Holiday tool kit: screen time, bribes and ice cream

So here we are. Portugal.

With less than 18hrs notice of departure, I was ill equipped with the ‘pc’ mummy toolkit of carrot sticks and colouring in.

For the anxiety ridden chatterbox that is my 6 yr old, I’ve opted for screen time, bribes and ice cream. What?! I want I nice holiday thanks.

So far so good. Bribes of sweets are working and the only reason I can write this whilst drinking red wine on the hotel balcony is because she’s absorbed in Topsy and Tim episode #4,492. Oh how I adore paying my TV license.

Peace. And. Quiet….

In other news, hub is having to do some work, but I have a snack conveyor belt line synced up to him. And in the hotel we’re staying is athlete Iwan Thomas and Gogglebox’s Leon and June. They’re currently watching Andy Murray on the TVs in reception – is that irony or art imitating life? Not sure. Either way, I’m amused. But maybe that’s the wine kicking in.

Photo credit: Iwan Thomas 


This is My Nike moment- Just Do It!

At 4pm yesterday it was confirmed that F’s teacher was going on the National Teachers strike on Tuesday.

By 8pm, I’d booked the 3 of us on a flight to Portugal for a 3 night break leaving TODAY!!

I took the Nike approach and just fucking did it.

It’s not like me. I’m a rules kind of girl so taking F out of school on Monday (because ‘she’s not feeling very well’ wink wink) Is not very me at all.

But we need a break. I need a break. What with hub’s obvious spiralling decline into depression, F having mental health assessments and awaiting Dad’s cancer results (found out he has malignant melanoma- skin cancer- which needs further investigation) I want to sit by a pool and see blue sky, watch a sunset, eat outside, wear little, sleep lots, drink plenty and, feel warmth on my skin.

You get the picture.

So hub called his boss, and his boss said yes but he needs to bring his laptop just incase. Technically for F it’s only one day off because of the strike – I won’t get a fine for that will I? I actually don’t care ( I usually would). I know the benefit of this break far outweighs everything else.

It was either this or I would’ve got my first tattoo – I’m in that kind of mood!!

So to all of you reading this….do something different today, do something for yourself. 


Our first experience of CAMHS

Let’s park Bipolar Hub and all his current woes to one side for now, and concentrate on Little F’s mental state of mind. (As if i don’t have enough to contend with).

To give you a quick recap (If you know all this, scroll down a bit) – F has had probs with her ears since birth – infections, grommets, hearing tests. That’s all clear now (ish) and the Ear Nose and Throat consultant  discharged her and said we should see a Pediatrician in relation to the symptoms we struggle with. These are:

  • Explosive outbursts of anger
  • Inability to do as instructed
  • Utter defiance
  • Fidgety and LOUD
  • Self disciplining
  • Sometimes destructive
  • Emotional remorse

Ooooo, what a little scamp! But these can be on epic proportions which affect the household. Fast track to the Pediatrician who says F has Autism with Demand Avoidance (PDA) and possible ADHD. The Phycologist disagrees and thinks it’s more like Emotional Regularity Disorder (Bipolar). We went privately and we had our very expensive bits of paper, it turns out they’re not very useful at all. We hit a brick wall.

School got involved even though they do not see any symptoms at school – F hides it all well and saves it for me. Lucky me. So a few months on and we see the NHS’s Children And Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). I hadn’t heard very good things about the service and was not expecting much.


The venue

Typical NHS. Vinyl floors, magnolia and pastel hues on the walls, light blue tired leather seats and lots of lego and colouring.

The nurse

Super duper lovely. Looked and sounded like she knew what she was on about. Gave F respect and encouragement and made us all feel at ease.

The assessment

This was a like a triage appointment, where she could assess the issues we’ve been having and point us in the right direction. Separately we voiced our concerns and medical and family history (for the umpteemth time it feels). We were there for over 2 hours going through the birth, F’s lumbar puncture at 2 days old and scare of Meningitis, the milestones, the house moves, the family mood, the depressive states etc etc. The ear infections, the tempers, the bed wetting, the nightmares, the fun, the strengths and the weaknesses.

