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...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sue Ryder Woman of Achievement Awards 2011: An Emotional Evening For so Many

I was so overwhelmed to be nominated by Me, My Son & The Rocky Road for a Woman of Achievement Award earlier this year. I had no idea she had done it until I got a phone call a few weeks before. She's a sneaky friend but one that I think will be around for a long time! More about the nomination on This Post from Last Month

The Run Up To The Awards:
So after panicking about what to wear, as let's face it, we don't regularly go to black tie doo's... can you tell? so we'd worried for a good few weeks, when a friend of ours made a suggestion... She would dress Myself and Rocky Road with her stock from her vintage store in Wallingford (near Reading)... Paula from the GlitterBox in the Lamb Arcade, Wallingford, has an amazing range of Vintage and Vintage style items in her shop. She is such a lovely lady and treats every customer as though they are a friend. She creates a fantastic atmosphere in her shop that you will want to bottle up and take home. Her unique style and passion for Vintage makes every visit to the shop unique, making you want to go back again and again to see what she's found and what gems she has in this time! If you are ever in the area or live nearby go and have a gander at the treasure trove and say hello from me!... ANYWAY she decided to dress us and she did such a fantastic job considering I am 6ft and needed a floor length gown and Rocky Road has huge knockers & tiny waist! lol But she did an amazing job and we walked away satisfied with dresses, accessories and huge smiles! She even decided to come along on the night to make sure we did her proud. I seemed to have an amazing entourage wanting to join me on the night... My Dad, My Step Mum, My Sister, My Cousin (known to you all from other posts as RED), Jim from Tranzzzformations (my hynotherapist), Paula (from Glitterbox), Rocky Road, Mummy Rocky Road, Grandad Rocky Road and Grandad Rocky Roads girlfriend... Oh and The Hoff of course. The ladies organising the tables had to squeeze us all onto one table as they'd all said they wanted to be with me... Oh what it is to be popular! lol So we were all set, Bow ties at the Ready and Dresses hung up waiting to be put on... I've even had my roots done at RubyReds leaving me feeling happy and content that I was fully ready, this is new for me like I've said in my Bad Hair Day? post this week... Bring on the awards!

Let me add, even at this point I am still not feeling worthy of even the nomination let alone being in the final 3 and attending the awards. I know some amazing people including Rocky Road herself who has struggled through life just as much as me... read her blog it's new but it's amazing!... I know mums and women who have been through hell and come out the other side and are now doing more and more for everyone else and not getting the praise they deserve! There are so many amazing people that I have the privilege to know or know of, that deserve this award nomination so much more than me! I just don't feel worthy.

The Awards Ceremony:
We decided to treat this like a prom... as I'd never had one, so Red and Rocky came to mine early for a bit of a girly hair and make up session. After a fight with my hair and face all evening I some how managed to sort out my make up and hair in time to be picked up by my Dad, Step Mum & Sister.

So we were off... Nerves in tow.

We were greeted at the Hilton Hotel, I got a special Rose to demonstrate that I was a Nominee, I felt all special!! Then we met everyone else inside and we were greeted with a glass or two of wine. We had a few pics taken by Charlotte Snowden the professional photographer for the night. When everyone else was ushered in to the dining area the Nominees had to stay behind and be paraded in... I wasn't expecting that, so I started to panic a bit. I had a good chat with some of the amazing women that were nominees in different categories all looking absolutely fabulous. Feeling ever so humbled by their presence I spotted a familiar face in which I thought I knew also with a rose on... I am notoriously bad at names and faces so decided to wait for her to approach me... as this is my usual tell tale sign I do know them. After a few more pics, we were paraded in to some music, with clapping and cheering we all made our way to our tables, which were full of our excited proud loved ones... well mine was anyway. And do you know what?... It turns out I did know that girl! We had done a few fitness classes together with Mad Lizzie from GMTV and that was why she was there... She now worked for Lizzie helping teenagers on the brink of criminal lives! I knew a bit about her background from our chats before and from that minute I was hoping that she would win. 'If I win against her', I thought, 'I would feel like an even bigger fraud than I do already'. This girl has amazing passion and has been through the mill over and over and has come out the other side with a huge smile and a successful career! She is a true inspiration and I think knowing her made me feel even more humbled to be in the same category as someone who has come so far after so much.

