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A great 2011 for A boy with Asperger’s

21 Dec

A boy with Asperger’s 2011

At the beginning of the year I wrote a two-part post covering all the stuff that had happened during 2010 (yes, seriously this took two post and most of it was nothing but bad happenings). So, looking back through 2011 and realising just what an amazing year’s blogging I’ve had, I just had to do it all again.

So here it is, the busiest year on the blog so far, A boy with Asperger’s 2011

January: Not the best month to be honest, we finally get that all important statement of special educational needs for Little man, only toilet paper would have been worth more. Nonetheless we fight to the depths of the earth and it’s amended later in the year and thankfully contains everything he needs thanks to those all important independent assessments & reports.

February: We finally get some good news, which I document in the post, “The end of a chapter” The mainstream school in-which Little man used to attend finally holds up their hands and we get that all important apology in writing, we therefore settle on the Disability discrimination case only weeks before the tribunal hearing. Another great high to February was the invite I received from Cadbury that saw me and a friend attend an excellent Adult only event (no not in that way) we actually tried to set world records doing normal household chores with a twist (making a bed, unravelling toilet rolls and more besides). This was also the month that I got to interview Colin an adult with Asperger’s who had a very interesting message for Mr Cameron.

March: This was a terrible month, the month that saw my eldest Little man (AKA, A boy with Aspergers) get punched in the stomach by a much older youth of eighteen, while playing at the park with a friend and his mother. Little man was just ten at the time and had said “The wrong thing” to a group of older kids, you can read the post “How could that hurt my little boy” for the full story. March was also the month I shared my concerns on the pending Green paper in the post “Aspirations or clever financial alterations

April: I’m contacted by the lovely Anna Kennedy in regards to her ‘Autism and bullying’ campaign, as a result of this little man appears in an ITV news report which I wrote about in the post “Little man’s television debut” which was perfect timing, what with it being autism awareness month. I also highlight how appearing on the television went to his head a little resulting in him asking everyone and anyone “Do you know who I am”

May: It was this month I wrote one of my favourite post to date “I’m no Vicky Pallord” I also discover that I’m nominated for a Mad blog award shortlisted in two categories, “Most inspiring blog” & “Blogger of the year”

June: Brings with it a fresh start for the Little man when the local LEA crave in before yet another tribunal, agreeing his place at his independent special school for children with autism and aspergers. This was also a really exciting month in the world of blogging, I was featured in two local papers, making front page news in “The Southlondon press” with the Headline “Mum sets blogging standard” & I was also featured in the “Newshopper” both highlighting the news that I had become a finalist in the Mad blog awards 2011. I also got to attend my first ever Cybermummy (blogging conference) and with it the blog received it’s first ever sponsor Londontown.com who paid for me to stay in a beautiful hotel on the night of the conference.

Nonetheless, although the above is all fabulously exciting, June was also a very emotional & overwhelming month, what with Little man adapting to his new routine and little sleep, it resulted in me writing this very open and honest post “falling apart

July: This was the month I started the Santa’s little helpers feature resulting in me working with some pretty spectacular brands, we were also invited to the multimedia screening of Mr Poppers penguins in London’s , Leicester Square. Alice-Sara brings her friend who are both  excited by the odd celeb spot. In the middle of the month me and the children attend the Pandemonium festival in Northampton to celebrate the release of kung-fo panda 2 as VIP guest of Cadbury. The children get to test the new mini games, Harley becomes obsessed by the panda himself and we eat lunch next to the ambassador of china (Yer, I was praying that Little man didn’t treat the guy and his family to a demonstration of a meltdown, “Asperger’s style”)! Myself and Harley my youngest also attended the Boots bump to Baby event in London’s beautiful Haymarket hotel where Harley took a shine to the lovely Rachel Stevens and the boots clothing range (from the pic below who would think his only 18 months here). July is also the month I treat readers to an up-date on the amazing progress Little man is making at his new school.

August: A busy yet crazy month as I celebrate the publishing of my three page article in the SEN publication (please check it out by clicking HERE if you haven’t already). Myself, youngest Harley, sister and her daughter get invited to the tots event of the year, “The lollibob” where we go VIP and the kids have a blast meeting the likes of Bob the builder, Peppa pig and Ben and Holly from the Little Kingdom.

