Colour Me Happy at Millie Jones Haslemere

It’s been a tough couple of months. I may have mentioned that. I look in the mirror and I no longer like what I see. Yes I’ve gained weight, but I’ve also lost the sparkle I once had. I’m tried and I recently came to the conclusion that I was owed a little pick me up. A friend recently asked me to babysit later in December and in return offered to look after Oscar while Ben and I went out. An impending Date Night gave me the perfect excuse to do something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

My hair is getting really long and, touch all the wood, at the age of very nearly 37, is still relatively grey free (I find the occasional ones, but it’s still few enough that I can pull them out). However the longer it gets the less I’m liking it. It’s starting to look, well, frumpy. So I decided to have a trawl of the Pinterests and see what could be done to long brown hair to zjuzh it up a bit. How gorgeous is this?

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

I found a couple of images and took them down to my hairdresser, Millie Jones Hair in Haslemere. I’ve written before about how much I love my salon and I knew if I was going to take a step back into the world of hair colour I wanted Millie holding the colouring brush. After all this lady has coloured Nigella’s hair and if it’s good enough for my food idol, it’s good enough for me 😉

We agreed at my consultation to get some subtle golden highlights going on with a brown gloss for shine and even colour. It sounded great, but I think I was just as excited to spend some time away from home, in the calm and elegant environment of the salon.

And relax....

And relax….

Virgin hair, ready to colour

Virgin hair, ready to colour

While she got to work we chatted about this and that, as you do. Christmas, shopping, it was just lovely to not talk about Oscar (well of course I did a bit ?). We agreed we’d start subtley with the colour, as my long hair is completely uncoloured at the moment. Millie couldn’t get over the good condition of my hair (*blush*). She said she could hardly think of any virgin hair she’d had to dye since opening the salon a year ago! A rare treat ?

Ooo I see a cheeky peek of colour!

Ooo I see a cheeky peek of colour!

When the colour was finished Millie handed me over to Paris and Kate to finish the styling at the new Blow Dry bar. I have to say I have never heard of such a thing before, but apparently they’re all the rage up in London. I know my friends and I have said in the past how we can never get our hair to look as good as when someone else styles it. And now Millie Jones have extended the salon and have a section for doing just that. £20 for a wash and blow dry? Why would you ever style your own hair, particularly for an event or a party, ever again?

The blow dry bar

The blow dry bar

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Although the blow dry bar doesn’t usually involved curling, I asked Kate if she would quickly curl the finished coloured hair for me and she happily did so. Isn’t it pretty?

A cheeky mermaid curl

A cheeky mermaid curl with a peep of gold highlight

I really enjoyed my time with Millie Jones this weekend and I like the colour, but do you know what? I thought I wanted subtle, but I think next time I might be a bit bolder and go for more colour. What do you think?

 

Thank you to the whole team at Millie Jones. I was given a free colour in exchange for an honest write up.

I was not paid to write this post. As always all opinions are my own.

 

 

Mama-andmore

Boo Face Pony Pals Photo Shoot

A couple of weeks ago a picture of a little girl running alongside a tiny pony popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. The image was whimsical, almost magical and it took my breath away. I didn’t know this girl, or her family. It was in fact a picture taken by a local photographer, who I’d started following after she photographed Oscar’s friend Cecily and her family back in the summer. I don’t know what it was about the image, but I just kept looking at it. It was beautiful.

We’ve never had any professional photos taken of Oscar. We’ve talked about it a few times, but from fairly early on, we were pretty sure that a studio shoot would be a disaster and when we thought about an outdoor session, I was convinced all we’d get were a hundred photos of the back of Oscar’s head, as he ran away into the distance. It didn’t strike me as much fun for anyone; or worth it to be honest. So we left it. We have one image, taken in Tesco (of all places!) when he was 18 months old. My friend wanted to enter her daughter into the local paper’s ‘beautiful baby’ competition and convinced me to let them take some photos of Oscar while we were there. I wasn’t going to, but she badgered me enough that I gave it and apologised in advance. As it was he posed like a pro and all the family have one from that ‘sitting’. But that one image is the only professional one we have.

So when, last week, the picture of the girl with the horse reappeared in my newsfeed, I was compelled to look into it a bit closer. It transpired the company, Boo Face Photography, were running mini sessions where the children would be photographed with miniature horses. The 20 minute sessions would be held at a local farm and the horses were all trained Pets as Therapy (PAT) animals from a company called Pony Pals, meaning they were used to being around skittish or inexperienced people (aka small children!). I figured that if the horse was there to give Oscar something to focus on, then we might just be able to get some good shots of him.

