Sunday, 12 June 2022


You don't need to do anything, the following is just for your information.

BloggingMama101 and the blog "Our Alternative Life" promise to only use your email address for us! 

Neither I (BloggingMama101) or this site will pass around and share any of your details with 3rd parties.
The only emails you will receive are from this blog and BloggingMama101.

These emails may include site updates, site news and general blog information but we promise not to flood your email with spam.

By registering on this blog you agree to receive occasional related emails from us. If you are a current member and do not agree to this policy please contact me to be removed.

Thank you. BloggingMama101

Monday, 21 May 2018

Being Ourselves

Today I had the most wonderful conversation with the owner of our local convenience store.

Unusually I was in there on my own.  He knows me and the children well.  They are allowed to go to this shop together by themselves while I wait on the corner (because you can see the shop from there) and we often go together, but very rarely am I on my own.

This morning he asked "how is your daughter getting on at school?"  So we had a little chat about the fact she loves it, that it was her choice to go back into school and he was very positive about it.

Then he asked about my son. As usual, I immediately felt back-footed and defensive, as though I had to justify his desire to say Home Educated and my reasons for supporting it.

In fact the conversation went in an entirely different direction.  He said he had not realized my son had any special needs until he told him himself that he is autistic.  He said they had chatted about it a few weeks ago.  I was overwhelmed with pride to hear that.

He told me they have a boy in their extended family back in India with the same diagnosis, although he said "more obviously so" (which made me suck my teeth a bit!) but I got what he meant.  He went on to say something that quite blew me away.  He paused and smiled and said "you let him be what he is.  You do right.  Just keep at that. Let him be whatever he is.  He'll be ok, in life, because he is as he is meant to be, just let him be it."

I couldn't speak.

He then said "this is what we were told in India.  Let the boy be.  Let him exist in his ways.  Don't listen to these ideas, these tries to change him and make him to be what he's not, in a way he is not.  His ways are not wrong.  He's ok in his ways as he is and it is only by being in those ways he will find who he is and learn to deal with the world as it is to him."

I just wanted to hug him.

He smiled at me and nodded again "just keep him in his ways. He'll be fine."

It was such a special conversation to have.  One of those conversations that was meant to be.

And you know it's been a hard few weeks for DS.  Watching his sister go back to school, feeling she is growing away from him, losing his companion and seeing her do things he knows it would not be good for him to do, and environment it would be harmful for him to be in.  And I'm unutterably proud that he has come to these decisions and realisations by himself.  I support him in them and I will support him if they change. 

And this man, this outside observer of our lives, who has watched my children grow over the years, hit the nail right on the head "Let him be in his ways".  I can't think of a more beautiful or eloquent way to sum it up, and to sum up all the wrong and harm society can do by trying to stop a beautiful stream from flowing melodically along it's course. 

So we will keep doing just this. Being ourselves.  Although it is taking us on different paths at the moment, we are all still headed in the right direction, just keeping in our own ways. And long may that continue x

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Down But Not Out

Well howdy friends!

It's been such a long time since I've written I'm wondering if I'm even allowed to call myself a Blogger any more!  2018 seems to have launched itself at us relentlessly and is the unwanted gift that keeps on giving 😄  Still, thankfully we have that gift and many are denied it, so we keep on keeping on x

This year has seen a lot of changes for us.  Good & um...... interesting shall we say? 😊

All is good on the health front, for me at least. Gone into this new year with a bang. Even have the iron count of a just-approaching-the-normal-range-for-a-functioning-human-being!  So that in itself is cause for celebration.

Things on the Home Ed front have not been so easy.  Due to time, circumstance, friendship issues and various friends returning to school it has been something of a 'lean' time these past 6 months.  I also stepped down from the groups I was running, which broke my heart a little, but I needed to devote my time & energy closer to home for the moment.  It was the right decision but we miss our groups terribly, especially our little Geography Club.

Meanwhile not much has risen to take it's place.  Several fantastic, amazing Home Edders I know are also suffering a bit with 'Organisation Fatigue' and are a bit 'peopled out' so the number and range of activities available in our area has dropped quite dramatically over the last 6-9 months.

This, and other factors, have led us to make the decision for DD to return to school.  She had always said she wanted to try Secondary but did not want to return to Primary.  However, in the absence of a lot of friends her own age (I know it's not the only important thing, but right now this is what she wants) she has been talking about this more and more this year so we decided to go and look at schools.  My goodness it is hard to find school places around here! There is absolutely no way she could return to our local school, it would not be appropriate at all, so any school we picked meant a drive which is a shame but a necessary evil for the time being.  Perhaps if we move..... but that's a whole other ball game!

