Autism With Lola – A Special Offer

By | October 9, 2019

When D was diagnosed with autism at age 4.5, I had an immense need to find out as much as I could about autism, I still do, I don’t think I will ever stop learning.

It felt quite a lonely time, I hadn’t joined social media and really really wanted to find other parents/carers to speak to them as I instinctively felt that their experiences would help me and D by being around people who “got” the challenges and share the highlights that our children bring.

A few years (and grey hairs!) later, I joined Twitter and was delighted to discover that, by using hashtags, I could search for parents/carers/autistic individuals and connect with them. Through their blogs and posts I could read that, no matter where they were located in the world, they were there for advice, for chats or a virtual fist bump. I find a “tribe”, if you like.

One member of the “tribe” has taken her need to generate autism awareness and acceptance a much-needed step further is Jodie, the author of Autism with Lola, Playing With Bourbon Badger and she very kindly sent me her book, activity book and Lola bunny for me to share with D and review.

My first impressions of the story book and activity book are that they are very calming, both in the colours used for the cover, the story and the lovely illustrations.

The story is a very familiar one, Lola (the bunny) is enjoying painting, so much so that she is completely overwhelmed by the noise that a tidy-up instruction before playtime brings.

At playtime, Lola is alone and unhappy, she is scared and worried until Bourbon Badger comes to the rescue.

Lola’s autism is described in the book in a way that children will understand and hopefully empathise with.

The back pages of the book has advice from an occupational therapist and speech pathologist with questions that could be asked in a classroom situation to further understanding, as well as discussion topics and strategies.

The activity book is designed to help children understand what it feels like to be autistic, with varying activities from word searches, emotions, drawing activities and colouring.

I can see that D would enjoy the activity book too, making her realise that the sensory overload and emotions she feels at times are felt by Lola too.

Lola Bunny herself is gorgeous! A soft plush toy with any labels firmly hidden away. Her large ears are so soft to the touch and can you spot what she has in her paw? Her ear defenders! I also love Lola’s cute little smile.

There is currently a special offer on the bundle of story book, activity book and Lola bunny, the offer can be found here.

Disclosure: we were sent the story book, activity book and toy for the purpose of this review, my words and views are my own.

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An Overview of Phonological Errors

By | August 28, 2019

D and T are now 15 and nearly 17 years old respectively, one of the aspects that made me wonder “could it be autism” was their speech – or lack of it – in their early years. Both had stilted speech, used echolalia and were not able to express themselves verbally when overwhelmed. This is sometimes still an issue when stressed.

I have been asked to share this infographic and I’ve found it very interesting.

Speech delays and disorders are more common in children with autism and with autism spectrum disorders.

Yet phonological errors and phonetic errors are common in children with other conditions.

Compounding the issue, all children make mistakes when learning how to speak.

The challenge for parents is determining what is normal and what should be a matter of concern.

This infographic on phonological errors by WPS Publish lists the most common phonological errors, the names for each, and an overview of what causes them. It also tells parents when these issues should disappear in normal children and when they suggest a severe speech problem.

If your child is making these mistakes and has hit the age where it should have faded away, take your child in for an assessment.

Speech therapy and counseling should be done as soon as possible to prevent speech problems from interfering in your child’s development and education.

Types of Phonological Processes

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.

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I’m proud to be the Mumma to an Autistic Daughter #autism #autisticpride

By | June 17, 2019

When you think of Autism, what comes into your mind first?

Rainman as portrayed by Dustin Hoffman or a child flapping their hands around, struggling to communicate?

Both have autism, both are individual.

Because that’s what autism is, an umbrella name under a broad spectrum. Some individuals are “high functioning”, with an amazing ability to remember facts and statistics, others have what would be described as “classic” autism with the three autistic traits (OCD, stilted speech and a lack of awareness of social skills) and then there is the severe end of the spectrum with the little or no speech, physical difficulties and an vastly decreased emotional age versus actual age.

All are autistic and autistic children will grow up to become autistic adults.

There is no cure for autism, but (with the most appropriate support for that individual) coping mechanisms can be learnt.

