Monday, 31 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 31 - Changing Places

I don't celebrate Halloween so my post is slightly off topic, but what I have to write about is quite scary.

I'm writing this post in Starbucks. This is their disabled toilet:

Disabled Toilet
Standard Disabled Toilet

Changing Table
Standard Changing Table

Floor Space
Floor Space in Standard Disabled Toilet

On the face of it, great. A wheelchair can fit in there easily. There's a changing pad for babies. What's wrong with it? It's just like disabled toilets all over the county. And THAT is exactly what's wrong with it.

Imagine you are disabled and need a hoist to get you out of your wheelchair. Now how are you going to use it? Or imagine you are doubly incontinent, in nappies or diapers. If your nappy needs changing, where are you going to lie down? On a public toilet floor?!

Sadly this is the reality for thousands of families. The lack of suitable changing places can stop a family from taking their disabled child out, simply because there is nowhere to change them.

Although not personally affected by this I have a friend who's ten year old son is doubly incontinent. He has Down's syndrome and is fully mobile and doesn't use a wheelchair, yet the lack of suitable changing places can have a huge impact on their lives. I asked her how she manages and she says she carries a blanket with her in the back of the car or her husband changes him in the car. This works currently but as he gets taller I can imagine this is going to present some challenges. What about when he doesn't fit lying down in the car? And what about if they didn't have a car and were reliant on public transport? Where would she keep the blanket to change him on?

Where we live she is aware of only one place that has suitable changing facilities: Chester Zoo. It has a hoist and a changing bed. However they only have one. And if you're on the wrong side of the zoo when nature calls, you are in difficulties.

I took a poll in an autism group I'm in. Several people have had to change their child on a public toilet floor, others had used the car, yet others couldn't even fit their wheelchair or buggy in the public toilet!!!

I am aware of one 'disabled' toilet in a well known fast food restaurant in Wrexham, where the toilet is tucked down the side. I've struggled to get in it with a buggy as there is usually a wall of chairs and pushchairs to fight through to get to it. Once you are in it, either the lock doesn't work or you can't move once you're in with a buggy. I can't imagine what it's like with a wheelchair. Add to this that it is the only toilet on the ground floor and I think you would agree it's hardly disabled friendly.

There is a culture around disabilities where when people think of disability the image of a person in a wheelchair instantly comes to mind. Even the symbol for disabled access is a wheelchair. Yet mobility issues are just a small part of the disabled spectrum.

The issues I personally face when it comes to public toilets is that there is often only one toilet. Even in a very busy place. Which means waiting to use it. My children are continent but my son is 8 years old, has ADHD and Autism and is very vulnerable. The last thing I want to do is send him into a gents public toilet. But what choice do I have if there is no disabled toilet available? He's 4' 8". I can't take him in the ladies with me! Sometimes he has accidents, but if he has an accident in a public men's toilet, how can I go and help him out. Plus there's the minor embarrassment of spending an awful lot of time hanging around outside men's loos!!

And if there is a disabled toilet available, half the time they need a special radar key to get in. I understand why they're kept locked up, but I don't have one of those keys. They're huge so you can't fit it on your keyring and although I did have one, because I had nowhere sensible to keep it, I kept losing it. And even if it is open, he's 8. I'm trying to teach him privacy and keeping himself safe. How can I do that if I have to go in with him to the toilet every time.

Some places have family toilets, and for my family, they work really well. We can all go into the same bathroom but the toilets have separate cubicles. It means I can be close by but still give him his independence and dignity. Unfortunately these are few and far between too.

As SN parents we are trying to raise awareness of the lack of appropriate changing facilities and there is a petition to get this problem addressed and there is a website providing more information.

We are also hoping to spread as much awareness as possible across social media so please share this post using the hashtags #phantomloos, #benchandhoist and #changingplaces. Please visit The Inclusive Home to view other posts around this issue.

Finally, don't forget to follow the bat to see what the other bloggers taking part in Blogtober16 have been up to!


Sunday, 30 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 30 - A Letter to Children's TV Creators

Dear Sirs,

As I have to watch an inordinate of children's TV I would like to point out a few things I have noticed whilst watching these programmes, and also some issues I would like you to address.

