Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Hallowe'en!

We are so into Halloween here that we are practically giddy with it all! :)

This week, we have had a few really wet and miserable days weather wise so on those days, I pulled out our huge craft box with pencils, felt pens, string, glitter, paint and glue, plonked it on the table and we all got stuck in making some Halloween themed crafts.

Well, when I say 'we' I mean more 'I' with a little help from his lordship :)

I free-hand drew a witches' hat and spider onto black card, cut them out and then decorated with some ribbon around the hat and a face for the spider. I did the same on a piece of white card for the ghost and drew eyes and a mouth using a thick black marker pen.
I then hole punched them and thread them through a piece of rustic looking string for a garland.

We then moved over to making a bat from a loo roll.
I needed black paint for the bat so DS's fave bit is squeezing the paint from the bottle into the's just that he doesn't really stop and fills every available paint tray compartment with paint! :D He was happy and enjoying himself so I let him get on with it :)

I drew some wings on black card, cut them out and stuck them on using tape.

Next I fished out some clean empty pasta sauce jars from the cupboard (I keep these to make marmalade and jams) gloopy glued the jars then carefully wrapped a thin piece of bandage around, let them dry and then finished with some googly eyes on both :) Just need to pop some battery tealights in for the 'glow'.

*Note to self: Need to replace the roll of bandage I nicked from the First Aid box!*

Another little beauty is this wonderful pumpkin paper garland. When I pulled out the craft box, this was hiding behind it. I had forgotten all about it as I bought it last year in the post Halloween bargain sales so it was unopened still in its packaging. :) Love little surprises like that :)

I always make a batch of pumpkin soup from the carving of our pumpkin but this year, I decided to have a bash at making a sweet pumpkin pie as well.

It was such a simple recipe of pumpkin flesh, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and a few eggs...

Then pour the mixture into a pastry case and pop in the oven...

It turned out quite well, a bit lopsided as my pastry case was cracked to begin with :( but it certainly didn't alter the taste. The texture and taste is very similar to an egg custard I thought.
I served my pumpkin pie with a blob of cream.

The only downside to pumpkin pie is that it will only last a few days in the fridge as it goes off really quickly. As I hate to throw food away, I can see myself portioning it up and handing it out to my lovely neighbours with mini pots of cream :)

DS enjoys Halloween evening when the 'Trick or Treaters' come knocking. He likes to come the door with me smiling away as I hand out mini bags of sweets. He particularly enjoys seeing all the dressing up and face paints on the children.

However, I know that there are many children on the spectrum that really don't enjoy Halloween. They find it confusing and unnerving as it's something out of the norm.
I was recently talking to a fellow Mum about this as her child jumps everytime he hears the doorbell.
I suggested making a card to go on the door that read something like:

Happy Halloween!

Thanks for calling by but PLEASE DO NOT RING THE BELL OR KNOCK ON THE DOOR as someone with autism lives here and is anxious about Halloween.

Please help yourself to a bag of sweets from the bowl :)

Thank-you and have a great and spooky-tastic night! :)

Of course you can adapt the wording to anything you like - you can add more or less depending on your preferences. You could also make it Halloween-y in orange and black card with some spider detail on it but make sure it's friendly and sensitively explains the reason not to knock on the door.

If DS struggled with Halloween night, then I would certainly be implenting this at our house or if not then something very similar.

I know that I am probably preaching to the choir here but ...PARENTS: Please could you explain to your little witches, wolves and devils this evening that if they are to see anything like this, then please do not knock. It's not that the occupants are 'stuck in the muds' or do not like Halloween, it's just a person with autism there finds the event confusing and frightening and that's okay.

Together, with a little understanding and education, we can all have an enjoyable Halloween.

Happy Halloween! :) :)

Friday, 30 October 2015

Ombre to Bronde....

I hope you folks don't mind me interrupting this month's Halloween themed blog with a hair spam post?

