Meet the Bunnies! 

By | August 16, 2018

For as long as we can remember, bunnies have been very important to D.

Her faithful and much-loved companion is Bunny, Bunny spent much of D’s life either held by her ears or tucked under D’s armpit which she ate/drew or needed to concentrate.  Bunny went on school trips, nestled inside a pocket on outings and has always been a non-judgemental, cuddly companion.

  
Bunny looks a tad “warm” in the photo above, this is because Bunny has had numerous operations to plump her up and reinforce her and she’s been stitched into her hat to – fingers crossed – ensure her (very weak) neck doesn’t give way.

Birthdays and Christmas have always seen bunny-related gifts but the one present that D has always wished for are real-life bunnies, a wish which increased as we said goodbye to the last of our guinea pigs two summers ago, but I then headed into foot operation territory and it’s only now, after three of the procedures, that we were able to think that, maybe, 2018 would be the year!

As D’s birthday was only four weeks after my latest foot operation in April, we told her that yes, there would be bunnies but they would be after her birthday and that she should start thinking about names.

The hutch and run arrived in the meantime and they were perfect! D had to give the hutch a try for size and I guess this demonstrates how sturdy it is!
  
  
So, we were all set to head off and see if we could get the bunnies one Sunday and then…by a sheer fluke I was bitten by one of our cats whilst  she was fitting and we instead spent the day in two A&E departments being treated.

So, the weekend came and went and I had to have a bite check-up two days later (all was fine) and we decided – whilst D was at school – to see if we could get the bunnies as a surprise for her at the end of the day, especially as the weekend had been a “bit” disappointing, what with the bite severely changing plans.

  
  
You can see from the top picture, that one was very eager to be chosen!

There they are,below, in their new home, waiting for D.

  
D was absolutely over-the-moon to meet them and it took her a while to name them as she wanted gemstone names but…

  

Meet Jett, a bunny with the biggest ears and a passion for t-shirt nibbling!  He loves cuddles and is very partial to strawberry leaves.

And…

  

Jasper! He’s a very inquisitive bunny, not a t-shirt nibbler like his brother but prone to sudden energetic bounds around his hutch and run, whilst Jett watches!
  
One of the provisos of having the bunnies was that D would help to look after them and she does indeed, choosing the veggies for their snacks and filling their water, hay and food bowls as we tuck them in for the night.

Both have been micro-chipped and we learnt from their records that they were born a few days before D’s birthday in May, which she loved to learn about.

In fact, they’re three months old today and have grown somewhat since we got them six weeks ago.

   
   
Happy quarter-birthday Boys!! 

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Summer Holidays Week One and How Gaming Benefits T Socially

By | August 1, 2018

We’ve been in summer holiday mode a week now, with D finishing school last Tuesday and T’s end of term being the Friday before.

As is the norm with our children, they both much prefer being in the house or garden, individually they rely so much on the school routine that, the changes greatly affect them and “touristy” places are always a bit too crowded for them.

T is also firmly into the nocturnal phase of teen hood too, missing out on the mornings and preferring not to go out unless it’s late afternoon and he knows that the field where he and his friend (a fellow ASD teen) kick a ball around, will be quieter with fewer dog walkers/other ball-playing people around. These outings only happen about once every few days and the rest of the time he’s home.

It’s all very different from when I was a teen, then if you wanted to communicate with friends, it was a cycle to their houses and – as the use of the landline phone was frowned upon – without being aware of whether they’d be in or not.

Now it’s super-easy for T to keep up to date with what his school friends are doing, there’s communication via text/Snapchat/instagram or when he’s gaming online.

We have strict settings on our WiFi, which is a relief as you can never be sure where a quick google of something seemingly innocent can take you and I also use a parental controls setting on tablets for that very same reason.  

Gaming does however have its advantages for an ASD teen who prefers to be home, there are many games that can be played with multiple player settings which allow T to compete (and he is very competitive!) against his mates and hopefully they catch up a bit with what they’ve been doing at the same time.  

Luckily for me and parents in similar situations, there are always the latest deals and bargains in the gaming sector to be found online, sales are no longer confined to post Christmas (it feels too early to mention the C word yet!).

With D, I’ve had slightly more success in getting her out but I have to ensure that we choose our timings carefully and only stick to where I say we are headed, as she holds firmly onto my hand/arm, with no detours into shops where I’m attracted magpie-like to the latest pretty items that my favourite clothes shop might have to offer, I can’t remember the last time I had a good browse/window shop btw, sad eh?