I contacted Kerry at Boo Face and explained about Oscar’s Autism and how this may (or may not) impact on the session. She couldn’t have been more understanding. She explained she had previous experience of photographing autistic children, but also explained that she realised this meant she didn’t know Oscar and that the most important thing she could be was patient. This gave me hope and we decided to go ahead, with an early morning session (before he’d have chance to get hungry or tired!) booked for that Saturday.

Despite not being completely sure what to expect ourselves, we explained to Oscar what was happening, showing him pictures of the miniature (or as he christened them ‘baby’) horses and even photos of Kerry. We rocked up on Saturday morning with my mantra of ‘expecting the best and preparing for the worst‘ firmly in our heads.

We were welcomed into the farm and taken to meet the ponies. Oscar insisted on being carried to begin with, but within minutes of meeting the horses and their handler Caroline, he asked to get down. Caroline took him down to the lane and gave him the very gorgeous Mr Kellogg’s lead to hold and that was it. The session was under way. And we’ve not laughed or smiled so much in a long time. Just look at the joy on this little boys face!

Pony_Pals_Oscar-1

© Boo Face Photography 2015

Copywright Kerry Jordan Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

We mentioned to Kerry that Oscar had enjoyed brushing the donkey he met in the summer and Caroline rushed to grab him a brush. Oh my!

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

We then moved to the barn and let the boy climb all over the hay bales, all while holding on to his new best friend!

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

As the session drew to a close, we started to worry how Oscar would cope leaving something he was clearly enjoying. Caroline took him to see some of the other horses, while we talked to Kerry about what would happen next and when he came back Kerry presented him with a completely unexpected party bag full of exciting little Christmas themed gifts and a balloon, which diffused any sadness and resulted in an amazing bonus shot.

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

We can’t explain how amazing the session was. We laughed so much and the boy spent the whole weekend both calm and talking about ‘Baby Horses’, which is amazing to me as he so rarely shares memories with us in this way. I’m so, so pleased I followed my instinct on this one. With the advent of camera phones and accessible editing software you might be forgiven for asking why bother with a professional photographer.

I hope this answers your question.

© Boo Face Photography 2015

© Boo Face Photography 2015

 

 

Thank you so much to Kerry and Caroline for their unbelievable patience, understanding and care taken throughout the shoot.

I have not been paid for this review and I paid for the shoot with my own money. I just wanted to share these amazing photos with you.

For more information about Boo Face, including any upcoming Pony Pal sessions, please visit their website

 

 

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Our Favourite Five – October

Once again I’ve been caught unaware by the end of the month. Why is that? October has been a whirlwind of happiness and some sadness. An explosion of activity, with a sprinkling of relaxation. I’m exhausted from trying to keep up with what’s been going on. So this is a great place to recap on the things that have made us happy this month.

Without further ado, here are my family’s faves

Pumpkins

I’ve mentioned before that we have a big garden, but this year we finally accepted that, for the moment, our garden is Oscar’s domain and trying to keep him from trashing playing with growing plants is both frustrating and futile. So at the beginning of this year, Ben took an allotment and alongside the potatoes and French beans decided to have a crack at something a bit different. Which is how we ended up this month with four home grown pumpkins.

This came in handy for decorating our Autumn window, but even more so for carving at Halloween. We haven’t bothered carving a pumpkin for years, but look at this beauty Ben did this year. Isn’t it fab?

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And I’ve discovered Pumpkins aren’t just for carving (especially when you’ve grown them yourself). So far I’ve made pumpkin chutney and discovered the boy adores salt and chilli roasted pumpkin seeds! There’s so much flesh in these beauties that I’m now looking into other recipes. Soup maybe? Or how about Pumpkin Brownies?If you’ve got any recipes, let me know!

Salt & Chilli homegrown pumpkin seeds - the boy's new favourite

Salt & Chilli homegrown pumpkin seeds – the boy’s new favourite

Mirror

I decided a few weeks ago that I was sick of checking my appearance in the glass panels of the front door as I leave the house. I realised what our lounge needed was a mirror. We don’t have a hall so it would need to be something that fitted with the room. Of course I had something in mind straight away and couldn’t find it anywhere. Actually that’s a lie. I did find one I liked. An old season Pottery Barn one on a Pinterest type site. Typical. I want something that no longer exists. Hmmm.

