Tag Archives: twitter

Taking A Blogging Break Helped Me Get Over Depression

13 Aug

Usually you’ll find me saying that writing is the only thing that keeps me going, not this time! Blogging has been a big part of my life for the last five years or so, its provided me with a way to let it all out, acting as a type of therapeutic therapy. Suddenly all that changed!

Its no secret that the last couple of months (well 5 to be Precise) have seen me riddled with depression the way to deal with this type of hurdle has always been for me to write about any issues or problems weighing on my mind. But this time the thought of even sitting at the computer made me feel Physically sick. Everything seems a huge massive effort when your depressed, even the the most simplistic things like making a phone call or talking to friends. I noticed that this episode had me withdraw completely, even from my online existence, Twitter included! “Hell yer! Not tweeting! It’s gotta be bad.”

Slowly I’ve been getting back in there. I’ve been adding posts here and there instead of just going at it like a blogoholic! This hasn’t been easy for me! I’ve discovered that blogging isn’t like riding a bike. You do forget how its done! Well, the social media side of things at least! I’d forgotten that a tweet button and facebook share button was sat on my dashboard with the aim of getting me noticed, I’ve just been writing logging off and then going about my day.

I guess I did get to the point where blogging was no longer helping me but feeding a depressive episode that I was in denial about even experiencing. The things I loved about writing and blogging in particular, were slipping away from me! Looking back I realised that I was just going with it, blogging in zombie mood, doing it because its what I felt I had to do! After all I’d been blogging almost daily for years now.

Blogging is something I love dearly, something I enjoy doing and want to keep on doing. In order to be able to do so I needed to step away from the computer and deal with the crap clouding my mind. Only then would I be excited about the prospect of blogging once more.

At first things were strange, seeing my stats come crashing down was in all honesty somewhat frightening! I’d always proclaimed that I didn’t give a monkeys hoot about states but when you see them drastically plummeting you suddenly thing… “SHIT!” As you frantically make your way back to the computer to save your online identity. I didn’t though, I couldn’t, and that’s how I knew I had come to a point where I couldn’t even if I want to… I just simply couldn’t!

That didn’t mean to say I’d forgotten those who support me! My readers and of course other bloggers who I know consider friends.

Then there are the blogs I follow, and yes I may have been sat wallowing in self pity but I still read them I just couldn’t bring myself to comment as even that was a step to far for a girl on the edge! “Communication? No way! Say they replied back?” Yes, I really wasn’t quite myself.

So with two blogs on hold I went at fighting this crap head on! I don’t want to jinx things but hay I’m feel Ok.

Oh and guess what? I actually woke up and felt excited about blogging today.

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An Olympic Giveaway

1 Aug

Olympic fever has hit London (or should I say the world)! Myself and children are getting into the Olympic spirit both on and off the net.

Along with all the other billions of households we kicked back, tortilla chips and dip to hand and watched the 2012 London Games opening ceremony.

Little man was clearly very excited. He was demanding the house sat silently as he bounced off the walls as the countdown to the official opening of the games started. Little man’s special school have done a lot to teach students all there is to know about the games and it’s history. I was most impressed with the Little mans knowledge when he stated that the Olympic rings represent the 5 major regions of the world coming together to form the Olympic movement. When I asked him what the colours of the rings represent he impressed me that bit more when cleverly stating “The 5 colours found in the 5 rings can be found in every national flag in the world, but this is actually a trick question as it’s never actually been emphasised” the clever little so & so!

Alice-Sara fell asleep mid-way through the ceremony, toddler didn’t last five minutes but Little man was gripped till the very end (if we ever host the games again, please a little earlier for the opening ceremony)!

Although little man doesn’t really sleep, what routine we did have went right out the window what with the late starting and finishing of the ceremony. He also got a bit upset as certain acts were dropped due to the overrunning of the ceremony! It wasn’t that he really wanted to see them, more the fact that to a child with Aspergers syndrome schedules are created to be followed and kept! He seemed to enjoy the countdown and the parade the most (he looked up all the different teams on his atlas which he seemed to enjoy)!

As much as the little man enjoyed watching the Live opening ceremony of the 2012 games, his black and white thinking did cause one or two misunderstandings! The main factor was the ceremonies theme and how this had no relation to sport! It took a while to explain but we got there in the end.

For me the ceremony was totally brilliant and I enjoyed it much more than I had first expected I would. The highlight had to be the contribution made by Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH). My younger sister who is now 22 spent much of her childhood in this hospital as she battled childhood cancer (Leukemia). The performance was electrifying, it really captivated one’s imagination.The whole evil verse good concept that was portrayed within characters such as the “Child Catcher” and “Mary Poplins” was brilliant and nothing less than spectacular!

Since the night of the opening ceremony I’ve watched many of the games play out and have particularly enjoyed that of the swimming (well done Rebecca Adlington on your bronze medal).

It seems the women of GB are doing well in winning us the medals, what with Rebecca Adlington above, the cyclist Lizzie Armitstead taking the silver medal and then today’s Helen Glovers and Heather Stanning bagging GB first gold in their rowing victory! Not that the guys haven’t done well in collecting the medals! Let’s not forget the fabulous Bradley Wiggins, the GB cyclist who bagged us our second gold medal today.

