10 Year Challenge

Before 2020 started, people shared their ’10 Year Challenge’, exploring personal growth, developments, achievements, and how far they have come in the past decade. People were excited about what the next 10 years would bring, what ambitions they have, and what goals they’re striving for. A lot can change in a decade.

My 10 year challenge started on Friday 2nd February, 2010, at 9:35am, 42 seconds within the minute…. That moment in time was very significant for me. I was 15 years old, sat in a doctors office with my mum. The appointment lasted over an hour, and was a very thorough visit.

“Thank you, Mrs Nixon, for all the information you have provided.  I can confirm, that she has High Functioning Autism; Asperger Syndrome” (1)

It’s been 10 years since I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome… and what an amazing, roller coaster of a decade of personal growth it has been!

When I was diagnosed, I was in Year 11 – I was in my final year of school. I struggled going through a mainstream school with a hidden condition. My sensory processing was also very different. I struggle with sensory overload with touch and hearing. I’ve had meltdowns due to sensory overload, of which are very distressing. A sensory overload is where one sense (or senses) becomes so overloaded, it’s overpowering, overwhelming, distressing and painful (3).

  • DO NOT INVALIDATE THIS! I’ve had people who fail to understand what a painful experience it is to have sensory overload, and have further aggravated it!

Prior to my diagnosis, I isolated myself, didn’t speak to people, and could not understand friendship. I liked having a routine, and would really struggle to cope if it was interrupted.  My social skills were non existent, and my social awareness was very poor (social awareness is understanding how to behave in different social situations) (2).

When I was in my teenage years, I did not care what other people thought of me. I was content in my own little world away from everyone. I preferred being on my own… always. My diagnosis was a big shock to many of my teachers when I spoke with them individually.

They were very keen to help and ensure that I was included. My drama teacher encouraged everyone in the class to include me, and make me feel welcome in all activities and socials. One of the English teachers called me out of afternoon form to discuss other educational sites that could aid my learning before I took my GCSE’s. My religious studies teacher sat with me and discussed how affects me, and what else was being done to support me.

In class, I absorbed all knowledge and information that I was taught, and could very easily regurgitate it. However, I struggled with essay writing and getting the right information for the specific question. I would write down all knowledge I had absorbed and not answer the question. I would often miss the point, and misunderstand what was being asked.  My history teacher was aware that I was on the autism spectrum before my diagnosis. This was due to my social skills, my drive, focus, and the way I interpreted everything.

Word went round the staff room of my diagnosis and all my teachers did their bit to support me in my last 5 months of being a secondary school student. I was an average student with average grades, and was happy with how I did in my GCSE’s.

When I started Sixth Form in 2010, I was doing Science, Travel and Tourism, and Media Studies. At first, I was quiet about my diagnosis – I felt that it was a label and wanted to be accepted for who I am. Due to not having much academic support to help me during my school years, I was encouraged to get any sort of help that would enable me to achieve my full potential.

I spoke with my media teacher about extra support, and he said that he had full faith in me completing and passing the course. He would sit with me on a 1:2:1 basis and explain everything to me, and gave me the chance to discuss my progression.

One of my science teachers noticed that I was still isolating myself from the rest of the class. I had been asked by some of the girls if I wanted to go out with them one day, of which I refused. On multiple occasions, I was asked to join them on various outings and weekend meals out. On a quiet morning when I was alone, my chemistry teacher approached me and said “you know, all they’re doing is extending their reach to you. They think about you a lot and want to include you”. 

This completely changed the way I saw everything!

I had one science lesson with the same teacher (I had 3 teachers for the 3 sciences), and myself and the other girls in the class arranged a birthday meal out for one of our classmates! My teacher observed and did not interfere! My teachers in Sixth Form were more keen for me to interact with people more, and to develop my social skills.

During Sixth Form, I wanted to learn more about Asperger Syndrome so I could better understand myself and the condition. I embraced my Aspergers and began trying to find ways of growing as a person.

I dedicated my A-Level media video on raising awareness of Asperger Syndrome, and explained to my class how we perceive the world more differently than neurotypicals (non-autistic people), and we want to be included and treated with respect like everyone else.  I contacted Edgar Froese; the band leader and founder of the German music group Tangerine Dream, and asked for his permission to use some of his band’s tracks in my video. He emailed me back permitting me use his music, as long as I share my video with him and his band for their archives!

