Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happiness Revolution...

Happy New Year's Eve! :)

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas :)

Our Christmas was perfect. It was quiet, calm and predictable. All vital ingredients for a successful and happy Christmas for DS :)

We all thoroughly enjoyed it, though I am absolutely dreading getting weighed in the new year! (too much Baileys and Prosecco spring to mind) eeek!

This is my second happiness revolution post and I am loving writing them. I think its good to concentrate more on positive happy stuff :)

So here is my little round up of the things that made me happy during we go...

1. We visited the Lantern Parade at Chester Zoo.
I find that there's just something so magical about walking around the zoo after nightfall, carrying colourful lanterns and seeing all the twinkly lights.
This definitely got me into the mood for Christmas.

2. Visiting the Christmas markets.
I always have a little overnight city stay in December which I combine with Christmas shopping and then a relaxing mini break before heading back home the next day.
This year didn't fail and I bought lots of handmade quirky gifts including delicious homemade Elderflower Wine! :)

3. Enjoying a gorgeous Spa day with my special Mums and the yummy afternoon tea for lunch :)

4. Snow!!!!! We got a beautiful blanket of snow and it made everywhere so Christmassy and magical :) :)

6. Walking through the forest all Snowy and Wintery was just amazing! I absolutely loved it! :)

7. Meeting up with my oldest schoolfriends for Secret Santa fun and a long overdue catch up though we are putting that right in 2018! ;)

8. Having an awesome festive Family day out and enjoying a old fashioned carousel :) We did train rides, lunch out and stopped for naughty Mulled Wines  - DS was his usual fantastic self and loved the day! :)

9. Having the best Christmas Day ever with DS.
We've definitely got Christmas pretty much spot on for him now though he does keep changing with his tolerance to things so I try to gauge that and alter stuff where I think it's needed to keep up with him :)

10. Being taken to a lovely old stone house in the countryside by a dear friend to rest after a busy year and Christmas. Delicious home cooked food, steaming hot bubble baths with a couple of glasses of prosecco, roaring fire and not to mention waking up to this pretty Winter view.
It certainly was a great way to end the year :)

There's so much more that I could go on and on as December was truly magical but I'll stop at these 10 :)

So all there is to say is here is to a great 2018......see you then :)

Love Amanda xx

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Happiness Revolution...

I am a pretty positive person anyway but I have decided to list the things that have made me happy and smile this month :)

I hope to do this at the end of every month, like a little sort of re-cap of the month.

It will be fab to just remind myself of things that made me beam or cry with laughter :) as well as to be able to look back on.

So let's forget all about negative stuff for a mo' :) here we go....

10 things that have had me smiling this month are...

1. Visiting the lovely autism friendly Thomas Centre and enjoying Lincolnshire. DS absolutely loves it there and I am starting to feel a little lovely connection to Louth :)
We have already booked to go back for our FOURTH visit! :)

2. Watching our own little firework display and seeing DS's beaming little face at all the pretty lights and colours :) Also enjoying the slow cooker Chilli Con Carne, chunks of fluffy homemade bread and 'special' baked potatoes that I made for afterwards :)

3. The very naughty Christmassy breakfast that I had with my Mum one morning after the school run. Mince pie and Toffee Latte! Mum and I promised each other that it would strictly be a one off! :D

4. DS and I catching the local bus into town on a Saturday afternoon to pick up some bits and even popped into my favourite cafe for a drink and toast. He was amazing and not to mention how brilliant he waited at the bus stop and sat on the bus beautifully for the journey home! Wow! :)

5. Learning to make pretty bath bombs and soap with my lovely new village group. I know already that I have made some life long friendships there and I so enjoy meeting up with everyone :)

6. Making the house more pretty and cosy. I even impressed myself with my DIY skills! :) My sawing was ace and precise even if I do say so myself! haha

7. Made the Christmas cake! It is only my second time at making this but last years Christmas Cake was a success so I decided to make it again this year using the same recipe.
The house smells so lovely and Christmassy that it's making me want to pour myself a glass of Mulled Wine -  like now!!

