My daughter is autistic and that’s OK. First and foremost she is my amazing child and I love her. This is one of those blog posts which I start not quite knowing how I will end but that’s fine too.

Autism

When my daughter was born, the major thing that nobody mentioned initially that was she had super red cheeks. I doubt this had any connection to autism but I think it is interesting how often people don’t say presumably for fear of upsetting the mum. That has its advantages and its disadvantages too.

My daughter was very late to walk and had real struggles with bed-wetting well into childhood. In the grip of post-natal depression, I put these down to me being a totally rubbish parent. She was late with daytime toilet-training too come to think of it. She also struggled with bath time not liking the feel of water on her skin at all. As for hairdressers, they were her worst nightmare.

She could throw a tantrum but then so can I to this day. Art has always been her safe place and sanctuary. She draws and designs a lot. She has a strong focus and will work for hours and hours on a project.

When she approached school age, my parents and her step-sisters all said they thought she would struggle. They did not say how or why but they seemed agreed that she would find school hard. I though she would be absolutely fine and she did navigate her way quite well for many years.

One thing that did happen early on was that the school tried to stop her flapping her arms up and down like a little bird. This was one of the things I really liked about her so I resented that.

Eventually in one school she was tormented so much by not only her peers but also the Head, that she was threatening self-harm. That makes a decision like home education easy to take even if education at home brings its own challenges.

Nowadays she is happy in her own world with us. She will rock backwards and forwards on the sofa and we have learned that this is part of us she is. She will pace sometimes when out and about but I no longer find this embarrassing. It is what she needs to do when life or whatever gets a little much to take.

It’s an interesting thing that my parents and her step-sisters never mentioned the word autism. More remarkably is that my brother who is a teacher who regularly talks about “the spectrum” never raised the issue with me about my daughter. My daughter attended four schools and nobody ever mentioned autism to me.

So I am grateful to bloggers who blog openly about autism who made me start to wonder and then to believe more and more that my daughter is on the autistic spectrum.

She does not have a diagnosis. She does not need a label from a GP for now especially as she is out of school and leading a happy life.

The other day in a negative frame of mind due to other issues like the TSB bank farce I questioned whether the fact she is autistic is my fault. It is of course the wrong question. I know there is autism in my birth family so perhaps there is a link there. I may well be on the spectrum myself considering some of the issues I have found challenging over the years.

My reality right or wrong is that my daughter is autistic and that’s ok. So she is wired differently. Aren’t we all in one way or another?

I think my daughter rocks and not just on the sofa!

 

My Daughter Is Autistic And That's OK

Hot Pink Wellingtons

 

 

 

Reflections from me

 

Mum Muddling Through

Lucy At Home

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Post Comment Love
ethannevelyn.com
My Random Musings
Me, Being Mummy
3 Little Buttons

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Mudpie Fridays
Run Jump Scrap
The Pramshed

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Mummy in a Tutu

 

It’s an argument that crops up in many households — just who does take the longest to get ready before going out? Together with Frank Wright, a British footwear brand that offers high-quality men’s leather boots, we take a look at spending figures and grooming habits to determine who takes longer in the bathroom.

The difference in spending habits

As Brits, it seems as though we do like to treat ourselves to new clothes on a regular basis. In fact, American Express discovered that British buyers are spending £1,093 on new garments for their wardrobes each year. Ecommerce retailers are making shopping for clothes even easier too, as people can browse their favourite brands from the touch of a few buttons and try the products on within 24 hours.

So, how do men’s wardrobes differ to women’s? It appears a female’s wardrobe is packed a lot tighter — the average woman owns 95 items of clothing compared to 56 garments in a man’s closet. That’s almost double the number of potential outfits a woman must decide from ahead of a night out compared to their other half.

Research has shown that men are more efficient shoppers however, as they wear 62% of their wardrobe on a regular basis. Comparing this with women who only wear 59% of their selection frequently, it’s clear to see that females are more into ‘fast fashion’ (where clothing is bought regularly and then pushed to the back of the shelves at home).

Since women own more clothing, you’d think that they spent more per year on clothing? Wrong. It is in fact the men who splash out more when hitting the shops for things to wear. American Express discovered that men spend £115 each month on clothing, compared to a lady’s average spend of £81. The pattern is similar when it comes to purchasing shoes too, with men spending on average £46.50 on footwear each month and women spending more than £10 less (£34.80). Could it be that men are buying higher-quality, more long-lasting clothing?