So, with all the excitement floating in the air I’ve decided to run a little competition of my own to celebrate Great Britain’s day of gold!

Last week I was exceptionally lucky to bag myself a prize on twitter. The RT competition was hosted by Debenhams in partnership with Pizza Express. My prize… A stunning Leggera Swimsuit to celebrate the Pizza Express new 500 calorie Leggera pizza range. The Leggera costume is absolutely stunning and extremely sexy! I ordered my prize in a medium (size 12) and wasn’t disappointed! However, despite the sheer loveliness of the Leggera swimsuit (a striped skimpy number) I’ve decided to prize it off on the blog! My reason being, I’m just not confident enough to wear it and therefore give it the showcasing it deserves… This really should be paraded on a beach some where!

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That’s not all!

I’ve also got some fabulous official Team GB 2012 merchandise to giveaway with the costume! These include a couple of GB 2012 wristbands, a packet of Team GB sports bands, a London 2012 rosette badge and a fabulous heavy solid Marideville Paralympics Mascot keyring by Corgi. All these were given to myself and children during an invite only Olympic 2012 party at London’s Hamleys (London’s biggest and most loved toy store). Even the youngest toddler received a goody bag and these were the items he wouldn’t require (I can’t see me giving him a set of door keys anytime soon)!

To win this Olympic Gold prize consisting of all the above just do the following.

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Compulsory action: Subscribe to the blog via feedburner (located in sidebar) then in a comment let me know the name/email of your subscription and tell me what was your best part of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

Additional entries! Important please read…. For each action please leave a separate comment with your contact details so I can contact you in the event that you win (twitter handle or email address)

1) Follow my sister blog Mummy of many talents

2) Tweet “I want to win a fab Olympic goody bag & swimsuit with clairelouise82”

3) Pin the competition on pinterest

4) Use any of the share buttons below (excludes email)

Note the Swimsuit is a UK size 12

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Competition will close on the 15th August 2012 at midnight

Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored competition, I have supplied the prize myself and not via sponsorship. Open to those in the UK only. Winner must claim prize within 48hrs of winning notification.

#Win 1 of 2 Family Tickets to Sainsbury’s Jubilee Festival at London’s Hyde Park

13 Mar

If any of you read yesterdays post, you will know that I was pretty excited about a certain event due to commence this coming June 2012.

Those responsible for my excitement are Sainsbury’s, who are pulling out all the stops to give us Londoners and anybody else besides, the chance to celebrate the Queen’s pending Diamond Jubilee this June, in style.

So, how does a massive two day festival presented by Sainsbury’s and hosted in London’s beautiful iconic Hyde Park grab you?

Now I’m not just talking about a sing song in the sunshine, a picnic of Sainsbury’s taste the difference sandwiches and pink lemonade (as, lovely as they are)! No, I’m talking huge, a 2 day spectacular in-which the whole family can enjoy!

The event will be hosted by the lovely celebrity mum, “Myleene Klass” and the fabulous impressionist Jon Culshaw. With a programme packed full of wonderful performances from Strictly come dancing, hosted by Craig Revel Horwood, West Ends War Hose, Kids TV and Disney favourites, to a spectacular, magical 70 minute Disney concert starring all your favourite characters including the beautiful Disney’s princesses, specially for the diamond Jubilee. This is set to be an un-missable event.

There will also be a number of entertainment areas, from the main stage, a kids zone, Disney zone, parade ground, to a commonwealth stage. To read more about this exciting 2-day event taking place on the 2-3rd June 2012, read the full release, which can be found on yesterdays post HERE (includes links and ticket pricing).

Now… for something really exciting!

Sainsbury’s have given me, not one but two lots of family tickets for Sunday the 3rd June, to give away as a competition prize, here on the blog.

NOTE: Family tickets can be used for a family of 4, consisting of either 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children.

So, to be in with the chance to get your mitts on one of these two family tickets to London’s biggest party, follow these easy steps.

Compulsory steps

Tweet: “I want to win family tickets 2 Sainsbury’s Jubilee festival at Hyde park with @clairelouise82 http://wp.me/plAS9-1e6 Pls RT”

Then return and comment to let me know you have done it, by leaving the link of your tweet or tweeter handle and then tell me why your family deserves to win!

For one extra entry

For an extra entry: Subscribe to this blog via feedburner (only subscribers of feedburner will count) You must then leave a separate comment with the email you subscribed under to make this entry valid.

Competition will close at 11.59 pm on the 30th April 2012

Two winners will each take family tickets for the 3rd June 2012

T&C

UK only, must be 18 or over to enter, all actions must have been completed for entry to count, so please follow the rules. Tickets will be sent from Sainsbury’s the prize provider and I will therefore need to send your details on to them in-order for your prize to be sent. Winners will have access to the festival on the 2nd day which is Sunday 3rd June. Winners will be notified via email or twitter and will need to respond by sending their details to the email address located in the sidebar of this blog within 72 hours of being notified, failure to do so may result in a redraw. No automated entries please, these will not be entered into the draw! Note: There is no prize or cash alternative, prize is as stated within the competition. Will close at 11.59pm on the 30th April 2012.

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions

Just another Britmums Live Meet and Greet

1 Mar

Yes, typical Claire Louise, I have been meaning to get my backside in gear and post this “Meet & Greet” for the best part of a few weeks!

