Our Favourite Five – August 2016

August is over already? Whaaat? Shaaadup! It’s too soon. How can the summer, which only just started like last Tuesday or something, be done? Oscar doesn’t start school for a few more weeks, but the beginning of September always feels very much like Summer is over. Sigh!

So anyway here’s what we’ve been loving this August.

1 IKEA

We had two days this month in which Oscar went to Challengers, a play scheme especially for disabled children, in Farnham. In order to get him there Ben had to have the day off work, so we took advantage of the situation and on both days went, childfree, to IKEA. We don’t go to IKEA often. It’s an hour’s drive away and the one time we did try it with Oscar was an unmitigated disaster. However, with the boy starting school soon, we are looking at the house and how we use the rooms on a daily basis. We have all sorts of changes we’d like to make and so decided we needed some extra furniture to help us achieve this.

Both times we went with a clear idea of what we wanted and both times we got what we went for. Along with a whole heap of other things we didn’t need know we needed. Both trips were successful in that neither ended in divorce (a win for any trip to IKEA in my experience) but the second trip, to buy me a desk and Ben a worktable for our new garden office, was definitely more fun. I have come to the conclusion that IKEA brings out the worst in people when they visit rarely. It puts a lot of pressure on everyone to get it right, especially if you don’t know when you’ll next get a chance to come back. When we’d already been the week before, it felt like we’d got that out of the system and therefore enjoyed it all the more. Weird huh?

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IKEA Southampton. Can make or break a relationship!

The dresser we bought to hold all Oscars toys, games and craft supplies. Decorated with the artificial cherry blossom from our wedding.

The dresser we bought to hold all Oscars toys, games and craft supplies. Decorated with the artificial cherry blossom from our wedding.

2 Day out with Thomas

You may have already read my post about our trip to The Watercress Line to spend a Day out with Thomas, but I couldn’t not include it here. It really was the highlight of our month. We had such a great day and I can’t explain how much Oscar enjoyed himself. Days out for my little guy can be unpredictable. His Autism can make things that would seem fun to your kids just the worst for him. But the Day out with Thomas was a real winner. Once he got over the fact that he wasn’t allowed to actually drive the train! Bless his heart. Thank you to The Watercress Line again for the Family Ticket, which I won on Instagram!

I've never seen Oscar so excited. Literally!

I’ve never seen Oscar so excited. Literally!

3 New Glasses

I’ve been getting reminders from Specsavers to get my eyes tested since April and this month I finally got round to getting them done. And while I was there, I also decided to get some new frames. I still liked my old ones, but I realised I’d had them for over four years. I know exactly how long I’ve had them, because I got them first time I ever left Oscar, a few weeks after he was born (when I say left, Ben took him to Starbucks up the road from Specsavers, but you know what I mean!) Anyway the point is although my old frames were, and still are, perfectly nice, I felt it was time for a change. I am after all a very different person now to the one who chose those frames four long years ago.

The ones I went for are very different to those I had last time, but I absolutely love them. They’re so pretty and just so, well, me! I love them every time I catch my reflection 🙂

New glasses from Sepcsavers

New glasses from Sepcsavers

4 Paddling Pool

We’ve had some SHAMAZING weather this month, something you can’t always bank on in August anymore. And one of the things we’ve enjoyed the most on these balmy summer days is to get our new paddling pool out. I decided to get Oscar a new pool at the beginning of the holidays and it was the best £20 I spent all summer. He loves me to fill it and will spend hours jumping off the side into the water, to make the biggest splash possible. That there was just hard earth underneath didn’t seem to bother him. We had days where he played alone, days where his favourite game was to splash me (“come here mummy, closer mummy” sigh!) and another day when his little buddies came over and splashed with him. Clothing was always optional and the water always ended up filthy from the mud and the grass, but it just made him so happy.

A pool? A monkey towel? Clothes hanging in the sun to dry? We could have almost been on actual holiday!

A pool? A monkey towel? Clothes hanging in the sun to dry? We could have almost been on actual holiday!