Firstly, when your show is about an anthropomorphic pig and several other creatures, then the line "she can't talk, she's a fish" is probably the most ridiculous line in the history of children's television. And that's saying something. If one animal can talk then all the animals can talk. That goes for Paw Patrol too. How come only the dogs can talk? Why not the cats or the very annoying Chickaletta?!

Also, when you decided to anthropomorphise a potato, getting it to suggest that the animals need to eat all their fruit and veg sounds vaguely cannibalistic.

Character voice actors should have it in their contract that they are not allowed to do adverts. I find it very confusing to hear Daddy Pig or Miss Rabbit on an advert when I'm watching grown up TV.

For the sake of my sanity DO NOT dub American programmes with British voice actors. For one it comes over slightly stilted. For another we aren't stupid and the programme is so obviously set on the other side of the Pond so don't insult our intelligence by pretending it isn't. I'm pretty sure Mayor Goodway's American voice isn't half as annoying as her British voice.

Show the parents. My kids are firmly of the belief that Charlie and Lola and Ruby and Max are orphans.

Would it kill you to give the characters some other clothes? Poor Peppa only has one dress, which resulted in Daddy Pig having a pink football shirt.

Since when was a monkey smarter than several scientists combined? And what on earth is a monkey and a cat doing allowed in a kitchen? Health & Safety should have shut Chef Pisghetti down by now.

What is with alive vehicles? How do they pick things up when they've got wheels not hands? And what about toys that come alive? They get told to stay dehydrated and clean their teeth but when do they eat? And what about when Doc isn't around? Do they get hungry? Do they sneak down to the kitchen?

Thank you

A frustrated mum!

Don't forget to follow the bat to see who the other bloggers wrote to.


Saturday, 29 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 29 - Three Confessions

Woah. Three confessions. What to choose 😂😂


First confession: I have a thing for Tom Cruise. I was never bothered in his early career but these days he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously and his current films are quite funny. I'm not sure why I have something for someone pint sized when I'm on the larger side myself but there you go! I've seen him interviewed and he seems to have passed the bouncing on the settee thing he had going on for a while. He does his own stunts and learnt to hold his breath under water for 6 minutes while training for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. I think that's pretty impressive.

Second confession: Coffee sends me to sleep. I seem to have a lot of symptoms of ADHD and one of them is resistance to coffee. So although I love coffee and possibly spend far too much time at Starbucks they are no good for me if I need to stay awake.

Third confession: I have a secret desire to be a crazy cat lady. I'd love a house filled with cats. I've only got two so far. Maybe I need this:

Don't forget to see what the other bloggers taking part in Blogtober16 confessed to!


Friday, 28 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 28 - Favourite Instagram Photo

Ok, I cheated a little on this prompt. It's actually a Snapchat photo which happens to be my profile picture.

I don't post my kids on my public profiles so I chose this one to prove a point. Here is my picture, taken with full makeup, good lighting, a flattering pose and a pretty Snapchat filter.

Power of makeup
Makeup, filters, lighting, pose

This is by far the most flattering picture of me I have had taken in recent years. Now compare it to the photos below. The first picture is one where I actually used makeup to make myself look ill. The lighting is natural but there's no filters

Power of makeup
Made up to look ill, no filters

Finally this is just a selfie I took at home, bad lighting, no makeup, no filters.

Power of makeup

My point is that it is very easy to look at instagram and other social media and wish you could look like the people posting selfies. But no-one actually looks like that in person, especially without makeup. Makeup, lighting, flattering poses and filters can make a huge difference. And are great fun! But always remember that it's all an illusion.

Follow the bat to check out the other bloggers taking part in Blogtober16


Thursday, 27 October 2016

Autism 'Super Parenting'

Yesterday a news item caused quite a stir in the autistic parenting community (yes, there is such a thing, and yes, we talk). The title of the news item was 'Super-parenting' improves children's autism.

