Eva’s Autism Diagnosis

We had Eva’s Autism Diagnosis a few weeks ago. I know we are all relieved to finally have the diagnosis confirmed so we can move forward with providing the right support for Eva, especially with moving up to secondary school in September.

For quite a few years we have suspected Eva is somewhere on the autistic spectrum. We tried to bring this up with several teachers and professionals in the past who just labelled her sensitive and forgetful. Knowing so many families fight such a long time for a diagnosis with support from teachers etc we decided to wait it out and hope someone would notice. Its hard with autism as it presents in so many different ways and girls especially are known to mask it by learning and copying their peers.

Getting Help

Thankfully that happened in year 4, two years ago. Eva’s teacher at the time suspected she is autistic and masks well, she passed us on to SENCO and suggested I took the NAS course to learn about autism in females. I am so glad I did take that course as it taught me about masking which made me realise that’s exactly what Eva does. She seems sensitive but outgoing and chatty, she masks well in public. Come home time though and the meltdowns occur, all the stress from the day just comes pouring out. In reality while she appears chatty and outgoing she struggles to maintain friendships, having only made her first real friend this year.

SENCO at Eva’s school have been fantastic, I really can’t fault them. The lovely woman who I spoke to chatted for a good hour with me discussing Eva’s behaviours and struggles both in school and at home. Having a daughter similar to Eva who was also late to be diagnosed, it was lovely to chat to her and I left feeling like someone had finally truly listened and agreed with everything we were saying.

I expected this to be an extremely lengthy process, we warned Eva of this to prepare her and were surprised when in just a matter of weeks we had our first assessment appointment at the local community hospital. There we went over Eva’s history, behaviours and struggles again and they agreed a 3di assessment (computer assessment) was the best way to diagnose Eva.

This was all booked for last April, but of course covid19 put a halt to this. The phone lines wouldn’t connect and nobody within the same building could get me through to that department so I decided to wait it out and chase it when things eased. I expected this to be a drawn out process and was amazed at the speed of our referral so far so I felt hopeful things would be back on track soon and thankfully last month we received a letter for a phone call appointment.

Eva’s Autism Diagnosis

The phone call went surprisingly smoothly considering how worked up I got over it. I don’t do well with phone calls, my brain fog makes me panic I’ll forget stuff or mix up my words but thankfully the guy I spoke to was really nice and we quickly got through the 3di assessment with him reading the questions and telling me the options. All the questions were either yes/no, somewhat/mostly/all the time etc to each part which made things a lot easier.

In just under half an hour we completed the assessment and I was shocked to discover we would find out there and then. The results quickly came back showing Eva is on the autistic spectrum. The guy told me this and followed it up with ‘but you knew this anyway didn’t you?’. Parents do just know I think, it can be hard to get a diagnosis but if you know deep down you can still provide the support they desperately need.

Helping Eva Cope With Sensory Issues

We already have a fairly good routine that suits Eva well, changes to it do throw her but we do our best to warn her well ahead of time. She’s been using ear defenders since year 4 as and when she feels too overwhelmed. Socks and clothing have always been an issue, I’ve lost count of how many mornings we’ve both ended up in tears just trying to find socks she will wear without getting upset.

We’ve bought a few different sensory toys for her over the years and she has a few favourites she always goes back to. Eva struggles with food, tastes and textures can really distress her. Sometimes she will eat the same thing on repeat, she eats food from her plate one food group at a time, never mixing them. Some of the things we’ve done or do to help do make things a little easier but we rarely go more than a day or two without a small wobble over something.

Relief

I’m still in shock with how quickly we received Eva’s autism diagnosis to be honest. If you take away this pandemic year, it has taken less than a year, two years including a pandemic really isn’t too bad. I’ve been umming and ahhing over wether to add this in as I know so many parents struggle and fight for years for a diagnosis and I don’t want them to feel I’m showing off but equally I hope this does give hope to other families trying to get a diagnosis for someone they suspect may be on the spectrum.