I’d like to focus on two examples, the first being a five year old girl, diagnosed at 4 years old, after it became very apparent in a mainstream nursery setting that she was showing the classic signs of autism (the 3 traits as mentioned above), this little girl couldn’t hold a conversation, couldn’t join in with “play”, couldn’t tolerate a classroom full of children due to sensory overload but could count to 50 at age 3, way above the anticipated nursery entry level.

The little girl was too overwhelmed by the environment to read or write but would point out numbers everywhere, on doors, on buses, on supermarket shelves.

The little girl was picked to perform in the Christmas Nativity play and joined in with rehearsals, but on the day of the performance, because of the unfamiliar environment of the school hall and the sight and sounds of the audience, physically and emotionally could not be a part of the play.

The little girl’s school day wasn’t in the classroom but in the corridor outside, a desk with a “safe place” under it, a 1:1 TA was appointed but the little girl was too “scared” and overwhelmed to join in.

The little girl who’s memory for numbers was way ahead of her peers, was placed on the lowest level table when she could join in class because there was nowhere else she could go.

Breaktimes and lunchtimes were spent clutched onto a TA’s hand as the fast pace of the playground was too overwhelming, the reassuring hand grasp meant security for the little girl.

Always accompanying the little girl were a number of small bags, each containing items of comfort which could be taken out when needed, acorns, leaves, playmobil figures, laminated sheets etc, all very important to the little girl, of little interest to others.

Despite the dedicated presence of the 1:1 TA, the little girl wasn’t progressing but it seemed that her needs were not sufficient to warrant an SEN or ECHP being granted.

For the little girl, any sensory overload resulted in an emotional or physical outburst, or a meltdown, sometimes over as quickly as it began, sometimes longer-lasting, which if it were hours, could be emotionally and physically draining.

You might be thinking why have I used an example of a girl, do girls have autism?

The answer is “yes”, girls do have autism but seem to be more able – apart from my example above – to mask their traits, meaning that by the time additional support might be needed (for example, in the transition to secondary school), it is harder to source, as a pathway to a diagnosis (or “label”) may not have been considered.

The “label” of an autism diagnosis can be off-putting for individuals, parents or carers, the fear that a “label” will mean than the individual will be treated differently, when in reality, it is a “tool” to accelerate putting support in place and it must be remembered that the autistic individual post-diagnosis is no different to how they were the week before/the day before or even the hour before – they are the same person, but they now have a “label”.

The autism “label” also opens up alternatives if the current educational setting is not proving successful, which is where my next example comes in.

In a special needs school, there is a girl of 15, to instantly look at her, you wouldn’t think she was autistic, she answers when spoken to, is able to make her way independently around school and participates fully in lessons, including extra curricular activities such as after school clubs, music lessons and other opportunities.

Looking beyond the surface and you’ll find that the girl answers when spoken to as she knows it is expected of her, makes her way independently around school as it is a familiar environment and joins in activities as she has received detailed gentle and frequent instruction as to what would be happening.

The teenage girl will leave the “cushion” of school in a few years and the transition to college/a further setting has already started with the focus on life skills, on managing money and more trips into the community.

Meltdowns are something the two girls have in common, in the second example, there is a vast degree of “masking” happening, which is when any emotion builds up throughout the school day (similar to a coke bottle being shaken with the lid on) and then it is released when either they see their “constant” in life, their parent or carer or once they are at home, in their “safe place”.

Autistic adults have meltdowns too, a meltdown in an autistic adult can have more physical impact as obviously they are far stronger and of bigger build than a small child.

Autism isn’t something that can be grown out of.

The other thing the two girls have in common is that they are the same girl, my daughter. We received her SEN at the second attempt and it being granted meant that she could go into SN school once a place was available.

She entered SN school at the age of 6, unable to read or write and, with the lower class numbers/higher staff ratio has absolutely flourished!

She reads avidly, writes beautifully and has been described by her head teacher as a “role model”.

She is learning to play the flute and is a pilot group of children at her school undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze award, she is also half way through an Art GCSE.

The lesson we have learnt from parenting our daughter and her high-functioning autistic brother is that we “don’t sweat the small stuff”, we focus on what is important and we treasure every achievement for what it is, an achievement made in their own way and at their own pace, recognising the individuals that they both are.

