Tag Archives: christmas

Thank Goodness Its Over

2 Jan

Firstly, let me start by wishing you all a very happy new year. Here’s hoping all your hopes and dreams are granted this year.

We may only be in the first few days of 2013 but what an eventful few days these have been… Well in our household anyway! With the children still off school it sure hasn’t been quiet!

Little man’s routine has gone totally off course and once again as a result I have a child who sleeps all day and is awake all night. Yes, I do drag his backside from his pit most days but when you’ve spent most the night awake yourself it is kind of tempting to let him sleep. One, your able to get stuff done and two… Have you ever tried dragging a 12 year old boy from his bed? Especially one who has the tendency to wake in a super foul mood? I rest my case!

Still, its to be expected I guess! Christmas and New year does tend to interfere with the body clock of a child on the autism spectrum. OK, he isn’t the best of sleepers generally, its just that bit worse these past few weeks. That’s why I’m kinda glad its all over now… Well it will be once the children are back at school. I don’t wanna sound all ba humbug, I actually love this festive time of year though I also love a little normality in the house (not that we are your average family on most days but I guess you get my drift).

So… Let me tell you a little about our Christmas and New year…. There was lots of fun in our house. Christmas itself was really pleasant. Yes, dinner was a tad later than expected, but it was actually really nice and chilled. That’s as chilled as Christmas can be! I know for some it can be a really stressful day. Especially when you have a child on the autism spectrum who likes everything to run like clockwork. However, this year we managed an almost stress free day. Keeping things small really helped. There was no huge family dinner, just me and the kids and their father. We briefly popped to my mums in the morning which was really short and sweet, then we sat watching Christmas TV with a load of Quality street within reach. Dinner did ran a little late as mentioned but I blamed the Turkey! It had clearly been living in another time zone when living as it had no intention on playing by the rules and cooking in accordance with the timescales so clearly stated on the packet. Little man did get a little stressed at this point but so did I. Maybe it was a mix of his Aspergers traits and that of hunger. I’m guessing it was more of the latter as I know I was close to starting on the pudding I’d prepared at some point.

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As mentioned in a previous post, that of Boxing Day didn’t go so well. With no schedule as such little man was handed a dose of the post Christmas blues and handled this in the only way he knew how… With a Good old fashioned meltdown… Little man style.

As the days passed, Little man kinda felt as if he was in limbo. The week between Christmas and New Year is a hard one for little man and I can kind of understand why. I swear, even I was unaware of what day it was occasionally. With money spent up on Christmas I found myself with nothing else to do but watch television and even I was getting pretty bored of this. What with one day being a holiday and the next day not, supermarket opening times still up in the air and not knowing if the rubbish would be collected or not (not great when you have a bin full of turkey bones, rotten veg and a truck load of gift wrap) you can’t blame him for the confusion… or me for the lack of schedule planning.

As for New Years Eve, well, this was spent with my mum. Just myself, mother and the children. So again a pretty quiet family affair (that’s if you don’t include the noise that was coming from little mans direction)!

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You see, little man gets somewhat excitable when it comes to New Year. He is petrified of fireworks, but only when stood beneath them, so the prospect of watching them on the television is one of great excitement for him. As the stroke of midnight grew closer little mans excitement was growing off the scale. He had come up with this wild and somewhat bonkers idea to do his own countdown for the benefit of his youtube channel (have I not yet mentioned his growing fascination with creating videos for youtube? Another time maybe). Anyway this meant that he wasn’t only sat filming the mental piece clock but that of the TV. As the stroke of midnight finally came we were not only greeted by the sound of the fabulous London firework display on the TV as well as a somewhat loopy firework hating barking dog running around mums living room but the sound of little man as he commentated the whole thing in his own unique style (sweet you may thing but you were not the ones reaching for the Paracetamol so early on in the night)!

So… There you have it. With all the festivities well and truly over I’m just about ready for the year ahead. I have our holiday to butlins in April to look forward to but before that I have a monster high themed sleepover/party to organise for a very excited 9 soon to be 10 year old daughter…. The joys of being a kid!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too…. Heres to a splendid & wonderful 2013.

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The Year That Was… 2012

31 Dec

The year of 2012 will soon be over, we will wave it farewell as we enter a new chapter.

Is it because I’m getting older or do the years really fly by so quickly? It seems not so long ago I was sat here writing a post summing up 2011 yet here we are again fast approaching the year 2013… I can hardly keep up!

So, how was 2012 for us? Well, amazingly it was pretty drama free (just the way we like it)! With little man now really settled at his new school things have been… Well… “Normal” I mean I no longer get daily phone calls from head teachers demanding I collect little man! I’m actually able to go shopping without that niggling fear that my mobiles about to ring as soon as I start loading the supermarket trolley.

