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In a world where you can be anything - Be Kind

As Halloween approaches, I can't help but reflect on the challenging month I've had. It's been a time of deep sorrow and intense physical pain, but I've also found a wellspring of strength within me that I knew existed but was on standby mode. In this blog post, I want to share my recent experiences, not only as a way to heal but to inspire and connect with others who may be going through similar trials.

October was a month I will never forget, sadly due to the two painful losses I endured. In the span of just a few weeks, I lost a dear friend and a family members to cancer. Coping with a single bereavement is difficult enough, but facing two in such a short time was overwhelming.

As cancer claimed the lives of my loved ones, it felt as though a dark cloud had descended over me. Grief has no timetable, and I found myself navigating a rollercoaster of emotions - sadness, anger, guilt, and an acute sense of emptiness. It seemed like I was trapped in a never-ending nightmare, but I knew I had to keep moving forward, even if each step felt like an uphill battle. Be thankful for those around you, and make the most of the moment you are in. Ruminating over trivial things that have already been and gone wont make the past suddenly change. Let those pieces of grit fall away and stop weighing you down. Be magnificent.

Then Life Throws a Curveball: Dealing with a Back Injury

Just when I thought I had reached the limit of my emotional endurance, life threw another curveball. I injured my back, and the excruciating pain made it almost impossible to move. Every step was agony, and the simplest of tasks became monumental challenges. It was a stark reminder that sometimes life doesn't pause to let us catch our breath.

The combination of physical and emotional pain was a double-edged sword, and I had every reason to give in to despair. However, the resilience and determination that I've developed over the years as a soldier kept me going. I couldn't control the events that unfolded, but I could choose how to respond to them. My eldest daughter, Layla, has been very much my Florence Nightingale, helped me stand up many times, got me drinks, medicine food and so on.  Bless her.

It's easy to feel defeated when you're facing the dark abyss of grief and suffering. But as the days passed, I began to see glimmers of hope and strength within myself. Here's what helped me soldier on, and I hope it can inspire others in their own trials:

1. Lean on Loved Ones: I found solace in the support of my friends and family. Their presence, whether in person or over the phone, offered a comforting reminder that I was not alone.

2. Seek Professional Help: Grief counselling and medical treatment for my back injury were essential. It's okay to ask for help when you need it.

3. Self-Compassion: I learned to be gentle with myself and not to rush the grieving process. Healing takes time, and it's okay to feel a range of emotions.

4. Focus on the Present: Rather than dwelling on what I had lost, I tried to appreciate the moments that were still beautiful and meaningful in my life

5. Be realistic for yourself: I accepted early on that I had been knocked for 6 by my friend dying. I knew I couldn't manage what I needed to but I accepted that early on, rather than setting myself a high bar I lowered it almost right down and accepted the basics as a victory.

To those who are also facing difficulties, I want to extend a heartfelt message of encouragement. You are stronger than you realize, and even in the darkest of times, there is a glimmer of hope. It might be Halloween, a day of costumes and free sweeties, but it's also a day when we can embrace the idea of transformation and renewal. May this season bring you light, healing, and the strength to soldier on.

Happy Halloween to you all.

I spend a lot of time soul searching and trying to understand why I do what I do.

Playing guitar can be a wonderful way to unwind after a long day, and for many people, building and customizing their own guitar FX kits can be just as therapeutic. But did you know that there are also numerous positive mental health benefits associated with this hobby? In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the connection between building guitar FX kits and positive mental health, and explore some of the ways this hobby can benefit your overall well-being.

First and foremost, building guitar FX kits is a great way to promote mindfulness and relieve stress. When you're immersed in the process of building a kit, you have to pay close attention to each step and focus on the task at hand. This can help you to clear your mind of other distractions and worries, and can be especially beneficial for those who struggle with anxiety or stress. Additionally, many people find that the repetitive motions and tasks involved in building guitar FX kits can be calming and meditative, providing a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Another way that building guitar FX kits can benefit your mental health is by promoting a sense of accomplishment and self-efficacy. When you successfully build and customize your own guitar FX kit, you'll likely feel a great sense of pride and achievement. This can help to boost your self-esteem and confidence, and may even translate into other areas of your life.

Finally, building guitar FX kits can be a great way to connect with others and build social support. Our forum really is awesome for this. Whether you're working on a kit with a friend or sharing your progress with a community of fellow hobbyists online, the process of building and customizing guitar FX kits can help you to feel like you're part of a larger group. This sense of belonging and community can be incredibly important for mental health, as it can provide a source of support, validation, and connection.

Overall, there are many positive mental health benefits associated with building guitar FX kits. From promoting mindfulness and stress relief to boosting self-esteem and building social support, this hobby can be a great way to improve your overall well-being. So if you're looking for a new way to unwind and take care of your mental health, why not give building guitar FX kits a try? You may be surprised at just how much it can help.

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2020+1 is imminently ending, and 2020+2 begins!

I know that some of you take pleasure in reading my ramblings and I seeing as I don't have another outlet then that's a spot of luck.

Covid is kicking our asses still, doing its best to ruin society but we won't let it. We're greater than that. I've spent a long time this year seeking professional help from Viv. We spoke about so much and I took a lot from it, predominantly around trauma and the compounding effects it has had on me.

