This week has been pretty slow. Hubby Graham has had man flu again, it seems he’s been sick more often than he has been well lately.

I bought a new bookshelf for the living room last week and it was still in the packaging so I despite him being on his deathbed I made him put it together. Then I realised that I didn’t really like it so we have put it in the bedroom instead.

He wasn’t the only one that had been put out though, because I’d spent half the day emptying everything off the bookshelf in the living room I’d been hoping to replace. I ended up putting most of it back on.

So, then we spent the next day doing nothing to recover!

On Wednesday I came across a tweet that led me to see an exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre all about disability products. It was free entry so I thought why not go and take a look. I’m hoping to get a new wheelchair soon so it would be good to go and take a look at some and see which sort I would go for.

So Thursday morning we dropped the kids off at school and Hubby Graham got to drive on the motorway for the second time ever and we went to the NEC. It’s only 3 junctions and there is no need to use the motorway, but it is much quicker and I thought good practice for Graham.

The exhibition had tons of wheelchairs to look at and I got a really good perspective which you don’t get by looking online, or in pictures.

I have decided that the type I was actually thinking of getting is not really suitable at all and I am now looking at something completely different…so yes, it was a good idea to go.

I did try out a couple of wheelchairs but I find it tiring and difficult transferring so I did turn down a lot of chairs to try as well.

I wished I had to the money to buy which ever chair I liked. My favourite wheelchair, The Nino, came in at £7,250!! I really couldn’t contemplate spending that sort of money on myself. It was kind of cool though, maybe a bit too cool for an oldie like me. What do you think?

I could just see myself whizzing around anywhere in this!

I’ve decided to go for something more practical like this one, The K Chair.

I’m currently fundraising to help pay for a new wheelchair. I’m not usually the type of person who asks for anything but I know life is not going to get any easier for me and I had to do something. So I set up a Crowdfunding page a couple of weeks ago and I’m already a quarter of the way to my target thanks to all the lovely donations I’ve received. I’m so truly grateful to everyone who has donated no matter how big or small. 
 My crowdfunding page
My Crowdfunding page

So that’s my news this Friday and my word of the week just has to be…..

The Reading Residence

I love to praise my kids and this week they deserve a mention.

First lets start with the Little Man. He’s had a struggle since being at school, I’ve found, having three Summer babies, that starting school can be difficult because they are younger than most of their peers. The Little Man was immature, but he’s also pretty clever which is quite a mix. His behaviour hasn’t been good, but his work has.

Yesterday it was his parents evening and the teacher was full of praise. Over the last term he has calmed down a lot, his behaviour has improved considerably and he’s settling down to do his work. His work has been fantastic with him being in the top group of the class for all his subjects, although he does need to work on his writing a little. He’s six years old, I’m sure his writing will improve.
I am so proud of him. I’ll be even prouder on Friday as we have been invited to the school to see him receive a certificate in assembly.

It’s not been plain sailing with him. He was referred to the school nurse because of his behaviour and a few other issues. He has hyper mobile joints just like his sister which means he gets some pain and could also be the reason why he has trouble with his writing as his fingers are hyper mobile too. (Most members of our family have some hyper mobility issues.) The nurse has decided that he needs a few sessions of one to one as he has some emotional issues. One of which is that he is not dealing very well with me being ill. He really wants to know when I will get better, but he hasn’t asked me or his Dad. We have tried to talk to all the kids but it’s hard when we don’t even know ourselves what is going to happen. Hopefully these sessions will help him.

Last week we had to attend an assembly to see Boo receive a certificate in assembly for Engagement in her lessons. She’s doing really well at school and we’ve never had any problems with her. I will always be proud of my sweet Boo.

Then there is Star, who is about to undergo a huge change as she will break up for an extended Easter holiday next week, and when she goes back her school will be in a new building. Yesterday she came home really happy because she’d been for a tour of the new building. She was one of a selected few and had a special pass made for her. She was chosen as group who find change difficult, so the school is trying to recognise the needs of it’s Autistic children. I’m glad that she’s taking this all so well.

I’m linking up with Jane over on Our Little Escapades, click the badge to see other proud parents.

I thought that maybe I’d taken on a huge challenge by going with a Paleo diet but after the first two weeks I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself.

