Valentines Day Gift Guide 2021

With Valentines Day just around the corner and the UK still in lockdown I have a selection of products available for sale online that can be sent straight to your front door. No matter what your budget or who you are buying for you are sure to get a few ideas for this guide. All the links are clickable, so if you see something you like, just click through and you can get it direct!
The best things in life often come in small packages and this new trio of beautifully sculpted miniatures is no exception from the Isle of Wights distillery, rrp £16.50. The 100% recyclable pack features a glass miniature of each of Mermaid’s premium spirits - its signature Mermaid Gin, Mermaid Pink Gin and recently launched Mermaid Salt Vodka. 
If you prefer a full-size bottle then the 70cl Mermaid Pink Gin, rrp £40 is the one for you. Aromatic and refreshing, Mermaid Pink Gin infuses the flavour of fresh Isle of Wight strawberries with the smooth yet complex taste of Mermaid Gin, a blend of lemon zest, grains of paradise and fragrant rock samphire. The latter, foraged from the island's cliffs, is known locally as ‘Mermaid’s Kiss’, hence the gin’s name! The bottle makes a beautiful keepsake as it's so intricately designed.
How about some luxury grooming products from Clear Confidence, suitable for both men and women. The products are vegan friendly and they are on a mission to eliminate plastic from their range. Both these products below are completely plastic-free and perfect for eco-conscious buyers. They say using a safety razor and a shaving brush is the uber-luxurious feel - plus reduced skin irritation, razor burns and ingrown hairs! Once you switch, you'll never look back! The big razor companies push their multi-blade cartridges as supposedly better performing, but nothing beats a single blade for reducing skin irritation caused by shaving. Plus, plastic razor cartridges are not recyclable! Grab the plastic-free bamboo safety razor for just £14.97 and the same for the matching shaving brush with ash wooden handle.
The history of Four Roses Bourbon, £34.95 for 70cl, is a love story from the very heart of Kentucky, the picturesque and historic town of Lawrenceburg - making it the perfect spirit for Valentine’s. It began when Paul Jones Jr., the brand’s founder, became smitten by the beauty of a Southern belle. He sent a proposal to her, and she replied that if her answer were “Yes”, she would wear a corsage of four roses on her gown to an upcoming ball - which she duly did. And today, roses feature heavily on Four Roses’ Small Batch bourbon - from the cut glass rose in the centre of the label, to the bottle resembling the shape of a rosebud when held upside down! Small Batch has been one of British bartenders’ favourite bourbons and, with online sales having tripled in the past year, it’s a ‘go-to’ spirit as people have sought to replicate bourbon-based cocktails - such as the Old Fashioned or Manhattan - that they used to enjoy out on the town
These personalised any message two hearts keyring, from Pure Essence Greetings, are perfect for valentines day. Each keyring can be personalised with 2 lines of text, with up to 9 characters per line. They are fab quality and quite heavy, I like the clip on the end, perfect for clipping on the inside of my handbag so I can easily find my keys! These retail at £14.99 for the pair and come in a silver gift box.
Smart Screen is a revolutionary, high-end quality cleaning cloth designed to keep your phone, tablet or any other devices looking brand new. With antibacterial Silver Ion agent introduced into the weave process, the Smart Screen remains effective for up to 15 washes. This premium cloth is heavier than most microfibre glass cleaning cloths, making it far easier to handle. It's small enough to fit in a pocket pouch yet opens into a generous-sized square, available in a range of different colours for just £9.95. 


Make sure you keep your eyes on the guide as there are still a few items on the way in the post that I will be adding as they arrive. Are you a flowers and chocolate gift giver or do you look for the alternative?
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
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The EHCP Battle Finally Won!!

When you have 2 children on the spectrum who have an EHCP you presume when your 3rd is diagnosed an ECHP will follow and he will be entitled to the same support as his siblings have been lucky enough to have. Sadly for us, this wasn't the case! Its been 6 years since DJ was diagnosed with Aspergers, I had already mentioned to his primary school prior to diagnosis that I wanted to go ahead with an EHCP. I was told by then that without a diagnosis that wasn't going to happen and just to wait. I have since found out that this is lies, you DO NOT need a diagnosis to gain an EHCP. I have also since found out that you can infact pursue an EHCP yourself and not wait for the school to apply for one. 

