InstaLinkLove – back 14/7/18

By | July 7, 2018

InstaLinkLove is having a break this week, as per the image!

  
See you for some instagram love (and hopefully some rain) on 14th July x 

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Making your home your own 

By | July 5, 2018

Finding your first home, away from your parents/carers, is always exciting, isn’t it.

Whether it be a room in a shared house, a flat share or taking that first step on the property ladder, it’s an exciting time, a chance to exert your personality onto a blank canvas.

When I first left the family home, I had a room in a house, owned by a man and his live-in girlfriend. Their relationship was in the process of breaking down and was very on/off. It’s probably a bonus that I was doing anti-social hours as a hotel receptionist, I missed a lot of the on/off aspect as I was either working/sleeping/going out!

Next up, was a bedsit in a large house, which had been divided up into bedsits on each floor, with a shared toilet/shower. There was a tiny kitchen area (with a very temperamental mini water heater) and a fold-down bed, the toilet was the sort-of place were you’d frequently find fungi and discarded unidentified undies on the floor and you’d have to kick them to one side and hope that whoever left them there would claim them back on their next visit! Turnover of tenants was high and I often go past that block of houses going into town and wonder if it’s all been spruced up and if the (rather ancient) landlady is still around.

After that, it was time to get that first step up onto the property ladder and a little two up, two down terrace fitted the bill. It was over 100 years old and it was the second in of a line of ten terrace houses, each very individual as people had moved in and extended out to the back in various ways, all adding a bathroom and some adding kitchens or keeping as per that original layout of a front room and a kitchen. It was (still is) very close to a main road, with a bus route so net curtains were a must! It was small, you could hear when your next door neighbour was washing up (!) but it was home.

I remember feeling mega excited when we had a table and chairs, they were solid pine and bought from a shop near where I worked at the time. I’d been “stalking” them for a while, going in and loving the fact they were fully assembled and that no instructions were needed to put them together.

The disadvantage to owning an older house was just that, it was older! The heating system was confined to a huge hot water tank, there was no central heating and, as the water was so hard, the heating element would need replacing every 1.5 years, which was a case of calling someone out who’d drain the tank with a hose (out of a window) and then replace the very furred up element, you could literally mark on a calendar to the day when you’d wake up to no hot water and know that it was element-replacement time! 

That house had probably seen a lot of drama before and saw some in my time there, most memorably being T’s planned homebirth in our living room! His birth at home was planned and he arrived bang on his due date. It was absolutely lovely to give birth, have a bath and head upstairs to our own bed and have a cuddle with our son.

There came a point though, when, with D on the way, we had to find a new, larger home and luckily for us, we received an offer on our little terrace after six days on the market. It helped that we had decluttered massively (taking advantage of storage elsewhere) and presented the house with minimal furniture (not that you could fit much in anyway!) and also that we’d applied a fresh coat of paint everywhere so that it looked ready to move into.  

Despite the fact that our buyer had no chain, we had a mortgage offer in place and the seller of our new house had a minimal chain, it seemed to take ages for everything to complete. My D-bump was ever-growing and we were potentially facing the prospect of putting everything on hold, having her in our terrace and then re-starting everything after she was born. 

Fortunately everything was signed, sealed and delivered and we moved with six weeks to go before I had D in our new home, in our bedroom, again planned and a lovely way to christen our house.

Over the years, we’ve made it our own and the garden especially has changed its purpose. For a long while, it was our children’s play area with numerous little plastic vehicles to be put together, a football goal (naturally!), a climbing frame/slide combo and a trampoline, all requiring technical documentation with detailed instructions as to assembly.

Depending on my mood, I can have a bit of a gung-ho approach to instructions, sometimes thinking of taking perhaps a little short cut because, at the time, you think it’ll look better but then you remember that these illustrated manuals have been tested over and over and they really should be followed for success! 

An advantage of our technical age is that a minimal amount of instructions can be included sometimes to get you up and running, on say, a new phone or my bike, but a more detailed product manual is available online which can always be “bookmarked” on a smartphone or computer and referred to as and when needed. 

There is an environmental saving to keeping a product manual in this way too, no need to print reams and reams of paper off when maybe one page needs printing. Google translate can also be very useful if you have a manual online for a product in a foreign language, something that would have been very useful for the memorable flatpack purchase I made online, which came with minimal (paper and no drawings) instructions in Chinese (I think). It was pure guesswork as to which component to use for where and there “may” have been a bit of inner-head swearing involved in assembling that!

Our house right now, feels just the right size, yes the kitchen could do with upgrading but it’s ours, our family home.

I guess however much technology advances further, nothing can beat that feeling of holding those keys to the door, that new home, that little bit of independence, that will never change, will it? 

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InstaLinkLove – Week 93 #instalinklove

By | June 30, 2018

Welcome to Week 93 of InstaLinkLove, normally you’d see Victoria’s badge beneath this sentence but..

  
I thought we’d pop a picture of her wonderfully handsome Rex in as, can you believe it, he was one this week!?! Thanks to Victoria for letting me use her image.