It was, on the face of it, a patronising and insulting title. Are we not, as autism parents, superparents already? Is this yet another study telling us how we have failed yet again?!

autism super parenting

The article stated: 
Dr Catherine Aldred, a consultant speech and language therapist with Stockport NHS Trust, stressed it was not about blaming the parents.
"We're taking the parent's interaction with the child and taking it to a 'super' level, these children need more than 'good enough', they need something exceptional," she said.

This statement in itself was contradictory. On the one hand she's saying that she's not blaming the parents, yet on the other hand she's saying the children need "more than 'good enough'"

Good enough?! Good enough?! I have yet to meet an autism parent who didn't work so much harder at their parenting than any NT parent. We have to battle schools, healthcare professionals, disbelieving friends and family, as well as managing extremely challenging behaviour and I refuse to call that 'good enough' parenting.

However I pushed the semantics aside and carried on with the rest of the article. And what is being done makes sense.

Most parents are left in the dark about their autistic child, at least in the UK. If you're fortunate, you get a diagnosis and a few sheets of paper with the phone number of the NAS and suggestions for carers coffee mornings. There is no preparation for the battles that will follow. It's like sending someone into a minefield, blindfolded, with ear plugs, extra weights and some long pointy sticks for good measure, just in case you miss any of the mines you are stepping over, while people on the outside tell them not to be silly, there are no land mines. All land has funny metal bits in it. In many places there is no support. It's horrendous.

I've been fortunate in that I'm now doing the NAS Early Birds Plus course for a second time. The phrase you hear over and over when doing the course is 'be a detective'. The idea is that all behaviour has a cause and by closely observing your child you can see why certain behaviours exist.

There seems to be a similar idea behind the study being done for this article, but in this case the parents aren't having to do the detective work as all the behaviour is being recorded so it can be analysed later. It has worked and for the families it has helped, that is fantastic.

But to achieve that without a team of experts around you is really hard. For instance in my household I'm a single mum with two autistic kids and one NT. When do I get to analyse behaviour when all hell breaks loose? It's not that simple.

The idea behind the treatment or therapy or whatever you want to call it is sound. And yes I suppose in a way it is super parenting in that no parent can ever achieve it without help or actual super powers! But to suggest that parents on their own can achieve the same results is ridiculous. We need training and support. We need early diagnosis and shorter waiting lists. We need to be listened to when we tell the professionals that something isn't right with our children.

We are ALL super parents. We don't need telling to up our game. We need a side kick. We need support.

I've added this post to Spectrum Sunday.

Spectrum Sunday

#Blogtober16 Day 27 - Place I Would Most Like to Visit

We live in a beautiful world and there are lots of places I would like to visit, but if I had to choose one, it would be a place I have visited as a child and a teenager, but never as an adult. It's a place I would love to take my children to. It has inspired Disney and is instantly recognisable to whole generations of film lovers. The place I would most like to go back to is:

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

RIP Great British Bake Off

Tonight was a bittersweet moment on British television. We said goodbye to the Great British Bake Off as we know it when we should have been celebrating the crowning of the latest winner. However it is revised on Channel 4, it will not have Mel & Sue and their terrible witty puns, or the driving blue eyes of Mary Berry. No longer will summer Wednesday nights be spent reveling in a TV show that turned out to be quintessentially British.

Who would have known, 6 years ago, that a baking competition set in a tent could come to represent a country? Could come to cause such controversy over Baked Alaskas, or joy over a bread in the shape of a lion? That macarons (macaroons?) would become something that bakers would just 'whip up' as part of a Showstopper? That a Hollywood Handshake would become a consummation devoutly to be wished? Or that a Mel and Sue sandwich could become the highlight of a baker's career?

Whatever form the Bakeoff takes next year, whether it on Channel 4, or whether the BBC come up with a new baking competition featuring Mel, Sue and Mary, it will never the be the same again. It will always be different, and slightly tainted. 

In bakery terms, it seems there are worse things than soggy bottoms, raw dough and dry sponge cake. The Great British Bake Off is no more.

RIP GBBO. You will be missed.

#Blogtober16 Day 26 - Top 10 All Time Favourite Songs

This is a really hard one for me. If you read Day 17 you will know that my music tastes are eclectic. I hate being asked my favourite song as I don't have one - it depends on my mood! My 'Belt it Out' playlist has Adele, Michael Ball, Meatloaf, Rhianna and Glee on it.