I just love his face here

I just love his face here

5 Apples

I have something of a love hate relationship with apples. I love when I find the right ones, but I cant stand powdery ones and I hate if I ever get a bit of core in my mouth. So this month I have finally invested in an apple segmenter, that also cores the apple. It’s a bit of a knack to get the corer directly down the middle, but when you do you’re left with delicious apple segments to pick at. Its been great for snacking and even works with pears. Why I didn’t get one years ago I’ll never know. What a boon!

My latest kitchen gadget, my apple slicer and corer.

My latest kitchen gadget, my apple slicer and corer.

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It’s like a work of art!

And just like that summer was over. What have you enjoyed this August? I can’t wait to see what September holds!

 

I paid for all the items mentioned here, except the Day out with Thomas which I won in a competition. I was not paid to write this post, I just enjoy sharing the things I love. 

 

Our Favourite Five – March 2016

I know, I know, March has been over for nearly a week already. Where does the time go? Here are just some of the things Family Savage have been loving in March 2016!

1 Holidays

March for us was largely focussed on Easter and going down to Plymouth to stay in the same apartment we stayed in at Christmas. Our plan was to spend some time as a family in our childhood home town and to also celebrate Oscar’s birthday (a week early). And did we ever. You’re never sure if staying in a place that was brilliant before, will be so good a second time. But this time, at least, it was just as awesome.

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The beautiful view from our apartment in the Royal William Yard, Plymouth


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On the top of South Hessary Tor, Dartmoor


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Jellyfish at The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth


I even had a night on the town with my good buddy Helen!

I even had a night on the town with my good buddy Helen!

We watched the boats in the marina, we went walking up on the Dartmoor, we had take-out Wagamamas (twice!), we visited the Aquarium, we celebrated Oscar’s birthday and we saw all the people we love. It was only a short break but it was wonderful. And leaving was just as hard as it was at Christmas!

2 Cybex

I’ve known that Oscar was growing out of his Maxi Cosi Axiss car seat for a while now, but I was so desperate to keep him in the harness style seat for as long as possible, that I kind of ignored it. I was convinced he’d just undo a plain old seat belt. Anyway we recently realised we were having to force Oscar’s shoulders under the headrest to get him in and that the buckle between his legs was starting to strain. I had to capitulate. He needed a bigger seat.

So after extensive research, both online and talking to other parents we decided to go with the Solution M-Fix by the German company Cybex. We just felt it looked more like a seat than some of the more open style ones. More comfortable and more protective.

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The Solution M-Fix by Cybex. His big boy car seat

When it arrived I was so impressed – it was really lovely. But I couldn’t get over how big it looked. It should last him until he’s 12 (apparently), and the first time he travelled in it I could see how much more space he had. But it also made me realise how big he is getting. And how much he’s not my little baby any more 🙁

Too grown up for his own good in his Cybex car seat

Too grown up for his own good in his Cybex car seat

I have to say though he’s loving the space the seat affords him. And he’s never once tried to undo the seat belt! Although he has worked out that he can lean forward in it and pull the belt loose. What can I say, its a work in progress!

3 Just Being Me T-shirt

Last year a lady I met through Instagram, Chrissy, collaborated with the illustrator Cheryl Rawlings to produce two t-shirts to raise money for The National Autistic Society. The charity is one close to my heart obviously, but also to Chrissy’s as her daughter Esme is also autistic. I desperately tried to get hold of one of the tees for Oscar last year, but they sold out in record time and despite them having more printed I just wasn’t able to get one.

