Monday, 2 May 2016

May Bank Holiday...

April has been and gone and we say hello to May.

I have very sweetly asked the gods above if May can bring some sunshine and warmth with it so fingers crossed my plea is heard :)

This bank holiday weekend, we ventured to Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest for the very first time.

DS and I are both lovers of nature - forest, mountains, hills, rivers, streams and what better than to actually stay in a forest! But not any old forest, the legendary Sherwood Forest! :)

If I am honest, it wasn't that much of a success :( the park itself was very busy so we were limited to where we could take DS due to his sensory issues.....we tried to hire out an adapted bike for us both which looked absolutely awesome but I was told they only had 5 of these bike - 3 were already out and 2 were in repair :(

Also our apartment wasn't exactly the cleanest although it was right in the forest which was magical!
As a little apology we were given some gift vouchers for the superb Pancake House that I had heard so much about and once in there, I knew why. They offer pancakes of every variety and combination which taste delicious!

What was brilliant also was the subtropical waterpark, it was amazing and with DS being a keen swimmer he loved it!

The problem we had was that it became really busy and very noisy which was an issue for DS so I spoke to the manager and suggested a few ideas on how DS could enjoy the waterpark.

Fortunately, the manager was a really clued up and an helpful guy and suggested that DS and I could enter the waterpark an hour earlier before they opened to other guests. I was thrilled.

It meant that a lifeguard would have to follow us about (which is no bad thing) but allowed DS to go on the flumes and swim around in a quiet and peaceful setting with no queues as we were the only ones in there!

I cannot applaud this enough and promised to give feedback to the Centre Parc's manager about it.

Needless to say, it was a really positive experience for DS and the hour went far too quickly for our liking.
We whizzed down all the flumes, we swam and relaxed in the whirlpools and spa without another soul about :)

Before too long, the doors open and we watched as the crowds came in so we had one last slide and left before it all got too much for the main man.

We left for home that day but of course not without visiting the park's launderette  - like about a zillion times or something!

A couple of hours of driving later, we pulled up home and unpacked the car in the rain (why does it always rain when you come back from a break or holiday with loads of washing!?

Today is mainly catching up with stuff, baking and getting ready for the coming week ahead.

I hope you are having a lovely bank holiday weekend :)

Love Amanda xx

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Baking with Autistic Children...

The title of this post is a tad misleading as it should say "Baking with MY autistic child"

This topic deserves a post all of it's very own, and you'll soon see why! :)

This morning, both DS and I was feeling a bit bummed out.

Our mojo's had upped and left us leaving us lounging across the sofa still in our py-jamas all 'meh'

I could sense that DS was looking for something, it was like he needed something to satisfy his 'itch' for something sensory rewarding to do.

I quickly had a rummage around my brain (or what's left of it!) and came up with baking! Yes we would have a little Saturday morning baking session :)

So I measured flour, salt a pinch of caster sugar and already DS was there! Feeling the soft flour through his fingers.

I asked him to stir and I actually think we both have different ideas on what this actually means! :)

By now, DS was chucking it about the place (his fave thing to do) and even popped some in the toaster for me - nice!

After a while, he seemed to be happy with the level of sensory feedback he had had from this and went skipping off to play in the garden.

Listening to the squeak of his swing as he swung away, I decided to re-measure some fresh ingredients and try again to bake something.

I had actually got to the dough stage when I suddenly realised that I couldn't hear the squeak of the swing anymore and then he was there! :)

He dived right into my dough mixture took it out and started to play and mould it.
I realised at this point, that nothing was going to make the oven today and that was okay :)

What DS was experiencing was far better than anything I would of produced anyway and I can see that he is getting great experiences from handling and playing with this.

The kitchen looked like a flour explosion had just happened, I had dough in my hair, flour all over me and DS had flour all over his py-jamas, but it was great fun! :)

He's the messiest but most definitely the best and the most eager kitchen assistant I could ever have! ;)

Have a great weekend! :)

Love, Amanda xx

Saturday, 2 April 2016

What we've been up to...

Apologies for the radio silence but as usual, there's been lots going on and lots to do.

At the end of March, the boyf and I celebrated 5 years of 'courtship' (as my Mum would say) so we celebrated by going out for a romantic dinner and then a bit of a night out afterwards!

The boyf is such a good egg, He puts up with my crazy fast paced life as well as being absolutely brilliant with DS.
He has stuck by me through the most challenging periods of having a child with low functioning autism and I often wonder how he did!

It could only be love.

So for our anniversary, I wore a blue Laura Ashley dress that I picked up from my local Age UK shop for £1 and a pair of brown ankle Next boots that I got brand new from another charity shop.
This girl so loves a bargain! :)
We had the most lovely evening in each other's company which is something I wish we could do a bit more of.

