When it comes to branding and packaging, I’m an absolute sucker and here’s a new brand who I think are getting it absolutely spot on.
This fantastic little suitcase turned up on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago.
Those fantastic stickers were dotted all over the case, its very appealing and not just to me, Chloe and Lola were keen to know what was inside too. Fortunately for them the products contained within were from the fabulous Professor Scrubbington’s Emporium of Clean*.
A small but comprehensive range was contained within, with absolutely gorgeous packaging. The complete range, as shown, includes a Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair and Body Wash, Hand and Face Wash as well as a roll on Deodorant. I really love how some of the products have a little tale on them…
The entire range, with the exception of the deodorant, is based on foam. The principle being that foams are easy to apply, economical and they don’t slip and slide out of small hands when in the bath tub, they stay there until applied to the body or hair.
To activate the Magically Foaming Formulas, you simply pull down the tip of the “lid” firmly (which can then remain permanently open as it won’t leak) and squeeze the bottle.
Being for young folk dear old Professor Scrubbington opted to keep things as natural as possible, so the products are Paraben and SLS free and the scent is gorgeous and used throughout the range. The scent itself can best be described as fresh and clean, and importantly unisex.
I pondered what to do with the deodorant, with 5 and 8 year olds it wasn’t something I’d thought about giving the kids yet, but as its not an antiperspirant I gave it to Chloe. At age 8 I don’t think using a product under her arms daily is a bad habit to get into at all, she loves the smell and loves using it.
Both of the kids are really enjoying using the products and I’m enjoying having fragrant kids. They’ve always loved bath time but they are loving it even more at the moment, there’s something really fun and novel about using foam for them, but its not just a novelty, its practical too. Washing with foam uses around two thirds less product as a liquid soap, and less water too!!
It is worth adding also that Chloe has really quite bad eczema and these products have not aggravated it in anyway. Probably due to the lack of nasties in the formulas. I hear there are plans for Professor Scrubbinton to add new products to his range of concoctions and we are excited to see what they may be!
Prices start at £5 per product, but you can buy the whole range for £20 with free postage on the Scrubbington’s Website which is a great deal and I think I’ll go and order it myself in a moment because we’re definitely going to be needing backups of all these.
*Products received free of charge for review purposes
If you’re following our story, you’ll know that Chloe, age 8, is currently on a waiting list for Autistic Spectrum Disorder Assessment. It’s a long old process which I’ve covered in other posts. Her anxiety has really stepped up a gear over the last few months, with panics daily or every other day for a period of time, thankfully that seems to have settled down again but the anxiety attacks always return at some point.
We now have a second referral in place for Chloe, after a meeting with the ASD team, they were extremely concerned about Chloe’s anxiety levels and suggested a referral to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service). Again, nothing happens quickly and there’s a long wait for this, so I’ve been forced to find other ideas to help us get through these panic attacks.
We’ve long been aware of how important breathing is and as soon as we (either Chloe or me) become aware of what’s coming we start with the deep breathing. A problem for us is that most of Chloe’s panics occur when she’s alone in bed, so by the we are aware there’s a problem Chloe is usually too far into a panic to come back easily.
So I came up with the idea of putting together a little kit of things that can help her to relax before we get to full on panic attack stage. I thought I was being super clever, but it turns out that such kits are already a “thing”, and are known generally as Self Soothing Boxes, because the idea is for the child to use them to calm themselves.
So putting together our kit was quite easy, I had lots of ideas, some of which I’ve not yet done, but will mention at the end of the post. The items I included for Chloe are quite specifically chosen for her, some of her needs (and indeed issues) are very sensory, so I chose sensory products to go inside our box.
So I started by buying a box, something pretty and appealing for an 8 year old girl.
I think this one was £6.99 in W.H. Smith from memory.
Inside I put two chewy bangles. Chloe gets great satisfaction sometimes from chewing, I mostly like her to have chewy jewellery because if she doesn’t have it, she chews her hair or clothes, these cute little bangles are from Gumigem.