It doesn’t always take forever, sometimes it really can be straight forward. I am so grateful, we have been so lucky that Eva is in a school with a brilliant SENCO team who are so friendly and happy to help. Without their support these last two years would have been so much harder.

Moving forward we have now made both Eva’s current school and her secondary school aware of her diagnosis and both schools are working on a hand over for all SEN children moving up which again gives me some confidence that Eva will have the support she will need through secondary school.

Eva’s diagnosis hasn’t really changed much for us as a family but it should hopefully make it easier for her at school and work. I’m hoping once we are able to talk to her secondary school we will be able to organise an EHCP for Eva to help make school life easier for her, she has made a fantastic friend who will be moving up with her too so I’m a little less anxious about how Eva will cope moving up.

Eva’s Feelings

Recently, I have been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) which means at times I can get overwhelmed and struggle with certain things in every day life. This has made it difficult because in the past teachers may have thought that I am being emotional and struggling just for attention when I do not mean to do this as I enjoy being at school and it should be a enjoyable yet educational building.

Through my childhood leading up to now, both mum and dad have made things quite straight-forward for me. When there was clothing problems about certain materials and seams bothering me, I could tell my mum and when it was convenient her or my dad would go to a shop with or without me and choose a pair of socks. This would help immensely.

From Year 4, I have been using ear defenders but now I have started to cut down on using them so I can cope when I do not have them around so that I don’t get overwhelmed too easily. This year, after I got my diagnosis, I have started to grow a collection of sensory toys. Even before I was diagnosed I have had a lot of sensory toys. These help me by calming me down and helps me to cope by distracting me from what is around me. Sometimes this can get people annoyed with me as I zone out when using these sensory toys, but now I can tell them I’m autistic and these help me to cope.

Overall I think having an autism diagnosis has had positive and negative points in different ways. For example: A positive point may be that people may understand ways that calm me down to stop me from getting overwhelmed a lot. And a negative point may be that that if people do not know I am autistic they may misjudge me and think I am doing it for attention when I am not.

Izzy’s Thoughts

Izzy wanted to join in with this post, she said that although she is the younger sister she feels very protective over Eva. Izzy accepts Eva as she is and says that even though she may be different to others in some ways, she loves her no matter what and being diagnosed as autistic makes no difference because Eva is who she is.

Awareness and Acceptance

We have written this post in the hopes it helps raise awareness of autism, the difficulties with spotting autism, especially in females, the process of a diagnosis and individual feelings for those who may be looking for something relatable. I know a big part of me starting this blog was needing an outlet and a good way to discover things like this myself. In fact it is thanks to a lot of the bloggers I still follow being so open about their own journeys with autism that helped me realise Eva really was likely to be on the spectrum somewhere and without that I doubt I would have felt confident enough to chase a diagnosis for her.

We also want to remind our readers that it isn’t just about awareness, acceptance is just as important and I feel Izzy’s input helps to show that. Autistic children simply need acceptance and understanding. Especially as parents we won’t always get it right, it can take a huge amount of trial and error to make life easier for our children but surrounding them with love, kindness and acceptance goes a long way to helping them have a happy life.

Elf On The Shelf – 12 Days Of Elvis and Elfie

Elf on the shelf can be great fun! Over 14 million elves have been adopted around the world. Any parent will tell you though that sometimes it can be difficult to come up with ideas. Design bundles have some fab bundles and kindly sent us a box of goodies to make things easier.

Elf On The Shelf Day 1

Elf on the shelf - Elfie is sat under the tree with Elvis his cousin in an Elf Isolation jar, on top of a baking kit.

Elfie has been visiting us for the last few years. He’s an absolute terror and had been told he is not to steal the girls toys this year! So instead he brought along his cousin Elvis. Thankfully he seems a much better behaved elf and arrived in Elf Isolation adhering to the guidelines. Together they arrived with a fun Ginger bread baking kit for the girls to make!

Day 2

Day 2 came around quickly and Elfie and Elvis wanted to dress up. He arrived with a dazzling gold wardrobe and clothing from previous years hung up inside. Naughty Elfie had hidden his poor cousin Elvis (still in Elf Isolation) underneath a discarded dressing gown!

