Archive | Diabetes/Charity/Health RSS feed for this section

Young’un of the Week – Katie Valentine

25 Mar

Every Monday from now on will be a celebration of a so-called ‘dying breed’. The media have young people pinned to the lazy, unambitious and even dangerous stereotype, and quite frankly I do NOT agree. I know far too many inspiring young people that never get any recognition for the extremely long hours of hard work they put in every single day just to better themselves and get ahead in this impossible country. None of the people featured in this weekly post have been born with a Silver Spoon up their bums, nor have they been handed anything on a Golden Platter. These young’uns don’t want fame, not even fortunes. They know what they want and how they are going to get it.

Without further ado, meet Katie Valentine. Katie is 22 years old and lives in Manchester with her son, James, 3, and her dream goal is to be a Probation Officer: “My goal is to be a probation officer as I am passionate about the community and reducing crime. I think having a son myself (makes me) worry about the world he is growing up in!”

This hasn’t always been Katie’s plan, though. She says, “My passion for this didn’t come about until a few years ago when I had just turned 19, had my son and moved away from my home town due to my relationship breaking down. I decided that now I had a baby it wasn’t an excuse to sit around at home and do nothing, it was more of a reason to MAKE SURE that mine and my son’s future was going to be the best (it can be).”

Katie continues, “I decided to go back to college and then to do a degree at university, as I never actually went to Uni at the age your ‘supposed’ to. I hardly attended school in my most important year – Year 11. I just about passed my GCSEs. I would definitely try harder if I could turn back time. I (didn’t let this) impact my life too much; there are lots of good educational opportunities for adults – you just have to look hard enough to find them!”

With the UK in dire straits at the moment, young people are lacking important funding and opportunities from potential employers, yet Katie has defied these odds to get ahead. She explains, “I’m currently at college studying an Access to Higher Education diploma in Criminology, Psychology and English along with GCSE Maths. If I pass this diploma it will enable me to start university in September this year or next.”

“At first I wanted to do community and youth work. I looked into voluntary work I could do to support my university application and landed myself a role within the youth offending team. I absolutely loved it and decided it would be brilliant to work with adults too. After months of harassing the local adult probation team about any opportunities they finally got back to me with an interview. I smashed the interview, completed the training and am now a fully-fledged alcohol and substance misuse mentor!”

Through her own grit and determination Katie has not only gained work experience that just aids her next step, it has also given her the self-confidence to go further: “The love I have for my voluntary work made me more determined to do an even more challenging degree so I have set my sights on Criminology and Law LLB. I’ve been accepted into four out of five universities and I am just waiting to hear back on the fifth. After this degree I hope to be able to work within the criminal justice system as a probation officer.”

Are things as hunky dory as they appear? For those of you reading wondering how anyone has the time or money to pursue such commitments, pay attention! Katie shares her tips for battling through; “The main challenge for this is time management; I have to plan my days down to the last minute! Even with the help of my partner it is still hard juggling voluntary work, college, assignments, running a home and being a mummy. Somehow I do it! My assignments are always handed in on time, my house is clean and tidy and James has everything he needs – including quality time with me. I make sure I am organised – my Filofax is my best friend!”

“At the moment I get child tax credit and child benefit, my mum helps me when she can if I need some extra money although I hate asking and I hardly ever do. My partner is also amazing and supports me in every way; he works and is actually going to university too this September! When I start Uni I will have my student loan to keep me going and after that I really hope to have work. The charities I volunteer for pay my expenses like travel costs, petrol etc. It’s hard but I would rather do it the hard way than just claim job seekers allowance!”

She adds, “I do get very tired, sometimes I just have to give in and have an early night. I wanted to book in to get my nails done the other day and realised I actually have no time to do this! I think I spend more time helping other people than doing things for myself but then I thought to myself, ‘Do material things like getting my nails done really matter?’ I would definitely rather be spending time with my clients, helping them achieve their road to recovery; I cant explain how much satisfaction I get out of my work.”

