Father’s Day Gift Ideas, for any Dad in your life

May is here are the weather has (occasionally) been fantastic! Honestly, when’s it’s been nice, we couldn’t have asked for better. A warm sun with a gentle breeze. Perfect! It’s allowed us to do one of the things we love the most, which is get out in our garden. It’s is so much bigger than the house, that when the weather’s nice we tend to gravitate out there, to play, relax and soak up some vitamin D. And when we can, we also love a good barbecue. We had the first BBQ of the year last week. Ben’s very proud of his BBQ. I call it the behemoth, because not only is it a grill, but it’s also a smoker too. If you’re interested in smoking or slow barbecuing you can read my post about it here.

He's very proud of his BBQ!

He’s very proud of his BBQ!

It’s a proper man toy and a few years ago Oscar bought Ben a snazzy set of BBQ tools (in their own case that look something like an assassin might carry) for Father’s Day. Ben was thrilled with them and they’ve been used every barbecue season since, to turn the food and prod the coals. They were a good present!

But I’m never sure what to get Ben for Father’s Day and I always leave it to the last minute. I’m hoping when Oscar’s older he can have some kind of input or even better make him something so I don’t have to make the decision, but for now it’s my job. I’m trying to get ahead of myself this year with some ideas. But where to start? I decided to looks at previous year’s gifts and see if I can get any inspiration from those. And if you can too, well that’s just dandy!

2012

A cast of Oscar's 8 week old footprint. A proper first Father's Day gift.

A cast of Oscar’s 8 week old footprint. A proper first Father’s Day gift.

Ben’s first Father’s Day and Oscar was only two months old. All Ben (and I) really wanted that year was sleep. Oh precious sleeeeeep. But as that wasn’t going to happen, I went for a keepsake instead, buying a cast of Oscar’s tiny foot from a local company called Little Impressions. I have to say this was a perfect first Father’s Day gift, but I probably wouldn’t have bought it any other year. Although it was quite expensive at the time, I’m really glad I did it. Isn’t it gorgeous?

2013

Father and Son. This picture is framed and in our lounge.

Father and Son. This picture is framed and in our lounge.

I wanted to get something a little bit personal to Ben and Oscar and by chance had taken this photo on my phone a few weeks before Father’s Day. It’s not the best quality photo, but Ben loved the image, especially as he didn’t know I’d taken it. I got it printed through an online printer (Photobox I think) and the frame from Homebase.

2014

A manly gift for Father's Day

Serious BBQ utensils for a serious BBQ chef! All stored in a serious looking case!

As I mentioned I was inspired by Ben’s purchase of the BBQ just before Father’s Day with this one. It’s less personal, but very ‘Fatherly’ and it was received just as well. I bought it from Amazon, but I’ve seen for sale it in various places.

2015

I love this image I captured last Father's Day. Twinning is win, with love.

I love this image I captured last Father’s Day. Twinning is winning, with love.

I loved it and so did Little Bird, who chose it to be part of their Father's Day post last year.

Little Bird also loved it, and chose it to be part of their 2015 IG Father’s Day post. Obviously our photo is the best right? 😉

Last year I had already bought Oscar a tshirt from Little Bird at Mothercare when they released a limited edition, Daddy size version just in time for Father’s Day. My guys had never done twinning before, but how cute is this? Even more cute was that Little Bird chose my Instagram picture of the boys in their tees for their Father’s Day Post. This was a lovely present and even though Oscar has grown out of his (boohoo), Ben still wears his.

So there we go. Seems I like personal gifts or those that are practical. And I think they’re the kind of gifts Ben likes too (although I think he probably prefers manly, Fatherly gifts) And short of buying him a flat cap and a pipe here are some of the ideas I have had for this year.

I love this bunting from Bonkers for Bunting. What a super idea for decorating for Father’s Day and if the Dad in your life has an office or a workroom or even a shed they spend lot of time in, what a lovely decoration and reminder of their children’s love all the year round. I love that these buntings are completely customisable, so if you would prefer Daddy or even some other name then they can accommodate you! Plus they’re all handmade with love by a mumtrepreneur down in beautiful Devon. What more could you ask for?

Bunting for Father's Day.

Beautiful handmade bunting for Father’s Day.

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If the Dad in your life likes to think that he’s handy, but is really more of a hacker then how about some Sugru, the crazy mouldable glue made for life hackers. This stuff is mind boggling, both in it’s properties and the amount of incredibly useful things it can be used for. It starts out soft like putty but dries to a hard but flexible, waterproof, cold proof, heat resistant to 180°C rubber, that sticks to most materials. I’ve been trying to think of things round our house that need Sugru and the more I think the more I come up with. Frayed cables need mending, the freezer drawer is cracked, pan handles need fixing, the rubber feet on the toastie maker need replacing, seriously the list goes on. Ben is a keen gardener and you know how gardeners love a good hack to help them grow their veggies, so I can imagine this would also be really useful down at the allotment!

