It wasn’t meant to be …

Copied over from the autism site, apologies if you’re reading this twice:

A month ago I was practically burbling over with excitement:

D was a day away from celebrating her birthday, a very exciting time for her as she’d never really recognised birthdays up until the last couple of years.

And I was shortlisted in the Brilliance in Blogging awards, something which I felt very humbled about. I don’t go by stats and traffic and blog for the enjoyment and awareness-raising. The spam and nasty comments are a downside but there’s a delete button for a reason.

Two days later, everything changed.

I wasn’t a finalist in the awards. I felt bitterly disappointed but felt I’d let everyone down who may have voted, who may read my blog, I felt I’d let down my children. T, in particular, was very proud of me and wondered what a trophy would look like, he decided it would be fingers tapping on a phone screen – bless him!

I have to admit that I cried and felt a bit sorry for myself, that I wasn’t doing it “right”, that I wasn’t in the blogging cliche that seems to exist. I felt like the chubby girl chosen last in PE, except I wasn’t chosen.

I felt sad that I wouldn’t be attending the ceremony, I hadn’t been organised enough to get a ticket to BritMums Live and it was too late.

Lovely Kate, who writes for BritMums ran a competition to give away a ticket and I decided to enter, fingers crossing.

Another day later and my world as I know it, turned upside down, back to front and inside out.

Suddenly the ceremony didn’t matter anymore, the thought that I wouldn’t be going paled into insignificance.

My mum, who’d been showing the symptoms for years, was diagnosed with kidney cancer and neither radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an operation were an option. The consultants were not prepared to perform a high-risk operation.

Focuses change when news like this reaches your family, they have to.

I definitely won’t be going anywhere far away from a hospital in the next few days.

Last week, in a dramatic u-turn, they agreed to operate on my mum, she (assuming there is a bed) has the very high-risk operation tomorrow.

There are very mixed feelings going around my head, this operation will either prolong her life or end it suddenly tomorrow, there are no guarantees with anything.

I could be doing the school run later and be hit by a bus – I sincerely hope not! – but in this situation, everyone that needs to know is aware of tomorrow. She’s spoken to and told who she wants to tell, she’s seen who she wants to see.

It will be a case of waiting and hoping.

Obviously had I been a finalist in the Brilliance in Blogging awards, I would have had a decision to make as to whether I attended – it would have been a no-brainer, I wouldn’t have.

So I’m grateful that the decision was made for me, both by the BritMums judges and Kate, her ticket went to a very deserving mummy blogger.

Next year though, I’ll be there with bells on! I just need to get through the next few days/weeks/months first.

Fingers tightly crossed.

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#Prose4T This is how I rock!

Linking up with #Prose4T at vevivos.com, my little contribution for today.

The sun peeks out from behind the clouds.
“Shall I put the washing out?” I say aloud.

No answer from the children, one is crafting,
one is engrossed in…
FIFA 13.

The teams are picked, the venue chosen,
The whistle blows and off they go.
T supporting the Blues, momentary lapse of concentration and
…A red shirt scores, oh no!

D perfecting her tiny pieces of paper,
with colouring and concentration.
She fashions out clothes, food and balls.
Who needs expensive presents, a thought to motion?

But enough of this,
There’s chores to do.
Will that washing dry?
You know as much as I do!!

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Approaching Puberty with Sensory Issues – Product Review

My two – very individual but with similar issues – children are approaching puberty. They’re in that pre-teen or “tween” period, where I’m starting to notice that they need a little more assistance with their cleansing routines.

Both T and D have sensory issues and sensitive skin – the latter they’ve inherited from me – and so any additional products used have to be as natural and scent-free as possible, but effective.

We’ve been trialling out products from two separate companies over the past few weeks and here’s our reviews below:

Firstly from Keep It Kind (KIK) we reviewed a deodorant range designed from 8-14 year olds.

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Here’s some information from the website:

“Kind2Skin Limited, the company behind the Keep It Kind (KIK) deodorants was formed in 2011 with the primary goal of producing naturally based deodorants that provide effective odour protection for the pre-teen and early teen age groups. Not only was it essential to create a brand that parents could trust, but at the same time we wanted to design the range so kids would also want to use them… not an easy task, but we have done it!

With over 20 years of pharmaceutical experience our founders discovered that there was a huge need for a kid’s deodorant range that simply wasn’t being filled. Therefore they spent several years working closely with leading scientists and laboratories, developing what we believe is the ‘best in class’ range of deodorants that are formulated for younger, sensitive skins and are free from any potential harmful chemicals.

Our ultimate mission is to create a natural based range of personal hygiene and skincare products for kids aged 8 to 14 and we continue to research and develop new products that are ideal for the new youth generation.”

The priority for me, as a parent, was the sensitive skin issue, together with the fact that there was no obvious scent to the product. Quite simply, if the deodorant had a strong scent, T and D would refuse to use it.

The fact that the deodorants are free from aluminium, parabens and alcohol are also bonuses, the products have not been tested on animals either.

T is very active with all his sports and D – who is approaching puberty faster – has a sports-filled week at school.

The deodorants have worked well for both of them, with no after effects sensitivity-wise.

The deodorants are available in Boots Stores nationwide and online at boots.com. RRP of £2.99 for the Fresh Kidz roll-on, other variations available.

Disclaimer: we were sent two roll-ons for the purpose of this review.

Secondly, D and I have been trialling products from Green People, a company recommended by so many people when I had a specific cleansing query associated with the onset of puberty – spotty backs.