Elfie is sat in front of a homemade golden coloured wardrope, strong across the doors is a festive clothes line with a christmas jumper and pyjamas hanging from it. In front of the wardrobe are pieces of fabric, scissors, glue and a needle along with a sign saying 'I can't find any clothes to wear.. lets make some Love Elfie!.

It seems Elfie wasn’t happy with his current wardrobe and insisted the girls made him some new ones. Thankfully he at least brought his own materials, although cheekily he raided my crochet tin for the scissors and needle.

Day 3

The elves brought some colouring sheets and pens for the girls to do some festive colouring on day 3. Elfie had been colouring in a candy cane when we woke up! The girls couldn’t wait to get colouring with the elves when they woke up. Who doesn’t love colouring!?

Day 4

Elfie and Elvis wanted to make Christmas cards on day 4. Elvis wrote his very own tiny christmas card to the girls which was sweet.

Elfie and Elvis are sat with some colouring pens and cards/envelopes.

He brought the girls some paper and card to make their own which they loved doing. Card making is always fun!

Day 5

On day 5 Elvis and Elfie wanted to make some decorations. They arrived with a bag including a clear fillable bauble, fake snow and some small ornaments to go inside. Naturally we discovered Elfie using his poor cousin Elvis to get inside the bag of goodies!

Elfie's legs are sticking out of a paper bag, his feet are using Elvis' Elf Isolation jar to climb up.

Thankfully nothing was damaged and we were able to make a lovely bauble. The girls loved this as the Mr has a t-shirt in with a camper van and Christmas tree on top!

Day 6

On day 6 the elves decided it was time for the girls to write to Santa. They brought them an example sheet which I copied and a fun snowman pen to write out their lists.

Elfie and Elvis are sat on top of a blank letter to santa with a pen

We were pleased to see Elfie was behaving a little bit better today! Having an elf on the shelf can be worrying, you never know what you might wake up to!

Day 7

On day 7 the elves thought the girls would enjoy making a fun window display from. They brought lots of fun stencils and paper.. Although messily scattered everywhere! We are hoping Elvis is able to tame Elfie a bit when he finally finishes Elf isolation next week! SVG images are great for activities like these.

Elfie and is sat amongst a mess of stencils and paper

Day 8

The elves decided as the girls love doing random acts of kindness that they might enjoy making someone a gift. Along with some card they had left some chocolates. The girls decided they should make a Christmas cracker and use the chocolates to fill it up. Unfortunately this day became quite eventful so we missed a photograph!

Day 9

Acts of kindness are so nice the elves decided to encourage the girls twice! On the 9th day the elves provided a fun list of acts of kindness to help the girls out. Elfie had even left Elvis a note saying he SMELLS lovely! This led to the girls going through their toys and producing a bag for the charity shop a few days later. The elves then rewarded them with some sweets for their kindness whilst sat on the bag of toys.

Elfie and Elvis are sat on top of a sheet of random acts of kindness ideas

Day 10

The elves must have been getting hungry thinking about Christmas being just 15 days away. They brought the girls some things to help set the table. They came with a fantastic glass milk bottle for Santa and card and a shiny pen to make placemats.

Elfie and Elvis are sat with black card to make placemats and a santas milk botttle

Day 11

With the big day quickly approaching, the elves thought it was time the girls wrapped some presents. They brought wrapping paper, a gift tag and a bag of popcorn for the girls to enjoy with a film.

Wrapping with the Elves - Elfie is sat in a popcorn pot with his legs up in the air and over his shoulders next to wrapping paper, washi tape, a christmas tag and popcorn.

The paper is perfect for my sister who loves pugs and has her own called Pugsley! So the girls wrapped for their aunt and uncle using the lovely paper. Once we were all done they enjoyed snuggling up with a film and sharing the popcorn.

Day 12

Although I am certain there was something else planned, such as a fun scavenger hunt for the 12th day, instead we discovered Elfie up to mischief.