Although I love blogging a little too much, this also highlights my struggle to get a round to all them little things, due to my sometimes bonkers existence as a mum (yes… kids can be demanding, especially those on the autism spectrum, as well as those under 3 with a host of questions starting with the word, “WHY”)!

Never mind, better late than never, a term I’m most fond off, I must admit!

Well, given I’m writing a Britmums Live “Meet and Greet” you have likely established already that, Yay… I’m going to Britmums Live 2012, and boy am I excited *stops typing and engages in a brief few seconds of childish behaviour by jumping up and down on a freshly made bed*

So, before I roll off them likes and dislikes which I’m pretty confident you don’t give a hoot about anyway, I should just thank my wonderful Britmums Live Sponsor, “Orchard Toys” for making my attendance possible 🙂 *join me in giving the sponsor a big hand please!*

Obviously I write the blog A boy with Aspergers (which I’m guessing you may have worked out, given you’re here now)! What you may not know, is, I also write the blog Mummy of many talents (my newest project, launched Jan 2012)! I have 3 beautiful children one who has Aspergers syndrome and special educational needs.

Here it goes, enjoy my meet and Greet!

This is me (right) with the lovely Lou from Bloggomy on my left.Twitter Handle: @clairelouise82

Height: 5,7

Hair Colour: Lightish Blonde (Normally with darker blonde roots)

Eye Colour: Blue (with Black bags)

Likes… Creating awareness for autism, education law, Blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, Britmums, arts and crafts, shoes (the more the better) a full makeup bag, new shiny things, vintage, cupcakes, money (again the more the better) being a mum, dancing, comping (recent hobby and loving it), winning (who doesn’t) Italy, Greece, pretty things, jewellery, pasta, calorie laden puddings (but not their effect on the hips, bum and tum) shopping, organising, stationary items (how sad) bootsales, eBay, my Facebook page, BBC3 Being human, Eastenders, horrors, fashion, Karen Milan, reading (true life only) Lee Evans, creating change, festivals, healthy debates… goodness me, I best stop there!

Dislikes… School gate mums, bitching, ignorance, snottiness, weight gain, David Cameron, British justice system, eggs, mummy blogger bashing, time wasters, getting old, OCD, discrimination, meltdowns, conflict, Reading fiction (with a few exceptions) bullying, abusive relationships, stealing (including online content) Voting comps on Facebook, wordpress no JavaScript rules, spam, poor losers, dirty old men, LEAs (nearly always), injustice, weakness, Only way is Essex, heartbreak, debt collectors, South park, hypocrites …

Yes, I guess I could go on, though better to have more likes than dislikes 🙂

Well, if after all that rambling you fancy tracking me down at Britmums Live this June 2012, then please do 🙂 I’ll be the one wandering around with a huge smile on my face, not knowing what to do with myself as a result of being anything other than a mummy for a whole 2 days!

Oh, and if you’re staying at the Travelodge on the Friday be sure to wave a hand and agree to come drinking with me *bad Claire Louise*

To join in with the Britmums Live 2012 Meet & Greet, or discover even more bloggers meeting and greeting, be sure to pop over and check out the linky host Stepford Wifey

Help Sudocrem raise funds for the NSPCC All babies count campaign

23 Jan
English: Logo for the National Society for the...

Image via Wikipedia

As many should know by now, I’m pretty big on helping raise awareness for worthy campaigns that’s why I’m taking a minute to share this with everyone and anyone!

 The NSPCC is a charity who campaign for UK children, ensuring they can help children who are subjected to cases of neglect, mistreatment and abuse . Without this fantastic charity the UK would likely be a much darker place, with high numbers of children not being protected as they should be. Everyone deserves a full and happy life, where they can live without fear of another and children are amongst the most vulnerable groups of people subjected to such crawl and evil ways.

 One of the  NSPCC latest campaigns  launched, is the All Babies Count campaign which aims to reduce the number of cases of neglect, mistreatment and abuse inflicted upon children under the age of one! The NSPCC have stated that “One baby is killed every two weeks here in the UK” The NSPCC is working hard to end this shocking statistic.

Stepping in to support the charities campaign is the well-known baby brand Sudocrem who have pledged to donate a total of £25,000.

  However, Sudocrem need our help to reach this target!

No… Sudocrem are not asking you to donate any money, they understand that despite how passionate many of us are to support such worthy courses we just can’t afford to give because we simply do not have the additional resources, what with many of us donating through direct debit to an array of charities on a monthly basis. All Sudocrem are asking for is a simple like and a tweet!

 Let me explain: For every “Like” Sudocrem receive on their Facebook page they will donate 50p to the campaign and for every tweet/Re-Tweet using the#allbabiescount hashtag they will donate 25p to the charity!

You can visit the NSPCC website and use the tweet button which kindly asks that your follows give your tweet a RT and Sudocrem will therefore donate 25p to the charities campaign.

What’s more for every comment left on the NSPCC  Facebook Campaign page, Sudocrem will donate a further 50p
  So… to help such a worthy campaign all you need to donate is a tiny bit of  time!

 A few minutes if that, is what such a task would take! If you want to go that extra mile why not spread the word and get your friends and family to do the same, after all it could make the difference of life and death to a baby!