We have had some wonderful highlights to this year one being our second Mad blog awards win where the blog was crown most inspiring for the second consecutive year in a row. It was a truly wonderful surprise and one we didn’t expect. Lets just say I woke up with a somewhat sore head the following morning.

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I was also a runner up for most inspirational blog in the BIBs (brilliance in blogging wards) run by Britmums.

At the beginning of the year I got to attend Little mans first ever sports day. Ok, his 12 years old so that may seem strange for some. But those who like me have a child on the autism spectrum will likely have experienced the same… Their child being excluded from everyday activities as they are branded something of a health and safety risk.

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Little mans attendance at his new special school has brought with it a lot of “firsts” this year, including his most recent Christmas performance that almost had me in floods of happy tears. I also attended the school Christmas lunch which is such a big deal when you have got to the stage of thinking “You’re child will never be given such opportunities” such negative thoughts are all based purely on the bad experiences of the past.

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Other wonderful things that have happened this year include, being chosen as Toy R Us Toyologist. Alice and little man were blue group reviewers and lots of fun was had reviewing all the great toys in the run up to Christmas. Little man discovered his love of making review videos and mini tutorials, his confidence grew and as a result his only gone and started his very own youtube channel.

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We were also invited to be LEGO Family bloggers this year and as you can guess, that news had the little man excited beyond belief.

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Another really big surprise was being chosen to be one of Butlins Ambassadors. Next year we will be visiting Bognor Regis resort and I’ll be able to share with readers our experiences including how the park caters for children with additional needs and sen. We start our holiday on the 1st April and I for one really can’t wait.

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October see me as one of ten bloggers and writers who were chosen as finalist in the Savoo smartest shopper competition. I was in with the chance of winning a prize of £10,000 plus the chance to write my own money saving blog. No I didn’t win! But looking back I do realise what a wonderful achievement it was to be in the final amongst the red hot competition.

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This year seemed to be the year for competitions. What with Alice being a runner up in the Ice Age Jr reviewer competition winning a fab trip to Bristol, Little man bagging himself an iPad Mini on an online raffle that was organised by his school reward system Vivo, and that of Alice finding out on Christmas Eve that she had won £750! This was for her amazing entry into the post card from Santa competition run by Travel Supermarket (the entry & video can be seen on my sister blog mummy of many talents).

20121231-133607.jpgAbove… A beautiful trip to bristol

On the whole the year has been a kind one. Sadly we do still have the worrying situation involving my sister and the SS (see the blog post peek a boo) following us into this coming new year. As a family we are continuing to support her the best we can while fighting the system that is destroying her.

So… What will next year bring? New opportunities, more school plays and sports days. I don’t hope its a good one I’ll be sure to make it a great one.

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#silentsunday

30 Dec

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What goes up must come down

28 Dec

You know what they say… What goes up, must come down! This is exactly what happen when Christmas Day suddenly finished. All that built up excitement and in someways anticipation experienced by the little man was suddenly gone… And boy, didn’t we know it!

No Christmas is Christmas without an Aspergers style meltdown and although little man sailed through the actual day itself in a somewhat relaxed and merry way… Boxing Day was somewhat different all together.

Waking him up was the hardest part, if I’d let him, I’m pretty sure he’d had slept the day away. His facial expression said it all… That evil deadly stare that says “Back off bitch or I’m gonna blow! Not to be defeated I persisted on my mission to get the little man up from his bed before the daylight had fully disappeared.

Crashing around, screaming and shouting, declaring me to be the most evil mother to ever walk the earth. Little man was now up… but happy about he he was not!

Literally throwing his whole body through the living room door, crying for reasons he himself didn’t know, he shouted in no uncertain terms “Stop trying to control me, this is my life, my time!” Somehow I felt as if I was sat watching the film ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large” but this wasn’t some stroppy 17 year old. It was my 12 year old who had gone to bed smiling and woken a raging beast.

I knew things could easily spiral into a more explosive episode, so with that I did my best to ignore the rude names and hurtful statements, fore I’ve learnt that engaging in an argument with your 12 year old only feeds his fuel. His sister, sat on sofa was next inline as he so angrily asked her what she was looking at. My daughter had a choice choose to ignore it like me or feed the fuel and if course she went for the latter.

Screaming over one another the hurtful comments flew about the air as the toddler sat watching Thomas drowning out the noise like he had done so many times before. To think it was not even midday and I was already reaching for the Paracetamol, was a clear indication of the day ahead.