I endeavour to make outings “fun” for D too, for example, last Friday I had a shellac nail and HD brows appointment, booked for when the salon would be quieter and knowing that D would be very interested in choosing a shellac colour for me, the procedure involved in shellac nails and the HD brows, which she absolutely loves to watch, especially when the brown tint goes on to capture and colour my pale blonde brow hairs so that they can be shaped.

She even drew a picture, this is definitely not how my brows are now but the thick tint and its caterpillar effect makes her laugh and laugh!

  
An uncanny likeness don’t you agree? 

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When I Have A Moment To Myself And How #Crochet Helps Me 

By | July 31, 2018

It will of no surprise to anyone who knows me, whether online or in “real life”, that, when I have a moment, I pick up a hook!

Not a hook as in “aaaargh! Where’s Peter Pan?” but a crochet hook.

It amazes me that I can do this for two reasons:

One, because I’m left-handed. I tried teaching myself before and ….got in a mess, I went to a crafting section at a blogging event, someone had a go at teaching me and, due to my left-handedness, gave up and then I went along to a crochet group at our local library in February 2016. Best move ever! 

In two hours, I amazed myself coming out with this:

  
which grew to this within a week:

  
and then this and it could still grow!

  

And two, as a mum to two autistic teens with – I think – a diagnosis needed for me, my brain finds it very hard to switch off, if at all.

 I’ll remember forms that need to be completed, phone calls that need to be made etc and, even though I’ll have popped them into a “to do” list, they rattle around in my head, on and on some nights.

I get anxious too, more than I should, “what if’s” jump into my mind and multiply very effectively, snowballing almost.

Which is why crochet is so good for me.

The counting of stitches needed banishes the “you haven’t done….” as the calming, gentle crochet hook (unless I’m doing double trebles, I love them, such a flourish needed!) works its magic and relaxes me and I’ve found it very useful in pre-operative assessments!

I’ll go in there calm and then they’ll take my heartbeat and my mind instantly starts saying “keep calm, you don’t want a high reading, KEEP CALM, fgs keep calm!”, which sends it into overdrive!! A few times I’ve had to say “I’m panicking, please can I have a couple of minutes crocheting and it will calm down”…and it does. Silly, but it works for me.

I honestly think that, following my three operations since October 2016, I would be in an even more anxious state than I am now, where it not for crochet and it produces nice results too, which still absolutely amazes me, that left-handed me can finally do this!!!
  
  
  
I’ve set up a Facebook page here if anyone is interested in popping over! 

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InstaLinkLove Week 95 #instalinklove 

By | July 28, 2018

Welcome to Week 95 of InstaLinkLove and a change to the linky during the summer holidays.

The linky will be taking a break for the summer, returning on Saturday 1st September.  Hope to see all the fun you’ve been having over the summer then! 

  

 

Here’s my favourites from last time’s Linky and look at the detail on the dragonfly shot, absolutely stunning!

  

  
  

Enjoy the summer x 


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The pros and cons of re-starting driving lessons 

By | July 26, 2018

I’m currently a non-driver, by (kind of) choice. 

Nerves got the better of me during two driving tests and I was all set to put in for another test but “life” and the autism diagnosis process for our children took precedence, then the matter of schooling, then life events, then 3 feet operations since October 2016 and it’s something I haven’t managed to get back to, yet.

I do feel a pang of “yes, I want and need to do this” whenever I see car adverts on the TV, the feeling that we could pop into a vehicle and head somewhere for the day without waiting at bus stops/train stations would be bliss, not to mention the anxiety aspect that D feels around strangers, yes, it would be great.

As an example, D attends special needs golf sessions every Saturday now, after impressing coaches from a local (ish) golf club in after school sessions. The golf club is half an hour away by car and Hubbie took us to the first two sessions, but last Saturday we had to get there by public transport….oh my!

It was a case of getting a bus into our nearest town, accompanied by fold-down scooters, then waiting for another bus, then being on that for over an hour, then a half mile walk to the golf club entrance, then (what must have been) a half mile scoot to the club house, to register and then head to the driving range.

It was worth it to see this:

  

But oh my word, my feet protested and because D was aware that my post-op feet were screaming, she was noticeably more withdrawn to start with in her golf than she might have been normally. 

  
Plans need to be implemented really, don’t they? Time to put those grown up pants on and have a preliminary lesson, just to see how many I’d potentially need to pass a driving test.

But I’m very aware that driving lessons are pricey and actually running a vehicle isn’t cheap, the initial purchase cost, insurance, fuel and, if we weren’t buying a new vehicle (who am I kidding?!?) with a warranty, then ongoing maintenance costs for keeping that vehicle road-worthy.