8. Not only did one of my lovely Mum friends get married this month but it was the first wedding that DS has attended. It was such a lovely and relaxed wedding which was perfect for DS.
He sat beautifully during the ceremony though he did do some of his own singing which made the newly wed couple turn around and smile at us! :) I am so proud of him! <3

9. My sofa, chair and carpets had their 6 monthly shampoo clean this week. I always love it when they have been done as they looks so new and shiny :)

10. Ditching sugar & artificial sweetener!!
I have always had sugar or sweetener in my tea. This month, I decided to retrain my taste buds and get use to unsweetened food and drinks. I am a few weeks into this change and find it more than okay.
As a result, I have decided to do a bit of a diet overhaul and have also cut out chocolate to just one night a week, I am drinking alot more water and am barely drinking wine and prosecco.

I definitely feel better for it and as a super bonus I have lost just under half a stone in weight in just a fortnight!

So there we have November's happy highlights :)
Feel free to join in too

Keep warm!

Love Amanda

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Desensitation/Making things a little bit less scary...

When it came to hospital & GP visits, DS would be ultra cool about them.

He didn't mind these sorts of appointment visits at all and I would even go as far as to say that he would actually look forward to them! :D

It wasn't always like that though. It took a lot of forward thinking, work and lots of time to get to that stage but once we were at it then it was a breeze!

Unfortunately, since then DS has had to have two blood tests quite close together. He hated it and it was mega traumatic for him.

Ever since, he has developed mega anxiety to anything medical related; so that's GP surgeries, clinics, hospitals and even dentists.

I am gutted as I feel we have gone about 18 months to 2 years backwards :(

Of course, I will start again trying to build up his trust with these sorts of visits but with his fantastic memory of those nasty blood tests, then I worry that he may never be okay about visiting the GP again.

However, I really want to start working towards this as soon as possible.

I have taken DS to the odd GP appointment with me, just to observe that it's all fine.
He has been anxious about it but been okay.

Today I decided to move our own little desensitation programme on a little bit.
This involved us driving to our local hospital and having a drink in the coffee shop.

I told DS where we were going and he wanted reassurance from me that it would just be the coffee shop within the hospital that we were visiting. I reassured him of that and he walked in with me, though still a tad anxious.

DS sat beautifully though as we drank our drinks and he munched on his apple :)

I am so happy that he was more than fine with it.
I will repeat this coffee shop visit several times before moving it on to maybe having a little walk down one of the hospital corridors....

Baby steps is the key here but I am so pleased that today was a success.

I am so proud of how he copes with so much.

Have a great half term! :)

Love Amanda xx

Friday, 29 September 2017

Beach House ...

I have just got back from the most relaxing and chilled out break ever!

A month or so ago, I decided (with lots of encouragement from family and friends!) that I would take some time out for a few days and go off for a little break somewhere.

The plan was to recharge and recuperate as life has been mega hectic lately.
With the recent Summer holidays, prepping DS for going back to school into a new class and all the changes that brings and helping him settle in as well as taking him to after school activities it's all been busy, busy, busy!

I have felt my energy levels starting to deplete so a lovely few days away sounded perfect! :)

Earlier this week, my boyfriend and I headed to the Norfolk coast and stayed in this dreamy beach house! It was like something out of a romantic film!

We would step out of the house, onto the decking and then literally onto the beach! The beach, the calm of the sea and the waves all on our doorstep! We just couldn't believe how perfect it was! :)

So whilst DS was being looked after back at home by his Dad and his Nan, my boyfriend and I sat on the cutest little bench in the sand dunes and admired the view.

I didn't lift a finger in all the time we were there as boyfriend wouldn't let me. He would make me cups of tea, bring me breakfast in bed and would pour me glasses of Prosecco in the evening as we sat on the beach and watched the waves :) I nicknamed him my 'Man Slave' whilst we were there as he did so many lovely things for me :)

We walked along beaches (I love a pretty beach!) and explored the area. We we're soooo lucky with the weather as we had blue skies and sunny days in all the time we were there.
We also ate such yummy food and drank lovely wine - it was so perfect!

One day, I had a sneaky nap as I was that relaxed and chilled.

We got home today and I was in time to collect DS from school :) I felt so refreshed as a result but I had missed him terribly and couldn't wait to see him!!