Finally… some two hours later, a sore head and with this inner feeling of drain washing through me. I sat on the sofa next to the little man who was now much calmer meaning I could try to unearth the meltdown trigger I’d regretfully missed.

One would expectedly assume that the trigger for this meltdown was tiredness. His need to catch up on sleep if I’d had allow him too. I guess in some respects this is true. However this was in no way the main trigger it was just the one that sparked the rage. Whether I’d woken him or not, I was about to discover that today’s antics would have been unavoidable all the same! Why…
Well… Because the tigger was Christmas!

It had been on the agenda for so long. The build up, christmas crafts, school plays, parties and more! Suddenly it was over… No more Christmas for another 365 days and counting. Talking to him, I realise that for months his head has been consumed with nothing other than festivities. If it wasn’t the rehearsals in his bedroom for the school play it was searching the Internet for the latest WWE merchandise to add to his growing Christmas list.

Little man looked at me and with a tear in his eye he declared “I think I’m actually really sad its over!”

Well, there are many things a mother can try to fix but this is something I cannot. This is life… something that little man will face year and year again. But just being aware of this will help me prepare for the events that could likely follow as Christmas comes and goes in the years ahead.

20121228-180945.jpga happy little man on Christmas day

A Christmas Message For Our Readers

25 Dec

A message from the boy himself to wish our readers a very merry Christmas.

Love Claire, Little man and and family.xx

Look How Happy He Is Now!

24 Dec

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I never thought I’d see the day my son smiled like this… His at school, has a great role in the secondary years Christmas production and I’ve never felt so proud.

When your child is never ALLOWED to take part in the schools yearly Christmas nativity or play it tends to become somewhat disheartening. In mainstream he was either told he wasn’t allowed to be part of it all, coincidently excluded from school that day or just pulled out and told he couldn’t take part at the final rehearsals or worse on the day itself.

Some parents feel a Little disheartened for their child when they Become upset at having to preform as a star, Camel, or even tree year after year. Us… We would have been happy with just that.

Seeing him up there on the stage, contributing, being a part of it all, was amazing. Did I cry? What do you think?

He has been in his Independent special school For around 18 months now. I remember he’s harvest festival assembly Back when he first started. She was excited about doing a reading but he wasn’t used to this type of thing, given he had never been given the opportunity in the past, The poor boy just froze with stage fright.

Now look him up there, With his mass of red hair and great big smile Ironically playing the gingerbread man. He couldn’t have been happier And honestly neither could I!

It was a wonderful day that had followed a school Christmas dinner the day before. This gave me two opportunities to witness my sons happiness within his new school environment.

It feels somewhat weird Being involved in the school community. Watching your son perform in the school play and eating Christmas dinner side by side with fellow parents and your child’s teaching team. Let’s not forget my experiences of school especially when associated with my son, were anything other then awful.

Looking back to how things were, the discrimination, tears and even self harm. I would have never imagined us being here.Things were horrible and I couldn’t see the light past the darkness. We are the perfect example of hope for any parent with a child on the autism spectrum facing the same trying battle when it comes to their child’s educational environment.

There is hope… No matter how dark things may seem right now. Good, understanding schools do truly exist so please don’t give up the fight!

Big thank you to my sons school for a wonderfully festive few days and for giving my son the opportunities he deserves as a 12 year old boy.

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#silentsunday

23 Dec

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Ikea stocking fillers in aid of Save the Children & UNICEF

19 Dec

IKEA are back again with their annual Soft Toy Campaign! For every soft toy and children’s book sold between October 21st and December 23rd 2012 the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to UNICEF and Save the Children, to support worldwide education programs, ensuring more children around the world can go to school. This yearly campaign has so far raised a total of €47.4 million since 2003 and has helped improve the lives of more than eight million vulnerable children.

I’m writing today to share a couple of the items included in this years campaign, and what with it being under a week till christmas and the final week of the campaign, I urge you to get yourselves down to Ikea to take advantage of the brilliant, reasonably priced toys while raising much needed funds for UNICEF & Save the Children.

The two items we were sent came from the KLAPPAR CIRUS range of toys. This range is bold, bright, and reasonably priced, all the things I like in a soft toy.

We reviewed the KLAPPER CIRKUS Finger puppets that can be brought for just £4.99.

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This is a fabulous stocking filler, a traditional toy that reminds me of those you purchase at Christmas markets. The puppet stand is made from brightly coloured card so not the most durable but all the little finger puppets are beautifully stitched felt with lovely detailing and considering there are eight of them, a fiver seems little money to pay for this set. These puppets are bright and fun and the toddler absolutely adores them.

We were also sent KLAPPAR CIRUS – Soft Toy Rabbit which cost just £4 to buy.