So I will try to list my top 10 favourite songs but this could change next week!

Perhaps Love by John Denver - this was one of the songs I grew up listening to and I always loved singing along to it.

You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Barbara Streisand & Neil Diamond - again, a song I grew up listening to. My parents were big Barbara Streisand fans and she had the most amazing voice. I love trying to sing alongside her. This particular song about love gone awry was always very poignant.

Defying Gravity from Wicked - a song I love basically because it is such a challenge to sing but you get such a sense of accomplishment if you hit that high f near the end!

I Know Him So Well from Chess - you may be sensing a theme here of songs that are incredibly beautiful to sing but are also quite poignant and about loss rather than love. This touching song by Andrew Lloyd Webber has beautiful harmonies and speaks of lost opportunities.

Take A Bow by Rhianna - I've actually surprised myself by sticking this one on this list but it tells a story and is another beautiful song to sing along to. There are some witty lyrics in this song and you have to applaud the woman taking a stand against her cheating boyfriend.

It's My Life by Bon Jovi - ah, an anthem song. Always guaranteed to lift my spirits. Best played at full volume, in the car, windows down.

Someone Like You by Adele - who doesn't love this song? The haunting melody and the tale of a love that hasn't quite been forgotten.

Kiss The Rain by Billie Meyers - it was one of those songs that never really took off but it was on a Now That's What I Call Music album and I loved it. The song about two lovers separated and the singer wondering if he still loved her or was with someone else really touched an angst ridden 17 year old!

Fernando by Abba - this was another song which I grew up listening to. It all sounded so exotic and mysterious.

All I Ask by Adele - my current no 1 song. It's heartbreaking and for some reasons struck a chord with me. It's one of those songs I have to stop and sing along to.

Well that's my list. I haven't numbered them because that would be nearly impossible. I'm sorry it's such a maudlin list but I like songs that I can sing along to and some of the best songs are written from a place of pain. I can't wait to see what my fellow bloggers have picked - please check them out by following the bat!


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 25 - What Superpower Would You Most Like to Have?

Can I have all the superpowers? Most of them would come in handy, heat vision for warming up cold dinners, cold breath for cooling down hot chocolate, flight for avoiding traffic jams, invisibility for hiding from people, the list is endless!

On Day 18 of #Blogtober16 I mentioned that one of my favourite TV shows is The Flash, and having given it some thought, I think speed would probably be my superpower of choice.

The possibilities are endless. I could do my makeup in 60 seconds instead of 60 minutes, which means if I wrecked my cats eye it would be no bother to take it off and try it again. I could do all the ironing, laundry, dusting, washing up etc in the first couple of minutes of the day, and then have the rest of the day to do what I liked. If we were late for school, it wouldn't matter because I could get us there really fast. And literally dodge the raindrops. Plus there was a really cool episode where he went so fast he created an echo of himself so he could actually be in two places at once! As a mum, how useful would that be?! I could even run to the shops and be back again faster than nipping to the loo. And just think of the blogposts I could hammer out.

I don't think I would mess with the time travel aspect though; that hasn't worked out too well for Barry. And he has to eat an awful lot to keep up that metabolism, which would probably work out expensive. On the other hand, it keeps him very slim, and he heals fast.

Yep, I'd definitely go for speed. Or doing the Salmon Ladder. No, speed, for sure!

Don't forget a new series of The Flash starts tonight at 8pm on Sky1!

To see what superpowers the other bloggers taking part in Blogtober16 have chosen, follow the bat.


Monday, 24 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 24 - Disney Character I Most Identify With

Belle and her books

Asked which Disney character I most identify with with, I was stumped. I've never seen myself as a Disney princess. Probably if anything it should be something completely daft, like the waiter penguins in Mary Poppins.

But if there's one Disney character I totally got, it was Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She always had her nose in a book and I was the same. As a kid I had several books stashed around the house to read. I read Lord of the Rings in a week. Belle was much more interested in books than the boorish Gaston. And when she did find someone special she was more interested in his personality than his looks.