The rest of a night was amazing with an amazing meal, a few games and some amazing stories about each of the nominee's and we learnt a lot more about the Sue Ryder organisation... My face was even flashed up on the screen over and over during the night... that was freaky! We were the second to last award to be announced... which didn't help my nerves. My table of fans were getting more and more excited... dancing away, RED & SISTER in particular. When they read out our nominee reasons I was yet again humbled to even be involved as the other Women were so worthy, and there were a lot of tears from all of us.

Sadly I didn't win... When I say sadly I wasn't sad, as Krystal (the girl I knew) had won. I really do feel the best person won on the night and I'm not just saying that. I really wasn't expecting to win and I was just lucky to be there with my family and friends and to have made them so proud to have just been there with me. Next year I will be nominating others rather than being the nominee... just so I can get dressed up again! :smileyface: ... And let's face it not everybody can say they are a Sue Ryder Young Women of Achievement Nominee... now can they!

Do you know what my favourite part of my night was though... Not the awards or the praise from others, but seeing my Dad so proud of me. I haven't really given him much to be proud of in my life and his face that night made me feel like I had suddenly taken all that and thrown it in the bin and lit a match. He told me he was proud of me! I wanted to cry... But I know that makes him feel awkward... and my make up would run so I stopped myself and held the tears in.... I'm lieing I went to the toilet and had a few tears but I was just happy to have made him happy... Finally. My Dad is a stubborn little... well he's a Baillie, I'll leave it at that... but he has his ways... and his way is to keep feelings stum and that leopards have to work hard to change their spots.... He's a hard nut to crack and to see him crack at the awards was breath taking. He just kept telling me how much I've changed and how amazed he was. Little did he know I changed a good 9 years ago... well 6 or 7... ok maybe just a few years ago but I always thought he'd never stop seeing me as the wayward 15 year old... This was the day that changed that I think... this was the day that I became the me in his eyes that everyone else has been seeing. EUREKA MOMENT!!

I think this whole experience has been a little bit grounding. Hearing about all the charity work that other women do made me more determined to up my game and do more. I am determined to help more charities get their word out there and I will need your help, not your money, but your time, effort and care... Watch this space Bloggers.

All Photo's used on this post were taken by Photographer Charlotte Snowden and are available to purchase along with others taken on the night from Charlotte's website Click Here to see the other images from this fantastic event. Charlotte is a Henley based Photographer and has a fantastic portfolio of photo's, go and take a look on her website or like her on her Facebook page.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Our trip to the West End to see Wicked!!


Recently we were asked if we wanted to attend Wicked in London... My initial reaction was that of a 6 year old being told their going to McDonalds... I was overly thankful and excited that I emailed back with lots of kisses (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)... how professional lol... Anyway Myself, The Hoff, Kyd and my non official adopted Sister Socket (age14) battled the rush hour on the tube to attend the show.... not really a huge issue as we were all so excited and Kyd LOVED IT!!... Strange child!  For those who don't know here's the story of Wicked The Musical

When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch, we only ever heard one side of the story. Gregory Maguire's acclaimed 1995 novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, re-imagined the land of Oz, creating a parallel universe to the familiar story written by L. Frank Baum and first published as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900.

WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl, Elphaba.

Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda's unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba's determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

The spectacular, multi award-winning stage musical, with music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, has become the most spellbinding and successful new musical in years.

OMG it was the best musical I have ever seen!... and I've seen quite a few. When people said to me that I'd love it and that it was 'the best they'd seen' I was sceptical as I hate hype... They were right though! It was fantastic. We had the most amazing seats right in front of the stage a few rows in! The main parts, Glinda & Elphaba, were played by the understudies, Chloe Taylor (Glinda) & Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba) but you would never have guessed that they were the understudy, as they blew the audience away with their performance and earned themselves a standing ovation. I had a little tear in my eye at the end and to me that was the most amazing feeling.. I LOVE MUSICALS!!! Kyd was stood on the back of the chair in front Whooping and clapping his little heart out at the end... HE LOVES MUSICALS TOO!! The Hoff and Socket were also as impressed as us and although they both had school and work the next morning they both were wide awake and loving it. Socket said she had never thought of the story behind the story of The Wizard of Oz before and she never thought she'd like the Wicked witch! Hoff, who isn't ashamed to say he likes a musical, said he would recommend this one to his 'Blokey' mates to take their wives and girlfriends to, as it's a sure fire winners way to fixing a 'I forgot our anniversary' problem lol... must admit I'd forgive him!