I have had ombre hair for most of the year now as I looooovvvved it that much! I first had it done waaaay back in February and just kept having it touched up :)

I am naturally a brunette, medium brown I would say, but if I need to be reminded on exactly what shade I naturally am, I tend just to discreetly eyeball my brother's hair colour as I'm about the same as him :) (before him, I used to eye up my Dad's before he started going grey that is! ;))

So as much as I have loved my ombre look, I felt that it was time for something a little different.
So with much thought and flicking through hair websites, I decided to go BRONDE.

For those who are not in the know, bronde is brown with hints or flashes of a little blonde here and there hence its name :)

As I am brown anyway, I wanted to be near my natural shade of brown with just a few hints of blonde here and there to make it more 'interesting'

Here is the result....

As you can see the blonde has gone from the ends leaving a nice soft look :)

I have just lifted up the top section of my hair to show you the blonde underneath, this is where I have most of the blonde - even when it's tied up it still looks cool.

I am really happy with it so will probably stick with it for a bit until I feel another 'change' coming on! haha

It's funny as when I was sat in the salon with hair dye on, foils sticking out the side of my head and my wet hair piled on top of my head I was thinking how just a few years ago, I was a regular visitor in the salon with 6 weekly cuts, colours and even popping in for a good quality conditioning treatment or a professional blow dry.

Oh my how things have changed! Since becoming a Mum, well, other things take priority don't they?
Some (most) days, it's a challenge to even finish a cup of tea as there are just not enough hours in the day to squeeze everything in.
DS is booked into the salon every 6 weeks for a haircut without fail :D his hair grows that fast that he always desperately needs it when it comes round, I am just not that good with booking myself in.

I have to admit though, I am doing better, with (me) having quite long hair, I am often seen inspecting the ends which I use as my guide to whether I need a trim or not. I probably have my ends whipped off about every 2 months to keep my hair healthy and neat.

Another point I should make, is that it doesn't have to cost a fortune to keep our crowning glory looking good :) For yonks now, I have been going to my local hairdressing college salon and I can honestly pinky promise say that I have never left there disappointed :)

The cheapskate in me doesn't want to pay £80-£100 for hair appointments anymore. I like value for money. If I am going to hand over my dosh then I want see my money's worth for it and the college salon certainly delivers that and much more!

I pay a fraction of the cost, the students are all lovely young ladies (I haven't come across a male yet) and eager to please you as well as them being closely monitored by their lovely and professional tutors - what could possibly go wrong?
Okay, so you could possibly  have an extra half an inch snipped or your hair coloured a shade lighter or darker than what you imagined, but really, is that really that bad?? No of course it isn't!. Like I said, no hiccups have ever happened to me nor have I ever witnessed any whilst I've been there.

Above all that, you are giving a potential next budding Nicky Clarke valuable experience of cutting and colouring your locks! :)

I cannot recommend this option enough and I will continue my regular visits for a long time to come :)

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Pumpkins Galore...

I confess, I love Autumn!
Halloween and Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night are right up my street!

I don't think I have ever grown up from experiencing them as a child - okay so I have stopped apple bobbing now but that's about it! ;)

This week, I was playing around with Halloween make-up and went for a zombie. Considering that this was attempt one, I don't think it's a bad effort, though I know parts to make it better for next time.

So with Halloween on my mind, the boyf and I planned a Halloween themed day out with our boys. And do you know what? It was awesome! :)

We took them both to a pumpkin patch where we chose our pumpkins and then sat and carved them with the help of Winnie the Witch (if we needed her)

My boyf's son 'C' is neurotypical (NT) but of course I needed to know every tiny detail so I could prepare DS for the day.

Earlier in the week, I had rang the farm and asked if there would be a quiet area away from the crowds that DS could carve his pumpkin, The lady on the phone was really helpful and said that wouldn't be a problem and together we would find somewhere suitable. I just had to let a staff member know when we had arrived.