I saw the moment that he spotted me waiting for him and I saw him smile :) He let me give him a little kiss and then we had some lovely snuggles later on at home - I think he was glad to see me :)

Speak soon,

Love Amanda xxx

Monday, 18 September 2017

Hello Autumn...

So. sorry that I have been quiet on here for a while.
I am still here and have been busy busy with the school Summer holidays.

DS is now back at school and is settling in well.
He went back last week into a new classroom, new staff, new teacher everything and he is managing this monumental change very well.

For many years, September would be pretty tough for us all.
Starting the new school year and the changes that would bring would just be far too much for him.
However, this year he has just been totally cool with it all as well as having a 'bring it on' attitude! :)
I couldn't be prouder!
So to celebrate him completing not only his first week of school but completing N.A.I.L.I.N.G I.T I thought that it was only right that we took him to his favourite local pub for tea with his family :)
The weather has definitely turned chillier.......I've been wearing chunky knits with fluffy socks.
My Summer sandals have been swapped for boots which can only mean one thing.
Summer has well and truly left us.

I will be pulling out my trusty slow cooker from the back of the cupboard this week and will be prepping and cooking lots of warm and hearty stews and casseroles.

Can't wait to see all the pretty Autumnal colours outside and go leave kicking with DS :)

Speak soon,

Love Amanda xx

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Does it poo...?

DS is going through a 'what poos and what doesn't poo' phase

Yeah I know :D

Over the last three to four weeks, our conversations have gone like this.....

DS: Fire alarm

Me: Fire alarm?

DS: Fire alarm poo?

Me: Noo, fire alarms do not poo

DS: Freddy the dog poo?

Me: Yes, Freddy the dog does poo

DS: Dr Keily poo?

Me: Yes, Dr Keily does poo

DS: Washing machine poo?

Me: No, washing machines do not poo.

DS: *Chuckles away*

It goes on and on and on and on........

He goes through all family members including cats, dogs, rabbits then he goes through everyone he knows in school including staff and children.....every doctor and dentist he's ever encountered and every fire alarm, washing machine and hand dryer he's ever seen.......

"Pub hand dryer poo"?

"No, hand dryers do not poo"

*more chuckles*

It's pretty funny really even though he does ask the same questions over and over again and I answer them like it's the first time hes asked me :)

We saw a new doctor at the hospital last week. As soon as we left her consulting room and I was clicking his seat belt in the car, he asked me if she pooed! :D
That was the start of the millions questions down the M62 of who/what pooed and who didn't! :)

I think I know where this poo obsession has come from.
DS has recently independently conquered an area of toileting that I suspected was a few years away yet, but as a boy full of pleasant surprises, he has only gone and blown me away yet again!

He now takes himself off to the toilet without needing any assistance at all - a big WOW! :)

I was going to go into a bit more detail about that but I have a gorgeous boy here asking me if Father Christmas poos?! ..........

Better dash as I have a feeling that I'm about to answer ALOT of questions on this.....again! ;)

Speak soon,

Love Amanda xx

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Half Term Success & Organisation Skills...

We have just had our half term and what an awesome half term it was! :)

We took off to sunny Blackpool for the week.

I have concluded that Blackpool for a child is just one big funfest and Blackpool for an adult is a likely hen/stag do location :) (we saw tons of hen and stag groups whilst we were there)

DS really enjoyed Blackpool, he even said the word 'Blackpool' whilst we were there which was fantastic! :)

During our stay, we were mindful to manage DS's sensory issues carefully.
He did superb though we mis-judged this a bit in Madame Tussauds where it was quite loud and flashing lights - he hated this so we moved swiftly throughout the rooms with a bit more speed than we would have done usually :)
DS asked for breaks often by requesting to go back to the 'holiday house'.
As we were staying only a 10 minute drive away, this was more than doable.
We would head back, have maybe half an hour to an hour break there then head out again.
This worked really well and I think the secret to our success is because of these regular breaks.
We followed DS's lead on this and allowed him to guide us to when he needed them. I think that the fact that he felt he was in control of this went a long way.

