Sunday, 9 December 2012

The things I do for treats.

Written for the Pets Win Praises competition with

Please check out this link


I am a yellow Labrador assistant dog and have PHd level training from a charity called Canine Partners. I have taken my mistresses blog over for a day to tell you the things I do for treats!

I was trained as a pup at Canine Partners, a charity that trains dogs like to a very high level to help and care for a disabled person, the world class trainers,puppy parents and a whole army of humans goes into making a dog like me pass with a PHd in caring! I had a lovely puppy mistress and master where they would show me as a young pup the human world and told me how to go about being an outstanding doggy.I would be rewarded every time I sat, went to my toilet and only in my toilet area to do my business, behaved well in town and my puppy parents taught me all about small humans in a pack and I loved them! I would get biscuit treats for small tasks as a pup. Eventually my education went on as I grew, I was being taught to unload and load the washing machine, open doors and pick up all kinds of objects from floors and supermarket shelves. Every time I completed each task I would get what Canine Partners call "a jackpot" of treats, as a dog I call it funny humans throwing me tasty bites everywhere, its such fun! I was no longer a pup, I packed my doggy suitcase, sadly said goodbye to my puppy family and told them I would make them proud.


I lived at Canine Partners, I loved the trainers but I am a busy dog and when we finished play and training I had to go settle down, I was not amused, all the treats in the world didn't stop me moaning! Eventually CP invited this tiny adult human along to trial us dogs with her and I knew I had found the right human for me, she looked a positive and busy human,her eyes smiled. My human mistress has been ill all her life, she was 15 months old when she got Juvenile arthritis which is nothing like old human arthritis, this is a disease that involves the immune system attacking everything in the body from bones to organs. It can be lethal and works over night eating a knee joint. Mistress tried to live in her own kennel independently but her mum and dad had to come over every day to help,she couldn't pick the mail up from the floor so urgent appointments were going unanswered,she couldn't get up from the floor if she fell over, needed help dressing etc etc. That is where I came in! We trained with Canine Partners together,mistress was taught how to treat me with higher levels of treat if I do something complex and normal treats for smaller tasks which to Mr Average dog would be a huge event! Before I came along mistress was having to call her parents if she dropped her car keys when she was out, even if she was an hour away she had to call because no one would help her get the keys, she lost confidence in going out because of this and if it wasnt for her funny human external pack friends she wouldn't have seen many humans. Now I go out with her and she no longer has to worry and neither do her parents and my tummy doesn't worry because I get lots of treats out and about!


I have been with my mistress for 7 years. I have been there at parties,there to clear up after parties.I have been there when she fell in love with master who also has youth arthritis, I was there when he proposed with a sparkly ring that I checked out to make sure it was an adequate purchase by sniffing it! I have been into work with her and met interesting humans all who wanted to stroke me which is a naughty person! I was there at mistress and masters wedding with a purple organza bow around me, I felt smart and enjoyed the treats down the aisle! I was there when they went away one night, unexpectedly, I wondered what the deal was, I worried! My mistress was looking like a fun beach ball and then she went away and had a small human pup with her! I sniffed him to ensure he was part of the pack and he met my high standards of pack membership, he did, he is my best friend! I wag my tail at his puppy antics, I find him so much fun that he now says my commands and I help him open doors which has got us both into trouble, we both sit on the naughty step then! Although he means a lot more work for my pack I wouldn't change him for the world.

Here I am checking out the new pack member and instructing him on my high standards of membership!

My work varies, sometimes every thing goes as smooth as a labs coat and other times it doesn't.


One of my main jobs that gives me high job satisfaction and lots of Kibble treats is helping mistress get on the floor to play with the small human. Mistress has been unable to get on the floor since she was 4 years old but now I sit right up against her, she puts her arm around my neck and I lower her to the floor slowly. If I jar her one of her joints is likely to break or dislocate so this is a job only for the smartest dogs! I get lots of cuddles and treats, she is thrilled to be able to play on the floor with her son. I am so proud I can help her and small human.


Mistress being helped on the floor by me.