So anyway, we found a school we both really, really liked - with a great Art & Sports programme - and they had just one place in her year! So she starts in 2 weeks! 

DS will remain Home Ed.  He has no desire to return to school.  It would not be the right thing for him and the prospect terrifies him still.  But what I do think will be good is having more 1-2-1 time with him, and I'm hopeful I can assist him in joining in a few more activities if it is just the two of us.

Meanwhile my GP has intervened (welcomely!) and said he agrees it is time to pursue more intervention, and more indepth diagnoses for DS.  Like me, he agrees Autism is not the whole story.  He undoubtedly has ADHD, probably elements of Dyspraxia, although it's possible his Hypermobility may actually be EDS and there's probably Dyslexia also in the mix.   Either way, at last some one is listening and ready to march back into the fray with us. 

So, besides this, life is continuing with it's relentless bills, flat tyres, repairs, home improvements, the rat, paperwork, admin, etc etc  I'd love to say we're getting there but it feels largely one step forward, four or five steps back.  Looking through soup or swimming through mud I'd say surmises this year for me so far.

But...... and this is the thing, the But!  But I am still here. I feel tired. I feel overwhelmed.  At times I feel lost & lonely and like all of this is a bit too big for me.  But that's adulting isn't it?  We all of us feel like frauds at times, 5 year olds dressed in our Grown Up clothes 😊

So I am still smiling (just!) and By Golly I will not go quietly into that good night 😃😃😃😃

I was reminded recently that I am not a giver-upper 😊  Like us all, I have had my share of knocks.  A life time of being told I can't.  Ha ha, I am quite a shy sparrow in many ways but I am not one to be told I can't 😊 

When I was a kiddie I was told I couldn't be in the choir because I couldn't sing.  In actual fact, the choir mistress hated my Mum.  A later piano teacher and a number of distinctions in the oral exams showed me I can sing.  I'm nothing special, but I can hold a tune.

Later on I was told I couldn't sing out front in the church choir, because I didn't 'look right'.  I was fat & I wasn't pretty.  The minister's wife told me this. 

So I sang on the stage at Alexandra Palace, to a packed venue.  Shy old me who hates even speaking in public!  Because no I'm not pretty and yes I was very fat but that's sooooooo not the point.  I am also brave.  Especially when it comes to injustice.  I will force myself to do something, if I believe in my heart it is right.

Later on again, I wanted to go back to college to do Beauty Therapy.  I was told no because I didn't look right for it.  I wouldn't get a job at the end of it because no one would want their treatments from someone looking like me apparently.  I signed up anyway, and paid the course fees myself.  They cancelled the course! I kid you not.

Last year I was offered a contract to promote a Make Up brand, personally.  I turned it down because it's not me.  But I was flattered to be asked and it made me smile how things go full circle.

There are many more things I was told I wouldn't or couldn't do.  Without exception I think I have done them all 😊

I'm not quite sure where the fire came from that told me I can.  My Pa perhaps.  I watched the world try and beat that man down, over and over, but he always smiled, he always rose, he always forgave and he always loved. So while there are a lot of opportunities I haven't had, I've had that ❤ 

And he wasn't perfect, by any means.  None of the best people are 😉  He battled his demons & I'm happy to say he won 😊

So what I am reminded of today, and every day, is that I am broken but not beaten.  Down but not out 😉

So keep going my friends.  Though it feels like an uphill battle, you're winning - just keep walking xxx

Friday, 12 January 2018

2018 The Story So Far

Well hey there gang!  A slightly belated Happy New Year to you all.

I fully intended to do the usual New Years Resolutions post, then that turned into a positive affirmations kind of a post, then my laptop temporarily comatosed itself!

I took the hint, and shelved those posts 😄

Meanwhile, 2018 waits for no man, woman or rebellious PC!

So here we are, almost 2 weeks in.  How's it going so far?

Personally speaking I'm sorry to say that thus far it has been an absolute shower of ......... I can't say rainbows.  I almost wanna say lemonade - sticky, sour & stings your eyes!