Like the Sudocrem facebook by clicking HERE

For the NSPCC Facebook Campaign page click Here

If you’re worried about a child then please visit the NSPCC website for advice. Please Click Here

For the Sudocrem website please Click Here

For the Sudocrem blog please visit: http://www.sudocrem.co.uk/blog/

Thank you to Blog Match for helping bring awareness to the campaign by sharing it with us Blog Match members

Why I organised a Lewisham riot clean up

16 Aug

 The Great british public wave their flags and sing the national anthem during an exciting world cup football match.

Many feel proud to be British when our good troops leave for war in Afghanistan.

Many Brits celebrated the long extended weekend of the Royal wedding by getting drunk and partying their arse off at one of the many street parties.

The above are all prime examples of how Brits come together to celebrate and display their British roots.

 This was a nation that came together when the horrific scenes of flying debris and screaming, hysterical London commuters hit our television screens on the 07/07/2005. Yes, a time where most descended into a nation of morning when the life’s of 52 people were so crawly claimed by the London terrorist attack that Simultaneously injured another 700 people in the explosions on three London underground trains and one London Double Decker bus.

 We, were a nation that stood united, these in our society didn’t choose to go looting for top of the range computer games and trainers. Plasma TVs remained safely fixed upon the walls in which they belonged.

A heart-breaking, soul-destroying turn of events that left our nation and the rest of the world in bits is an example of how the British come together in times of dismay.

 Yet, here we are that very same nation, with very different morals.

 Our country was put on alert for a possible terrorist attack, we were deemed, high risk!

 We would need to see action, plans brought to the table so to speak! Yet, what was about to commence was a very different turn of events! With the man who has been grunted the power to run our country indulging on a holiday, to which I’m purely guessing was some place hot, expensive and free from suspected terrorist alerts, and that of our lovely London mayor on the missing too (another lucky man on holiday, maybe he joined the PM) I for one couldn’t even contemplate taking such a threat seriously, how could I if the PM was sunning himself aboard?

Well, given our history, I assumed that the great British public would come together as one, as they had always done so! We would get each-other through it, what ever happened.

  Then something happen… Buildings were douched in petrol or alcohol, quickly converted into an inferno of fierce red flames that took their grip letting of thick black smoke that rose into the skies of London causing a fog of darkness! Cars were burnt on the roadside, high street shop windows broken, debris covering the streets like a huge blanket.

Though this wasn’t a terror attack, this was something else all together! The London riots were a result of our own people, young and old, black and white. Yes, there may have been reasons for the Tottenham riots but we were now seeing behaviours of such disgust for no other reasons than pure yobbery and greed. Peoples homes, business and vehicles set a blaze for what? What did it prove,what was gained from it? Many parts of the country now display an array of boards that replace windows, some were replaced that same day, others remain the same as the cost for replacements can’t be met.

I try to teach my children never to steal, yet they have now been showed that despite it being such a bad thing to engage in, many will steal and in such a violent and disrespectful way! It just doesn’t help when the police can be seen watching but not intervening through no fault of their own but those who gave such instructions . The supermarket across the road from our house was being looted from 10.pm till 6. am  in the morning and this caused all three children to get very little sleep, due to not only the noise but the sheer fear of what was happening around them.

 Such behaviours displayed by rioters are scary, many young children felt fear as the riots went full swing, yet there are some children that didn’t feel this way as some as young as 11 if not younger, were reported to be rioting and looting, some seen in the papers with supermarket baskets hung from the handle bars of their little BMX bikes. Little man didn’t cope well with the horror that was unfolding on our tv sets and outside our very door. His anxiety levels are already high and this just added to it. I tried to keep him from hearing too much, in-order to protect him, however as his mother I knew I couldn’t keep him from hearing the horrors that are taking place in the world he lives in! He sees things on the TV and can easily get hold of a newspaper. He maybe on the spectrum but he has Aspergers and is pretty intelligent but sadly highly anxious.

My Little man also has a range of sensory processing difficulties. He can’t drowned out background noise like some can, certain sounds can interfere with his mental well-being, causing him stress and even pain. During  day three of the riots that were taking place in south London Lewisham, as they were many other areas across the country, we saw our local supermarket being looted throughout the duration of the night. Little man didn’t only have difficulties disconnecting his mind from the fears of the events he had seen or read about, but worse was his inability to filter out certain sounds so when the supermarket was looted the noise that was caused by the store security alarm drove him absolutely insane to the point of angry over exhausted sobs.

 I spent most of the early hours venting my anger on Twitter, (followers were great support, managing to keep me from the blink of madness). It was while on Twitter I noticed the Twitter hash tag, ‘#riotcleanup’ I noticed that my area was lacking support so I decided to struck up some kind of group made up of volunteers for a Lewisham cleanup. I used the hash tag #lewishamriotcleanup and set of on a mini mission all alone.

