The Water Battle – There Is Always Hope!

For years we have fought the water battle, bath times, the morning face wash and activities like swimming… Yea well to put it nicely they were a NIGHTMARE! These rituals that we all go through everyday without even a second thought, were horrendous and traumatising for little Zach (this may sound a tad dramatic but I assure you this is the most accurate description).  Nevertheless we fought these battles daily (not so much the swimming battle, we put that aside) and we remained hopeful that one day we might bath our son without him vomiting from hysterical crying, or wash his face without  the inevitable meltdown that would follow.

We have come so far from those days… the days I used to bed bath my son because I couldn’t put him through the torture of the bath or shower any longer. If this is what you and your family are going through at the minute I salut you and I feel for you and your child, it is an emotional roller coaster that just seems never ending and is just plain not easy. Zach still has significant sensory issues surrounding water, mostly hair washing, face washing etc. but he has come so far I almost can’t believe my eyes sometimes, from the child I bed bathed to the child I am about to show you in these pictures, it is overwhelming!

For years Zach has been going to his nanny and granddads little place in Spain, they have a lovely pool and every year I hoped that one day I would be able to enjoy this delightful little luxury with him (if I am honest my hopes weren’t high). We kept persevering though, one small step at a time, every year getting closer and closer to the water! Let’s have a little look at Zach’s progress……

 

 

Little Zach getting into this paddling pool beside the swimming pool was a HUGE moment (I cried!)

 

After another 2 years he finally got in the water with me (I cried again!) 


He then built up the courage to go it alone, refusing to move from the security of the step, nonetheless a HUGE leap in the right direction!


This year he did it! My boy was swimming, and the best part was he LOVED it and yes you guessed it…. I cried!!

 

 Even though it took 7 years of trying, Zach won his water battle and he done so with a smile on his face! I couldn’t be more proud and I do hope that these pictures have given you the hope that one day you and your child will win your battle, whether it be with water, food, toileting etc. you can do it! 

Budget Bedroom Makeover

 

A little bedroom makeover has transformed my once VERY pink thrown together mess of a room, into a room I feel best reflects our personalities, although my husband is just glad it is no longer pink to be honest! Haha! Best part about it all is that we set ourselves a budget and managed to STICK TO IT, very not like us….!

Obviously this little bargain transformation doesn’t include furniture (I’m not THAT good!), but by shopping around and visiting the ever so trusty Tkmaxx along with other bargain stores such as Dunnes, B&M Stores and BHS, we managed to make our room a little more presentable on a tight budget.

  • The retro ceiling lampshade pictured above is from BHS, we found it in the sale for a bargain £10! I don’t seem to be able to find it on their website so we must have snapped up one of the last! I really see it as a feature point of the room, it just adds that quirky little touch don’t you think?
  • The grey curtains are from B&M Stores and what a bargain they were! They cost only £29.99 and are honestly the best curtains I have ever bought, they are fully lined blackout curtains and are VERY heavy. 
  • The gorgeous throw over the bed is from TK Maxx, my all time favourite store for a bargain! It cost just £16.99 and feels so much more expensive, I am looking forward to wrapping myself in it come winter! 
  • The little grey bedside lamps were only £3.99 each from B&M Bargains, what a steal! 

My bargain bedding, RRP: £75.00 TK Maxx price: £25.00!

Did you know you can shop for household goodies on the TK Maxx website?? I didn’t until I stumbled across this little bargain! 

 I love these Aztec print storage baskets! I can’t remember the exact price of them but I found them in the TK Maxx clearance section in our local store.

These quirky little cushions are both from TK Maxx, the yellow and grey cushion is £12.99 and the black knitted cushion was in the clearance section for £3!

 

 

I have to admit I have a slight candle obsession, don’t we all!? The grey lantern style tea-light holders are from Dunnes, at only £2 each I just couldn’t resist, after all I needed something to put my yellow tea lights in (also from Dunnes for only £3). The other “electric lemonade” candle is from good old TK Maxx for only £6.99, how could I possibly say no?