This morning, we took our boys to our wedding venue and they had a blast running around and exploring the hall. :) #soexciting!

Tomorrow night, I have my bridesmaids coming over to try on their dresses for the very first time! I cannot wait! :)

We are now in the Easter holidays :) We kick started them by taking the boys to a local beauty spot to ride their bikes. DS did awesome with his 'off road' pedalling :) I was so proud!
We also stopped for a little ride on a minature railway and stepson 'C' also had a donkey ride too :)

DS and I have some cool activities booked over the holiday, I just hope the weather holds up so we can eventually get out and about for some ace forest walks and hopefully a day out at the beach with our little fishing nets.

The lurgi has been and left our house, I was the last one to get it and am just currently on the end of feeling right again so to boost our immune systems, I have made a huge batch of healthy and nutritious vegetable soup.

Operation Spring Clean is still underway, just at a slower pace.
There will be little of it going on over the next two weeks with DS home as trying to clean and tidy with him about is like trying to clean your teeth whilst eating chocolate!

Just a little update on things here, hope you are having a good weekend too :)

Love Amanda xx

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A very hippy week...

This week has been quite a calm week for me which is unusual but much needed.

As I haven't had much on this week (which was fully appreciated after the crazy previous months!) I decided to take everything at a slower pace.

I am a bit of an modern day hippy chick deep down and every so often the hippy-ness in me shines right through!

It's interesting because this week, I have noticed that it's been very apparent in me, must be because of the slower pace of life this week or something.

So this week, I started my Spring cleaning. I have took all all the curtains down, washed, dried, ironed and popped them back up, I've started washing the pillows, I have cleaned all light shades and fittings, I have cleaned and polished all pictures, photographs and frames.

I have deep cleaned the bathroom including all the tiles and grout.

I have pulled everything thing out of every kitchen cupboard, scrubbed, dried and replaced pans, baking stuff and food carefully checking the dates. I even climbed up on the units to clean the very top of them.

I have washed the kettle, toaster, microwave, tea, coffee, sugar caddies and all other stuff and then cleared the worktops to wash the tiles and scrub the tops. Then I put everything back.

I then pulled all shelves and salad boxes from the fridge, washed them in hot soapy water, washed down inside and outside the fridge and put everything back.

I cleaned the cooker and oven. Pulled the racks out, washed and then scrubbed the oven and hobs. Dried and out everything back. I then pulled out the cooker, fridge and washing machine to brush behind the and to wash and dry the floor and then push everything back into place.

So I have made a good start on the Spring clean but there is more to do before I can sign it off.

In between cleaning, I came across a bag of almonds that I had forgotten about. The date on them was okay and even tasting one they were fine so I decided I was going to bake something to use them up.
I have said before how I cannot stand food waste or any kind of waste so if anything needs using up, I tend to make something with it and give it to the boyf to eat :)

I had some Celeriac and Walnut soup for lunch that I had made previously but we had no bread to go with it. So that was the decision made. I would bake some bread with almonds.

The bread turned out yummy as the added almonds gave a nice sweetness to it.

The family came round for tea that night and scoffed the rest of one of the breads with their meal :)

As per my New Year resolution to grow at least one vegetable, I am concious that we are now officially in Spring so I need to get sowing.

Yesterday, I had a quiet spot in the afternoon as DS was resting I took advantage of the free time and planted some Broad bean and Spring Onion seeds.

I also have some carrot seeds but is still a little early to plant them yet.

Fingers crossed that I have some sort of success with these.

And lastly, another hippy side of me was to acknowledge and take part in Earth hour last night. so at 8.30pm all lights went out and DS and I sat all snuggled up in bed with just the warm glow of candles around us.
It was so lovely and calming that both DS and I really enjoyed it, in fact, we didn't put any lights back on all evening and the candlelight was too pretty to ruin it.

So a very eco-warrier or very a hippy week. I'll let you decide.......:)

Wishing you a very happy first day of Spring! :)

Love Amanda xx

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Thrifty Furniture Re-Vamps...

Every girl loves a bargain! :)
But what is even better than an absolute bargain of bargains?? Getting something you want or need FREE!

That's exactly what I did! (can you tell that I am pretty chuffed about that!?) :) :)

I think most parents of children and young adults will nod their heads in agreement with me reading this when I say that things get broken, trashed and demolished pretty quickly in our house.

Some things aren't used by DS as per their purpose, DS is a little monkey for climbing and standing on things that cannot take his weight now (he is 8) so they break and crumble beneath him.

The Peppa Pig kitchen he got for Christmas ended up being slung by February as it was no longer 'fit for purpose' shall we say...........after a quick risk assessment on it with bits snapped off and poking out sharp pieces from it bailing under the strain of him standing on it, I deemed its short little life over.