Elfie pulling Elvis from his Elf isolation

Of course, being such a naughty elf that he is, he couldn’t wait 2 more days and had dragged poor Elvis out of Elf Isolation!! Lets hope 12 days was enough to keep us all safe!

We definitely enjoy Elf on the shelf as a tradition now and cant wait to see what else Elfie and Elvis will get up to next. I will definitely be using Design bundles in future and check out their free printable resources and new products.

What has your Elf on a Shelf been up to? Do you use any fun resources?

Goodbye 2019 – Hello 2020

Goodbye 2019. It wasn’t a bad year over all, I was a littler quieter on the blog, even though lots has happened. 2019 found me focusing more on my Crochet and Reading and I took up matched betting. Overall it was quite a positive year. 5th December 2019 also marked the tenth year of the Mr and I living together. Facebook also reminded us we’ve known each other for 14 years, almost half my life haha!

Goodbye 2019 - Hello 2020

Hospital Appointments For The Girls

We’ve had lots of hospital appointments to attend, mostly for Izzy’s hearing but also chasing an Autism diagnosis for Eva. We’re hoping this will help get an EHCP in place before Secondary school to make things easier for Eva. Eva has also complained of leg pain for quite some time and having been checked for signs of muscle weakness, the Dr highly suspects she may have Peripheral Neuropathy like me. This was hard to hear, knowing she could face the same as me was heartbreaking. We will have to monitor her to find out for sure though.

Izzy has glue ear and has lost 50% of her hearing, we’re currently monitoring her and using the Otovent to try and clear her ears. If this doesn’t work she will need gromits fitted and her adenoids and tonsils removed. The Otovent had made a difference with a few days use so we are hopeful once Izzy is less congested we can get back to using it and improve her hearing.

Izzy also has astigmatism like me which we have an appointment at the hospital for this Tuesday. I’m hopeful she has very few issues, although I’ve no doubt her eyesight will continue to deteriorate as she grows. Whilst it has been stressful we’re hopeful both girls will get the help and support they need to improve things.

My Own Health

Admittedly I have neglected my own health again, but I do plan to get on top of that this year. Fatigue, pain and eczema have made 2019 quite frustrating at times to be honest. Having a rather rude Dr make me feel awful for even asking him how I get referred to his department for my eczema, I felt too nervous to book in and get a referral. I’d hate to be referred to that Dr after he had talked to me so nastily in front of an entire waiting room of patients.

Trying to balance attending events with the girls, doing the small amount of tidying I do at home, actually leaving the flat to go shopping so I’m not at home 24/7 and trying to find time for myself has been quite tricky and I’ve had to miss out on more over the last year. I’ve learnt to reserve my energy for the more important things better than before but still the guilt gets me when I do miss things.

I guess that’s typical for anyone with chronic pain and mental health issues but thankfully reading and crochet have helped me rest my body whilst still feeling like I am doing something productive. I do still have days where I push myself badly and suffer sometimes for a week or so after but these days are becoming less and hopefully in 2020 I’ll learn to control that further.

Matched Betting

From matched betting, we managed to buy a car just in time for the school holidays and countless hospital appointments for both girls. Originally I was saving to build the Mr a PC for gaming, oops! We have at least made a start on buying parts but due to emptying the bank for the car we haven’t managed as much as I had hoped. I can’t deny we have made a nice amount over the last 6 or so months but having had so many financial struggles over the years we are still playing catch up too, as anyone with health issues will understand due to benefit changes.

Me and the girls in the car

Regardless, I am extremely grateful for discovering this fantastic way to earn a little extra each week. Having a car has given us back some of the freedom we had lost due to my health. We had some lovely trips out during the summer to Wicksteed Park, Wat Tyler Park, Canvey Island and we’ve even managed a few visits to Martyn and Hannah.

Reading

I am honestly proud of myself for managing to read almost 60 books in 2019! I can’t thank Random Things Blog Tours enough for organising so many fabulous tours. Thanks to Anne, I have discovered and rediscovered some amazing authors over the last year. I’m hoping to hit 50-60 books again during 2020 after a short break over Christmas.

