Wobbles, Wet Hair, Wotsit Therapy & a Weepy Weekend

IMG_4676I can’t lie!

I try my best to keep my posts positive and chipper – but life’s been a piggin’ struggle this week.  Yeah – it’s been Half Term and the youngest of my 3 children have chosen to raise the volume around the place to a level  which even the hardiest of rock gods (Debbie Harry – I SO need to feel Atomic right now) wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable with, argued like cat and dog and have generally taken every opportunity to try to kill each other.  This I assure you is entirely normal around here.  However, whilst acting as judge, referee and general counsel, I have also simultaneously been nursing my eldest son through a high temperature and stinking cold … resorting on Wednesday to Chloraseptic, Paracetamol, gastro feeding and Wotsit Therapy.


The latter is my one and only saving grace when my gorgeous boy refuses point blank to eat and drink!  Refusal to even let me brush his teeth without brute force (a chore that whilst other children run to the hills Archie normally relishes.  I’m sure my ridiculously silly ‘off the cuff’ tooth brushing repertoire – all out of key but incredibly lively helps!)!  Anyway, I literally try anything and EVERYTHING to try to get him to drink.  It’s an anxious time because after a day without fluids my little boy’s health always deteriorates rapidly.  As a child with profound special needs, who isn’t fit and active and running around like a mainstream child, his immunity is compromised and every little snivel can escalate to something unthinkable.  We have been there too, too many times.  Archie is a supercat on payback, So – I invented Wotsit Therapy some time ago … After a couple of frantic weeks in hospital with my poorly soldier at deaths door and several high ranking medical professionals and nursing staff scratching their heads and causing chaos with nasogastric tubing (anyone who has had to endure a liquid diet this way will know the discomfort and invasion this entails)!  So, despite having a gastrostomy fitted (limiting the time we now have to rush him to hospital for medical intervention) I invented ‘Wotsit Therapy’ as a way to get my boy eating and drinking orally, ensuring his calorie intake and good health.  As a rule – Archie loves his food and has a voracious appetite.  He get’s pleasure from an oral diet – albeit he MUST (due to intestinal problems, oesophageal damage and severe developmental delay) follow pretty much a liquid diet.  Wotsits, together with Skips and Quavers are our only exceptions to the rule!  These crisps are wonderfully safe for young children and Archie and his peers with special needs and specific dietary requirements – as they melt!  Moreover ‘Wotsits’ are quite salty and cloying … so after just half a dozen of these wonderfully orangey little lifesavers – he is thirsty and, however much pain and however grim he feels, they encourage him to drink independently!  Hence ‘Wotsit Therapy’ was born.  It’s a time-consuming and arduous task.  It’s dangerous too – as I have to prise open his teeth to get the first few in.  Anyone who has any experience of those breeds of dogs that lock their jaws will empathise with the difficulty of prising open  the locked jaws of a strong 12 year old boy who absolutely  and resolutely refuses and doesn’t understand that you are persisting for his own good!

So, fortunately after a day of Wotsit Therapy and a week of gastro feeding – my little man is smiling again and life, in between the ruttles and, for him at least, is beginning to get back on track.

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However, after a week of nursing my main man I now have the dreaded lurgy!!  The sheer amount of undesirable gunk floating around my head right now is enough to make a grown woman cry … regularly.  At every opportunity.   Why I didn’t have my tonsils removed in my infancy is beyond me (though I’m sure my folks had good reason?) grrrr.  I’m a skank.  I’ve snivelled and shook and sweated for the last few days.  I haven’t left the house for the past 2 days and this morning it was a massive effort, but I had a much needed shower, ending with me sat in the tray with my head in my hands weeping my heart out.  It’s times like this that I REALLY MISS my Mum!   Fortunately, I have heeded her ‘get better quick regime’ (she never did ill very well) … which has been cupfuls of hot Heinz soup (Chicken Soup – whilst I honestly preferred the previous recipe – still hits the spot when I’m under the weather), Haagen Daz for my raging tonsils … and distraction therapy!  Horsforth Walk of Art will be thrilled with my creativity this past few days … amounting in a further 29 rabbits in addition to those already handed over for the forthcoming ‘If you see a rabbit grab it!’ initiative.