Surprisingly DS enjoyed going right to the top of Blackpool Tower. We went as far as you could go and admired the views from the very top.
I kept checking with him if he was okay to go higher and he was happy too so we just kept going up and up until we could go up no more - he was a star! :)

Another amazing part of half term was two of my special Mum friends coming for the day.
DS loves meeting up with people he knows and he has a special soft spot for one of my Mums.
It was a gorgeous day so we all walked over to the beach.
Next thing, DS starts running towards the sea ( I often call him half boy, half fish for his love for the water) for a paddle and to jump the waves. At the same time, my Mum friend starts running with him to play. So there they both are stood in the sea giggling and jumping waves together both soaked through!
It was so funny to watch and so heartwarming too!
You can see now why DS loves her can't you? She had to walk around for the rest of the day in wet clothes as well as drive home but she said she didn't care :D
It was a great day! :)

Another day, we had a little horse and cart ride which DS enjoyed. He was so relaxed and loved having a nosey around as we trotted through the little side roads :)
I remember doing this with my own parents and loving it so it brought lots of lovely memories back to me <3

It goes without saying that no break is complete without a visit to the local launderette ;) ;)
I am so flabbergasted at how the school year is nearly over! Where has it gone?!
DS finishes school for Summer in around 6 weeks time so I am well into organising activities and things for us to do.
It really does not seem like any time at all when I was talking about the Summer hols last year! Scary!

Speak soon,

Love Amanda xx

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Dining from the Garden...

We are loving the Sunny weather here in our little corner of the world right now :)

DS is particularly loving it as it means lots of playtime in the garden which as the outdoor boy he is, then this is great! ;)

Another thing about the warmer weather arriving is my need to pretty the garden up a bit with some lovely bright and colourful pretty flowers.

I love adding a pop of colour to the garden with flowers and plants.

As DS likes to eat petals and leaves then I have to be extra cautious at the type of plants I buy.

Earlier this week, I popped down to my local garden centre and explained the situation to a experienced member of staff.
We spoke at length and she gave me some great ideas as well as what to avoid.

A few days later after doing lots of research of edible plants of flowers and of course the non-edible ones, I went back to the garden centre with my list of safe edible plants and flowers to buy.

I bought a nice selection and also decided on a little selection of herbs for him to munch on too.

I got them all home and popped them in the garden......typically he has not touched any of them! :D

It's still a Win Win situation though as I have safe plants for DS if he does choose to have a little taster session with them as well as some pretty flowers for the garden.

Hope you are enjoying the sunny days too :)

Love Amanda xx

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Easter Holidays...

Last week, we went back to the Thomas Centre in Lincolnshire.

I won't go into loads of detail about the centre, but you can read all about how fab it is here.

Last October, we took DS for a long weekend to the Thomas Centre to trial it.
He loved it so much that this time we booked a week's stay and it was just as successful! :)

It was a lovely family break with DS zooming around the place all with a happy smile on his face :)

We had quite a few 'WOW's on this holiday - the biggest was sitting beautifully in a country pub/restaurant one evening for tea.
One time, this would never have happened! Sitting there watching him whilst we all ate together and chatted was something that a few short years ago, I could never see happening....but it was happening!....right before my very eyes, too!

Once we had finished eating, he said 'pub nearly finished' which is his way of saying it's time to go, which I thought was fair enough especially after how truly amazing he had been!

Another plus was the weather.
The weather was glorious in Lincolnshire, we were really lucky.
I did try sneaking off a few times to a lovely suntrap I had found for a little sunbathe, but DS clocked me every single time and would take my hand to lead me to the play area or the soft play with him.

I think I need to work on my 'sneaking off' skills.....;)

DS was so excited to be there.
He was up early every morning asking for 'outside'.
I would brush his teeth and help him get dressed and we would be outside playing at 7.30am most days :D  He loved it! :)

One day we went on a little day trip to Skegness.
We played on the beach, found sand dunes, ate fish and chips by the sea and went on the funfair.
We had a ride on the Big Wheel, which DS enjoyed and we went on a Runaway Train  - he loved the speed on that one! :)

We also tried our luck on 'Hook a Duck'
DS hooked three ducks and won a Peppa Pig!
It was such a fantastic day! :)

We are now home and in the second week of the Easter holidays.
We have a few days planned out this week along with catching up with house and garden jobs in the meantime.

