Friday, 16 December 2011

Just To Clear Something Up... We Are Not Scroungers!

My son is disabled....
He has Down Syndrome.
He has regular health issues.
Regular check ups.
Hospital appointments.
And new problems arising everyday.
He has little speech and communication.
This causes frustration, which in turn leads to violence and tantrums.
We have had to learn new ways to communicate.
This sets him apart from his peers and he knows this causing more frustration.
We have to become translators to others... often causing even more frustration on his part.
We have to be extra aware in public due to this.
We also have the extra worry that if lost, he then will not be able to communicate who, what, why, where etc.
Due to lack of all of the above he needs constant watching and reassurance.
He also wears a hearing aid.
He has lack of understanding of his surroundings and of danger most of the time.
This causes danger to himself and others.
He has poor muscle tone.
He walks less than a few metres before he has problems mentally and physically.
He falls over a lot.
We have to use a very large buggy to cart him around if walking distances where we can't stop.
We have problems pushing him because he's so heavy as he is now 9yo.
He is too heavy and too tall to carry.
He has chronic constipation due to a lazy bowel and only goes once a week with medication.
This makes him uncomfortable, in constant pain and frustration.
He has 2 sets of clothes, 1 for when his belly is swollen (before meds) and 1 for when he's not (after meds)
This also leaves problems after his meds are given due to lack of control of his bowel (use your imagination).
His immune system is very low so he catches everything.
Winter is hell for us due to this constant illness.
We tend not to leave the house and he misses a lot of school.
This stops his routines.
This also stops him having a normal active life like his peers.
I also get ill because he gets ill... this is the way of parenthood though.
We struggle to get normal things done a lot of the time due to the problems listed above.

I struggle to find jobs flexible enough to work around his constant illness making me unreliable.
I am now and have been for 9 years, a full time, stay at home CARER.
It is a 24/7 kind of job.
It is hard mentally and physically.
I do not get paid for it.
I do not receive a single benefit to help with MY living costs in exchange for it.
Therefore we are a single wage family.
Hoff is taxed as much as the rest of the working public.
We are not entitled to any form of Tax credits.

Kyd however, receives Disability Living Allowance.... Does that make us scroungers??

I have missed so much out of this and I know other parents of Down Syndrome children and children with other disabilities, will be able to relate and add to the list as each of our children are so similar yet so different.... so be open to interpretation whilst thinking of people you know with these problems.

I have recently had a fight on my hands and I am proud to say I won. I went to a tribunal to fight for Kyd's right to have his Higher Rate Disability Living Allowance reinstated. It took a whole year with very little money, lot's of work for me to do, lot's of note taking, statement getting, research and diary writing. I got as much evidence from as many people as I possibly could to prove to the Government that Kyd was as disabled as I had told them in my forms....

That's right, I had to prove my son had the problems he had because my word nor that of ALL of Kyd's specialists were enough to get an agreement from the office workers who decide on, just by reading some badly planned out forms that need a degree to fill out, that my child actually has the generic problems that come with Down Syndrome that haven't really changed much over all these years...

Shame they can't do the research themselves about even the smallest generic problems concerning each disability and store it on a system that these office workers can reference when doing their jobs.... instead of causing heartache to the parents by making them feel like they are lying scum that are trying to fiddle the government out of the little they actually give to the disabled now.

After winning my fight we decided that the best way to ease our lives with Kyd's issues would be to get a mobility car, which we were entitled to now he had his full claim. We had been struggling not having a car and although we would have loved to, we just couldn't afford to run one anyway. With our new full claim we were able to get on the mobility scheme and by doing this we would be able to transport Kyd around and have an easier life knowing that he was in fact safer than he is walking. Those of you with cars will understand how much easier it is to have one when you need to go anywhere with children or in a rush. Those of you without cars will understand those times that you could just do with a car, if you times that by twenty, that is our everyday need for a car.... We could go on living without a car... but if one is on offer and will make both Kyd's and our family life easier, why would we turn our nose up at it?

I have come up against some prejudice about the fact that we are now on the mobility scheme from those who are obviously quite ignorant to our situation. Although not to my face which I resent quite a bit. I would like to set the story straight and give you another way of looking at it so that you can have a fully rounded opinion on the situation I hope and pray you will never find yourself in. Therefore giving you a more open view and a less one sided argument.

We are not faking an illness to receive this benefit we quite obviously have reasons why we receive it.
We quite simply want and need to ease our life, so we can concentrate on the things that we can help, rather than worrying about the consequences of those situations we can't.
This is what this benefit is there for after all.
Hoff works bloody hard to provide for us and we are a one wage family because I currently can't help towards the situation because of the above situation, and as much as that makes me feel guilty, he does a bloody good job and works bloody hard and continuously to give us a roof to live under. 
We don't receive any other help from the government apart from this Disability Allowance to help Kyd.

I am pretty sure most of you concerned get tax credits etc which are from the government and paid for by the tax payers... just like Disability Living Allowance.

So what makes you any different to us?

We too have to save for everything we buy, for every time we go out and for everything we need because we can't afford to just spend willy nilly. We couldn't afford the car, we so desperately need, without the help of the Disability Allowance and we are so grateful for that. We do not take this for granted and we do not expect anything from anyone apart from what we are told by the guidelines of the government that we are entitled too!