Next I added a little Taggy. Now, parents with babies may already be familiar with Taggies as they often used for babies. I bought this one from Ebay, Chloe, does love a good skull, and I bought it for two reasons. Firstly the fleecy fabric and ribbons feel nice, and for a sensory person, touch is important, and soothing. Secondly because I also bought a bottle of Lavender Essential Oil. I really believe lavender is a relaxing scent so I had the idea to add some drops to the Taggy, so that it was scented. The Essential Oil does not live in the box permanently, but Chloe is under instruction to let me know whenever the fabric needs topping up with scent.
Next I added a Fibre Optic lamp. This little bargain was £3 in B&Q in the sale, but they had themed ones (Hello Kitty, One Direction, Moshi Monsters etc) for £6.99. These are really gorgeous, beautiful colour changing lights, and very tactile (but because it was a cheap product I can’t imagine it’ll last too long).
Next I made up some home-made stress balls. Now I can’t take the credit for the idea but I can’t for the life of me recall where I got the idea from, however, they are so simple to make, basically just stuff some balloons with play doh, that’s it. Mine need a bit more work as they are a bit small and the biro faces are just rubbing straight off, but they work and Chloe gets satisfaction from squeezing them. I have bought stress balls but they never last longer than five minutes!
The final item is a bottle of Rescue Remedy. I’m going say straight off that I think Rescue Remedy is a load of nonsense, I don’t believe it does anything. I’m not an 8 year old girl though. I had hoped that there would be a placebo effect when entering a state of high anxiety, so if I told to take some Rescue Remedy to help calm her down, then she would willingly. Again, this item doesn’t live in the box, but its part of her kit and its where she can see it but can’t reach it, she just has to ask a grown up if she wants a drop.
That’s everything in Chloe’s box right now but its a work in progress.
I’m sure I’ll get more ideas and keep adding to it. It seems to work well, sometimes she goes and gets it out herself, and sometimes I have to give her a nudge, and sometimes she’s so far gone its just too late, but I’d recommend it for anyone, even kids who don’t have anxiety. A little box of favourite things to touch and look at can be really calming when a child is a bit over excited!
I’m also expecting delivery, tomorrow hopefully, of a weighted lap pad for Chloe, I don’t really know if weighted items will work for her but I’ve heard a lot of good things about the effect of weighte blankets on children with ASD and sensory issues, so I’m optimistic, but I’ll update on that another time.
I hope this post has been helpful to someone out there anyway.
As a Mum to 5 and 8 year olds, I learned a few things along the way. I’m no expert on parenting, far from it, as you’ll know from previous blog posts I have more than my fair share of stresses, worries, doubts and parenting mistakes, but despite this, there are a couple of things that I learned along the way that I feel can benefit any parent, but in particular new parents, or about-to-be parents.
Giving advice when unasked for is one of my absolute pet hates and this starts the minute the world learns you are pregnant. People have opinions on what you should wear (seriously!), what you do, what you eat, pretty much everything. My first piece of advice is follow official guidelines and take advice from friends and family you trust, and always ask for advice when needed, but those people who just throw unsolicited advice at you willy nilly? Ignore. As a new parent you are plagued with doubts often enough without people throwing more spanners in the works, and sad to say, some of those people will be people close to you.
My second piece of advice is something I’d been told first time round. Listen to your instincts and don’t sweat it. In the first year of Chloe’s life I worried about everything. Obviously on reflection, we now have reasons as to why some of the problems we had were such problems, but worrying about them and trying to fix them made very little difference.
Take weaning for example, from six months old to a year old, Chloe refused all solid food, she either refused everything or threw everything up as soon as it went in her mouth. I spent six months worrying myself to death, repeatedly visiting health visitors (who just kept insisting “you must make her eat”, with no advice on how to actually do that), but thing is, she wasn’t losing weight, she wasn’t suffering and not long after she hit one, she started eating solids. All that worry, all that stress for nothing. When she was good and ready she did it. As an 8 year old, she doesn’t eat everything but she eats well and she’ll try anything and everything at least once and she LOVES food.
Obviously, when your baby won’t eat, you must see a professional, you must make sure they are not losing weight, its important, but don’t worry yourself endlessly, like I did.