My next job is smelling small pup boys smelly nappy and going of to get the change bag and bring back to mistress. My nose goes wild and I am glad the frenzy nose calms down once the smell is removed! This is an easy job for me so here I get a base of my tail scratch which I love, food treats are used for complex tasks after all I have to watch my waist line!


When mistress is on the floor she can not move so I have to get every thing for her and boy pup. If the phone rings I go and get that and bring it to her, if she has left the remote control on the sofa and needs it I go fetch that for her. I bring books for pup boy for mistress to read, I go off to the shelf and bring back my favourite books which are "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Some dogs do" ! I do get treats for these things but to me they are simple tasks like brushing teeth is to healthy humans so I get huge cuddles and a mini log bone treat.

Here I am getting the remote.


Small humans nap time comes and we collapse in a heap! I have a walk and then we all zonk out! Mistress has a drink and collapses on the sofa, I feel when she is in pain, I try to help and lick her bad bones but there is not much I can do but be there when she is crying and fed up of having a body that doesn't work well, she tells me she wants the best life for small human pup, I tell her I am here to ensure that happens. She gives me a treat for being with her , I give her a paw and a lick and a cuddle ,we fall asleep.


In the afternoon it is more of the same, I will load up the washing machine and get treats. I will get mistress back on the floor to be with her son. They will get every toy out which I put away in the drawers at the end of the day, small pup boy watches me and I am slowly training him now to tidy up after himself, not sure what treat small humans like so just give him a lick.


I love treats, gosh I am a lab, paws up any lab that doesnt love a bit of cheese or crunchy kibble!?? I love my bond with my pack more, I am proud of mistress and master, of my friend the small human and of me. Life is great for my pack, we make it great together no matter how hard things get for mistress and master who are both currently on chemo and strong pain killers. To my puppy parents, I told you I would make you proud and change someone's life for the better, mistress has been through a lot and I have been there lending a paw and am excited about the future fun we will all have. I am off for my evening walk now, cats are great news for me because I do get a treat if I ignore one which I always do because a treat is far more entertaining than a boring old cat. It has been nice talking to you all and Merry Christmas x


My lovely pack having fun!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Toddler mayhem!

It has been a while since I have properly blogged about what I have found useful in caring for my ,now walking,son as a disabled parent.


The truth is make the most of baby hood because when your little one hits toddler doom it really is madness! I and all my family wished and wished Christopher would get walking, my mum was over here trying to encourage him to get up right, even the dog demonstrated walking for the little mans benefit! Now he is walking I wonder why we were all so desperate for him to do it!?! I guess for my mum the urge for him to walk was because fundamentally we all want a great life for Christopher and the fact is having any disability as a child then later an adult can ,at times ,make life quite hard, not a bad life, but a tougher life. I am relieved Christopher is a healthy child and can do all the things I never could, even play in the garden, other hand wow it's a mega manic household!


First of all the equipment required for creakies to enable a child to practice standing and taking a step:

My son just learning to stand unaided, he was around 20 months here.

It depends on the wheelchair you use, I found an NHS one with arm rests and gaps under the rests was useful as you could stick a garden cane through the arm rests so the pole sits across the width of your chair. Enough pole needs to stick out either side of the arm rests or it will pop out and hurt baby or you or both! Most babies already coasting around sofas will happily want to hold onto a handy pole.


A motorised wheelchair often doesn't have arm rests with gaps so as long as your knees do not scream pain when someone touches them, your child will of their own back use your lap to pull themselves into a standing position to face you.


A baby walker- my health visitor who isn't supposed to recommend them said there are times and places where a walker is clearly a useful tool. The walker allows a child to get walking practice and build up muscles ready for walking. The best walker that holds child upright, we found, was a Babylo walker for Toys R Us and we tried at least three of the darn things before finding this one which was the only one that held him in standing position rather than in a superman position!

From Toys R Us a Babylo Busy bee walker for £29.99

A baby bouncer right from six months old will actually start to give your child an early idea of how it feels to be vertical and start using their quad muscles. We found baby walkers absolutely awful for our hands to try and do and undo but the best one we found that was just about manageable was a Tommy Tippitoes bouncer. Otherwise you may need to take a bouncer to REMAP (see early remap blog) who can adapt one for you.