I had fun plans for New Year's Eve - a party at a friends house with a number of very good friends & their kids and neighbours.  Sadly, Life (grrrrrr!) had other plans and a post-op infection meant I ended up seeing the old year out (Ta-ra!) and the new year in, home alone.  Never before in all my years have I done that.  Even when I had a bottom wisdom tooth out one New Years Eve, when I was about 18, I went out to the pub anyway, numb face & drooling!! Lol x

But it was good I think for me to do that.  A time of reflection, the last of all the firsts. Done. Ticked off, survived.  Onwards & upwards........

But Life (grrrr again) seems to have had other plans.....

Since the start of 2018 there has been the usual January-ness.  Listless post-Christmas kids, tired, emotional meltdowns, too many things costing money, longing for sunshine, warmth & not feeling you have to fight through every day..

And then all the other stuff.  The pets have both needed expensive stuff, straight into the new year with over a hundred pounds just on essentials for them....  This on the same day my laptop decided to die an unceremonious death.  Return to carpark to find someone has gifted me the present of driving into my car & driving off. No CCTV, no witnesses...... Grrrrrrrr.

So, that was Monday.

The rest of the week hasn't fared much better.  Hugely difficult week for the kids - sensory-wise this grey oppressive weather is just awful for them.  We had some other unpleasantness to deal with, personally speaking, which led me to uncharacteristically burst into tears on an almost stranger at the kids horse riding lesson!  Not only was this rubbish, but I was shock & mortified at myself for doing it. But I'll be honest, it is hard to go against the grain and to stand your ground against an outpouring of judgement & hate that frankly you've done nothing to warrant.  And in that moment, one little last straw send me over and the tears just came. Thankfully, she could not have been kinder about it & I think we now have a new friend 😊😊😊  Infact we are going ice skating next week!

Then Thursday, and another act of kindness from a friend who reached out to us & arranged an inclusive activity for my daughter, who was also feeling very sad about the unpleasantness.  So we had a fun morning at a book group with lots of friends.  Feeling buoyed by this happy experience, I forgot for a moment that Life was still on my tail, but it reminded me by sending a crazy wood pigeon to fly unavoidably into the windscreen of my car as I was driving to my daughter's gymnastics session!  I am an animal lover & not a happy driver.  This was not a happy experience, particularly then to control the car, continue safely with 2 very upset children and a cracked windscreen on to our destination, complete the gym class, get us safely home.  Where I could make a nice cup of tea in the new kettle that I had to buy to replace the old one that exploded earlier this week.

And the TV still doesn't work, I need to change broadband providers because that cost me three figures last month due to ANOTHER provider issue! Oh and the tumble dryer is not working intermittently.  And there's a crack in the front step and the outside of the house needs painting.

Adulting is hard! Fact.

In the meantime, I have had to make about a million phone calls this week. Change solicitors because I simply refuse to wait any longer than the current 6 1/2 weeks for a man who charges 3 figures plus VAT an hour to return my calls & Emails! 
Oh and sort out a mountain of other paperwork & life things, you know how it is. And squeeze in Home Educating two autistic children at the same time.

And the personal icing on the cake for me was that I have gained 2lbs this week.  Despite having re-started my exercise regime.  And I feel bloated as a beach ball and just generally a bit rubbish!  I know I will have lost it again by next week, that's just the way my body is, but right now just 😡

And now it is Friday.  Thank flippety gibbert it is!

And it's a Dad weekend this weekend.  So that means all the pets need to be done, beds changed & kids rooms tidied and them packed ready to go by tea time.  

So, all things considered it's been something of a mixed bag so far!

On the plus side, because there is always a plus side, always, there have been good friends & kindnesses peppered along the way too 💗  Sometimes, I won't lie, it does seem that life is relentlessly determined to bring me to my knees.  I am relentlessly determined not to let it. 

Thankfully the universe sends me little reminders along the way that actually I can do this, it is on my side, there are people that do see me, we are not on our own. And I'm so grateful for this because, try as I might, I'm not actually that brave and I'm not actually that strong. I am just here, being me, and doing the best I can.

And right now 2018, what I could really do with is few days off for good behavior, a cuddle & maybe a cup of tea.......  Oh well, 1 out of 3 isn't bad I suppose 😉

Thursday, 28 December 2017

A Year in Words & Pictures

So guys it's that time.......  I've had a few tags in the last couple of days asking what my New Year's Resolutions will be, and I've been thinking about it.

It's a tough one. 

But before I write about that, in another post I think, can I just say 2017 has been a crazy old year.  Let me re-cap.