... You can afford to run your cars and wear all your lovely new clothes, go out, buy new things and live your lives as a family on the money you get for the hard work you do... but you struggle...

I understand that... because we are exactly the same, except we have all the added fun of the above mentioned daily life to contend with.

If you are having problems with cash but can afford to run a car, smoke, drink, have sky, go out and buy random purchases.... maybe you should look at your outgoings rather than attacking the people who are getting the tiny bit of help that they fully deserve and are entitled to.

The negativity and ignorance you show towards my situation and the situation of others just screams at me that you have your own issues and in fact we are just a scape goat for the loathing of the situation you are in.... Bit harsh but I'm pissed off that I have even had to write to explain myself when it seems so bloody obvious to me and to most others, that parents of children with disabilities are struggling everyday with so many different things and you are begrudging me, and them, the little bit of help and respite we get from the government because you are jealous of our income??... Try walking in our shoes for a day, a week, a month, a year and then tell me that it is out of order that we get this and you don't.

Grow up and Wake up - Life isn't all equal and maybe you need to stop wallowing in self pity and respect what you have.

Think of it this way... What we get for Kyd is only a tiny percentage of what Hoff pays in Tax... meaning we are just taking out only a tiny bit of what he is already putting in!... you can call it a tax rebate if it makes you feel better...

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The day Kyd got his KICKS.... as RFC Mascot!

This time last week I was as sick as a dog and just leaving the hospital due to a stupid infection... but at home, with a smile on his face, Kyd was getting ready to brave the cold November night, in his footy kit to live his dream on the pitch with his heroes and be mascot at Reading FC vs Peterborough Utd.

Laying in my hospital bed all I could think of was my baby, my big baby and his upcoming appearance in front of 1000's of people as the Royals (Reading FC) mascot. Would he deal with it? Would he freak out? Would he struggle to understand what he was supposed to do?... but more importantly would I be there to see his big day?

Kyd has been a season ticket holder for 5 years and in that 5 years he has watched the players come and go. He's got heroes and he's got villains (mainly the Referee). He's seen triumphant wins and he's seen hideous losses. He's met the players and he's had the tours.... But never has he wanted anything more than to step on that pitch and kick a ball with the boys!

Thanks to FreeKicks, an amazing charity offering sick, disabled and underprivileged kids opportunities with their heroes on the pitch, Kyd was able to be Mascot at a game that meant a lot to him. The charity is run on a voluntary basis by Steve Thorpe and Sam Downing. Steve’s main responsibility is fund-raising as well as using his extensive media contacts to gain publicity. Sam is the Kick Co-ordinator, she liaises with clubs, hospitals and families to ensure that the children have a day to remember. The days out, which are called ‘kicks’, could involve being a team mascot, meeting a favourite player, tour of their chosen stadium, receiving a special gift or anything football related they can organise to make it a day they will never forget.

FreeKicks is a Peterborough based charity and they work closely with Peterborough United (known as 'The Posh'). We have close ties with the Posh too as a very close friend of mine, Phil Adlem, is their trusted Press officer of 10 years. Phil nominated Kyd to get his Kicks at the Royals vs Posh game as he knew Kyd would love it and that he would remember it forever more. Kyd was also mascot for the Challenge 42 world record breaking attempt done by other Posh and Royals fans who raised £1250 for Freekicks this summer, by playing a 42 hour non stop footy game... it was very tiring even to watch so they did so well to keep it up in the heat, we were very proud to be involved. If it wasn't for the funds raised at events such as this kids like Kyd wouldn't be able to get their Kicks so we are ever so grateful to all the boys (and girls) involved.

Kyd's day began as usual as he went to school all excited. My day began with several more pills and the announcement that I'd be OK to be there at the game for his big day.... but only if I wrapped up warm and took it easy... hard to do at a football game as I tend to shout a lot... but I agreed and was just relieved that I wasn't going to miss it.

He was picked up from school and as he entered the house to find his full kit and training gear, including boots ready and laid out on the sofa he began to get very excited. Today was the day! He ate his tea and got dressed into his kit.... included in that kit was a weather proof vest as it was the end of NOVEMBER and bloody freezing after all! Then with an excited squeal he got in the car ready for his adventure!

On arrival we met up with Gill Jacobs, the Royals mascot coordinator and Steve and Sam from FreeKicks at reception. We made our way upstairs and had a drink in one of the lounges. We got Kyd ready for his big moment and he received a few goodies from both FreeKicks and Reading FC. We made our way downstairs and here was where the fun started...

He started to get very excited. His rocking backward and forward excited movement began and his face became a picture. The smile melted my heart as he spotted Kingsley and then our manager Brian Mcdermott. We then went pitch side and with his training gear he put on his shiny new boots..... then that moment came.... I said 'you can go on the pitch now'... the reaction again melted my heart... 'Really?' he said with an amazed face... He must have thought I was lieing all these weeks when explaining what he was going to be doing there! As he walked on the pitch his face lit up. They kicked him the ball and he looked at me like he was asking for permission to kick it back... at this point he was just warming up with some of the staff so I couldn't wait for him to there with the players. He then returned into the tunnel, stripped down to just his kit and there he was... my little football star... looking all grown up.