Other than adopting a steely work ethic, having the self-belief that you WILL achieve and being organised, what other advice would Katie give to other young people looking to get into the Criminal Justice industry?

“Do your research very well; if you know what career you want in the future then contact people that are already working in these roles, ask them how they achieved their goals and then if there is a way you could do the same then look into that. There are plenty of courses at local colleges and universities that are specifically for adults too. You can usually get bursaries to help with financial costs (for books, equipment, etc.) and my college even pays for my childcare – as long as I keep my attendance above 90%. It’s definitely worth looking into, where there is a will there is a way! I believe everyone has it in them to achieve their dreams.”

Finally, Katie adds, “Although I am still quite far away from my dream, I am closer than I have ever been and I am so excited about my future – I just want to make my son proud. I never, ever want him to go without anything and I want him to follow in my footsteps and work hard for the nice things in life.”

Katie Valentine PHOTO


Helpful Links

What would working in Criminology involve?

Volunteer Work in Your Area

Where Can I Work After Graduating in Criminology?

What Courses Are Available To Me?

To get in touch or if you want to feature as ‘Young’un of the Week’ then comment below or Tweet me @sheldan2207


Fundraiser Success!

23 Jan

For today’s post I’m going to share one my own successes! Being Diabetic myself it has always been a goal of mine to do something worthwhile for Diabetes UK, so when the oppurtunity of a walking fundraiser came up – I went and signed straight up!

Back on November 18th, my partner Dan and I walked 8 miles from Chelsea, London to London Tower Bridge, crossing each bridge along the way.

The day was such an inpsiration to me! Not only was it a gloriously sunny day and really warm for November, the city was in full festive swing and we got to walk through some of the busiest parts of London: I can almost smell the roasted nuts and mulled wine again!

The city wasn’t the only thing alive with passion, commitment and ambition that day! Hundreds of people proudly wearing their blue Diabetes UK uniform lined the Thames for hours as we marched our way to the finish line, eagerly anticipating the final bridge and the imminent donations.

I started the day anxious, not knowing at what to expect as this was my first ever fundraiser activity, but ended the day inspired to do more for a charity so close to my heart!

All in all Dan and I managed to raise almost £400 for Diabetes UK, which for a one day walk in sunny London is a huge success!

Thank you to everyone who donated and supported our first fundraiser… I hope you’re all saving up because there are more to come!!!

Follow me on Twitter and search through my TwitPics for all the photos from the day @sheldan2207

If you want to make a one-off donation to Diabetes UK visit

Or if you want to become a Diabetes UK member, volunteer or just want more information or support on any type of Diabetes visit

If you want to talk to me, personally, about Diabetes contact me

Lots of Love xx


dan medal

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

28 Aug

Currently dabbing my eyes dry trying to pull myself together after yet another disappointing  response from my writing tutor.

The more time, effort and assignments I submit into this course, the more negative the comments from my tutor are. I’m not sure what the deal is and I’ve been contemplating whether to give it all up or not..

To quit or not to quit.

Why should I quit? Writing is something I love to do; just like actors love acting and singers love to sing! To motivate myself I’ve been trying to remind myself of all the other times in my life where I’ve had no choice but to fight; giving up wasn’t an option.

Aged 12 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and wondered how I’d ever cope without chocolate bars, jam sandwiches and Coco Pops for breakfast. I was forced to suddenly inject myself up to 4/5 times a day every time I ate and planning physical activities to the minute for maximum control. Even now, after nearly 9 years, I get times when I just sit, staring at the wall contemplating to give it up altogether. It’s so much effort. Why me? When will it end? What can I do?

After much time spent deeply breathing and counting to 10 I come back to reality with a thud. What the hell am I talking about? If I give up on Diabetes I basically give up on life. Absolutely ridiculous.

When else have I not given up?

