Lush review ( Update)

How has the magic sleep potion been going? I hear you all cry.

Honestly, it’s been going like this………

1 AM

 

 

3:15 AM

 

However………the day I decided to buy and try Lush’s Sleepy body lotion, Pip decided to wake up from a nap with a stinking cold! 🙁
I have to say though I still think it is helping! Obviously, it’s not a fair test right now so I’ll be waiting until the cold bug departs our house to give it a fair trial and see if it’s as good as it seems!

Product review – Lush Sleepy lotion (Part 1)

So as you may know if you follow me on Facebook.  

Pip is 1 year old and has never slept through the whole night. To say we are exhausted is an understatement! Her record so far is 11 times. That’s me getting out of bed to soothe her back to sleep 11 times in one 12 hour period!
Her average is 3- 4 times. She also seems to think that 3-4 AM is the best time to start the day!

Last night she went to bed at 8 PM, Woke at 11:30 PM and stayed awake until 3 AM.
During the late night playtime session, I decided to do some research and found many good reviews about Lush’s Sleepy body lotion. So in a hazy fog of sleep deprivation, I dragged my ass into town to get some of this, apparently magic, potion!

At £7.95 for a small (95g) pot, it’s not exactly a bargain…….that said, if it works I’d pay £50 for a small pot so it’s all relative I guess!

Sleepy lotion review (pt1)
Really hoping it’s a pot of magic sleeping potion!

It contains Oatmeal and Lavender and whilst I love the look of my beautiful lavender plant I am not a huge fan of the smell and I was expecting a strong waft of the purple plant-based cream to overpower me on opening the tub. Not so!
It’s a very light, quite thin lotion with a very pleasant sweet, subtle lavender scent that I’d actually be happy to use on myself too!

I’m going to be trying it out on Pip tonight and I’ll post a full review with the results in a couple of days! Wish us luck! 🙂

Tomorrow is never promised – Stop wasting time and do it now!

I’m fast approaching my 37th birthday. For the past 3 years, I’ve told myself, it’s ok that I’ve not pushed myself to achieve everything I wanted this year I’ve got years ahead of me yet. I’ll do it next year.
Thing is, tomorrow is never promised!

Stop wasting time - Do it NOW!

A few days ago I was told my husband’s cousin, a beautiful mum of 6 young children is being ‘made comfortable’ after a few years of kicking cancer’s arse!
We weren’t particularly close but I had attended a fundraising event for her a couple of years ago and we have met up at family event’s and she’s one of those awesome people that no matter what’s going on in her life she’d make time to help you and was always giving back to her local community.
This news has shaken me a lot. She’s younger than
me and her very bright future has now been ripped away by the horrendous disease that is cancer. It’s not right and it’s not fair and I’m so bloody angry that it is happening to her!

It’s time right now to decide to change your life!

I’m not talking about business as such (although for me it is time to start putting all the plans and talk into ACTION at last.)
Think about what it is that will truly make you happy. Work out what you need to do to make it happen and start working on it right NOW!
You don’t know what is around the corner.
Take the chances now and regret them later if you must.
Even now at the relatively young age, I am I still regret the things I haven’t done WAY more than the things I have done! (and believe me, there are some spectacular fails in my past! )
Stop thinking, start doing.
Your time is now!

GO!

Tomorrow is not promised - do it today!
Seize the day!

 

Fat girl gets thin – well maybe….

Ok so right off the bat let me start by saying actually I couldn’t give a toss about being ‘thin’. It’s just that fat girl gets slightly less fat doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Anyhoo. Pud has been at school for a whole week now so I am starting to slowly find my groove again after 7 weeks of summer holiday chaos.

A very brief back story about why I need to be ‘less fat’.
2 years ago I was on a bit of a health kick. I was going to Zumba classes and had myself a cross trainer which I used maybe twice a week on a good week. I was eating more healthy and started attending Slimming world classes. I was doing really well too! I lost close to 2 stone and dropped 2 dress sizes to reach a size 16 for the first time in 6 years!
I celebrated this momentous day by treating myself to a beautiful coat I had been longing for in that coveted size 16.

It was a little snug at first but a couple more weeks and it fitted me perfectly.
I loved my coat and I always got compliments on it whenever I wore it.

Fast forward 6 weeks and I am the proud and happy owner of a positive pregnancy test!
Well since then I’ve not been able to do my beautiful new coat up! It’s been sat in my wardrobe for almost 2 years!
Now it is time though! I’m saying bye bye pizza and cola. Hello again beautiful coat!

The Method

Since Pip is a difficult little madam and still refuses a bottle, I am still nursing her a couple of times a day so my plan to do a Clean 9 to give my weight loss a kick start has been put on the back burner for now. In  the meantime though I am swapping out my sugary snacks for fruit and doing a LOT more walking!

