The very last post and a new blog

Yes it is.

After my public meltdown on here a couple of weeks ago, I found that I still needed to blog, but I couldn't do it here.

I think that autism has a lot to do with that: the early years of this blog largely became the story of how this family struggled to adapt to my son's challenges post diagnosis. Then I vowed not to write about it anymore, but it kept creeping into my posts, as it is still completely central to family life and how we live it.

Autism became the elephant in the room on here.

I can't write about it, but I can't write without it.

So I've started a new blog. It's a personal blog and it will feature Smiley, but there will be no mention at all of autism.

If you're still interested, please contact me at and I will give you the details.

Less blogging, more caring

The last ever 'Poor Me' post on here, I promise...

Another blogging friend announces she's quitting and this blog sinks again in the tots 100 blogging index. I seem to have lost my way, lost my confidence and even lost my interest in writing. Nor can I keep up in with the relentless changes to blogging and social media.

I still jot down ideas, thoughts and even whole paragraphs, but rarely have the urge to write it up. I just wonder if anyone will be interested in the now very crowded blogosphere. Unless I promote it to death of course and that's not my style.

I still like doing the reasons to be cheerful posts each week as well as writing about Netflix, and there will always be a place on here for others to tell their stories, even anonymously.

But that might be all, because sometimes this blog feels like yet another pressure in my life, especially the need to be positive and find the 'blue sky'.

I know I'm becoming bitter and I know that's not attractive, and I need to leave it off the blog. Yet this used to be a place where I could offload so I can be cheerful in real life. Now I have to offload somewhere else.

My blogging also means that people assumer that I must have lots of free time, especially as I'm no longer in paid employment, when the truth is that I am very rarely alone at home, even on 'school' days. Normally one of my children is at home and needs my attention. And the things I do? Like blogging, Facebooking, watching Netflix, jogging, the gym? The main reason I do them is to prop up my mental, emotional and physical health so I can get up tomorrow and do it all again.

If you asked me what I want to do, I wouldn't have a clue, I no longer know what I like or what I want.

I told you I was bitter!!!!

Anyway, there will be no more misery on this blog, just the good stuff or coverage of specific issues. Or there may be nothing at all. Less blogging, and a lot more caring. We shall see.

Surviving the summer with Netflix

It's good to have a distraction when your summer does not involve sun, sea and sandcastles, especially when you wish it did, and Netflix fits the bill perfectly. It's the silly season in the media, with endless repeats, stand in presenters, stupid surveys and sunburn stories filling the airwaves and papers. Not good and not a great way to entertain those of us stuck at home, whether we're trying to relax, or even while doing the chores. But Netflix is, and here's what we've been watching:

Stranger Things

No don't stop reading: I know that everyone is praising this series and writing about it, but perhaps, like me, you thought you wouldn't like it? I saw the trailers and publicity and wrote it off as another mild horror/psychological suspense series that would be too scary for me. Yes I'm a big baby, but I don't need anything else to keep me awake at night!

But with so many recommendations I ended up giving it a try and despite being put off by the opening scene, I was soon drawn in to the story, which begins properly as four young friends meet up for a table top gaming session some time in the 1980s and one of them disappears on the way home.

This is the most significant event to have happened in this sleepy Indiana town in living memory and gradually most of the townspeople get drawn in to the drama, for good or bad, as more and more strange things start to happen.

My memories will be of a distraught mother who is desperate to be believed, while those around her think she's losing her mind, resourceful friends, an upright cop, evil middle aged people in suits (a metaphor methinks?), superbiking, the loneliness of Middle America that reminded me of Winter's Bone, a film I adored, and Joy Division's Atmosphere capturing the mood of one of the saddest scenes...

Not to be missed, and there's already talk about a second series too.

Good Witch

I was prepared to dislike this show with its cheesy smiles, cliched lines and tired stereotypes, but actually I enjoyed it, and best of all it stars 'Mike' from Desperate Housewives. Remember him?

The Good Witch lives in the Grey House, a B&B, in another small American town. She doesn't have a wand or mix up potions, she just has the intuition or foresight to engineer events to help people with their lives. She does have an irritating tendency to speak in inspirational quotes and a bias against coffee though, while two of the teenagers irritated me greatly when they used the word 'cretin' as an insult, surely that is no longer acceptable?

Anyway a divorced doctor moves in next door and his son makes friends with her daughter. Teenage rebellion ensues, parents struggle to cope, and a succession of guests at the Grey House with a variety of problems keep the stories moving along.

I found it a heartwarming easy watch.


My teenage son recommends this show, in fact he loves it so much that we're now watching it together. It's a US series inspired by Japanese anime, the production values (as my son would say) are not the best and there are plenty of plot holes, but it does have certain charm, and if you have a child on the spectrum, they will surely recognise themselves in some of the characters. A parent could get a good insight into the way their child thinks by watching it too, I would think.