All in all it was an amazing night out and we all had an amazing time. I would recommend this for kids older than 6 or 7 or very brave younger kids, as the Flying monkeys are a bit freaky and there are some scary bits! Brilliant birthday pressie for someone special I think... Red went for her birthday and has now seen it again since!

Also Wicked have a 'Wicked Day' every year in which they raise money for the Woodland Trust! If you live in and around London check it out and get involved... It is going to be so much fun and we will be there too!
Throughout the day families can expect activities for people of all ages including: Monkey Workshops, a Storytelling Classroom in association with the production's WICKED Young Writers' Award, SHIZ Karaoke, Face Painting and Galinda-fying Parlours, interactive SHIZ Playground area, plus roaming magicians, cast performances and more! I'll be updating you all on our fun at Wicked Day after the event!

Here's the Link:

Go Book Your Tickets NOW!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dear So & So... The 'Mong' Edition

So, I am bloody sick of people asking my opinion on the debate of Mr Ricky Gervais vs The Word Mong so here are my thoughts to, Ricky himself, All you offended by him and to the parents and family of Down Syndrome children.

This might be a shock of a 'parents perspective' for you to read but I assure you it is worth a look... or so Hoff said anyway...

**Disclosure** If I offend anyone or you are shocked by my opinion... I don't really care any more I just wish people would bloody let it lie. But seriously I do not wish to offend people on purpose but these are my opinions and all I write on here are the opinions made by me, of me and only me. If you want to whine afterwards please do so somewhere else as after this I wish to be left to my hangover in peace.

Dear Ricky,
From one Whitleyite to another (this will amuse my friends in Reading!), I have to tell you I am quite proud of you for sticking to your guns and not backing down, but unlike Mr Boyle, apologising for any offence made... well apologising in your own little way. I personally don't think you've done anything to apoligise for as, yet again, the hype has been over exposed and this was caused by people who just like to moan and be offended by anyone and anything they can because they are boring Cu.... you get my point!

this is he...
I have a 9yr old son with Down Syndrome and I use the word MONG all the time. Never towards my son and never with any offence intended to anyone, but in a general everyday sentence it does sneak in on occasions, just like Spacca or Loser or Fatty or C**t! (as demonstrated above) I was raised in Yorkshire and up there, they say words and don't really understand the meaning behind them... This isn't because they are Thick or Ignorant, It is because they are relaxed and happy and content with themselves and their judgement. They also make up words that they don't even know the meaning of, so how anyone else is supposed to understand is beyond me! In Yorkshire and other places scattered around the UK... half the terms they use for things are out dated and can be classed as racist or politically incorrect in any other part of the country, Again this is not due to ignorance but due to their relaxed nature, they are basically behind with the rest of the countries Up Tight Word Association Game!... And I love that about being up there! (this isn't the whole of Yorkshire I know that! so please don't be offended) Due to being up there for so long I am also very behind on what is and isn't acceptable, but now I'm down here I am learning a different way of life BUT I am getting bloody sick of people telling me what I can and can't say! I mong out on the sofa all the time!... so bloody what!

Surely if anyone had the right to be offended by the word Mong it would be me, right? WRONG because i'm not an idiot! It was used as a meaningless word and if used as a term towards my child or any other Downs person in a horrible way, I would have personally cut your balls off but... sorry person with Downs not a Downs person... this is also politically incorrect you see, I am, even as a parent to a Downs child, always corrected on the way I say that, as obviously it may offend... ME, if I say it the other way round... I'm hardly likely to offend myself really am I? but apparently I can. Not being funny but does that really matter in this day and age... NO! People with Down Syndrome are so integrated into society now that people don't even notice them.. in a good way though. I have only ever come across one situation in the past 9 years where I have been slightly offended by something said... and that was for all of 2 seconds and then common sense kicked in and I realised there was no issue and if I made it one then it would be publicly making people feel self concious about what to say to me, or about words they can and can't use!... Here was my situation...