When I got to year 13, the final year of Sixth Form, I got into the swing of applying for universities and getting the right grades to get enough UCAS points. Academically, I had really picked up and I was answering my course questions directly and providing the information needed for the answer, instead of writing everything I knew.

Fast forward, September 15th 2012… I left home and went to Northampton University!!! Being at university was the best thing I have ever done! My experience at university helped me to blossom and thrive, and I did things I never imagined I would do, such as run my own society. I previously blogged about my time at university here: On being a University Student with Asperger Syndrome

It has been 10 years of growth, of learning about myself and pushing myself to grow. Here’s to the next 10 years!



Here’s a picture of Edgar Froese; Band founder and leader of Tangerine Dream!

Break the Chains


January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Globally, there are 40.3 million people do not have freedom… they are in some form of slavery. This is known as ‘human trafficking’ or ‘modern day slavery’ (1) (2)

This blog is dedicated to raising awareness of this human rights violation and I’ve included some resources under the ‘Ways to Help’ on how we can do our bit to help.

Human Trafficking is defined by the UN as being ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation’ (3).

Some statistics provided by the charity Anti-Slavery show:

  • 51% of identified victims of trafficking are women, 28% children and 21% men
  • 72% people exploited in the sex industry are women
  • 63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women
  • 43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders (4)

Additionally, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDH) Article 3 and 4 states:

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms (5).

Human Trafficking violates these fundamental rights.

There are different types of slavery which are;

  • Sexual slavery/sex trafficking; where victims are trafficked for the purposes of being sexually exploited.
  • Domestic servitude; where victims are coerced or forced into working at homes against their will, and fraudulently told that they cannot leave.
  • Forced labor where victims have to work under the threat of violence. If they do not work, they are often beaten, and treated like property instead of people.
  • Bonded labor; where people work to pay off a debt. Victims are often unable to leave until the debt is repaid.
  • Forced Marriage; as children lose all their fundamental rights, and have to submit to their husbands (6)

Globally, there are many organisations, charities and NGO’s that fight the scourge of human trafficking. The list can be found in the reference list under ‘Ways to Help’, for your interest (7)

The charity STOP THE TRAFFIK launched an app called the STOP APP, which enables people to anonymously report anything suspicious. Info about the app can be found in the reference list under ‘Ways to Help’ (8)

Please share this blog post, and raise awareness of human trafficking!



(1) End Slavery Now ‘Slavery Today’ Available online at:  http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5Nrt0L7-5gIVRLDtCh2D6weiEAMYASAAEgJUqvD_BwE    Accessed on 12/01/2020

(2) National Human Trafficking Hotline ‘The Victims’ Available online at: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/what-human-trafficking/human-trafficking/victims   Accessed on 15/01/2020

(3) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) What is Human Trafficking?  Available online at: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html?ref=menuside      Accessed on 12/01/2020

(4) Anti-Slavery ‘What is Human Trafficking?’ Available online at: https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/human-trafficking/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkqPtuPz-5gIViLPtCh2k6A7VEAAYAiAAEgLgj_D_BwE   Accessed on 12/01/2020

(5) United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Available online at: https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/     Accessed on 12/01/2020

(6) End Slavery Now ‘Slavery Now’ Available online at:  http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5Nrt0L7-5gIVRLDtCh2D6weiEAMYASAAEgJUqvD_BwE      Accessed on 12/01/2020


Ways to Help

(7) CNN: Freedom Project ‘Anti-Trafficking Organisations around the world’.  Available online at:  https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/05/world/anti-trafficking-organizations-around-the-world/index.html

(8) STOP THE TRAFFIK ‘The STOP APP’ Available online at: https://www.stopthetraffik.org/stopapp/  Accessed on 12/01/2020




Generous Souls

Christmas is a magical time of year. The festivity, cheer, laughter, Christmas shopping (if done in time), and excitement building up till the special day itself!

However, for many people, Christmas can also be a hard and upsetting time of year. At the Acocks Green Food Bank, we helped so many people who were struggling and dreading Christmas.

The number of clients we have helped has also increased….  With more young families, single parents, those who  are lonely, isolated and struggling with their mental health, and recovering addicts getting back on their feet and turning their lives around.

