Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to Life with a Bump

What a mixed bag of allsorts we've had this week! Since coming back from France:

Ella has taken a week so far to adjust, it's a miracle I'm able to type this, she has become an absolute clingon. Nearly had a tantrum on Friday, but managed to contain it, and again on Saturday. I'd like to think she's learning coping skills, but think it's far more these are just tremors and the full-scale earthquake is on it's way.

Had a lovely parcel arrive from the lovely Lynn. Is it just me or is actually post you can hold still something so much more exciting than emails and texts etc. Not that at the right moment they're not appreciated. I often send a text to let someone know I'm thinking of them, and the text and emails I get when Joe went 'away' helped keep me sane. I think that was one of the times I missed Jeff's Mum most. I know she would have got exactly how I felt. I digress, for a change. So back to the parcel, I still love receiving letters in the post. Looking at the stamp, the paper, the person's handwriting - we're losing all that. I still have letters from my cousin when we were children, I think it's a shame letter writing is a dying art. Josh wanted some writing paper to write a note to his girlfriend and I told him how much it would mean to her :) So keep those letter-writing skills up folks. In fact I'm so keen I've volunteered on a Royal Mail scheme where you send letters and record how long they take etc. For my troubles I will get some stamps etc, thank you very much :)

Ben is excitedly waiting for his well-earned new computer.The hours and work he put in splicing the corn - or whatever they were doing - he earnt every penny!

Josh - not a lot to report, except when we went on holiday he had only 2 instructions - strip our beds so they could air while we were away. Keep the house tidy. Well the house was tidy - sadly our beds were not stripped - I mean, how hard was that! *Sigh* Apart from that he's fine.

Jeff's back to work and doesn't feel like he's been away - we all feel like that, why is that? And the big car has broken down - two things to be very thankful for - that Jeff can fix it and that it didn't break on the French motorways!

I've had 2 headaches already since I've been back, and my sinuses are all blocked again - bloody Thames Valley.

And we're down to Joe. This week has been a bloody difficult week , we've had 'words', but hopefully with a positive ending. Looks like he's getting out early on tag and is going to live with Dad and Sandra - away from all the losers he mixed with here, so fresh start for him :) Speaking of Bracknell losers, good time to add this cartoon that's doing the rounds on facebook atm:
If the cap fits ......
So between Joe and Ella it's been a fraught emotional week.
Bloody car packing up (although at least it waited till we got home!) meant the carboot we planned to do this weekend has been put on hold - and you know how tight money is after a holiday!
Lovely Lynn helped with the surprise package.
Awesome Anna helped by coming round for a few hours and helping me talk through my work plans for the future. Oh and giving me a few bits and pieces, which I will make it up to her when I get to purge her craft room.
Julie (struggling with 'J' -Juicy Julie sounds very wrong LOL) and I had a fab Saturday evening and planning her future, which she will not be arguing with me about. And for treating me to a takeaway Indian - which is a once a year birthday treat normally as it's always so bloody expensive! And for telling me she thinks I'm inspirational :)
And Vicky came to see Ella yesterday. Now Ella loves the rolo cookies you can buy at the supermarkets so I thought it would be worth trying to make them. I found a recipe (and picture) on cookiesandcups website. Well picture A is the web authors version - Picture B (borrowed from google as camera batteries are dead) is Ella and Vicki's efforts!!! At least they are edible, which is more than can be said for the peppermint creams disasters!

Phew, that was a long round up. Unless anything truly amazing happens - yeah right, likely much?! - next post will be Throwback Thursday as I am determined to finish the last 2 sodding chapters of the book. Drama and excitement - that was all easy - boring fillers much harder because they're, well, boring!

Laterz xxxxx
Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Page - Throwback Thursday :)

I spotted this idea on someone's blog and thought how cool. The idea is that you find some old photos and pop them on your blog. I doubt it actually matters what day, but Throwback Thursday does sound good. You know me, I probably have enough photos to outlast the century, and maybe one of you, so be prepared!

So pop over to the Throwback Thursday page for a glimpse into history :)
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Having a Holiday with a SN Child

Okay, this is not a 'pity post'. This is just a 'this is how it is' post.