There he was ready and waiting and the excited rocking backwards and forwards began all over again... but now it was because he was getting ready to go in the changing rooms and meet the players he'd watched for all these years!... I might add I wasn't allowed in the changing rooms, for obvious reasons! Which was devastating! Damn it!... He looked at me with a gleam in his eye and then walked in... I waited outside and when he returned he had a notepad full of signatures and a big black arm band on. This particular game we were doing a minutes applause for the late and tragic Gary Speed. Some of our players played for Gary speeds Welsh team and as respect to him the whole team were wearing their black arm bands in memory of the amazing footballer and man that he was. Noel Hunt thought that Kyd deserved to show his respect as much as the others as he was 'one of the boys' as he later tweeted (I am really grateful to Noel for making him feel so special he was so in love with that arm band he showed it to everybody!).

He was then ready to go out on the pitch, and as the team were being announced I could see Kyd standing there with our captain Jobi Mcanuff looking around like he was in heaven. He held on to his hand and made his way up the steps. All my fears were gone and here emerged THE most confident 9 year old ever to step out onto the pitch. He lined up with the team and walked the line to shake hands with the officials and the Posh boy's... a few of which he had met before. His little legs must have been freezing but the adrenaline was enough to keep cold out for that short time. As he reached the end of the line with Jobi by his side, he ran straight into the centre circle clapping his hands above is head like a real pro. From accounts of others in the stands he looked as though he played for them every week. Jobi kicked him the ball he stopped it and passed it back to him with great precision. I was being tweeted from left right and centre telling me how brilliant he was. He had his photo's taken and made his way off the pitch with Kingsley the Lion... We then stood for a minutes applause for the late Gary Speed pitch side. It was lovely to see everyone honour a man that had made such a difference in the football... however he died, whatever his mental state of mind, he lived for the game and we should all remember that mental health issues can affect anyone, both men and women, even those who seem to have everything... this is the sad reality we live in. RIP Gary Speed.

The smile and the enthusiasm beaming out of him, made standing in that cold winter chill well worth it. He was grinning from ear to ear. We made our way around the pitch to our seats where he changed out of his boots and put on layer after layer to keep him warm. Here is where the mascot package usually ends and we would watch the game and go home.... BUT Kyd had been given a special job for half time which would see us back by the tunnel picking the Golden Gamble tickets. He ran back around the pitch and waved at the players as they went for their half time team talk. Even the Posh players smiled and waved at him as I tried to stop him following them into the tunnel. Phil met us pitch side to see how Kyd was getting on and he beamed at him too. They announced Kyd's name and asked him to give the fans a wave. He waved at the west stand... then right back at his home boys in the East stand (where we sit)... the announcer thought this was brilliant and began to laugh over the microphone... he was acting like a celeb pressing the big button on the lottery! He picked out 2 tickets... both from the East stand! I was praying that he hadn't picked out any of our mates as that could've been seen as a fix... lol. But after a Hot chocolate and another wave to the crowd we returned to our seats ready for the second half....

I was shattered as I was still technically ill. He was shattered. The players were shattered. It was a long and exciting 3-2 finish. at the beginning of the game I had asked Kyd what the score was going to be... he said 3-1 and it looked like it was going to be 3-1 finish until Posh got a late last goal... ruined it for him... how very rude of them! We even managed to score in the first half breaking the first half 'No Goal' glitch we'd had ALL season! Making the fans ecstatic. If I'm honest Posh were the better side during the game but our boys brought it to a win for Gary Speed and for Kyd....

Just to add... I had tried to get Gabs Zakuani (one of the posh players) to score an own goal on Kyd's behalf and although he almost did in the first half, much to our delight and amusement.... he failed to see it into his own net! Boo Hiss Gabs you spoil sport! Maybe next time! lol... Gabs also gave us one of his #everydayimtackling t-shirts in which Kyd was sporting at the end of the game... thanks for that Gabs.

Kyd was named the 'Lucky Mascot', by his fellow fans and he sure felt lucky....

He was still beaming when we got home. We struggled to get his kit off him and he kept his black arm band in his hand as he fell asleep. Luckily he had no school the next day due to the strikes so he had a lie in. He was still excited as he woke up and as the Reading FC website added his photo's to his very own Gallery on their site and tweeted and facebooked about him, his excitement grew. I have never seen him act like such a Diva before, demanding to see the photo's again and again!

Here ends the story of Kyd's Kick. I managed to watch it without ending up back in hospital and Kyd... well, Kyd will love this day forever.

He would like to say thank you to all involved in FreeKicks, Challenge 42 and Reading FC. He loved the whole experience and it will be one he takes with him for the rest of his life. He would also like to thank Phil Adlam for all the support and for nominating him for the Kick, Noel Hunt for his all important black arm band and Jobi and the team for making him so comfortable on the pitch....

If you know anyone who you think deserves a Kick (not literally) or you'd like to fund raise for them don't hesitate to contact Steve or Sam at FreeKicks they would be happy to try and make their dreams come true- click here

Follow FreeKicks on Twitter to keep up to date with the charity and show your support!

Monday, 5 December 2011

ONCE UPON A TIME... I wrote a story for Save The Children

This story was to be part of a book, a book made up of stories written by other Mummies and Daddies.
made up of Characters both goodies and baddies!

The book would raise money to help children far and wide,
to let those children know that we are all, right there, by their side.

I am so proud to be a part of such a great and lovely idea
and would like to make the next part ever so clear...