So there you have it, a little peek at my bedroom makeover on a budget! I do hope you like it as I realise yellow and grey is maybe a bit “out there”!? Now just to find the right pictures for the walls, if you come across anything you think would be nice please link it in the comments below! :)

First we couldn’t believe the magazines…..

It is common knowledge that the images we see in the magazines are in fact doctored and enhanced versions of the originals. Girls are made to be several sizes smaller than their real selves, men are given the muscles of every man {and woman’s} dreams, basically everything we see has been altered in someway to be what is widely acknowledged as “beautiful”. 

For years people have debated whether it is detrimental to the confidence of women and young girls {as previously mentioned I do understand this issue also effects men, but for this specific post I wish to mainly focus on us ladies}. There has also been many an online protest to encourage the use of REAL images, so as to show we all have our flaws and that is in fact what makes us all beautiful in our own way. 

 I do not want to bore you with the same chit-chat, we are all aware we cannot believe what we see in the magazines, billboards etc. We are also aware that unfortunately this is very unlikely to change, because whether we choose to believe it or not we all like to look at “pretty” pictures and the media know all too well that beauty sells!

No, what I want to discuss is how I have now come to terms with the fact that we cannot believe the images we see ANYWHERE! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and dare I say it even images on Blogs. Which images have been tampered with and which haven’t…. Who knows!? 

There are so many apps accessible to us now, most totally free of charge, that can totally transform us in a matter of minutes! 

Don’t like your nose? You can change that!

Don’t like your eyes? You can change those!

You think your face is fat? Oh don’t worry you can change that too!

I just find it all a little scary and to be honest a little hypocritical. How can we complain about the media handing us false images when we are now faking it just as much, if not more? I myself am guilty of enjoying the fact I can tan my skin, whiten my teeth and hide my tired mummy eyes with the click of a button, but when I really think about it all I am doing is telling a big fat lie, I’m not sure how I feel about that part!?

All that these apps are doing is pushing us further and further away from accepting and loving our flaws, should we not be showing other women that none of us are “perfect” and that’s OK!? Instead we are removing the lines we have earned through many a laugh, the bags we have received from many a sleepless night with our babies and the stains on our teeth that are simply a side effect of the coffee we need to get through our manic lives. YES my photoshopped photo below is probably more “beautiful” than the untouched photo but is it ME

I can 100% see the attraction to these apps and why we might want to enhance our beauty, but where do we draw the line between slightly enhancing what we have and totally removing the beautiful imperfections that make us who we are?

My before and after (scary what we can do with the click of a button). 

Bags…. Gone

Eyes…. Bigger

Face…..Thinner

Hide Tired Mummy Eyes With ONE product!

Concealer on only one eye, can you tell which??

 

FINALLY I have found a concealer that actually works! I have tried so many in the past, both high end products and drugstore bargains and they have all failed to do what they say, disappointing! I am so pleased to be able to let you all in on this secret product {I say secret because I am yet to hear anyone else raving about it…YET!!}. 

If like me you suffer from dark circles under your eyes I feel for you, I really do, because it is a huge pain in the A#*! What makes it even more of a pain is being fooled repeatedly by companies who claim their product will hide these circles, only to later find out they do nothing more than make them a little less black/purple and a little more GREY! Then you have the products that claim to “brighten” under the eye, only to leave you with a layer of sticky glittery paste instead! Finally there are the concealers that are like chalk and somehow manage to leave you with visible wrinkles you never even knew existed, you see what I mean? Dark circles and concealers are a huge pain in the A*#!

So anyway now that I have had my little rant and feel slightly better about all that money {I wouldn’t dare attempt to calculate just how much} I have wasted over the years on dodgy make-up, I can finally introduce the product that DOES work! YAY! 