The outcome

Well she definitely believed us. She could see the struggles we have. She asked the right questions and could see that both me and hub were saying the same things. She doesn’t think it sounds like Autism, or ADHD, and explained that the loudness and fidgeting is F’s way of filling a void with her crippling anxiety. It’s a flipping sign we hadn’t spotted before – argh!!! F’s not quite got her emotional suit of armour schizzle together. The lady explained that we need to work on ways to help F vent her emotions better and help her understand herself. She mentioned Bipolar but F is too little to be diagnosed with that. It maybe that it’s not a neurological problem, it may be learned behaviours from watching her Daddy eratically come to terms with his condition. Nothing is off the table in terms of diagnosis and we are to continue with our PDA strategies and support groups if they are working (which they are). What a pickle!

What next

It’s suggested that F has a series of psychotherapy sessions where she can talk about emotions and what’s going on through play. Of course there’s a waiting list, and it will probably be the Autumn before we get an appointment. But i’m not too down heartened, we’re moving forward all the time.



Coming out at #BML16

You’ll have gathered by now, that I don’t share photos of me or my family here. Instead it’s my trusty hand who’s the face of the blog.

But on Saturday I came out!

I’m not gay. But when I started my blog I wanted to be anonymous, partly because of the subject matter I talk about but also because I just wanted it to be my voice with no judgement from anyone on looks and locality.

I still have no plans to reveal myself on here, which is why all my competition entries were of my hand. I didn’t win any of them. A little left field maybe for the judges?

Friendly and not so friendly experiences at Brit Mums Live

On the whole Brit Mums was brilliantly inspiring and embracing. I loved chatting to people, finding out what we have in common, meeting bloggers who’d I’d been chatting to on Twitter and learning new stuff. One well known blogger was less than enchanting I found. She’s never replied to any tweets I’ve sent to her and  Trying to engage in conversation in real life was met with her back turned to me then pushed in front of me in a queue for the luggage. That was that then. And she has squillions of Twitter followers too.

I was not dejected though. I brushed myself down and found everyone else friendly. But for me, it wasn’t about the quantity of nice people, but the quality of nice people. Ive come away having made 2 great contacts with whom I  (and my blog) have lots in common.

My selfies from the day!….


ice cream liquid nitrog
loads of flavours to choose



It was a great day, and I’d like to thank the organisers for creating a well thought out event.

Working at #BML15 vs Attending #BML16

Last year I went to Brit Mums Live with a client of mine. I’d worked on designing their stand, I was managing their Social Media accounts and our team were helping them launch  their product in the UK market.

It was fun and I absolutely loved meeting lots of bloggers and I even crept in to a couple of talks – in between making milk smoothies and giving out squidgy cows. I was in my comfort zone.

But this year i’m a blogger and out of my comfort zone, as it’s me on show this time. I was so inspired by the bloggers i met last year, that when life got tricky for our family in November, i turned to blogging. A real life blogger (albeit a very shiny new one).

So i’ve been on both sides of the fence, and here’s what I’ve learned:

From a brand perspective:

  • Brands are eager to make a good impression on YOU
  • Brands want you to come up, chat and ask buckets of questions
  • New brands will want your business cards
  • Stands are there for YOU, and want to catch your eye on the breaks
  • Good brands understand what you’re there for and the value you need
  • Brands will be looking for engaging bloggers who have similar values/followers to their product so find your common ground
  • People on the stands won’t always be THE people who make the decisions about whether to get a blogger on board
  • Brands are there for awareness, engagement and advertising – the terrific ones will have well thought out competitions

From a first time blogger perspective (even though i know the above):

  • I want to make a good impression
  • I feel nervy talking to brands and celeb bloggers
  • I’m conscious that there will be large groups of people who already know each other
  • My blog is so personal and now i will be coming ‘out’ – and you’ll see ME, not just pics of my hand and fingers!!
  • Despite working in advertising and marketing for over 13 years and creating campaigns you’ve seen in mags or on the TV, and even worked with bloggers who write for brands, this is a total different kettle of fish. A different way of writing.
  • My blog has been my freedom pass to talk to strangers about what goes on in my life. I’ve been so open, it’s been wonderful and i’ve made some great contacts in the last 6 months (*waves to Kathy in Oz*) who go through similar things to our family.

