On Wednesday we picked up your glasses from Specsavers Spud, something so easily done, but something that was a little difficult for you. When I picked you up from school, and you asked if your glasses was ready, you asked me with a worried but excited smile.

You was excited to be able to see properly again.

You was scared because of what happened at the opticians a few weeks before.

Two weeks ago, I took you to your very first opticians appointment to go and pick some new glasses and of course to get your eyes checked. You've worn glasses since you was a baby, and most probably will need them for the rest of your life, however, you'd never had the full opticians experience as the hospital use to sort out your prescription for you!

Previously, we would go to your appointment at the eye department located in the hospital, be given a prescription and head off to the opticians to go and pick some glasses. However after your operation, you was discharged from the eye department, and now it was time for us to fly solo.

You've seen your two younger cousins with their cool character glasses, and wanted some character glasses of your own, and as mummy is a Specsavers customer herself, I decided to book you into their big store in town! You was ever so excited for their appointment, asking me question after question and counting down the days until it was time.

I picked you up from school and we got the bus to town, we made our way to the store and sat down in the waiting room, you was so excited... Then, we got called into the opticians room to get your eyes checked, and things very quickly changed.

That man was moany, impatient and not the right person to be dealing with a curious child! I explained to that man about you being sensitive to light, about your operation and all the other things he needed to know, but I doubt he listened.

That man got annoyed with you for not keeping your head 100% straight, you're a child, even I struggle to keep my head straight and without meaning it, my head slowly drifts to one side or the other. That man made you upset.

The more anxious you got, the more your small body got upset.

I looked at you, you was looking at me, your eyes telling me what you wanted to say, rescue me mummy, get this man away from me.

What do I do!? I know you're a sensitive soul, so I told myself to see what was next.

That man started to turn your head himself, how dare he touch my babies face, put your head into a position to stare straight at him. How dare he shine a light into your eyes for so long, when I told him you don't like lights in your eyes, I know only too well the problems we've had when I forget to turn the flash on the camera off.

Enough was enough.

I spoke loudly and said we will go in a minute darling.

How I wanted to lose my cool right there and then.

How I wanted to grab you from that chair and cuddle you.

How I wanted to cry with you, knowing you was on the verge of tears.

How I wish this never happened. I wished we was at home, where we would usually be after school. 

The appointment soon come to an end, with that man asking you to return in a week's time to have drops in your eyes. The drops you've had so many times in your life at the hospital, the drops you hate so much because they make your vision blurry.

Mummy was confused.

I'm a Specsavers customer myself but I wasn't a child, was this the norm? Was this what happens with every child?

You cried, you didn't want to go back. The appointment wasn't until a week's time, but every day, throughout each day, you cried, you was scared.

I made a decision, we wasn't going back.

I know you didn't need them drops. I do know you needed glasses.

I cried, I didn't know what to do. I could of booked you into another opticians, but what if the same thing happened?

I called your Senco teacher and asked her for some help. She very kindly wrote a supporting letter to whom it may concern, she talked about you, and what worked best. It was positive, and it gave me a bit of hope.

I called the Specsavers store that isn't far from our home, a much smaller one then the store in town, and sat you down to tell you. You was scared, you started to cry, you didn't want to go. I explained that your Senco teacher had written a letter to make the appointment go smoothly, but I didn't know if that was the case myself.

The time come for your appointment, I left you in the car with nanny who was visiting from Cornwall whilst I popped in the store to give them the letter. You was anxious, you wasn't keen on going in, you wanted to stay with your nanny in the car. You played with a small toy in the waiting room, and studied everything in the store, you needed a wee, in fact two, I put it down to your nerves!

We was soon called into the opticians room and was greeted by the biggest of smiles. The optician was very friendly and made you feel very welcome. We got halfway through a very successful appointment when I asked the optician if he'd seen the letter, which he hadn't. So the optician was just a nice man in general, a man who worked with both adults and children, but a man who was excellent with children.

The optician read the letter, and gave mummy a smile of reassurance. I know we could of got through that whole appointment without him reading that letter, he was amazing with you and got you talking in no time. Something many people struggle to do with you as you're very shy and usually nod your head up and down or sideways.

You left his room super excited, you even walked to the glasses stand alone, you knew I could see you, but usually you wouldn't step far away from me in places you've never been before! The optician recommended what glasses would be best for you, and you finally made a selection with one pair being Minions, and the other pair being Star Wars.

You had your eyes measured by a lovely lady, and then it was time to go home.

You smiled from ear to ear, you told your step dad about the appointment as soon as you saw him, and you couldn't wait to get to school the next day to tell your friends!