Once the child is confidently toddling:

This is the difficult stage for those of us who really are very immobile but like every thing where there is a determination to succeed there is always a way!


Camping stores are great for a choice of baby items including reins, they offer half price fleece onesies, plastic feeding items, baby slings, baby back pack carriers and reins compared to baby high street stores. The other disabled parent bonus is a camping store is full of older people who enjoy a ramble on a Sunday rather than a horde of children zooming around on plastic cars and in walkers ready to knock into you and your toddle! We got a bumble bee rein from Atwools but they are also available at Go Outdoors. The bee goes on as a back pack and the mechanism buckle is relatively easy to do and undo even with hands that do not have strength or great dexterity. The bee has a strap attached to the back with a loop that goes around a forearm so as to not break my hand or fingers if he falls.

Bumble bee reins from Go Outdoors uk £16.99, pls go and try reins out because you need ones suitable to your needs.


I don't let him walk where I can not control the environment, he could walk in our lovely, quiet library safely but he would end up getting all the books out, reading them and throwing them on the floor, then my dog would have to spend a good twenty minuets clearing up after him by which time my son would be getting fed up and wanting to go home and making a fuss! No physically ill parent can easily pull a child or pick a child up screaming, kicking and having a tantrum so I don't invite him to get like that by restricting where he goes and when.


Above all the ridiculous pressure put on every one in society to full on entertain a child is a load of dog poo! Our son enjoys a toddle around our garden or his grandparents garden just as much as if we took him to a park. Until I am confident he will walk ok anywhere else he will strictly be garden exploring!


Christopher is at the stage where he loves nothing more than running around the house. Water play keeps him still for twenty minuets,filling a washing bowl tub up with some water and bathing his toys. He enjoys pretend cooking using a small cup of flour, a small cup of coco powder,dry pasta and a pan. Reading is still a big favourite and his speech is amazing, he counts to eleven, he knows his colours, he says words clearly and must say a good three hundred words now. He even enjoys puzzles, I have never known any child like puzzles, I hated them! He is a chatty, patient and bright boy, a little serious at times, I tell him to not fret about every thing, his favourite expressions seem to be "oh no" and "oh dear"!


The down side is he is nearly two, he whines when he wants something and then if he doesn't get it starts hitting us which actually leaves us breathless with pain, he may as well be stabbing us with a knife ,a small hit hurts so bad! We are having to get strict with him, stick him in his bedroom with the gate closed and leave him because we just can not have a child that is aggressive, it will hospitalise us! Mark and I are on very strong medications now to control our constant fatigue and pain, we are on chemo meds which leave us feeling sick and dizzy but we get through it together, we take shifts in caring during the day so the other can sit and rest limbs. It is difficult ,we are all having to muddle through especially as my ankle replacement has failed and likely needs re doing, the prospect of another three months in plaster is miserable but we do not dwell on it, we get on with each day, up before daylight and stopping at 8pm, we entertain one another, chat,laugh and we are all looking forward to Christmassy times with family and friends.


Finally the Department of Works and Pensions was sent a letter from us, declaring mark is going to start writing and illustrating children's books on Kindle which will go on sale on the first of December. The letter was basic so as to not be too difficult for the officials, simply declaring an intention and to ask to whom we should write to to send Marks accounts in etc. The letter went out first class two weeks ago,the first of December is on Saturday, it is now Thursday the 29th of November 2012 and we have heard nothing! Goverment agency at its worst!


Enjoy your weekend every one, Christmas is not far now, get your baby and toddlers Christmas book by Mark Jephcott, on Amazon, on the first of December, how exciting x :D



Saturday, 17 November 2012

Entertaining a nearly two yr old when one is creaky!

Life does exist free from goverment organisation battles or as I call them head banging on brick walls.


Onto real life.


When children get older they come with new challenges, you spend your whole time as a disabled parent thinking oh please get walking because then I won't have a difficulty getting you around the house and we might be able to do and see so much more, hmmmm ,this is just not the case so don't wish the non walking time away!