The demographic of people we reach and help is broad, and the number of clients we help over Christmas spikes.

At the Acocks Green Food Bank, as we’ve done in previous years, we ran a Reverse Advent Calendar campaign.

A Reverse Advent Calendar is a simple, yet very effective way of encouraging people to participate in donating to the local food bank. For every day of Advent (this year it was from 1st-24th of December), you put an item of food in a box, and donate it at the end.

This year’s Reverse Advent Calendar saw an enormous amount of donations from so many people!!!

The generosity demonstrated from the local people was sinply incredible!

The moment I advertised the Reverse Advent Calendar, people were commenting, sharing and messaging me, preparing packs for families, and for the food bank clients.

Throughout December, people came in with their Advent Calendars all prepped and ready to go! Others came in, donated them and left!

The donations we received were so numerous that the cupboards were overflowing! We had to store food in the back office, and the hut where children do ‘Kids Church’ on Sunday.

Everyone at the food bank is extremely grateful for the generosity and love shown by the local people, for others who feel hit hard at this time of year ❤

This put the magic back into the Christmas season for so many people ❤

Prisoners of Conscience

Everyone has a right to practice their faith. Belonging to a religious group and practicing a faith is a fundamental right, and something which is important to millions of people globally. However, Christians globally face persecution for simply for their faith.

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that:

1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions. (1)

Additionally, the work done by Action for Christians Against Torture (ACAT) which involves campaigning, praying, and lobbying governments where torture is practiced, run different events for churches to get involved in. The Christmas Post Card campaign is one of them (2). Each year, they do a Greeting Card Campaign, where people can send post cards to Christians who are in prison for their faith (3). 

I was invited by Sister Eleanor from my local Parish to help with doing a Greeting Card Campaign, which became known as the ‘Prisoners of Conscience’ event, which was held on Saturday 14th December at my church.

At the convent, she went through everything with me, and what the event was about. She had a couple hundred post cards, a list of Christians who have been persecuted, with some information about who they are, the countries they are from, and what they have experienced.

There was a document with non-religious messages of encouragement (if a religious message was sent, i.e. God bless you/You’re in my prayers/ even Merry Christmas, it would have caused further harm to the Christians we were writing to), and stamps with the individual addresses of the prisons on, so that the post cards could be posted immediately. 

Myself and Sister Eleanor went through all the stories of the Christians sent through from ACAT, and we selected 7 names, so that people could choose who to write to. The Christians we selected came from a range of countries, such as Belarus, Iran, and Egypt.

Not all of the individuals we selected were of Christian faith, however. Some had been imprisoned for upholding human rights and advocating for others. Some were imprisoned and had been tortured for and criticizing their governments for mistreating citizens. 

On December 14th, I helped Sister Eleanor with setting up the table at the church, getting the display ready, and encouraging people to write a postcard to someone of their choice. People were very moved by the stories of the Christians we were writing to, and wanted to write to all of them, showing their love and support. Each individual we were writing to had their image and story on the table with some post cards, ready to be put in a pot once they had been signed. This was so that we could keep track of how many post cards each one was going to receive. 

It was very well recieved by members of the parish, and as always, I am amazed by the love and support shown for our brothers and sisters globally ❤ 


Other articles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights protect people from some of the abuses highlighted above, as well as protect the rights of people of faith. These are: 

Article 2                                                                                                                                                1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Article 9                                                                                                                                                    1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

Article 10                                                                                                                                              1. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

Article 18                                                                                                                                               1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.




(1) Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights Available online at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx  Accessed on 20/12/2019

(2) Action for Christians Against Torture (ACAT) Home Page and Info Available online at: https://www.acatuk.org.uk   Accessed on 20/12/2019

(3) ACAT Greeting Card Campaign, 2019-2020  Available online at: https://www.acatuk.org.uk/copy-of-prayer-vigil-july-2017  Accessed on 20/12/2019 

Love in a Box

When you wake up on Christmas morning, what do you look forward to the most? Is it being with your family? Seeing all the presents you have? All the warmth and smiles in your household? Christmas is a time of joy, celebration, family, and love. However, not every child globally is as privileged as you or I, and the only gift that they may receive, comes in a shoe box, from across the world.