Crochet

My crochet skills definitely improved over 2019! I decided to take on as many challenges as I could and managed to make most of the things I wanted. In total, I crocheted nearly 50 items, from blankets, cushion covers, teddies and bookmarks. I even took a pattern and edited it to make a lovely Skull Scarf and shared the pattern. It was definitely a good year for crochet even with a long break due to sore hands and wrists.

I also created a bear pattern, Izzy asked me to make her best friend a red sparkly bear. Izzy explained he needed a longer body so her friend can grip him properly as she has weak hand muscles. Under her instruction and watchful eye to make sure he was perfect I finished him quite quickly and Izzy’s friend loved him. Several people really liked the bear when I shared pictures and with a lot of encouragement, I will be looking to sell my crochet makes, particularly the bears in 2020! I’m still undecided on a platform for selling but please do get in touch if you have a request.

Positivity

In 2019 I discovered several people weren’t worth the stress and effort anymore, those that put me down or treated me badly were simply cut out. I don’t need extra negativity in my life when I do have some amazing friends such as Slim, Martyn, Hannah, Fiona and Lisa who have all been there for me when I’ve needed it and I hope I’ve been there for them as much as I can too.

It’s hard to feel positive if people are putting you down or taking your kindness for a weakness constantly and I’m determined to have a more positive outlook. I also think this is much healthier for the girls, certain people have been cut out of our lives to protect them and ensure they grow up around kind, supportive people who genuinely care.

We said goodbye 2019 knowing we have some fantastic friends and feeling much more positive for the start of a new year.

Plans For 2020

I intend to read at least a book a week and crochet at least one item to see if I can manage 50+ reads and makes this year. Due to my anxiety and chronic pain I’ve not been out as much as I should, especially alone. I plan to change that this year and get out a bit more in the hopes it makes going out a bit easier and to give me a bit of a break from these four walls.

Hopefully matched betting will allow us to finish off the Mr’s PC at last as this keeps him occupied in between running around for the 3 of us. He has taken on the role of my carer fantastically and does so much for us it will be lovely to finally give him something back just for him.

It would be lovely if we could save enough for our first proper family holiday this year. We went away for a weekend to Kent when Eva was a baby but we would love to do something a little more special!

Goodbye 2019!

Overall 2019 has probably been one of our better years and it’s making me look forward to 2020! Saying Goodbye 2019 has been quite enjoyable. How has your year been?

Chocolate Emoji Maker and Zimpli Kids Products

We received a Chocolate Emoji Maker to review along with some other really cool Zimpli Kids Products. The girls love Zimpli Kids products and couldn’t wait to get started!

Chocolate Emoji Maker

This fab little kit comes with everything you need to make 2 Chocolate Emoji Bars. The instructions are nice and easy to follow and both Izzy (5) and Eva (9) really enjoyed making their chocolate emojis.

Chocolate Emoji Maker

Once the chocolate had melted in the warm water, it was time to get to work! Following the instructions the girls found they were able to follow the outlines pretty well.

Using White, Milk and Dark chocolate girls managed to create their chocolate emojis in just a few minutes. The hard part was waiting for them to set! Thankfully that didn’t take too long.

This kit was really fun, I can see us buying more chocolate and doing it again too as it was such a quick, simple and enjoyable activity and of course, ends in chocolate!

Snoballs

Snoballs

We also received some Snoball Sachets, simply mix with water create your own Snoballs! Perfect for indoor sensory play or outdoors. The Snoballs break down naturally or can be washed away leaving no mess behind. The girls love playing with Snoballs and seeing who can create the biggest one!

Blue Gelli Baff

Blue Gelli Baff is amazing! Simply add to your bath water and watch it turn into blue Gelli! This fun stuff doesn’t stain the skin and comes with a handy sachet that dissolves it all at the end making it safe to drain your bath.

Gelli Baff

We love using Gelli Bath to play with too, Izzy set up a bowl of Gelli Bath to give her toy dolphins a bath. As you can see they had plenty of fun too!

Dolphins having a Gelli Baff

Gelli Baff comes in several colours and is great fun at bathtime or in a tub for sensory play. Both my girls have sensitive skin and have had no issues using Gelli Baff either which is always a plus.