Another example would be potty training. We tried potty training Chloe at 2 in earnest. It took months but she was starting nursery at 2 and a half, and they needed her to be potty trained, so we had to try. I read books, I tried everything. There’s a big thing about potty training, in that if you start it, you need to see it through, putting a child back into nappies sends mixed messages, so once you move to underpants, you have to stick with it…it’s all well and good until your child is so petrified of going to the toilet they just won’t go. Resulting in days of constipation, pain and huge amounts of distress. Again I consulted professionals, “oh have you tried reward charts?”… eventually, after a course of laxatives and deciding I wasn’t going to put her through this any more, I put her back in nappies. We tried potty training again when she hit 3. She got it straight away, no upset, no stress, no pain, no medication. Again, huge amounts of stress and worry and upset, for nothing. When my child was ready, she did.
Honestly there were a lot of things like this, things where I worried myself to death because we weren’t doing what I thought we should be doing (or OTHER people thought we should be doing), but things that all came good in the end.
Let me be clear, when things don’t work out as they should with small kids, it always pays to seek some professional advice (not least to rule out medical issues), but in my opinion, unless your child is suffering, then there’s no point worrying, in most cases, our children will reach targets when they are ready, we are all different after all!
When dear Lola came along, I didn’t really worry about anything, I learned the hard way… there’s no point!
It’s a misleading post title I know, as those of you who have been with me a long time will know this Aspergers Assessment journey has been going on for many years already. You could say it started when I repeatedly saw health visitors when Chloe was a baby, because she wouldn’t take a bottle (she never did), she wouldn’t let me brush her teeth (or tooth), or because I couldn’t wean her onto solids (she was over a year old before I got her to start eating), or when potty training caused us so much distress she would spend days crying because of her pain and need to go to the toilet but her fear of going stopped her (going back to nappies and a course of laxatives in the end). Or you could say it started when she was about two and a half and I couldn’t manage her gentle assertions and refusal to do anything I asked, and I attended a one to one parenting course to try and help me parent her better, or you could say it started when she went to school and I she was spending all her lunch times and break times alone and I was being called in daily because she couldn’t abide by simple rules (we moved schools and its all been better since then). Or you could say that the journey started when a Family Support Worker failed to support us and I went to the GP. At this point we were referred for assessment. Some months later we attended an initial assessment with a paediatrician who agreed it was worth proceeding to full assessment. The wait for which is two years in Exeter. You’ll of course know some or more of that from my last post on the subject.
Since I wrote that frustrated and angry blog post, things have changed a little, we now have a Support Worker who I connect with , who isn’t suggesting reward charts and going out more at the weekends, he understands the problems and he has suggestions I like and understand. At that time (back in January) I decided that the two year wait wasn’t good enough, things at home have deteriorated in a variety of ways, Chloe has multiple panic attacks a week now, Lola is still a victim of Chloe’s bullying day in and day out and we have been to the hospital re her teeth and lack of self care in that area, and she has to have seven teeth removed. I started reaching out to anyone I could and eventually struck gold when a Specialist ASD Practitioner suggested I go in for a meeting to discuss the situation. I have since learned that actually, the assessment process begins from this point, today, so thank god, the two year wait is is no longer the Case for us. I do appreciate that from this point in time things will not move quickly, and that in the scheme of things, we are probably low priority (although living with it day in day out, it doesn’t feel that way) so this is just another step along a very long road.
I am a ball of nerves and anxiety today myself, I don’t know how long I’ll have, I don’t know how much I will have to push, I don’t know what to expect, but at the same time I am relieved, relieved to be at the point where someone that can help us will be sat listening to what I have to say. There’s fear too, fear that after all this, they may not agree, they may not see what I see, they may not offer a diagnosis, and if that is case… where do we go from there? Does that mean there’s no reason for the issues we have? Does it mean we’re shit parents? I don’t know, I’m trying to not let those worries take over and concentrate on being optimistic, my beautiful Chloe deserves help, she deserves my positive outlook and she deserves to hear her concerns and worries are being addressed.
For other parents who are on this journey, I offer the same advice that has been given to me over the years, you will need to push and fight and keep going to get heard. Don’t stop. It will be hard, it will be exhausting, it will be stressful, but don’t give up. Don’t just settle, keep fighting for your family and for your child. Eventually, you will be heard.
How’s your Easter been? Lovely that the weather has turned s sunny for the second week of the school holidays… alas that means bad times for my migraines, but I learned a long long time ago that moaning about the sunshine causes other people to view you as a killjoy, even if it wrecks your health!