All the profit from this book goes straight to Save the Children
Non of the Mummies and Daddies have even slightly billed them.

We took time out in our busy and hectic day,
To write our little stories and shout out loud and say,

'We Care about children whether they're ours or not,
and we will do what we can to help the lot'

But now we need you to make this worth while,
Just click on the link, buy the book and just Smile!

as by buying this book for yourself or a loved one,
You've helped Save the Children and let their healthy lives live on.

From all of us Mummies and Daddies involved with this book,
We'd like to Thank You for both buying and taking a look.

Now could you promote it as much as you can,
without making it look like some dodgy spam.

To share the page hit the button below,
what are you waiting for? come on, lets GO!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Forgiven - A good little Catholic girl!

I went to Church this Sunday.... and NO I didn't melt or burst in to flames! I haven't been for so long it's ridiculous. I have moved and Kyd isn't at a Catholic school any more and I just haven't had time if I'm honest. But as a traditional Catholic girl *cough* don't laugh *cough* I'd like to get married in the church where my Nan used to go and where my Mum and my Aunts and Uncles where Baptised. I wouldn't get married any where else. I love it, it might be situated next to Reading Prison and a main road but it's also right next to the Abbey Ruins and the Forbury Gardens and Inside... It's like the fairytale church wedding I've pictured since I was tiny. To do this though, I've got to start attending regularly, and as it's nearly Christmas I thought it was the perfect time to show our faces.

Growing up we went to catholic schools. We went to church every Sunday. We went to Sunday School. I've done my First Communion and I've been Confirmed... so what went wrong? How did I end up so far off the rails? I mean I still go to Church at Easter and Christmas and I still deep inside me have everything I was taught. But I don't have as regular attendance like I used to. I grew up and learnt I could choose when I went... and that is exactly what I'm doing now, I'm choosing to go.

I don't have many memories of my nan, but the ones I do have mainly involve going to church or her having a fag in the kitchen. My Mum, Aunts and Uncles all lead busy lives and most don't make it to church now but all their children have been brought up exactly like me. They've all been through the sacraments just like me... and so will Kyd. We all still deep down have that Catholic faith. We disagree with a few, if not most, of the Catholic church's actions. We simply believe in what we've always known. It means a lot to me to still have that little bit of my nan with me.

shoot me down if you will.... but each to their own!


You know how us Catholic girls can be
We make up for so much time a little too late
I never forgot it, confusing as it was
No fun with no guilt feelings
The sinners, the saviors, the loverless priests
I'll see you next Sunday

We all had our reasons to be there
We all had a thing or two to learn
We all needed something to cling to
So we did

I sang Alleluia in the choir
I confessed my darkest deeds to an envious man
My brothers they never went blind for what they did
But I may as well have
In the name of the Father, the Skeptic and the Son
I had one more stupid question

We all had our reasons to be there
We all had a thing or two to learn
We all needed something to cling to
So we did

What I learned I rejected but I believe again
I will suffer the consequence of this inquisition
If I jump in this fountain, will I be forgiven
We all had our reasons to be there
We all had a thing or two to learn
We all needed something to cling to
So we did

We all had delusions in our head
We all had our minds made up for us
We had to believe in something
So we did

Friday, 18 November 2011

Kyd's Charity SEN Christmas Cool list!

So Kyd has had few weeks of exciting deliveries after our SEN Toy Nightmare post. So many lovely companies and PR folk sending their toys to see if they meet the Kyd mark of approval! He hasn't been able to open them though as we are giving them away to his Downs group (West Berkshire Down Syndrome Group) so we have been working out what's cool and what's not... and what will be simple enough for him to use without it being too simple it's patronising to his age bracket. We are also deciding what age they are appropriate for SEN wise on the back of what would've been for Kyd at those ages.

JUST TO ADD These might not be appropriate for your child at the age I have suggested, this is because our children all develop in different ways and at their own pace. I hope to showcase just a few products that aren't boring or patronising for children with disabilities but with all the extra aspects that they as SEN children need!

So lets get going... here is Kyds list... I tried to do them in order so it ranges in age that I think is a true match for SEN and a mark from Kyd from 1-10 for each toy! 

Tumblekins Fire Station
Age: 2+ Kyd Score: 3/10
The Tumblekins station is a little too young for Kyd so he wasn't that interested... BUT this is a fantastic toy and if he had been a few years younger I think he'd have loved it. This is a Chunky Wooden Toy and s perfect for small motor skills The Characters roll along and tumble about causing giggles galore with younger children. I think It's perfect!
Price: £30.29 Where To Buy: Click Here

Schliech Horses
Age: 2+ Kyd Score: 5/10
Each of the animals created by Schliech are anatomically correct and with exquisite attention to detail.
I loved that each horse we received was different and I know that a few years ago Kyd would have loved these and I'd have used them for both speech and Language practice and matching word to object practice. Kyd loves them anyway but got bored... he's to old I think.
Price: £5 and under Where To Buy: Click Here

Just Dance Kids Wii (release date: 4th Nov)
Age: 3+ Kyd Score: 10/10
By now you will all know the Just Dance brand and most will have a copy of one of the earlier games in the house... Kyd has, and he loves them. He does struggle to follow most of them though as his coordination isn't the best. BUT this is Just Dance Kids... it has everything from, Justin Beiber to The Lion King to Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes to Blur... It is for kids of all ages from 3+ and I think this actually includes SEN children! The Wii has developed Kyd's hand eye coordination from 0-almost age perfect and I think games like this promote allsorts of prospects for SEN children... including exercise. WE LOVE IT!
Age: from early movement Kyd Score: 10/10
Price: £23.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