So this morning we set up, pulled up at a very busy farm (eeek!) and followed the hand painted wooden signs to the pumpkin patch.

Before reaching the patch, we had to walk through a very dark polytunnel with loads of cool Halloween decorations.
C and I was drawn to a small covered spider web shelf with jars of spell potions such as 'wool of a bat' and 'eye of a toad'. We grinned at each other with excitement!

Choosing our pumpkins was serious business for C and his Dad! It had to be just right so he was off in search of 'just the right one'! :)
Once we had our pumpkins, I notified a member of staff and we were taken to a VIP area.
We were shown in large and spacious polytunnel with bales of hay, a vintage sofa and some working tables - it was perfect!

Within minutes, we set to work on our own pumpkins.
C asked his Dad to help carve the top of his pumpkin and then he did the rest by himself.
He had chosen a larger one for his Dad and a slightly smaller one for himself as he said they were pumpkin versions of him and his Dad :) (awwww)

DS preferred to draw and colour pumpkins and would glance up at what we were doing every now and again :)

We talked and laughed whilst we worked, it was a really lovely atmosphere evident on everyone's face how much we were enjoying it. Even glancing over at DS he was happily colouring away picking up on everyone's happy vibes :)

We finished! Everyone's carving looked ace and I couldn't believe how professional C's was.
I asked him if had carved one before and he answered no which was surprising as his was probably the best! :)

So we popped the precious pumpkins in the car and then took the boys to the play area. I bought an extra one to scoop the flesh out at home as I will make my usual annual Spiced Pumpkin Soup which always goes down well and I will carve the pumpkin afterwards.

It was getting cold and near lunchtime so we all huddled in the car and drove up the road to a Toby Carvery.

As per usual, I walked in first to suss out how busy/quiet they were and to ask for a quiet table in the corner.
I was allowed to walk around and choose as they were pretty empty.

I went back to the car to get the boys and in we all went.

We all ate well, even C ate a roast and served himself. He even went back for a second helping of roast turkey, carrots and mashed potato! :) and then had chocolate fudge cake with custard!

DS had chocolate fudge cake and sat happily soaking in our happy chatter and laughter whilst talking about the fun we had at the pumpkin farm.

Such a brilliant family day out and to think that just a few short years ago, I wouldn't even had considered taking DS to somewhere like that knowing he would seriously struggle with it all :(

Whilst the boys were playing on the park, I got chatting to a lovely family sat next to me on the bench. I was (as I always do!) talking about DS and how brilliant he had done today.
The family had a young relative with autism and was telling me how his Mum was struggling. I did my best to give some light hearted tips to feedback to her as I very much recognised alot of what they were saying from a younger DS!

As a result, I have been a bit reflective today, thinking back at how much tougher things used to be.
DS's Dad and I were in deep conversation about it and as always he was making me laugh reminding me of some of the stories :D

We finished the day off with a bike ride around the farm next door to our house and then back indoors for a mug of hot tea and a warm.

Today will be very hard to beat as it was that enjoyable and I think after a good dose of fresh air and roasted meat and vegetables, we will all sleep well tonight (and I am not just referring to the children!)

Hope you are all having a good weekend too!


Monday, 5 October 2015

Another Ball....

Balls are like weddings for me. I go an age not going to one then all of a sudden I am invited to three all within the same Summer!

So yes this last weekend, I trotted (well slight limp as still recovering from op) to another charity ball.

I brought along the boyf to this one as a thank you for his endless bucket load of support, hugs and love whilst I've been healing *mwah*!