We returned from our holiday on Monday and I think a post on what it's like for people with 'normal' (don't you know I just hate that phrase, like who do you know that could honestly be described as normal!) children compared to what it's like for Ella is good for me to write to vent how I feel. But also for you lovely readers to know what it's like. And feel free to post nice comments, does the ego the power of good:)

So you have a family and plan holidays. When they're little you pop them in the prams and they are taken everywhere. As toddlers they get to dance at the disco and then fall asleep in the buggy while you carry on dancing (Well, okay not Jeff, cos we all know that him on the dance floor is not a pretty sight). Then they go to the Kids Clubs and you get a couple of hours break while the kids are entertained so you sunbath, read, go back to bed ;) Then they play by the pool. They make friends and move slightly further away from you but remain within eyesight. By the time they are teens although they come on holiday with you and do some uncool family stuff they are spreading their wings. You can leave them in the tent/ caravan/ apartment/ whatever while you go clubbing/ for a meal/ whatever floats your boat. You come back feeling refreshed having spent time with the family, but having time to yourself to whatever you fancy - reading, sightseeing, sunbathing, etc, etc, etc.

Rewind now to a child with SN - well our Ella - I mentioned earlier there's no such thing as normal, every child is unique (and isn't that a wonderful thing?), but there are probably overlaps like there will be in the above waffle. So yes, we have the pram. And we have the buggy. And there the similarities end. Leave Ella in a holiday club isn't an option. She couldn't possibly cope with the activities offered for her age. If the Club is obliging they might let her stay with the 3-5 year olds, but we wouldn't feel comfortable leaving her - what if she has a meltdown? I so don't even want to think about that. If she wants to go in the pool, or outside to play, one of us goes in with her - how many 13 year olds still need that amount of attention? She won't sleep unless one of us is with her, so Jeff and I won't get so much as one evening to ourselves during our holiday. And before you say it, no we can't sneak out once she's asleep, that child has a sixth sense and stirs the minute we move! Now I'm not talking disappearing clubbing (yes, those of you that know me IRL can laugh at that thought I don't mind!) or even going for a meal, but just sitting in the garden playing cards would be nice. Every minute of the day includes Ella, whether it's eating, shopping or sleeping, so same day, different country. Our activities are influenced by Ella (see earlier post about our unsuccessful trip to Penne D'Agenais). We have the wheelchair but have you tried to use one? I swear people (not you obviously :) ) treat wheelchair users worse than prams and buggies. Once she's awake that's it, so are we. No persuading her to go put the telly on while we go back to sleep - I dread to think what we'd wake up to if she ever agreed LOL! Oh, and let's not forget the actual holiday itself. With one of Ella's areas being Autism she likes repetition. So even going on the holiday could be fraught with complications as she adapts to new surroundings - if we're lucky that doesn't take the entire holiday. Thankfully we often go to my brothers, which is a blessing. She knows the people, the house and the bedroom, so one less major issue just a few days adapting. But, let's be honest, we can't keep going to my brothers for a holiday for the rest of our lives - for his sake LOL! Then we have another issue, how would she cope on a plane? What if she has a meltdown on it - unless you've witnessed one first hand (Joy x Lynn x) you would not believe how loud and unpleasant she can be.

Then we get back home and more adjustments. Ella has spent most of the past 3 days on the settee with her teddy, her pegs and one of the Twilight DVD's. Her comfort things while she re-adjusts.

So, I'm not moaning, we have had a break (which we didn't get last year), saw my brother and his family, and also saw the strange yellow ball in the sky - completely forgot what that was! But don't assume that any parent with a SN child has had a rest!

Deep thoughts nearly over! Someone posted Ofsteds thoughts on disabled children. One point, I'd like to see the statistics that make them feel they have the right to make such bold, generalising statements. And secondly I would totally disagree, you absolutely do need the SS to support the parents. We are truly blessed to have a strong support of friends and family but I have been close to breaking point this past year. If you don't have that network, or the support from the SS, how do you cope?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yesterdays charity shop finds .....

Quick post as we've only 2 days holiday left so need to be outside catching the rays before we head back home to the rain! So ten euros - £8.00 - well chuffed :)

I love the basket. Jane thinks you use it when you're visiting people. There's 6 wine spaces in the bottom and room in the top for glasses and food. I suppose it would also be good for a picnic. It's hopefully going to look better when I've sprayed it cream.

I'm going to try and rescue to pot holder - it was only a euro which is just as well because I think it's going to need a lot of TLC!

Jeff wanted the super slicer - I'm cr*p at cutting onions. I usually resort to the food processor, so I suppose it's worth a go, again for a euro.

The candles and umbrella need a fresh coat, but I just thought was gorgeous.

Twinings tins for our vast collection of teas - we do like a cuppa :)

Then some odds and sods.

I actually can't wait to get home and start decorating some stuff - I don't think I posted about the vintage wooden printing block I found on ebay for 99p :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The best charity shop in the world .... so far!

Had a bad, bad evening with Ella. Morning didn't start a whole lot better with Jeff still stressed and me getting a nose bleed? The solution ..... retail therapy :) On a budget of course LOL

So we went to a local market - that we go to every time we are here and couldn't find it! Ended up in a tourist office and they directed us. Was very restrained and only got a ten euro table cloth.

Then we went to a car shop for Jeff - yawn! - and finally to the most amazing charity shop I have found so far. No clothes which made a refreshing change to English charity shops. And it was stacked - I mean seriously stacked - with all sorts. Jeff had to drag me out in the end! So today you get the photos of the shop and tomorrow the goodies we bought :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Penne D'Agenais

Having sort of a restful time, anyone that has a SN kid knows that you don't get a complete rest!

Today we visited a little bourg close to Robert's. We went so many years ago we thought it worth another trip. We did start to go yesterday, but Madam decided once she got out of the car to sit her behind on the steps and scream blue murder. So we gave up and left straight away.

But she promised she'd be good today, and apart from some whinging we actually managed to see most of the bourg and church - and what a church! Even if you're not very religious, there's something about the place - maybe just the 1000 year history, but whatever it is you can really sense it.

If you're into history or religion here's a linky-link :)

If you're not, here's a couple of my fav photos from the place .......

A 14th century prison or chapel - mixed signage LOL
Closest we got to a photo of Ella 'enjoying' herself!

No reason, just loved this wall!
Notre-Dame de Perigord
Grotto's behind the church
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Love shopping somewhere else!

The lamp was 2 euros, battery operated, but Ella absolutely loves it!
The x's are actually tiny - about 3" - think they will look lovely off white.Tried to find enough letters to make words, but there wasn't!
Others are just a few bits I liked :)
Total spend 9 euros, just over £7.00
 Absolutely fell in love with this - less than a fiver. Planning to decorate downstairs loo when I get home, and it'll be perfect :)
 Now this is a bargain and then some! This wool averages £3.00 a ball even on ebay. Bought 3 balls in a closing down sale for under £4.00, am tempted to go back for some more. New scarf anyone?
Love these boxes - £1.90 each - really good quality - think they will be fab with a mini album in them :)

As always, lots of fab goodies for little spending :)
Friday, August 10, 2012

Shamballa-Style Bracelet

I made it! Okay, to be honest I took it apart twice before I was happy with it, but I'm really chuffed with the end result. I remember doing macrame when I was young so that came easily. I'm thinking when I get home ordering some different beads and making a few more. The main beads are just fake beads, but the two circular beads are rose quartz - I love rose quartz! Have a necklace with some, and a bracelet, and a giant rose quartz stone in my therapy/craft room. They're supposed to be the ones that connect with Angels, so in my book you can never have too many! I'm thinking you could so some in Chakra colours, or with stones that are supposed to represent certain things - amethyst for spirituality and intuition - which  completely connects with the Spirit-Mind-Body side of my business :)
Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Extra Hard Merly Challenge

The Merly Challenge for July was to create a layout about why you scrap. So that's easy, I have learned I really have to go on and on explaining to some of my friends that don't 'get' scrapbooking.

So why was it extra hard? Well that would be because I am holiday with absolutely no stash, no tools, not even my ruler and craft knife - so to say I had to think outside the box is putting it mildly! Anyway, here we go ......

The backing is a pizza box covered in kraft paper and the 'cardstock' is index dividers, both purchased at the local newsagents!
The digistamp was on my memory stick and in the absence of my Promarkers, the colouring in and writing was created with Ella's felt tips she brought on holiday!
My beading scissors took a paper beating so will need a good sharpen when we get home! Couple of roses made from the dividers. And finally a few odd embellishments out of a pack I found in the equivalent of a Poundland!

So I deserve the booby prize, but at least I completed it :)
Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Pericles Pearls

Short post ........ Haven't spotted any paper-crafting shops around, but did spot this shop in the nearest town - Villeneuve Sur Lot :)  Set myself a challenge to make something I've never made before - you'll either see it on my wrist, or it will never make the car journey home!

Shamballa-style bracelet here I come ....... or the bin!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Annus Horribilus

Today I officially start a new year LOL! Last year, August 5th, seemed to mark the beginning of an absolute cr*p year for us. We've often had difficult periods in our life - the miscarriages - the bankruptcy - etc - but it's always been laced with all the good. This last year though would have tested a saint, and I am most definitely not a saint! My cup half full has been sprouting holes everywhere.

I'm not going to bore you with the ins and outs of Joe - Josh - Ella - Work - Health blah! blah! blah!  If you know me, or don't know me but read this, then you know.

But I've had my year thank you, now we're moving on. Social Services have said yes to respite and someone tried to hack into my bank account yesterday but failed. (As an aside, why would you? If you're gonna make the effort, at least pick an account that doesn't run on low to empty LOL).

And everyday for the next couple of weeks I get to see scenes like this one - yep at Robert's and Jane's :)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Crafting bits and bobs

Ella "Mum, look!" as she lifts her arms.
Me "What baby?"
Ella "Hairs!"
Me "Oh ok, I'll shave them again."
Ella "What again? But you've done it."
Me "I know babe but they will keep growing."
Ella "So you've got to shave me again and again and again!?"
She then stomped off muttering about how unfair life is LMAO!

Taken straight from yesterday's facebook post, but toooo funny not to share!

So I did promise photos. Here's a few for today ............

For Ella's last K2 Youth Club until September I offered to bake cakes. Now what possessed me to leave it until the last minute (well, okay, that's a given!) and let Ella help is anybodies guess. A word of caution - if you plan to let your child help with the sprinkles, ensure that the lid is a shaker variety ........ not a pourer! Two of the cakes had 90% of the spinkles and the other 22 had the remaining 10% LOL Also - cupcake ice creams are blooming hard work. I had read you can put the batter in and then bake as a whole, but I didn't want to do that as it sounded like a lot of sponge. So I baked cupcakes normally, took the wrappers off and popped them in the cornet. So they top half was fab, but the bottom was really dry - and they did not want to stand, hence the slapdash buttercream! One of the parents suggested some Smarties at the bottom to weigh them down and make the cone more interesting. Anybody got any other ideas?

Each year the village next door where Mum grew up have like a Produce and Homemade Fayre. I've always been on holiday so have got a good excuse why I couldn't join in. This year no such excuse! But after a full on week planning, yep, that retirement party, the day before I just collapsed and decided not to bother. Now, those of you that know my Mum can imagine what happened next. Yep guilt and a sleepless night! So got up at 6am on the Saturday, sorted printed and mounted 3 photos for 'Sunset', 'Winter Weather' and 'Life on the Farm'. Then made a 60th wedding anniversary card. And finally '4 cupcakes'. Other parts had specific instructions, eg ' cheese scones'. So I assumed free rein. You know what assumption is don't you? Photo is of the 4 I made (plus 2 to try). Got to say tweaked my chocolate cake recipe and it was perfect. We have blackforest gateaux with cherry pie filling inside; ameretto with ameretto in the batter and the topping, covered with a crushed ameretto biscuit and another whole one: mint chocolate batter and topping with matchmakers; and finally orange wine drizzled over the hot cupcake, added to the batter and a chocolate orange on top. I kept the dec's simple due to the time limit I had given myself, but thought they all followed a theme, and they tasted fantabulous! The end time for delivering entries was 10.30 and I got there at 10.25. Yep, norm for me!

The result - not in the first 3 and not even Highly Commended. So, okay, I could have lived with that, I know there's a ton of people out there with far superior baking skills, but ...... the judges hadn't even tasted them! Not one off of any of the entrants, they'd gone purely on decoration. So was a bit miffed, cos it didn't say that or I wouldn't have spent so long making them taste so damned nice!

So this is the 60th wedding anniversary card - and I've got to thank Soo again for showing me the benefits of digistamps and suggesting the website this one was on :) And ..... I won! If I was a bighead I would leave it at that, but got to be honest, there was only 4 entries LOL

I really wanted to decorate an old suitcase - I know, don't try to understand me, just love me :) - but they are hard to find and not cheap. So I saw this vanity case in a charity shop - I know, gotta love a bargain. I wanted a rectangle one ideally, but thought I would decorate just the outside of this one, and still keep my eye out for one to decorate the inside of. I have to say I love the finished effect, and when I used it as a prop at the HT Retirement party mentioned below I was bowled away by the number of peeps that commented positively on it.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Head Teacher Retirement Party

The Head teacher at the school I'm governor at - and the one Joe, Josh, Ben and Ella all attended - was retiing after 12 years, and so a party needed to be oranised! You know me I love organising :) So, along with 2 other peeps we arranged to give her a tea party and then some! So when Helen and I got together to plan it ..... well, you should have seen her face, I definitely think she felt I had lost the plot!

Anyhow the whole thing was bloody impressive even if I say so myself! So feel free to click the linky-link to the hostest with the mostest website and see the end result :)