I have a tradition of posting my worst bits of the BritMums Live weekend on my blog. All of this is honest but also some playful points and why not?

1. Trying on dresses and my daughter telling me that one I was considering was “way too short”

2. Trying on more outfits and Him Indoors saying he liked all of them – lovely but unhelpful

3. Attempting not to spill breakfast sarnie down my dress on the way.

4. Finding out my hotel room was on the 5th floor! Have you seen my twisted ankle?

5. The cups at the Montcalm – I like the look but I always get confused and end up spilling my drink.

6. The feat of two pairs of knickers engineering required to hold up my tights. Why are tights always so short?

7. Knowing someone was blanking me – I am not without intelligence.

8. Not getting to speak to enough people – I never do!

9. Missing bloggers who were not able to be there.

10. Not recognising Deliciously Ella when I do really know what she looks like and am a huge fan

11. Not having a pen with me on arrival – unprofessional of me!

12. Not greeting Katy Hill on reception so I could show off the results of her inspiring me to lose weight

13. The pain, hobbling and tubular bandage of the twisted ankle – great timing there Kate!

14. Being assaulted behind my a certain breast friend and others

15. Forgetting my bank card and leaving my money in my suitcase

16. Not talking to brands as much as I would like or should

17. Not having met my target weight for BritMums Live – really got me down in the run-up to the weekend – stupid of me but there it is.

18. Being a good girl and remaining sober throughout in case I fell over again

19. Being known a little too well by the Carry on Camping Team!

20. Too much noise over dinner when I knew great conversations were to be had with fascinating people.

21. Introducing myself as an expert in wet knickers to Carol Smillie of Diary Doll. You really need to check out her pants and you will be ready for anything.

22. Not seeing people I wanted to connect with and seeing them from afar and not being able to get to them in time.

23. Losing my present from my giveaway winner and my BritMums Live bracelet.

24. Getting the wrong end of the stick and fearing I was about to lose a special friend.

25. Forgetting to phone home!

26. Having to accept help in view of the ankle – not a great skill of mine.

27. Not always recognising people – does anyone else struggle with this and nearly always people I am massively fond of too.

28. The usual sidelong glances to try and work out who people are without showing too much interest in their bosoms.

29. A little daunted feeling as Room 3 got fuller and fuller. Felt the fear and did it anyway.

30. Surnames and making a crass comment about psoriasis in one of my sessions. Enough said!

31. Realising I still have not written that book.

32. Wishing wine had labels on them.

33. My phone playing up

34. Being referred to as a wallflower who looked awful, a loser, worthless and wrinkly! You know who you are ladies!

35. Realising I did not look QUITE as good as Caprice.

Fear not! I do have best bits of the weekend – watch this space!

 

My Worst Bits Of BritMums Live

Postscript On point 34, the women who said these things are big supporters so yes in jest and also highlighting how I can be self-deprecating. The comments were said with affection and taken as such and probably would be better listed on my best bits.

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Check out what other people thought about BritMums Live and link up your posts over on BritMums.

Last week, I blogged about how I was walking back to happiness. I am struck by the irony that on Monday I fell on a slippery slope (Kate on very thin ice) and twisted my ankle badly. We were a mile away from the car so there was no real choice except to hobble back crying, screaming and moaning all the way. It reminded me a little of childbirth as despite being the quiet time in moments of crisis and excitement, I am known for being vocal.

family camp

I had such plans for this week but they do say God laughs when we make such things and it seems she may have a point.

Anyway, as we know there is always some light at the end of the tubular bandage so here goes …

1. I will get better. Recent news stories remind us to be very grateful for our health and wellbeing. It can be taken away in an instant and in far worse ways that a sprained ankle.

2. My enforced rest has shown just what the children are quite capable of doing for themselves. Valuable lesson learned right there.

3. My husband and children clearly hated seeing me suffering and offered help in various ways. My teenager brought me a chocolate orange to cheer me up. I just had 4 slices and let him have the rest which may well have being his plan from the start but it was still a lovely gesture.