So with my hair loosely and a bit messily curled (I don't like pristine 'in place' hair, I like mine to be a bit boho wild with a tad messy) and make-up on, I was ready! :)

The ball was held in the most gorgeous country house not too far from me. The theme was masquerade so I sported a very thin metal mask with blue diamante to tie in with my blue dress.
The boyf wore a silver fab male mask...
The venue was beautiful with free flowing champagne and wine which I was happy to oblige ;)

As always it was awesome spending the evening with my special needs Mummy friends
I was still quite poorly and if I am honest, I wasn't quite up to the night as I was still weak so I kept having to sneak off to lie down. The boyf stayed and was looked after by these wonderful ladies! :)

The food was delicious! I missed the starter (as I was having one of my lie downs) made it back for the main and missed the dessert!

The boyf kept assuring me that if I wanted to go home just say, but I was trying my little hardest to make it through the night as long as I could. I thought I did pretty well as we left with everyone else though as soon as we got into the car to drive home I conked out with exhaustion!

A great night with lots and lots of money raised for the fabulous charity! :) I just wished that I was feeling more myself for it :/

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Operation & Recovery when you're a Parent....

I am sat here wincing in pain every so often as I write this....

A few days ago, my phone alarm went off and as suspected it was pitch black as I fumbled around for it and turned it off.

I turned to give my boyfriend a quick kiss before getting out of bed and heading to the bathroom.

By the time I came out, he lovingly handed me a mug of tea and a sympathetic smile as today was my dreaded op day.

The hospital I was to be admitted at is a good hour drive from my house so as I had to be there for 7am, after kissing a sleeping DS's head we crept outside, hopped in the car and set off. (My Mum was inside with DS)

I was first on the list for theatre and calmly sunk back into the trolley bed as they wheeled me in, I shared a joke with the anaesthetist before putting me to sleep for my back operation.

Waking up 3 hours later in tremendous pain, I nearly fainted but just about managed to stay with it. The operation went really well and apparently I was a 'strong trouper' throughout! :)

Being away from DS was extremely hard, my boyfriend and Mum were at home caring for him, taking him to school and collecting him everyday.
I had already prepared DS that I would be away for a little while but I was careful not to say where I was going. The reason for this? Well if DS knew I was going to hospital then he would of insisted that he came with me! He would of refused to co-operate with anything else until he was with me!
I just told him who was going to be looking after him and that I would be home shortly and he seemed fine with that :)

I asked my BF to send me a pic of DS and when I saw his beautiful smiley face beaming up at the camera I got a little teary eyed........(actually A LOT teary eyed!) *WUSSY MUM ALERT*!

The next day I was discharged from hospital for good behaviour ;) all drugged  and morphined up so excited to see my boy :)
Saying goodbye to the ladies on my ward and giving each of them a kiss, they all knew about DS and told me to give him a kiss from them and how handsome he was from the zillions of pictures I kept showing them! haha

I arrived home around lunchtime to a beautifully sparkly clean house and the most inviting looking fresh bed (thanks Mum! xx)

As my BF set off to collect DS from school I sat excited at seeing him. He looked concerned at probably my pale complexion and morphine-upped eyes but seemed to be okay about me being home again.

Over the next week, DS has sensed that something isn't quite right with me so has left me alone.
Just a few times I have woken up to him lying on top of me and snuggling into me for the most gorgeous cuddle - the sight of this has made my BF and Mum panic and run towards us to lift him off but I have more than once lied about him not hurting me and to leave him be - cuddles from him is worth tolerating any amount of pain for! ;)

Amazingly DS has been sensitive to me. Every morning, I pretty much get jumped and bounced on to play but he has not done anything like this even once to me since I have been home.
It frustrates me how many people think kids with autism have a low IQ. I promise you that, like my boy, many people are actually very intelligent!
I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times this lad has shocked me when he has effortlessly done something that either I haven't been able to suss out myself or I wouldn't of thought he would be able to understand in a million years!
I have learnt never to under estimate this intelligent child and I would imagine it's the same for most cool dudes with autism :)

Just this evening, I was reaching over into my little vanity case for some facial serum (as I have to lock and hide moisturisers and creams away as he loves squeezing these things into the bath) and for the first time he saw my dressing covering up the row of stitches on the bottom of my back. Without warning he started pulling them off which made me scream! My BF came running in to find DS sat there laughing at the marvellous scream reaction he had just got from me!
He has been in a mischievous mood all day so my BF re-directed him to play with him leaving me to get over my little shock! haha *CUE: MORE THORNTON'S CHOCOLATES FOR SHOCK PLEASE*

My BF and Mum have been amazing! I really don't know where I would be without them and if that's not enough, my BF came home from doing my shopping the other day with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and a box of my favourite chocolates in the whole wide world!