Bubble Buster
Age: 3+ Kyd Score: 9/10
This is fantstic family fun... if your family are like mine and you like stupid games... Develop your speed and coordination with this fun, competitive game which will keep you and your friends and family entertained for hours. You basiucly pop 20 balloons in the quickest time and the wand counts them! Comes with a bubble machine... which is a bonus on it's own! Kyd almost opened it... I almost let him... Then I thought about the fundraising it could make... Guilt set in!
Price: £11.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

Disney Jungle Junction, Hippobus & Beatle Bugs Playset:
Age: 4+ - Kyd Score: 5/10 (Spud Score: 10/10 she loved it)
The Hippobus Playset from Flair, comes with working sounds from different working parts of the toy. It also has a colour coding aspect to the Bugs and the Bus. This toy can help with creative play and reactive play. Involving a regular popular kids TV show, brings an aspect of age appropriate play for a pre school/early school age.
Price: £19.99 - Where To Buy: Click Here

Age: 4+ Kyd Score: 10/10
OMG is all I can say this looks fab! I want a go! This could benefit kids with weak muscle tone develop their strength with this fun and silly game! Pump up the funny man the quickest to win.... this could be a great drunken game for adults too... Kyd has put this on his list too! So I will have to give it a go on Christmas Day!

Price: £19.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

My World: My Body
Age: 4+ Kyd Score: 10/10
I LOVE THIS! We have been trying to find a simple way to explain how the body works to Kyd for ages! This puzzle compliments the national curriculum and teaches about the body and how it works, as well as enhancing general skills such as concentration, imagination, communication and Hand Eye coordination. It even has a handy slot to help them tidy the pieces away... always a good thing in my book. We love it... and Kyd got to keep a copy of the game too... so he loves it.
Price: £9.99 Where To Buy: Your nearest John Lewis or for more retailers Click Here

My World: Heads & Tails Jobs
Age: 4+ Kyd Score: 8/10
Developed in conjunction with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer and includes additional hints and tips for extending play with several Educational Values such as Vocabulary, Phonics, Creativity/Imagination, Logic this is a great game to get your kids thinking about who does what and learning all at the same time. Kyd loved this game and he he actually didn't know most of them which shocked me... We will be playing this again that's for sure!
Price: Unknown Where To Buy: John Lewis or for more Click Here

Happy Hopperz
Age: 12mth+ Kyd Score: 10/10
Happy Hopperz are ace! they are like space hoppers but with a difference. They come in all shapes and sizes, colours and animals. They help with Balance, hand eye co-ordination, confidence, imagination and you can play together using it. It can strengthen Core Muscles and co-ordination skills whilst they love the fun colours and animals. We love these although Kyd is slightly too big for these now I believe that they would have been in our Toy Room in an instant if he was a smaller version of him! You'll love them!
Price: From £20 Where to Buy: Click here

Crayola Colour Mix
Age: Pre School+ Kyd Score: 7/10
The new Crayola Mix-a-Roo game from University Games teaches children about mixing primary, secondary and tinted colours – without any mess! Players turn over cards to find out which secondary or tinted colour they need to create. They then dial the correct combination of colours into the cleverly constructed Colour Mix-a-Roo wheel and open the revealer door to see what colour they have created.  Magic!
Price: £9.99 Where to Buy: Click Here

The Gruffalo Magnetic Adventures 
Age: 4+ Kyd Score: 9/10
All the fun of The Gruffalo in a Magnetic play set. Featuring all the characters from the much-loved story of The Gruffalo Stimulates creativity and imagination. No adult supervision needed & as there is no reading required it is perfect for SEN children. A perfect stocking filler! We love it!
Price: £7.89 Where to Buy: Click here

Plasticine Activity Bucket from Flair
Age: 4+ (supervision needed) - Kyd Score: 10/10
Plasticine is the classic modeling compound that never dries out - it can be used again and again and again.... PERFECT! This creates creative and imaginative play as well as colour matching and hand eye coordination. It contains 13 bumper sticks of Plasticine plus 4 fun moulds/cutters. Kyd loves Plasticine he gave this the biggest thumbs up... I had to buy him some because he couldn't open this one!... Torture!
Price: £9.99 Where To Buy: Click here

Pokemon Twister Ball
Age: 7+ Kyd Score: 7/10
Pokemon Twister Ball from Banndai, was a little fiddley but great for Pokemon lovers. Launch into action with Pokémon twister figures! Pull the cord to release the spinning Pokémon from within!. He likes these ecause his friends have them but he gets distracted easily...
Price: £9.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

Zhu Zhu Pets Hamsters and Hamster Fun House Deluxe Playset, 
Age: 7+ - Kyd Score: 8/10
Interactive realistic toy Hamsters. Artificially intelligent hamsters that talk and move around their habitat. These high quality plush pets look great and loved to be hugged. Lots of Playsets to collect so you can create your own world... All the fun of a pet hamster without the mess or the smell! I love these, Kyd thinks they're ace as his friends have them... he said the packaging is a bit girly though!
Price: from £9.99 - Where To Buy: All good toy shops or Click Here