The library!
The beast wooed Belle the same way I would love to be wooed - with a library! All those books! My biggest problem in my house is not enough room to store books. I do read a lot of books on my tablet now but nothing quite beats holding a book in your hand.

Outside of Disney, the character I identify with most is Jo March from Little Women. She is such an emotional character and has incredible heart. I always wanted to be able to write like she did and she was an inspiration to me growing up. As a teenager I could never understand why she turned down the handsome Laurie and ended up with the older Herr Bhaer but now I'm older, I know she made the right choice, choosing a man who would support her and challenge her reading.

This was a prompt from the Blogtober16 series, follow the bat to see who the other bloggers taking part chose.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 23 - My Favourite Time of the Year

I know on Day 18 I said that my favourite month of the year is October because of the returning TV shows. But my favourite time of the year is Spring.

I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Fortunately I'm on slightly better medication this year so it hasn't affected me as badly as it usually does, but I find the winter months incredibly hard. It's like a dark cloud settles over and there is no light in front of me. The future seems doomed. It's rather hard to describe and unless you've experienced it you really wouldn't know what it's like. I do find some SAD lights help, but as the nights draw in and then the clocks go back and the afternoons get dark, it's really hard to shake off the blackness. I do what I can but a lot of it is waiting for the months to pass and the days to get longer again.

This is why my favourite time of the year is Spring. There is more light, which helps me considerably. But it also feels like there is more hope in Spring. Everything is new and young from the lambs in the fields to the buds on the trees, and it lifts my soul. All that was dark and miserable is lightened and lifted. The lambs always make me laugh as well - I love watching them form gangs and chase each other, wriggling their little tails.

What's your favourite time of the year? Do you suffer from SAD too? Let me know your thoughts below.

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers taking park in Blogtober16 by following the bat.


Saturday, 22 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 22 - My Biggest Accomplisment

This was a fairly easy prompt to answer. My greatest accomplishment is my kids and succeeding as a single parent. Yes it's hard work and I get a lot of help. But they are still my kids and I love them to bits and I'm proud that I've been able to be their mum despite all the challenges. 

I think my toughest challenge is yet to come. We are not far off the teenage years and I think that will be a real test of my parenting skills. We are already starting to hit puberty but when I'm dealing with hormonal teenagers, combined with ASD and ADHD, that's going to be a whole new adventure.

To see what the other bloggers taking part in Blogtober16 have achieved, follow the bat.


Friday, 21 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 21 - What Am I Afraid Of?

What am I afraid of is an interesting question. I don't have any particular phobias. Snakes and clowns give me the creeps and lots of regular holes all together make me feel ill (tryptophobia). But I'm not petrified of any of them.

The things that frighten me are more personal. I'm scared of losing my parents. I'm getting to the age where my friends are starting to lose their parents and the thought of my mum not being around is more than I can take.

Another things that frightens me is my children's future. With Missy and Boy having autism and ADHD I worry about what life holds in store for them. Boy has a tendency towards violence when crossed, which is part of the ADHD. I've mostly got it under control at the moment but I'm scared of what will happen when he's bigger. Or what he will come across in secondary school.

As for Missy, it's very unlikely she will ever be independent. She shows a lot of PDA traits which means that she struggles with every demand put on her. If she's asked to do something she HAS to put her own twist on it. It's almost like it would be physically painful for her to do it exactly the way she's been asked. And there will be situations in life when she has to do exactly what she's been told to do. This shows the most in her schoolwork. Although she has learning delays she's very clever and is capable of doing the work she's asked to do, but she won't do it in the way she's been asked. This results in her getting extremely low marks in tests because although the answer might be correct, it's not answered exactly how they want it answered.

Those are my fears. What are yours?

Don't forget to follow the bat to see what the other Bloggers taking part in #Blogtober16 are afraid of!