August was also the month that saw chaos unfold in the devastating London riots. I organised a Lewisham riot cleanup on twitter with the use of the hash tag #lewishamriotclean and from then on everything went a little mad, what with being interviewed for the BBC breakfast show by Gabby in the back of a taxi on the way to Lewisham following a sleepless night due to the sounds of rioters looting the supermarket directly across the road. Then as myself and Little man (yes, he cleaned Lewisham too) stood in Lewisham with a dust pan and brush waiting for fellow locals who I’d rounded up with the help of social media to join us, I’m shocked to discover the BBC are there to greet us. Yes, they interviewed me and followed my progress throughout the day, I later cringed watching myself on the 6pm news, in a report that seemed to go on for ever. My use of the quote “Lewisham is cleaner than usual” following the councils own operation seem to be something of a hit and spread across the papers and internet like wide fire! The images of Little man clearing up outside JD Sports still melt my heart and make me mighty proud.

 

August saw us working with some great brands, Micro Scooter & Meccano to name just a few. Little man also has great fun testing sensory toys this month and I try to raise awareness for child mental health by opening up and writing “Just a Little girl

September: This is a month that holds some great memories for me, not only did myself and some of the other Mad blog award finalist find ourselves invited to TKMaxx London’s flagship store to choose evening dresses and accessories for the for the Mad blog awards ceremony but I also went on to win ‘Most inspiring blog 2011’ at the awards itself, which was held at the fabulous Talk-Talk experience centre in London’s Soho. Not only did I win, get to meet a host of other fab bloggers but I also experienced a great working relationship with my mad blog awards sponsor ‘OptiBac Probiotics‘.

With all the above going on I really don’t know how I managed to squash in one of my most popular post on the blog to date, “How well do you really know your child’s teacher

October: was a month that saw the blog working with some pretty big brands such as Sainsburys & Argos, I make two local papers again having been interviewed by the SouthLondon Press and the Newshopper on winning a Mad blog award! Little man takes over the blog, (well, kind of, he finally says how he feels in his first interview, for the blog) where he talks about his Asperger’s, discrimination, bullying, feeling different and acceptance, click Here to read.

November: I’m delighted to become a judge at the BBC Christmas ideal home show for the face of Argos competition which was an amazing experience. I’m invited to lunch by Sainsbury’s at the BBC NEC Winter food show where I also get to watch a live Master chef cook off, I have a great time and meet some awesome people at Liberty’s London when I attend a charity event and I also start working with the wonderful ‘John Crane’ and ‘When I was a kid’ check out the post ‘Joining Forces‘!

It was in November I wrote the post “Merlin’s Magical wand helping children benefit from the magic, well that is unless they have autism” which had 2,000 hits within a few hours and is the busiest post of 2011!

December: The last month of ‘Santa’s Little helpers’ I therefore launch the ‘Santa’s Little helpers, the big christmas countdown’ we feature loads of fantastic competitions with awesome prizes up for grabs. I also get invited onboard P&O ferries to take a trip from Dover to Calais alongside the lovely “Romanian mum where we shop till we drop, and to end such a fabulous year’s blogging, I’m lucky enough to be invited by the fabulous Tots100, to it’s big Christmas party at Butlin’s Bognor Regis where myself, friend and children get to stay in the beautiful Ocean hotel, though Little man finds the change a bit hard to bear.

Wow, there it is, what a year!

There’s been some massive ups and as you can expect one or two downs (what do you expect, this isn’t a fairy tale you know!) But you have to admit, it’s a massive improvement from 2010 that sadly along with 2009 saw much stress and heartache, which just proves, you never know what’s lurking around the corner!

I really do hope that ‘A boy with Asperger’s’ has provide readers with smiles, laughs, entertainment, inspiration, awareness and more!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all my amazing loyal readers
We love yer!

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I Judged The Argos Find The Face Competition

1 Dec

As some of you may already know, I was recently asked to join the judging panel for the ‘Find the face of the new Argos kidswear’ competition that was taking place at the ideal home shows christmas spectacular at Earls Court London a few Saturdays ago.

 I had been sent all the images of the chosen 40 finalist (20 girls and 20 boys between the ages of 4-10) in preparation for the big day. I have to admit that the standard of competition was pretty high up there, I was defiantly going to need to meet these Little people in the flesh before coming to any kind of decision, which understandable would prove to be extremely difficult.

The 40 fabulous finalist 

 As mentioned in my last post on the subject, the winners (one boy and one girl) would not only become the face of the new Argos Kidwear range but would also bag themselves a years modelling contract with the fabulous modelling and talent agency ‘Alphabet Kidz’ along with a whole other host of awesome treats. 