4. I have finally managed to try some outfits on for BritMums Live today. I am not decided yet but am narrowing things down a bit.

5. I got a book on home education. Sometimes I feel I need my hand holding a bit in this adventure of ours.

6. I have eaten really well this week. The weighing scales are jumping around insanely so I am just going to carry on eating for health and taking my measurements until they fix themselves or wake up to the new me.

7. I have had my spotty nurse to give me amazing cuddles.

8. I am going camping this weekend. I must be mad in my current state but I want the family to have some fun so I cam camping our way back to happiness. Let’s see how that turns out.

Time is running out to join in the BritMums Live linky not to mention grabbing your ticket for the social media and blogging event of the year.

Here is my little introduction.

me

• Kate Holmes

• Striking Mum formerly Kate on Thin Ice formerly Giggling at it all and formerly a blog we don’t talk about

• @kateonthinice

• 5 feet and five inches

• Brown hair with a little help from my hairdresser. Short and hopefully sassy too.

• Brown eyes behind purple glasses

•I have attended BritMums LIve as a speaker in 2013 and as a room facilitator for the last two years.

• I am attending both days

• Connecting with online friends old and new

• I have not decided what I am wearing yet. I am thinking dresses but was going to have a huge trying on session and then I twisted my ankle so am waiting to feel better before making my final selections.

•What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2015?

Lots of learning. I hope to make more contacts this year. I also am very much looking forward to spending time at the Montcalm

These are some of my tips for getting the most out of the event.

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Feel the fear if you any and talk to someone you don’t know. They probably feel more like you than you know.

Make sure you eat in between talking and drinking. There is lots of lovely food available.

Pick the sessions that will be of most use to you and your blog carefully.

Ask stupid questions – there are no stupid questions and speakers love to answer and someone else in the room will be wondering the same thing as you are.

Celebrities are human too – don’t shy away from them but also respect that they are people and not just autograph or selfie material.

Do it your way – if that means taking a break or grabbing yourself some quiet time, so be it.

Be prepared for generous goody bags.

Be yourself – that way if someone likes you, you know they really do and you can move on to a great friendship.

I am giving away a free ticket to BritMums Live 2015.

BritMums Live 2015

Be in it to win it!

You can find out all about this exciting event on the BritMums website.

I am guessing you already know about the event but in case you don’t, it is a brilliant coming together of bloggers, social media folks and brands. Think inspirational and celebrity speakers, useful and informative workshops, laughter, learning and lovely food and drink.

In 2012, BritMums Live was the highlight of my year. I was so nervous but I made new friends and one very special one indeed. I laughed and cried. I felt OK and to be honest with all the expectations that society puts on us women that can be a challenge sometimes. Sometimes we deserve some time just for us away from partners, children and other commitments.

In 2013, I returned and worked as a room monitor and on reception. It felt like a school reunion except one where everyone wishes everyone well. I had lost my father the year before and this event helped put me back together again.

In 2014, I was there again laughing, crying and partying with special online and now offline friends.

I decided that I would buy a ticket for BritMums Live 2015 and give it away.

So if you would like to go to BritMums Live and don’t have that golden ticket to this event, email me kateonthinice@gmail.com telling me why you would like it. Do not try to be clever – write from the heart in a way that suits you. Short or long emails welcome. All emails will be treated in confidence.

This is a gift rather than a competition so my decision will be final and based on the email that moves me most.

I will make my decision on 4th June so get your emails to me quickly.

And if you need any more convincing, I bottled a huge blogging event with BritMums in 2011 and regretted it so much. Feel the fear and do it anyway and all that jazz.

Please note this is a gift of a ticket only and you will need to make your own arrangements for childcare, accommodation and travel.

If you read this post, please do share and help me work a little magic for somebody.

Parenting children with special needs brings joys and challenges. One of the things I love about blogging is how it introduces you to so many different types of family situations. The more we know about each other the more we can offer each other support and understanding.