Crackle Baff Colours

Crackle Baff Colours

Add Crackle Baff to your bath water and hear it crackle as it changes colour! This makes another great sensory play activity as well as a fun bath product. The crystals crackle and pop so loudly whilst they turn your bath a mystery colour which Izzy thought was amazing.

Crackle Baff Colours

Paw Patrol And Top Wing At Showcase Cinema De Lux

On Saturday we watched Paw Patrol and Top Wing on the big screen at Showcase Cinema De Lux at Bluewater. We were kindly gifted 3 tickets to watch the Nick Jr Big Screen Heroes show in exchange for our review. 

Paw Patrol - Paw Patrol and Top Wing at Showcase Cinema de lux

Paw Patrol And Top Wing

We haven’t visited a Showcase Cinema De Lux before so we weren’t too sure what to expect. Bluewater is signposted really well making it easy to find Showcase Cinema De Lux (and the Mr was pleased to find an open bar below!). Upon arrival we were pleased to find that unlike our recent cinema trips, all the chairs were clean, in working order and recline!

This is perfect for us as Izzy often ends up on my lap halfway through which aggravates my chronic pain. Having my legs raised took off the pressure making the experience a rather comfortable one!

Izzy watching  an episode of top wing

In total there were 6 episodes swapping from Paw Patrol to Top Wing and each one had Izzy glued to the screen, even Eva seemed happy enough to watch. Izzy loves Paw Patrol but hadn’t watched Top Wing before and she was certainly impressed.

Top Wing - Paw patrol and Top wing at Showcase cinema de lux

The display and sound were perfectly clear, we forgot Eva’s ear defenders but thankfully the volume wasn’t so high it overwhelmed her yet it was loud enough for Izzy to hear even though she only has 50% of her hearing currently due to glue ear. Overall we really enjoyed visiting Showcase Cinema De Lux and watching Paw Patrol and Top Wing on the big screen. I can see us visiting this cinema again in future.

Top Wing

Showcase Cinema De Lux

Showcase Cinemas has 21 cinema across the UK offering luxury recliner seats for a more comfortable cinema experience.

Ticket Prices are:

Adult – £9.35
Child – £8.60
Senior – £8.60
Student (Id required) – £9.25

Have you visited a Showcase Cinema before?

Brightening Clothes -#ACEWinterRefresh Challenge

We’ve been brightening clothes with Ace for colours as part of the Britmums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge. We took part in a previous ACE back to school challenge and loved their products so much we still use them.

Brightening Clothes #ACEWinterRefresh challenge

Brightening Clothes

We received 2 boxes of ACE for colours to help us with this challenge. The girls wear a lot of red and pinks thanks to their school uniform and it being their favourite colours so we decided to brighten some up.

We decided to test ACE for colours mainly on a red fluffy pyjama top that was a lovely bright red last winter but has slowly faded and a pair of light pink and black socks that were a little grubby and faded.

Easy To Use

ACE for colours is really easy to use, simply add the specified amount on the box along with your usual washing powder to refresh your clothes. You can find Ace for colours at your local Morrison’s store or online from Amazon.

ACE gently lifts stains helping you keep up with the never-ending school washing pile, keeping clothing bright, robust and clean. ACE is gentle enough you can add it to every wash keeping your clothing in the best condition possible.

Results

The red fluffy reindeer pyjama top came out surprisingly refreshed and looking much brighter than before. I had been thinking of replacing these but these results mean it will last Izzy most of this winter and still look bright and colourful. It was a little difficult to get a before and after photo but I am pleased with the results.

Reindeer pj top refreshed with ACE for colours

I was really shocked to see just how much dirt was removed from the socks and the pink is almost like new again! The black is looking much darker too rather than faded.

Before and After ACE for colours

Do you use any ACE products?

 *This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge, sponsored by ACE for Colours Powder. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper and pick up the range at your nearest Morrison’s store or buy online on Amazon.