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Here’s some information from the website:

A pioneering brand established in 1997, Green People is the leader in certified organic body care products. With an extensive range of natural products – shampoos, face creams, sun lotions and body washes to name just a few – it is one of the biggest names in organic beauty in the UK.

However, it was started by a mother simply wanting to help her young daughter:

In 1994, 2-year-old Sandra was suffering from eczema and severe allergies. To relieve her obvious distress and itching, her mother, Charlotte Vøhtz, decided to get to the bottom of the problem.

Getting to the root of Sandra’s allergies: personal care products

Charlotte discovered that many of Sandra’s skin allergies were linked to chemical-based household and personal care products. This is because exposure to toxic chemicals causes a build-up in the body which can lead to allergies and sensitivities. Although steroid-based treatments were suggested, Charlotte did not want her daughter’s skin to be exposed to such harsh chemicals and decided to look for natural skin care products instead.

However, when she started looking into what some of these products contained, she was dismayed to find that even those advertised as ‘natural’ could contain up to 99.9% synthetic chemicals.

Charlotte says: “From that moment, I realised that we all are children of the chemical age and that man-made chemicals found everywhere, combined with changing dietary habits, profoundly affect us all”.

Did you know?

1 in 4 people now suffer from skin sensitivities or allergies
100,000 tonnes of man-made chemicals are used in so-called “natural” and “organic” cosmetic products each year
Up to 60% of a substance can be absorbed through the skin
Synthetic chemicals entering the skin bypass the liver and go straight into the bloodstream. They are not degraded unlike chemicals in food.
Many of these chemicals are known to be harmful in isolation
Synthetic chemicals accumulate in the body and are stored in organic and fatty tissues causing a cocktail effect that can lead to eczema, allergies and immune disorders
She was so impressed by the difference that her natural methods and home-made natural skin care products had made that she thought she should share her discoveries with others. So Green People was born.

“With a nursing background, knowledge of herbal medicine, and more than 11 years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry, I decided to take action,” she says.

Green People are committed to offering products that are natural, gentle, organic and highly effective.

We will maintain our quest for excellence, creativity and innovation at all times, and will not compromise the quality of any Green People product.

None of our formulations or products are or ever have been tested on animals and most of our products are registered by the Vegan Society. All of our products are approved by the Vegetarian Society.

We believe that you have a fundamental right to know exactly what is contained in the products you are buying and therefore give full ingredient disclosure on all of our products.

We also support charities with related environmental concerns and each year 10% of our net profit is donated to charitable causes linked to ‘green’ or environmental issues.

The Green People team is a small group of dedicated people all working together for a healthier future and a less polluted world.”

The first product we tried was the Shower/bath gel suitable for sensitive skin, retailing at £9.95 for a 200ml size.

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I’m very impressed with this gel, a little does go a long way! There is also no scent and it can also be used as a facial wash as well as a bath/shower gel.

The fact that it has no scent means that it can be used without affecting D’s heightened sensory awareness. I’m noticing an improvement already in her back after a couple of weeks.

We were also sent a Scent-free Cleanser and Make-up Remover, which retails at £9.95 for a 50ml bottle.

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I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks and have had no adverse reactions. It’s applied in small, circular movements and then washed off. Removing cosmetics easily.

Greenpeople.co.uk also do a scent-free sensitive skin range of sun care products, I’ll be stocking up on those for when the good weather arrives, we’ve all reacted to sun care products in the past.

Disclaimer: we were sent bath/shower gel and cleansers to review in a very funky green gift tube.

DGJ Organics Haircare – Product Review

One of the purposes of my second blog was to review products that don’t “sit” within my autism blog, this review is far better placed here on my lifestyle blog.

I was recently sent some Haircare products to review by DGJ Organics – Daniel Galvin Junior.

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I’ve been using them for a few weeks now so feel able to give a review.

The products I was sent were HairJuice Clarifying Shampoo, HairJuice Everyday Conditioner and Berutti Oil.

The DGJ website has a whole range of Haircare products for both adults and children.

The clarifying shampoo;

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The shampoo is “designed to gently remove everyday product build up and hard water. It will give your hair a fresh start and restore shine and vitality”.

It’s certainly done that! The shampoo also has the most AMAZING smell to it, predominantly mandarin, lovely to use. As I have past shoulder-length hair, I was concerned about how much I would need to use and its lathering ability but, a ten-piece sized amount does go a long way. It rinses out very easily (it’s recommended you leave it on for one minute) and leaves your hair smelling gorgeous.

Next, the conditioner

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A wonderfully melon-scented conditioner, with proteins which “adjusts to individual hair and scalp requirements”.

It’s recommended that you apply a generous amount and leave on for up to 5 minutes. As my hair is colour-treated and the ends tend to be dry, this worked a treat.

I’ve alternated between using the conditioner and the Berutti Oil as, especially in the mornings, I don’t always have time for the full recommended conditioner time.

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This is applied to towel-dried hair, mid-length to ends before either blow drying or letting your hair dry naturally. Oil stirs up connotations of chip fat and greasy hair to me (previously) but it works and has a wonderfully calming smell which stays with you. And it works, soothing hair and combating frizz.

And the prices for these lovely products?
The shampoo and conditioner are each priced at £5.99, the Berutti Oil at £7.99. All available from the dgjorganics.com website and all a reasonable price within the Haircare market.

A definite thumbs-up and hair-swish from me!

Disclaimer: I was sent a Haircare bundle to review, I was not paid to write this post.