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Anyway this year Chrissy decided to reproduce the t-shirts under her new company Raspberries and Raindrops. Proceeds now go towards her daughters private ABA therapy. I was thrilled I could finally get one for Oscar. I’m not a big fan of ‘Autismwear’. I don’t agree our children need branding. But I love the sentiment of this one. Because it’s all Oscar ever is; just being him! You can find this t-shirt at Raspberries and Raindrops

Oscar just being him in his gorgeous Raspberries and Raindrops tshirt

Oscar just being his gorgeous self in his Raspberries and Raindrops tshirt

4 Royal William Bakery

We discovered the Royal William Bakery when we stayed at the Royal William Yard at Christmas and were so excited to go back again when we returned this Easter. It’s such a wonderful place. The food is superb and generous (croissants as big as yer ‘ed anyone?) and the staff relaxed, knowledgeable and friendly. I love their ethos of ‘talking’ and building relationships. The seating is all benches and the service, well you have to get in that kitchen and talk to the chefs. And there are no ‘bills’, you have to talk to the staff when you’re ready to pay and tell them what you had. I know this might make some people uncomfortable, but I think it’s awesome.

Seating in the Royal William Bakery is designed to start a conversation.

Seating in the Royal William Bakery is designed to start a conversation.

When we visited over Easter the guys in the kitchen were really helpful in selecting the right loaf of bread for Oscar’s party, keeping it to one side fresh out of the oven. And I can seriously tell you it was some of the most delicious bread I have ever tasted and not a scrap was left by the end of the day. We love the Royal William Bakery and wish we lived closer (even if our waistbands are grateful that we don’t)! If you’re anywhere near Plymouth, I urge you to pop down to visit them. Especially for breakfast!

Royal William Bakery sourdough. Picture from Royal William Bakery

Royal William Bakery sourdough. Picture from Royal William Bakery

5 Joules Knitted Poncho

At the very end of February, I had a day on my own shopping in Guildford. As I am want to do in these situations I sidled along to Joules, just to have a little look you understand, nothing more. While I was doing just that, I happened to brush up against a poncho. Grey, cable knit, chunky as you like and oh so soft. It’s definitely not something I would normally look at. For one I am highly sensitive to wool and most commercial knitted garments make me want to scratch my skin off within minutes. And really it’s just not my usual style (whatever that is!). Any who I looked at it, thought how lovely it was and moved on. Then, I went back. I decided as I was on my own and with time on my hands, I’d try it, just to ‘see’.

Joules Tessa Poncho. I have to say I thought it looked better on me than on their model ;)

Joules Tessa Poncho. I have to say I thought it looked better on me than on their model 😉

Well I was slightly bowled over by how much I loved it. Although it did have a small wool content, I tried it on with only a vest underneath and it didn’t make me itch once. I was in love. Only trouble was the price. I knew I needed other stuff that day so I sadly put it back on the hanger and carried on. Problem was I couldn’t stop thinking about it and a few days later decided if I used my freelancing money and a discount code Joules cleverly sent me, I could just about afford it. So I ordered it online. And I’ve worn it pretty much every day since! It was the best purchase I’ve made in ages. I wear it everywhere and with anything. I really do think it was worth every penny. A friend of mine recently was able to get a navy version in the sale (clever girl), but on closer inspection, neither are available on the website now. They may still be available in the shops though 🙂

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So excited when it first arrived!


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My lovely poncho – it really does go with anything

What have you been up to this month? Anything you’ve fallen head over heels with? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

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

Our Favourite Five – November

November is finally over and so begins my favourite month of the year. But before I get completely caught up in strings of fairy lights, presents and the smell of cinnamon (oh and being kind to my fellow humans etc etc) I want to take a look at what we enjoyed about November.

1. Spirit of Christmas Fair

You may remember myself and my friend Helen went to the Spirit of Christmas Fair last year and had a whale of a time. I wrote all about it here. Anyway after the fair, I completed a customer feedback survey and blow it all if I didn’t win two free tickets for this year’s show. It gave Helen a very legitimate reason to leave her children at home with Daddy (thanks Geoff!) again and come all the way from Devon to spend the weekend with us and come to the Fair with me. We had just as good a time this year, although as I don’t have a target to reach this year we definitely spent more time in the food hall, sampling lots of delicious goodies! We also went to another workshop. This year’s was canapes with Executive Chef Barry Vera. It was fun and all that (who doesn’t love choking on a wasabi oyster!) but it was a watching only workshop, unlike the hands on Biscuit Decorating we did last year. No matter, we had a super day and came home just as tired but happy as we did before.