 To be 100% honest I don’t know what I was expecting to come of it. In a way I didn’t expect anybody to listen to me to the degree that they did. I really did think, deep down that I’d be lucky to get a few re-tweets maybe the whole of the Local community were asleep in bed, (well, those not rioting and looting) given it was at least 3am when I first embanked on the riot clean up campaign. Yet, I should have known better that myself and little man would not be the only ones being kept awake by shouting, fighting, banging, smashing glass or even that of annoying store alarms that were set of throughout the entire night, ” Oh yes, the alarm was going off from 10 p.m. till around 6.30 am when the greedy takers had stopped taking, correction… I mean stealing!

 I put my iPhone on the bedside table and tried to clam the little man down who was now sobbing on my pillows (all three children were in my bed) I then sat by the bedroom window watching the looters using trolleys to carry their “freebies” The looters no longer ran as they had done some six hours earlier, they now strolled  taking their time! It looked as through it was a normal thing to do, anyone would think these guys were shopping at a 24hr supermarket, not robbing one that closed at 9.pm the night before. With not a police officer In sight except for the odd blue light driving right past the free for all, you can almost understand why some went back for seconds and thirds having filled their get away cars to the very rim.

 London and beyond was now becoming a burning inferno of terror. With the Government cutting back police the country didn’t stand a hope in hell, nor did the policemen that I saw being kicked and punched all over the papers on Tuesday morning.

 It was crazy when I re-checked my twitter stream, what had happened during the half an hour period of me being away was a little surreal. I had loads of new followers who were now also using the tag #lewishamriotcleanup. With many agreeing to meet with me at the Lewisham shopping centre at 9.am.

 The whole idea behind the cleanup was based on more than “Cleaning” My mother works for the council so I knew most had started early on a mission to clean the streets! My mission was to help those business who would show up at work in a few hours time to find the devastating mess and bill left by rioters and looters. Even if it meant sweeping glass, making tea, or just showing support, while showing others that we’re not all bad eggs, some of use stayed in our houses choosing not to rob our local high street shops. This went for the bigger companies too, (through we knew that it was the smaller retailers who would suffer most) that’s why we targeted lots of support to those smaller independent business.

 I decided to start getting ready for my mission but before I did I went through the many messages and mentions on my Twitter to establish if I would actually be doing this alone, despite  the support forming in cyberspace I wondered if when it came to it, would anyone show up at 9.am? It was only then that I saw a message from BBCs London the breakfast show requesting a live radio interview 15 minutes before my planed meet up. My heart was beating at a rate so fast I felt it in my feet, I said yes only to hold the nerves in the Pit of my stomach for the next few hours. Everything kept moving on at a rate that was hard to keep up with, (highlighting the power of social media in a good way). Next thing I knew I was dressed, the children’s father arrived to look after the children (all except little man who begged to come and help) We both set off towards Lewisham town centre “which had seen some awful riots these past few nights and days, along with the surrounding areas such as Lee and Catford.” It was in the taxi I did my live interview for BBC radio which luckily went swimmingly. Once out the taxi I noticed no one except on lady looking lost. This was our first fellow riot clean up volunteer. The group grew to around twenty, others came to wish us luck! I was more than shocked to discover a BBC news reporter was there who interviewed both myself and little man and some of the others. A member of the Lewisham refuge team came to inform us that all was in hand and we were not needed! I wanted to work with the council not against. We spit up and set off in small groups towards Catford High Street. I met fellow volunteers along the way and also discovered that more had turned up outside the shopping centre and would now set upon the mission within different areas of the borough. My small group had the pleasure of having the BBC reporter and later camera crew by our side the whole time, though this felt a little crazy. I did a good few interviews with her which were aired on the BBC London news at 6.30 that same evening. The report was quite a long report that also saw little man being interviewed. The reporter herself was lovely and really supportive off what we were doing making it that much easier. I also done a string of online and radio interviews throughout the day via my mobile phone, Yes, I did really say, “Lewisham was cleaner then usual”  it was true and just needed to be said  I tweeted what and were we were going and meet some fellow tweeters along the way.

A shop window in Catford high street following riots and looting

The Mess left by looters in Catford high street

 Little man felt quite angry at the whole riot business, especially as his beloved London buses had been targeted (except this time it wasn’t a terrorist attack)

Google images London bus ablaze in Croydon South London

A few of the Lewisham Riot Clean up crew

 One of the fellow clean up crew was a lovely young girl of 16 years who proved that not all youths are looting JD spots, some are actually cleaning it up. Yes, right at the end of the day we discovered the huge amount of smashed up glass that had been left dangerously over the pavement in front of the shop. I was so proud of little man and by taking him out there with me I hoped to show him that there was still good people in the world, and I think I achieved that.

Little Man outside JD sports with a fellow Lewisham Riot Clean up member.

My first toy giveaway

17 Jul

I’m so excited to be able to bring you all my very first blog giveaway thanks to the lovely Jon over at the fabulous WoodenToyShop, as part of the new blog feature ‘Santa’s Little helpers’

This exciting feature, will see my three little monsters converted into elf’s from now all the way up till December. We plan to build a fantastic Christmas list that showcases some of the hottest toys on the market this coming Christmas as well as those that are great for children on the autism spectrum or those with special educational needs.

With competitions, guest post, money saving offers and tips, plus recommendations on Christmas events. The Santa’s little helpers feature is hopefully destining for success.