In case I haven’t described it very well here’s a fab 89 second long explanation of what Sugru is!

They produce all sorts of different size packs and kits, but if you’re new to Sugru then maybe the Starter Kit is for you.

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This includes

  • 5 single use packs of Sugru in Classic Red, Snow White, Pitch Black, Mossy Green and Silver Grey
  • a practical storage tin
  • a booklet chock full of project ideas and how-to guides

So if the dad is your life loves to fix rather than replace (and good on him if he does) or just likes to save a bit of money along the way, this is the gift to help him do just that!

Hope these ideas have been of some help. Let me know what you’re thinking of giving this Father’s Day. I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

I would like to thank Sugru for gifting me the Starter Kit to try. None of the other products were gifted to me.

I was not paid to write this review and as always my opinions are my own.

 

 

Oscar’s Haircut at Little Locks

I try and find the joy in the everyday, well, every day, because that’s what make up life; the little things. But if you follow me at all on social media you will know that this week we’ve had what might be a little thing to many, but to us is a massive cause for celebration.

Oscar’s autism hasn’t shown us too many sensory issues as yet, at least not those you may recognise as typically autistic. He’s OK with sound and pretty cool with new places and crowds. If anything he’s under (hypo) sensitive to things like pain and he looooves to run. But one thing he can’t stand is very typically autistic. He hates, and I mean hates, having his hair cut. We’ve found a way to get him to have his hair brushed (just and only on a good day) and his nails clipped, but despite trying any number of things we just couldn’t get him to have his hair cut.

Oscar hates having his hair cut

Oscar hates having his hair cut

Then at the end of last year a new salon opened in Haslemere. A specialist children hair salon, Little Locks was set up by Hannah Clements and her family. Hannah has many years experience in salon management and her niece, the lovely Georgia, is a fully qualified stylist, specialising in children’s hair. It seemed like a no brainer that the two should come together and open the kind of salon Haslemere was clearly lacking. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found out Little Locks was opening just down the road from us. We’ve tried various salons over the years and, except his first two haircuts, they’ve all been pretty disastrous. We’ve tried having stylists come to the house, including friends he was familiar with, and even I had a go at loping bits off here and there but it made no difference. I got the feeling that if we could get him slowly used to the notion of a haircut, this might help. So when Little Locks opened I decided to discuss my idea with Hannah.

The Little Locks team couldn’t have been more understanding. Hannah’s son is also autistic, so she knew the angle I was coming from straight away. She told me one of the reasons they had decided to open a children’s salon was because as a family, they were acutely aware of the need for sensitivity around something as potentially anxiety inducing as a child’s hair cut. The salon on Weyhill is a large airy space, with a choice of cool chairs (Bat Car anyone?), TVs at every station, with a huge choice of DVDs to watch and a play area. But the thing that impressed me the first time I went in was how open and calm the environment was. One of my big dislikes about other childrens salons I’d been in was the amount of stuff everywhere. Hair products, toys and books to buy. Pester power purchases for some parents, but needless stimulation for my guy. I’ve also been put off other salons by how geared towards girls the decor has been. Little Locks has avoided this, with beautifully gender neutral decoration, and toys (to play with not buy) and cool touches designed to appeal to both male and female customers.

So at Hannah’s suggestion we started the process of familiarising Oscar with the salon back in January. Initially we just popped in to play. And he loved it. Then we made an appointment just for him to play with Georgia, all of which he happily did. He still wouldn’t even let her brush his hair though. This carried on regularly for eight weeks. We got to the point that he loved going in there. He would talk about the salon at home, he would even ask to go to ‘Haircut’, but every time we went in, he would refuse to have anyone touch his hair and just wanted to play. Usually with their train set!

Oscar loves the trains at Little Locks

Oscar loves the trains at Little Locks

Despite all the haircut episodes of cartoons we were watching (I particularly recomend Dora and Team UmiZoomi!) and the amount of children he’d seen having their hair done at Little Locks, I started to worry. Had I gone over board with the ‘letting him get used to it’ shtick? Would he ever understand that Little Locks was a place to actually have a haircut, and not just to play?