A lovely drunken Irish lady, at a doo at the Irish club, Reading, decided to come and chat to me in the toilets about my son, all was lovely until she said in her heavy Irish accent... 'Mongrels are all so loving aren't they...' you see that to me was a term that nobody had even thought about my boy, let alone said out loud... but amongst the shock, I took in the rest of the sentence and realised, in her odd little way, she was trying to be nice. I took a deep breath and nodded walking away thinking 'did that just happen' then sat down to talk to my friend who's doo it was and who's family member it was and explained... in horror he said 'No No No No No she wasn't being horrible, she is from a remote part of Ireland that is stuck in the 50's when it comes to PC terms' I fully accepted that, as I said before that is most of Yorkshire! I wasn't offended, I was shocked obviously, but not offended, because I'm not an argumentative, thick, idiot! What use would it be if I'd have taken offence and kicked off? It wouldn't have been for any other reason than to be an idiot and that is the exact problem that the people that are hounding you have created! A new conflict for our kid's to take on board!

Most of the people offended have no tie with Down Syndrome people themselves either, what is that about? Most parents have taken offence to the negative publicity towards it rather than the actual word itself! Again it is just the people playing this ridiculous Up Tight Word Association Game! Half the people offended by you would never have seen your twitter anyway, so how would they know if the papers and news hadn't got others wound up by it. 

IT'S A BLOODY WORD! It hasn't got a knife attached to it and it isn't even used as anything to do with Down Syndrome any more! Not a single 'youth' knew what Mong actually meant until those idiots who published their 'outrage' started piping up! We now have another problem on our hands as parents... If the nasty side of these youths decide to take in this small bit of knowledge, Our kids will now have to fight the same prejudice that they were trying to defend... WHAT A BUNCH OF TWATS! Sometimes it is better to leave the past in the past and let the generation that invent new meanings to these particular words that's meanings get lost in time, to create their own interpretations... they don't need educating on the terms that nobody uses... they need educating on being polite to people and pulling their jeans up above their pants! 

Sorry I'm ranting now.... Anyway Ricky, I just wanted to say that as a parent, living in your home town, with a Downs child, I want to let you know that you have my full backing!

I'm off to Mong out now mate I am well and truly hung over!... All the best!

Dear All Those Offended By The Word Mong...
  1. Take a pen and paper...
  2. Got it?...
  3. Now write down this at the top... Why am I offended? This is about why it offends YOU nobody else...
  4. Now underneath write down all the reasons why you are offended by Ricky using the word 'Mong'...
  5. BUT... there's a catch... you can only write about the offence caused by using it in the term used with NO association with Down Syndrome...As Ricky did...
  6. OR with no meaning behind the use of the word in general...
  7. Done it??...
  8. Now what have you got written down?

I'm guessing not much! Because there isn't really much to be offended by really is there? 
Does it really effect YOU? As a person? To hear someone use a word that has been disassociated with the meaning, that may have caused offence at some point, since the 50's 60's?? 
Does it bother you to hear it used in a way that doesn't bother most people with Down Syndrome now a days, because not many of them know that it used to be aimed at them? Because it was, until now, just that IN THE PAST, it being past tense we didn't find it necessary to inform them of the past hatred and disgusting behaviour against them in a past life... you know, so not to scare or worry them!... We now have to explain to them all about it, because they are reading and hearing about it everywhere over offence taken on their behalf. Most people with Downs will be OK with it and understand because they're more intelligent than most of you... Others, with more serious problems, will struggle to get it and in turn it could cause a number of troubles for them... all because you thought you were offended on their behalf... making them still more intelligent than you!

Have you thought that now we have a new problem, now that you people have advertised to a whole new generation, the words true meaning, that this will back fire and cause a second round of grief and ignorance by this generations youth or even adults? Have you thought about this out come? Because lets face it, In a country that still sees racist hate crime, bullying, gang fights and constant discrimination, amongst other problems, we aren't able to rule out that you've just handed new ammo to the people we are trying to educate 'include in society' too.  Well done you!! clap clap... :sarcastictone:

Let me put it this way.... We as parents, family and friends of people with Downs do not need you to be offended for us, People with Downs are clever enough to be offended for themselves and we do not need your involvement... We are not a project for you to work on or for you to make your self feel like you are 'doing something to help' We can pick, choose and even fight our own battles and that is when we feel like doing it not when others see fit!