Last week’s Linky was a muted one, I apologise.  I ended up in A&E following a (very unlucky but unintended) cat bite to the joints in my left thumb (I’m left-handed!) and, it’s no exaggeration to say that I was very close to having it operated on! Yuck! It’s still not 100% but a lot better thanks to our wonderful NHS.

On with the Linky…

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 week’s Linky and they were lovely, happy ones too:

  
  
  

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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InstaLinkLove Week 92 #instalinklove 

By | June 23, 2018

Welcome to Week 92 of InstaLinkLove!

  

If 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 week’s linky:
  
 
 
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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Enhancing body confidence with Knixteen 

By | June 22, 2018

Mother Nature can be a “bit” of a cow, can’t she?

Those teenage and pre-teen years are fraught with hormone changes, the “shall I, shan’t I?” when it comes to letting that someone special know you like them, coupled with that “what if they don’t like me? What if I say the wrong thing or giggle when I’m not supposed to?”.

And then there’s school, exams to study for, pressures from family members to “do your best” and homework! I don’t know about you, but there seems to be a lot more homework than when I was at school, it all can feel a bit like the schools are rushing, rushing to meet their targets, otherwise they don’t get the funding…which leads me on to the school letters and emails, asking for money, another aspect I don’t remember being so intense.

But back to the teen years, not only are there all these pressures, couple this with the body changes that puberty brings and for girls, that means periods.

Yuck! Like most, my period started during the high school years, I was 13 and really could have done without it! The sports kit included white skirts and there was always the feeling of dread if I had PE during a cycle, especially if the subject was trampolining, you get what I’m saying?! 

It would have been fantastic if a product similar to a leak-proof body short from Knixteen had been around, how much angst and worry on my part could have been averted.

Here’s how they work, with details from the Knixteen website:

“We created Knixteen ‘Oh-No’ Proof Underwear because we believe your period shouldn’t stop you from doing awesome stuff. We’re your back-up protection against inevitable leaks, odor, and moisture, meaning you can stay confident no matter what time of the month it is. Whether you’re bringing your period to school, the big soccer game, the movies, or a sleepover – bring us too.”

  
For me, with a teenage daughter, who has a very regular cycle, the advantages are that they would be able to withstand little leaks whilst stopping that “smell” which, without any words says that “yes, I am on my period”.

  
Additionally for our daughter – she headed rapidly into precious puberty at age 8, at which time we were fortunate enough to be offered puberty blocking for the next four years, it helped her immensely and – she is now at a point where by no means does she enjoy her period – far from it! – but she is now able to understand that it is a part of growing-up and that it’s with her for about 5 days a month. We haven’t gone into how many years this will last, but I reckon it’s a question she’ll be asking during a future cycle.

We have a little foolproof routine during her cycle, that of cuddle time, chocolate and her choice of DVD, we have an added complication in that my daughter resists passionately and violently any form of pain relief for her tummy so it really is a case of cuddling it out.

I remember being too embarrassed to discuss anything like periods with my parents, in some ways I’m glad that my daughter’s autism means that she is extremely direct about her cycles and doesn’t use any names for it, it’s simply her period, bless her, which means that she has no qualms about talking about it, which I’m grateful for.

She had her school sports day this week and this picture sums our D up to a “T”, joining in, smiling, wearing her sun hat. At the moment, she has no body issues, I hope she stays that way.

  
This is a collaborative post.

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InstaLinkLove – Week 91 #instalinklove 

By | June 16, 2018

Welcome to Week 91 of InstaLinkLove! 

  

If 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 week’s linky:

  
  
  
  
 

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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Boxes and other bits #WOTW

By | June 16, 2018

I can’t remember the last time I summed up our week in a word, probably because our weeks since last August have been changeable and, if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you’ll know that routine and planning is key when living with autism.

This week though, a word has shone out!

It could have been “pedal” as I got back onto my bike on Monday, having been given clearance to at my post-op and pin removal (ouch!) appointment, last week.

I was scared at first, frightened to put either the left foot down (operated on April 2018) or the right one (August 2017) but it went okay albeit only being out for about an hour.  After weeks of being immobile, it was lovely.

  
(Both feet blooming hurt on Monday night and Tuesday though, so much so that I had to abandon plans *sad face*)

And this is where Box 1 comes in…

After my both-feet op in Oct 2016, D made me a box, it was primarily to stop Itsey (silly house cat) going anywhere near my tootsies but it also has been in use ever since my last check-up as my left foot does not like to be covered at night, at all!  D decorated it to lift my spirits after operation 1 and it’s still working after op 3.

  
  
So, afore-mentioned tootsies pop inside there at night and they’re happy! Although Itsey is now sleeping on top of the box, bless her! 

And Box 2 came via Amazon, much to Bitsey’s delight.  We buy T’s weetabix from there under the “subscribe and save” scheme as, due to his limited diet, we go through masses.

Bitsey has claimed it as her own:

  
  
If we can’t find her, she’ll be in the box.  