 Considering the above, I would think that, “Yes, this would be a big deal for some of these children and their families.” It felt totally weird knowing I was going to play some part in this huge decision that could possibly be a life changing experience for these kids.

 I’ve worked with a number of brands, I’ve attended some great events from festivals with the children to dinners and conferences with other bloggers. I’ve done a number of in-depth product reviews and run some pretty fabulous competitions! However, I’ve never quite done anything on this scale before! This was so totally new to me. Nonetheless, I was overly excited and as always love the challenge of something new.

 I think its great that Argos called in a judge who is completely independent to the company or that of the modelling agency, a judge who would be completely impartial when making a decision. Honestly this decision wasn’t an easy one, it was such a tough job and I  think we all wanted to pick them all (well, I certainly did)!

 I arrived at the Ideal Home Show Christmas Event with my 8 years old daughter Alice-Sara and my good friend Donna around 2.30pm.

 Unfortunately we had got off the tube a stop to early then walked the wrong way, and despite making it within plenty of time, I had endured Alice-Sara’s constant whining and struggled to cope with the horrid pain caused by the monster heels that graced my throbbing feet!

 The front of the exhibition centre had been transformed into something of a winter wonderland! Giant white christmas trees with twinkling lights lit the entrance, Christmas music played, and on entering the exhibition centre I was covered in a layer of glittering white snow (well, not real snow of course but pretty close)! It was all so magical and made it that bit easier to fall into the Christmas way of things. 

My daughter Alice-Sara checking out the Christmas Tree at the Ideal Home Show 

 Inside I was taken aback by the sheer size of the place, despite living in London, I really haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the exhibition centre before. 

 Despite the size of the place, it was extremely busy on our arrival so we quickly headed for the catwalk where the final would play out. Everyone was incredible friendly, Alice Sara loved it, she especially liked her Argos badge that she even took to school on the Monday (god knows what she did with it once she got it there). The badge allowed her to come backstage with mum and say hi to all the lovely finalist. It was here I meet my fellow judges, a buyer from the Argos kids range and 2 representatives from Alphabet Kidz. I was given a press pack and after a few minutes I took my place at the end of the catwalk with my fellow judges.

 Seriously this was one hell of a tough task and I couldn’t do it everyday(hats of to Alphabet kidz)! I can honestly say that all the children were totally and utterly amazing! The children walked the catwalk in pairs before engaging in a short interview with the presenter, who is used to the cameras given she’s one of the presenters from the Argos TV channel, the same channel that the two winners will also get the privilege to feature on once they become the adorable faces of the new Argos kidswear range

Me (middle) & my fellow judges. Check out them shoes.

 As mentioned the children came out and did their thing in pairs, First the girls and lastly the boys. They weren’t on stage all that long but it was defiantly long enough to get a taster of their personalities. I was quite surprised as a couple who I had ashamed would be quite confident, were more shy and reserved (shows never judge a book by its cover) nonetheless this was in no means a bad thing, I just think it proves that an image alone can’t always give you the full picture. The decision was a hard one and a couple of the kids gave me a big smile when they reached the end of the catwalk and were stood right before me. Every time it happen I found the decision-making process that bit more overwhelming.

Above some of the awesome finalist take to the catwalk like a duck to water

 Lucky for me, the fellow judges and I were on an even par as we had all chosen at least half of our top 6 girls and top 6 boys to be the same which made whittling it down to the 2 winners a little easier.

What a beautiful photo, how proud must their parents be!

 The remaining ten were then announced as the runners-up, all receiving an awesome goody bag.

Above: Some of the final ten and the Argos TV presenter 

And our winning two? 

 These were…

Girl: Lilly-Rose Aslandogdu

Boy: Ellis Duke Mccullagh

Above Ellis and Lilly-Rose the New faces of the Argos Kids wear range.

There were both fabulous as were all the finalist!

It was such a lovely moment seeing their names announced and there reactions to the news. 

 I had the privilege of giving the children their awards and it must have been the mother in me as I could honestly feel myself welling up! God only knows how their proud parents held it together.

 It was such a touching moments when Ellis was announced as our boy winner, he was totally overjoyed to have won and surprisingly a tad surprised (though I don’t know why as his just lovely).

 I also have to add how much I adore Lilly-Rose’s haircut, what a proper little fashion icon I can see her becoming! She has the hair cut I want and has actually inspired this 29-year-old woman to have the same do. 

Above: Lilly-Rose, the hair cut that inspires me 

Just as we thought it was all over there was another surprise! The lovely team at Argos presented me with the loveliest bunch of beautiful pink flowers that smelt and looked divine. 