Thanks for your concern but can you now f**k off and let us clear up the mess you've made...

Thanks and see ya!

** Now here is where I can stop shouting and lower my tone a little**

 Dear Parents and Family Members of people with Downs,
I can understand why some would take offence at the word Mong. We, after all, are the only ones that this word truly effects. We have been blessed with these amazing little or big bundles of joy for a very good reason... because we can cope with the stresses and the strains that come with them... yeah OK on the outside it might be tough but deep down we know we would do anything to protect them from the horrors that lie outside of our cuddles and our family homes. But they will only fall at the first hurdle if you hide them away and let them live in a bubble, if we are scared they will be petrified. There is always going to be mean spirited, cold hearted, ignorant idiots who purposely go out and offend our children, we can not change this. What we can change is the way that others see them and the way we treat them and the life lessons WE teach them is crucial.

I was offended last week when I heard the news about the conflict between what's right and wrong to say... but not by Ricky or the actual word itself, by the ignorance shown in the way they've handled it in the media. Ricky is right, words change meaning all the time, gay meaning happy and gay meaning sexuality for example even the N word has come back in to fashion amongst the black culture but is only used amongst the black culture, which is widely accepted and understood by all. So why are we offended by a word which was disassociated with our children decades ago? 

Until this ridiculous media outrage, the word Mong was not seen by the past few generations as anything to do with Down Syndrome, it was a term used for relaxing, dozy, idiot... the latter being non of which our children are seen as any more, due to the hard work of several organisations and the integration into society. So many people adults, teens and children have said to me they had no idea that is what it originally meant... I had people apologise for using it... I suppose I'll have to apologise to myself then as, I must confess, I use it in the new form, all the time and so will my son no doubt! These people who have been outraged on our behalf have now just highlighted again the word in it's derogatory term, meaning now if it's used people will be instantly seen as being discriminating against our kids... when really they are doing no such thing! 

We are back tracking after taking 20 steps forward we are now 10 steps back. It's completely pointless. Why be offended? Why waste your time on it? We should have Embraced the change, it was for the better that people now use it as a different meaning... that people were ignorant to it's true meaning... 

We, as parent's and family, are now left to pick up the pieces of this media pretence to be annoyed, by now having to prepare our kids for the damage caused by the uproar, the back handed comments from the newly educated idiots, of all ages, who will use this as their opportunity to make jokes, point, whisper, stare and cause trouble even more than they did before... We need to educate our children to build a barrier against these people and hope that we can build back up the work done by so many, to eliminate ignorant discrimination by using the word Mong or Mongrel... 

What is that old saying... Ignorance is bliss?... please take note of this the worlds media!


So there we go that is that out of the way... If you are shocked... I am sorry but I honestly think we now have bigger issues on our hands than a silly word and what it used to mean... It is now time for me to go to footy so I need to get sorted. I hope you got out of this a different insight to what you first thought... and just remember it's good to be politically correct but seriously don't let it stress you out too much... Get a life! LOL
I promise no more hungover rants for a while now...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My SEN toy Nightmare!!!

Kyd has Down Syndrome.
He is 9.
He likes Sports... a lot but he also likes Ben 10, Hannah Montana, in fact all Disney programmes and films.
He likes computer games and lego, wrestling and swords just like all other 9 year old boys.
He isn't that far behind mentally but he struggles with understanding most regular toys for his age.
He is too old for toys that are suitable for his needs and finds them patronising and dull so doesn't play with them.
The ones he wants to play with he just doesn't understand, so can't!
He hates that he can't play with them and gets annoyed.
This has been his life for 9 years.

When asked 'what does Kyd want for his birthday/Christmas?', I literally draw a blank! But when asked what does he like, I have a list as long as my arm... When he receives a present based on something he likes... 9/10 he can't play with it so it gets opened, he attempts to play with it, until frustration kicks in and then pushed aside until a later date... that or it's not even opened at all. He has every musical instrument in the Early Learning Centre, every pack of flash cards, every wooden special needs toy, cuddly toy and every book going... all the presents that are typical special needs toys... lovely as they are, they just don't stimulate him any more.