I prefer not to use a puzzle piece when I write about my children, but more a tree, with ever-growing leaves as they progress through life

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Anxiety, PTSD and Me

By | May 3, 2019

Anxiety sucks.

A little bit of day-to-day anxiety is natural, the “oh sh*t, I’m going to be late…” or something similar, but what if that anxiety stays with you all day, burbling away like a saucepan full of water, threatening to over-boil?

What if anxieties prevent you from doing activities that you’d previously enjoyed, what if you deliberately avoid situations because you’re worried about what might happen, even though it won’t.

An example of this is, we have to cross a bridge over an “A” road to get to the nearest train station, at my worst I would be going over it thinking “what if it collapses, where would I fall? I’m not crossing if there’s a car underneath, I’ll get run over, if the fall doesn’t kill me”.

My anxieties have definitely increased since my three foot operations, I’m slower walking around, as a non-driver and I worry about people behind me, worry that they’ll assault me, as per what happened a few years ago.

I worry about what all these foot operations have put my family through, I worry about the next general anaesthetic, figuring that as I’ve got through 3, one more is likely to go wrong.

I “bit the bullet” on Tuesday and talked to someone at Talking Therapies about past events and how I’m feeling now, she graded my anxiety level as “moderate”, said I had PTSD and I have to decide on future therapy.

I feel guilty about saying “PTSD”, it’s associated with people who’ve experienced far, far worse than me and I don’t want to detract from what they’ve gone through.

I was also due a medication review this week and, as well as continuing on the amitriptyline for anxiety and sleep, I’ve been prescribed Pregabalin for the horrendous nerve pain I’ve been left with and anxiety.

Yesterday, on day 122/365 I was grateful that I’d bought a pre-payment prescription certificate as this little lot would have cost me £27!

I didn’t post this yesterday, I was worried about opening up, part of me was also anxious about any drug interaction and when I should take the two tablets. Ironically Instagram doesn’t seem to want to publish this post, hence the blog!

I was warned I’d feel drowsy today with the Pregabalin, I do, I’ve felt as if I’m in a bubble, my short-term memory has been making me both frustrated and laugh today, that feeling when go to do something and have no idea what? That’s been me, all day.

But, once they’re in my system, I’m sure they’ll help.

There is a hashtag #itsokaynottobeokay and that is what I’m striving for at the moment.

Thanks for reading x

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Ticking the box in my autistic daughter’s school (just for the sake of it!!)

By | April 24, 2019

I had hoped, with D being in an SN school, that the box-ticking wouldn’t be so prevalent, that “need” to “tick” just for the sake of it, irrespective of the angst it may cause.

(the image above is me going a bit “Daily Fail”, because we all know what a tick looks like!)

I know I haven’t blogged for ages, it feels like there’s so much going on that I need a map to navigate through all the thoughts in my head, but this that follows, I just had to…

So, every term, we have an IEP meeting at D’s school, under the umbrella of Parents Evening and progress is checked against tasks set, sometimes they are emotion-related, sometimes they are academia-related but they are all very individual to D. Progress is discussed and they are either signed off (tick!) or carried over.

We had a prime example of box-ticking this morning and one that had NOT been discussed or agreed.

Some background:

D is undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze award as well as an Art GCSE this school year.

Both are amazing achievements for her and both are causing her stress. The DofE award has involved her participating in Volunteering activities (our weekly Park Run duties), Skills (Band practice) and Physical (PE sessions), the latter two are being undertaken at school to primarily ease D’s anxieties and to help me after the Sepsis episode.

The DofE also involves two expeditions, one practice and then the real thing, camping, map reading, cooking etc.

There have been times that D has said to me “I wish I’d never signed up for this”, meaning the DofE and this is a classic case of D saying what she anticipates the teacher/authority figure will want to hear, ie Yes.

So, we have been plodding along, trying to manage the anxieties and reminding D’s teachers that she has signed up for two major extra tasks this year and that, as she is already stressed, everyone needs to help manage the pressure on her.

When I spoke to D’s head teacher about the plaster incident, she mentioned to me that D was one of the pupils the leadership team recognised was under pressure.

All sounds good so far, so why am I blogging?