I’m very proud of myself and my creative distraction therapy definitely helps.  Knitting is surprisingly therapeutic … even moreso when the more mature and helpful members of the family bring me hot drinks, chocolate, whisky, cuddles and drugs.  All of which were hugely appreciated.  Thank you.

I have however, dragged myself out of the confines of the double shower cubicle, dried off (not very vigorously), got my ‘slops’ on and towel around my head crawled to the comfortable confines of the sofa to take up my ‘Arch Duties!’  I’ve smeared some Vaseline under my nose to rid myself of the angry red ‘tash and gargled with Cordosyl, in an attempt to try to look and sound a little less like an evil dictator.  I’ve sent two small, noisy children off swimming with Daddy and decided to type through the tears!  See, my life isn’t all moonlight and roses – I am as ‘human’ if perhaps not quite as ‘normal’ as the next guy!

So, I’m still alive – nursing my torturously sore throat and pounding head, (with the helps of the strongest combination of over the counter drugs I could find to hand) and am entertaining my handsome eldest son – who sounds a lot like he’s long since been partaking in 60-a-day, and watching 4 Music.   I’ve turned up the TV as loud as I can bear … to drown out the sound of Archie’s most favourite and much loved Something Special Mr Tumble talking soft toy…


.. which is so loved and chewed and battered he’s sounding pretty jaded.  Someone else around here who needs his batteries charging!  Ahhhh you really can’t beat the likes of Beyonce, Whitney, Madonna, Take That, Kylie, Lulu, Amy Winehouse, Rita Ora, Mark Ronson, Outkast, Cher, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera, Little Mix, Rixton (ironic timing – now there’s a pairing) et al to lighten the mood … Yeah … Music Therapy is right up there with all the other therapies of choice and ‘despite everything’ I think we can safely say Pharrell that we are ‘Happy’ now or at least happier!  I’m even starting to remember the good bits of our Half Term break … hastily forgotten in the horror of the last couple of days spent with  the proverbial cross on the front door!

Yes, despite the downtime, this week hasn’t all been tears and torture … we have managed a little fresh air and laughter too!  We managed a trip around Golden Acre Park in the sunshine with my Dad and his dog, Buster, and a very enjoyable afternoon tea



… and an equally enjoyable day at Kirkstall Abbey with them later in the week too.  Scarlett particularly enjoyed the ‘Owl Hunt’ – such a fun and simple activity for the little people, I even mustered up a rather enjoyable picnic and the rain held off for the few hours were were there, and Archie wrapped up against the elements managed a smile too – result.

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Jem and I spent an afternoon at VTR North sound studio earlier in the week with the lovely and very patient Spencer Bain – who exercised the greatest of restraint and technical ability in eeking a 30 second radio advert out of my rather excitable young man!  Watch this space (or should I say ‘listen out’ for this in the coming weeks).

Before the worst of the lurgy got a grip, I also managed a hugely enjoyable girlie evening with my gorgeous, smiley friend Rachel of Rachel McAlley Marketing fame http://www.rachelmcalley.co.uk/  at The Light, Leeds, commencing with a little much needed ‘me time’ ‘breathing space’ at Cafe Rouge with a champagne cocktail and a good book – whilst Rachel battled with the A58 traffic from her day job in Halifax to reach me!


We then had the pleasure of relaxing over a glass of fizz or two at Allerton’s 1st Anniversary Party  http://allertonsonline.com/blogs/news/26629316-our-anniversary-event-is-tonight  where we indulged ourselves in all things beautiful and heaven scented.


I had my eye make up dramatically mastered by one of the talented in-house make up artistes and both Rachel and I treated ourselves to some rather fabulous Be Proud false eyelashes expertly applied by Alison of Alan Howard … Mine were ‘Greatest’ and I believe Rachel’s were ‘Victorious’ … but I’m sure you’ll agree, whatever they were called, they didn’t fail to enhance our natural beauty.  I couldn’t take my eyes off Lady Rach!!