Thanks to Helen for coming with me, thanks to Ben for looking after Oscar and thanks to Spirit of Christmas Fair for a great day out!

Helen with a reindeer made from dried fruit. As you do!

Helen with a reindeer made from dried fruit. As you do!

Helen and I in the same place we took a photo last year. Cos we're just that cool!

Helen and I in the same place we took a photo last year. Cos we’re just that cool!

My purchases from this year's Spirit of Christmas Fair. Can you see a theme?

My purchases from this year’s Spirit of Christmas Fair. Can you see a theme?

2. Pusskins Plush

My friend Jane started making whimsical, beautiful things in felt and cloth a little while ago and I actually bought my first item from her etsy shop, Pusskins Plush, two years ago. However this year she’s been working on a line of one of a kind Unicorns and I fell in love when I saw the ones she’d created for Christmas. Here she is. She is this year’s Christmas decoration. Isn’t she a beaut?

Gingerbread the Unicorn

Gingerbread the Christmas Unicorn

And it got me thinking about Oscar’s decoration for this year. I had a picture in my head, but knew I didn’t have the skills (or patience, let’s be honest) to make it myself. I decided to ask Jane if it was something she could do and blow me if she didn’t say yes. What a doll! And as she was being such a sweetie, I also asked her to make one for a friends daughter too! Jane’s been amazing updating me all through the process and I received the photos of the finished articles a few days ago. They’re on their way and I cant wait to put Oscar’s up!

My very very rough drawing of an idea for Oscar's decoration. In case you cant read my writing - that's meant to be a train!

My very, very rough drawing of an idea for Oscar’s decoration. In case you can’t read my writing – that’s meant to be a train!

3. Boo Face Photography

How could I talk about November and not mention our Pony Pals shoot with Boo Face Photography. I wrote all about our experience here (and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re the only one who hasn’t! Who knew little boys running around with tiny horses could be so popular 😉 ). It was an amazing experience and gave us some fantastic memories, as well as some wonderful images to keep. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the pictures go and look now!!!

 Boo Face Photography 2015

Boo Face Photography 2015

4. Mog the Cat

It’s that time of year when big stores release their Christmas advert designed to pull at the heartstrings and make us cry. At least I assume that’s what they’re for. I’m always a blubbing mess when I watch them! Anyway this year’s Sainsbury’s ad is a little different. Based around the ever popular children’s book character Mog, it’s my favourite of the season, for several reasons. Firstly Sainsbury’s are using the ad to support Save the Children and to improve child literacy across the UK. And who can argue with that? Secondly it’s really cleverly filmed and the boy absolutely loves watching it. Over and over! But mostly it’s because it reminded me that I still had my early 80’s copy of Mog’s Christmas. I decided that, as the boy seemed to love the ad so much, I’d dig it out for him. He was thrilled to have the book, but the more I read it the more I realised how potentially useful it could be. Mog’s Christmas is all about how difficult it can be for Mog when everything in the house starts changing and she doesn’t understand why. This is something many autistic children struggle with too and so I’m hoping that by reading the book together, we can explain to Oscar the kinds of things that might happen and help with any anxiety the festive season may cause him. Good old Mog!

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My original 80’s copy of Mog’s Christmas

5. Tots100

Much as I don’t really pay any heed to these sort of things, it was a lovely surprise to find out I had entered the Top 500 of the Tots 100 this month. The Tots 100 is a scoreboard, a Top of the Pops if you will, for UK parent bloggers and there are 8000 members. I’ve had the badge on my blog since I began blogging, but only linked it up earlier this year. Once you get into the Top 500 bloggers your badge updates and shows your ranking. It was a massive shock to see I’d jumped up the scores and got a number in my badge this month. I have every expectation that it will be gone by the next round of scores, so I took a snap of it to remind myself I was there once! Yay me!

A Top 500 blogger? Get me!

A Top 500 blogger? Get me!

What did November hold for you? Or have you already forgotten in the glare of gorgeousness that is December?

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