The school holidays have been a bit up and down for us, Chloe has spent half of it being spectacularly horrible to her sister, her sister has been particularly sensitive to everything, crying a lot. Both kids have been suffering with a hint of cold and some nasty coughs, and my ears have been all congested making me dizzy and my migraines have been pretty bad. Poor old Thor had a tooth removed yesterday and he’s feeling pretty upset about the whole thing today.
That aside we’ve had some pretty nice times, and some pretty good chocolate.
There were walks with tree climbing and duck feeding.
There are still a few days left before the girls return to school, they are out today with Nana at Crealy and I’m sat here blogging, waiting for the trail end of a migraine to disappear, but I’d imagine we’ll just be relaxing, with maybe a trip to the park tomorrow, winding back down before school starts again. I’ve got extensive notes to write up, ready for my appointment with the Specialist Autistic Spectrum Disorder team next week, re Chloe. I’m going to make sure I go armed to the teeth with information to support what I’m saying about there having been issues at home! After this Easter break, I’ve got more to say than ever.
All in all though, it’s not been a bad break, sometimes the school holidays can be unbearable, this one was about 50/50, still, I’ll be glad when life is back to normal and school starts up, it’ll be nice not to hear crying and arguing all day every day for a while!
The Easter Holidays have started. I’ve diffused three fights, lost one child’s sandwich to the dog, tripped over a scooter left in front of the front door, repeated myself multiple times for each request made, it’s only lunchtime on day one.
The point being, posts maybe sporadic and please wish me luck, it’s going to be a long two weeks…..
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not in the slightest bit crafty, you may well also be aware that there are two words guaranteed to strike fear into my heart and those words are Fancy Dress. I neither have the skill, nor imagination to make costumes. For all occasions that require dressing up for either me or the kids, I’ve either bought something, borrowed something or the kids have gone in something they already own.
With world book week looming (which has now passed), I had a moment of madness and decided to make the girls costumes. I’d seen various mentions of no-sew tutu’s around on the internet and thought they sounded easy enough to make, and they were simple to make so I thought I’d share what I created, and my tips.
The girls both had different versions of The Secret Garden for Christmas and with the occasion being World Book Day, I had a vision of green tutu’s embellished simply for a themed costume.
For the making of the tutu itself, there are no sew options but I opted to make elastic waistbands, cut and measured, and stitched. I hand stitched and didn’t put any care into neatness as it would eventually have been hidden by tulle.
I had huge issues trying to find out how much tulle to order, not only am I useless with numbers, but it depends on the length you require and the size of the child, as well as how puffy you want the tutu to be and each site I looked at seemed to say something different. However, as a rough guide, Chloe’s skirt (a tall age 8) used about 75 yards, while Lola’s (age 5) was about 50 yards. Although I usually would work in meters, I found that rolls were 25 yards long when I was purchasing. Do shop around, prices vary wildly. Laughably, I bought just one roll thinking I’d make two skirts out of it and had to do some hasty reordering. I bought 7 in total and have about half a roll left.
So once you’ve made your wasitbands its simply a case of cutting and adding your tulle. You need to measure the length you want it to be against your child, then double it. So I wanted Chloe’s to be 22 inches long so I cut my strips of tulle to be 44 inches. To add them to your waistband, fold them in half and loop behind your elastic, threading the ends through your loop. It’s hard to explain and photograph but its so easy.
Once thats done, all you do is pull that tight and move onto your next piece. And keep going until you’ve covered the whole waistband. I however ran out of tulle about a third of the way round my first skirt!
You can add more colours, and you can add more layers, by going around the waistband again, adding more strips of tulle between the existing knots on the waistband, but for our purposes the skirts were complete.
At this point I made the girls accessories for their costumes, after all, what secret garden is complete without flowers and a key! I I used fabric glue to apply the leaves but sewed the flowers on.
I bought a couple of felt robins which I quickly stitched together (as they came in parts) and glued to the tulle, using fabric glue. I wouldn’t recommend this, I should have stitched them on but they did manage to stay put.
The final job was to add a truck load of silk ribbon roses around the bottom of each skirt, although it was a daunting task, it really didn’t take much time, and I’d have like to have added many more for a more dramatic effect as the ones I added, despite using nearly 70, did tend to get a bit lost in amongst the voluminous tulle.