Another health scare couple of years later meant I had to have major surgery on my spine in 2006. If I’d have given up then I’d be crippled in a wheelchair by now. Good choice to carry on…

Parents divorcing after that…

GCSEs soon followed (I got 4 A’s after studying through the rows at home)..

Tedious apprenticeship after that (finishing with distinctions almost a year early)…

Sure we moan about the various stages in life as they happen but really what other choice do we have? Life is super hard but it’s a test of who we are as individuals to weed out the real successes from the bums!

So NO! Don’t give up… Never say never and strive to prove those who say you CAN’T that actually you CAN!!

My fave Kim Kardashian tweeted this quote-pic this week… It’s now the background on my iPad… Whatever you are doing, working for or training for …

Much Love Fellow Pressers xxx

Beyoncé To Show Katy, Justin & Miley How It’s Done!

8 Aug

I feel like I’ve blinked and missed a ton of Beyoncé news.

Regardless of the singer (renowned for being total perfection) just giving birth to Blue Ivy and announcing she’s had enough of heels and make-up, word on the internet seems to bring exciting new film prospects too.

Beyoncé is directing and producing a concert film said to be very much like the ones Katy Perry, Jutin Bieber and Miley Cyrus have released in the past which will feature backstage footage, interviews with her nearest and dearest and basically just show an exclusive insight into her usually very private life.

Not usually one to be so open, her fans will understand how exciting the new film idea is and will, like me, be eager to see the end product. Personally, I’m hoping it will have more depth than the ones previously released for Katy Perry, the Biebs and Miss Cyrus but, by the sound of things, since Beyoncé is producing the film herself, it’s looking promising.

In other Beyoncé news, the singer has donated a song to World Humanitarian Day and has filmed a short appeal for the cause which can be seen here:

Basically what Beyoncé and the UN want us to do is leave our mark. On August 19th all you have to do is a good deed for someone else; really help them out. We all live on the same planet and we are all capable of helping at least one person every single day. I love the idea so will support it (and would’ve supported it whether Beyoncé was a face or not!). See what you can do and sign up to support here:

& as if that wasn’t enough Beyoncé news! There’s so much more! $78,000,000 More!!!

Together, Beyoncé and Jay-z have topped the Highest Earning Couple in show biz list (calculated and published by Forbes) earning a staggering $78 Million in the last twelve months! That’s enough to beat The Beckhams, Brangelina and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith!

Jay-z raked it in with his Kanye-Kollaboration (note what I’ve done there.. because of the Kardashian Konnections?! See it? Never mind..) which world-tour smashed ticket sale records and the accompanying album sold umpteen amounts of copies globally. But, obviously, it takes a woman to bring home the real bacon as Forbes predicted Beyoncé brought home the most (approx $40Mil) with massive sales of album ‘4’. Get ’em girrrllllll…

Oh I do enjoy a spot of Beyoncé news! Just watch this space in the future as I’ll be first in line for the film (don’t judge me) and just as keen over the new album she’s supposedly back in the studio making…

Oh sorry was that another bit of Beyoncé goss…? I’ll stop now!

x Peace x

News & Picture Sources:

Twitter Hope For Young & Savvy

12 Jul

It’s not often I browse the Twittersphere and stumble upon emotions such as pride, ambition and maybe even a sense of relief?

As we all know, the world is in a bitterly cold place with regards to money matters, politicial feuds and unemployment woes. Young people have been written off mainly by writers who can’t see a way out for us, politicians who state that they are doing the best they can and more to help us out with no obvious result as yet and helpless parents who strive to give their children the best they can and still can’t afford to pay for us to go into higher education.

You know what I say to all of these people? Jump on Twitter! Jump on YouTube! So many people are sticking their middle fingers up to the mess, announcing they have a talent, have found a gap in the market, can produce their own product and market it online without any form of help. Young people are wising up to the economy and I’ve never felt more proud.

Most of us are NOT the lazy, no-good bums the media plays us out to be. We are lost little puppies left to fend for ourselves whilst the grown-ups try and figure out how to fix everything else (sad violin music inserted here please)!