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This super soft white bunny is ultra cuddly. His of a nice size and good quality. I love his floppy ears and long whiskers. What gives him that something extra is this bunnies sense of style. He looks dashing in his purple glittery jacket and top hat and reminds me somewhat of the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

Again the toddler loves this toy and the white rabbit has now become a permeant fixture to the end of his bed.

For £4 the soft white rabbit makes a lovely Christmas gift for very little money.

Other toys in the ikea soft bear campaign include soft toys and books for as little as £1.

Here’s a few other ideas for those Christmas stockings.

VANDRING HARE – Soft Toy Rabbit £5

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VANDRING IGELKOTT – Squeaky toy hedgehog £2

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VANDRING – Book ‘The Hedgehog Leaves Home’ £5

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I love this statement made by Ikea! It really sums up what the campaigns about and while you should pop along and buy your child a soft toy from them this Christmas…

“At IKEA, we believe all children deserve the right to simply be children – free to play, learn and develop, that’s why we work hard to give millions of children a better start in life. By buying a Soft Toy from IKEA this Christmas, not only are you giving to your child, but also to millions of underprivileged children around the world.”

I was not paid to write this post but did receive two toy samples so that we could share our honest feedback on these products. All words are my own and have not been Influence in any way.

Have Yourselves A Merry LEGO Christmas

16 Dec

As many will already know my little man is a tad LEGO crazy. That’s why we are very pleased to have been granted the privilege of becoming official LEGO family bloggers.

A week or so back I wrote a post titled “What children with Aspergers really want for Christmas” I wrote this as result of a tread I started on my Facebook page asking other parents of children diagnosed with Aspergers what was on their child’s Christmas wish list. The feed back was amazing what with some 5,000 + page members I managed to start a decent conversation thread and gather lots of great answers.

The list featured the unusual strange requests such as leaf blowers and doughnuts to the more desired gifts of smart phones, Star Wars and iPads However, appearing most frequently on the list was that of LEGO… Whether Lego StarWars, Lego city, or Lego friends… Lego was most definitely the most desired gift of all. You can read the post Here.

With this I couldn’t wait to bring my readers this very awesome Lego gift guide which won’t break the bank. All the Lego sets below are currently being sold for under £20. I do hope this will provide you all with some last minute Christmas inspiration.

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Lego Creationary: This is a must buy family game for Christmas that allows players to really show of their Lego building skills. This interactive game requires 3-8 players allowing larger family groups and friends to enjoy the game together.

With four categories, vehicles, buildings, nature and things, a Roll of the Lego Dice will reveal which one. As you build your fellow players have the job in guessing just what it is your creating. With three levels of difficulty imagination is the key. Recommend Age 7+

The game normally retails for around £23, however Argos currently have it on special for £18.75 (the joys of last minute Christmas shopping)

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Lego Technic Tracked Crane. This is Lego like I’ve never seen before. This kit has all the pieces to create a perfect fully working Tracked Crane. It can be manoeuvred into different positions and has a number of fully operational features such as the extending crane arm. What’s more this is a 2-in-1 model that rebuilds into a bulldozer that features moving tracks, rotating superstructure and more. Suitable for Age 8 Years + and currently priced in many stores online and in store for as little as £11

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LEGO Marvel Superheroes The Avengers – Hulk (4530)

This is a brilliant kit, especially for the child who loves both superheros and Lego. There are a number of figures that can be purchased in the Avengers range and the hulk is one of them. The kit includes a Hulk buildable figure that can be customise using the flexible building system. Hulk stands over 7″ (18cm) tall when fully built.
Build bigger figures with the exclusive high friction joints.

This kit is targeted at children aged 6-12 years and its priced really reasonable with many retailers selling for a little over £10.

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LEGO Friends Andrea’s Bunny House (3938)

Andrea’s bunny house forms part of the Lego friends range of toys that has produced and targeted more towards girls (though boys can quite happily play with them too). This is one of five smaller sets, you can also get Olivia, Mia, Stephanie and Emma all complete with their own play set. Andrea comes complete with buildable bunny hutch where she keeps her much loved bunny Jazz. These sets are targeted at children aged between 5-12 years old. They are reasonably priced with amazon currently selling this particular set for just £9.50

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LEGO CITY MINING 4200

4200 Mining is one of many Lego city kits. This particular one comes with a yellow 4×4 vehicle with open back storage. You also get a mining Lego figure minifigure as well as a whole host of other accessories designed to help the miner find his gold. Little man is a fan of this set… The contents is more than enough to keep the kids busy for an hour or so on Christmas morning.