Having lots of free time in the day means I am getting out and about with Pip to baby groups and activities.

Today was a 2 mile walk to baby ballet class, although I hurt my back on the way so I cheated and got a ride home! Still it’s 2 miles more than I would have done otherwise and it’s all about doing a little bit more each day! One step at a time and all that! 🙂

I’m going to be doing regular updates on here for anyone interested in my journey and I’m always up for a little healthy (literally) competition if you want to join me! Leav eme a note in the comments and we can get healthy together! 🙂

Isabella’s Wish – Raising money to help a little girl to walk like her twin sister.

This is a quick post to try help raise awareness for a little girl called Isabella, who lives close to me in Essex and is in need of donations to help fund her trip to the USA for surgery to help her to walk.

Isabella's Wish to walk - Helping raise funds for life changing surgery for this little girl
Isabella wants to be able to run and play with her siblings.

Isabella is an identical twin and was born prematurely.

After many months of appointments, tests and therapies she was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy.

Her family is raising money for her to travel to America for pioneering surgery that will allow her to walk and be just like her twin sister, Scarlett.

Her mum says “Isabella is a very happy and cheeky little girl. She has so much determination to walk and she just wants to be able to run and play with her siblings with ease. As a parent, it is very distressing to have to sit back and watch her struggle on a daily basis. We have made Isabella a promise to grant her of her wish to walk.”

If you would like to donate to Isabella’s wish you can do so here

You can keep up to date with Isabella’s journey on Facebook page below.

Website: Isabellaswish.org
Facebook: Isabella’s Wish to Walk
Just Giving page: Isabellaswishtowalk

Please donate if you are able to.
If you cannot donate you still help by sharing Isabella’s story so that other may be able to help.
Thank you
B xx

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The first day of school – The mixed emotions of a special needs family.

Despite being able to send Pud to the year group I wanted to (Here’s the post about that particular fight) today is still a sad day for me.

Pud is off to his first day of school!

BAck to School - The extra stresses of a special needs mum on the first day of school.
My Pud (with Pip gatecrashing) in his back to school photo.

All mums have worries about their precious babies starting this huge new chapter of their lives but as with most other milestones in life there is a special level of worrying reserved for us special needs families.

There are the usual worries of course. Will they miss me? Will they make friends? Will they be able to keep up with their peers?……..and the list goes on.

But for me at least I have an extra level of worring to do. How will he cope in a completely new scenario and new routine? Will the staff be able to understand his subtle gestures and his own personal way of signing for what he wants? What happens if he gets bullied? Will they know when he is hurt? Will he make it through the day without needing a nap from all the stimulation? Will they help him with his lunch and watch that he doesn’t try to take others lunches and cause a fight?

These are just some of the things that will be running through my mind until 3 pm.
The thing is when most kids come out of school they will tell you all about their day. For me, I have to find out through his 1:1 and if she doesn’t see something or doesn’t tell me, then I will never know! It’s a lot of faith to put in someone that you’ve only met briefly for a couple of times!

The first day is usually the most stressful. I know when M started school, the relief that flooded over me when she came out at home time, beaming smile on her face and excited to tell me al the wonderful things she had done that she would be ok.

With Pud though the worries won’t end today. Every single day is going to be as hard and as worrying as the first. That’s probably one of the crappiest sides of being an Autism parent ( or any other special needs parent come to that!) Autism doesn’t take a day of so neither can I.

As it happens, today  he seemed to have a really good day! So that will make tomorrow slightly easier to take. The fact he came in home and straight away put himself to bed tells me the end of the week is going to be a struggle! 🙁

Watch this space….. I suspect a meltdown is on the way! (For Pud and for me!)

B
xx

Sharing Sunday – Shairng the small business love.

Sharing Sunday is back!
It’s been a few weeks but I’m going to be starting my sharing Sunday posts again to give a little boost to business and products that I love.
Go and check them out and show some love if you like what you see!

B. Stean Footwear

First up is a local shop I have been wanting to visit for a while.
My boy is about to start school so the nightmare shopping trip for school shoes was due.
Having chubby feet usually means a trip to Clarks along with an obligatory meltdown due to the bright lights, loud music, and crowds, let alone the fact he HATES having his feet touched and measured!

B. Stean Footwear in Chelmsford are a family run store with good old fashioned customer service.
B. Stean Footwear in Chelmsford is a family run store with good old fashioned customer service.

