Overwhelmed by overwhelm

I don’t know about you, but this year has started with a bang for me. Family health challenges, mental health issues, work stress, pressure to start the year well, etc etc. There never seems to be a let up. My children sometimes question why they should chip in to help around the house and I […]

The Danger of Assumptions

I’m forever shocked at how easy it is for us all to make assumptions about other people. We all do it, even when we try really hard not to. You can’t help but bring all your own past, your own opinions and your own baggage to conversations and assume others feel the same. I’m on […]

The Forever Loss of Infertility

I don’t talk much about our personal journey with infertility. I do talk about our beautiful children who we adopted and the journey since. So, today I thought I might delve into the dark shadow of loss that can sometimes creep up on me. My husband and I had been married about 2-3 years when […]

What motivates us?

Yesterday I talked about my origin story for starting BraveHeart and something that came up for me was just how fascinating it is that we are all so different. When I was a middle manager in a large Corporate motivating staff to work well was a daily focus. Now as a parent of teenagers motivation […]

The Origin of BraveHeart

I’ve been challenged today as part of a course I’m doing to write down my story, at least the story of how BraveHeart came to be and why I do what I do now. You may have heard this before but for me it’s important to reflect and look back at the road and see […]

What does your face really say?

We all have that friend who whatever they might be saying they just have a miserable looking face. Or maybe it’s that friend who has a dry sense of humour – really funny sayings out of the mouth but a blank facial expression. Then of course, there’s the other friend who grins incessantly even when […]

Blame my brain!

There’s been so much written about how our brains develop and work over the last few years. Some of which I have found SO helpful in understanding my children and now adolescents. Today I thought I’d share some of these models with you, particularly the ones that are helpful for schools, organisations and parents/carers working […]

Outside the Lines

I was privileged recently to take part in the first episode of a new podcast that I’d like to introduce to you. The idea behind ‘Outside the Lines’ podcast is a place where people who are raising children they didn’t give birth to can get some support and community. Here’s the link to this episode […]

Live a simple life

It’s the last week of the summer holidays here and we’re all looking towards next week. I have to say it’s been a summer of tidying up for us in the Marshall household and it’s made me think today about new terms and how complicated and cluttered our lives can become. For my children (and […]

What is within your power?

I’ve been thinking and wrestling recently with what I have control over in my life. There are many things we can’t control. We can’t control how others behave and how the feel. We can influence and I believe we can play a part in changing people’s experience of something. However, at the end of the […]

5 things I wish my teachers knew

My adopted daughter is now 18 and in her second year of college. Today we were discussing her experiences in school since starting in Primary and we came up with the 5 things she’d like teachers to know – whether in Primary, Secondary or College. These are her words…. People are important. I had a […]

School Refusers

One of the most challenging and frustrating areas for both parents/carers and educators to navigate is the school refuser. This is something we talk about often in our support group with other adopters as it is a constant daily challenge to get our children into school or college. This doesn’t seem to get easier for […]

Post 16 support

I’m just sitting in the foyer of a hotel in Liverpool waiting to deliver my seminar to 60 further education professionals. Post 16 is a challenge for lots of young people but even more so for vulnerable young people who are struggling in so many areas of their lives. Two of our children are in […]

Instant Family

I went to watch a film at the cinema last week. This was a film I’d been looking forward to seeing for months. The trailer was really funny, seemed realistic and I have even shared it at an adoption and fostering event, as well as recommending to all my friends. The film I’m talking about […]

The signs of success?

It’s very hard to measure the ‘success’ of vulnerable young people as they grow. In schools we assess ad nauseum and maybe that can give us some indication of how much progress has been made in a child’s learning. Does it tell us more than whether they have good memories though? Does it tell us […]

The pain you can’t see

I’ve experienced back pain on and off for the last 20 years. Sometimes it’s unbearable, most the time I’m conscious of it and occasionally I forget that I am prone to back pain. This last week it has been very painful and even though it’s not that obvious to look at me, when you see […]

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

I love this Christmas song – I love the words and the sentiment that regardless of what might be going on in our lives we might be able to put that aside for a few days and focus on the good things such as family and friends. This last year has been a very difficult […]

Think outside the box

Poor mental health, high anxiety levels and generally living life at a stressful speed is taking its toll. On my travels around schools and with other adoptive parents I’m noticing the need for more creative ways to manage our own mental health, as adults, as well as the children and young people we care for. […]