Friday, 11 March 2016


Recently Mini had gone around a friend's house to play, and this week we were hosting instead.
Then just a little bit before school pick up, I got a text from another friend asking if I'd mind picking up her son too, as she was stuck at home with a sleeping poorly child. I offered to have her son stay for dinner, so ended up with 3 9 year old boys.

The weather was glorious, so after a quick trip to the shop for juice and biscuits, we headed to the park, along with Dollop for an hour's climbing and football.

Now, the second child has been here several times before. He's quiet, but a little sweetheart. Mini obviously knows our house rules, but after seeing how hyper and excitable the other child was, I quickly explained that we have to keep the noise down a bit because our walls are very thin. I also explained that Mini and Dollop share a room, so please could they leave her toys alone.

In general it all went very well. Since moving to this school, Mini's had a fair few friends over to play, as has Dollop. They all sat well at dinner time and ate pretty well. They were all polite. But I had to reign in the noise on several occasions, as I've discovered that 3 9 year olds and a 5 year old can reach decibels that match those of a front row seat at a Cradle of Filth concert!
But I was really proud of Mini, who after a couple of warnings from me, tried to calm his friends and quieten them down. He managed really well!

Friday, 19 February 2016

A recipe: Carrot and Coriander soup

A few friends have recently invested in soup makers. I don't have one - I have a tiny house, with a tiny kitchen that already overflows into the living room with the Magimix stored in the games cupboard, the coffee machine by the sideboard, a fondue kit in a sideboard, and even the spare freezer sitting in the corner!
But, I do have a large stock pot, a wooden spoon and a stick blender. I also have a penchant for soup, and believe that consuming this liquid lunch everyday will eventually made me skinny (as long as I pretend that I didn't eat any bread with it). I also find that cooking soothes my soul, fills my tummy, allows me to wallow in a fruitful expectation and fills my house with gorgeous scents to boot.

So yesterday, I bought a kilo of carrots and a big bunch of coriander and made me some soup. It turned out better than expected so I'm sharing the recipe...

Carrot & Coriander Soup

1 kilo of carrots, roughly chopped but no need to peel
Vegetable stock cube/powder/pot
A large handful of fresh coriander
150ml dairy free milk

1. Throw the carrots into a large pot, and add enough water to just cover them. Add in the stock cube/powder/pot. Bring to the boil.

2. Turn down to simmer for about an hour, until the carrots are just tender. Remove from the heat.

3. Throw in the coriander - no need to chop, and a few grinds of salt and pepper, then get your stick blender in there and whizz it all up until smooth.

4. Return to the heat, adding approximately 150ml of dairy free milk. Stir in the milk, add more seasoning if you like, and serve with or without real or pretend carbs. (I like a thick hearty soup, but if you prefer yours a little thinner, then add more milk or stock).

Mental health and me

So the other day I wrote about Mini and Dollop and how they are at the moment, but now it's time to come clean about me.

I have depression.
I suffer with my mental health.
I am ill.

Many of you know this as I'm quite open about it on Twitter and Facebook. But I guess I kind of assumed that my anti-depressants would see me through it all.

They're not.

I have been out of sync I suppose. I have little energy, enthusiasm or even interest in much at all. I go through the motions each runs, housework in a lacklustre limited 'that'll do' kind of way, grocery ordering, washing and cooking. After the kids are in bed I barely even watch TV as I'm finding I have zero concentration.

Bedtime arrives and I lie in bed and read, then read more, then read even more until finally sleep overcomes me, usually around 3am. I've tried not reading, but then I just lay, and roll over, and kick the duvet, and fidget, and eventually get up. Either way I then spend the next day shattered, perhaps dozing on the sofa, again with no energy or enthusiasm. I'm stuck in that cycle now. Every now and then I take a relaxant to help me get a full night's sleep, although in honesty I'm not sure if it's that working or just sheer exhaustion!

The 'funny' thing is - home life has been better recently. I'm less on edge about Mini. I have fewer concerns about him these days. We have a pretty good routine. But I think the last few years have really taken their toll and it's all just catching up with me. Sheer exhaustion from parenting a traumatised child. But of course it's hard to explain that to people who don't see how challenging it is - because he doesn't let go in front of them, he saves it all until he feels safe at home.

I need more support, but I don't know where to get it, or what form it should take.

I have decided to take positive action:

I will make more effort to see and speak to my friends.
I will actively look after and treat myself.
I have already started using the Headspace App to improve my head space and mindfulness.

If you see me floating around on Twitter or Facebook - come and say hi. I'll do my best to say hi back.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A catch up - and some new therapy

Hello - it's me - have you missed me?

I thought I'd better come and give you a bit of an update whilst the children are happily playing with their happens so rarely!

Things aren't too bad at the moment. We've had a miserable start to the year with the NC still suffering a little, despite an operation in December. I was laid up in bed for a couple of weeks with flu, and still can't quite shift the accompanying cough, But other than that, lots of positive things have happened too...

Dollop started Rainbows and is loving it. At her first session she was happy to be dropped off as she knew other girls there from school. And she's already attended her first church service too.
Dollop's also doing well at school, speeding through reading groups and is well settled. She recently received Star of the Week too.
She makes us laugh every single day, although she has her stroppy madam moments too. She is friendly at school but has two particularly close friends, and together they are thick as thieves.

Well, Mini's started at Cubs. He's at a different group to before, and is now with school friends. He loves it too, and is keen to continue. Mini has also become very settled at school...super super settled in fact.
He loves his teacher, he loves his friends, he loves football club. He has regular playdates - with a good variety of friends at that. He has his moments of course - and just a month or so ago attacked me over his homework, injuring my wrist (ongoing saga) again, but for the most part he's very happy.

Last year we were granted funding through the ASF for a sensory assessment and - if needed - therapy to follow. The assessment found that Mini does indeed have sensory and related physical issues, and so sensory attachment therapy begun. It's very physical, with lots of ziplines, climbing inflatable toys, balancing, swinging etc in the most amazing village hall type building.
Bizarrely it's had little impact (in my opinion) on Mini's sensory issues, if anything they appear more acute. There's the constant noise, repeating sounds, dislike of textures, dislike of seams around his feet, hypermobility in ankles, lack of mobility and core more. However, I would say that since beginning therapy he's become more self aware of physical reactions like his heart racing in fear/anxiety, or butterflies in his tummy when excited. He's also become more verbal about those things, and can sometimes work out how to fix them.
It could of course be coincidence and maturity that's coming into play here, but I hope we can continue to build on it whatever it is.

So that's us. I really want to try to get back into blogging regularly, so if you don't see a post for a while then give me a nudge. I'll be aiming to share all sorts - primarily of course about our family, but you might also see the odd recipe or review. Hope you like them.