I have sorted out all DS's outgrown clothes, shoes and wellies and have listed them all on eBay.
It's been a great week and it really does feel like Spring at last! :)

Love Amanda xx

Monday, 13 March 2017

Peak District & Storm Doris...

Two weeks ago was half term for us and I decided a good while ago that we were going to take off for it.

So I booked a lovely and cosy little cottage tucked away in the hill of the Peak District.

DS loves this cottage for its huge roaring fire though I've got to admit it is a very dreamy fire.

So we loaded the car up with clothes, food, drinks and of course the laptop and iPad and set off for the cottage.

We had a glorious 3 nights stay there. We would potter about during the day and then spend the evening curled up by the fire in our PJs snuggled together - it was so lovely.

Ideally, I really needed another person with me as I felt some of the local days out would be a bit too challenging for me on my own with DS. I really fancied visiting some of the caves but resisted as, thinking about it, that would be what I call a 'two man job' haha
Never the less, we still had a great time and would wander around the village to the local shop and delicious bakeries for homemade yummy treats to take back to the cottage.
We also stumbled across some brilliant children's play areas so spent some time playing on them :)

Making the fire in the evening was something that DS and I became quite skilled at :)

We would build it together. DS would screw up the newspaper and pop it in the grate, along with kindling and coal.
He loves fire which I believe most boys go through a 'fire phase' at some point! (eek!)

Once the fire was expertly built by DS, I would light it.

We made a great team! :) :)

The day we came home was the day Storm Doris was causing havoc!
Driving along the high and very windy Peak District roads was definitely not the smoothest drive I've ever done to say the least but DS sang beautifully all the way home which was lovely and calming for me :)

Understandably, it took us a lot longer to get home but DS coped with the delay brilliantly!

All too often, half term weeks fly by just far too fast.....


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Birthday Happiness...

Last week was my birthday.

It wasn't a special birthday like a 30th or 40th but for some reason the celebrations for it went on for a whole week! :)

Let's be clear, I am in no way shape or form complaining about this at all (none whatsoever!) but for someone who has always felt that their birthday falls at just the wrong time of the year......3 weeks to the day after Christmas Day and exactly two weeks after New Year........then I am very chuffed! :)

I know that I have mentioned before how I purposely worked it so that DS was born at a more respectable time of the year. I was aiming for May/June (he was born in May) as I just think the days are lovely around this time and I pictured beautiful sunny garden birthday parties for him/her (didn't know the gender until the birth) which is exactly how we celebrate his birthday :)

My own birthday celebrations kicked off last Friday when I very excitedly discovered that I had won an Afternoon Tea with prosecco.
The restaurant for this was situated right on the River Dee in Chester.

I took my forever supportive lovely Mum, who by the way needed little persuasion for this and we hopped on the train into Chester.
We sat by the window so had a lovely view of the river watching rowers going up and down and couples walking hand in hand fighting against the cold and wind.

It felt lovely and cosy as Mum and I were curled up in big comfy chairs looking out and chatting away :)

Friday evening saw my amazing tribe of fellow special needs Mums brave the bitter cold January wind to come to a country pub for a delicious meal and drinks.

I even got lovely cards and presents and felt very spoilt!
I have made no secret in the past just how utterly fabulous these ladies are!
I think its absolutely amazing how each of us have our own challenges and obstacles with our children yet we still support, soothe, advice and big each other up when one of us is struggling!
No amount of money could buy that. I feel so lucky to know them and will often refer to them as 'my Mums' or 'the Mums' :)

After a much needed lie in on Sunday, I was brought cups of tea in bed - perfect!

We then went out for lunch with DS and my Mum to a local (and autism friendly) pub restaurant that we often take DS to.

The day ended with DS putting my candles into my little birthday cake and helping me blow them out.
So the candles were shoved right into the cake but who really cares? :) Certainly not me!

To complete the celebrations, I went on the most gorgeous spa break!

I love holistic therapy treatments and always float out of the treatment room.
It was a real treat to be pampered - pure bliss! The endless glasses of wine and prosecco certainly enhanced the relaxation experience!
It was pure heaven!

Definitely a birthday to remember :)