Things have slowly come to a head over the past few weeks. We are going to Devon for his birthday/Easter holiday this week and his hair was getting so long and so heavy over his eyes that he actually couldn’t see properly. I decided I was just going to have to take the horse by the reigns. Even if I was going to have to pin him down, he had to at least get his fringe cut. It was starting to be dangerous to leave it any longer. So I made him an appointment on Tuesday. Hannah and I found a time when the salon would be as quiet as possible and they booked an extra long time slot for him.

The morning of the appointment I drew him a very basic visual timetable, explaining he was going in the buggy, to Little Locks, that he would have his hair cut ?? and then he could play with their trains ? and go to Dylan’s for ice cream?. He was NOT happy with this plan, but we went over it several times and I calmly explained that while I knew he didn’t like it, that it was going to happen. When it came to leave we went through it again and he screwed up the timetable, but got into the buggy without a fuss. The fact that he did that, I hoped bode well for the rest of it.

We arrived at the salon without incident and he immediately tried to run to the toys. I gently explained that these would come after the hair cut and led him over to the chairs. It became quickly apparent that he wasn’t ready to sit in the car chair alone yet, so we headed to the other end of the salon to the more grown up chairs and he sat on my lap. Georgia set up Ben and Holly (Oscar’s choice) on the DVD and I held on tight as she started on the fringe.

Yes he shouted (a lot) to begin with, and squirmed but nothing like as much as he has done on previous attempts. Last year he struggled so hard I pulled all the muscles in my back trying to hold onto him. This was nothing like that. Yes he didn’t like it. And that’s ok. Once he realised that this really was happening he focused on watching Ben and Holly, laid his head on my chest and stopped wriggling. With just an occasional protestation to ensure we still understood he wasn’t enjoying the situation!

Georgia worked quickly and thoroughly giving him as neater a style as she could manage without needing to get too close to the ears or to use the clippers. One step at a time after all. She was even able to use the thinning scissors to take some of the weight out of his hair. As soon as she finished, he jumped down and I stripped his tshirt off to ensure we got rid of as much hair as possible (as I thought trying to get him wearing a gown was probably a step too far yet). And we were done.

He looked AH MAY ZING darling!

A super smart boy plays with the long awaited toys

A super smart boy plays with the long awaited toys

We ran and found the trains and the toys and he played happily. He even found a box of deelyboppers the salon use when they host one of their popcorn and pamper parties and put one on!!! This from the child who would refuse a hat in the depths of winter! He laughed, he showed us toys, he even asked to get in the Bat Car and had great fun ‘driving fast’.

DeeleyBopper time!

DeeleyBopper time!

"Drive fast mummy"

“Drive fast mummy”

Afterwards Georgia and I were both genuinely a bit emotional. All that planning and perseverance and patience and here he was like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I was full to the brim with pride and gratitude. Georgia told me that it’s times like this that make her job worth doing and that really touched me.

We let him play for a while and then I explained it was time to go and without question he got in the buggy and wolfed the lolly Geogia gave him. I left feeling so proud. I felt like everyone on the street must be able to know by looking at him what monumentous event had just happened in our lives.

So I want to say thank you. To all the team at Little Locks for baring with us all these months and never making us feel anything less than welcome. To Georgia and Hannah for being patient and caring and truly understanding what we needed from you.

And to Oscar. I know you didn’t enjoy it my darling. I hope playing with the trains, and the magazine, the Rocky Dog, the ice cream and the Rocket Ship I got you on the way home helped make up for that. But thank you for trusting me. And making me feel like what I do for you, everything I do for you, is worth it.

My beautiful blue eyed boy

My beautiful blue eyed boy, with his smart new hair.

 

 

 

Thank you so much to Hannah and the team at Little Locks Haslemere. I know your business will go from strength to strength. I was not paid to write this review and I paid for Oscar’s haircut with my own money.

You can book an appointment with any of Little Locks stylists on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram

 

 

A Cornish Mum

 

 

Our Favourite Five – January 2016

January has been and gone. That’s right 2016 is 1/12th done! And it’s actually been a much better month than I expected. Here’s some things we’ve been enjoying over at Casa Savage this month.

Woody and Florence

Woody and Florence is a mama run Etsy company I found on Instagram (anyone else love looking at independent traders on IG?). She makes various gorgeous things, but her bead bracelets really caught my eye. One of her best selling is one that spells out MAMA, which I loved and planned to get. Then one day I decided this wasn’t enough. I guess I’d spent quite a lot of last year grieving the loss of my chance to experience “typical” motherhood. I’m having no more children. I will only ever be an Autism Mama. I wanted to acknowledge that, whilst I was a mother, my motherhood was different. So I contacted Chloe and asked for a custom bracelet. It didn’t cost much more and I haven’t taken it off since it arrived!