Fuzzoodles Fluffy Friends
Age: 7+- Kyd Score: 8/10
Fuzzoodles are fun furry noodles that you can twist to create fun characters. You can make oodles and oodles of combinations as you twist, bend and build your fuzzoodle into different shapes. Bring them to life with interchangeable toy pieces ie googly eyes etc. The best thing is they can be reshaped over and over and over! Kyd loved the look of these as he loves to make things... I liked them more though :smileyface: There are loads of different types of packs of Fuzzoodles but this one is very funky!
Price: £14.99 Where To Buy: Click Here
Mookie Mini Street Cruz 2 
Age: 5+ Kyd Score: 9/10
Kids will love this super stylish scooter! Features a stylish and elegant design with a unique pivot system for fun and easy steering from left to right. Also features robust, durable PVC wheels. Kyd loves scooters but couldn't quite balance enough for a long time. This scooter has 2 wheels at the front so Balance is helped by this making it easier for SEN children.Price: from £39.99 Where to Buy: Click Here

HM Armed Forces, Construction set,
Age: 7+ Kyd Score:7/10
A quite simple army toy, appealing to Kyd as his Uncle is in the RAF so military is a big thing to him at the moment.  It doesn't have many small parts so it is perfect for less able fingers but it is quite a simple toy and I can see him getting bored quite quickly as his imagination isn't too great.
Price: £9.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

BIG Power Hand
Age: 8+ Kyd Score: 10/10
OMG this was so fantastic he was pleading with me for one for Christmas!! The Big Power Hand, is an oversized, real working hand! at more than double the size of a normal hand boys will love showing this off to their friends by flexing their fingers and actually picking things up! It is controlled by the childs fingers from a glove attached... It is pretty impressive to be honest1 I want a go... This is firmly on the Christmas MUST HAVE list! It's Cool and Simple WINNER!
Price: £29.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

Geomag 44 Piece Set and Geomag 20 Piece Sports Car
Age: 8-9+ - Kyd Score: 7/10
Geomag from Flair, is a magnetic construction system with magnetic rods, panals and chrome spheres. They even do Glow in the dark pieces which amused Kyd when I told him. The Car set would be a little too difficult for Kyd to do by himself but I think it would be a perfect bonding building session with The Hoff. I actually think he would only just be able to play with this around his age now. It's a bit fiddley but very good for his hand eye and creativity.
Price: from £9.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

Wild Science- Hyperlauncher Rocket Ball Kit
Age: 11+ Kyd Score: 5/10 (it was 9/10 until I told him he wasn't old enough)
This Kit makes Science Fun... You can make Super Bouncy Balls and launch them into space with the Hyperlauncher kit. It teaches about the science behind acceleration... Kyd loved the look of this but he was too young for the normal age range 10+ so he was defo too young for the SEN age. Shame really I wanted to play!..perfect for older kids but supervision may be advised!
Price: £12.99 Where To Buy: Click Here

Age: All Ages Kyd Score: 10/10
Explore the calendar with this simple and timeless design. Circa is a wooden educational toy calendar that encourages parent-child interaction and is designed to help children understand the cycles of the calendar. "When can I go swimming again? When is Tuesday? Am I going to school today?... We get these questions A LOT so this calender was a god send! WE LOVE IT! (It has solved my Kyd vs Calender Issues so I give it 10/10 too)
Price: tbc Where to Buy: Click Here for More Info

So this is what Kyd found cool this Christmas... I hope you found it helpful. There were others but I had to stop him mid flow due to over crowding! Lol... All the toys above have been donated to the West Berkshire Down Syndrome Group. Kyd was so gracious about giving them away after them spending a few weeks in the house. I was quite shocked by this, but he was excited about giving them to his friends that he was happy for them to go!... It made my heart break to see him doing this, he knows they will appreciate them so much more. I hope they have fun with them.

So after the toys had been sent to the charity, I asked Kyd to do his Christmas list via the Argos Catalogue... which is the way I used to do it... and here is what he came up with... with a few added extras that appeared on adverts during the search...
Kyd's Ultimate Wish List this Christmas which he thinks are cool and so is desperate for.... (taken from his Santa list)

Vtech InnoTab
Mountain Bike
Super Mario Brothers Wii
ipad 2
Foo Fighter Tickets
Wrestling Tickets
Disneyland Paris Trip
& Dinner with Hannah Montana.... but only if they have Burger and Chips.... (they don't have a link for this funnily enough)

He doesn't want much does he.... :rollseyes:... I better get a Lottery ticket!

Happy Christmas Shopping Period Folks!!... 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Umbrella Etiquette

So It is currently peeing it down here in Reading and no doubt all across the country... This is Blighty after all!

There is nothing worse for a parent than waking up to the sound of torrential rain, knowing you've not only got to battle the kids today... but a wet school run too!

The kids are up, dressed, watered, fed, cleaned and then stood at the door ready for school looking all angelic... In our case thrown at the door looking like he wants to kill me for waking him up!...

Then BAM!!... Mother Nature throws a bucket of water over you, as if you're some stalker cheating ex in a Rom Com... and your lovely looking, clean and tidy children look like small drowned rats and you... their rat queen!