He just wants toys that his peers will play with that aren't 'babyish' and make him different. AND I know that there are many other frustrated parents, friends and family members who will be in the same boat!....

Sooooooo I've decided to make it easy for, not only my family but others too. I aim to get a list of toys together by the Christmas shopping period (November) and by going on what Kyd could do and not do at each age, I will list suggestions for pressies! I know that these will not be suitable for all children and that each of our children develop at different stages, so like I said, This is just a list of 'suggestions'... But I promise I will try and cater for everyone. If you have any specific disabilities you want me to try and find toys for, just leave a message below and I will search for some items that suit!... I promise I will try!

(All Items that will be listed on my SEN Christmas Toy post that we receive from the companies named in the post, will be donated to The West Berkshire Down Syndrome Group... Kyd's local Downs Charity, I try and work with them as much as possible and give back what they do for me)

Monday, 3 October 2011

A very last minute 'Make it yourself' birthday party!

Kyd turned 9 this week... but he's been really ill. He was miserable, he missed his friends at school and all the fun stuff they were doing that week, like fancy dress Friday and a sponsored bounce (on a bouncy castle). He had good days and bad and this 'Yo Yo virus', as I've nicknamed it, has effected us all. One day we were bed bound, the next we were fine and that repeated for the whole week! It became very annoying and reluctantly I decided that we were going to have to pass on the party we were going to have this weekend.... Luckily we began to feel a little better and were fine for our day out at the family football festival yesterday and we woke up fine again today... result!

So as we are having this freak Autumnal heatwave we decided to make the most of it and go ahead with his birthday party.... But we would keep it small so not to tire him and be back at square one. Only thing is... we had none of his school friends phone numbers so we stuck to a few friends who I knew were nearby and free.

So what is a 'Make it yourself!' party.... Well it's a lazy and cheap way to entertain the children and feed them all at the same time!!... Here is how we did it.

We cleared a space in our living room ie we moved the sofa.

We brought his toys... the non noisy ones... downstairs.

We moved the dining table outside in the sun.

We went to the shop... we bought Pizza Bases (one each), Tomato purée paste, grated cheese (& LactoFree cheese for the dairy free... ie me!), and a variety of toppings for the pizza.

We also bought... Coloured Ready Roll Icing, icing sugar and sprinkles. You also need ready made fairy cakes/cupcakes although we didn't have to buy ours as Goldfish made our cupcakes the night before.

When home.... prep your ingredients so they have a choice of pizza toppings, put them in bowls... (also prep the ready roll icing into small cubes so that it's easier for them to use... but don't put them out yet)...

Lay out the pizza bases on the table...


After they've created their culinary masterpiece, simply put them in the oven and then send them off to play with the toys that are already downstairs!

...and Ta Da you have the entertainment and the party food!

After they've eaten their pizza get the cupcakes and icing out and let them create their own icing creation. Get them to use their imagination... you do one too to show them the way... and because it's fun!

You can use this as a competition, if you have any spare packets of sweets to win, just simply judge the best creations

Then take some photo's of their masterpiece's

...and Ta Da you have more entertainment and pudding!...

So that's my 'Make It Yourself!' birthday party!.... So simple and easy to do with a various amount of children from large numbers to small and of all ages! AND so cheap! No hall hire, No kids entertainer to pay, no running raged doing all those games and no fussy party food!... Just simply sit back, and relax... although time the eating of the cupcake creations not long before they're due to go home as the coloured icing tends to make them Fly!... just a friendly warning!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Next Generation... is football the answer?

Children need passion, They need focus, They need routine. THEY NEED A HOBBY! 

I believe without a hobby what have our children got for inspiration or to look forward to or even be passionate about. Whether it be Music, Art, Academics or Sport... Or simply collecting rubbers or coins... it brings a new meaning to a child's life to have something to focus on. Now a days hobbies are over looked by many and generally, for parents it's because of the cost of them but if we are honest it is mostly due to the fact it just isn't 'COOL' within the child's peers... there are so many schemes, clubs and groups out there trying to bring them back to being just that... 'COOL'... but do we need the help of this generation of parents get these activities out of the 'uncool' rut they are in by encouraging their children's dreams and ambitions, it may stop the breeding of the next generation of Rioters, which was caused out of pure ignorance and 'boredom' of the teens involved? Or will it just take the same 'sheep' system used in the riots to get these important clubs and organisations back on track?... you know the if 1 or 2 start going others will follow treatment... we won't know unless we try...