According to Greenpeace, women now own a significant 60% more clothes than they did before the year 2000. Can this all be accounted to the growing online fashion industry? It certainly appears to have contributed. The online fashion market is set to increase a huge 79% by the year 2022, reaching just under £29 billion. An outstanding 85% of females aged 16-24 have also purchased something to wear online. Men are choosing outfits over the pub now too — statistics revealed that they spend £67.10 more each month on clothes than on drinks or tickets to games.

Personal grooming

Aside from choosing what to wear, getting yourself well-groomed can also take up some time ahead of a big night out.

Perhaps it was once women who spent the longest doing their hair, moisturising and getting prepped, but it’s all changing. The average male monthly spend on beauty and grooming products totalled £40.90, whereas women were found to be spending £35.30. According to grooming expert, Lee Kynaston, the number of 16-24-year-old men using self-tanning products increased by 27% between 2016 and 2017.

More men are wearing make-up now too as a way of covering small imperfections and boosting confidence. In fact, the UK boss of L’Oreal, Vismay Sharma, has forecasted that men may have their own cosmetic counters in department stores very soon to meet the demand of the ‘selfie generation’.

 

The verdict

So, who do we think takes longest to get ready?

It seems to be an even split. As we can see, women own a lot more clothes and therefore probably take a while choosing what they want to wear. Men on the other hand, own less clothes but spend more on grooming products. This means that they could be spending a few extra minutes making themselves look good.

 

Sources

http://www.heart.co.uk/lifestyle/men-spend-than-women-on-clothes/

http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/fashion/uk-online-sales-of-clothing-fashion-accessories-and-footwear-grow-by-17-in-2017

http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/gallery/shopping-sport-peacocks

http://marketbusinessnews.com/british-men-spend-fashion-grooming-women/169569

https://www.home.barclaycard/media-centre/press-releases/Modern-men-spend-more-than-women-but-retail-therapy-is-still-lost-on-them.html

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/men-new-women-selfie-generation-took-male-make-mainstream/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/news/do-spend-1042-clothes-year-new-research-reveals-average-brits/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/hair-and-beauty/5597492/this-is-the-uk-city-where-women-take-longest-to-get-ready-to-go-out-and-you-wont-believe-how-long-they-take/

 

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Are you looking for a new linky to join? I encourage you to celebrate blogging positively with Best Boot Forward. Before we get started, I though I would answer some of the questions bloggers have already asked.

Why have you set up a new linky?

I know how important it is to live positively to make magical memories for ourselves and our families. Experience of depression and loss made me wake up to that! By bringing a community of bloggers together (and you are invited!) we can be inspired to do this every day.

Who are the hosts?

Myself and the wonderfully quirky and creative genius that is Chloe over at Indigo Wilderness.

When does the linky go live?

Best Boot Forward will go live every Wednesday and remain open until the following Tuesday giving you plenty of time to link up.

How many blog posts can I link up?

We don’t have a harsh limit. Link up posts that you feel could be described as “blogging positively”. If your posts show you taking baby steps or even huge ones to make life better, you will be helping other people too. Consider Best Boot Forward your flexible linky friend  – we are not going to around with a big whip and just ask that you blog positively and act with a good heart.

What’s in it for bloggers?

The Best Boot Forward linky is a superb way to promote your blog to some new readers. Joining in linkies is of course fabulous for increasing your domain authority which in turn can lead to more review and paid opportunities. My domain authority is 37 and an awful lot of that comes from being an active participant in linkies.

Chloe  and myself will comment on every blog post linked up and share them on social media.

Participants are encouraged to comment on as many posts as they feel they can manage (because life is busy!) but definitely on one of the host’s posts and the post linked up before theirs.

Anything else I need to know?

Best Boot Forward will also have a Facebook community and we will be active on Instagram and Twitter with hashtag #BestBootForward

So are you ready to showcase how you are blogging (and living!) positively with Best Boot Forward?

 

Kate on thin ice

I would like to visit Italy and cannot quite get the idea out of my mind. I read about a book about Tuscany as a young adult which started off the desire to see the country for myself. With my depression gone, I am more adventurous and hope to be in Italy by the end of the year.

Art

Tuscany itself has some art treasures that I would love to see. I have a dream of taking my creative daughter to Florence. For some reason, I want this to be very much about just the two of us together enjoying and being inspired by art.