Cue a visit to B.Stean. The shop is small, family run and stacked high with shoes! The staff are extremely friendly and professional and it reminds me a bit of the old school shops where they know your name and nothing is too much trouble!
I explained about the coming meltdown and how Pud hates having his feet measured.
To my absolute amazement, Mr. Stean did a measurement by sight! That’s how good they are!
Not only that he managed to get the new shoes on his feet before he even realised what was happening! Long story short the perfectly fitting Clarks shoes were on, checked and off again Pud could react!

After sharing my delight at the awesome service I had friends tell me they travel for several miles just to visit for new shoes and I promise you if you do too you won’t regret it!

Facebook: B. Stean Footwear

Secret Hamper

Sharing Sunday - Secret hamper

When I was pregnant with Pip and unbeknown to me, my mum entered me into a competition to win a hamper. I only realised this when I was told I had won! I got to meet the guys behind the company to pick up my hamper and I have to say their business is a great one!
You can buy a hamper for so many different people/ scenarios and have it delivered either from yourself or anonymously.

Sharing sunday - Collecting my secret hamper.
Me, with my mum and Pud meeting the secret hamper superheroes to collect my hamper

My newborn hamper contained a range of items from the basics like nappies, wipes, nappy cream and cotton buds, to little extras like a bar of chocolate for the new mum and a pack of pasta and jar of sauce for a quick and easy dinner on the first night home!
Other hampers include student, elderly neighbour, 4 legged friends and the Essex hamper which is full of locally sourced products.

Website: secrethamper.com
Facebook: Secret Hamper

 

 

Delaying school – Our fight for a reception place for our summer born child.

Under current law, children in England must be in education from the term after their fifth birthday. However…..some would argue that fact as reception class in primary school starts in September following a child’s 4th birthday. Should you choose to wait until your child reaches compulsory school age (CSA) many schools, and indeed many local authorities (LA) in charge of school admissions will try to push you into starting your child in year 1 and skipping reception class altogether!

Reception class at 5 - How we fought the system and won to get a reception start at compulsory school age

A bit of background on my story…

My oldest daughter was born mid August. When she started recpetion class she was just 4 years and 2 weeks old. I considered her ready for school though. She was, I thought, quite bright and happy to leave me sobbing at the door as she excitedly went into her classroom and found her coat peg etc. There were kids in that class room a full 11 months older than her.
Let me put that into persective for a second……My cousin has just had a baby a month ago, her son cannot hold his head up properly yet. He will be going into the same year group at school as my youngest daughter who can already recognise and point to members of the family when asked. She is almost walking and nearly talking. Yet these 2 children are going to be held to exactly the same standard when it comes to school assesments and tests. It’s just not fair!

Back to my eldest….So school is great and she loves it and makes friends and all is well…..awesome! 😀

Well not quite, you see, as I mentioned above children with almost an entire years worth of life experience and development were in the same class, being held to the same standards and naturally they were doing better than my girl. By the time she got to year 2 she was labeled as being too far behind her peers and needed extra help to keep up , a slow learner. I believe the term additional needs was used at one point!  By the time year 6 rolls around she is having extra tuition in the mornings before school and someone to help her in class to keep up!

Knowing this had happened to my summer born daughter I had  a dilemma approaching fast for my autistic son!

The Fight Begins

So as I mentioned my boy has Autism. He is completely non verbal and has delays in several areas of development. As the time to register for a school place approached we talked to his professionals and made the decision that he was not going to be even close to ready for school at age 4!
We contacted the local authority and asked about the process of applying for an Out of Cohort education (Using the phrase out of cohort instead of delayed start is important when talking to officials so that they are clear you are not just delaying or ‘deffering’ your childs start date unitl later in the same year!).
We were told that we needed to apply for schools in the normal way and then contact them via email with any eveidence to support or case. (We did exactly that, including reports from his consultant paediatrician, support worker and his speech and language therapist.)
The LA would then go to the head teachers of all the school in our application to seek their opinion. If they all agree  (remember that bit, it’s important later!) we would be able to apply for a reception place the following school year.
We get a reply a week or so later stating our application was successful and we could apply for a reception place the next year and if we wanted to go ahead we would need to cancel this years application. We did so and all was well…………sort of!

Their Mistake!

All was well and quiet for the next few months, the boy was at nursery and doing well in his second year there and we were ready to re apply for his school place.
We had to do it the old fashioned way because the system would not recognise his date of birth due to him being a year older than the other reception starters. This meant an agonizing wait to see if we got our chosen school (i.e. the school 10 doors down from our house!) via snail mail.

A couple of days before it arrived we had a bit of a shock though. We were in the final stages of an EHCP (Statement of additional needs in ‘old money’) and when the school were contacted about being named as his chosen placement we were told they would not, and had never agreed, to placing our son in Reception out of cohort!

I was distraught! The whole agonising (and it truely was) decision to hold him back a year was taken in the knowledge that he would still have that very important first year to introduce school life gently via reception class. Now……when it is far too late to do anything about it I am told he can’t have that after all!