I hate the word BORED! In my house this word does not exist! In my mums house this word was treated like a swear word. I have always remembered the words she said about 'that' word...

'Only dull children with no inspiration and imagination get bored'...

I think she might be right you know, But I believe it's learnt via the parents and that they need to encourage activities in children, out side of school, you need to help your own children banish that word from their vocabulary... lets face it, it is bloody annoying listening to 'Mummmmm I'm Boooooorrrreeedddd'... and lets face it how many times can we say 'How are you bored? You own half of Toys 'r' Us'... This to me would ring alarm bells... Is it time for a serious hobby??

One of Kyd's many hobbies, just like thousands of children across the country, is Football. Love it or hate it, It is a good sport for a child to get involved with, girl or boy. So many different reasons for a child to love it and for parent and child bonding it is fantastic... as lets face it 99% of dads (and mums) have a team they support, even if it is Man Utd, the child will learn and make a better choice... I hope... Not only is It casually played in playgrounds across the world, making it easier for the child to make friends with other children with that interest. It encourages team play, making your child learn to share and work with others which is a skill needed for their whole life. It becomes routine and in turn encourages passion and bonding and it also, and most importantly... gives them something to do!!

So is this the answer to many of our children's future problems? it was for Kyd!

We LOVE football but I didn't really bother with it until Kyd showed an interest. I wanted Kyd to have more of a male influence in his life, as at that moment in time he was lacking in male role models. The male part of my family were so far away and his only parent (me) was a female... So we started going to footy with a few of my male friends and we have never turned back. We are in our 5th year of being season ticket holders at Reading FC and Kyd's passion is growing ever stronger. He has more knowledge on the subject than most 30 year olds... even with his lack of speech! He has the confidence of a cocky Xfactor contestant and he now thrives in large groups of strangers. He also now has some amazing role models and most importantly a hobby and a passion, which he can grow with and that can grow with him.... keeping him focused and out of mischief... and the ever so important in any Special Needs child's life ROUTINE! Saturday = Football! Home or Away, watching or listening on the radio... even at the seasons end he has DVD's to take it's place.
It has developed him in to what he is today and he has created life long friends and a life long passion. I believe he wouldn't be as far on in life as he is now without the opportunities that football has given him.

The Football League have started a campaign, that kicked off yesterday, called 'FAMILY FOOTBALL FESTIVAL' Featuring tailored family entertainment before games, after games and also during games. Over 47 npower Football League matches during October, November and December 2011 will be taking part and you can get your family involved. The teams involved are spread around the country and across all three npower Football League divisions, clubs are laying on loads of family fun activities for all ages including face painting, mascot racing, penalty shoot-outs, ‘meet the teams’ and live music most importantly... Every event is unique!

Reading FC had their Family Football Festival event at yesterdays match against Middlesbrough and NetMums sent us along to the event to review the action. This to me was to become a blessing in disguise as Kyd turned 9 this week and due to illness he has had a really hard week of it... So the following, you will agree definitely made up for it. 

We arrived at the stadium early to pick up our special tickets. We had brought Kyd's friend 'Mini Goldfish' along and the Hoff might have tagged along too... he wanted in on the action... so there were 4 of us all together. We were greeted by the young royals rep Sara who showed us up to our seats in the Bar 1871... to any non RFC fan this is the Posh seats that have their own bar and you pay extra for as a treat.... that or you're a rich businessman... either or! Anyway this was such a big event for Kyd as he got to go through the big doors and up the stairs... feeling very important he strutted up the stairs and showed Mini Goldfish the shirts that were lining the hallway. The bar has just been refurbished and it is looking fantasticly posh now so it helped us feel even more important. 
We then went on a lovely tour of behind the scenes!!... this is very exciting for a fan like Kyd... and maybe Hoff too he looked like he was going to faint as we walked into the dressing room to see all the shirts hung up ready and waiting... bless him!... Kyd was ecstatic to learn that not only did he get to see the changing rooms he got to go on the pitch side too! letting out a big excited squeal which amused a lot of the other tour members we proceeded through from the dressing rooms, only to be confronted by the goal keeper Adam Federici! also known to Kyd as 'Guns' (it's my fault he has beautiful muscles... this is the only reason why!) He was as lovely as ever and posed for a pic with the boys... OK I must admit out of all our players he is and has always been my fave and I may have gone all girly and played with my hair a little and gone all rosey... I am such a girl!... the Hoff actually pointed and laughed as we left the room... how embarrassing! After the fantastic tour done by Richard Wickson we went back up to the bar and had a breather before we explored the events about to start around the stadium. 