I recently interviewed Mandy who has 4 children with individual qualities and needs.

mandy

What is the striking story you have to tell?

I’m Mandy a stay at home mother to 4 beautiful children. I had my first son in 2004 and he was diagnosed with atypical autism in 2007. I didn’t have a clue what autism was. We learnt fast and the same year I had my 2nd son who was diagnosed with Aspergers at the end of 2014. His diagnosis was a shock as all along we presumed he had ADHD. My daughter came along in 2008 and was diagnosed with classic autism in 2011. My youngest and last child was born in 2011 and is currently under diagnosis for what they think is Aspergers. So we are on the rocky road to diagnosis number 4.

In a nutshell I am sleep deprived and live life on the edge as you never know what mood each child is going to be in each day. The school run is a challenge and we don’t get out as a family much. But we can’t complain aswe are more fortunate than most. We have 4 amazing children, all wonderfully unique in their own special way. We live a routine based life. We are the family at the park at 8am before anyone else is there. We might not have it all together all the time but we love, laugh and live and get through. Life on the Spectrum is never dull.

What joys are there in your situation?

I have discovered joy in the tiniest things since becoming an autism Mum. Most parents celebrate first words at 6 months but I was doing cartwheels when Skye uttered Mummy at the age of 6 on Mothers Day. Logan being able to zip his own coat up aged 9 and Dayton making it through a whole school day without interrupting the entire class made me smile. I find joy in things that most parents take for granted. My children have struggles but they are so loving, honest and kind which are amazing traits.

What are the challenges you face?

The biggest challenge has to be the lack of sleep. Parenting is hard enough but parenting on zero sleep to children with additional needs is even harder. Skye has been known to go as much as 4 days with no sleep which means we get no sleep as she cant be left unattended because she is a danger to herself. The epic tantrums of a hormonal pre teen going through puberty, the constant verbal tirade telling you that you are a bad parent, how he wished he was never born and wants to kill you all. On a good day I can laugh it off. On a bad day it is world shattering to see your meek and mild boy with a screwed up angry face splurging venom.

How do you find time for yourself and what do you do with it?

Time to yourself is difficult. We have a date night once a month as a rule ingout for some food and a few drinks. It is a time to chill, reassess and relax. We are fortunate to have an amazing Mum who once a year comes to our house for a week and stays with the children so we can get some much needed respite. Our next scheduled respite is in June 2nd when we fly out to Lanzarote.

Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself?

I am ‘trying’ to reinvent myself right now, I have been overweight for years and having 4 children in 6 years didn’t help. I have tried and failed with many diets but have taken steps to get professional help. I am now signed up with a weight loss plan with my GP and looking forward to seeing some results.

Tell us about something you consider physically beautiful about yourself?

I love my eyes and my teeth. My Mum drummed dental hygiene into me from a young age and I love my shiny white smile and always get compliments on it. I also like my blue/grey eyes.

What makes you stand out?

I don’t think I do stand out at all and just think I am just like every other Mum. People always tell me the admire my coping skills and the way I deal with the children. I don’t see that as standing out I see it as being the parent my children want and need.

Do you consider it important for mums to support each other/

I think Mums supporting each other is very important. Prior to blogging I thought I was the only person in the world who went through what I did with the children. It very eye opening to discover other Mums in the same situation and be able to support each other. Even a virtual tweet from a fellow Mum can make an enormous difference and give the boost to get through the rest of the day.

Which mum inspires you?

All my fellow Autism Mums as we have to fight for every single thing out children need. Nothing is ever handed on a plate. It takes a lot of strength to keep on fighting what feels like a losing battle. I especially admire all the Autism Mum’s who have fought and won.

What should the next Government do to help mums?
I would love the next government to focus more on the needs of all special needs children and their families.. There is next to no resources available and the ones there are have huge waiting list or are ridiculously priced.

Thanks so much Mandy for sharing your story. I hope people are kind enough to leave a supportive comment and to check our her blog with the wonderful name of Raising the Rainbows.

What is your experience of parenting children with special needs?