When he was diagnosed I approached the school Senco again, I was yet again told with a diagnosis of Aspergers he was unlikely to get an EHCP as he didn't require the appropriate amount of support. I called BS on this at this point Dj was 2 years behind educationally. It was a constant battle to get him support even with a diagnosis if you couple that with a child who is reluctant when it comes to school, you spell disaster. He struggled so much he hated school, felt like he didn't fit it, struggled with the work, the lack of in-class support saw him slip further behind.  

His SAT'S gave him major anxiety and school were NO help as he didn't have an EHCP so he wasn't entitled to any support!! Vicious circle, no EHCP, no support and yet they tell me he didn't need enough support to warrant an EHCP.....
I took the decision in the last term of year 6 to remove him from education, it was becoming damaging to his mental health being there in that type of environment where he was left floundering.

His start of high school was a turning point for him, even without an EHCP he was getting fantastic support from the resource provision that had staff that not only understood him but helped him. Their Sendco started his application for an EHCP and we waited. Unfortunately for him in the time we applied there was a change of SENDCO, his school was closed down and he had to change schools, all of these factors hindered the progress of his paperwork. 

During our very first lockdown in March, I had a lot of telephone conversations with lots of professionals. Then the magic moment finally came and I received an email with a copy of his draft EHCP!! He had awarded full support and a long list of support requirements for his new school to follow.

His EHCP has now been on effect for 4 months and although still a reluctant leaner he is making good progress in school. He started off spending all his time in the resource provision for all lessons, he is now attending some mainstream classes and coping well.

With us now in lockdown 3.0 I am more than grateful for his EHCP as it means he is allowed to attending school though lockdown. It is very much needed for him as he is playing catch up already. 

If pushing for an EHCP has taught me one thing it has to be don't give up. Keep on pushing for what you believe your child needs and deserves, it been a long 5 years coming and I am so glad it's over. As a special needs parent, I am fully aware that there could be another battle for something else just around the corner! But for now, I am just enjoying the peace!
Thanks for Reading
Mandy
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A-Z Of Autism - C Is For...

So if you read last weeks B is For then you will know what all of this is about, if not here is a little recap. I'm a Mum of 3 autistic children and way back 13 years ago when my eldest was diagnosed I really struggled to find real-life info about autism. So here we have the A to Z of autism, I'm not a Doctor or health care professionals, these are just some words on what autism means for us. Each fortnight is the next letter of the alphabet, do head over and check out B (highlighted above) and let's get on with C!

Coordination

All 3 of my children have a distinct lack of coordination in one way or another. They are really clumsy, stairs are a problem, hopping, standing on one leg and riding a bike. My Dj is the one whos has the most problems with this as is in the process of being tested for dyspraxia. None of the children can ride a bike, the whole having to peddle, keep your balance and look where you are going is a little too much for them! Buttons are another challenge, zips are fine once attached to the zipper and shoelaces have always been a big NoNo!

CAHMs

I have spent most of the past 13 years in and out of CAHM's appointments. For those with no experience of CAHM's it stands for Child and adolescent mental health services. They are who you are sent to see on the diagnosis trail. We have seen psychologists and psychiatrists at CAHM's. It was also where we had the ADOS test done for all 3 of our children, the ADOS test is what is used to diagnose autism. 

Cooperation

This is a bone of contention in our house, whether it be cooperating with me or cooperating with school there is ALWAYS a problem. I have found with my 3 it's their way or no way and if they say they aren't doing something they aren't doing it, no amount of compromise can sway them. Some people have said I allow them too much freedom and should enforce them to cooperate with me, my answer to that is come and live in my house for a week and try that yourself, you will soon see it's not worth the hassle! If it's not a big deal we allow it, but there are some rules they now they have to follow.

Circadin

Out of my 3 ASD children 2 of them have been on Circadin and 1 of them still takes Circadin. Sleep has always been a challenge for my 3 and Circadon was prescribed to assist sleep. I had 1 who couldn't fall asleep and 1 who couldn't stay asleep. I would like to say you get used to the lack of sleep, but that's a lie!! Even taking circadian we don't get a full night, its very hit and miss, some families have great success with it, its very child dependant. 