Thursday, 20 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 20 - 5 Super Cool Things About the Place Where I Live

I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, North Wales, just outside of Llangollen. I never tire of living here or of enjoying what's around me. So 5 things. Here goes:

1 - The Views
Panorama - Copyright Espresso Addict

The view on the right is from a scenic spot called the Panorama. It has breath taking, panoramic views from Shropshire to Snowdonia, on a clear day, and is about 10 minutes from where I live. It's one of my favourite places to be and I always feel very calm when I'm up there. It's a great place to gather my thoughts.

2 - Llangollen Railway
Llangollen Railway

Just down the road from where I live is the beautiful heritage steam Llangollen Railway (yes sometimes they run diesels but we won't mention that!). Trains run all year round and in the holiday they often have Thomas and friends. We rather enjoy the Mince Pie Specials over New Year when your journey is complemented with mince pies and mulled wine. Oh, and did I mention the views?

3 - Close to the Sea

Barmouth Beach
I love being by the sea. I would live by the sea if I could. We are an hour away from Rhyl, Prestatyn and Abergele, and an hour and a half away from Llandudno and Barmouth, two hours from Black Rock. There is such a wealth of beaches to choose from and we can just suddenly decide to spend the day there if it's nice in the school holidays. We often camp near Barmouth because the beach is soooo huge, you can find a spot and not be near anyone else.

4 - Welsh Language or Siarad Cymraeg

Before I moved here I thought Welsh was a dead language, but I swiftly learnt how wrong I was. If you go to the shops or the library you hear people speaking Welsh. In fact I thought they spoke Welsh a lot here, but if you go over to Caenarvon or Bangor, you hear Welsh more than you hear English. It's a beautiful language and I've tried to learn it but it is very complicated, although I know bits and pieces. The children all started off in a Welsh speaking school, although Missy refused to speak it and ended up in an English school. The younger two are still in Welsh speaking schools and Boy is fluent, sometimes more fluent than children raised in a Welsh speaking household. Bug is getting more confident in it and it's quite cute to hear them talking in Welsh to each other - except I don't know if they are plotting something! The only problem is all paperwork comes in duplicate, once in English and once in Welsh!

5 - So Much to Do

Although on the map it looks like we are tucked away, we are actually pretty central to a lot of things. As well as being near the sea, we are also near some major cities which means that I don't have to travel far to do some shopping or get the latest makeup products. Chester is 20 minutes away, Cheshire Oaks Macarthur Glen Designer Outlet is only half an hour away, and then Liverpool or the Trafford Centre are just an hour away. Alternatively Telford and Shrewsbury are also very near. There are lots of things to see and do, from historical abbeys, to UNESCO preservation sites, to stunning country parks. There is a huge range of play parks for the kids to choose from, which means we can ring the changes a little bit. Knowsley Safari Park is only an hour away, or if you prefer machines, Manchester Airport has a viewing area and several planes to explore. We also have Techniquest for more educational endeavours. So it's a really good mix, there is something for everyone here.

I love where I live, and these are the 5 things that I think make it special. Please follow the bat to see what the other bloggers taking part in #Blogtober16 found special about where they live.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 19 - Favourite Foods

Today's prompt was favourite foods, and as you might be able to tell from the picture, my favourite food is ice cream! There's the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm not far from me and they sell the most tantalising flavours! They sell over 50 different flavours, including sorbets. My recommended combination is Cointreau and Baileys but don't have one if you are driving, there's a fair old punch of alcohol in there! Another personal favourite is the liquorice and blackcurrent flavour. However liquorice is like marmite - you either love it or hate it.

Some more popular flavours include peanut, Ferrero Rocher, rhubarb and custard, stem ginger and turkish delight.

Not only do they sell the most yummy ice cream ever (and at this time of year sometimes that includes mince pie flavour), there is a great range of activities for kids. One activity that is fantastic for younger kids and those with sensory needs is the Honeycomb Canyon. It's a massive indoor sand and water pit. But don't forget to bring a change of clothes!

There's lots of other activities to explore as well, including a small farm with lots of different animals to meet! Although my children much prefer sitting on the old tractors and pretending to drive them.

The highlight of the Ice Cream Farm is the Ice Cream tree which sprays 'snow' at hourly intervals - great fun!