Then one day I found myself in Haslemere, childless and with time. I stuck my head in The Ark, an antiques shop (or as Ben calls it an upmarket junk shop) I’d never dream of going in with the boy. And there she was. Hanging on the wall, peeping out from behind cabinets and covered in dust. You know when something catches your eye and you do a double take? That. She was a bit more ornate than I pictured but she was perfect. I put her aside and we collect her with the car the next day. And she’s already made herself at home 🙂

Isn't she gorgeous? I added the candles and I cant wait to decorate her at Christmas

Isn’t she gorgeous? I added the candles and I cant wait to decorate her at Christmas

Winchester Science Centre

Ben took a week off work this month, to spend time at the allotment and with us. I’ve already written about how fantastic that was and how nice it was to have the opportunity to do stuff I’d never be able to do on my own, but I couldn’t not include Winchester Science Centre in this month’s faves.

We had soooo much fun. The exhibits are all hands on and while the two floors of buttons and levers was enough for Oscar, older children (and parents!) would also love the exhibits. The Centre also has a Planetarium, which we didn’t go in (he’s not ready yet), but I really would love to one day. The Centre seemed to have a good understanding of Autism, with detailed floor plans and social stories available on their website. As Oscar’s carer I also got in for free, which was great. I had no idea how he was going to react and had it not worked out, and I’d had to pay full price, that would have been an expensive experiment!

As it was, the boy loved it and I cant wait to take him back!

Oscar at the controls!

Oscar at the controls!

Yankee Candles

If you follow Mrssavageangel on Facebook you’ll know this month has been all about Yankee Candles for me. I love a good Christmas candle and last year I revelled in their Red Apple Wreath scent for months. However, this year I wanted to see if there was one I liked more, or at least as much! There isn’t anywhere local that stocks all the fragrances so instead, I decide to buy a load of sample candles to burn at home and see for myself. Its been so much fun, I’ve really enjoyed having different fragrances every day and discussing them on Facebook. I’ve not found a Christmas fragrance I like more than last years Red Apple Wreath, but I have discovered Pain au Raisin. I’d wear that as a perfume! Not particularly christmassy, but definitely a new fave. I’m a bit sad all my samples have been burnt now. I may have to buy some more 😉

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Soup

I love cold weather. I means I can legitimately eat stews and casseroles (I mean I’d eat them any time, but people think its weird eating stew in June!). Yum! I’m not usually a soup person. I always felt they left me bloated and made me feel uncomfortably sleepy. However this October I’ve been giving them another try. My favourite so far has been homemade Ham and Lentil. Delicious! And now we have so much pumpkin, I need to give that a go too. Filling, nutritious and warming, homemade soup has been a revelation for me this month.

Ham & Lentil soup

Ham & Lentil soup

What have been your families favourites this month? I’d love to know!

 

New Term, New Attitude

September is here and it’s the start of a new term for so many people. Even if your child isn’t at school yet, it’s the end of the summer and September always feels like a new beginning. A time to start afresh. My lil guy went back to preschool last Thursday. I have to admit, after the terrible return we had after last half term break I was nervous as to how it would go. But as a friend said to me, you just need to to expect the best, and prepare for the worst. So I did.

Of course, as it turned out he ran straight in to the building without a care in the world, happy as a clam. In fact he was so happy, he ran straight over the to nature table and pulled his trousers down! Not for any other reason than he needed the loo you understand but it did make me chuckle as I ran over and pulled those pants back up.

I guided him to the bathroom and he bossed his whole potty training routine in a new environment straight away, including drying his hands on a paper town and feeding the towel to the ‘Tiger bin’. What a dude! I was so glad I’d written the script from his potty training app out for his TA, as it meant she understood what he was trying to communicate straight away. One mummy brownie point right there!

Anyway, potty business over, that was that. He was off and I left. I was so relieved we didn’t have a repeat of last term. A friend and I spent the morning drinking coffee in my favourite Haslemere coffee haunt. We talked about this and that and when time came to pick him up I felt refreshed.

However, the best bit was when he saw me. From the other side of the room he shouted “Mummy, Mummy!” while running straight into my arms. Now this might be the kind of welcome you take for granted from your children and I hope for you it is. But it’s new to me. And it’s splendid. It’s worth leaving him, just to get that reaction when I come back!