I just tied a bit of tulle around the girls heads to make hair bands and teamed with black tights and a black long sleeved tee and off they went. So simple to make and so effective! I’m already planning Lola’s birthday party outfit for the end of May, and if she’s having one then I know Chloe will want one too! Next time they’ll be My Little Pony themed!
Before I go, just a few tips…
Oh my days, we’ve had such fun with this. I recently did a trade with a friend in Japan for some Kracie Popin’ Cookin’ sets in return for a load of Curly Wurlys. A fair trade indeed. We received six sets, some of which were a total fail, but the one that was most successful and indeed the most fun, was the Sushi Set.
We first became aware of Popin’ Cookin’ when the kids favourite You Tubers started doing videos about the Kracie products, quite some time ago, despite us all being fascinated I am not sure why I didn’t get any, but recently, the opportunity to swap came up and I seized it.
As I say there’s a wide variety of sets available, we received six, in four different varieties. In my opinion the sets where you have to make things that look like other items of food are far superior, but that may be down to the ease of instruction translation. This is important because unless you speak Japanese, this is what you are faced with.
For most sets though there are multiple You Tube demonstrations (Chloe’s method of making them) or even English translations, which is how Lola and I created our set. Just have a google, there’s lots of info out there, these kits are very popular.
It’s not at all hard to see why, its a huge amount of fun and whiled away a fair bit of time over the half term holiday!
Chloe, age 8, managed very well making this on her own (although two of the other kits when totally wrong when she insisted on doing them without help so I’d still advise supervision) but Lola, age 5, needed quite a bit of help, which I was more than happy to offer!
It wasn’t long before they were both engrossed.
And things quickly began to take shape. It really is quite amazing, look at the fish and rice!
So much fun. As for the eating, well Lola refused to even taste them, Chloe had a good go and pretended she was loving them and the kids forced me to eat two. Lets just say they smell so much nicer than they taste. Really sweet bubblegum and fruit flavours but I think the textures were a bit odd. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant but it wasn’t delicious either! Except for those little balls, the “roe”. They were delicious! I’m not sure what flavour they were, peach or something similar but they just popped in your mouth and were lovely! The rice is…interesting but smells the nicest!
Anyway, if you’re looking for fun rainy day activities to do with the kids, I’d highly recommend stashing some of these away. Although ours came directly from Japan, they are available on Amazon and the lovely website, Tofucute.
I was going to blog today about the new Spring No7 collection, but you know I’m really not in the mood. I will aim to get that one up tomorrow instead, today I’m just not in the mood for talking about make up.
The day started pretty much as usual, except I didn’t get much sleep last night. The usual constant nagging for Lola to get dressed, repeatedly. The usual leaving the house a bit later than ideal thanks to the kids taking so long to do anything.
It went downhill from there. Lola took something to school with her. A toy from a Happy Meal, that she wanted to show her friends. She isn’t allowed to take toys to school but she promised me she’d give it to me to bring home.
She went into her classroom, hung up her coat, put away her book bag and then it became clear she expected me to wait for all her friends to arrive so she could show them the toy. I refused, took the toy off her. She burst into tears, everyone stared at me, I even saw a few people whispering. I tried to cuddle her. Her teacher intervened and told her to stop crying and give me a cuddle. I picked her up to cuddle. She carried on crying. I sat down on a seat to talk to her. A parent came over to try and help. She carried on crying. Another parent came over to try and help, by getting her involved in something, she not only carried on crying but she was rude to the other child too. I bit the bullet and walked out of the classroom.
I burst into tears as I walked away. Not just discrete tears, proper big soggy sniffly tears. I sat on a bench to try and calm myself so I wasn’t walking all the way back to the car sobbing. A parent came over to see if I was okay. I wasn’t okay. I was tired and fed up, I was also frustrated, upset and embarrassed. Another parent came over to see if I was okay and was lovely, and I managed to calm down and walk out of school. More embarrassed than ever. The first parent who had checked I was okay had gone over to their friend and they were stood watching me. Sympathetically I think, but still, just watching me.
I sat in the car and sobbed some more before deciding I’d go back into school and just ask reception if they could check Lola was okay. She was, she was working and laughing and perfectly fine. I cried some more until I was escorted away for a coffee.