So with having the best boy in the world as well as the best Mum and the best boyfriend a girl could ask for, I am one very very very lucky girl! :)

I am so sorry for this slushy post - I blame the morphine! Normal blogging will resume shortly! :) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 31 August 2015

Back to School....

With it being 'Back to School' next week for most of our kids, I literally cannot believe at how fast the holidays I have gone! It's just as scary that we go into September tomorrow too!

I am no way ready to send DS back to school yet, I want to plead to the education authority that we haven't had enough time with him and that we need more (time) to do more lovely things *wails into my cup of tea*

The holidays have been lovely and I have absolutely LOVED having him all to myself for the 6 weeks!

We went on holiday just a week or so ago and although that was hard work at times, it was very rewarding hard work as he just loved being there! He swam everyday and just loved the pretty little village cottage we were staying in - it made our holiday seeing him so happy :)

Remember my Summer bucket list that I wrote? Well I thought I would revisit it to see what we did and what we didn't manage to do.....

1) Head to the beach whenever Mr. Sun comes out to play! :) Take our fishing nets, bucket and spades and packed lunch.

Big tick for this one as especially on holiday, we were always going to the beach and with one of them times DS finding some muddy sand and decided to lie in it :) It was so funny - that kid is attracted to mud I swear he is! ;) ;)

2) Find a pretty and safe wild swimming spot and go for a dip!

We didn't manage to do this as there just wasn't a day that was warm enough to heat up a lake :(

3) Eat chips on the seafront with a bottle of retro style Coca-Cola

Does it count that we bought fish and chips and then took them back to the cottage to eat? *asks hopeful* No I didn't think so.....

4) Camp in the garden. We do this a lot in Summer. Pitch the tent in the garden and even cook our tea on the camping stove. The rules are to only enter the house to use the loo!

This is one that we smash every Summer! But when I went into the shed to dig out the tent, it was gone! Then I remembered, it had a rip so I had to bin it :(
But not to worry as I have secured funding just this week as it happens for a spanking brand new tent and equipment of my  choosing! Yaaay! The nice lady I spoke to said "that's so lovely dear that DS loves camping, not a problem, I will pop you a cheque in the post dear. Thank you dear, take care now dear"
I literally cannot wait to go camping shopping now! :) :)

6) Practise our bike riding skills as much as we fancy on the front of our house :)

Big tick for this one as we do this at every opportunity :) though not today as its raining heavily here in Cheshire :(

8) Explore rock pools for sealife and cool treasures

This is something we do automatically when we got the beach, its as natural as falling asleep when your tired! :)

10) Play chase and tick

DS 's fave game! Last week I had to go to a hospital to have a general anaethestic, I came home groggy that afternoon but DS still had me running around the house chasing him! :/

11)Make biscuits and decorate them - DS loves the sensory feedback of flour :)

I don't know why but we never got round to doing this, probably because we were too busy playing chase to do them! Plus I see that as a rainy day activity which we don't seem to have had too many of them here since we've been home *hooray*

13) Invite a friend over to play and create a picnic in the garden.