You counted down the days until we could collect your glasses. 

That day come, and again the visit was very smooth.

I'm so proud of you. You went to a branch of a company that had left you terrified, and you gave it your best shot, even though you was extremely scared.

Thank you, for trusting mummy when I told you nothing like that horrible appointment was ever going to happen again.

Thank you for believing in yourself.

I love you,
your Mummy 

I'd just like to say thank you to the staff at the Specsavers store on Shinfield Road in Reading, and a massive thank you especially to Sanjeev Vara. I know you was all doing what you do on a day to day basis anyway, but after a horrible experience from another Specsavers store, my son was terrified of a service he needed, and you took that fear away.

Protecting Our Homes In The Warmer Months!

by Jada, January 25, 2016
With time moving faster than ever, or so it seems as we're nearly into the second month of the year already, it's time to start getting our homes ready for the spring and summer - or to put it frankly, the warmer months! When we lived at the flat, we was luckily not on the ground floor, and so didn't have to worry about a back door and ground floor windows, but now we're at the house, it's a whole different ballgame! As for insects, apart from spiders, moths, and the odd bee, we didn't have to worry about ants and all the rest of the creepy crawlies!

However, we're now blessed with a house, and a garden of course, so I've put together this post, to help not only myself, but hopefully to help many of us!

No Creepy Crawly Laundry!
When I lived at the flat, I didn't have a washing line, or anywhere to put a washing line, so all my clothes drying was done on the radiators, on a airer or in the dryer. Now I have a house, with a garden and a washing line, I take full advantage of saving some electric, but have to be careful of what I'm bringing into the home! Moths are not the only clothes eating insects, carpet beetles love to eat clothes, and their eggs hatch a lot quicker during warmer weather! You should always shake your clothes vigorously to ensure no unwanted insects come inside with you, including fleas which can infest your home in days! 

Window Safety
With the world we live in, we have to be aware of our surroundings at all times, sadly that also means being cautious in our own homes! No one wants to have all of their windows shut in the warmer weather, and why should we if we're at home occupying it? We can't be in every room at the same time can we? That's why I've purchased window restrictors from Mighton Product to ensure our homes safety that little bit extra! This way, I can have my windows open just enough to let the fresh air in, and to cool the room from the hot summers sun!

Protecting Our Roofs
Expansion is a common problem in household roofs across the country, expansion is when materials expand (they usually contract during the winter/colder months), and that's why it's important to check your roofs every now and again! Many roofing contractors, are able to assess any damage that may have been caused in the winter and often times you can get a free inspection. Winter isn’t the only season that can cause damage to our roof. While sunlight and heat may not cause direct damage themselves, having too little ventilation and insulation in the attic could cause you damage, like mold, never a nice thing to deal with!

Image Credit: London Fire.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.
Over the last few years, I've lost count of how many news reports I've seen on fires being caused by mirrors! The most tiniest of sun beams shining onto your mirror, then bouncing off onto another object can cause a deadly fire. In my hometown, a couples home was ruined, but thankfully not their lives after a mirror set fire to a curtain in the bedroom, all down to the sun! I now cover any mirrors up in the summer, but with sunshine beaming through all year, I've started to close the curtains and blinds too! After further research, it's not just mirrors that can cause fires, please do your research and be careful!

Fantastic Flowers.
Last but not least, if like me you're a keen flower lover, remember your plants will need a lot more water during the warmer periods! I stupidly underestimated how much water my flowers needed last year, and sadly lost a few! Buying a watering can was the best thing I done last summer, as it helped me to measure how much water each plant was getting!

Until next time,
Jada x

List To Help Life Easier!

by Jada, January 25, 2016

Whether there's one or two working parents in the home, keeping the household running smoothly requires meticulous organisational skills and true determination. You don't have to be a superhero to achieve this; simply follow these ideas to help keep your ship afloat!

White Boards
White boards and/or pin boards are essential tools for the busy home. These are best displayed in the kitchen, where family members are likely to take notice. You'll also need dry wipe pens in various colours, post-its, planner and drawing pins. Whilst smartphones and tablets have organisational apps, you can't guarantee everyone will read a post.

Unless you intend on feeding the family microwave meals or takeaways, it will make life much easier if you know what dishes you'll be making a week or two in advance. Display this list of meals on a white board. The family can even rate the choices with a tick or cross and leave suggestions! This will also help with the food shopping and will hopefully reduce waste. Shopping is probably best done on-line and delivered at a convenient time, so that you don't get tempted by special offers that you don't actually need.