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After a lovely pamper – we missed out on the cake – much to my chagrin, but instead delighted in healthy nibbles and cocktails at Brown’s, just down the escalator, teamed with a much needed good old-fashioned girlie gossip – which was just what the doctor ordered!



You can’t beat an evening with a good pal to put you back on the ‘straight and narrow.’

So, other than; keeping my 3 kids alive, keeping an eye on my Dad, keeping Archie’s health in check and keeping my chin up … and keeping on with the ‘rabbit making’ I’ve not really achieved much this week … other than a quick entry to the Bridport Writing Competition – oh and my first article for the relatively new locally renowned publication ‘Suburban’ Magazine.  Hell – all in all I think I can safely say I’ve held my own this week to be honest!

I guess you’re still with me Mum, because I’m sure I wouldn’t have achieved half as much without your inbuilt ‘Never give up, never give in’ genes and dogged determination!

Right … time to warm up some more soup … all that thought and concentration has taken it’s toll …. bleurghhhh!  One way or another


(eat ya heart out Blondie – my rock chick of choice!) … I know I’ll be through all this ‘yukkiness’ by next week!  I can’t bloody wait!




Nuts in May!

I REALLY need to focus on the positive this month – so that’s what I’ll do.  Only just over the peak of the midway point in May and already it’s been a super busy month for me and mine.  There’s been catastrophe’s and castings, cuddles and commotions, black eyes (self-inflicted I might add) and a whole lot of stress-reducing baking (Monica Geller eat ya heart out).  BUT, there’s always something to raise a smile.  Here’s some of the loveliness worth shouting about….


Yes, I know I am … but, in this instance, I’m actually meaning my edible friends!  They’re my lifesavers at the moment.  I’m ‘trying’ to cut back on the sweet stuff and lose some timber, whilst getting my mojo back and getting my generally wellbeing back on track.  I won’t lie – it isn’t easy, but having a little tin of nuts (my favourites are almonds or hazelnuts) in my bag to turn to – instead of a sweet alternative, seems to be working.

aveenojenniferaniston  Aveeno

It’s great to see that, with the naturally beautiful Jennifer Aniston as ambassador for the brand,  Aveeno is finally getting the recognition it deserves.  I’ve been using Aveeno for years and especially love to use it on the children.  With it’s nourishing wheat base it’s very gentle on the skin and is suited to a whole host of skin ailments.  For years it’s been my ‘go to’ product for eczema, chapped lips, sore bits, nappy rash, dry skin, elbows and knees and a whole host of other things.  There’s usually at least one tube or dispenser of Aveeno on the go in our household at any given time.  As well as the one in the bathroom cabinet and the dispenser on my dressing table, I’ve currently got a tube in my nail bag, nestling amongst my OPI polishes, because it’s such a richly moisturising cream it’s perfect for my chapped hands and dry flaky cuticles. I’d highly recommend it.


 I’ve just read these three books, in very quick succession, by my new friend, the very talented author, AJ Taft.  I can’t remember the last time I got so hooked on a book – or indeed set of.  The first, Our Father, Who Art Out There … Somewhere, was a treat.  The central characters grabbed my attention and the story had me pulled in from the get go.  The second book, Shallow Be Thy Grave, was progressively better than the first, with the characters already established and the story taking a dark turn, which excited me further.  The final book in the trilogy, My Time Has Come, was my favourite and like the others I just couldn’t put it down.  (Fortunately for me Jem had a casting in Lewes so the lengthy rail journey meant I could indulge myself and I read the whole thing in a day!)!  This book was by far my favourite.  If you have a holiday coming up or can take the time to read them – I urge you to do so … but you MUST read them in order.  I’ve put my reviews on the website if you want to learn more; 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1264631245   https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1268846910    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1274375769