Challenging

Having 3 on the spectrum is challenging, as they all have different needs. We had to get the main bedroom in the house separated to allow them to have a room of their own. They need their own space to chill and zone out. They have a wide range of challenging behaviours between them, but we are lucky that they are easily managed now they are older. In their younger days they became frustrated at not being able to express themselves, with age this has eased and they can better explaining and deal with their feelings. Not so much for Pops shes is the most challenging if the 3 and still screams, bites herself, shouts, spits and melts down sometimes.

Celebrations

These are tricky as they don't like fuss, the lack of routine surrounding celebrations is the main thing they dislike. We tend to keep things low key. For Christmas, the tree has to be up with the advent calendars come out and has to be down on the 26th. The eldest 2 like their presents in their room, being in the lounge with the whole family is too much, they like to take their time in peace with their gifts. Birthdays are of a similar stance, presents and cake allowed, but no balloons or banners and definitely no singing happy birthday!

Character

I love their individual characters, they all have their own little quirks. I am often asked if I wished they didn't have autism, and my hand on heart answer is no! Yes its hard sometimes, and it has been a long road, with a long road head! But autism is part of who they are and without autism, they wouldn't have the characters that they have now. 

Compulsive

Compulsive behaviour is one of the trickier aspects to live with. I have one who has a compulsion to chew, whether that be paper, ring pulls and plastic lids, his room can always be found to be full of chewed up bits. This has resulted in him losing 2 teeth due to damage from chewing things he shouldn't. We have tried chewy replacements to no avail. I have another who has short compulsions and obsessions on different things. This can be tv shows, particular foods and even a certain pen even.

So these are my C's for this section, can you relate to any of my C's? Is there any not there that you would add to the list?

Thanks For Reading

Mandy


Christmas Gifts From Smiggle

We LOVE Smiggle and whenever we go past in town the children insist on dragging me inside. I can't blame them the sea of neon colour is a kids dream and I know I would have loved it when I was little. Just before we headed into lockdown 2.0 Smiggle were sending us a gift card so we could go down to one of their stores and pick out some Christmas gifts to feature in our gift guide. Sadly the stores are now closed but lucky for us and you Smiggle allow you to order online for home delivery. So we headed to the Christmas section on the website and picked out some items.

I loved this DIY drink bottle, all the children have to take their own drinks bottles into school at the moment. So this bottle appealed as they can really make their bottle individual and it won't get mixed up with all the other children's bottles. This bottle is available in 2 styles and costs £15.

With 4 children in the house, it gets noisy, then when you factor in the noise from their Ipads its gets even louder! I have been looking for a fun pair of headphones for Spud for a while and these shark inspired ones are just the thing. The flex headphones are available in 3 different colourways and cost £24.

I love this little treats beauty gift pack and thought it would be perfect for my niece, it comes ready gift boxed so perfect for wrapping straight up. The set costs £15 and contains 3 scented lip balms in raspberry, blueberry and grape flavour. You also get a silicone 3d purse in the shape of a cupcake, it's the perfect size to store the lip balms in.

Spud is always doodling so I had to grab a sketchbook for him, you can get these block sketchbooks in a whole host of colours. The 50 page plain sketchbook is 19cmx19cm so it the perfect size for putting in their bag on their travels. This camo design sketchbook is just £5 so a great stocking filler.

When you walk into any Smiggle store you are met by a sea of pens and pencils on the side wall, it's my kiddos favourite part of the shop, mine too if I am honest. I picked up a few styles for Spuds stocking, the styling mechanical pencils are available in 5 styles and are priced at £1.50 each. The cola pencils come with an interchangeable eraser and are scented, also priced at £1.50

I thought seen an I got Pops a drinks bottle I had better get one for Spud, he would be fuming if she got a Smiggle bottle and he didn't! This spritz bottle is perfect for sports thanks to the misting function, perfect for cooling down. The flip spout means it keeps leak-free on the go, it holds a massive 700mls of fluid. This is available in 4 colourways and is priced at £15.

I am really pleased with my choices from Smiggle and I know the kiddie will be too, if you want to head over and shop now there are some fab deals available online like spend £35 and get 25% off or spend £50 and get 30% off but hurry this offer ends on Tuesday.

Thanks For Reading

Mandy

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