Now Brollies were a marvellous invention, one of which we use regularly... when I say WE, I mean me... as Kyd thinks holding a Brolly will make him disintegrate with just one touch! I try so hard to get him to have his own brolly but he is not having any of it! I don't know whether it's just uncool or he is just blind lazy, but he would rather get wet and suffer the consequences, which for him are far worse than most. I end up being his Celebrity chaperone trying to keep up with his every step, run, hop, jump or waddle trying to keep him dry! This can grate on me first thing in the morning as I am in no way a morning person and neither is he!

Not only do we have to battle trying to keep the precious darlings dry we have to work out what the hell the Etiquette is for clashing Brollies on paths...

Do you lift yours to avoid brolly eye contact with passers by?
Do they lift theirs and you duck?
Do you both lift it?
Is it people on the roadside lift and path side duck?
Do you both just leave it where it is and barge past?... resulting in tutting!

But that is not all you have the 'Non Brolly pedestrians' to deal with too!

Do they duck and dodge you?
Do you lift and risk getting wet?
Or think 'F them if they can't be assed to use a brolly I'm not going to get wet lifting my brolly to accomidate them, it's their own problem...'?

Oh I don't bloody know! I wish someone would come up with a law or rule that everyone should use whilst walking on a path with Brollies!

It's bloody hard work on the school run round here, most people have drowned rat kids by the time they get to school, the Brolly brigade generally have no manners, leaving me having to try and keep up with Kyd and avoid their eyes, brollies, faces and dodge their already drenched running children & dogs!!

I know I am not on my own in this distress, generally because a few of the other Brolly mums were found to be tutting as they were pushed past on the street by others this morning, dodging the eye gouging and drenching! So this random rant is quite valid...


For some reason I woke up with November Rain by Guns n Roses in my head & now I have Rianna Umberella ella ella ay ay ay ay ay ay in my head.... I much preferred Guns n Roses!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Special: #3 - Oreo Spooky Spiders!

So Halloween Special #3 was the only one done on Halloween itself... We were sent a Spooky Spider Pack by Oreo including their new Halloween Snack Packs and we were very good and didn't eat it when we got the package... it was very tempting!... and we are very proud of ourselves!

So today is Halloween, we spent a short while after school deciding what to be for trick or treating, he came up with.... :drum roooooollllllllllll please:.... a Zombie Jedward.... the child gets weirder as he grows.... Anyway after the face paint and the make shift Jedward outfit We set upon our next challenge, making the...

Spooky Mini Oreo Spiders

1x 25g pack Halloween Mini Oreos (approx 7 in each bag)
7 Black liquorice bootlaces (each cut into 4 equal sized pieces)
1 tube of pre-prepared White Chocolate flavoured icing (2 dots per spider)

Using kitchen scissors, cut the liquorice bootlace into 8 legs
Insert the liquorice into either side of each mini Oreo, 
Using the ready prepared decorating icing, pipe 2 small dots for eyes on each Mini Oreo!

That is it.... So quick and easy and so effective!... We gave them out at the door to the trick or treaters and then to the neighbours when we went trick or treating ourselves.... They were all very impressed that we'd reversed the trick or treat and taken them treats... What can I say... We like to be different! For more Ideas and recipes using Oreos check out their website here....

Soooooo TA DA here we have our lovely little spiders!... and the not so lovely looking Kyd!

These Special Halloween packs are available nationwide NOW with an RRP of £1.59 for a 6 x 25g snack pack. The Mini Oreo Halloween Snack Packs will also include a coupon offering 40p off a future purchase of Mini Oreo 150g snack packs (valid until 31/03/12)

Get making new recipes using yummy Oreo's and share them below... so I can steal them & make them myself! :cheekyface:

I was not paid by Oreo for writing this post but I did receive their product to use and keep in return for my honest review of the product. All the content from this post is written in my own words (apart from the quote from their website) Click here for more information on my disclosure policy.

Halloween Special: #2 - A trip to London Dungeons

Soooo #2 of the Halloween Special brings us to the spooky London Dungeon... We were lucky enough to be given Pre Booked Tickets to the Dungeon by Superbreak. is the internet division of Superbreak Mini Holidays Limited, the market leader in the provision of UK and European short breaks. Superbreak has been established for over 25 years.
From day one, Superbreak has specialised in providing short breaks within the UK and we have subsequently become the clear market leader. Today over 1.5 million customers enjoy their short breaks which include theatre breaks, theme park and attraction breaks and luxury breaks too, whether it's to visit London with the family or a romantic night in one of the London Hotels. They have also expanded to offer customers a wide choice of city and beach breaks overseas, airport hotels and extras, which are proving increasingly popular. With over 5,000 hotels, ranging from 2 star to 5 star, customers are certain to find the ideal hotel for their short break, whether you're booking months or hours in advance.

Another thing customers can be certain of finding with Superbreak is the highest possible levels of service. It is a commitment that sets them apart from many other operators, a fact acknowledged by the UK travel trade who have awarded them "Best Operator" every year for the past twenty years! Indeed they are now the preferred UK short break supplier for the top eight UK retail travel agency groups.

With their efforts focussed firmly on delivering ever higher levels of customer satisfaction, guaranteed quality and value for money, they are confident of providing short break holidays to an ever wider customer base.