Entrance is free but some of the activities have a cost, which is currently £3.50 per child. However they sell play passes which are great value and can bring the cost of each activity down to £1.

It does get busy and for some of the activities, like the JCB diggers, it is better to book a slot in advance. However it's a great afternoon out and sometimes we sneak off without the children just for the ice cream!!!!

So that's my favourite food and my favourite place to get it from - what's yours? 

Follow the bat to see what other bloggers taking part in #Blogtober16 have chosen as their favourite food.


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 18 - Favourite TV Shows

I'm a bit out of kilter with the rest of Blogtober for this post but I don't do zodiacs and stuff so I had a bit of a juggle around. And this is probably something I will have a lot to say about!

My favourite month of the year is October. Why? Because that's when all the new TV shows start and new series of my favourites begin. Of course I'd rather be watching it on a Panasonic HDR 4K TV. Because Stephen Amell's abs in 4K... 


Ahem. As you were. So that brings me to the first of my favourite shows. Arrow. Except I didn't watch Season 4 because of all the magic, sorcery and stuff that went off. Not my bag. I'm hoping Season 5 will steer clear of magic and just get back to the salmon ladder awesome plot.

Another favourite show is The Flash

A spin off from Arrow, this follows the speedster, otherwise known as Barry Allen. There was a very poignant episode where Grant Gustin basically cried his way all the way through it but he carried the storyline well and the episode received rave reviews. Season 3 kicks off with Flashpoint, where Barry has changed the timeline. Again. 

Both Arrow and The Flash are created by the CW and they have recently added Supergirl to their DC lineup and I cannot wait for the promised musical crossover of The Flash and Supergirl! It's going to be awesome. There was a Flash and Supergirl crossover in Season 1 of Supergirl and it was hilarious. And just to keep us going, the CW created their own version of Fight Club to whet our appetites!

I'm not sure which bit of this I loved more. Brandon Routh having to star opposite Supergirl, or poor old Diggle yet again not being informed about someone's abilities. I can't wait for this lineup to return to Sky.

Another show I am hugely excited for is Scorpion.  Basically a bunch of highly intelligent individuals who are totally lacking in social skills but are hired by Homeland and various other organisations to save the day on a regular basis. The plots are ridiculous but I love them because of that. The remind me of MacGyver. Because they pretty much MacGyver (yes, that is a verb) their way out of every situation. It is also a show close to my heart as the main character, Walter O'Brien, is so definitely autistic, as is the lead girl's son.

I also look forward to the NCIS line up, although the original NCIS is going to be strange this year without Michael Weatherly's character, Dinozzo. However, NCIS LA and NCIS New Orleans are keeping their usual and strong cast. NCIS LA makes me laugh as the cast obviously have such a dynamic between them. Half the time I have no idea what the plot is about but I love the interaction between the whole team.

Code Black is back this year - if you missed it last year it is a medical drama set in an overworked and understaffed hospital in LA. It's extremely accurate in it's depiction of medical procedures, the hospital is messy and busy, and things go wrong. But the cast is amazing and the storylines are well written and it's not soap opera style. I am really looking forward to this one coming back.

Apparently CSI: Cyber is back for another year. I had heard this had been cancelled but apparently not. It's good. It's a different take on a police procedural. I don't understand a lot of the tech speak but I am glad it got renewed.

Other favourite police procedurals which should be back are Rizzoli and Isles (hilarious!), Bones (for it's final season), Mysteries of Laura and Elementary, although Mysteries of Laura usually airs more in the spring. I love the New York take on Sherlock in Elementary and Jonny Lee Miller is fantastic Holmes.

Big Bang Theory is back this week on Thursday 20th October, which is always light hearted entertainment.

The problem with the US shows is that they always have breaks over Thanksgiving and Christmas and Spring Break so I tend to lose the flow a little bit. So as there's rather a list above, I tend to save some series to watch in the breaks, or in the summer hiatus. I'm currently watching last year's Bones!

So that's the American shows returning this fall (!) that I'm looking forward to. I found a superb website which lists all the TV shows and when they're airing in the UK, called Geektown. It's worth favouriting if you are a fan of US TV.