If I bring it indoors if it rains, she’ll pop inside it in the kitchen and then, once it’s put outside again, she’s straight in there.  

She occasionally has an argument with a cardboard corner or chases a leaf around it but then, it’s back to the box and the good thing is, she’ll get a new one every month!  

Weirdly I did joke with Hubbie a couple of weeks ago that we should get her a kennel!

D has been extremely unsettled this week, a few of the pupils have been at a residential so the timetables have been well and truly affected.  She’s had PE on days when she wouldn’t and she absolutely loves her flute lessons on Fridays, which due to changes didn’t happen (we pay for those too, grr).

This morning was particularly angst-filled, with plenty of tears from our pale-faced girl, a Costa was definitely needed, during which I marvelled at the fact I had matching shoes on after weeks of a surgical shoe and yep, worried a bit (okay, a lot) about our girl.  If those ankles look unnaturally pale, it’s because I’ve been told not to get sun on my feet at all, due to the new scars.

  
There’s also been tears at bedtime, poor D.  Next week brings sports day on Tuesday and hopefully, things will get a little bit more time-tabled after that, fingers crossed.

How’s your week been? 

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InstaLinkLove – Week 90 #instalinklove 

By | June 9, 2018

Welcome to Week 90 of InstaLinkLove, I hope your week has gone well?

  
Ours has been a busy, but productive one.  The extremely long pin in my toe got taken out on Tuesday so, I’m getting used to walking with both feet flat on the floor again, very satisfying but strange after so long.

On with this week:

If 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 week’s linky:

  
  
  
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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Noisy Kids with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 

By | June 8, 2018

There’s a few things that D and I share a love of and one of them is music.

Whether it’s listening to it (if she’s in the right mood), singing along (ditto) or playing it.  She has the opportunity to have flute lessons at her SN school and is doing very well with them.

  
When you think about it, learning an instrument is quite tricky, you have to know the position of the notes, how to read music and the timings between the notes.  All quite complicated!

D also plays in the school band and we’ve had the timetable through today for Proms Week at her school, which is always absolutely amazing, it’s a week-long event the whole school gets involved in and is both humbling and pride-inducing.

Last week, it being half term, we had the opportunity to see The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in action at the theatre in town.  You might think of the RPO are being straight-laced, suited and stuffy, they are absolutely anything but, with sessions arranged especially for children to enjoy and interact with.
  

One of my favourite CD releases over the last few months has been Orchestrated by Midge Ure – which is a selection of his and Ultravox songs accompanied by a full Orchestra, post to follow – so to see all the components of the RPO playing together, in perfect synergy was amazing.
  
There were pieces that you’d associate with the ocean and a couple that you wouldn’t at first, but it was all made a lot of fun and absolutely the perfect way to introduce children to the wonderful sounds that a full orchestra can produce.

We weren’t asked to write this, nor did we receive free tickets, but I wanted to share as it was such a fun experience.

In our programme, it mentioned that the RPO would be back in 2019 with a superheroes and villians show, we’ll be there!

For more information on the RPO click here.

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The purple band and the green chain #autism 

By | June 7, 2018

It’s been a bit of a busy week for D, two hospital trips for me have impacted on the after school routines for her and the activities at school really step up a gear after the May half term, what with Proms week, Sports Day and end of term activities rapidly looming.

In addition to the above, D has sporting opportunities coming up, these are great for team work and, in particular for D,  confidence opportunities and they give D a chance to visit venues we wouldn’t get a chance to.  One coming up is Bisham Abbey and today saw a return to the London Aquatics Centre (the Olympic pool) for a Panathlon Challenge.

She went two years ago and we got to go too, it was amazing.

However today didn’t start well for her.  She was anxious from the moment she woke up, whimpering and squeaking as opposed to talking, pale-faced and worried as the morning routine got underway.

When D gets over-anxious like this, there is absolutely no point in trying to hurry her and it’s a case of gentle encouragement with the hope that she will say what was wrong.  I knew in part though the reason, we couldn’t be there, due to my pesky annoying, painful post-op foot.

Last time we went, she travelled – and it was quite a long way from school – to the Aquatic Centre in the school bus and came home with us afterwards, so as well as us not being there, she knew she’d be travelling back with school.

These helped a bit:

  
Purple bands which I suggested we both wear, I said I’d “ping” mine if I was thinking about her and suggested she do too, I also made a quick green chain for her to wear on her wrist in the softest yarn as I said I’d be doing some crochet today.

Simple little suggestions but they really seemed to help her, along with masses of bear hugs.

Our girl came home very tired and very pale with this:

  
She hasn’t talked about her day and, from what she’s managed to  shout, the (long) journey there and back was very noisy and I guess she just wished she could have gone home with us, but ….oh yes, guilt trip time!! 

So, I’m hoping she’ll talk about her day eventually, it might take a few days, it might take a week or it might not happen at all if she’s reminded of the stressful to and  from the venue journeys.

But

As we always say to her “it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part” and we’re very proud of her for doing so.    Guilt trip time again….I just wish we’d been there to see her in such an iconic venue! 

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