Above: My stunning pink flowers presented to me on stage

 Thank you Argos

 I really can’t wait to see little Lilly-Rose and Ellis on our TV screens and modelling for the Argos kidswear. I guess I’ll feel a tad proud knowing I had a part in getting them there!

Oh… For those of you who didn’t know, Emma Burton (former spice girl and presenter of at Heart 106.2 fm) is helping design a new range of the fabulous kidswear at Argos, So… watch this space!

 So… as you can see, I had an excellent day and so did my friend and daughter who came a long for the ride.

 After the show was all wrapped up we checked out the rest of the exhibition that was totally fabulous despite the fact I spent all my weeks pennies! 

 Oh and before I wrap this up, let me tell you! 

 Deciding to wear my gorgeous Dune shoes was possible the worst decision of my life! Yes, I did come armed with a bag of flats but unfortunately left the bag in the car which was back in the station car park five minutes from my home back in South London! Given I had got off the tube a stop too soon, got lost and walked a mile to get to the show, my feet were already paying the price before the Argos catwalk had even began. I had no choice but to walk around the exhibition centre shoeless. My god, did I learn a valuable lesson! Heels were defiantly not to be worn at the Ideal home show.

Check out the awesome kids wear range by Clicking HERE

Recent review of the current kidswear range can be found over on this blog

The search for two new faces for the ‘Argos Kidswear Range’ is on, and I’m a judge!

17 Nov

As many of you may have seen, I’ve been doing some work with Argos lately as part of the ‘Santa’s Little Helpers feature’. How excited was I when I received an email on Tuesday, inviting me to the Ideal Home show (Christmas Event) this Saturday 19th November! Yes, I have been asked to join the Argos judging panel who will be selecting one boy and one girl (aged between 4-10) out of the 40 finalist who entered to become the face of the ‘New Argos Kidswear range’.

The competition has been running a while, thousands of proud parents uploaded a picture of their little angels to the Argos Facebook page and the judges had the hard task of narrowing it down to just 40 finalist.

The two lucky winners will model in a photoshoot for the Argos Kidswear page on the website, feature on Argos TV home shopping channel, win the entire clothing collection in their favourite character as well as being given a modelling contract with Alphabet Kidz! How awesome a prize is this!

Ten runners-up will each receive a Argos Kidswear goodie bag.

All 40 finalist will be walking the catwalk and undergoing a short interview at the final. In preparation for the day, I was today sent the picture of the fab 40 and WOW… What an amazing 40 they are! This is gonna be one hard decision, I just know it.The 40 finalist in the Argos competition to find the new faces of it’s Kidswear range

I felt very privileged to be asked, I’ve never been a judge before and wasn’t really aware of the competition in-till recently, but goodness am I excited! As a mother to three beautiful children I can really relate to how excited yet nervous all the parents of the final 40 must be feeling. I’m also guessing that all are pretty proud right now, and rightly so, I would be too!

When I told Little man that Mummy was gonna be a judge in the competition, he asked if I was now like Cheryl Cole, I had to laugh, “I only wished son!”

Honestly, I really cannot wait till the big day, not only will I get to check out the fabulous exhibition, (I’m sure the ideal home show Christmas, will be spectacular event) but I also get to experience something a Little different and try something new. It feels strange knowing I’m going to help make some Little boy and girls dream come true but it’s also very rewarding and I’m totally up for.

As for the new Argos kidswear, my youngest would love the George pig and Thomas the tank engine range, and I’m sure my daughter would also be pretty keen to get her mitts on some of the gorgeous outfits. I’m already an avid Argos shopper, especially at Christmas, the clothing addition fits really well and I can see myself adding items to the christmas shopping list this year. You really can’t go wrong with kids character wear, kids just love it!
If you fancy checking out the range for yourselves, then just click here.

Current models showcasing the Argos Kidswear range

For those of you who maybe interested in popping along to the event itself, the children will take to the catwalk on Saturday 19th November at 3.30 pm at the awesome ‘Ideal home show Christmas’ at Earls Court London.

If you’re coming along then do say hello, I love to meet those that read the blog as It’s always lovely to put a face to a comment & say thank you.

Lastly… Good luck to all 40 awesome children lucky enough to get to the final (you should all be very proud) and I can’t wait to see you all this Saturday.

Just remember one important thing! Have fun!

Note: I’ll be running a fabulous competition next week, offering you the chance to win a £100 worth of Argos shopping vouchers to spend this Christmas! So keep your eyes peeled.

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