Seventeen stay time concealer! Can be found at Boots- £4.49

Forgive me if you have already been using this product for a while and perhaps I am a little late catching on, I just simply couldn’t NOT do a post about it, it really is fabulous!

It glides onto the skin like silk, no stickiness, no glitter…. Perfection. The best part is that when it sets, it really isn’t going anywhere! Although I do think the 18 hour wear may be a slight exaggeration, I would definitely say 12 hours would be  more than accurate, {pretty impressive for such a low cost product!}. This is exactly what I need as I can never be bothered with re-applying and in the hot months especially I need a product that will stick and not simply melt off my skin.

The coverage is also fantastic, in the photo above I have only used one layer of concealer so I could have probably went heavier for even more coverage if needed. The colour is the perfect match for my skin which is a much welcomed added bonus, other concealers in the past have left a visible ring around my eyes due to the colour difference, now no longer an issue!

If you do decide to give this beauty bargain a go then please do leave a comment below and let me know how you get on with it and if it did in fact help you banish tired mummy eyes! :)

 

Reflecting On Progress

So there we have it, an entire school year has went by in the blink of an eye {well for me anyway}. So much has happened this year for our little family, I honestly don’t know where the time has gone!? Anyway, we are here now and it’s time to reflect on the time past and all of the progress Zach has made this year in P3 {I never could quite get my head around having a child in p3 and now I will have a child in P4, weird!}. 

The reason I think it is important to take some to time to reflect on Zachs’s progress and share this progress with you is not for boastful reasons, no, it is simply to remind myself and others that every new year brings new hope and endless possibilities. A task that is proving extremely difficult for your child to complete one year, may be a walk in the park for them the next, who knows!?

 

When I look back on last year I remember worrying and thinking to myself “will my son ever write?”, two years before that I remember asking myself “will my son ever speak?”. Now he is writing his first name, his pictures have progressed from little squiggly blobs to what I classify as works of art and he is VERY rarely ever quiet! Every step further in education or in life that Zach takes is celebrated, yes his progress may be a little slower {or in some cases faster} than other children but it is nonetheless special to us.

I am excited to see what next year will bring! Coming up to the end of June Zach was not enjoying school very much and this was reflecting on his behaviours at home, so I am hoping come August he will be looking forward to going back. It is never easy meeting a new teacher and his class is also being changed around this year, but I am sure he will settle and make great progress, just as he has in previous years. 

I encourage you to take a morning to look back on all of your child’s little paintings, houses made of cereal boxes and faces made out of paper plates, I am sure it will make you burst with pride to see just how much those little creations have progressed throughout the year. :)

 

He ate a sausage! #SSAmazingAchievements

Last week we had a huge breakthrough in our house…. Zach ate a sausage!!!

Okay so I imagine you are thinking to yourself  “big deal?”and you would be right, it really is a BIG deal! Zach has such a restricted diet due to his sensory issues surrounding food {textures, smells, colours},  that he is restricted to three different dinners that we can rotate each day and that is it! No variety at all! 

The dinner routine is as follows:-

  1. Chicken nuggets and chips
  2. Pepperoni pizza
  3. Spaghetti Bolognese 
  4. REPEAT!
So you can imagine our delight when we placed a sausage in front of him and he tried it! He wasn’t sick, he didn’t gag, ok he wasn’t totally pleased, but he ate it!!  **insert mummy clapping and dancing around like a maniac here**
 
Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this exact moment, to be honest I was just so excited/shocked that it didn’t even occur to me to bust out the camera. I do however have some photos of us just after Zach made me the happiest mummy ever! Hopefully he will eat this meal again and dare I say it, possibly even try another new food this week? Who knows!? 
 
Isn’t it funny how something so small can mean so much? I love these moments, it’s what being mummy is all about! :)
 

The Do’s and Don’ts of BritMums Live!

 

BritMums Live is over and my goodness those two days flew by quickly, freakishly fast in fact! Now my head is full to the brim with ideas, twitter names, faces, funny memories and the list goes on…..