Another example is our dining table chairs. They certainly take some knocks from him but even two of those decided enough was enough and made their journey to chair heaven.

So I was chairless.

Being the savvy sista that I am, I spotted two (very sturdy looking) solid wood traditional pine chairs on my local freecycle site, so I dived right in and very politely asked if I could be considered for them.

A few hours later, I got a 'ping' in my inbox asking when I would like to collect them :)

They were a bit scuffed, which is to be expected. The man kept apologising for it  - he was so lovely!

They were perfect, I got them home and gave them a good scrub up to get them clean.

Now with a pine table and four pine chairs, it was all looking a bit too 'piney' (yes I have just made the word piney up) and bland for me.
I wanted to inject some colour into this area with a bit of quirkiness thrown in there too.

So as the freecycle chairs were the most scuffed, I decided that they were going to be the ones that I was going to work on.

I spray painted one of them lime green and the other red, allowed them to dry and then gave them a second coat.

Once completely dry, I got my sandpaper and started to distress away :)

I am not one for pristine perfect furniture, I like vintage and shabby chic looks so these were coming up a treat and definitely to my style.

I am really pleased with the finished look and love even more that I have a new look for virtually no expense!

I don't think I know one family that at least one parent has not had to come out of paid work to manage their caring role, hospital, school and other specialist appointments - it does get a bit crazy at times!

As a result, a family will lose an income therefore being a bit clever with what you have is certainly no bad thing in my book ;)

Plus my favourite bit about this is that I like to think that I have re-used something that was being discarded by someone else and saved it going into landfill.:)

As they say, one's man trash is another man's treasure :)

Have a good week :)

Love Amanda xx

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Easter Garden Party...

Well I don't know about you but this Winter coupled with the wet and miserable weather certainly seems to be dragging on for me.

I long for warmer and dry days where I can potter around in the garden and even having my morning cup of tea sitting out there in my favourite spot overlooking the acres and acres of fields.

Now we are in March, the promise of Springtime is just about flickering through and letting us know it isn't too far away :)

As we are coming up to Easter, which is one of my favourite times of the year by the way, that's usually the time DS starts playing out in the garden again.

As I have mentioned before, DS is definitely an outdoor boy so he is eager for Springtime to hurry up too :)

Thinking about garden toys for DS, I have been looking online at the Debenhams site and have listed a few of his favourite outdoor garden toys for his own little Easter party celebration :)

Here they are....

1. Despicable Me Minion Made Scooter.

DS has been working really hard on his balancing skills and has mastered the balance and co-ordination of riding around on a scooter so I know he would love this!
We have a very slight slope in our garden which DS has quickly identified as his scooter flight-path and seriously, who DOESN'T love Minions?! ;)

2. Intex 10" x 30" Easy Set Pool.

This looks awesome! DS would be amazed to see something like this in our garden as he has always been a water baby! I often say that I think he is half boy and half fish and need to check him for gills as he can swim under water for longer than I am comfortable with! 
Whilst on holiday in Northern Spain two years ago, he self-taught himself to swim under water and I was forever scooping him back up to the surface as I felt he had been under too long (apparently, I was told that I was being too over-protective and cautious!) but seriously this pool would be a major hit with the Superstar! :)

3. Plum 5 Rung Rope Ladder.

I seriously got very excited when I spotted this! DS is very much a climber. He can pretty much climb up a straight wall and is always looking for opportunities to climb  - though not always safely :(
This would be ideal to satisfy that little Spiderman need of his but in a safe way. 
This is definitely going on our Easter wish list :)

4. Plum Bush Baby Wooden Garden Swing Set.

This swing set would give DS that vestibular buzz that he craves. The back and to motion would calm any anxieties whilst giving him some enjoyable feedback. 
I like how strong and sturdy it looks which would be perfect pitched in our garden :)

5. Re:Creation Fuze Bike Bubbler.

DS loves bubbles! He loves imitating the 'pop' sound and likes blowing them in different directions.
This is no ordinary bubble machine but is actually a bubble machine that attaches to the child's bike leaving a trail of pretty bubbles whilst they zoom off.
DS has come on leaps and bounds learning to ride his special needs trike and this would be added bonus to his trike.
I can see it being a great motivator for him to pedal faster in order to see the trail of bubbles he leaves behind :D
A great toy invention! :)

So there's our Easter Garden Party wishlist, now we just need some sunshine to complete our party :)

This is my entry into Debenhams Children's Easter Toys Blogger Competition :)

Love Amanda xx

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

International Women's Day...

Today is international women's day and I am all over it! :)
I  have wished the fabulous women in my life a very happy day and if you are a woman too then I wish you the same, if you are a parent or carer of someone with autism then I also salute you :) :)

Short post today as I have to dash!

Have a great day!

Love Amanda