Every year, I participate in the Boxes of Love scheme, where I get old shoe boxes, fill them with children’s toys and choose who to send them to. Local churches participate in this scheme, and encourage their parishioners to fill shoe boxes with children’s toys, hats, scarves, gloves, and child-friendly items, such as footballs or coloring books and crayons.

After a massive clear out in my home, I was given 7 shoe boxes, 2 of which I gave to a relative. The remaining boxes were filled with children’s toys, clothes, and crayons, and I selected who the boxes would go to and the age range.



The shoe box appeal is a very simple, yet powerful way of showing love to children globally. Christmas is a truly magical time of year for children – why not share the love this Christmas and do your own shoe box for a child?

Just follow the instructions on T4U at: http://teams4u.com/shoebox-guide/

Make a child smile and feel loved this Christmas ❤


Discipleship, Love and Charity

“Bear witness, good people, that I die here not for theft, or for felony, but for my conscience” Then (Blessed Robert Grissold) freely forgave his persecutors and the hangman, and devoutly said his Confiteor (formal prayer) often calling upon the name of Jesus. Lastly, he commended his soul into the hands of Almighty God…” (1)
The above testimony is about Blessed Robert Grissold, who was martyred for his Catholic faith on July 16th 1604. Over the years following Jesus’ death, many thousands of people have been persecuted and killed for their faith.
Currently, Christians are the most persecuted group in the world, experiencing harassment, discrimination and persecution in 143 countries globally (2).
Faith is powerful.
Having faith can inspire a new, and profound way of life. Following on from the account of Blessed Robert Grissold, there have  been hundreds of different saints who were killed for their faith, and for following Christ. Such examples include Saint Blaise, St Lawrence and the apostles too.
Other examples of beloved saints lead incredible lives, include St John Henry Newman, St Padre Pio and St Mother Theresa. They dedicated their lives to helping the poor and needy. Through having such incredible, unshakable faith in God, it lead to extraordinary acts of love, charity, and discipleship for God and for others.
Saint Padre Pio (1887-1968), an Italian priest and Saint, led such devoutly spiritually life, that he had the stigmata, where the wounds of Christ miraculously appear on the body (3). He also had the gift of healing, was devoted to the Rosary and praying to Our Lady; Mother Mary. He was also known for having bi-location; this is where he could be at 2 placed at once. These were signs of his holiness and closeness with God (4). He was known for his piety, charity and love for everyone he met, and was cannonised June 16th 2002 (5)
Saint Mother Teresa (1910-1997), cannonised September 2016, dedicated her life to helping the poor and sick in Calcutta. She was known for her tenacity, selflessness, love and courage (6). Her faith is a living testimony of the unshakable relationship she had with God, and love of Divine Service (7). Today, more than 4,500 people support the Missionaries of Charity, in 123 countries with 610 missions, running orphanages, helping addicts, refugees, the homeless, the elderly, the sick, the blind, those with AIDS and those affected by famine (8).
Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890) cannonised as a Saint in October 2019, was a Cardinal, Theologian and Poet. Originally an Anglican Christian, he converted to Catholicism at age 44, upon studying the Christian Doctrines and exploring the divide between Christian Anglican and Catholic. Due to this, he was deserted by family members and friends for his conversation to the Catholic faith (9). When Pope Pious announced the restoration of the Catholic Church on October 7th, 1850, hostility and violence was shown to Catholics, including Catholic priests being attacked in the streets, and churches vandalized (10). In response to these attacks and hostility, Newman simply encouraged people to speak up for the deference of the Catholic Church.  John Henry Newman was known for his love and intellect, and became well known across the country for it (11)
Being a follower of Christ is one of discipleship, love and charity <3.
It is a life of love, sacrifice, humility, service and compassion ❤
(1) Bishop Richard Challoner ‘Memoirs of Missionary Priests: And Other Catholics of Both Sexes; that have suffered death in England on Religious Accounts’ 
Vol.1-2, Years 1577-1684 (Philedelphia Publishing, 1803) Can be accessed online at:  https://archive.org/details/memoirsofmission01chaliala/page/n3
Accessed on 4/10/2019
(2) Christian Post (2019) ‘Religious Freedom is Getting Worse Around the World: Christians Remain the Most Persecuted Group’ 
(3) Christian POP (2016) The Demon-Fighter: The Supernatural Life of St Padre Pio 
Available online at: https://churchpop.com/2016/02/08/demon-fighter-supernatural-life-st-padre pio/bclid=IwAR0DN33BwQOWVEoYIwP9WnPEmqPMBM14ysMWFHkIh7bjHWnGngzsNLjHS18                                       Accessed on 25/11/2019
(4) Britannica ‘St Padre Pio: Italian Priest and Saint’ Available online at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Padre-Pio   Accessed on 22/02/2020
(5) Ibid
(6) Catholic Online St Theresa of Calcutta Available online at: https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5611
Accessed on 30/11/2019
(7) India Today ’66 Years of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity: Facts you should definitely know on the charity’  Available online at: https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/missionaries-of-charity-345373-2016-10-07  Accessed on 22/02/2020
(8) Ibid
(9) Britannica ‘Saint John Henry Newman’ Available online at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-Henry-Newman                   Accessed on 22/02/2020
(10) Catholic Online: ‘Saint John Henry Newman’ Available online at: https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=46073  Accessed on 22/02/2020
(11) Ibid