The thing is this. Every day Lola takes a toy to school, half the time she hands it over to me when I leave with no problems. The other half of the time we play out similar versions of the above scene, albeit I don’t usually break down. It’s not just that, she’s not working well at school either. Often having to miss partial lunch breaks to catch up on the work she’s missed. Once even having to be removed from the class altogether.
Why do I let her take the toys in in the first place? Well sometimes she puts them in her pocket so I don’t know they are there, other times I know they are there and (stupidly) trust she’ll just hand it over when I leave the school, and then other times we are running late and I just can’t deal with the battle which will make us even later. It is my fault whatever way you look at it.
But why was I SO upset? I guess I’m just not happy right now. I carry the weight of everyone’s emotional well being on my shoulders, and my shoulders alone. Worrying about Chloe’s assessment, dealing with her moods and the constant battles between her and Lola, and the increasing anxiety attacks. Worrying about her rotting teeth, chasing specialist dentist appointments and fighting for help and assessments, fighting even just to talk to someone. I deal with Lola’s fiery character (she’s as happy and loving as she is feisty), worrying about the fact I’m called into talk to the teacher daily, worrying about how she feels when her sister is horrible to her so often, worrying about whether there’s a deeper issue at the heart of her behaviour, or if she’s fighting for attention, or copying her sisters behaviour, or a combination of all of the above. I arrange appointments to talk to people about her. I have to pick her up and drop her off at school daily, keeping my head held high, trying to not to worry about what people think of my parenting skills (or lack of), trying to look like I’m in charge. And I spend a huge amount of time thinking about how much I love them, and how I want their lives to be happy and full of love, and worrying that they don’t know how loved they are.
It’s not just the kids I worry about, I worry about my husband too. Which I’ll never discuss on here. And then there’s me, my chronic migraines that no one seems to be able to help me with and another medical issue I’m aware of thats gnawing away at me.
People say to me that I need to make time for me, but I’m a stay at home Mum, I’m home alone all day, five days a week. It’ never feels like enough. I don’t have the reserves in me to deal with any more battles, thats how it feels.
I went to the GP to ask about counselling a few months ago, I was told my only option was private or Group CBT. I can’t afford private and I absolutely do not want to do any group sessions.
Ultimately though, although today is a bad day, tomorrow I’ll get up and start nagging Lola to get ready faster, tell her she’s not allowed to take a toy to school and she’ll either comply or she won’t, and after school Chloe will either disappear to her room or she’ll choose to stay downstairs and snipe and pick at Lola until they are screaming at each other. And I’ll deal with it, like I always do, and I won’t cry, I’ll go to bed exhausted, I won’t sleep any earlier though, and I’ll wake up tired the next morning and do it all again. Because that’s what Mum’s do.
We’re already fans of Childs Farm in this house, having tried the Shampoo and Conditioner we were smitten. Chloe suffers with Eczema and Lola can be prone to it too, so it’s important to us what we put on their skin.
Childs Farm take great care in their production to make sure that their products are suitable for sensitive and eczema prone skin. Even newborns.
The Childs Farm Hand Care Gift Set* seemed to be a hit before we even opened it and tested the products.
Look at that (slightly deranged) excited little face! The set comes in a lovely little zip up pouch and contains two full size products, a hand wash and a hand and body lotion. The scent of both is Grapefruit and Organic Tea Tree and I must confess, I wasn’t sure the scent would appeal to kids. I was quite wrong though the kids LOVE it. I’ve never seen them so keen to wash their hands and stocks are already depleting fast. I must admit I’ve not used the body lotion on Chloe as she has prescription creams but I have used it on Lola, and not only does she smell gorgeous, her dry patches already look improved.
The entire range is suitable for all ages, and sensitive skin and don’t contain parabens, SLS’s, mineral oils or artificial colourings and are never tested on animals. If that wasn’t enough 10% of all profits of sales go to the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association). A truly good choice for your family.
Unlike many natural or organic ranges, prices are very reasonable, with this set retailing at £7.95.
Childs Farm products are available from the Childs Farm website as well as Boots, Ocado, John Lewis and Waitrose. A full stockist list is available on the site.
*Product provided free of charge for review purposes.