The story? Well in the first episode a bunch of oddly assorted teenagers are set various tasks to enter a school for warriors, there's some impressive fighting scenes, but why do so many of the female characters resemble extras from sleazy rap videos? Subsequent episodes have featured more of the same, plus working through the usual crop of teenage problems.


(Words provided by my 23 year old daughter who recommends this series)

Between is a sic fi drama starring Jennette McCurdy. It is set in the small town of Pretty Lake, where there is a mysterious disease outbreak that kills everyone over 22. Due to the outbreak the government quarantines the entire town and the series focuses on how these kids survive and fend for themselves.

Jennette McCurdy plays Wiley, the pregnant teenage daughter of the minister. Jesse Carere plays Adam, a 'hacker' who views the disease outbreak as a conspiracy from the beginning. Other featured characters include a convict, a rich kid a farmer who has just enlisted in the army and the town outsiders.

Soon we see the town descend into chaos as food runs low, young kids are left to mind themselves and people turn against each other.

Upcoming series

I'm especially looking forward to season two of the South American drug series Narcos (release date TBA) and also the techno-paranoia series Black Mirror, which is new to Netflix and will be available on October 21st.

Whatever you watch, have a great summer!

Disclosure: I have received free Netflix streaming, a streaming device and an iPad as part of my membership of the Netflix Stream Team, plus a few summer goodies too! But all words and opinions in this post are my own.

Reasons to be cheerful 29.7.16

We're back on the rollercoaster here, with hopeful ups and devastating downs, but at least the ups mean I have some reasons to be cheerful for this week.

The Sewing Machine

Through the power of blogging and social media, I have been offered a sewing machine, thanks to Helen at The Busy Mamas. Mending and making used to be a part of my life, and needs to be again: no-one makes clothes that fit Smiley perfectly and my hand sewn alterations do not work that well. Her leggings regularly split too, as they are not designed to hold adult nappies, and a machine sewn seam will surely last longer. Hopefully I will be able to design and make items that you cannot buy in the shops, such as the adult bed bumper I need to stop her side bars scraping lumps out of the plaster. And yes she needs side bars to stop her rolling out. I might even get out my mother's old sewing book that I've kept for years 'just in case'....

Beach Wheelchairs

Doing a clear out of the attic and finding Angel's old wetsuit - just in time for Smiley to try out the new disability beach wheelchairs now available at beaches in the Dublin area.

Running with my daughter

It was toe in the water stuff. Just 2.5K, but running (slowly) while pushing an adult in an adult buggy certainly felt like a good workout! I will definitely do more of this. I enjoyed it, she enjoyed it, we both got medals, and I didn't have to feel guilty for leaving her at the weekend. So it's a win win. Now I just need to find some more fun runs that allow wheelchairs to take part.


One of Angel's friends popping over and bringing cake! On the same day that Angel insisted on bringing back Prosecco from the supermarket because "you only live once, Mum".

Trips Out

A lovely visit to Malahide Castle with my son. It looked pretty even in the rain.

Head on over to Mummy from the Heart for the reasons to be cheerful linky, and have a great week.

The end of the heatwave

And I'm glad.

I know that cooler temperatures will not please all my friends, so I will be celebrating with a guilty conscience. But a heatwave is not much fun for this family. It's the only type of weather when my stage of life becomes sweatingly obvious. The children don't enjoy it either, and none of us can sleep well, so to keep the temperature in the house bearable, I mostly stayed indoors with the windows and doors open and the curtains drawn trying to keep the house as cool as possible.

Now it seems to be over, so I can venture out more, and leave the curtains open!

So that's my first reason to be cheerful for this week's short post. Here's the rest:

  • The bed - a new addition to the kitchen that is already making a difference. 

  • The Rose festival - a lovely afternoon out with friends and Smiley too of course.

  • The GAA (Gaelic Games) championship matches have begun in the nearby sports stadium, so it's getting very busy lively around here at weekends - and if I'm tired and busy, I don't need to take Smiley far from the front door to keep her happy and entertained.

  • A couple of hours in a local pub with some friends old and new. Lots of laughter...

  • Taking a short break in Costa with a Mocha Latte (my latest obsession) and a blog post popping into my head all ready to be typed up on my phone. Gotta love technology!

Hope you had a good week too. For more reasons to be cheerful, head on over to Mummy from the Heart who is hosting this linky for the month of July.

My home town

I've been pondering my nationality again following the UK's vote to leave the European Union.

I've no passport right now, and I guess I was hoping they would become a thing of the past by the time I got to travel again.

Instead it looks as though I'd better make some decisions, and join the queues to get passports for me and my children, or our shopping trips to Newry could come to an end. Let alone any plans to travel further afield.

See I really don't know where I belong anymore.

Today my home town is Dublin, and has been for 26 years, yet I still haven't acquired an Irish accent, and only last month I was asked once again how long I was staying on holidays...

So the home town I'm writing about today is a small market town on the English/Welsh border where I grew up in the 60s and 70s when children still roamed free and computers were the size of small rooms.