I cheated, it’s hard not too, but I still think I’ve done well. I made the decision to cut everything out at once rather that one group at a time. The reason for this being that I’d already made some changes to my diet so it was sensible just to carry on. 
So, no dairy, no grains and no sugar, it doesn’t sound very easy does it?
There are loads of alternatives though, I’m a big fan of nut milks, in particular almond milk so that has featured rather than dairy. Next week I’m going to have a go at making my own. 
Sugar I’d already attempted to give up and although I was doing quite well there was still my sugar full nemesis to deal with…biscuits! I was a biscuit addict and could easily eat half a packet at a time. I’ve struggled not to eat biscuits, it would be easier if there were non in the house but most of my family like biscuits and I can’t deprive them. It was a real test of my willpower and I confess there have been a few biscuits that have found their way into my mouth, but I can honestly say, not half a packet, even over the whole fotnight. That has to be progress hasn’t it! 
Breakfast has been most difficult. I love my cereal! My medication means I can’t eat for an hour after I take them first thing so I generally do not have breakfast until the children have gone to school. Then I settle down with my cereal and cup of tea. I do have time to make breakfast but to be honest I really don’t feel like tucking into a huge plate of meat or eggs, or paleo pancakes, or vegetables. I just don’t feel that hungry in the morning. So, I looked into Chia, and found that I do actually like it despite it looking like frogspawn.
bowl of chia with almond milk, figs and cinnamon

I’ve had chia with chopped dates, raisins and cinnamon which was lovely. I also tried chia with mixed berries and honey which I whizzed up in the food processor to give it a different texture, for a breakfast treat you can also have chia mixed with raw cacoa and peanut butter! Then I found out that chia is not really auto-immune friendly so I should restrict my intake. My search for another breakfast is on!

For other meals I’ve found it easy to just make a few adjustments. So when my family have spaghetti I have courgetti, when they have mashed potato, I have mashed sweet potato, when they have rice I have cauliflower rice. I even made myself a lasagna using courgette instead of pasta, it was really tasty but it doesn’t stay together well so it just slopped all over my plate and didn’t look like lasagna at all.

My favourite lunchtime meal has been a salad of avocado, cucumber and apple with a home made dressing of french mustard, olive oil and apple cider vinegar. It’s really tasty!

I’ve treated myself to home made chocolate which is incredibly easy to make but does taste like really dark bitter chocolate, so no good if you are a fan of Cadbury’s. I did make a chocolate mousse too which was a little more creamier.

I can’t say that I’ve not felt hungry because  my medication makes me feel hungry all the time, but over the two weeks I’ve found I’ve gone for fruit as a snack rather than chocolate or biscuits. Dates are amazing for giving you a  sweet hit!

The reason I started this diet was not to lose weight but to help my auto-immune system which has really gone to pot. I wanted to repair my gut which can be the cause of so many problems. I know that since I got sick I’ve put on a lot of weight but I stopped weighing myself after I realised I’d put on two stone. My husband thinks I should weigh myself so I can track any loss, but I’m not sure I want to.

This last weekend I strayed off the diet. On Saturday I had rice with my husbands home made curry. I just didn’t fancy cauliflower rice. I also had some naan bread! That nice I had bloating and heartburn for the first time in two weeks. On Sunday it was Mother’s Day so I had a nice cake after dinner. Again I paid for it with heartburn and an increase in muscle spasms during the night.

I think this confirms that the diet works, but it also tells me that it’s gluten that is probably the main culprit. I’m quite happy giving up dairy now, and giving up sugar hasn’t bothered me too much. I have had cravings for bread though and I still miss cereal. It’s typical that it’s things that are doing me the most harm are the ones I miss the most.

What do you think, could you manage a paleo diet?
Do you think I should be weighing myself?

My girls love their cuddly toys and love making things so Splodge Teddy Parties already tick two of their boxes. Boo also loves birthday parties and each year I try to think up something a little different for her. We’ve had everything like puzzle parties, cooking parties and last year we had a craft party.

This year we are planning a Splodge Teddy Parties and we were thrilled to get the chance to try out a couple of the bears in advance.