This has been one of my faves! We invited his best friend from his class over and they had a great play day :) DS and I drove to pick her up where she was waiting for us in her house, she jumped in the car and we drove to our house. They played in the garden, with balloons, drawing and painting - it was ace! When it was time to take her home again, DS waved her off and inside she went - we will definitely be inviting her over again even though I was so tempted to keep her! ;)

14) Make a den on a rainy day and watch DVDs from it with cool treats and drinks

As it is chucking it down here, this is one we will be doing today! I already have the blankets ready to make a den with and can I just say? I am awesome at making dens! ;) ;)

15) Fill the paddling pool up and pop in a sachet of 'Gelli Baff' which will turn the water into a blue lagoon or red, green depending on which colour you go for.
We love this and use them in the bath for a great sensory play experience

Attempted this one but for some reason DS is off his paddling pool so away it went...

16) Invite DS's favourite family and friends round for tea/BBQ

This one is to do........:)

17) Visit the Zoo.

Everytime I called the zoo to see what quiet-ish days they had, I always told "ah no, we're heaving today love" so being wise and all that, I decided to steer clear of the zoo! :/

18) Visit the Safari Park - the monkeys are our favourite animal :)

We did this as the beginning of the holidays! We chose a day to go that Peppa Pig was there so we met her :) went on rides and did the scary safari drive! The biggest baboon sat on my car and knackered my squirters! They are fixed now - oh and a party of them had a picnic on my roof!
I've had my car from new and its just 5 years old now, coming out of there it looked like it was 12 years old! But all in the name of fun eh? *stares at bashed car*

19) Have a fab time on holiday

This was a mega success and a awesome time had by all! :) :) :) :)

20) Swim in the local pool.

We do this every single week with my half boy and half fish child :) :)

21) Make daisy chains

Didn't come across any sadly...

22) Make some play-dough and use different food colouring for different colours

Again, doing this week as I deem this as a rainy day activity..

23) Do some pavement chalking - I have some cool chunky chalks that I got from a charity shop that's perfect for this

Yep - we did this and even went a step further by chalking the trampoline as the first rain washes it off! :)

24) PARENTS ONLY - Try to stay mentally sane and hide in bathroom when need a quiet cup of tea or a glass of wine! :) :)

I didn't even had to try as DS was amazing! But I know other people who find the holidays hard going! I use to find it tough too...

25) When things go wrong or not to plan, try not to get too hung up about it. I learn from it and try to move on with the attitude that tomorrow is a whole brand new day! I expect some ups and downs

So true and a mantra I still stick to!

I have started to talk to DS about school now and am showing him pictures everyday of class and teaching staff. So far its going good, he is engaged and even smiling at the pictures :)
I will talk to him today about school once I have made the den and we will go through the staff names :)

Yesterday, I took him to Clarks to get his feet measured and get some new shoes.
He coped brilliantly! He was even happy to keep his school shoes on.

All good signs I think, so in the meantime, I will keep talking to him about school as well as keeping my fingers crossed!

I hope all your super Autism Mums and Dads out there have survived the holidays and even enjoyed them!

Speak soon xx

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Autism Mums Night Off....

Last month, myself and a few of my autism Mums went to a charity ball which was the brainchild of a fellow parent carer *excited face*

Everytime me and my ladies got together, we always talked about the ball and what colour we would be wearing so none of us wore the same colour or even worse the same dress!!!!!

Just like most Mums, we dont really have the opportunity to go on many evenings out as it's not as straight forward as organising a babysitter for our children. Our children need specialised sitters with the right knowledge and training and that does not come easily or cheap!

Personally for me, I do more than okay. I have my wonderful wonderful Mum who is amazing with DS. I can leave him with her and go off with an easy mind. There's also DS's Dad, and my partner.

Some of my other Mummy friends aren't as lucky as me :(

Anyway for the night of the ball, all children were in safe hands whilst we met up and trotted off to the ball.

It was lovely to get all glammed up, drink champagne and have an enjoyable evening in the late Summer sun :)

All we did was laugh, laugh, laugh and dance which is just so awesome for the soul! :)

We made a bit of a vow that we would get together and do more stuff like this much more often which we have done already!

I'll leave you with the pics of the night which show just what an amazing time we all had.......