Mess-Free Fun – Playfoam Pluffle Review

We’re enjoying mess-free fun with Playfoam Pluffle which we were kindly sent to review by Learning Resources UK in September. Pluffle is the mesmerising feel-good fluffy stuff which is mess-free meaning both children and parents will love it!

Playfoam Pluffle

Play Foam Pluffle

Playfoam Pluffle comes in packs of 2, 4 and 9 and suitable for children 5 years and up. We were kindly sent three 2-packs to review including Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Pink and Purple. Unlike similar products, this can’t dry out, can be mixed and is completely amazing to touch and watch. Several packs and colours are available to buy making Pluffle a flexible and fun product.

Playing with Playfoam Pluffle

Pluffle is a fantastic learning resource, squishing, squeezing a pinching develops hand strength and watching the lava-lamp like flow encourages concentration. This truly is mesmerising and we all found ourselves flipping over handfuls to watch it fall and flow.

Under the sea Playfoam Pluffle sensory play scene

Imaginative Sensory Play

Izzy was fascinated and couldn’t wait to let her imagination loose finding an assortment of toys to create play scenes. She loves the feeling and says it tickles her fingers! It really is super soft to the touch.

Izzy loves to mix things so she had most of the colours a little mixed in rather quickly too otherwise I could have added more photos’s.

Beach Playfoam Pluffle Scene

I love this beach scene Izzy created using the Blue and Yellow Pluffle though. She sat playing with this scene for quite some time, burying characters in ‘sand’, letting them swim in the ‘sea’ along with the sea creatures.

Our Thoughts

Overall we think Playfoam Pluffle is brilliant and a great SEN resource for children aged 5-10 years. Izzy really enjoys pulling out her tubs to play with. Even Eva had fun getting involved feeling Pluffle and setting up scenes.

Have you seen or heard of Playfoam Pluffle before?

Plusnet Modern Day Fairy Tales – Rapunzel Rewritten

Plusnet have teamed up with Larry Lamb to re-imagine a trilogy of classic fairy tales for the digital generation. Recent research suggests infrequent readers are on the rise between 6-16 years. Giving these classic’s a modern day twist will appeal to children under 10 and give them a positive way to use technology. 

We were asked by Plusnet to re-imagine our own fairy tale favourite and received a box of supplies to help us. As a family, reading is very important to us and a main topic on our blog. Some classics are rather outdated for our modern day technologically advanced world. 25% of parents today admit to changing the story lines of classic tales to fit modern day values and we were excited to rewrite a classic ourselves.

Plusnet - Jack and the Beanstalk

Using the Amazon Fire HD10 we watched the Plusnet trilogy to give us ideas. The trilogy includes Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. 

With the books, pens, pencils and stickers, the girls set to work deciding which story to rewrite. In the end they decided on Rapunzel, and wanted kindness to save her instead of a Prince. 

Rapunzel Rewritten

Once upon a modern time, a young Rapunzel sat on her bed, daydreaming. Rapunzel had been locked up in her tower by an evil witch, Mother Gothel, who was jealous of her beauty and long, magical hair.

Plusnet Once upon a time online

As Rapunzel sat daydreaming, an idea suddenly came to her.
“Perhaps if she booked a pampering spa day, Mother Gothel may feel happier and beautiful and set me free.”

Rapunzel uses her smartphone to begin searching for spa days and books Mother Gothel in at a luxurious spa, offering full day packages.

Rapunzel pages 2 to 3

Now Rapunzel just had to find a way for Mother Gothel to get there without knowing about the surprise.

Rapunzel realises the next day, Mother Gothel would take an Uber shopping to buy supplies for Rapunzel. She changes the booking just in time the next morning.

Mother Gothel is surprised when her Uber pulls up at a luxurious Spa retreat. Before she can say a word, a member of staff whisks Mother Gothel through to the spa, handing her a fresh bathrobe and fresh youth smoothie. Mother Gothel relaxes, allows her hair to be dyed and enjoys her pampering session at the spa.

When Mother Gothel returned, she thanked Rapunzel for planning her surprise spa day. “Thank you, Rapunzel. I feel amazing now and I see that keeping you here is wrong. Sorry Rapunzel, you are free to leave, the Uber is outside waiting for you.