Opera

My brother is an opera singer and worked for many years at La Scala in Milan. Sadly he never invited me to visit. So it would be cool to head there under my own steam and perhaps to take in a little opera although I think my late Mum was more excited by the shopping!

The seaside

Like my sailor Dad, I love the sea and you only have to look at the  shape of Italy to see just how much coastline there is to enjoy. I look forward to investigating  the variety of beaches on offer from the tourist-heavy to quieter and more obscure fishing villages.

Food

We are most definitely a family of foodies. We all love pizza and pasta and just know it would be that much  better in Italy. Of course Italian cuisine includes lots of other special dishes so I will be sure to check out cured meats and truffles along with checking out different regions and their culinary delights.

Religious sites

As a child I used to hate how my Mum would take us to so many churches when we were on holiday. I famously angered her when I went to Paris and went to a market instead of the Notre Dame. However, as I was brought up Catholic and with more of a spiritual feel to my life these days, I would like to visit Rome. It is a city that pulls at my heart strings.

Right, I have convinced myself and will start looking at good dates for my Italian adventure. I don’t think my current battered case will be enough for such a trip and definitely not stylish enough.  I am quite temped by  Tumi products at Betty Hemmings especially the extra-deep globe-trotter suitcase. Big cases mean huge shopping sprees and why not on the adventure of a lifetime?

Do you have favourite places in Italy to share with me?

 

 

 

 

 

The Pramshed

Summer, a time when everything is in full bloom and the days are not only warmer, but longer too. We love Summer. Not only because it makes us feel great, but because it means that we can get out in our gardens and enjoy flexing our green fingers.

Whilst there are plenty of gardening activities that you can do during Spring, that doesn’t mean that there is absolutely nothing to do in the Summer. In fact, to help inspire you to get outside in the sunshine, while it lasts, we have put together the top 5 gardening activities that you can do throughout Summer.

Get out in your polytunnel

If you have decided to invest in a polytunnel, then the Summer is the perfect excuse to get out in it. Not only are you going to have a whole lot of plants to harvest (if they are edible) or trim back and replant if they are not. But there is likely to be plenty of jobs that you can get done too.

The great thing with polytunnels is that it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing outside (let’s face it we are not always blessed with the best summers) you can still get to work. However, if the sun is shining and the days are long, then you are likely to feel much more inclined to get out in the garden.

Keep up with your lawn

Lawn maintenance is something that you need to do all year round, however, during the Summer months, there is a good chance that your lawn is going to need a spot of extra help. This is particularly true if there is likely to be a dry and warm spell. If we have had a few days without water, then it is a good idea to apply a generous amount of water to your lawn. You should only need to this once a week and once the rain hits, then you can stop watering it. It may sound strange but a heavier, infrequent watering is much better than light, frequenting watering, as it helps the roots to take hold.

Take care of your roses

One of the most popular flowers to grow in the UK has to be roses. Summer is a time when any roses that you have are going to be growing at their strongest. However, they still need a helping hand. One of your Summer tasks is to deadhead your roses and feed them. By removing the dead flowerheads, you will extend the life of the bush and make sure that you keep enjoying your roses for as much time as possible.

You also need to ensure that you feed your roses. Liquid tomato fertiliser is a good addition as this will really help your blooms.

Make sure potted plants are kept watered

When it comes to drying out, you are likely to find that potted plants are amongst the ones that drying out the fastest. This is because there is no natural moisture from surrounding soil getting to them. This is particularly true during the Summer, when there is much less likely to be rain around. You need to regularly keep on top of watering your potted plants, particularly those that are in the sunshine the most, otherwise, you are going to find that you have crusty, dried up potted plants, which isn’t exactly a look that many of us will be going for.

Think about what you want to do in the Spring

There is no point spending all that time out in your garden, working on it, if from time to time you don’t actually sit out there and enjoy it. Once your jobs are done and your plants are all looked after, then the time has come for you to kick back and relax. You can choose to spend your time with family, reading a good book, absorbing the natural world around you. You can also choose to think about what you want to do in the Spring and how you can then in turn, be sat there next Summer enjoying all your hard work.

As you can see, Summer is a great time to get in your garden. You might just find that you spend a lot of your time looking after the plants that you have, rather than worrying about what new things to plant.

 

 

 

The Pramshed