When it comes to maintenance too, unless you’re mechanically-minded and have an idea in advance of what could potentially need doing to a vehicle, the costs quoted could be a surprise, the knowledge that any reparatory work needed has not only been diagnosed by sight but also the use of a diagnostics tool by Scan Tool Center could bring some comfort, although maybe not to a bank balance!!

For the time being though, I’ll have my pipe dream (mmmmm Mini Countryman) and we’ll keeeeep scooting!! 

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Recycling and how we can get better at it here 

By | July 26, 2018

I tended to think we were pretty good at recycling in our house.

We have a de-clutter a couple of times a year with piles made, labelling them as:

“keep” (but only if the items are actually going to be worn/used), 

“sell” (for anything that could either be auctioned online or head off to a super-duper lady near us who specialises in listing and selling on clothing), 

“charity shop” (usually toys/books/DVD’s) or 

“bag” (which is a waste removal service using a huuuuge bag instead of a skip, recycling 80% of contents).

We also have a weekly recycling collection via the council, a two weekly garden waste collection, pass all carrier bags and plastic packaging to our grocery delivery driver (and it gets turned into tabards), glass jars/bottles/light bulbs head off to the glass bins (usually a lot of bovril jars as that is all T will eat on toast/bread) and a compost bin in which we pop vegetable peelings and, as the bunnies’ run is soil-based, their “dirty” soil and sawdust goes in there too when they get cleaned out.

I don’t throw out any ends from crochet projects either, they get put into a plastic jar and used for keyring stuffing or that footstool I want to make one day.

All good eh? You’d think so, but there is an area of our recycling which lets us down.

That of single-use plastic bottles. T has them for his plain waters and I developed a taste for unsweetened lemon and lime water during my post-op recoveries. Yes, the bottles are recycled weekly but I feel and know that we could improve on this and do we really know what happens to our recycling anyway? 

The pictures of litter-filled coastlines where the tides bring in multiple plastic are disgraceful and should be spurring everybody into action, not only for us now, but for future generations.

There is a very obvious, immediate answer here and that is to move over to tap water and bottled squash, but the pictures you see of multiple use bottles with the uncleanable components inside and the obvious risks to health put me off.

A potential solution, which solves both the need for single use bottles and the sometimes metallic taste in tap water would be squash or fruit juice that can be diluted, cups with a lid and (I saw these in a store the other day) stainless steel straws and filtered water, the latter could be made in a jug stored into a fridge, thus keeping taste quenching cool for when needed.

  
Win, win, win with a clearer conscience and  water filter answers as long as I can get T on board *thumbs up* 

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Be Brave, Be You #BeMoreWitWitWoo

By | July 21, 2018

I entered the blogging world a few years back, primarily to reach out to other parents of autistic children, after reading their experiences and empathising with them.

But then two things happened: 

1.  I found I enjoyed blogging, it helped me to “blog it out” when I felt overcome by fear/anxiety/helplessness at situations where my children seemed to be regarded as numbers on a budget sheet rather than the individuals they are 

and 2. I made blogging friends.  It might not matter that I might never ever meet them, due to geographical locations but knowing that there was someone, somewhere to offer a friendly word of advice/send a GIF/just be there and that has been invaluable, especially over the last couple of “feet” years.  The times I have met bloggers in person has been huggablely wonderful! 

On Monday, that blogging world felt shocked and saddened at the death of Kate at  witwitwoo, how could it be that such a vibrant lady, who always brightened up timelines could be gone, so suddenly? I changed my FB profile picture to an image which just summed up Kate and all she represented perfectly:

  
and the hashtag #BeMoreWitWitWoo has been lovely to follow, both as a tribute to Kate and seeing others being brave and taking themselves right out of their comfort zone.

Today has been #SwimSuitSaturday in tribute to Kate and, I’m making no excuses that there isn’t a picture from me other than I do not have the confidence to join in and I have no idea where my swimsuit is, isn’t that bad?!? That’s what two years of “feet” do for you!

So, I’m joining in with the picture below, which is a bit of a big thing for me.
  
My feet, after three foot operations since October 2016, in fitflops too. 

They are scarred and swollen and I’m more happy with one than the other but they now do what they’re meant to and that’s a positive.

They’re also on a scooter as D and I went to her SN golf session via two buses and a lot of scootering!  I can’t imagine my doing this previously, but we did it today (and yes, they now hurt!).

But back to my reason for writing this post, Kate leaves behind two sons and I cannot imagine how absolutely devastated they are feeling now, but there is a funeral fundraising link here if anyone would like to donate and help them. 