Hop online now and you will see musicians writing, producing, marketing and selling albums, merchandise and their story online through social media like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Tumblr.

Writers, such as myself, are e-publishing their own material, researching and discovering their own readership and branching out one step at a time.

Craftsmen are networking to advertise their designs whether they are for graphics, jewellery, mobile phone cases, organic clothing, bakery, paintings, homeware or cosmetics.

If you don’t believe me look at these examples below of all the people out there grabbing their business and running with it, spreading the word, making it viral;

Girl Meets Dress (@girlmeetsdress) – an online dress rental for those who can’t afford the designer price tags

L’zo (@Lzoartist) – in his own words; “North London rapper on the come up, trying to use Twitter to network within the industry”

BiJouled Glitzy Bitz (@BijouledShoes) – a service that offers crystal heels and self-designed phone cases

Lil Mai Sparkles (@LilMaiSparkles) – customises phone covers and sells jewellery

Daisy Does Jewellery (@DaisyDoesUK) – hand-makes and sells her own jewellery

Tink Couture (@custompixie) – custom phone cases, unique handmade bikinis and jewellery

Ami Diabetic (@amidiabetic) – help, news and forums for Diabetics around the world

These are just a few hand-picked examples from people I follow but you get the picture. UK chart-topping grime artist Wiley is a top believer in networking your way to success as he tweeted this yesterday, “I need a break from Twitter but it’s so hard to stay off here……this is my viral marketing place…”

Another ‘overnight success’ is Justin Bieber who famously uploaded his material on YouTube and got ‘discovered’ by Usher! Carly Rae Jepson was then ‘discovered’ by Bieber!

This is all the hope I need. Sometimes writing can be a lonely business which makes me doubt myself a hell of a lot. But it’s realisations like this one that give me a slither of hope as I try and break this new industry one tiny step at a time. My mother has a fab motto in business: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

Never a wiser word said (but don’t tell her I admit that)! Any of you who have an idea, or a small thought of ‘I wonder if I could…’ JUST GO FOR IT! What can you lose at this time? You don’t have to give up your day job, it’s something you’re going to experiment with. Jump off the board, dive in. Who knows where it will take you in the end?

Photo Sources:


30 May

Like I said in my previous post I’m posting a link to my online fundraising page.

I am raising money for DIABETES UK [ ]

Please take a look at the work that they do; they are one of the most dedicated charities I know fighting for cures, prevention and treatments! Please give whatever you can; from 10p to £10000, it all counts and every donation shows support.


So many people are affected by Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes whether it is you personally, your relative, your friend, your cousin, whoever.


Keep Fightin’, Stay Inspired!

30 May

Reading local stories online at the Welwyn & Hatfield Times online newspaper today I stumbled across a story that I thought I’d share.

A blind local man called Pieta has WON a golf tournament with ambitions to travel to Canada to take part in the World Blind Golf Championships.

What a guy!

I don’t want this article to sound patronising in any way but I feel quite inspired hearing his story! He is guided round each course by his caddy-wife Elmarie and together they make a winning team, despite Pieta’s blindness.

I am Diabetic and have moments when it can get too much for me, even though I’ve lived with the condition for nearly eight years. Reading this story has reminded me that I’m not the only one living with a condition that may or may not prevent me doing the things I want to do.

So, with this in mind, I vow to do more for Diabetes UK, the charity dedicated to helping everyone with Diabetes. In November I’ve signed up to do the ‘London Bridges Challenge’ which is an eight mile hike starting in Chelsea and ending at Tower Bridge. You cross all of London’s famous bridges on the way and raise money for the charity as well. I’ll soon be posting a link where you can sponsor me online. Every penny counts!

Anyway, I hope this has helped anyone else who also suffers from any condition whether it is Diabetes or something else… don’t let it stop you from doing what you want!

xx Stay Strong xx

%d bloggers like this: