Thursday, 29 September 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

And another week for Reasons to be Cheerful, and its nice that it is back home after its been on its holidays, despite all the blogs it has visited being lovely and giving it and its participants a fab welcome, it kind of feels it is back in its rightful place!

My reason this week are as follows:
  1. I have just spent 5 days in Sweden at a conference but managed to get a couple of hours to see the city of Stockholm, the weather was nice and I hopefully made a few useful contacts for additional work.
  2. I am back home after my trip away and back with my boys and there is nothing in the world that can beat that. I hate being away and miss them a hell of a lot more than they miss me. really this should be my number 1 reason to be cheerful but it kind of doesn't flow right if it goes first!
  3. I think my Little Man is getting the knack of reading, he has suddenly started to understand the concept of spelling and letter sounds and is going beyond just sounding the words out. He still has a long way to go but I don't care as long as he gets there in his own time and we can keep his confidence up.
  4. I have taken a positive step towards getting rid of my mummy tummy once and for all and toning up - Last night I joined Closer Diets online. It has cost me £22.00 for an 8 week kick start your diet plan and they have sent me a progress thing where I enter my weight once a week and a meal planner. It hasn't got off to the best of starts as in my tiredness I entered today as my start day and need to do the shopping but there was no way I could get to the supermarket today. I tried my best and substituted things for other days in for today. My tea was disgusting though, I think my cous cous has gone off as it had a very distinctive musty taste to it and I am sure it shouldn't of tasted like that!
  5. I have also set myself a new challenge, well t'husband and me, and I signed both of us up today for the Edinburgh half marathon in April 2012! This is a big thing for me who can run no further than the end of the drive so I really have my work cut out but I am not one to back away from a challenge which is why I signed us up. Both myself and t'husband keep moaning about middle age spread and lack of fitness so now we have no choice but to do something about it. I am really exited as well as it has always been a secret ambition of mine to be able to run and complete something like that.
So that's my lot for this week, pop over to Mummy from the Heart to see everyone elses entries and join in x

Getting your groove back Tuesday

I am a little late with this post but I wanted to join in again as doing it last week really made me think about the things I was doing and whether they were really for me.

My problem is since having the kids my confidence is so low. I put this down to having always been a very lively, out going social butterfly and that outgoing butterfly got crushed as Little Man got older and older.

For those who don't read my blog Little Man has ADHD and aspergers and from about the age of 1, his behaviour left alot to be desired. No-one understood why he did what he did, least of all me, other parents wanted to shield their kids from the nasty one (and to be perfectly honest and I think one of the most heartbreaking things was I know I would of felt the same had it of been another child hurting my son), and gradually the invites to coffee, other people's houses and play dates dried up completely, and by the time we got to nursery and school, Little Man had a reputation and I was seen as the mother who didn't discipline, the mother who couldn't cope.

When Mini Man arrived he was a very sick baby (heart problems) and caught everything going, and I was very poorly after his birth and ended up with an emergency hysterectomy which quite frankly just finished me off and I quite rapidly plunged into some good old fashioned post natal depression. I was the type who hid it, my parents didn't realise, my husband a little but I always 'put a face on' and got on with life to the outside world but as soon as t'husband was out of the door to work, I was sat under the shower crying for half an hour wondering how I would get through the day. I struggled with keeping the counselling appointments they set up for me following the hysterectomy as I had no one to leave the kids with. No one wanted my eldest, and I think people shied away from the responsibility of looking after a sick baby. My parents and family lived over 200 miles away.

I coped by isolating myself, not taking myself to places where Little Man could get into trouble, we went to the park by ourselves, we went for walks by ourselves, and all in all this has had a massive knock on effect on my confidence. Even now Little Man is much better, and getting more out of life and even has friends, I seem to have lost the art of conversation, of being in a group. I just feel intimidated now, i think no-one wants to hear what I have to say. I often start talking and then realise the person has turned away and is talking to someone else and my sentence just trials off unfinished and no-one notices.

This I want to change, I want to enjoy life again, enjoy being with people and enjoy having a laugh and I think that needs to start with finding me again so this blog hop is so relevant and really makes me think about what I want to do.

I have been very fortunate this last week to of been away with work which inevitably meant alot of time to myself. I don't like being away from the boys, in fact I hate it but work is work at the end of the day and being away every few months for 4 nights to enable me to be there at the school gates every other day, be able to help out in school and do all the after school activities makes it worth while.

Normally when I am away I am very diligent and spend my evenings in my hotel room doing work, after all there's not much else to do.  This time though I worked one night, I bumped into some people who also provide me with regular work and when asked if I wanted to join them for dinner, I accepted instead of thinking I wouldn't have anything to say and it would be a nightmare and do you know - it was lovely, I enjoyed it, I drank far too much red wine and I got talked into trying reindeer (which was lovely by the way), and I even managed to contribute to some of the conversation instead of just sitting grinning like an uncomfortable baboon. I also managed to read a whole book and I can;t remember the last time I did that, and I took 2 hours off to walk round Stockholm and see the city I was in. So this last week I have really worked on some me time.  I also think going out to dinner with P and B has also given me a real confidence boost.

This week I am not sure what I am going to do 'for me' but I am going to do something and find some time.

Finally to answer Kate's questions:

What music is best to play while finding my groove? I don't think there is anything specific, I think I just need to play more music. Driving to the airport last week I stuck my CD player on and found McFly in there, good old cheesy music I can sing to and I turned it up LOUD and it was good and I sang he whole way and really enjoyed it. Driving home from the airport I stuck the Mama Mia sound track in and again had a good old sing song.

What can I do to make my body feel better this week?
Well last night I signed up for Closer Diets so I am hoping that will help and I also told t'husband last night that we are going to take it in turns to take te dog for a walk in the evenings or rather a run - we both need to get fitter and I figure if we do about 3km every other night each it will really help us and also give the dog the exercise he needs.

If you want to join in, pop over to Kate on thin ice and add your link x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


This is a super quick post as I am sooooo tired I need my bed but I am already 2 days late with it.

I have literally just sat here and signed up with Closer diets as I clearly can't motivate myself enough and I think if I am being told what to do and know I am paying for it, then I may be more successful. I officially start tomorrow, I didn't see the point in putting it off any longer. And at £22.00 for an 8 week plan I think it is worth every penny. The only downside is I must remember to cancel my membership, it it all goes to plan, otherwise they will automatically take £14.99 a month from my account. They have an online program to help you lose weight, designed for you.

I don;t feel like I have lost any weight again at all this week, and I am feeling particularly bloated tonight but then I went all shaky earlier which sometimes happens and the only way I can get out of it is carbs and something sweet, so I had a small can of Pepsi which always makes me feel bloated.

So I am praying next week I have something better to report, thanks to Closer diets.

I am quite excited I have taken this step x

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Listography: 5 celebreties I would like to go for a drink with

Kate takes five has set a brilliant listography this week - I remember well the one that Metal Mummy did about 5 celebrities I would like to punch, and yes I took part with a wicked glee inside me, if I remember correctly Jordan 'real name katie bloody Price' (lets not forget to write her name correctly) and Kerry Katonia got a right old beating from many participants, so the reverse of this is great to take part in as well. I wonder if those 2 will be included on anyones lists?

I have not read anyone elses list either otherwise I know I will be influenced and struggle to find different people as I will be thinking yes, thats a good one, could defintiely share a vodka or 5 with them etc and my mind will go blank.

I think top of my list would be Sean Connery, I would probably just sit with my mouth hanging slightly open in awe though, melting into to his voice and eyes, and yes I know he is now old, but god, you would wouldn't you!

Kiefer Sutherland - now I certainly would not kick him out of bed for eating biscuiits. I was glued to 24 when it was on, and think he would make a very good drinking partner. I think I first fell for his charm and looks in Lost boys as a stary eyed teenager, Flatliners and Young Guns but as he has got older he has definitely matured with ages and I just think a night down the pub with him, playing pool and drinking a few beers would be entertaining.

Victoria Beckham - now she seems to be really stuck up, really grumpy but I saw a documentary about her and David years ago and infact she canme across as really honest and nice with a quiet but good sense of humour. The thing that stuck out about her to me in this documentary was her opinion of herself and the hype in the media - she seems actually to be incredibly down to earth. They asked her about her figure and her eating and she openly said yes I do have an eating problem, and self image issues, but who wouldn't after attending a school where they weighed you every day and you were made to feel fat. I admire her for admitting that. I think she is one of these people that once you get to know her she would be a really good laugh and very matter of fact. AND if she felt Mr Beckham had to accompany her for this drink then so be it, I could live with that.

Davina McColl - I love Davina for her energy, her style, her honesty about her past battles with drugs and alcohol, her down to earth attitude and I would love to sit and have a drink with her to determine if it is all an act for the public or if she is as much fun in real life and I expect that she is!

Prince William - OK I know many of you are going to say what the hell?! But seriously I think he would be a great one to go for a drink with. I may be a little biased here because I know someone (if I told you who I would have to shoot you), but he is in the RAF and when Will's was doing some of his training he was stationed at the same RAF base. This person I know is an officer so was in charge of Will's and when security didn't like the idea of the charming Prince being in the barracks for security reasons, Will's refused to stay elsewhere and the compromise was he would stay with someone on the base. This said person was the person I know, and apparently he kept clearing the table, donning the pink marigolds and insisting on doing the washing up. Wife was mortified, but Will's attitude was he did it at home and wouldn't expect her to run around after him. He liked nothing more than a take away and a few beers and was apparently one of the nicest, most down to earth people they have ever had to stay, and by the end of the 2 weeks, they felt like they just had an old Uni friend staying with them, not the future king. He visits them regularly, rings and emails and they even got invited to Westminster Abbey to watch him and kate get married. I think Prince Harry would be a good candidate to go to the pub with as well!

So there you have it, would I want to drink with all of them at the same time? mmmm, not sure about that one, I think there may be too many big personalities in one room for me, plus I am a little shy so would probably sit saying nothing feeling ever so slightly scared! 

If you want to take part, pop over to Kate Takes Five and add your link.

Oh and I apologise if there are any blinding spelling mistakes, I am away in Sweden at a conference and just tried to do a spell check and it seems to be chekcing it against Swedish!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

This week Reasons to be Cheerful is being guest hosted by Mum of All Trades - thank you veyr much!

This will be a short post from me this week as I am run off my feet with things to do but didn't want to miss it.

I am cheerful this week as
  1. Work has picked up again and I am feeling slightly inundated with people asking me to do things but the more the better as it means more money for us!
  2. Our new doors have arrived so next week once I am back from my conference, they are being fitted and we should be very warm and toasty for the winter months. That means in the space of a year we will have managed to do the windows, doors, electrics and the flooring, along with the wood burner, decorating downstairs and a new bathroom which I think is a huge achievement.
  3. Dog seems to have settled well and been well and truely accepted. It was a huge risk taking Dog on due to Little Man's phobia but thankfully it has worked in our favour and he has taken very well and much quicker than we ever imagined to moving off the dining room table|! See here for full post on this.
  4. I have started taking 30 minutes out every other day to go and do a quick run, time for me, time to feel better about myself and I am beginning to find running is not quite as evil as I felt it was at school and it is actually becoming slightly more enjoyable!
  5. Tomorrow I go off to Sweden for 5 days (I hate going as I miss the boys so much - they don;t care as they get to have a 'boys night' every night which generally means hot dogs or pizza for tea or tea at Grannie's so it is just one big treat when I am away and they love it). My resons to be cheerful about this is I have never been to Sweden and as my flight lands Friday lunchtime, and my first session is not until 7.30pm it means I get the whole afternoon to eplore Stockholm, so I am really looking forward to that.
if you fancy taking part, then please pop over to Mum of All Trades and add your post.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Getting into the groove

I stumbled across a new blog hop called getting into the groove over at Kate on Thin Ice which will be published every Tuesday. The basic reason for it is to celebrate doing something for yourself, you alone. When did you last go shopping? When did you last get your hair cut? When did you last sit down, alone and enjoy a good book?

Since becoming a mum, I have lost me, I seem to spend each and everyday running myself ragged for the kids, t'husband and now the dog, while trying to work and manage everything else that goes with being a mum. I never do anything for me, and I have lost a great deal of confidence, feel quite lonely and almost feel guilty if I take time out.

This blog hop - too me anyway, is a way of reminding ourselves to do just that. be kind to yourself, make sure you do something nice, just for you and enjoy it.

Last Saturday I joined a very old friend and 2 other mum's from school to go to a stately home in Yorkshire to a drive thru movie. We left at 5pm, popped into Sainsbury's and bought champagne, wine, cheese, bread, pate, olives, salads and individual cheesecakes and drove to this drive thru. We sat in front of the car on a blanket eating and drinking, and even a huge downpour of rain didn't dampen our spirits. Firstly it made it seem darker, so the film started sooner, and two, we saw the most amazing, double rainbow, so vivid and bright. I am struggling to remember when I last saw such a clear and bright rainbow. And the film we saw - none other than Top Gun. What more could a girl want - champagne, good company, singing along, cars hooting and flashing lights at all the appropriate bits, and lets not forget Maverick, Goose and Iceman and co playing basketball on the beach.

It was a fabulous night, I got home around 11.00pm feeling refreshed, and happy.

These are the types of things we should do more often.

Overcoming phobias in ASD - The Dog

Little Man has been developing a fear over recent months of dogs, which has now escalated into a full on phobia, to the extent he is trying to avoid going on walks incase we see any dogs and if we do, he is rooted to the ground, shaking and crying in fear and it can take up to an hour to calm him down. I am not even talking about the dog being anywhere near him, god forbid if it were to sniff him or approach him.

As we were unsure how to handle it and only seem to have friends with mad dogs, I spoke to both our GP (as we were there anyhow about continued tummy ache which he put down to anxiety), and rang the doctor at CAMHS. Both said the only way to sort it out and stop it developing into anything more major was to actually expose him to dogs and possibly get one, so the search began.

The other week we were told about a 15 month old Labrador apparently very calm, house trained, very good with children, he sounded perfect. The plan was I would go and visit the dog and see if I thought he was suitable, and then we would decide if we could have a trial. In reality it did not pan out like this, as I mentioned here, and basically I was handed the dog on a lead and told to get in touch with our decision.

Dog is lovely, he is very very sweet, I mean how can you not want to love this:

Little Man initially was crying hysterically when Dog came into the house, and then calmed down enough to stand on the table unless Dog was in the dog cage in the kitchen, then he would come down from the table if the lounge doors and the kitchen door were shut. As soon as he heard one open he was back stood on the table. 2 days in after school on Thursday I told him it wasn't really fair on Dog and earlier in the day I had discovered that Dog was fine off the lead and very good at coming back (thank god) and he loved playing fetch. Little Man is very fixated on a new club penguin toy and we are making him save his pocket money for it which will take ages considering it is £35.00 and he gets £2 a week. I decided to try a bit of good old fashioned bribery and told him if he could sit on a chair and not get on the table while Dog had a walk around he could earn £1.00. He began by sitting on the furthest chair he could with his feet under him, as soon as Dog appeared he was standing on it inches away from jumping back on the table, but a quick flash of the said gold coin soon had him stood stock still.

I left the doors open and Dog out of cage and gradually Little Man was relaxing. When Mini Man got the rope toy and began rolling on the floor playing tug with Dog, Little Man visibly relaxed and sat down, still on chair but sitting and next thing I know, Little Man is playing tug as well (from the safety of the chair) but Dog was pretty close for this to happen.

Since then Little Man has walked Dog and loves playing fetch with him and although still not wanting to walk by him unless Dog is being held or on the lead, he is happy for Dog to wonder round the house and not be in his cage. We are amazed and thought it would take much longer. It has been much faster progress than we ever imagined.

However I am now the one having doubts over whether we should keep Dog. For one I wonder if he is healthy, he is apparently pedigree and up to date in his inoculations but we have no paperwork and the way I was handed Dog, I don't think he will be going back there if we decide to keep him. I find it odd his owner who is apparently devastated about geting rid of him has not cotacted me once, it has corssed my mind we may never get in contact with her again.

He is also wormed and flea'd but seems very thin, smelly, and keeps scratching himself in the same place. I have bathed him and he does smell better but before we make a final decision will take him to the vets.

He has clearly never been walked on a lead and needs alot of work on that. He goes on long walks and doesn't do anything and as soon as we get home, asks to go in the garden and goes immediately. More over, I think it has just hit me what having a Dog means, it is like another child, and do we want that? I like the idea of having a Dog but the reality, I am not so sure. I can no longer sit on the beanbag on the floor and watch TV, he is on me. He disturbs us watching TV, we obviously need to walk him which is going to fall on me, do I really have time? I struggle to do anything I want to do in the time I have let alone walk a dog 2 or 3 times aday.

Argggh decisions. I know if we don't keep Dog Mini Man will be heartbroken and we would probably lose all the good work that Dog has done with Little Man. I am being selfish knowing it will all fall on me. I am also worried about when I am away with work - who will walk Dog, without his inoculation papers no dog walker will take him and I go away on Friday until Tuesday night.

I think I need to catch up with some sleep and then I might see a little more clearly.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Children worlds apart

Christmas 2003 I’m in a well equipped hospital, comfy, clean bed attached to drips.

Along the corridor was our son, born too soon, surrounded by doctors, tubes & breathing equipment.

6 weeks later we took our tiny but well baby home.

A mother in Africa who wakes at 2am hemorrhaging would not have the luxury of an ambulance within 6 minutes, a crash team, fast acting doctors to deliver her baby, or resuscitation equipment ready for when her baby is not breathing.

Instead the mother would bleed unable to do anything to save her baby, quite possibly herself.

I was asked to write this post in support of Save The Children's campaign to increase the number of health workers in poorer parts of the world, especially East Africa where the lives of thousands of children are once again under threat from drought conditions. They are likely to die from simple preventable childhood illnesses, just from being born.

Without the healthcare system provided by the NHS in the UK, I would not be looking at a healthy, happy 7 year old today. I probably would not be here to see my 4 year old reach the same mile stones as my 7 year old, after emergency surgery to save my life following Mini Man's birth.

Everyday I thank the NHS, the doctors and the nurses.

Why shouldn't the rest of the world be able to experience the same?

Save The Children has enlisted the help of the Mummy Blogger community to get as many people as possible to sign this petition before Tuesday when it is due to be presented at the UN General Assembly to pressure David Cameron to play his full part in solving the health worker crisis.  There is a target of 60,000 signatures on the petition by Tuesday. At the moment that petition sits at 41,673, we want to change that.

So please to get involved, its easy, just follow the simple steps below:
Then the challenge set by @HelloItsGemma and @michelletwinmum is to see 100 posts of 100 words linked up at micehlletwinmum by Tuesday.
If 100 bloggers each write a post about a healthcare experience and encourage more signatures that could make a massive dent in the 20,000 signature shortfall. Please help.
Link to a number of other bloggers and ask them to do the same. Anyone reading this post, please consider themselves tagged and join in.

The slacker has rejoined MuMenTum

I think the title says it all.
I am slack.
I am rubbish at keeping up with this.
I have zero will power.
I do not know what to do to motivate myself.
I hate the self loathing I am feeling.

Right got that off my chest.

I have got to do something as I really am beginning to go down the line of self loathing. For those of you new to MuMenTum, my first post for this (quite a while ago now) explained that I do not have a great deal to lose, less than a stone, well it was it is now a stone. My main problem is the weight is creeping on, I hate it, so eat some more to make myself feel better and tell myself tomorrow will be a better day, and so it continues and each week a few more pounds are creeping on, my clothes are getting tighter and I hate it that little bit more but don't seem to be able to break the cycle.  I am now convinced I am just going to get bigger and bigger and this 1 stone will turn into 2 and then 3.

I want to do something about it. I saw the photos that New Mum Online had posted and thought maybe this was the way forward for me also. I thought hard about what I hate the most, the tight clothes, the knowing I shouldn't be eating something, or the way I was beginning to look, and I think it is the latter which strikes the cord the most. So apologies for those of you who don't want to see this or sit there and think moaning bit**, I would be grateful to be looking at that, for me it is becoming a growing issue (in more ways than one), so this is meant to motivate me, keep me on track.

Weight - 10 stone 5lb
Ideal weight - 9 stone 3lb

My expanding belly which was once upon a time and post kids nice and flat.

And these are the 3 rolls of fat I now sport instead of my nice flat stomach and want to get rid off
I really just want to try and get it going smaller because at the moment it only seems to be growing and I don't like it.

As for the tops of my legs, don't even get me started!

So for about the 10th time I am going to try and stick with this weekly blog hop, try and really do something to make myself feel better and try and have better more positive reports each week.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Liverpool cake

I love making cakes and decorating them and recently my friend asked me to make a birthday cake for her twin boys who turned 8 last week.  She requested a liverpool football cake. At first I thought I would do a football pitch and stick some players on it, but then I realised this was not going to very Liverpool focused but just another football pitch and I wanted something a little more personal.

I the decided on doing the football shirts and again my original plan was to do them a shirt each with an 8 on the back and their name but again when I thought about it, it seemed a little boring as after all it would just be a cake covered in red icing with a white number and name on.

I finally decided on a shirt shaped cake each but from the front with the white stripes, the logo and the sponsor across the front, and then I wrote Happy 8th birthday 'H' and Happy 8th birthday 'W', under the cakes on the board. In the interests of not showing the boys names, I will just post a picture of one of the cakes but they were both identical and I feel really chuffed with the results.  Apparently the boys were over the moon as well x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Back to school woes

Over the past week or so I have red a number of posts from other bloggers with children on the autistic spectrum blogging about difficulties their children are experiencing with returning to school, after the summer holidays. Compared to some of the posts I have seen our troubles are not that big but they still worry me and leave me feeling a little hopeless and at a loss at what we can do.

Little Man has always cried during the holidays as he hates the break in the routine from school. The last few holidays he seems to have accepted them alot more easily and the tears have all but dried up. He was however very excited about going back to school.  We did the usual chatting about him being in a new part of the school, a new classroom, a new teacher and which of his friends would be in his class etc and the first morning back (Thursday 1st) he ran into school quite happily. On the Friday he even opted to go to his new classroom alone. This is one area I am struggling with - Mini man has started reception and this means taking him into his classroom which is on the other side of the school. Reception starts at 8.45, Little Man at 8.50 so I don't have time to settle Mini Man and get Little man to his class on time, so the fact he was happy to run over to his classroom by himself was great (he is year 3 now, so just into juniors and most of the others leave their parents in the playground).

Come Monday 5th though Little Man was clinging to me and refused to go instead coming to reception with me and waiting. I spoke with Little Man's teacher and explained he was wanting me to bring him to the classroom and the timing issues and she was fine about it. All week this continued, one morning he was happy to stand with some of the other children and another mum but the other 4 it had to be me. By Thursday he was very quiet, and the whole weekend he was a bit distant and removed.

Last Sunday my parents came down and helped with the gardening (taming of the jungle), we all mucked in, but Little Man decided to sit on the front drive with a hammer and hammer stones for 3 and a half hours. At Sunday dinner which my parents stayed for, he took 2 Yorkshire puddings, a tiny piece of lamb, 3 peas and 1 slice of carrot and placed the meat, peas and carrot in one Yorkshire pud, and placed the other on top then sat looking at it. I took one look at his plate and said he needed more food and reached for the meat to put more on his plate. Now Little Man eats like a horse, he has a larger dinner than me. So this measly amount of food was very unlike him. He was not happy about other food going on his plate, picking it up in his fingers and chucking into any surrounding dishes. As a compromise I said he could eat what was on his plate and then perhaps he could have some more. He then went to pick the Yorkshire pudding sandwich up with his hands. I asked him to cut it and use his cutlery. He said it was too big to cut so I reached for his cutlery and made to cut this 'sandwich'. He went mad saying he would not eat any food that was cut, and I could see him building to a melt down. He kind of does this thing with his face, and starts huffing and breathing deeply.

At this point I focused him on me and asked if he wanted to go into the kitchen with me for a little chat and cuddle. Off we trotted, and he just collapsed on the kitchen floor sobbing. I ended up on the kitchen floor with him, with him sat in my lap just sobbing. It took some doing but I eventually got out of him that he didn't want to go back to school, he didn't like it anymore, and he couldn't do it. This translated to now he is in juniors they are beginning to do proper school work and he can't understand it and 'just wants to screw his work up and throw it in the bin'. He is aware the others understand and he can't. He is aware the others can write and his words are meaningless, no-one else can read them. He is aware he goes out to have 1:1. He is aware he sits on a table at the back with one other little boy who is struggling as well. He is aware the books he is reading are not the same as the other children.

What do you say to a 7 year old sobbing about this? I felt so helpless. I tried to hit on the fact alot of his friends are girls and explain they love to read and write and are always ahead at this age. I tried to bolster him up saying not many in his class could tell us all about gravity and how things work like he can and that the most important thing is that he has the information in his head and putting onto paper will come with time. i tried to tell him how much he had come on and how well he was doing. I tried to tell him about how good he was at drawing.

I managed to bring him down and avoid the meltdown by simply promising to talk to his teacher the next day and also to the special needs teacher.  I did this and his teacher was really upset, nearly in tears infact

I am amazed he is so aware of all these things but what is the answer? He is nowhere near even being considered for a statement, we will struggle to get him anymore help, from what I can gather in all my research and reading the school are actually providing above and beyond what they have to provide, so I don't want to bang on too much about it as they are clearly doing so much already.

I just feel so frustrated. I hate walking to school with him seeing him become more and more quiet and withdrawn the closer we get. Dropping him at his class and seeing him look so lost still and unsure of himself. Where has the little boy gone who use to love school, who use to literally skip through the gates.

I want to do more to help him at home but he is tired after school and doesn't want to do it, he gets upset as he has done it already in school, Mini Man interrupts and demands attention all the time and now we have a dog to throw into the mix.

On a plus side CAMHS have organised a meeting for the 19th October to discuss the ASD with the school, and the school have contacted the autistic advisory board to see if they can access any further support for Little Man, but this will more than likely be social help rather than academic, but they are due in to see him in the next 2 weeks.

I wish I could do more.

Big feeling sorry for myself post

I think the title says it all. I am feeling very sorry for myself and miserable so be warned. This post is simply a download for me, to get it out of my system and to have a rant, not even one for people to read, its for me.

As I blogged about on Reasons to be Cheerful, Thursday 15th was my 10th wedding anniversary and we went out for a meal. On the morning of it t'husband appeared in the kitchen and said Happy Anniversary so I gave him my card and also a Play Station game I know he has been after.Now I agree a PS3 game does not seem a great present especially for a 10th wedding anniversary but I was even unsure whether to buy that.

The reasons - well this year, 10th anniversary, he received my things and started saying he was so sorry he hadn't got me a card, and had something planned but thought the 15th was the Friday, and kept going on about being really crap. I asked if the game was OK and he said it was fine, I obviously knew what he wanted but when I pushed him and said he had just put it to one side he then admitted he had already bought it for himself and not told me, and apologised.

I shrugged it off, and this is why I was unsure about even buying him a game. Over the summer I had mentioned him taking Friday 16th and Monday 19th off work and perhaps we could of gone away for our anniversary. He did book the days off but said he thought we should concentrate on putting money into the house and not go away. Last year he completely forgot our anniversary, it simply passed event though I gave him a card. I was pretty devastated but didn't make too big a deal out of it, after all we were living 200 miles apart as he had started his new job 4 weeks before and I was back in our old town selling the house with the kids. Another reason was we had just had a very, very shitty 18 months and we were at the stage of coming out the other side and putting things behind us, it was me who was having the major crisis over our marriage and my feelings. 

Previous years our anniversary has simply passed with a card. Each anniversary I have done the card and done the small gifts, like the little cards for wallets with meaningful sayings on, chocolates etc and each thing has been discarded to the side, never eaten or touched. It does hurt but there you go. He's not overly romantic, although he can surprise me at times which is nice, probably more special as I never expect it. Birthdays, mothers day (one year I got taken to Sainsburys with the boys, having said I would like a new mug for work, and got told to pick my own - during our really shitty time) and valentines day I never expect too much.

Anyhow, on Thursday he went off to work, I got on with my day but when he got in he asked what I was planning on wearing as we had decided to mark the 10 years with a meal. He handed me a small box and said it was something for me to wear. My first thought was an eternity ring, a sore point with me having been taken to a jewellers on our 4th anniversary and looked at rings, and then one never materialised and each year, I wonder if it will appear. The box was however too big, instead he had got me a beautiful diamond necklace, 5 tiny diamonds in it and I was blown away. It is gorgeous and so unlike him. You see this is why when he does these things it means so much. I couldn't stop looking at it in the mirror opposite me in the restaurant.

Friday on his day off I booked tickets to GameFeast in the NEC. My idea of not a good day out, his idea of heaven, all about gaming, new release games etc. To be fair it was pretty rubbish, all the new releases were hidden behind curtains due to the over 18 age limit and you had to queue for over an hour to get a 5 minute play on them. We only queued for one. In all honesty, he wanted to be able to watch the game play and see what it was like. Offers were pretty rubbish too, right as we were leaving he saw these headphones - earforce px5 or something which were on a special offer of £170.00 for the show only, however he has found them on the Internet for £140.00 brand new - big difference. Anyhow I digress.

As we were motoring back up the M1, I began falling asleep (I missed a full nights sleep on Tuesday night due to a new dog in the house) and it was catching up. He then had a massive go at me about it being nice if I could stay awake, all he does for his job is drive and maybe I could of offered. I did as we left the NEC and handed him the keys, he claimed I didn't. I must admit, I am a little nervous driving his car as it is a company car (I am insured on it) but he never stops picking, I brake too much, I drive too slow, I leave too bigger gap, I;m not aggressive enough and allow people to cut me up etc. I bit my tongue as I know he was very tired as well. All evening he was quiet and then fell asleep.

Today he has been like a bear with a sore head, he has done nothing but shout at me and the boys. By lunchtime I had had enough and asked him what the problem was and this was his response. Apparently he is 'insulted that 10 years of marriage is only worth a poxy game, perhaps I could of made more of an effort, I didn't know him as he wanted a new gadget etc'. I was speechless and mentioned the last 10 frigging years and how it was never celebrated so was unsure of even the game as I was fed up of it all being one sided. Why would 10 years be any different from the other ones? He then went off on one about me dragging the past up etc etc. All the while the boys were sat in the back of the car. It was awful. For me I was so upset over his attitude, plus it goes against everything I believe in about never arguing in front of the boys.

Yes I agree 10 years should be important and I guess when I think about what he has spent on my necklace a game does seem very lame (I kind of know the feeling as I spent quite a bit of money on a fiorelli handbag for a friends birthday and she got me a plastic laptop case thingy from Primark for my birthday which cost £3.00 and yes I was a tad put out). However in all honesty what does he expect? Why would I expect him to do anything? The thing that he has been dropping hints about I have already got sorted for his 40th birthday and family are clubbing together to buy it, so I had to tell him that.

We went home and I got a receipt out of my wallet for a gaming chair that I had sneaked off and bought at this gamefeast, and told him it was being delivered next week for him and I got out of the car and he then backed out of the drive and said he was going off with the boys. He had my keys so I had no way of getting in the house so walked off through the field and over to Sainsburys.  He guessed where I was headed and reached the crossing just as I did and threw the receipt out of the window at me and said he was insulted. I walked straight into the toilet and bawled my eyes out. I then emailed the company and asked to cancel my order via my phone. I have no idea if I can, or if it will cost me, but sod him. if necessary I will keep it at a friends and sell it on eBay. Even though we have it sorted now, I will not go back on the chair, the order is cancelled. In the end he sent Mini Man into the toilets looking for me.

Eventually we have 'sorted' it out, after the usual threats of him saying he would pack a bag and go away for a few days - prompted by me as he stood there and apologised and said he wanted to draw a line under it and forget it and I said I didn't know if I could and I was fed up of drawing a line under things. Over the last few years he has put me through hell and I have fought hard to save our marriage, to sort my feelings out and come through the other side, much of which I think he is unaware of how badly everything has affected me and for the last 10 months or so, I have felt things have been great again and that I had made the right decision to work through things. Today though was a major slap in the face.

I feel that I was in the wrong not to make more of our wedding anniversary but I did have my reasons plus I would have no idea what to buy him, as to me yet another gadget is pretty much the same as a game other than cost. I am still seething and still upset, but we have made up, we have both apologised, and we have said we will forget and he says he got me the necklace as it was a way of saying to me, he knows over the last few years he has been shit but wants to make amends and show me from now on things like this won;t just go by with no recognition.

Thing is I do love him, we do get on really well, we are good friends, I wouldn't of fought with my own feelings if I didn't think he was worth it. In this I have only slated him but he has many, many strenghts, none of us are perfect and I know for sure I am not. This however has really pissed me off, really cut deep. For me it has kind of taking all the meaning out of the necklace he gave me. I did feel and still do to some extent like taking it off and giving it back to him. Am I stupid in thinking he didn't give it to me for the right reasons as it seemed more important he got an equivalent gift?

I must also admit I am not sure this is the real reason he was so moody today and just used it as an excuse, after all he already knew what I had got him in the morning, he went to a jewellers for my necklace over lunch, and gave it to me in the evening, fully aware of what I had got him and he was fine, we had a lovely meal out. a good chat, a giggle, so why suddenly bring it up on Saturday, 2 days later. If it was such a big deal why bother getting me anything at all. 

Sorry about the out pour but I am so tired, pissed off and upset and needed to get this off my chest. Its not even for anyone to read, just for me to sound off.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

My Italian Family Cookbook Lawrence Dallaglio Review

I am ashamed to say I was sent this fabulous cookbook a couple of months ago now and have yet to review it, not because I haven't used it, far from it, infact it already has that 'always reached for trusty receipe book' look about it, but simply because my blog has been one of the things to suffer in the midst of all the work I have been doing.
Anyhow getting to the point, My Italian Family Cookbook, by Lawrence Dallaglio, an England Grand Slam and world cup winning rugby player. Aside from rugby, Lawernce Dallaglio has a huge passion for food who grew up in an Italian household with a father who loves cooking also. Together Lawrence and his father, Vincenzo have produced a beautifu; cookbook full of easy to cook, delicious family favourties from snacks through to main courses, soups, stews, pies, and puds. Best of all the reciepes all use fresh produce (mostly) and are healthy and tasty. Even t'husband has eaten some of them and he hates Italian food.

The first thing I cooked was the meatballs with diavola sauce. It says preparation time is 15 minutes, I think the first time I did it it took me 30 minutes but I have made them a number of time since and have also used the same reciepe to make them into burgers, and it does probably only take 15 - 20 minutes to make them once you know what you are doing. 

These are so simple:

500g lean mince
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
4 spring onions chopped
zest of lemon
100g breadcrumbs
pinch of ground cinamon
salt and ground black pepper
little olive oil
300g jar Dallagio by Sacla' Diavola sauce
grated parmasen cheese if desired.

Boil your pasta, mix mince, herbs, spring onions, lemon zest, breadcrumbs and cinamon together in a bowl, I found using my hands made this much easier, then roll them out into balls the size of wallnuts (or make 4 good size burgers). Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the meatballs until golden. Ass the sauce to another pan, heat and add meatballs, then put on top of the pasta.

How easy is that? If you want to see loads more reciepes like this one, then get yourself a copy of the book, I can also recommend the spagetti with bacon and tomato sauce, spagetti with prawns and garlic which both my boys love, and often asks for. I did try the fritters with onions and peas but they were a bit of a disaster and the boys were not impressed with my culinary skills that day, probably not to do with the reciepe, more to do with my cooking ability.  I am quite bad with receipe books, as once I find a few meals I like we tend to stick to them. I did also make the milanase chicken for friends and it was yummy with some good wine, salad and garlic bread.

The first time I made the meatballs, I was slightly disappointed as I took ages mixing my mince with the herbs and onions and breadcrumbs etc to mke sure it was well combined, only to then find out I had to use a jar of sauce and I kind of felt cheated after all that work that I had not made the sauce myself. The other problem I had was I couldnt actually find the sauce the book recommends (300g jar Dallagio by Sacla' Diavola sauce) so I used some arrabiata (spelling there?) sauce and it was quite disappointing to tell the truth. Since then whenever I make the meatballs now I actually make my own sauce up now from a reciepe I got off good old google! If I ever find the right sauce and its kind of become one of those obssessions where I check anywhere new for it, then I will try it.

I would really recommend this book to anyone looking for slightly different meal ideas, even though it does recommend alot of the salca sauces and sometimes I think it can be quite nice to make yur own. It has certainly changed our eating menus and privded some much needed change and none of them are difficult or tend to require silly ingredients you cant get (other than diavola sauce!!).

Please note these are my views on this book, I have not been paid any money for writing it.

Reasons to be cheerful

Again I have slacked and not done this for a few weeks despite it being one of my favourite link. I am quite exited as well to be hopping over the A matter of choice who is kindly hosting it this week as well, so thank you!. I am going to combine a few reasons from last week into this week as well.
  1. A few weeks ago Mini Man had a bad fall off his bike (see here) which resulted in a 4 day hospital stay and small operation (see here for more detail if interested). I am so pleased that he seems none the worse for the experience and within a couple of hours, let alone a couple of days was back to his normal self.
  2. The company I worked for before moving back North have approached me and offered me some work with them. I am over the moon as I loved my old job and was incredibly sad to leave them, so to be asked to attend a conference on their behalf and produce the report is really nice. I am working with old friends again.
  3. Mini Man has taken to full time school like a pro. He is loving it, and coming home full of new things he has learnt each day.
  4. The mother-in-law came to stay at the beginning of the week and after 16 years of knowing her, in that time relations between her and t'husband have dramatically changed, and my initial feelings of dread at a few hours in her company have brought us round to really having enjoyed her 2 day stay, the boys loved it, she loved, we loved it. It is so nice to be like this now and see her getting closer to not only her Grandchildren but also to her son.
  5. We have a dog! Well, I think we have a dog, he is here, at my feet snoozing but at the moment it is still only a trial as Little Man has a huge phobia of them and the docs feel the only way he will improve is to have no choice and have one in the house, but if he can tolerate it, Dog is ours to keep. After an initial rocky start with Dog being very unsettled, I am now loving it!
  6. And finally perhaps the most important reason to be cheerful, exactly 10 years ago today I was sat on my mum and dad's sofa, wolfing down chicken in a sauce and rice, with my hair looking the poshest it has ever looked, chomping at the bit to get my frock on and get me to the church to marry the love of my life. Happy Anniversary to t'husband. The last 10 years have taken us on many, many journeys - through wrongful dismissal, tribunals, loss of parents and grandparents, buying our first home, thrown us into the world of prematurity, heart disease, aspergers, ADHD, special needs, parenting and goodness knows what else, but despite some of it being very tough and leading us to our lowest points personally and as a couple, we are still here today, still laughing and enjoying life, with a lovely home, in the part of the country we want to be, with 2 fantastic boys, 2 guinea pigs and it seems a dog. Life is pretty much perfect. 10 years ago would I of envisioned any of it - only 1 thing. That we would be celebrating this day together still as a couple, that we knew for sure. On our wedding night t'husband and me made a promise to each other. On our 40th wedding anniversary and our 50th if we are still able to, we plan to act out an old Lloydstsb advert which was of an old couple running naked into the sea giggling like kids. Now we are another year closer!
If you want to take part pop over the A matter of choice who is kindly hosting reasons to be cheerful this week. If you have no idea what it is about pop over to mummy at the heart for full details.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

OMG, what have we done?

Well I wrote that title at 6.00am this morning and was in a state of despair. You know when you are so tired and worn out all you can physically do is sit and cry, well that was me 6.00am this morning.

To rewind and explain why this is the last few days and a brief idea of why it happened.

Little Man has developed a huge phobia of dogs, to the extent where he is physically shaking and standing on a table even if it is a picnic bench with someone elses lunch on it or climbing a tree to get away from the dog that is about 1 mile away.  It has got to the stage where he doesn't want to go out on bikes or long walks incase we see one,and to be fair we didn;t really know how to tackle it (as I blogged about here). The doctors have said the only way to get over it is to expose him to a dog so he has no choice but to get use to them and realise that they will not hurt or eat him.

So I then sent out the word we might be looking for a dog, nice, calm, well trained, or might just see if we could find one to borrow.

My friend tells us about one which is on offer as the owners circumstances have changed and they need a new home for him. He seems to fit the bill, perfect in everyway, house trained, 15 month black Labrador, use to children, very obedient, very calm.

The last 48 hours have gone like this:
Me: Hello I was passed your number about a dog that might be available, I was wondering if I could come and visit and take some photos to see if it would be suitable, and then if it is, later in the month could we arrange a trial period perhaps.
Owner: Not a problem, how about coming over Tuesday about 4.30 to see him
Me: Great see you then.

Tuesday: Off I drive 20 miles to find said dog. 5 miles from her house, I stop behind 2 cars at some traffic lights and a stupid man in a transit van, rams into the back of my car. Luckily there seems no visible damage, and he was all for driving off and was very put out when I asked for his details and pointed out that the bumper was loose and wobbly plus I was concerned something had been shunted underneath.

So sorted that and got on my way again. Got to said house, she opens the door, lets the dog out for a run round their estate area by himself. He does come when called and sits when told etc. The she puts him on the lead and literally hands me a carrier bag with some food and treats in, and says
Ring me in a few days and is backing into the house.

I had to knock to ask what he ate and when, if he had a bed, how many walks, inoculations etc!

And so I drove home with a lunatic dog in the boot who kept jumping over my backseats. In the end I had to tie him into the boot. I managed to get a message to t'husband who got a friend to bring over their dog cage and a bed.

Little Man freaked when I arrived home but within an hour had come down off the back of the sofa and by bedtime even found the courage to give him one very small, quick stroke. Dog was in his cage at breakfast and Little Man happily wondered into the kitchen and stood talking to him, but wouldn't let him out. Its major progress though!

I however was sat crying. By the time we had taken Dog for a long walk last night and eaten, got the kids to bed etc it was past 10.00 and I had had some work come in about 3pm and asked to complete by this morning. I therefore sat up until 3am doing this work inbetween having to rush Dog out into the back garden with diarrhea, proper full on diarrhea. Thankfully Dog seems trained enough to tell us when he wants to go. We've had 3 wee accidents by the door which is our fault for not reading the signs quick enough.

I then tried to put Dog on his cage at 3am and he barked and howled and cried. I persevered (still having to rush Dog outside regularly to avoid shit splattered walls) until 5am when I was so beat I just had to resign myself and the rest of the house to the noise and flop into bed. 46 minutes later I was back down due to the racket and this is when I wrote the title of this post.

Dog is house trained but he is very skinny and has the squits, he also seems to have flaky skin, so I was convinced he was a sick dog and we would never see the owner again, she would ignore my calls etc. He also has no idea how to walk on a lead and both t'husband an I swear our arms are a good few inches longer this morning that they were last night.

8am this morning I bit poor husbands head off through sheer tiredness and stress and was ready to throw the towel in.

10 hours later and I must admit I have really enjoyed my day with Dog. I have done 2 short walks, then this afternoon S came round with her dog and we took them to the field at the back of the house. I got talked into letting Dog off the lead for ball throwing and he LOVED it. It was really good fun.

After school Little Man asked if we could go and buy a toy for Dog so we went and got one of those ball throwers and Little Man has said he will go to the field after tea with us and throw said ball.  I will let you know if he really does! But maybe it is not so bad after all!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

9/11 - What was I doing at the time?

10 years ago today, I was excitedly running round travel agents in Nottingham clutching 100's of pounds worth of travel vouchers some of our love,y guest invited to our wedding had sent us as gifts. We had struggled with a wedding list, we had not long since bought our first house so had most of the essentials we needed, so we decided to ask for holiday vouchers alongside the traditional wedding gifts and took the plunge to book a last minute deal.

So there I was 10 years ago today running round the city centre checking all available last minute deals that left from the 17th September onwards.

In Choice Travel I found 2 potential destinations Turkey in a 3* hotel for 2 weeks or Malta in a 4* hotel for 2 weeks. I excitedly rung t'husband-to-be from the phone in the travel agent to ask him to look at each on t'internet and see which he preferred but instead he told me they were having problems with the Internet for some reason. So i left the travel agents with the agents glossy brochures in hand and jumped on the first bus out to his work to excitedly thrust them under husband-to-be's nose.

We quickly choose Malta and someone in the office gave me a lift back into town. As soon as the lady started booking the holiday, she told me to head out to the bank and get the deposit in cash and use the travel vouchers to pay the balance.

As I opened the door, the first thing that struck me was the silence and stillness. Nottingham city centre was at stand still. Directly opposite the travel agents was an Echo Newspaper stand and he normally had a radio on, I was greeted with the sight of dozens of people all crammed round this stand. I turned right towards the bank and couldn't go much further due to the crowds gathered outside the windows of Dixon's. I pushed my way to the front to see what was happening just in time to see the second plane hit the twin towers.

There I was giddily running to the bank to get my deposit for my honeymoon, and then I witness one of the most horrendous events in our history. Suddenly the travel vouchers in my bag seemed irrelevant, the deposit sat in the bank meaningless.  After what seemed like hours just standing and wathcing the horror unfold in front of our eyes, I made that walk to the bank, no longer running instead fighting back the tears and feeling a sense of guilt.

On the 12th I had officially finished for the wedding and spent the Wednesday sat in my lounge, watching the TV. I sat and cried and cried. Debenhams called with our wedding gifts, and still I sat surrounded by beautifully wrapped boxes, crying, the wedding seemed so irrelevant. The delivery men stood with me, I made them tea, and we watched the aftermath together, watched the repeated scenes played over and over of 'the falling man'. It was surreal. It seemed unbelievable.

I will never forget 9/11, or the thousand of people whose lives were ripped apart. My wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life, but we remembered all those affected and raised our glasses to them.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The impending visit of the mother-in-law!

Well today finds me doing my usual Sunday housework, only with a little extra vigour as the MIL rang yesterday and announced that she is coming to stay for 2 days - on Monday, much notice then!
A couple of years ago this would of filled me with dread. She is not the easiest of people, infact the first time she ever stayed with us, I felt pretty beat after only 24 hours and was actively helping her back on the coach when the time came to say goodbye, and then had a stiff drink in the middle of the day!
The MIL and t'husband do not get on, well they didn't. When t'husband's Dad was alive, the MIL and FIL use to come and visit for a couple of hours and within that few hours you could guarantee MIL and t'husband would be arguing and falling out. After my FIL was killed in a tragic car accident out in Spain, things initially got worse. Little Man was only 4 months old and the week before the accident had been in Great Ormond Street having emergency surgery so although t'husband offered to go out to Spain with his mum to sort things out, she wanted to wait a week before going as flights were cheaper (seriously not kidding) and t'husband couldn't get any more time off, he needed to go while on compassionate leave. Anyhow in the end his brother went (who neither of us get on with) and his mum and him cremated t'husbands dad while out there and scattered his ashes without t'husband so he was very, very upset and his mum's attitude was he should of gone with her and it wasn't her fault.
Anyhow forward wind the clock 6 years and the MIL has joined a dating site, met someone and moved to Devon for 6 months with him. She is a different person and t'husband and her actually get on now, speak on the phone and confide in each other and have a laugh. It is so nice to see especially as I am very close to my family, and t'husband has said more than once he thinks of my parents as closer to him than his own ever were.

Since the boys have got older as well, MIL has made a much bigger effort with them. Another bone of contention with t'husband was how it took 3 and a half weeks for his parents to visit Little Man when he was born even though he was prem, ill and outcome initially unknown. My mum and dad had travelled 200 miles within 24 hours on Christmas eve. Anyhow now she is great with the boys and has recently told us she doesn't really do babies and finds them very hard to interact with instead feeling much more at ease with a 4 year old upwards.

By gones are by gones and things are so much better now that for once I am not experiencing that feeling of dread at the visit, so lets hope the visit is a success and we all enjoy it!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Memory issues

I was nominated for the Versatile blogger award and did a post about this and at the beginning of it I commented that my memory these days is beyond shocking. Now I cant make the same joke twice and put something like 'so where was I then?' here but seriously I am now thinking I need to sort my memory out properly.

I know it is shocking and I am very reliant on my phone, everything goes in my diary so it beeps at me; which days to remember school gym kits, swimming kits, homework days, calls I need to make, to pop to the shops to get certain things, when to post cards, everything, without that I get nothing done as I don't think about doing it until I get into bed on a night.

Today though I have topped my memory loss problems. I text my friend to say Happy Birthday and her reply read

S: Thanks for the birthday message, currently on my way into London to the theatre, also thanks for the birthday card (both of them).
Me: Oh crap, did I send you 2 cards, when did the first one arrive?
S: 2 days ago and yesterday.
Me: That's seriously embarrassing, perhaps I should come clean, I am really 71 years old and have worn well, so can pass myself off as 37.

How bad is that? I have no recollection of actually sending the first one. So on that note I am climbing the stairs to bed and going to make a huge effort to get some decent nights sleep regularly x

Monday, 5 September 2011

Versitile Blogger

Well I am feelig slightly honoured here, Sarah Mac over at peopledonteatenoughfudge is not only very cool and mysterious as she has got different coloured eyes that give her real magical powers but she has also gone and awarded me the versitile blogger award which I have to admit I am slightly scared about as I have no idea if I have enough interesting things to say. I honestly believe both times I went into hospital and the boys were lifted out of the sunroof, the surgeons reached a little too high and also managed to remove a portion of my brain and as my husband has always speculated that there is a dark, vacuous space in my head anyway, it was brain I could ill afford to lose and I find I have huge memory issues these days. So what was I saying? Only joking.

So anyhow, there are rules to recieving this award which are as follows:

  1. Thank the blogger who has awarded you and link back to them
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Pass the award along to 15 other newly discovered blogs.
Sounds simple enough, I can do bullet 1 very easily, bullet 2 is proving slightly more difficult due to the memory loss issues (see above), and bullet 3 - I just hope I know enough bloggers!!

So here goes on my interesting things lists:

  1. When travelling I like to at least try local delicacies, absorb a bit of the culture, so when in Israel many years ago I actually ate Ox's testicles - yes I was slightly merry and yes they were disgusting.
  2. I use to be a forensic scientist but its nothing like CSI.
  3. The second toe on my right foot is affectionately called my 'mutant toe' by my husband as it will not bend even when I try really hard and screw all my other toes up, it still stick out straight and looks like I am giving people the finger, well the toe.
  4. I have an ambition to be able to run a half marathon one day, currently and a recurring theme which has been ongoing since school age, I am not even capable of running half a mile let alone half a marathon, despite being able to swim 50 lengths easily, regularly do aerobics etc. I just don;t seem to be able to run.
  5. I have a real adversion to margarine/butter, not only do I hate the smell and the taste, it actually makes my skin crawl, and god forbid if I get any on my skin.
  6. I lost my virginity in a banana field, after gatecrashing a live gig and I can't even remember the name of the band.
  7. I once vommitted from my bedroom window due to alcohol over the bonnet of my Dad's car, and then blamed my next door neighbour - it was snowing at the time and I thought that would 'wash' the sick away, and I also failed to see the splatters of sick down the front door and lounge windows.
So now to name 15 bloggers who deserve this award - here goes Deb at Aspieinthefamily; Tessa at Apples and Autobots; BNM over at BareNakedMummy; Bod for tea; Carly over at mylifeincolour; dreamingofbeer; Lizbeth at fourseastars; 1978Rebecca at here come the girls; Lakeside single mum; Looking for Blue Sky; Mum of all trades; Not yet a yummy mummy; the scrummy mummy; This Mid 30s Life; and last but not least Would like to be a yummy mummy.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Our hosptial experience - continued!

I am inspired to continue writing my post about 'our hospital experience' following a couple of comments which made me realise that my post was not the most up beat about the hospitals and certainly the comments were justified and very true and ones I agree wholeheartedly with. However, it also made me want to convey a couple of things, very important things.

The staff on the wards at LGI were nothing short of fantastic, resources and staffing levels though preventing them from giving the kind of exceptional care I expect they set out in their training to give. Infact talking to a mum in the school playground at pick up this afternoon, I discovered not only is she a paediatric nurse but she also use to work at LGI, that is until staffing got so bad no-one knew who to turn to, where they would be working as they were all pushed from ward to ward depending on where they were needed the most and never knew which doctors to contact as they were in the same boat.

The facilities were not great, one toilet available for parents is shocking but there were toilets on the corridor available to us, which is how the management get around it.

We have been fortunate enough (or maybe that should be unfortunate enough!), to be treated and be inpatients at a number of hospitals over the last 7 years and I am afraid I have the gold standard, best in the world hospital on that list.

As an 8 week old baby (still not actually reached his due date) Little Man stopped breathing on us only 10 days after bringing him home and we were transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital's intensive care unit for 6 days where Little Man was on life support and received care that was out of this world. Both myself and my husband were given a room in a Ronald MacDonald House opposite, and it made our lives that much easier. Only 7 weeks after that discharge we were transferred back to GOSH, this time for emergency surgery on a strangulated hernia. Our 2nd experience took us to Rabbit Ward where we were put in a side room, which had this kind of sleeper couch and en suite. It wasn't the most comfortable with both of us trying to use it, but we got by. Each ward had a sensory room as well as a playroom but then GOSH has the funding to provide such facilities. However the staff are still NHS.

Within our array of hospitals we have also resided in Hemel Hempstead's children's ward now sadly and wrongly closed, Watford's children's ward and Watford's staff saved my life after the birth of Jack, and Harrogate hospital. We have also been under the Royal Brompton for 4 years, and been out patients at Luton and Dunstable and St Albans.  Out of all these hospitals, LGI has been the worst in my experience. The London hospitals I wouldn't know about parking costs as we relied on trains and lifts. The southern hospitals all seem to give you a permit if your child is an inpatient, Harrogate give a 50% discount, but their costs are lower, for 24 hours it was a little over £10.00. LGI's parking was outrageous, and yes as my comments said not an extra worry needed on top of having a child in hospital.

However, in all our experience the NHS staff have never failed us and I have only recently cancelled my private healthcare which I never used and doubt I ever will. At the end of the day I am seeing the same doctors, being treated in the same facilities, the only difference is I pay a consultant a whacking great fee to see me earlier, and so far the kids and me have all been seen.within weeks when we needed to be seen. I know there may come a day when we need that immediate appointment and we can pay from our own pocket (hopefully).

The surgeon who operated on Mini Man on Sunday started surgery at 9am Saturday morning, after each case he went to see the parents in person, didn't just send his junior, and was still operating come 11.15pm that same night. It was the same surgeon back on 9am the following morning.  On one hand it is worrying that they are working such long shifts, and they must be tired, on the other hand that shows sheer dedication to me. My friend is a consultant anaesthetist and she has said many times they are trained from University stage to work very long shifts, but even so that surgeon must have done a 15-16 hour day in surgery. The nurses were all lovely however, they were being pulled in every direction possible.

I simply feel so sorry for anyone working in our healthcare system, management, paperwork and lack of funding or rather funding being used in the wrong places (i.e managers wages and bonus') are preventing the levels of staffing needed.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Our hospital experience

I recently blogged about my mini man and his swollen balls! Basically be fell off his bike and the next day his poor right goolie was very large and painful (read the full story here). The long and short of it was I took him to the doctors who promptly sent us to the children's ward and from Thursday to Sunday we were in hospital.

Thursday they kept Mini Man nil by mouth incase the testicle was twisted and they needed to operate quickly, about 7pm though they decided they would just observe him and let him have a sandwich much to both his and my relief. The facilities in our local hospital were lovely, we were fortunate enough to have a room to ourselves with a little en suite shower and toilet. The parents room was outside the ward but only opposite the door and provided a microwave, coffee, tea etc and a sofa. The children's playroom was also very well equipped, with an outdoor play area as well as drawing, crafts, a playhouse, train track, cars, and TVs/DVDs for the bedsides.

On Friday night they eventually decided he could go home for the night with open access to the ward incase his goolie swelled up again and got painful (read they needed his bed!). Saturday we had to go to LGI (Leeds General Infirmary) for an assessment with the surgeon and were told we would probably need to go back during the week for a small operation.

I drove Mini Man to LGI Saturday believing I would only be there a couple of hours with him so stuck £2.80 in the meter. Luckily I did also stick a bag with wash bag and pj's in 'just incase' (old habits die hard after 2 prem babies and numerous hospital stays!). Anyhow the surgeon was 2 hours late to see us, which I didn't mind considering he was in surgery, and seeing us inbetween cases. He then decided he wanted to operate that day and we were to stay. I was a little surprised but pleased they were so keen to work out why he was in pain.

I asked about a parking permit but was told one could only be issued on a week day. By this time I had put £11 in the meter and an overnight ticket was £16.50. In the end a nice nurse wrote a permit for me but apparently you now need to live over 30 miles from the hospital and have a critically ill child to qualify which I personally think is disgusting.

The ward we were on had a decent playroom, not as good as the local hospital but loads of board games which kept Mini Man amused. However the ward was full of babies all being starved for surgery so they cried non-stop which Mini Man and another little boy found distressing. However we were moved about 9.30pm to a different, quieter ward where I managed to get a starving Mini Man to sleep.

At 11.15 pm the surgeon came to see me, the same one who had been in surgery since 9am that day, and said he had 2 further cases ahead of ours and would have to push us to Sunday. I was quite pleased though as it was so late. However the nurse decided Mini Man needed to be woken and feed which resulted in him getting besides himself, so distressed I think the pressure of crying made his goolies swell again and he was then crying in pain. He was literally writhing round the bed, and I didn't know what to do. I was nearly in tears too and the nurse just said 'oh, I'm sorry, I thought he should eat' and walked off and left us. After 30 minutes I stood pressing the button until she got a doctor and some pain relief for him.

Mini Man was then starved all day Sunday and by 2pm was so hungry he was not a happy bunny so I got a little cross and said if they hadn't given us a time for surgery by the time the tea trolley arrived, I would feed him as a 4 year old can not go for 2 days with no food or drink. Strangely enough the list was then moved round and suddenly we were next down for surgery. In this new ward though the playroom was shocking, there were hardly any toys, there were pens but no paper and the nurses couldn't find any, there was a car garage but no cars, and 4 ceiling to floor cupboards all empty. It was not good when you have a bored child. The parent's facilities were also dreadful. Within the ward there was 1 toilet and a shower in the same room, which was broken incidentally, you had to hold it to shower, for 25 parents. The other toilets for parents were out on the corridor. 1 toilet for 25 adults seems very wrong to me!

Over the last 7 years we have been resident in more than one children's ward, and I have to say LGI comes at the bottom of my list for facilities. Staff-wise I can not fault LGI, the nurses and doctors are fabulous, just sadly very overworked. There was clearly not enough staff on for the number of patients, and the poor nurses didn't know if they were coming or going. I asked for pain relief for Mini Man it took 45 minutes to arrive simply because the poor nurse was being pulled every which way possible.