The end.

What do you think of the girls ‘Rapunzel Rewritten’

Blanket Fort Building Challenge

We received a Blanket fort building challenge from Time4Sleep who are aiming to build the world’s biggest blanket fort! We received an essential fort building kit to join in the fun and build our own forts at home.

Blanket Fort

A better world starts with a blanket fort.

Blanket Fort Building

We love building blanket forts, it’s one of our go-to ideas when the weather is miserable so we couldn’t wait to get started! In the end, we actually made several forts, each slightly different from the last.

Fort Building Challenge Kit

With the summer being so up and down we have spent a good week building different forts with our kit from Time4Sleep. We received Fairy lights, bunting, wooden pegs, a torch, popcorn boxes, popcorn, bed sheets, a chalk board sign, an iPad stand and blanket fort book.

Popcorn and blanket forts

The girls absolutely love snuggling up with the lights on, watching a DVD or their tablets cosily in their forts. I filled their popcorn boxes up with a mix of popcorn and sweets and they have spent hours together enjoying films or books and redecorating their forts, making sure their ‘Girls only’ sign is on display at the entrance!

Benefits Of Blanket Forts

Building blanket forts is so much more than just fun for kids. Blanket fort building enhances children’s cognitive skills such as problem-solving and planning. Social skills such as cooperating and negotiating are needed and the building itself builds practical skills too.

Building Forts for fun

Children are free to let their imaginations run wild as they decide on their building plans and how to decorate inside. Once built, blanket forts create a cosy safe space to relax or play in. With lots of miserable days this summer, blanket forts have kept the girls amused quite a lot.

Another benefit is silence! The girls love their blanket forts so much they often disappear for an hour or so at a time. Izzy especially loves being able to snuggle up in a blanket fort for hours on end and is silent the entire time.

Do your kids love building forts too?

Conversation Cards For Kids From Together Equal

We received a set of conversation cards from Together Equal. Together Equal targets families, with profits from every pack going directly to small, independent charities working towards equality.

Conversation cards for kids from together equal

As a family we often discuss equality and we were excited to use Together Equal’s conversation cards. Together Equal is a not for profit organisation which works with a number of charities supporting victims of abuse. Having had the support of Women’s Aid in the past, I personally love the whole idea and product.

Together Equal

Research has proven the power of conversations with an OECD study identifying the positive impacts of conversations between children and their parent or guardians. Using this knowledge, Together equal have created an enjoyable, engaging game that can be played at home or on the go. Then conversation cards have been developed for families with children aged 7-11 year although Izzy (4) has been joining in with us too! There is a variety of topics, some fun, some are thought-provoking and some touch on societal gender stereotypes.

Family Discussions

Equality - Is it ok for boys to cry?

We have used the conversation cards quite a bit to be honest, the girls love a good discussion! One of the first cards we discussed asked ‘Is it ok for boys to cry?’. Both girls instantly answered yes! It’s a topic we have discussed before so I wasn’t surprised by their answers. Eva happily explained to us why it’s ok for boys to cry too which was lovely to hear.

Together Equal - Conversation cards for kids

Another favourite card asked ‘If you could make a law that everyone had to follow what would it be?’. Eva answered that she would make it a law for everyone to be kind all the time. Izzy’s answer was funny, she said she would make it a law for everyone to drink one beer a day!

Tell the person next to you what you think makes them awesome

We have kept the conversation cards on my desk and quite often one of the girls will open them up and ask if we can pick one to discuss. I love this, it’s a really fun way to start a conversation. I love the card above, it’s a lovely way of making your friends and family feel good about themselves. Hearing the girls tell each other why they think the other is awesome was adorable!

Honestly, I think these cards are fantastic, you can take them anywhere to get a conversation going. Knowing profits after production costs all go to fantastic charities that help victims of abuse get their life back is reassuring. I know too well just how much donations can change peoples lives and Together Equal are doing amazing work to spread equality and help others.

Have you heard of Together Equal’s Conversation Cards before?