Well, every Wednesday, D has PE as the last lesson of the morning, she then has to get changed quickly, eat her lunch in a car and travel with a TA to the SN school a good few miles away where she has an afternoon focussed on GCSE Art.

D’s school have stated before that it is optional if the pupils shower after PE, in view of the fact that D is pressed for time, I had asked that she not be pressurised into this because she would be anxious she’d miss her lift.

That was agreed and a note in the home-school diary said that they’d “never force her to have a shower”. All fine you’d think…

(And in case you’re now thinking “sweaty, stinky child”, I pack wipes and deodorant in her PE bag.)

So, why on earth was D told that her teacher was expecting her to have a shower after the lessons so that she “could tick it off”?’!?

Something that wasn’t agreed with us.

Something isn’t possible within the timeframe.

Something that is stressing our D out and will continue to do so every flipping Wednesday!!

I don’t normally swear but FFS, give the anxious, stressed child a break.

Roll on Parents Evening!!!

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Getting back into it – #WellbeingWednesday

By | February 6, 2019

I haven’t written one of these for a while, have I?

Truth be known, events of last year took their toll on me emotionally (if you don’t know, sepsis in November and the prospect of another foot op this year) and my confidence has nose-dived, I’m not an over-sharer anyway, I’d rather stay silent, feeling that I don’t have any input.

Which is silly, really, because I hoped by starting blogging I might reach out to other parents in a similar situation, juggling continuously and hoping a proverbial ball doesn’t drop!

So, what’s been going on?

Well, our lovely D is suffering a “bit” with anxiety, more anxieties than usual and a far chunk of is connected with my sepsis episode.

For instance, last week, Hubbie was off work as it was too cold to do the planned outside work, the downside of that is, being self-employed, he doesn’t get paid for time off but positively it meant that he could walk D to and from school, saving my feet the journeys as I’m still very much affected by nerve pain (in both the foot that needs another operation and the foot that had sepsis, typical me, it couldn’t be the one foot, could it?!?)

But I could see D’s mind whirring “Why isn’t mum taking me? What’s wrong? Why isn’t she dressed? Will she still be here when I get home? What if she isn’t? What if she’s in hospital again?”

All very valid concerns but unlikely, you get the idea? Sometimes she vocalises these concerns, sometimes they take the form of stomping, finger twisting, scratching, silence, all outlets for her.

I do reassure her but I am aware that if I need to say “owwwwwww, silly feet!” I need to say it out of her earshot, not adding to her worries.

She’s also busy at school, she is 14 but school are planning for beyond school, more life skills trips, trying out new foods every week (some more successfully than others) and lessons on budgeting to furnish a room, all very useful but D takes it to mean that she HAS to leave home when she’s an adult, not that it’s a choice … which leads to more anxieties.

T is busy too, preparing for not only GCSEs this year but also another round of pre exams next month.

He is very good at masking emotions during the school day, taking them out of a FIFA game at night and more recently a bit of plastered wall and some tiles, which is concerning and hopefully his stresses will ease after the exams (and pre exams).

He’s still very involved in this football, this has always been his outlet but it doesn’t seem fair that his mainstream secondary school is inflicting these further pre exams on the students when they are pressuring and focusing on anticipated grades.

And me (haha!).. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been posting a picture daily with a gratitude message (the link to my instagram account is here), this is something that has really helped me focus on positivity, which is turn helps my wellbeing. Pictures can vary from the robin that we always see on the way to school, to things that have caught my eye, to the occasional bit of crochet but it’s something that I enjoy doing and I hope those who follow me enjoy seeing the pictures.

I need to say thank you too, I’ve been nominated in the BAPs awards in the Wellbeing category and also the Making A Difference categories, both were unexpected but I am very grateful and I don’t expect to go through to the next stage but (told you, zero confidence atm!) but thank you so much to whoever included me XX

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I’m an introvert and so is our autistic daughter, that’s okay by me!

By | January 26, 2019

There are many types of people in this world, some have “labels”, others don’t but what we all have in common is that we have our own ways of coping/dealing with situations.

I’ve said it before, I’m not a “coooooeeee, look at me!” person, to be honest, I’d find it exhausting! The pressure of always being the focus of attention, of performing… no thanks, I’d rather be on the outside looking in, contributing when appropriate and when/if there’s a gap in conversation.