I was very pleased to have Pre Booked tickets as the queue was phenomenal! Definitely worth doing for future reference. We weren't allowed to take pictures when in there, but we did have some pro pics done during it... they were so good they've been an instant hit on my Facebook, provoking so much laughter that people are sharing them left, right and centre. (I also sneaked a few of my #W?W's in so if you found them let me know). It was so much fun and the pics above and below show that. Kyd loved being scared, he is such a boy when it comes to these things and it has now been put down in the 'Kyd book of likes', as The Best Thing To Do On Halloween!! I however would not recommend it for children who are scared easily or that do not like the dark! There are a lot of parts that are in pitch black and it is quite scary most of the way through... Hoff was petrified... but he's a massive wimp!... The ride at the end isn't suitable for people under 1.2m and there would've been tears if Kyd had been a few inches smaller... luckily he was just over the height and as you can see below it was a 'thrill' ALOL.

This must be the best picture of Kyd EVER! It is still making me giggle now! FYI he was wetting himself laughing straight after this was taken so please don't report me for child cruelty! HE LOVED IT!

All In All we loved our Halloween weekend and we will be taking a look at Superbreaks holiday for our next trip out and about... or maybe I can persuade the Hoff to whisk me away on a romantic weekend somewhere for Christmas... :winkwinknudgenudge:

I was not paid by Superbreaks for writing this post but I did receive their product to use and keep in return for my honest review of the product. All the content from this post is written in my own words (apart from the quote from their website) Click here for more information on my disclosure policy.

Halloween Special: #1 - Wicked Day

 What a WICKED day... No pun intended...

We had the pleasure of a little trip to London this weekend for a Halloween Double whammy, Wicked Day & The London Dungeons. Both separate events but both added to the best Halloween we have ever had!

Here is Halloween #1.... What we got up to at Wicked Day...

We recently got the chance to go and see Wicked the Musical in preparation for the Wicked Day event... It was amazing! It definitely is a must see... (click the link for our Review).

We arrived at the London Film Museum on the South Bank and we were confronted by a HUGE queue of people most in fancy dress... and quite a few of them green! It was lovely to see but Kyd DOES NOT DO QUEUES very well at all! But the lovely staff allowed us to queue jump past all the stage school beauty's and Wicked Families. So thank you to the Museum Staff for that! Life savers!

We were greeted by a goody bag and the lovely people from the Woodland Trust. Kyd loves a bit of craft so when he saw the glue and feathers he got stuck in to the Woodland Trust crafts table. Wicked Day is a free event in aid of charities, The Woodland Trust being one of them. They were collecting throughout the event for the planting of new trees at the Heartwood Forest. There are several events which you can get involved in click here for more info. They also have a Nature Detectives Club if your kids are out doorsy types check this out they will love it! (perfect Christmas pressie).

We then had our face's painted... Because we are big kids Myself and My cousin Nana had our's done too! We haven't had a day out together in ages and when we were younger this was the sort of thing we loved to do so I invited her along for the ride... We looked awesome! I was Glynda- Fyed she was a pretty Elphaba butterfly... Kyd was the TIN MAN... he's an odd kid lol... Hoff was being boring and wouldn't have it done! We did look fab don't you think??

During the queue for the face painting we were entertained by a lovely Young Magician. James Wilson, an international magician who is part of the Young Magicians Club (UK Magic Circle) & Society of Young Magicians (US). He was fantastic! He had us all baffled with his card tricks and he even made a sitting balloon dog for Kyd! He was fascinated at the whole thing... Magic may have a new fan! He was very good for someone so young, and that impressed me the most, no wonder he was Runner Up in this years Young Magician of the Year! Hoff thinks this was the best part of the event... You cheered up a grumpy old man James thank you!!

We had our photos taken in the main hall and we were lucky enough to catch a few of the live performances from the cast who had given up their only day off to come and meet their fans! They were very good I must admit.

The singing and the dancing continued throughout the afternoon and not just from the Cast... the crowd of what I can only imagine were 'Stage school students' were going mental! They new every word to every song it was bonkers... but quite nice to see. They also had a Wicked themed Karaoke in which I saw children younger than Kyd getting up in front of  the crowd and singing their little hearts out! They were fantastic and very brave! Witches hats off to them all!

There was a queue longer than the girls toilets at a gig, for the Autograph signing and this gave me a heart failure! Kyd was so excited about getting to meet them but there was no way he could stand in that. So I spoke to a member of staff and this is where the magic really happened....The staff working at the event let Kyd go behind the signing table and get all the signatures and have a chat with the stars of the stage! They were so good to him it made me tear up... Other places we'd have had to leave and he'd have missed out. I would like to thank those who made him feel so lucky to have had the VIP treatment and for the cast for each saying his name and making him feel so special!

He got a little tired after being there for 2 1/2 hours and he was desperate for some grub so we had to leave a little early. The event was on 12-4 so we didn't do too badly! There was just so much to see.

We missed the Monkey workshop though Damn it!! I love those bloody monkeys! even if they do scare me a little! :sadface: But we did have a brilliant time!

The whole Wicked experience excited Kyd as he is a very music and dance sort of boy, but most boys would probably get a little bored (Hoff did) as it is all very girly or Stage school like. If you have a very Boyey Boy... then this event was defo not for them! There was a basket ball hoop and some games... but that took up all of 2 mins of the afternoon... Defo a Mummy Daughter bonding day!

All in All it was a fantastic Day and I am really grateful to all who were involved and made it so magical... We will defo be there next year! 
See You there...