Happy mummies enjoy their freedom, and their coffee

Happy mummies enjoy their freedom, and their coffee

So what does the new year hold? What am I going to have to do and go through in order to find him the best support and the right school for next year? I honestly don’t know and yeah, it still scares me. But I don’t want to start this journey with a negative attitude. So I’m going to treat it like I treat everything else that scares or worries me. I’m going to expect the best and prepare for the worst.

Happy back to school everyone xxxx

The best back to school picture I could get of the man who's never still!

The best back to school picture I could get of the man who’s never still!

Why we love our Children’s Centre

I don’t know if you have a Children’s or Sure Start centre near you. They’re a government funded early years support hub and we love ours. The Tennyson Centre in Haslemere is an amazing resource. We first found them when Oscar was about 5 months old. They were running a ‘new mother and baby’ group called Welcome to the World. It was billed as an important first social experience for babies, with singing and stories and sensory experiences. And it was. But really it was about encouraging new mothers out of the house. We/I loved it. While many of my new NCT friends went along for one or two sessions, Oscar and I went to all of them. I needed so badly to get out of the house at the time that it quickly became part of our new ‘routine’. We even carried on into the next course, ‘Journey of Discovery’ when Oscar turned 9 months. We went to the Centre every week for months, until he got old enough and I got confident enough to start going to other toddler groups. And I’m sure that’s exactly what they were there for.

I hadn’t been back since Oscar was a tot, until last September, when we were directed back by the health visitor to attend their Chatterbox course for delayed speakers. It was lovely going back and the staff were just as wonderful as they’d ever been, welcoming us back with open arms. It quickly became apparently that while Chatterbox was a fab space for some children, it wasn’t really working for Oscar. The outreach worker Kate suggested we come in late and stay a little longer and that worked much better. When the course came to an end, Kate told us, they were starting a stay and play session for children who had additional needs. Because we were going through the investigations into Oscar’s possible autism diagnosis, we were asked if we’d like to come along. It was a difficult few months for me and Oscar, but the support we received at our weekly visits to our Children’s Centre was invaluable. It was the only agency I came into contact who asked how I was doing. It was worth walking the two miles to the centre just for that. The fact that Oscar adores it there is something of a bonus 😉

So with the arrival of summer I have to admit I was (am) nervous. He’s off preschool now until September. What do you do with an autistic 3 year old, when you don’t drive? The wonderful ladies at The Tennyson Centre have a jam packed summer programme, many of which I know will prove very popular. And busy. That being that case, and to ensure as many children can access the services as possible, they’re carrying on their additional needs stay and play sessions. I’m so happy. He loves it. I love it. That they’re running the sessions, would have been enough for me.

Last Thursday they started off their summer programme with a visit from the hands on farm company Millers Ark. They’ve had them visit previously and knew how hectic popular it could be. So this year arranged for the farm to stay on after the main morning session, and invited children with additional needs, or those who just may need a quieter session to attend. I had no idea how Oscar would react to the animals, but booked to go anyway.

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Looking at the guinea pigs

Goat relaxing in the sun

Goat relaxing in the sun

Its a pig! He's asleep.

A pig

"pig sleep, shhhh, zzzzzz"

“pig sleep, shhhh, zzzzzz”

He ran around the garden, looking at everything, and then went back inside to play with some toys, which I thought might be the case

Magnetic patterns

Magnetic patterns

Playing

Playing

What I didn’t expect was him to come back out and get right up close to the animals.

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We were allowed in with the animals. He’s trying to feed the guinea pigs

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Having an in depth conversation with Buster the sheep

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Hanging with the donkey’s

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Then he went and picked up the brush, saying ‘brush’

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And brushed the donkey, so gently

He amazed me! He coped brilliantly with the animals and was so lovely with the other children there. We were the last to leave and he still didn’t want to go when we did. Would he have had such a great time in the main session? I’m not convinced he would. I think he would have run and run around the space, then gravitated towards to quieter areas, such as indoors. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have got as much out of it and we would have missed the experience of him initiating the grooming of the donkey.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to the team at The Tennyson Centre for arranging such a super experience. And if you’re in Haslemere and have, or know someone in the area with, a preschooler with additional needs I highly recommend Tuesday’s stay and play. You can find details of the centre on the website.

A Cornish Mum