So, it’s no surprise that D is also an introvert.

This was her today, after two days absent from school, she agreed to head to the shops.

She will sit in a coffee shop with me and read her book whilst having a snack. It’s her way of coping with the environment, the contents of her book distracting her from the sounds and smells associated with the environment. There isn’t masses of conversation, she will answer politely questions but I am aware of how much she is attempting to tolerate and fit in with the environment and I don’t want to pressurise her.

It does make me smile that she’ll pack five or so paperbacks into a bag when we go out but I wouldn’t dream of restricting them, it’s far less than the two or three totes she would carry when in mainstream school, cramming them with playmobil, leaves, acorns, petals, laminated pictures and the occasional soft toy, all items that she relied on when sensory issues were looming.

Our girl will stand up in front of a packed school hall and sing, after masses and masses of practice and gentle encouragement but ask her to do something unexpected and out of routine, such as taking an item to somebody who would then attempt conversation or replying to someone who is talking and maybe using “banter” or sarcasm and she struggles, big time.

The latter happened last week during her volunteering, she headed to the nearest tree and hid, because she didn’t know how to answer and got overwhelmed.

That was an extreme example and D’s autism means that she finds it hard to “read” social situations and body language, I could see from her body language that she froze before heading for the relative safety of that tree.

On the whole, school are mindful of D’s personality but at every Parents Evening there is a task that she should join in conversations outside the classroom environment more, that when they’re out, D should start a conversation unprompted and that during “choosing time”, she shouldn’t choose a book! Which makes me reply that “choosing time should be just that! An activity of her choice!”

D has recently been given a diary by school to write down any worries and – finally – been given a daily timetable for her to refer to, all of which helps her deal with her day. In addition, she has started weekly sessions with an autism specialist at school, all aiming to get her to not bottle things up. She is extremely good at masking emotions until we’re on our way home from school and then the painful twisting and squeezing of my hands and arms will start as she lets it out. It’s something I’m used to and I’d rather she uses me as opposed to lashing out at anyone else.

I’ll know she’s got it out of her system when she starts skipping as we carry on our walk home, something which is always a relief to see.

Bearing in mind the above, I was really surprised when D told me that she’d been told (she called it “moaned at but I’ll say “encouraged”) to stop skipping and go over to the other side of the playground and talk to people during break time. Break time to D is exactly that, a break from lessons, a time to wind down (maybe skip, maybe read) and prepare herself for the rest of the day. Not be “moaned at” to join in, surely?

We have seen a major increase in D’s anxieties over the last couple of months, a combination of puberty, my sepsis episode and the pressures of school as they make increasing changes to prepare her for life beyond school, in her introverted way she’s coping…just.

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What I’ve learnt from 2018

By | December 31, 2018

Blimey, where did the year go? It’s absolutely flown by and there’s been much to learn from as we head into 2019.

I’ve been decidedly quieter on all things social-media this year – more of that later – but, in a way, that’s a positive, because I can look back now and share.

This year saw D’s dream come true, she became the proud owner of bunnies! She’s always had @autismbunny as her comforter and her drawings always feature bunnies, so we knew she’d be overjoyed to finally have her pets.

We had to wait until my foot operation was over with in April, get a decent-sized hutch and run and then…would you believe it, the day we were due to go and choose them, I ended up being treated for a cat bite in my thumb!

That long, hot summer saw D outside next to the bunnies as soon as she got home from school.

Jett and Jasper were her choices of names (after gemstones) and she’s been very good at filling their water and food and preparing their treats, leaving the “mucking-out” to us, which is fine and expected.

They’re indoors for the winter now and a funny addition to our living room as they chase each other or flop dramatically over for a sleep. The Christmas tree has been met with interest and the decorations sniffed at. Jasper does a pretty good impression of being “oven-ready” too!

A few weeks on from this saw D’s musical proms week at school, an absolutely wonderful time to really appreciate every performance and the patience of the music staff who gently encourage and enable the group and individual performances to happen.

D has weekly flute lessons at school so I was looking forward to hearing how she’d progressed – as she doesn’t like to practice at home – she definitely compartmentalises her home and school activities.

