300

The Brother Innov-is 1300 from

An introduction.

This is one of the most amazing domestic sewing machines I have ever used, and of course it is by my favourite brand Brother from my favourite store Jaycotts.

 The Brother Innov-is 1300 ticks all the boxes both for versatility and ease of use. It is packed with so many features that I cannot hope to go over them all in this one post, so I am going to concentrate on getting you up and running.
It is fabulous for both dressmaking and quilting having just over 8" workspace to the right of the needle, quilters will know the importance of this.

It has an advanced square feed drive system (SFDS) which delivers a really good feed on all fabrics but - and this is my favourite - it enables the machine to sew sideways as well as backwards and forwards and it means too that it has the capacity of sewing extra wide decorative stitches.

 This is my machine which I unpacked as soon as it was delivered. I know some of us feel out of our comfort zone with a new machine, but please do not worry, take it slowly and you will be fine.
Don't forget that Jaycotts can arrange tuition for you from Brother which I do recommend you take advantage of if at all possible.

I was really pleased that it fits into my horn cabinet even with its hard case. The  extension table for the machine, available separately is not shown.
There are many styles of Horn sewing furniture so there is bound to be one which suits the style of your decor and the size of the sewing space you have available. I love the fact that I can put everything away in a matter of minutes and the room is totally tidy.

There is storage space built into your machine both at the front and the rear so you can keep your spare feet and bobbins safely where you can access them.
There is space in the hard cover to hold you foot control, knee lifter and  manual etc.

All of the instructions are displayed clearly on a large LCD screen. It is from here that you access and amend all of your utility and decorative stitches.
These are the basic utility stitches which you access just by touching the buttons shown. The other features are in "folders" which are again accessed from this screen.

The machine itself has a list of all the stitches it is capable of actually printed onto them inside of the top cover. But don't worry that they look small, they are printed in the manuals too!

The machine comes with a comprehensive instruction manual and also a quick start guide.
It is important to thread the machine and bobbin correctly so follow the instructions in the manual to the letter. There is also a blog post Troubleshooting your sewing machine by Alex Jaycott which explains the importance of correctly threading your machine and choosing and replacing machine needles and much more, so do have a read.

Can you guess which feature I was desperate to try first? Really a normal straight stitch is a good place to start, but I longed to know how the sideways function worked.
The instructions were easy to find in the manual, so armed with some thread and a piece of cloth I set off on a mission to sew sideways!

This function has so many uses, it can be done in a straight or zigzag stitch. Imagine the ease of adding a decorative patch or new pocket  to a pair of jeans or a sleeve ! There is absolutely no requirement to turn your fabric as the machine stitches a perfect square.

Each stitch has its own section in the manual, for example these are the utility stitches. Don't forget that these are easily accessible by pressing the relevant button on the home screen.

Some of the sections are rather longer as there are 182 built in stitches and 10 styles of buttonholes to choose from but the manual breaks down each type of stitch into sections and numbers them  which makes it easy to find them and program them into your machine.
The instructions really are very easy to follow, don't forget this is a Brother machine we are talking about, and Brother machines are very user friendly.

The manual is yours to keep and forever, so don't be afraid of writing in it. Mark the pages you will want to refer to and write down notes and suggestions. Keep it handy at all times so that it is always available when you want to try something new.

 Another thing I often do is to print off certain instructions and fasten them to the cupboard door in my sewing room.( I also do this with my current pattern instructions so I am not hunting around for them )

I was exploring other functions too. I especially like that when you are using a decorative stitch there is a button to press which stops the sewing exactly when the end of the pattern is reached. This is especially useful on garments when you want exact placement of your design or when you want to combine designs

The machine is the easiest one I have ever used for programming characters. It has a massive memory too which is easy to access so when you produce something you like you can save it very easily.

This character embroidery took seconds to program and stitch. And don't forget that this I the first time I have used this machine 

It is easy to combine letters and patterns to make your own designes in fact up to 70 patterns can be combined into one design

 There are so many other things I want to tell you about this marvelous machine but I am going to stop here for now, but I will come back to it very soon when I make my first garment on it, which is going to be a blouse .

There is a video on my YouTube channel which I would like you to watch

If the link breaks or you have subscribed to emails then the link can be accessed here
The Brother Innov-is 1300 on YouTube

Jaycotts as you know sell a large variety of machines, habberdashery and patterns. They sell online but are extremely helpful and knowledgeable if you want to pay them a visit to try out some of their machines.

The   Contact details for Jaycotts   are  on this page or you can telephone them on  01244 394099

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Thank you for reading this post, if you found it helpful do let me know.


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