Travelling to London!

So if you read my previous post I AM GOING TO BRITMUMS LIVE!! You will know that I was a serious nervous wreck about going away on my own for two days! I am not a very good flyer, I get seriously anxious about new situations and I am crap  bad at directions! Turns out I actually had nothing to worry about, I arrived at my hotel in one piece woohoo! I do however have a few tips for you if you are travelling to London next year for BritMums, here goes…

  • DO leave yourself plenty of time, just incase things don’t go exactly as planned!
  • DO push your way onto that train or risk being lost under a stampede of late commuters!
  • DO carry a map of the tubes at all times, this is your new bible!
  • DO download the app thetrainline.com, this makes using the train easy-peasy!
  • DO arrive at any airport in London at least 2hours early for your flight home, security/bag-drop is crazy busy!
 
  • DON’T stand on the left side of the escalator, you will have many many angry stares/shoves from busy commuters if you do so!
  • DON’T be afraid to ask for help, so many people helped me on my journey and I was so grateful!
  • DON’T think you are going to get a seat on the underground…. You won’t!
 Hotel Time

So when I finally arrived at my hotel {4 hours before I could check in} I was shattered from all the travelling, buzzing with anticipation and a little nervous about what the next two days would hold. I stayed in the Travel Lodge Central London, it was convenient to the BritMums Live location, cheaper than most London hotels and clean. My only regret was not organising early check-in prior to arriving, it would only have been an extra £10 and definitely worth it for a little lie down before the madness began! My advise for organising where to stay for BritMums Live….
 
  • DO have a look for a hotel close to the venue, it is a LONG day and the last thing you want to do at the end is have to travel far!
  • DO think about sharing a room with another blogger, it will help to split the cost and make a friend before the event begins.
  • DO book an early check-in if you can, it means you have somewhere to leave your luggage and put your feet up after a morning of travelling.
 
  • DON’T worry about staying somewhere fancy, you really won’t see much of your hotel room, trust me!
  • DON’T worry about booking breakfast for the morning, there will be as many pastries and coffees as you like at BritMums {maybe even a cooked breakfast at BritMums 2015, hint hint!!}

The Big Event!

I had the best time at BritMums Live for three main reasons, 
  1. I got to meet such lovely, friendly and just downright awesome girls! I am not going to name any names incase I leave anyone out, but take my word for it they are all genuinely sweet! 
  2. I got the chance to listen to the most inspirational bloggers, some of the speaks were seriously emotional and touching, {remind me next year to bring tissues}. I also got so much advice that will help me with many aspects of blogging, this in-particular made the expense of the trip worthwhile.
  3. Getting to meet and chat to such a variety of companies was fantastic, the little goodies each of them were handing out was of course a lovely little added bonus!

 

 
So finally here are my DO’S and DON’TS of BritMums Live! 

  • DO make the effort to speak to as many bloggers/companies as possible so as to make the most of your visit!
  • DO go to every talk that you think will benefit you and your blog {even if it means attending some of them without the people you know, you aren’t always going to want to see the same things}.
  • DO bring business cards, companies do ask for them, as do other bloggers! I recommend roughly 50 business cards.
  • DO bring food with you as although there is some food served it might not be to your liking and it is not easy to just nip out and grab a bite to eat. 
  • DO make the most of every minute, it will fly by so quickly and you want to feel as though you have got as much as you possibly can from the experience!
 
  • DON’T worry about your outfit, there was so much hype about what everyone was wearing and to be honest you could get away with jeans, a tee and a pair of converse!
  • DON’T allow the nerves to take over, there really is nothing to be nervous about! Everyone is there for the same reason, to laugh, learn and drink the free wine! ;)
  • DON’T worry if you don’t get a sponsor, most bloggers don’t and the experience is well worth the money!
As one last thought I would just like to say DO go to BritMums Live, it is something every blogger should experience at least once, the benefits are endless!