What I wasn’t prepared for (and which produced some proud tears) was a performance where she was sitting at a keyboard, she and the staff had kept from us that D had taught herself to play the keyboard! Wow, just wow!

It felt like such a decision to make, to place her into a special needs school environment (the life skills and smaller class sizes versus mainstream and maybe qualifications) but moments like that, when you see how much our girl has flourished and she enjoys it too, even being described as a “role model” for the younger pupils.

Speaking of qualifications, two opportunities presented themselves before the end of the Summer term:

One to undertake with school, a bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s award, which has proved quite tricky to set up as there are Physical, Skill and Volunteering elements to be recorded (here’s D doing her “Skill”, a weekly SN golf session):

And an Art GCSE! This is being undertaken in conjunction with another local SN school and a TA takes her to a weekly afternoon session, with a specialist teacher also visiting school. It’s something that we had never dreamt D would achieve and we have made sure that she is kept fully involved in the decision-making and understands the requirements as she does have a tendency to say “yes”, because she feels it’s expected of her (the DofE is a good example):

This year also saw a SN circus trip and a birthday party at an inflatable water park, both presenting stranger-anxieties and unfamiliar surroundings challenges:

She’s been a busy girl! Our “normal” school week also has D doing after-school multi sports, Theatre Club and band practise so, there’s never a dull moment!

The week before Christmas always brings her school’s carol concert, in which D not only played the flute but also sang with another pupil, it’s a lot of fun!

2019 will bring a practice and a “proper” DofE expedition (gulp), but that’s a few months away!

For T, 2019 will see him undertaking GCSEs (double gulp!), he took his mock exams in November/early December and he seemed to enjoy the exam environment more than a class one. This makes sense for T as he likes to go in, get something done and then move on, no deviances, no messing around.

His projected grades are good and, after having a shaky start to the school year, he’s turned things around. There were external influences (shall we say) and a combination of him being moved in classes, the teachers understanding his autism and PDA more and his determination will, hopefully, see results.

But, we don’t want to add to the pressure that a mainstream environment v autism brings, we are so proud of him whatever the outcome.

He’s still playing football in a team, playing as a team member and enjoying it. There are frustrations when the team don’t play as a team, but again, very proud of what he achieves every week.

My crochet habit turned into a good deed too, as personal poppy sales raised over £300 for the Royal British Legion:

So, 2018 has brought a lot of positives, hasn’t it?

Something I need to remember as 2019 will bring yet another foot operation and my continued journey from having had sepsis last month.

It scares me how different things could have been, it frustrates me that I am left with dehabilitating nerve pain in both the foot that needs the operation (left) and the one where the sepsis started (right foot).

It has effected my wellbeing greatly and my plan of a marathon one day to raise funds for autism/mental health charities has been discarded but… my unexpected and sudden hospital stay taught me that we can overcome change of that humongous nature, albeit with continued aftershocks (D has major separation anxieties concerning me now).

The sepsis incident also taught me that I should “do more stuff”, not put things off, whether it be reading that book I’d wanted to, tackling that crochet pattern or meeting up with someone I’d been putting off… as the “tick” says “Just Do It!”

Happy New Year from our house to yours x

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Sepsis and beyond

By | December 7, 2018

When I published this picture a couple of weeks ago, I was in hospital, thinking I’d gone in with a hefty bout of Cellulitis, I didn’t realise amidst my drowsiness that it was sepsis.

The doctor who made a house call arrived within about 20 minutes after we called and he phoned an ambulance, which arrived within ten minutes, I was too drowsy to register the speed of response and it was only a few days later that Hubbie said the doctor and paramedics were saying it was sepsis.

Scary stuff, eh?

I’m very lucky. I went home after 3 days of intravenous medication, with hefty antibiotics, with the proviso that I had to seek assistance if my symptoms worsened.

Sepsis (do you know, I couldn’t bring myself to type that word for a while) is extremely serious and fast-spreading and I want to help raise awareness of it, in any way I can.

I couldn’t fault the treatment I received at the hospital, it was fast, with blood, xrays and intravenous drugs all being administered very quickly. I was moved from a&e, to acute monitoring to a bed in a ward and then finally to a side room, all within 12 hours, I remained in the side room with IV every two hours at first, diminishing to (I think) every four hours after the first day.