As some may already know the little Elf’s Aka my children have already put on there uniforms (Yes, Elf’s don’t only work at christmas) and have started to tell us what they think. This is all thanks to the WoodenToyShop who sent us some toys to review (free of charge) If this wasn’t nice enough they also let us pick something special for the readers. This wasn’t easy! I wanted to choose something that was unisex and appealing to all children especially those like my son on the autism spectrum. Though everyone is different I still struggled so appointed my chief Elf with the responsibility. Little man didn’t disappoint and I hope you all agree!

Win a John Crane Children’s wooden guitar in one of two beautiful designs.

Choose from pink flowers or blue stars.

The guitar is being sold over at the woodenToyShop for a very respectable £21.99 It’s a small but perfectly formed instrument that can be tune easily by little fingers as to allow maximum creativity. It would make a beautiful gift for any budding musician with its pretty pink flower design or its magical blue companion that is decorated with little stars. From age 3 years plus, this guitar is perfect for little hands and fingers and would easily convert your little one into an awesome little rock star.

How to enter this exciting giveaway

  • Follow me (@clairelouise82) & the @WoodenToyShop on twitter (compulsory)
  • Visit and like the WoodenToyShop facebook page and tell them I sent you, “A boy with Aspergers” (compulsory)
  • Leave a comment here telling me you have done all the above and the words PINK or BLUE as to indicate what guitar you prefer if you win. Be sure to leave me an email address or twitter id so I am able to contact you if you are lucky enough to win this fantastic prize (compulsory)

Optional extra entries

Please come back and comment for each action taken, be sure to comment separately as each comment will count as one entry. Maximum entries allowed three

  • Comment on another of my post, return to tell me which one
  • Tweet ( Great toy giveaway via @clairelouise82 http://tinyurl.com/3yjcukj ) comment to let me know you’ve done it.
For the full range of musical toys sold at the WoodenToyShop click here

Competition Is for UK residents only, closes at midnight on the 31st July and will be drawn on the 1st August 2011. The winner will be drawn at random and notified via email or twitter. The competition prize is curtesy of the WoodenToyShop and sent direct. This prize cannot be exchanged for any other product and there is no cash alternative. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COMPETITION CLOSING DATE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 1ST AUGUST MIDNIGHT DUE TO THE SERVICE I USE TO RANDOMLY SELECT A AWINNER IS DOWN. COMPETITION WILL NOW BE DRAWN 2ND AUGUST
Thank You for understanding

Cybermummy meet and greet

21 Jun

So, here’s my post as part of the CyberMummy 2011 meet and greet.

For all those that don’t yet know what Cybermummy is, then where have you been? Cybermummy is the one and only place for a mummy blogger to be seen at on Saturday the 25th June… Oh my gosh that’s this Saturday, can you tell I’m excited?

It’s a place for all parent bloggers including fathers, to join one another, improve their writing skills, meet with brands, gain blogging tips, participate in fabulous workshops or just mingle

So, as some may know I finally got my golden cybermummy ticket a few weeks back. Yes, a certain fairy godmother offered to send me to the ball, however luck wasn’t on our side as we were unable to get our hands on a ticket (due to the sell out) Then like magic I won a ticket from those lovely people at Lego Duplo via the Cybermummy website.

To make things that much better, I got myself a sponsor! The awesome site LondonTown.com. These lovely people will be putting me up in a hotel meaning I’m gonna get some much needed sleep, and although I will miss them three little angels of mine…. Sleep is really needed!  I’m just hoping Little man doesn’t have to any meltdowns in my absence.

 So, Here it goes…

Name: Claire Louise

Age: 29

From: London

I am a: Cybermummy virgin

Cybermummy sponsor: LondonTown.com

Blog Name: A boy with Asperger’s

About: Parenting three children, one with Aspergers

Blogging since: 2008

Hair colour: Blonde

Height: 5,7



What I will be wearing at Cybermummy: Unsure but likely it’s going to be something black

 Likes: Writing, reading, art, shopping for bags and shoes, raising awareness for autism, good food (only if I’m not cooking it) & lastly, shaking my butt to some tunes (Oh yer… I love to dance)

 Dislikes: bitchy school gate mothers, eggs, lairs  (In no particular order)

 Most excited about: Meeting fellow bloggers &  Mad blog finalist

 Most worried about: Being a Cybermummy loner (don’t all us CyberMummy virgins worry about this)?

 Twitter name: @Clairelouise82

Sponsors twitter: @LondonTown

 Facebook: you can find the link in my sidebar

 Facebook fan page: A boy with Aspergers

That’s about it! So to save me from becoming that CyberMummy Loner please come and say hello.

Once upon a time

6 Jun

Honestly people I’m not a fruit the loon! (well, sometimes I am but that’s beside the point)

This below is a true story and it goes something like this…

Once upon a time there was a mummy called Claire who had three little children and wrote a blog called, A boy with Asperger’s. (Yes that would be me)

She discovered that fairies really did exist and not just the kind you find in fairytales but fairy godmothers who went about on twitter!

You may all have the image of a lady with a big sparkling dress, a wand and a crown of gems, “Maybe she has I really don’t know!” What I can tell you about her is that she totally selfless with a massive heart!

The fairy godmother is a mummy to two boys, lives in Wales and goes by the name of Tattie Weasle (well at least we know this to be her name in cyber space)

Claire believes that you meet very few people in life who are happy to do something for someone else for nothing! These people are hard to come by and in her experience she’s only ever met a small handful.