This brings us onto the UK TV shows. Firstly, how can I not mention the nation's favourite baking show, Great British Bake Off. I love this show. I've watched it from the beginning. I don't bake a lot but it's such a lovely, British programme. I was gutted when I found out Channel 4 had bought the rights to the tent. It will NOT be the same.

If you have read back through previous posts (not that you will have had time to because this post took you all day!) the TV show I was slightly obsessed about is:


Yep, Doctor Who! I'm less obsessed than I was, but it is still an incredible creation. It has the ability to make me laugh, and it can always make me cry. Also there's a Doctor Who gif for just about every occasion. Everyone always asks who your favourite Doctor is, but my favourite is the Doctor. I love all of them because they are all him. I went to see the 50th anniversary episode at the cinema and it was amazing to sit with a bunch of other fans and enjoy the programme. I can't wait for the Christmas episode, although how they can top last year's epic and heartbreaking story I don't know. But then again there's always a moment in every episode where your face looks like this:


So many gifs, so little time.

My final show (yes, it's almost over), and I have saved the best for last, is another Moffat creation:


Oh yes, the wonder that is Sherlock. I often ponder whether it would be quite so popular if there were more episodes? It is astoundingly well written, although I usually have to watch an episode two or three times to work out what exactly happened.

You will be glad to know that I have now reached the end of this post, which is sponsored. 

Although I have not followed the prompt for today, please follow the bat to check out the other submissions for #Blogtober16.


Monday, 17 October 2016

#Blogtober16 Day 17 - Favourite Concert You Have Attended

Today's prompt had me scratching my head. First of all I had to think of all the concerts I've been to, and I had to ask friends and family to help me remember. I have been to see an eclectic mix!!

Richard Clayderman
Michael Ball (at least twice)
Michael Crawford
The Corrs
Possibly Stereophonics
Ronan Keating
Andre Rieu
Bon Jovi

I told you it was a mix. I really can't remember if I've seen Stereophonics or not. I know some of my friends and I may have gone with them but they aren't my favourite band so I'm not sure!!

Favourite concert has to be Bon Jovi One Wild Night. They are amazing live. Definitely my favourite band. And they're sort of timeless. My sister is a lot older than me and I grew up hearing Bon Jovi playing and they just stuck with me. She never developed my love of Michael Ball, sadly.

If, like me, you're a Bon Jovi fan, watch this video of Jon Bon Jovi singing Hallelujah.  Gives me chills every time.

I'm taking part in Blogtober16 - to see the other entries in today's post, follow the bat!


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Review of Ocathnon Selfie Ring Light and Back Up Charger

I've included my video review here but you can also find my thoughts below.

I was very impressed with the Ocanthon Selfie Ring Light bought through Amazon.

The USB ports
Brightest setting
Ocathnon Selfie Ring Light

It has three light settings, and even the lightest setting I found so bright I couldn't look at directly! The light clips on really easily onto your phone and fits almost any phone. The light really helps improve selfies and product photos. You can see in the example below the difference it makes when taking a picture.

Without lighting

With the selfie ring light

The ring light also doubles up as a back up charger for your phone or tablet. The cable it comes with has a USB plug at one end and a micro USB plug at the other, with an adaptor for a lightning adapter. This is great because it means you just need to carry one cable around with you to either charge it up or use it to charge your phone up. It has a 1500MAH battery which doesn't mean a lot to me but I do know it means you can get a decent amount of charge!

Overall I am very impressed with this handy device and it will definitely be something I carry around with me for impromptu selfies and those days when I run out of battery really fast! Is this something you would use? Let me know in the comments!

I was sent this item to review and this post contains affiliate links.
Family Fever

#Blogtober16 Day 16 - Piercings and Tattoos

This is going  to be a very short and sweet post! I only have my ears pierced - no tattoos.

Sometimes my ears get itchy when I'm wearing earrings so I had them re-pierced but I'm still having problems so I don't wear earrings very much.

The only other piercing I quite fancy is an industrial piercing but they look painful and I'm a wimp, so I'll stick to my earlobes!

Follow the bat to see what piercings and tatts the other bloggers taking part in Blogtober16 have.