IMG_3585 (2) TEQUILA

I have a serious LOVE/HATE relationship with this nectar!  Thing is – I just don’t seem to know my limits any more … and I have wayward friends who lead me astray and make me do evil things.  I read a fabulous article


which was basically my undoing … and a ‘quiet night in’ with friends finished me off!  #neveragain #untilnexttime

kale  KALE

I’m so glad I love my veggies … which is why it beggars belief that I found out I’m anaemic again when I went to give blood this week!  I’ve always been a lover of spinach, still am, but I have a new found love of kale.  It’s currently the ‘wonder veg’ and is right up there with spinach – plus it has a marginally longer shelf life.  I’ve been whizzing it up in smoothies on a morning with my usual healing ingredients of ginger, lime juice, wheat grass and apple and it is a refreshingly zingy way to start the day.  I’ll be honest the kids prefer the purple fruity smoothies which are sweeter and more aesthetically pleasing – but, for now, I won’t be swayed.


Sheridan Smith is a bit of a babe (I think I have a girl crush) and she’s increasingly more frequently on my radar.  After the massive success of Cilla, The C Word, as bitter sweet as it was, was an exceptional evening’s viewing too.  Sheridan headed up a superb cast with Paul Nicholls as robin to her batman, and other notable names doing an equally brilliant job.  They honoured a friend, her heart-wrenching literary offering, and made us viewers emotional wrecks in the process.

IMG_2009  Horsforth Walk of Art 2015IMG_4423

Community spirit is just lovely and I’m very much enjoying being a part of the Horsforth Walk of Art 2015.  I don’t profess to being any more creative or ‘arty’ than the next guy – but I seriously enjoy it.  This weekend saw me involved in the ‘Crafty Little Tea Party’ which was a great success.  Local residents coming together to enjoy knitting, sign making, rabbit making and generally being ‘crafty’ over tea and cake.  A pretty perfect combination I’d say.  My imps and I have particularly enjoyed making bunnies which we’re going to hide around Horsforth on the official ‘Walk of Art’ dates of 4th & 5th of July and let them be found and re-homed by excitable strangers.


Who knew you could make something so adorable from just a square of knitting.  We hope our strap line ‘if you see a rabbit grab it’ will go viral some time soon. #rabbitgrabit #exciting #HorsforthWOA If you’re local or passing through – there’s lots of exciting things going on over that particular July weekend – if you’re even remotely ‘arty’ you’d be a fool to miss it!


I know I’m late to the party with this one, but I’m still thrilled that Paloma finally got her much deserved Brit Award.  I’ve always found her wonderfully talented and kooky in equal measure and I once followed her in the stylists chair at John Frieda – which is as near to a claim on her as I’ll ever get!  Her performance at The Brits was outstanding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuQwxTU21G0 she really is rather awesome.


I’m pleased to report that Rob is having a modicum of success with his Verve fundraising http://www.gofundme.com/verve16fund and, if you find yourself able, please – every penny counts.

Alas for now … the night is no longer young and me neither!  (Some of us need our beauty sleep)!

…. And so to bed … 


Got the Verve?

Rob Sat  Rob has!Verve (2)

Having excelled in his time at Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) and after a great deal of hard work and intense auditioning he has won a much coveted place with Verve http://www.nscd.ac.uk/verve/ , the post graduate performance company attached to the Northern School.

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I came to know Robert Anderson, through a mutual friend, another exceptionally talented dancer.  A short while back, my son’s Leeds Rhino’s B-boy dance troop were looking for a new teacher and I asked my dancer friend, Sarah, if she was available, or knew of anyone, and, to cut a long story short, Rob stepped up.

With a background of teaching and performance, Rob segued into the position perfectly.  His obvious talent and no nonsense approach has  won the B-boys over, making them eager to learn and keen to develop and hone their skills week on week.

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With Rob’s newly acquired position with Verve comes the financial commitment of supporting himself through his further studies and performing.  With his time dedicated to training, rehearsing and performing there will be little time for working to personally supplement his study grant – so Rob is making a plea for assistance with funding.

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Whilst an outright sponsor would be wonderful, Rob also believes that his goal can be reached in small increments by way of family, friends, dance lovers and benevolent strangers to boot.  Here’s hoping he’s successful on his mission.



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