The Wall of Answered Prayer

‘Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord’ – Psalm 102:18

God works in mysterious ways. God answers prayers.  Miracles occur every single day – whether we are aware of it or not.

One afternoon, I came across The Wall of Answered Prayer. After getting in touch, I learned of the incredible project that the team are embarking on – building an enormous sculpture in Coleshill, West Midlands, dedicated to reviving the Christian heritage of the country, and demonstrating how God answers prayers everyday, in people’s lives. For each person who signs up, shares a prayer(s), they will have their own brick which will be linked to the prayer.

When the project began, they had no money and no land to build upon. However, through a series of miraculous events, God led them to an incredible piece of heavenly land. Hear the powerful story in this video: youtube.com/watch?v=IPPmLW

The team are currently working on the planning application, which will be submitted in November 2019. We then hope to receive planning permission in March 2020. At this point we shall run a huge crowdfunder in order to raise the money needed for construction, which will begin at the end of 2020.  The Wall will roughly be completed by summer 2022, ready for Commonwealth Games when the world’s eyes will be on Birmingham and the surrounding area.

What do we need?

We are seeking one million stories of times when you have cried out to God and He has answered. We still need hundreds of thousands of answered prayers and you can submit yours at thewall.org.uk/testimony.

The project is run completely off of donations, especially regular giving. If you feel stirred to give you can do so at thewall.org.uk/donate. You can stay up-to-date with the project by signing up to our mailing list here: eepurl.com/dt9aoP

On November 1st, they are also launching a large fundraiser and need people to donate £72 so that they have enough money to submit the planning application – please consider donating to this incredible initiative ❤

Here, you can contribute to this fundraiser: https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/2019heroes


The Wall of Answered Prayer endeavors to:

Preserve the Christian Heritage of our nation

God has faithfully and powerfully moved throughout the history of the UK, whether by answering the prayers of St Augustine in the 6th Century, to the millions of people who queued up outside churches to pray for the men on the beaches of Dunkirk. We want to celebrate and remember all the prayers God has answered throughout our nation’s history.

Ignite a faith for prayer on a national level

Imagine everyone in the country having free access to a database of a million answered prayers. They can type in whatever storm or situation of life that they’re going through, and they’ll be able to see first-hand the God who has done it before, and is more than faithful enough to do it again. Their faith will be lifted and encouraged.

Reveal Christ to the nation

Around 500,000 journeys will travel past this monument every week, and we estimate that 150-200,000 people will visit this site annually. We hope that as people interrogate the answered prayers and comprehend the colossal nature of what they are witnessing, they will personally encounter the God who answers (1).

Have you had any answered prayers?

Would you like to share your testimony/answered prayer with The Wall of Answered Prayer, and help contribute to building this incredible landmark?

Follow the link below, sign up, and share your prayers!

Much love to you all, and God bless ❤



(1) The Wall of Answered Prayer ‘A Landmark of National Hope’ Available online at: https://www.thewall.org.uk  Accessed on 27/10/2019

Link to sign up and share your prayers:  https://www.thewall.org.uk/