I am extremely grateful that I am a tad dis-organised because I had had an agreement with the GP a few years back that, if cellulitis occurs, I could treat it at home with anti-biotics. Those antibiotics were out of date, hence our phone call for a house call. If we hadn’t done that, I might not be typing this. I’m lucky.

Two weeks on and I’m not feeling 100%, I can feel a bit “scatty” and it’s like my brain wants to say a particular word, but my mouth can’t and I get tired quickly, I’m also tearful too, researching for this post made me cry, with relief.

As you can imagine, D was greatly affected by the sight of her mum heading off in an ambulance and the massive routine changes that brought. She’s had separation anxieties ever since and has found it difficult to deal with any planned changes and needs constant reassurance and cuddles.

Sepsis can occur in babies and children too, below are the signs to look out for (from the NHS website):

“Sepsis symptoms in children under five

Go straight to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • looks mottled, bluish or pale 
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake 
  • feels abnormally cold to touch 
  • is breathing very fast 
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it 
  • has a fit or convulsion 

Get medical advice urgently from NHS 111

If your child has any of the symptoms listed below, is getting worse or is sicker than you’d expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.

Temperature

  • temperature over 38C in babies under 3 months 
  • temperature over 39C in babies aged three to 6 months 
  • any high temperature in a child who cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything 
  • low temperature (below 36C – check 3 times in a 10-minute period) 

Breathing

  • finding it much harder to breathe than normal – looks like hard work 
  • making “grunting” noises with every breath 
  • can’t say more than a few words at once (for older children who normally talk) 
  • breathing that obviously “pauses” 

Toilet/nappies

  • not had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours 

Eating and drinking

  • new baby under 1 month old with no interest in feeding 
  • not drinking for more than 8 hours (when awake) 
  • bile-stained (green), bloody or black vomit/sick 

Activity and body

  • soft spot on a baby’s head is bulging 
  • eyes look “sunken” 
  • child cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything 
  • baby is floppy 
  • weak, “whining” or continuous crying in a younger child 
  • older child who’s confused 
  • not responding or very irritable 
  • stiff neck, especially when trying to look up and down 

If your child has any of these symptoms, is getting worse or is sicker than you’d expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.”

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Storage and organisation for the home from Addis

By | December 7, 2018

Addis have been a household name for as long as I can remember and they are the go-to brand for household items.

They have recently launched a Made For Life range and I was asked if we’d like to take a look at a couple of items.

We are mega fans of recycling as much as we can here and have a compost bin in the garden. Our bunnies enjoy vegetable and fruit scraps but anything else (previously edible) heads for the bin, via a (seen better days) container in the kitchen.

We were sent a couple of compost caddies to try (which meant the shabby container can be recycled, yippee) and are very pleased with them, the black or white alternatives complementing any kitchen decor.

Addis compost caddy – £14.99
Sleek and discreet, this compost caddy comes complete with a removable inner bucket that can be washed in the dishwasher or by hand. Complete with carry handle, the Addis compost caddy can hold up to 2.5L of waste. 

What I like about the caddy is its discreetness and that it has a lid, the cover can also be kept open if there’s a lot of food preparation being undertaken and that the inner bucket can be removed for washing.

The carry handle is useful for our (as we call them) “Farmer Giles’ moments”, when carrying bits over to the compost bin.

And an iron tidy:

6 arm iron tidy £34.99 – currently £20 via amazon.co.uk 
This 6 arm ironing tidy will make light work of laundry as a landing place to hang freshly laundered shirts, or clothes that have just been washed to help save time ironing by reshaping when wet and allowing creases to drop out.

This will be used as more than an iron tidy here, I’m lucky that Hubbie doesn’t wear shirts for work, but both T and D have shirts for school uniform and it’s a handy accessory for them to be stored on hangers and kept neat. It’s also going to be very useful for use as an airer for, for example, hand-made jumpers and cardigans that need re-shaping after washing.

When not in use, it dismantles for storage.

Disclosure: we were sent these items to review, our words and opinions are our own.

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