I’m hoping that this Saturday will be a good chance for me to meet like minded people, drink wine and be the real open person I am – a 37 year old girl living with a husband who has Bipolar and a child who displays signs of Autism with Demand Avoidance.

What a shame I can’t be this open with my friends and family. So maybe #BritMums16 will be my new family, accepting of honesty and avid wine companions!



Our Mentally Healthy holiday at Center Parcs

My mum and dad kindly treated us to a family break at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest a couple of weeks ago. In short, we had the BEST time and found everything about it relieved my hub of his, at times, gripping Bipolar and each activity unlocked a pocket of happiness and joy for us all. Here’s our review of a Mentally Healthy Break… Continue reading “Our Mentally Healthy holiday at Center Parcs”

Our 5 YO going to sleep at 9pm is saving our relationship

Sleep deprivation is top notch cruelty. And i can honestly say that for the first 2 years of F’s life I was pretty much awake for 90% of it. Then throw into the mix a husband who’s Bipolar trigger is lack of sleep and BOOM, welcome to MoodyShitsVille.

The last 3 years have been better, but she’s still not a keen sleeper – up in the night and then up at 5.30am, but this week her sleep pattern has changed. We don’t know why, but the effect it’s having is magical!

She’s sleeping until we wake her at about 8am!

For those of you with kids, or dastardly loud alarm clocks, you will now that AWFUL feeling of being woken before you’re ready to face to the world. But this week, i’m waking on my own terms, in my own time, getting dressed and having breakfast by myself. It’s like old pre baby days!

Those precious minutes getting my schizzle together is working wonders for our family. I have the all important head start and don’t feel like i’m on the back foot.All our moods have lifted, spirits are high (ish), and we’re all sleeping through the night, it’s wonderful!

I think i may be even looking a little younger.

Nah, that’ll never happen.

Will keep you posted on sleep watch!

M x


48 breastfeeding techniques and a knit tit

My best friend is a new mum and she’s finding the mental and physical demands of motherhood tough, especially having a 3 month old dangling from her bruised stretched nipples 24/7.

*winces at the memory*

So I tried to remember some anecdotes from my 9 month stint as little F’s official milk provider to cheer her up. Everything from having a midwife Continue reading “48 breastfeeding techniques and a knit tit”

The ASD PDA Dr will HAVE to eat her hat

After diagnosing F over email – twice, then at the assessment when the doctor said ‘I’ll eat my hat if she doesn’t have PDA’, it’s looking like it’s NOT Pathalogical Demand Avoidance.

Great news! But FFS make your frikkin mind up.

The update is that the Pediatrician and Physcologist have both done reports and whilst there are definite traits of PDA behaviour and F has an elevated risk due to my hub’s mental health and family history, the report will not officially come back with that on it.

Initial feedback suggests her diagnosis will be of an emotional regulatory disorder with presentation of ASD. The good news is that we can ‘reverse’ this and whilst hub is in a good place right now we’re game on to help out little bundle of rocket fuel to get to grips with her explosive behaviour.

We’re still doing a PDA parent training course as we’re mid way through and some of the techniques are helping which can only be a good thing.

There will come a time when we do get official feedback and I’ve been told not to Google it (which I have obvs) and I will get a shit load of guilt and regret. But this isn’t about me or what’s happened in the stressed out early years of F’s life, this is about being the best we can be right now. She needs a bit of help, and we’re here to make sure she flipping well gets it.

Hug your babies tighter tonight people, I know I will.

M x