First we had chips in the sun... it was a must it was such a lovely hot 1st of October... such a strange thing to say! Then we saw Kingsley the lion Kyd's first love, and we got a sneaky pic with the Allstarzz cheerleaders preforming at half time... But after the boys put their tongues back in their mouths, we then made our way to the sauna that was, the Training Dome, where we watched the amazing Dan Magness who is a football free-styler. He gave us a little taster of his skills and then went on to teach the children and parents some of his tricks... watching the Hoff and the boys do the tricks was, quite frankly, the most amusing thing I've seen in ages! Their concentration faces were brilliant!... Mini Goldfish told me earlier today he didn't really like football... after that session we couldn't drag him away!... he is now a convert and he is a natural I was gob smacked at how quickly he picked up those tricks!... Dan and the RFC training team were brilliant and the boys, including Hoff, had so much fun. By this time we had just enough time to get a temporary tattoo done as it was too hot for face paint and make our way to Bar 1871 ready for kick off...

The game wasn't brilliant but we did play better than the past few games, although it was a 0-0 draw so no goals to add to our exciting day, but a point is a point and it is better than losing! It was goal keeper, Adam Federci, who we met earlier that day, that saved the game for us! His dramatic double save kept us with that all important clean sheet... which when talking to him earlier Kyd actually predicted... should have put a bet on it! We got a different prospective being on the quiet family side of the ground rather than the noisy end, it was a bit strange but the seats were comfy!!! We don't get cushioned seats in the East Stand! :sadface: 

All these activities and seeing all the kids in their shirts, also sitting in the family end made me think a lot more about Family Football and how people have a jaded view of taking children to football. Reading FC have won the family football club award for many years running and this certainly shows. Looking around there were families everywhere. In our stand (east stand) we have mainly men but a few hardened children with their parent(s). I know that one fear for parents is the Bad Language which is apparently standard at most football grounds and I fully understand that this won't change any time soon, but like most places you go it is quite a small number of people who use it often and most places have areas in which you will find you can avoid it and still have fun. 

*confession* I am terrible when at football, if I am honest, I swear at the ref myself, I can't help it sometimes I forget myself as I am so far in the game... but we have an agreement, much to the same as many other families around the regular football family goers... 'What's said and done at football stays at football' we have taught Kyd right from wrong and he knows not to repeat the shouting from behind us. He has only ever repeated a word he heard once and he will never do it again, after losing his wii privileges for a week in response. 

What I am getting at by this confession is that each to their own when it comes to language and I fully understand that some parents have stronger views on this, But don't let that put you off going to football... Like I said the family areas have very little disturbance from this as most football clubs support the Enjoy The Match Campaign. It is a fun and happy atmosphere even after a 0-0 draw they were all still smiling and happy. I spoke to a family in the bar today and asked if this was their first football game. It was the first they had brought their children to and I asked how they were finding it... Their response was amazing... 'I can't believe how nice everyone is'... what were they expecting a huge crowd of Danny Dyer film characters lol... this is a common misconception of football fans... it is not the case... We aren't all that bad!! And like this family said to me 'we want our boys to have a passion and to love something other than their computer games'... Isn't that what we all want? 

This event was brilliant fun and would be a great introduction to football for any child, teen or adult a like... So what's stopping you? whether you're a fan of football or not why not give your children and your local team your support at their Family Football Festival event... this is the perfect time to just give it a try... you might have a David Beckham in your midsts... you'll never know unless you give them the opportunity! It might change their lives... just like it did Kyds!

Click Here for a list of games near you...

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