The town was built where three rivers meet in a bowl in the hills, so it has its own microclimate and I learned to always ask about flooding whenever I moved house. We lived on a low hill, so walking down town and up home was my life for 18 years.

You walked past the Hospital where my Grandad died and a nurse lanced my swollen finger. Now closed. Past the Girl's Grammar school with its bridge across the road that linked the classrooms with the main school building. The school prefects used to patrol the bridge with elastic bands to press on any pupil who dared to try and cross with long loose hair. Still there, though perhaps the hair police are not! Past the bus stop where the bus failed to stop one time when I was seven.  Past the houses where my friends used to live and up the steep hill to home.

When I was a child, our home backed onto fields and that's where I roamed during the long hot summers. Because they were of course. I would wade through the cow parsley with binoculars swinging round my neck and a sun hat bouncing against my back being Nancy from Swallows and Amazons, or Laura from Little House on the Prairie. In the winter I became Lucy searching for a magical door into Narnia.

The town became my life, once I hit my teens. At its heart is the market square, where stalls were put up 'under the arches' every Friday, and two of the town's 17 pubs squared up to each other across the cobblestones.

The record shop was there too, where you could buy singles for 30p once they dropped out of the top 20. Yes, I was careful with money even then.

The cake shop where I got my first job and acquired a love of Chelsea buns and a work ethic that has stayed with me since.

Behind it, the town castle I never did get around to visiting...

Between the square and the big church is a small narrow street that housed the book shop where I spent my pocket money on Ladybirds every Saturday, the grocer's shop that delivered every week and the tiny cinema where I screamed through Carrie and was inspired by Grease.

Lots of teenage memories from eating chips and curry sauce while shivering in the bus station that's now a supermarket car park to parties on the island in the river behind the weir, or at free houses around the town. Scurrying home from lighted window to lighted window after the street lamps were switched off at midnight.

The magnificent views of the Welsh hills from the town and the gorgeous views of the town from the hills. The annual road race up one of the hills to the monument at the top. The bluebell woods, the flame coloured hill sides in autumn, the sound and sparkle of running water.

The show and the carnival. One of my best friends winning carnival queen. One set of traffic lights. Cruising up and down the main street in my boyfriend's car.

Returning and seeing the changes: the chain stores replacing the family run shops and boutiques, all the road markings and the street furniture. Decent coffee and more choice than chips. I still hungrily follow news of my hometown on line and admire the gorgeous pictures of which I have none!

My parents have died now and our home is sold. I still have friends living in the town, but there's nothing left of my family except a drift of snowdrops in the church yard planted in memory of my mum.

So that was my home town then, and Dublin is my home town now. Yet in many ways I belong in both places. We're all Welsh now, as the BBC commentator said after the superb win by the Welsh team against Belgium in the quarter finals of the Euro 16 tournament. I felt so much pride for the country where I grew up. Nationalism is heartwarming and inclusive at times like that. But the world has seen its ugly side in recent months too. I just want to be a citizen of the world, but post Brexit I'm worried that I will be forced to decide between Ireland and Wales. Please don't make me choose.

I've few photos of my home town, this is the house where my grandparents lived.
I've added this to the #livewhereyoulive linky over at Where Wishes Come From, which inspired this post.

The Bed

It's funny how appearances can be deceptive. I must've looked like a typical yummy mummy sitting in Costa in my work out gear on Monday morning surrounded by shopping bags. Apart from the other bags. The ones under my eyes.

But I digress. The bulging bags were full of cushions and throws from Penneys for my new bed. Wonderful I hear you say. Well in a way. I did enjoy the shopping, I even enjoyed putting the bed together.

But the reason I need one is all about my caring role. Smiley often needs me in the night and despite a baby monitor turned up to full, I'm so tired all the time, that I often fall straight back asleep when she calls me, especially as she generally chatters or laughs instead of crying. Then if I do stay awake I find the trek up and down the stairs in the middle of the night exhausting, and I'm only going to get more tired as I get older. So putting a bed downstairs seemed like a clever plan.

I'd been idly looking at sofa beds on-line, and taking measurements and worrying about what would work in the space, and then I saw it: a fellow blogger with a day bed that she no longer needed. Once I'd waved the tape measure around a bit, I didn't hesitate.

You know me, I have a terrible tendency to say yes to things without thinking them through. But on this occasion, it was the right thing to do and three days later I was heading across the city with my van to collect the partly dismantled bed, all the bits in labelled zip lock bags, so nothing could go wrong. And nothing did.

Okay, okay, so you can still see a label in the photo hanging off one of the cushions, and the throw I bought is not quite big enough, but it'll do for now.

Especially as it is *gasp* in the kitchen.  Yes, I will be becoming a modern day Cinderella, in order to sleep as close to Smiley as possible, but not in the same room.

A couple more things need to happen before I can move downstairs. In the meantime, my eldest and youngest are already using it to lounge on and I am enjoying their company. Who knows, when they see everything I do, they might even offer more help!

I also have a nice corner and I think this bed is going to make our lives better and easier in all sorts of unexpected ways...