Set recommended for children ages 5-12 years and can be brought for around £7.99

LEGO Stocking Fillers…

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LEGO NINJAGO – Masters of Spinjitzu – Slithraa (9573)

The Ninjago spinjitzu range are a great stocking fillers for Lego lovers. Both the excitement of a figure and a game where you must spin your way to victory against the Spinjitzu masters with the help of your 4 battle cards and weapon sets.

Set Includes… Slithraa minifigure.
blue transparent spinner, blue crown, LEGO bricks, golden weapon, 2 regular weapons, a character card and 4 battle cards.

This suits Kids between the ages of 6-14 years. They can have great fun with the spinjitzu sets as they battle it out with their friends. I’ve managed to find these on the Symths website for £7.99 other than that I could only find a number of them on various eBay stores who seem to be selling these for a frightening £17.99 or more. So… get yourselves to Symths… And quick!

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LEGO NINJAGO – Masters of Spinjitzu Booster Pack (9556)

If you like the sounds of the above than why not also get a booster pack for the stocking. The Booster pack 9556 contains some 25 pieces including minifigure snake bytar in dark purple. You also get a whole host of other accessories and weapons including 4 more cards.

The booster pack is recommended to children between the ages 6-14 years and can currently be purchased from symths. Again, I’d get in quickly as this is pretty hard to find so at £3.99 its an awesome price.

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LEGO NINJAGO – Lloyd ZX Keyring

LEGO Ninjago fans will love to find a Lloyd ZX who is attached to a keyring within their stockings. The minifigure provides Lego lovers with a funky way to dress up their keys. Perfect stocking filler for LEGO fans both young and old.

The True Magic Of Christmas

13 Dec

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This enchanting, charming, beautiful house is located at 25A Hayes Lane Bromley Kent. The family who live here have been showcasing their ever growing collection of Christmas lights for some 25 years now?

Why?

Well, its all done in the name of charity. The festive home owners have helped a number of charities by putting on a spectacular Christmas light display in the hope of raising funds for those less fortunate, national and local charities and even children with special educational needs.

I first saw the house earlier in the week when I was asked to collect my son from school due to illness. Of course it was the middle of the afternoon so the lights were not yet switched on. With that I decided to take the children back tonight for a closer look and let’s just say we wasn’t disappointed!

The house is absolutely smothered in twinkling fairy lights.You will find an assortment of Santa’s displayed on the roof top, as well as a range of giant snow globes and a Santa loaded hot air balloon.

If that’s not exciting enough, the front garden has been totally transformed into something of a magical winter wonderland that leaves children bedazzled.

The first thing that catches your eye as you approach the house is a beautifully lite mini Ferris wheel with a host of festive faces upon it (Santa and a Snowman included)!

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Nutcrackers and toy Soldiers line the pond area while further along the grass the scene of a nativity really blows you away with festive cheer.

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Everywhere you turn, every inch and every corner, you will find something to amaze you. A beautiful wishing well and a life size moving Santa. Colourful wooden trains, talking elves and more.

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As you walk about exploring your surroundings, traditional Christmas tunes can be heard playing through mini speakers. They even have a special red post box just for posting letters to Santa.

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Here’s a little video I made to try and capture just how lovely the light display really was.

As I stood looking at the amazing display that has brought families from a far to see it, I realised just what a truly amazing thing the family living inside are doing for others. The surrounding communities get the privilege of visiting with their children while many charities are indeed lucky enough to benefit from such a place.

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I noted the television flashing in the window and realised that the family were probably sat indoors doing what you or would be doing… only just outside their window, their home was now something of a tourist attraction. But here they are for their 25th year… Seriously how amazing is that? That means these guys were putting smiles on the faces of children while raising essential funds for charity since I was 5 years old.

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I dunno about you guys but I think whoever is living behind door number 25 must be a pretty amazing family.

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As a mum to a child who benefits from such kindness (as you know little man has Aspergers and special educational needs) I just wanted to spread the festive cheer and if possible get those who are able to visit the house to do so.

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Children will not be disappointed. We drove 3 miles to see the lights and would of driven further if needed.

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Sadly, this is in fact the last year that the family will be transforming their home into a beautiful Christmas winter wonderland. So… Wouldn’t it be amazing to finish this lovely tradition on a high? I would love the family to make a lovely large sum of money in donations for this years chosen charities. I plan to go along again before the end of this jolly festive season, so I can give a little more! I haven’t got much but I know every penny counts.

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So, are you local to Hayes Lane, Bromley? Have you seen the magical wonderland? If yes, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you haven’t yet visited and are within traveling distance why not pop along and help make this a beautiful end to a magical tradition.

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