To cut a long story short cos I've seen too much guts and gore, and brains and stuff, and nobody thought any intervention was a good idea then the slightest thing can be amplified by the past and made to seem 100x worse than it is. That was an interesting concept that I now believe in.  If you struggle along with your head then I do recommend Viv, she's a good therapist. I liked her! Struggling along won't cure whatever's troubling you, trust me.

What else... Sales remained very strong and we went through a period of growth with the new lines we added. Simon knocked it out the park with a plethora of new board designs, and I did a few good ones too honest. We extended the team here with Ian Gary Baldy local neighbour pedal builder becoming a chief assistant here. He's altered a few background processes here, taken some work away from me and now I'd be lost without him. Thanks also go to Reece and Ash for their ongoing help with things too. 

We have started growing the JP-Pro range, starting with the knobs and recently the face plates. We've got other ideas in development the biggest of which is an enclosure although its in its very early stages so that will be a while. We're a growing team of like minded people trying to stay a mile ahead of the game. We are winning, there's no doubt about that. I'm always interested in hearing from people who want to step aboard and help develop ideas that bring value to the brand. Or alternatively if you're name is Richard Branson Jr and you want to offer me a retirement level sum of moulah you could buy it all and i will go live on the beach! Chance = slim eh! 

I treated us to a Xbox Series X in summer and I've been playing FIFA 21 lately, its good! the kids love Minecraft and some American guy called Preston... could be worse I guess. I've got interested in cryptocurrency too. Its always good to try new things as lets be honest, the banks haven't done much to look after us or help our cash grow for some time now. Its a bit of a minefield though and the lesson is to always do your own research and do it well. The Coinbureau are a good resource IMO, with regular detailed YouTube videos on crypto products. If you're at all interested in this then you could have a look at crypto.com (using that link is my personal referral code.) but always do your own research before chucking your own cash into a product, its not for gamblers, people with addictive personalities or those with poor money control. Do your own research, don't blindly follow others. If you're already a hodler I'd love to hear from you. My aim is to get JP accepting crypto payments in the future but at the moment Wix aren't quite ready. 

Next year I'm going to start fishing again, Fred's going to be coming too. JP will continue to grow there's no doubt about that. The #newpedalfriday queue is rather large at the moment with some utter bangers of kits coming out. My favourite right now is the 'Doorstep Shuffle' which is comparative to the Lovetone Doppelganger. 

I don't see the restrictions ending anytime soon, so look after yourselves, each other and me too! we are stronger together. In closing - you remain awesome and we thank you for everything, you give us so much enjoyment every day seeing your builds, videos and the laughs we share along the way.

Best Wishes,

Well its 2021 now and we are still going through all this horribleness that we thought would be long forgotten. :(

I really hope you are all bearing up well, and, if you've had it, enjoyed the vaccine side effects as much as I did. I'm so glad the gym has opened again as it means I can get out of the house. As cool as the JP workshop is - it has a grand sum of 0 windows, so i am feeling a little like Nick Brody at the moment.

I've just ordered my 450th take out in the last 365 days, so perhaps its a double good job the gym is open! A lot of my work colleagues find themselves in the same boat. I know so many trades people have had such a rough year but I must pay homage to my emergency service colleagues for the risk they have taken whilst not only fighting a pandemic but also fighting whatever organisational risk they are employed to solve or prevent. 

Sales went up 500% in 2020 compared to 2019, its an honour to serve so many new builders as well as the older cohort from our earlier years.  There's a real sense of community around the place now.  Don' forget how important you are as an individual. Look after yourself physically and mentally as there are still hard times ahead. The fight isn't over yet, the progress to date has been manufactured and we must all continue to pull ourselves out of this.  We will be ok in the longer term, lets stick together but stay part.

In the meantime carry on being you, because you are bloody awesome.

Its 2020 and we're in the midst of a global pandemic. We've had our freedoms cut in half, local amenities all closed and many have lost loved ones without being able to say goodbye.

You're on a guitar pedal kit site and now you're reading this about mental health support, perhaps you are wondering why. Personally I wonder, why not.

Unbeknownst to me, I have helped many people cope over the lockdown. I was really humbled to start receiving emails from customers saying so.

It goes both ways guys, my kits and our support forum have built us a real sense of family, community and support through a terribly challenging time for everyone. Your messages of thanks give me a positive vibe. The base of this positive feeling is kindness, that costless element of humanity that for so many years has been lost. This year we stayed apart, but we came together.

We all have a different battle in our own heads, some of us have a war and some have a little argument. I'm yet to meet someone who has convinced me that they haven't experienced a mental health illness, even if for a short period. The difference is some people can shake it loose quicker than others, clear the fog and see sense.

Stay healthy and love yourself. If you're feeling down then reach out to loved ones, friends, family, colleagues...anyone. You may think nobody cares about you but you're kidding yourself. On the flip side to that, ask yourself when did I ask others if they are ok. Only a few weeks ago did a friend of mine go missing and commit suicide. We will never understand why but what I can tell you about that is that I know that suicide doesn't cure depression it just shares it.

Links below to support agencies.

Logo for the NSPCC Childrens Charity UK
Logo for Mind Charity in England and Wales
Logo for the Police Care Uk Charity
Logo for the Samaritans Organization UK