If a child is old enough to move around unaided, they're old enough for chores! It might be a simple task like putting their toys away or folding their school uniform - starting them young builds character and teaches responsibility! For older children, tasks like loading the dishwasher, or putting out the rubbish is more reasonable. A weekly rota should be displayed prominently, with items being ticked once they're done. An incentive scheme could be introduced, offering treats such as a family outing, or a new toy. For weeks/months where all chores have been carried out on time, and without complaints, maybe they could even get a little extra pocket money! Although positive reinforcement is far preferable, privileges could be removed if anyone reneges.

Appointments and Timetable.
A large-scale, monthly calendar should be in the kitchen, for all family members to use. This could include meetings, dental appointments, birthdays, parties, project due dates, non-school uniform days, when to renew the car insurance etc. If there are too many items, you could have a separate one for the children. Explain to teenagers, that it is their responsibility to add anything that's important; this is especially important for those who forget to pass on letters from school. If your child has a dodgy memory, get them to have their own notice board in their room, to make a note of things they need to remember. A weekly timetable is also necessary, so everyone knows where they should be and when.

If possible, organise a car share with other parents so you save on fuel a few times a week. Take it in turn to drive one another's children to school, and take advantage of those who usually catch the bus; agree on a plan where they pay you their bus fare in return for a lift to the school and back. If safe, teenagers can walk with friends to and from school, or even ride their bike, accompanied with the appropriate safety of course, like a helmet.

List and charts form the backbone of every efficient household with working parents, once family members become accustomed to the routine you'll find it makes your life much easier!

Until next time,
Jada x

The Best Pets For Children.

by Jada, January 22, 2016
Having a pet in the house can be a great way to help children feel confident and comfortable around animals. It also teaches responsibility, especially if your child is responsible for key tasks involved in the pet’s care, and it can provide a great source of companionship. Of course, just what kind of pet is most suitable will depend on the personality of your child. These are some of the best choices overall.
Dogs are a serious commitment and they need plenty of space to run around, so they’re only suitable if you have a reasonably sized house with a garden. In addition, they need to be taken for a walk twice a day. Some breeds are more suitable for children than others and very young children should be watched to ensure they don’t pull tails, grab feet or do other things likely to upset the dog. You’ll need to regularly buy flea tablets for your dog and teach your child how to groom the dog. In return, they’ll get a loyal friend who will love running around with them and getting into scrapes. Most breeds of dogs will live for up to 13 years.
If you want an animal that can be loyal and intelligent like a dog but doesn’t need to be taken for long walks, a rabbit is a great choice. Rabbits are highly active, sociable animals so should either be free to move around the house or should have a large run to use. You’ll need to hide cables but they can be trained not to nibble other things and to use a designated toilet area – remember they’ll need to eat some of their droppings to stay healthy. They can live for up to 14 years and can be very affectionate.
When it comes to small pets that can happily spend most of their time in enclosures, hamsters are the best option. Most species are solitary but they can enjoy being handled by humans when they get used to it and can have fun exercising in a ball or exploring mazes built from Lego. Their cages should be cleaned at least weekly but overall they’re not very high maintenance. The main downside is that they only live about three years, so your child will have to be ready to cope with them dying.
Guinea pigs
Gentle, sociable pets with relatively simple needs, guinea pigs can be great pets for quieter children. They should be kept in pairs or larger same sex groups because they need company to be happy and they sleep very little. It’s important to give them opportunities for exercise and space to run around in, but they can live in a hutch as long as they get out daily. They need high fibre diets (your local pet shop can supply appropriate pellets) and they live for five to six years.
The right pet will give your children an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time, helping them to develop key adult skills. Pets can boost confidence and draw shy kids out of their shells whilst reminding boisterous ones that sometimes it’s okay to slow down and show affection. They can be a wonderful part of the family.
Until next time, Jada x

Thinking About The Future.