I started out the year like this -

And that was the start of this -

So I went from this -

To this -

And some of this happened -

And so learning this lesson happened -

And along the way there's been lots of -

And a little bit of this 😊

Which has led to the year end looking something like this -

Thanks to all who've stuck with us and joined us on this journey xxx

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Mummy is scared..

So how's everyone's Christmas preparations coming along?  We're pleasantly ahead of the game this year.  Christmas cards written & posted, including abroad cards & any postable presents to far away relatives (only a couple). 

We put the tree up on 1st December - partly because we just wanted to, but also because we had friends and family coming last weekend for early Christmases so we thought it would be nice to be festive.

Christmas presents virtually all bought and wrapped, ready.  Only one outstanding I think.  And this includes DS's forth coming 9th birthday - eeeeek!  Only one more year after this & both my babies will be in double figures!  Yikes!  Where did that time go?

And it's been a helluva year one way & another.  In many ways I cannot wait to see the back of it. 

And now one final hurdle, before we can wave this year good bye.

Some of you will remember my 'On this day' post earlier this year, when I wrote about some particularly unpleasant emergency surgery I had 14 years ago, on the first anniversary of my Dad's death. It was a horribly difficult time, and I lost a lot, not only that day but in the 18 months or so afterwards that it took for me to make a full physical recovery (the emotional one is always going to be a work in progress I think).

And this year hasn't been the best for me, healthwise.  Now I'm facing surgery again.  On Saturday.  Which would've been my Dad's birthday. And I'm trying to write about it here. In the hopes it will make me feel less anxious, less afraid.  But I'm struggling to be honest, to find the words......

I think I am ready, as ready as I can be.  We are Christmas ready, the chores are all done, cupboards, freezer & bathroom all stocked up. Bag packed. Childcare sorted until Wednesday at least. 

So there's nothing else to say really.  Except that I'm scared......

I originally met with a consultant months ago, who said they wanted to do this surgery.  I said no, no and thrice no!  And then no, followed by a lot more no's.

This was a Friday. 

5am the following Monday I was hospitalized with the pain.  Because God thinks it is funny to give me lessons like this..

So I had a CT scan, bloods, was prepped for theatre, lines put in, nil by mouth (always fun with diabetes....) but tbh I wouldn't have kept anything down anyway. 

And I waited, for about 10 hours with my friend (another friend looking after my kids) and there was no theatre space, so I went home. I was meant to be called back but they lost my notes, so my GP had to re-refer and I had to wait at the bottom again.

Finally saw another consultant, who was lovely. He had the nicest letter from my GP, which was so nice he read it out to me!  Then he talked with me through all my no's.  Offered, promised to do the surgery himself. Offered me a weekend slot.  Arranged for me to be first on the list so no waiting on the day.  I couldn't have asked or hoped for more.

But still I am scared.  And I don't really know what else to say about that except that I am xx

Friday, 24 November 2017

Product Review - Letterbox Lab

Back in September (to my enormous shame) our friends at Letterbox Lab were kind enough to send us another box of their lovely experiments.

Fate & time have transpired against us but at last we have managed to get stuck in and have some super STEM fun.

We received their Investigate Box number 2 - Science up your Sleeve.

Packed with hands on experiments, with fast results, and everything you need included. Even the instructions this time were part of the fun, written on dissolvable paper!

Now one of the things we LOVE about Letterbox Lab - besides the fact the do everything for you, it fits through your Letterbox, the packaging is cool........ - is that the instruction book is clear, bright, engaging & manageable for the children to work through by themselves.  All I am needed for is a little supervision, which is great for their independence and holding their interest -

The kids had fun making their own magic wand - first levitating feathers with a balloon - then levitating Meg & Pico (tracing paper versions!) with their magic wand.

In total there are 8 experiments in the box. We enjoyed Writing with Light and Disappearing Water.  Pico in a Cage & Blooming Flower were also good fun.  But DD's favourite by far was Vanishing Flame -

The instructions re-cap every stage, explaining and reinforcing what you have just learned and asking questions to promote further investigation.

We loved that even when some of the experiments didn't go according to plan, there was still something to learn from the results. Which promotes resilience and inquisitiveness in children, and is great for their confidence as there is no feeling of failure, simply to look further into why you think the experiment didn't go as you expected, and whether or not that can be rectified.

It really is a great product, with everything you need to get stuck straight in, learning & having fun.

Find out more here -