In all honesty Tattie the fairy godmother is a lady Claire knows little about! This is because she has only come to know her through the world of social networking! However Claire knows that the fairy godmother writes her own blog and the reason she knows this is because she discovered it back in the beginning of May.

One of Claire’s twitter followers posted a tweet about a blog giveaway happening over on tattie’s blog so she popped over for a look and discovered that Tattie was giving away a ticket to Cybermummy. For those that don’t know Cybermummy is the UKs premier blogging conference devoted to parent bloggers. Did Claire wanna go? Come on of course she did!

It was starting to seem that everybody but Claire was going, she couldn’t afford the ticket what with the three children and little funds to justify it!

To cut a long story short Tattie wasn’t just giving away her own Cybermummy ticket but also a £100 to cover expenses. Tattie was no longer able to attend the event as her son had a sports day on the same day. Cyber Space was going nuts as parents were trying to get there mitts on a ticket which was a challenge as Cybermummy tickets were completely sold out  and had been not long after being released. Claire saw a few tickets up for sale by those bloggers that could no longer attend but being in the same situation she was unable to spare the funds to buy one.

So, there was Tattie the Fairy godmother with her heart of gold, giving her ticket away to somebody that needed it! I know you lot think you know where I’m going with all this… Claire won lived happily ever after! No, that was not the case! Things were a little more complicated then that!

In-fact Claire came second! The ticket went to another deserving candidate yet in a strange turn of fate she didn’t need the £100 expenses! Tattie picked up her wand and started granting more wishes.

Again I know you lot think you know where I’m going with this! Yes, the fairy godmother did fly on over to twitter, send Claire a DM and offer to buy her a ticket (an amazing thing to do for someone you’ve never met), however they still had the problem of finding one!

Now the fairy god mother was able to fund Claire’s ticket but as the days ticked by they were no closer to finding one! The fairy godmother was amazing, she tweeted and jumped upon every opportunity presented (sadly there wasn’t many) Tattie even entered a competition to be given the chance to bye a ticket from someone who could no longer attend. Sadly this was unsuccessful.

Claire found it lovely to have a fairy godmother by her side and even if she didn’t succeed in her quest to get to Cybermummy she still had the knowledge that someone who had never even met her had made it their mission to get her there! The fairy godmother posted on social networks looking to buy a ticket for Claire. She had shown Claire that such people exist, true fairy godmothers!

But wait the story doesn’t end there and again it doesn’t end how you would expect!

A good month or so later  just when Claire had thought all hope was lost she tweeted her plea into twitter space and within a few minutes she had received a tweet informing her about another competition!

Claire rolled her eyes but surly anything was worth a try! This competition was on the Cybermummy website and was in association with Lego Duplo.

Lego Duplo were offering two bloggers the chance to win a Cybermummy ticket! All Claire had to do was state why she loved Lego Duplo and why she wanted to attend Cybertmummy. Well, she was glad it was Lego Duplo and no one else as this made her answer an easy one! Claire’s Little man who has a type of autism called Aspergers just loved the stuff and could build buses with it for hours. Claire told them just that and gave her reasons for wanting to attend, alongside her struggle to obtain a ticket and guess what?

Something magical happen! It was the kind of magic that could be found in fairy dust…

CLAIRE WON!

Eighteen days before the event she finally got her mitts on a ticket to CyberMummy 2011.

So, what followed!  Of course she did a victory dance (this is becoming a trade mark of hers and one she promises to do if she wins the Mad blog awards), she then dashed of to inform the fairy godmother before tweeting like an over excited kid at christmas.

So there you have it… Lego Duplo saved the day! However the fairy godmother blessed Claire with her kindness and proved to her that fairies really do exist… for that she will remain forever thankful!

Thank you Tattie Weasle

The end!

Behind closed doors

3 Jun

It’s been a long day & night, I finally rest my head on my pillow a little after 4 am, you would think sleep was imminent. How wrong this was, in-fact little if not any sleep was had at all!

I closed my eyes and there she was, a child trapped in a young woman’s body, doused in water, shaking and screaming out for her mother!

It was an image that many would now find trapped at the front of their mind, unable to find its way out.

Some hours before I had sat sobbing as I watched the broadcast of BBC ones Panorama! It was deeply shocking, horrifying  & incredible heartbreaking TV.

If this was the case, then why did I watch it, why not turn it off? As hard as it was to witness the horrors unfolding at Winterbourne View… It was something that needed to be seen!

Now warm & safe in my bed I was hunted by the realisation of the situation. How many more were there… How many more care homes are operating in such a horrendous manner? We already know that Winterbourne are part of the Castlebeck chain of independently ran care homes with an estimated turnover of ninety-million pounds! Then there are the undiscovered, the thought chills me to the bone!

Within my head there are so many thoughts, questions that turn my stomach with fear.

How many more unqualified, under-trained monsters are being given the title support worker or carer?

How many whistle blowers have raised concerns and seen them swept under the carpet?

How many past complaints to the ‘Care Quality Commission‘ (CQC) have been ignored, emails deleted without a second thought for those that may be in danger? I wonder how many complaints will continue to be ignored?