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It’s a way of acknowledging who I am to myself, but also to others. I am an Autism Mama. May others of my tribe find me.

I have also recently bought a copper bead bracelet to go with it. Isn’t it gorgeous? I have a thing for copper at the moment. But truth be told, it’s my AutismMama one I love the most.

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Heck Sausages

I first came across Heck Foods when someone at my Slimming World group told us about their Chicken Italia sausages, which at the time were listed as 1/2 syn per packet! When Slimming World reviewed their syn values last year they changed these delicious delights to 1/2 syn each, but even so! Gorgeous, low fat and gluten free, what more could you ask for in a sausage? Anyway I can’t get their full range locally (and Ocado don’t stock them) so this month I decided to treat myself to a selection direct from the producer. I got 10 packets for £25 inc delivery and bought a real mixture. The 97% ones are for Oscar (although at 3 syns each not outside the realms of possibility for me either), the Chicken Italia ones are 1/2 syn each and the Paprika Chicken and Zesty Chicken 1/2 a syn for 2! And they’re all delicious. I’ve already made a jambalaya and a casserole with the paprika ones. And it’s so nice having some low syn yumminess in the freezer, ready to take out when the mood takes me.

And who doesn’t love receiving a huge box of sausages in the mail ?

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Slimming World

I’ve already written about my reasons for rejoining Slimming World here if you’re interested. But I couldn’t not include it here. I followed Slimming World for 2.5 years until mid way through last year when, for one reason and another, I stopped. Anyway, I went back at the beginning of the month and it has been soooooo good for me. Having something to focus on other than just mummy stuff was just what I needed. I’ve lost 6.5lb in January. Not bad huh? I’m also approaching it a little differently this time, being kinder to myself and never, ever putting any weight loss down. Half a pound is half a pound I no longer have to lug up the hill on the preschool run. Why wouldn’t I celebrate that?

If you’re interested I’d love for you to read my updates for Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

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The X-Files

I am just the right age to have been a fan of The X-Files the first time around (it started in 1993). While I occasionally watched it and knew what it was all about, I never really got that into it and stopped following after a few series. Ben on the other hand was a huge fan as a teen (which was in no way linked to Gillian Anderson, her red hair and her ability to kick ass, no sir!?)

Anyway Amazon Prime recently added the entire X-Files back catalogue to their collection, and we’ve been reminiscing. Apart from the dreadful hair styles they made poor Scully adopt (which we have come to the conclusion were to make Gillian Anderson look older than she actually was) and the glorious pant suits, it’s aged pretty well. We’ve watched the entire first series and are starting on the second now.

I’d like to watch all the old episodes before starting on the new episodes that are coming out (and that friends are so excited about), so no spoilers please!

x-files

Bedroom furniture

In the summer of 2014, we gutted our bedroom and redid the lot. Rendering and plastering the walls, painting, taking up the carpet and staining the original floor boards. We also removed the ridiculously large radiator, had shutters fitted to the windows and pulled down the badly made and ugly fitted wardrobes, with the plan to have some more built in their place. Only we then realised we couldn’t afford what we wanted. We tried to save, but it took a long time and in the meantime we were living with piles of clothes on the floor. For 18 months! Anywho, this month we finally had enough money and started to think about getting the wardrobes. Then I had a brainwave, to buy ready made. One wardrobe and one chest of drawers instead of two built in wardrobes. And all of a sudden we were kicking ourselves of not thinking of that sooner (that’s what migraines do to me, they send my mind into a really creative space, weird huh?) So anyway, we bought some gorgeous pieces from John Lewis. But, when they arrived they couldn’t get the bloody things up our tiny cottage stairs!!! Suddenly it was obvious why the previous owners had gone for built it! But I was not going to be beaten, no siree! I found some actually really lovely flat pack on the IKEA website and convinced Ben to drive to Southampton to get them (less said about that visit the better I guess, but hey we got what we went for and no one died!). Ben spent all day putting them up and they fitted the alcoves in our room perfectly. Like more than perfectly. Someone even asked me if IKEA now did customised furniture!

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A perfect fit. And I’ve even been able to get my sheepskin rug out. For a touch of fancy!

It’s just amazingly nice to have somewhere to put our clothes. That isn’t the floor. The room finally feels almost finished. And I know it’s definitely taken a weight off Ben’s mind. It’s the peaceful space we’ve needed for so long. Who knew wardrobes and drawers could have such an effect?

What have you and your family loved this month? I’d love to know.

 

xxx

 

I was not paid to endorse any of these brands. I paid all my favourites myself. I just like sharing the things I love.