Splodge Teddy Parties offer a selection of bears to make yourself at home. They also offer bulk buys of bears and cuddly toys for you to use in your own bear party. You can also get extras like clothes for the bears, party invitations, t-shirts for personalising and colour in party bags to take the bears home. The bears come in two sizes, 8 inches and 16 inches, and you can choose from lots of different packs, like teddy bears, dogs, zoo animals, pets and even dragons and unicorns. Something for everyone!

You can also buy the bear packs individually and my girls were really excited to choose a wolf and a unicorn to make.

When the packs arrived we were presented with our unstuffed cuddly toys, a pack of stuffing, a few little hearts to choose from, a bag to colour and a birth certificate for the toys. The girls were keen to get started and the instructions were simple.

They filled their cuddly toys with the stuffing, making sure to get it into the legs first. It took them a while to do but they enjoyed watching their toys getting fatter with their work.

When the toys where fully stuffed the girls chose a heart, made a wish, give the heart a kiss and then stuffed it into their toys.

Finishing off the toys was really simple. The stuffing had been placed inside a fabric bag inside the
toy and now it need tying off. there was a tie on the bag which just needed a pull and then you tucked it inside the toy. We thought the tie was a little long and as it was plastic we decided to cut a bit of it off first. Then there is a velcro fastening on the top which you have to pull a strip off first before closing it. It then sticks really well to keep the stuffing inside and you can hardly notice the join. Best of all, no fiddly sewing to do!

After stuffing their toys the girls put on their clothes, a t-shirt for Boo’s unicorn and a sweater for Star’s wolf. Then it was time to colour in the bags.

I timed the activity and from opening the packs to finishing all the activities it took the girls almost an hour. (55 minutes) I think this is an excellent time scale for a party activity, although it may take a little longer with several more children taking part.

The girls had so much fun and they really really love their new cuddly toys.

As well as the individual bears, at Splodge Teddy Parties you can also buy bulk packs of bears for a party, Me to You Bears, Minions and a whole stock of party supplies like plates, cups and tablecovers. In fact everything you need for your party.

I think the pricing is really good too, a single 8 inch toy with accessories (heart, bag, birth certificate) costs around £7. A larger 16 inc toy costs around £10.50. party packs of bears start at £35 for five. Take a look at Splodge Teddy Parties and see what you think, would your child like a Teddy Party?

Family Fever

Disclosure: I was sent the cuddly toys for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mother’s Day is always bitter sweet for me. My Mum is no longer here and even though it’s been more than nine year now it still hurts, especially on special days, like birthdays, Christmas  and of course Mother’s Day.

Then there is the fact that I am a Mother myself. I don’t always get treats from my kids and there have been years when I’ve looked on with envy as I see other Mother’s posting photos of the wonderful gifts they have received off their children or their children’s Dad. I often had to be happy with the home made cards brought home from school. Lately, I’ve been one of the Mum’s with gifts as my eldest children have become older and my Husband a little more thoughtful. But, in all honesty it’s not really about the gifts is it?

Just being appreciated for all you do for your children is what most Mum’s long for. A kind word, a thank you, a caring gesture. Mum’s need loving too, you know.

I often wonder if I’m good enough. I’ve made mistakes along the way, you don’t really notice until your child is grown up. It’s hard not to look back and think I wish I’d done this differently, or maybe I should have been more strict, more lenient, more fun, more attentive… always think you could have been, just more!

I worry about my children all the time and if I’m a good enough mum.

When my Mum passed away she left all her children a letter, it was the same one for us all. She’d written a poem and it was the saddest thing I ever read. Her life had never really been easy and had left her feeling quite bitter and sad. She’d let everything consume her and couldn’t see the happiness she’d had in life. She must have been happy sometimes. I can’t remember her always being bitter and sad, in fact, quite the opposite. She was always singing, laughing and joking around and I remember her being the life and soul of many a family party. There were lots of happy times, it was just sad that she’d chosen to focus on the bad instead.

I made a vow right then that no matter how bad things got I would never be bitter and sad no matter what life threw at me. I will always focus on the good times and remember how happy I was. I will always look forward to the good times to come because no matter what they always will.

When you are a mother, your child is your first concern, but you have to take care of yourself too. You have to be happy and create happiness no matter how tough life gets. And never, ever, blame your children for your unhappiness.

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