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InstaLinkLove #instalinklove 

By | July 21, 2018

InstaLinkLove is switching over to fortnightly for the summer and will be back (did you read that in an Arnie voice?!) next Saturday 28th July.

Enjoy the sunshine and see you then!

  

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InstaLinkLove Week 94 #instalinklove 

By | July 14, 2018

Welcome to Week 94 of InstaLinkLove!

  
The Linky had a little break last week, T is a week away from the school holidays, D a week and a half and it’s far to say that they are just soooooooo tired and ready for the summer break, which impacts on the household a bit *little sigh*, anyway….

f you haven’t joined us before in this linky before, then this is the easy-to-use linky which helps you get your Instagram posts a bit more interaction and interest.

Thank you to everyone who linked up last time and welcome to those who are back for more and those who are first-timers.

This is a really straightforward, no stress (none of us need that in our lives!), easy to use linky.

All you need to do is link up the URL from up to four of your most recent Instagram posts. We suggest most recent because this is better for interaction.

It’s just a case of finding your Instagram account on-line, clicking on the photo that you want to link up, clicking on “share post” and then copying and pasting the link into the Linky below.

The only condition is that you go over and “like” everyone else’s pictures who’ve linked up.

Here’s my favourites from last time’s Linky and they were fab!

  
  
  
  
Please remember our (very easy) rules:

*You can link up to 4 images per Instagram Account per week.

*Please remember to visit and “like” the other pictures linked up, prior to next week’s Linky opening.

It would also be great if you could share your post with the linky on Instagram using the hashtag #instalinklove to help grow the community.

Thanks and really looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to on Instagram this week x 


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When We Renew Our Vows 

By | July 13, 2018

Hubby and I have been married for 16 years now, together for 18, we married on the second anniversary of our first date, which – thinking about it now – is quite handy because we only have the one date to remember!

We do joke that we’d “have got less time for crime/must be due for parole now” but our marriage is a partnership and boy, has that partnership gone up and down a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions!

I don’t mean that there’s been any challenges from anyone else, just that having two children within 18 months, moving house when six weeks away from giving birth, self employment and those challenges, family illness and bereavement, autism diagnoses, two years of my silly feet saga and now, parenting two autistic teens, they all have their ways that can chink a little bit away at you, it wouldn’t be natural if they didn’t.

One thing we would both love to do, that we haven’t got around to yet, is to renew our wedding vows.  

Not because it’s the “thing to do”, but because – as mentioned above – we have rode the rollercoaster of life and it would mean so much to both of us if we did.

We married in Jersey, with immediate family there and then had a party a couple of weeks later after our honeymoon, it suited us, not having the whole she-bang first up and, as we were paying for everything ourselves, it meant that we kept a constant eye on how the costs were adding up.

At the time, I was in full time employment and opted to save £200 a month towards it, even though we had a small ceremony, it was still pricey but nowhere near as much as the average UK wedding works out at (I think I read an eye-watering figure of £25k recently!)

I (unexpectedly) had a little T-bump when we married too, hidden (although we were delighted) by my bouquet of Jersey freesias on the day and, as you’ll see from the picture, opted for a pale green dress and bolero from Debenhams, it suited our more intimate, relaxed choice of ceremony and wedding.

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Were we to renew our vows, it would have to be somewhere special to us both, for example, there is a lovely Elizabethan castle in St Helier which gets completely cut off by the tide daily and has the most amazing sunsets, as well as all that history surrounding it. Or a holiday combination, but that might feel a bit too touristy for us. 

Either way, it is always useful to take advice from wedding specialists and the confetti.co.uk site is jam-packed full of ideas and tips for wedding planning and inspiration. There used to be a Confetti store in town and, leading up to our wedding, I’d always be in there during my lunch hour, browsing for ideas which we could use.

I guess, wherever and whenever, we do get around to this and for anyone planning a wedding/vow renewal, it’s important to remember that:

It’s your day and others would have to respect this but if there was a certain someone who didn’t get on with a certain someone else, they would just have to button it and set aside their differences for the duration. You can’t please everyone!

Take a moment to laugh and smile and not just for the cameras! Events like these pass by so quickly, enjoy it.

Sometimes it can feel like a lot of pressure from others, they might have pre-conceived ideas about how a wedding should go. Listen but stand your ground, it is your ceremony after all.

And

Whether it’s a registry office for two with hastily grabbed witnesses, or a full-blown (Windsor Castle anyone?) ceremony with trimmings, the actual vows you make and commitment to each other are what matter, not necessarily how many layers of tulle you have…but if tulle makes you happy…….Go For It and Enjoy! 

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