How many cases of abuse have been missed at the hands of the CQC due to poor inspections of care homes?

How Many victims young & old, who are laid in their beds , will wake to the hands of evil as it grabs ahold of them and drags them from their feet?

MY GUESS IS… TO MANY!

As a mother, a human being my arms longed to hold them young victims, to keep them safe from harm. With every act of torture my heart sank a little more, the anger within me tore at my gut as I felt powerless, so bloody powerless!

Some may say that to have anger within yourself is a bad thing but I’m sure those that like me sat and watched that report, feel exactly the same way I do. The only good that can come from such anger is to channel it into something positive such as change!

Its well documented that social care has been worse hit by the government cuts, leaving the most vulnerable in frightening situations. This is anything from children with special educational needs not getting the support needed; individuals with mental heath problems facing the stress of reassessments leading to the loss of incapacity benefit; the closure of support groups & day centres and those in care homes. Yet the government  fail to address such issues despite the compiling evidence that keeps on growing. Things shouldn’t have to get this far before action is taken, yet somehow it always does.

The media has brought about some pretty disturbing headlines off late. Although I am In the uttermost agreement that those seen abusing the young  residents residing at Winterbourne view are total scum that in my opinion should not have been released on bail, we have to look at the bigger picture.

The CQC, local authority and management of Castlebeck have a lot of explaining to do. As mentioned the CQC had not only inspected Winterbourne view more than once, but also failed to respond to the whistle-blower who is reported to have contacted them on three occasions.

The Local Authority use the tax payers money to fund placements at ‘Winterbourne View’ for  young adults with autism, learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. With a weekly fee of up to £3,500 (that and the fact they have a duty of care), you would have thought the Local Authority would carry out all the appropriate checks before splashing the cash.

Last but not least you have the management of the establishment. Are you telling me that this was unknown to them? Does this included the upstairs locked corridor with bedrooms either side, no CCTV but a security system at each end! Does this not ring alarm bells? This is an area that holds the rule, “NO GUEST ALLOWED” Yet In a statement Castlebeck said, “We are deeply distressed by the completely unacceptable and appalling behaviour of a small number of our employees at one of our facilities…” (Full response) Castlebeck itself is owned by a Jersey-based investment vehicle called Lydian Capital. It is said that Lydian Capital is backed by a group of Irish tycoons led by JP McManus, John Magnier and Dermot Desmond.

The guardian reported,“Castlebeck is not the only care home business owned by the group. A Jersey investment vehicle called Grove Limited – chaired by fellow Irishman, Denis Brosnan – also counts Desmond, McManus and Magnier among its investors. It controls the Barchester Healthcare empire of more than 200 homes, making it the second largest in the UK behind Bupa and Four Seasons Healthcare.” For me this is terrifying news.

The latest report given by the guardian tells how this isn’t the first time the quality of care at Castlebeck facilities have come under scrutiny. With the mention of a death that may have been party caused by restraint (an open verdict was given) There was also an alleged sexual assault that was not reported by staff to management nor the  police. This alongside smelly dirty accommodation that had poor infection control was discovered during an unannounced inspection (which clearly shows the need for such measures) The guardian have named the semi-secure hospital/care home for men with learning disabilities & autism as, ‘Cedar Vale’ .

 Was the place closed down? It would seem not! Castlebeck claim the problem has now been addressed…

As a mother to a child on the autism spectrum I found the report extremely upsetting, yet it’s my opinion that any half decent human being would feel this way following a programme so direful it shocked the UK and beyond!

Yes, we need a more effective inspection regime and no we should not employ those who are under-qualified or have not undergone the appropriate training needed to care for those with complex needs. 

WHY IN GODS NAME IS THIS PLACE STILL OPEN?

Correct me if I’m wrong, When health and safety inspections are carried out in food courts, restaurants and take away outlets, given they are not up to scratch they are closed down! Why isn’t it the same for a place that has a duty of care to those with complex needs and autism? I struggle to find any explanation as to why the place wasn’t and still isn’t closed down! There is no need for talk or pending investigations, Panorama provide unquestionable evidence! What more is needed

The only answer I can come up with is that the NHS/Local authority have nowhere to place the residents from the home if they are forced to move them. At the end of the day it all comes down to money and its likely no-one wants to foot the bill, they never do!

Winterbourne View is a place that needs closing down for the sake of the residents and their families.

So come people are we going to stand back & allow any more shame on our country, or are we going to do something about it? Remember two voices are better than one so, lets start talking! 

Did you watch the Panorama report on Tuesday 31st May or see it in the news? 

Do you want to try to help change the system?

Do you think the care home in question should remain open?

Maybe you just want to have your voice heard by speaking up for the vulnerable  

There are a number of things you can do to help prompt change!

  • Sign the online petition, created by the National Autistic Society (NAS);
  • Contact your local MP (Find your MP with this twitter list);
  • Leave me a comment;
  • Join the discussions on Twitter using the #Panorama;
  • Blog  about it and Link up to other blogs;
  • Join in with today’s (Friday 3rd June) tweet storm Friday. Just log on to twitter & tweet your comments using the tag: #aaukcampagin;
  • Join one of the many facebook groups.

Bloggers Reactions 

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Watch the BBC Panorama Report: Here

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