Apparently someone, somewhere, was told that this school didn’t agree and never bothered to pass that information on! (remeber that bit before about all the schools having to agree!?)

So, after much backwards and forwards between us, his support professionals, the pre school and the school we were still stuck exactly where we started! The school would not budge at all and were adamant it was “against their policy” to allow out of cohort applications.

To really rub salt in the wound the school placement letter arrived a few days after this bombshell was dropped……it said he had a place in reception at our chosen school for this year!

Unfortunately (…..for them), they severely underestimated the strength and determination and mother of a special needs child who feels backed into a corner over the rights of her child! I scoured every single bit of every single policy I could find and discovered no such policy existed!
I asked them to show me the policy and highlight the bit in question, that was when the story changed and suddenly it wasn’t about policy anymore.
They changed their story!
I had them on the ropes and they knew it!

Yes it took me months of fighting and I’m not gonna lie, it almost cost me marriage and my sanity. I spent half of our family holiday this year curled up in a ball, sobbing into a pillow about how I had failed our son and ruined his chance at a normal school life forever!
I blamed myself and genuinely thought I was losing my mind and imagining things in policies that weren’t really there!
Everytime I wrote to someone for help or advice they all seeemed to say the same thing.
The school don’t do that so you’ll have to find another school or suck it up and start him in year 1……EVERYONE! I went to the manager of school admissions, the independent special needs service SENDIASS, to Statutory Assesment who were in charge of the EHCP regarding his education and care and the school themselves. They were all adament I was wrong and the school could deny my son his reception place!

At this point the battle was 5 months old and I was tired! I had almost given up………..ALMOST!

It was all arranged. My son would start his very first day at school ever in year 1.
I couldn’t bare it!
I know the school system from reception to year 4. I’ve worked in all those  years myself and I know how different each year is from the last.
I likened them starting my baby in year 1 as chucking him in the deep end……with concrete blocks tied to his feet!
I really just couldn’t fathom how a child who was already so far behind in development could possibly cope and benefit from missing an entire year of school! (and don’t even get me started on the term time holiday fines! Missing a single week of school is detrimental my arse!!)

Making Enemies

So fast forward a bit…….it’s just over 2 weeks until his first day.

I was done, I was beaten. They had won!

But then that special needs mum in me woke up again! I was lying awake crying quietly into my pillow at 2am (sadly this was nothing new at this point in the fight) and boom there she was in the back of my head. Kicking the crap out of my little broken crying lady in my head and telling to grow the fuck up and fight for her kid! She was right! My boy doesn’t have a voice so I have to use mine to fight for him!

I sent an email to my local MP outlining the basics. She replied and said she understood how stressful it must be and that she would look into it via the local council and also with the school but that time was running out and she couldn’t promise anything would be finalised in time for starting school.

She was wrong, in the best way! Friday afternoon I received a call from the head of school admissions for Essex county council. He said he had looked at the file and that whilst the school do have a say about applications the final decision rests with the local authority and he could see that we already had a letter to say he could start in reception. He said he would speak with the head teacher on Monday and get back to me with “hopefully a positive outcome for everyone”.
I put the phone down and I cried!
I wasn’t making it up! He said exactly what I had read in the policies and what I had tried to argue with anyone who would listen! I was right all along and the school could not overide what we had been told!

and the winner is…….

He was due to start in year 1 on Tuesday.
The wait for the call on Monday felt like enternity but it was worth it!
It was confirmed that he would start in Reception!

We had won!

The school called soon afterwards to remind me that reception class do not start this week and that his start date would be next Monday instead. To say she was not her usually helpful, happy self on the phone would be an understatemnt! I think it’s safe to say I’ll have made more enemies than friends amongst the school management this week but I honestly couldn’t care less!
I honestly thing I could win the lottery now and it wouldn’t make me as happy as winning thsi fight!

How can this help you?

Well for a start if you are reading this and you live in Essex, UK. You should, thankfully, never find yourself in the same situation I did.

After the royal balls up about witholding information about schools agreeing (or not in this case) on a decision,  meetings at high management level were had and I have been assured that procdures have been put in place so that this sitaution will not be able to happen again!

Unfortunately the decision to have a reception start our of cohort approved, is still very much a postcode lottery for parents.
I had lots of support from some facebook groups full of other parents who have or are trying to secure the same reception start at compulsory school age that we now have.
If you’d like more information leave a comment or drop me a message on facebook and I’d be happy to help.

If you  are fighting for a delayed school start for your little one I wish you the best of luck and remember……

No matter how hard it is and how impossible it seems we are proof that it can happen! Never give up!

B xx