by Jada, January 22, 2016
I’ve always been of the opinion that reading the news doesn’t do much for one’s happiness. For me, there are better things to do than immerse yourself into all that’s wrong in the world. Then again, it’s also a bit of a fine line between that and staying in touch with daily developments that are relevant to yourself as an individual.
Having kept half an eye on the many disconcerting things that have happened already in 2016, it’s hard not to be anxious over the long-term security of my child, particularly from a financial perspective. All the talk of a crash as a result of oil prices and China is rather doomsday, and I’m left wondering what we can do with the little bit of money we have saved to make it count.
Interest rates on savings accounts and ISAs have been shockingly low for so long now, but the prospect of taking it out and piling it into investments – something I don’t know a lot about, and a realm which appears to be on shaky ground to say the least – isn’t all that appealing.
It was in this malaise that I stumbled upon a different kind of investing known as peer-to-peer, or P2P lending. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s a simple yet very clever concept involving orchestrating a transaction whereby a person who has extra money in the bank which they are willing to lend is matched up with those who need a loan.
The incentive for the participants? Because of the efficiency of the transaction, there is good value generated, and for a lender this means annual returns of 5 or 6%, depending how long you’re willing to lend for. Either way, certainly a tremendous improvement on rates offered by the banks. 
How safe is peer-to-peer lending?
It isn’t without its risks, of course. As you can imagine, the biggest threat is borrowers not repaying their debt, and, unlike money in the bank, any lender capital losses are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
But the more reputable platforms have ways to counter this; either as a result of regulation and/or voluntary action in order to put their lenders minds at ease. In addition to diversifying a lender’s capital across multiple borrowers, it is mandatory for platforms to have a segregated reserve fund, topped up as a percentage of incoming lender capital, to cover any arrears or defaults on borrower repayments. There is also typically strict criteria in terms of approving loan applicants, meaning only those with good credit scores crack the nod.
One platform in particular – Lending Works - has taken safety to another level, offering an insurance against borrower default for reasons including fraud, cybercrime, accident, illness, death and unemployment. It all reflects in industry figures, with no lender having lost a penny through any of the major platforms since the advent of the reserve fund in 2010.
I would be reluctant to plunder all our spare savings into this, but it is tempting to start off with a small amount to dip a toe in the water. Investing is very personal and subjective, and something like P2P lending may not work for everyone. But it is good to know that even in these volatile times with derisory interest rates, there are other decent options out there.
I'd love to know if anyone has gone down this route, after all it's time to start thinking about our futures.
Until next time, Jada x

Happy Belated New Year!

by Jada, January 19, 2016
Happy belated new year everyone! I hope you've all had a brilliant start to the new year so far? It feels like I've not wrote for ages, when in reality, it's been a little under a month! I don't know if I want to talk about Christmas, because before we know it, it will be back like it never went away! We did have a lovely Christmas though, including Jezeppi who celebrated his first Christmas.

My life, as ever, has not been dull, without a doubt there is never a quiet day in my life, if I'm not sorting out appointments, or helping someone, I'm working, or cleaning, sometimes both! I kid you not I've tried to hover with one hand whilst reading out an email, it just didn't go down well. If there's not washing to be done, there's dog hair that needs to be hoovered, floors to mop, a bathroom to clean and beds to make.

So socialising hasn't been something I've been good at during 2016 yet, I've not even been around on social media as much as I usually would! What was suppose to be a short break over Christmas turned into a longer break, and although there has been days where I've thought I can't wait to get back into the swing of things, I'm glad I had that time off.

I'm broke, feeling a bit down in the dumps, tired, got a million one things to do but life goes on doesn't it?

Over the past couple of weeks, I've started to settle more on the fact that Spud may have Autism, and/or a learning difficulty as his school believes. To me, Leo is him, he's the same as me, however a little slow at processing things! My baby was born seven weeks premature weighing a tiny weight, he's had five operations, I know he can kick butt at whatever comes his way, with me by his side, we will get through anything!

I took Spud to an opticians appointment last week, it's no secret with Spud's eyes, and most of you will know Spud had an operation on his eyes in 2014, being discharged from the eye department at the hospital just six weeks later. Now, instead of us getting his prescription from the hospital, which we would take to an opticians and just pick up glasses, we now have to do everything at the opticians, which should be smooth sailing right?

How wrong could I be, Spud had an appointment with an optician who in my opinion had no patience with children whatsoever, he was getting extremely annoyed with Spud because Spud kept moving his head ever so slightly, which resulted in the optician forcibly moving Spud's head into a straight position every minute or two, something both me and Spud wasn't comfortable with.

Then after me telling the optician Spud is sensitive to lights since his operation, what does he go and do, start shining bright lights into Spud's eyes, then got annoyed when Spud kept closing his eyes and squinting! The final straw came when the optician told me to bring Spud back in a week's time for eye drops to make Spud's vision blurry, drops Spud has had numerous times from his days under the hospital eye team, and something he screamed at every time

All weekend I thought over and over again, as Spud's mummy, I know what's best, and I know taking my worried and anxious child back to an optician who clearly had no patience for him is not the way to go about getting Spud's eyes checked! So I've booked an appointment for another opticians, and Spud's senco teacher has very kindly said she'll write a supporting letter to show the optician. Fingers crossed I can get some glasses for my boy, he's really struggling to see the board at school, so they're needed quite urgently!

I'm off before I start moaning about something else, there's a whole heap of things I could rant about right now, but they can wait for another day!

Until next time,
Jada x