Christopher can now walk to my stair lift which means I only need to pick him up to put him on my lap to go downstairs or upstairs on my lift but he also chooses at times to not walk to my stair lift and go anywhere else but in a direction I could do with him going! His pastimes include chasing my assistant dog around,working with my assistant dog to get up to mischief (yes my son knows her commands now eeeek) walking into our kitchen to lock our washing machine, to sneak into the dining room to eat the dogs chocolate buttons, to pull 1950s and 60s antiques off shelves, to throw things around like a disc thrower which scares me incase he hits one of Marks or my joints and sometimes a tap can leave the joint damaged or useless for days. Hence when a child is walking and one is creaky you need to get thinking like a toy shop owner in Manhattan at Christmas, you need to be fun,sell your fun to your young listener,be full of ideas to entertain just to keep the little so and so static for a while.


Our list of fun fun fun includes:

I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU START KEEPING AN ARTY DRAWER,YOU ARE GOING TO NEED LOADS OF ARTY BITS ,THINGS TO MAKE AND DO WITH A CHILD FOR WHEN YOUR CHILD GETS ACTIVE NEEDS MORE ENTERTAINMENT. We keep old yogurt pots, toilet roll tubes, wrapping paper, spiral pasta shapes, stickers, paints, glue, brushes,sticky back felt shapes,card etc.

Retro fun, arty, ideas.

Aqua Doodle Matt is a Must buy!

The matt comes with a pen that you fill with water, the water reacts with the matt to produce a blue ink but when the pen is used on the wall your walls are just covered with water rather than ink! A great bit of kit for disabled parents, you can put the mat on a double bed and use to draw on, wash toys in a washing up tub (my son loves bathing his toys). The matt is waterproof underneath so it fully protects a table or bed. This mat would be a must buy for any creaky parent.


Saucepan drum kit

Saucepans make great drums, cheese grater and chopstick, spoon make a great scraping sound. This activity can be done from a sofa, a floor or a bed.


Painting,drawing, getting messy.



A great big IKEA roll of cheap drawing paper found in the children's area of IKEA,children's paints and a roll of waterproof table matt found in party shops for a bargain price of £1. We sit at our dining table, place a waterproof tablecloth underneath,roll the paper out, get armed with paint, hands,paint brushes and we get messy! Paint goes on me, on Christopher, on Mark and on the dog but it is fun and it washes off.


Funny face paper plates.

Making Pumpkin face plates for Halloween but I am loving the Cookie Monster plate idea!

Cookie Monster plate idea from

Make a tight snake.

Making a tight Snake or as my friend calls it a tight worm as my tights are obviously small. We simply brought some children's star sparkly tights from a supermarket for £1, cut off one leg and filled it with polystyrene filling but you could use newspaper, old magazines. In our make it drawer we have sticky back felt spots which our son stuck along his snake and Daddy put two big button eyes and a felt tongue on to finish it off. We tied the end of the tight, don't fuss about with elastic bands if your hands are not good at fine dexterity.

Spooky spiders.

Halloween spider instructions found at
Our spiders we made are just not worth showing you as we were so ill as both our illnesses were raging, mark was throwing up with pain and migraines from spurs growing on his neck, I was burning in my knees, ankles, elbows and we just blindly were trying to entertain Christopher and sat on a sofa making these things. However it goes to show you can make these things even when you can not move and in between throwing up.


You may find piercing holes for the pipe cleaners, in the egg cup, difficult as we did with our rubbish hands. You can swap pipe cleaners for black wool, cut eight same length strands and stick the legs to the underside of the cup, you can use tape or glue.


Retro Playdoh.

Playdoh is a great toy played at a table, when am bed bound we have tried playing it on the bed and have yellow playdoh stained duvet covers, not a great place to play with dough!


Pretend cooking

Simply using a bowl, throw in some dry spaghetti, a small cup of flour, raisins, anything not disastrous if it is thrown about and just mix. Do this at a table, a bed is not a great idea!


Bread cutting.

You can buy children's cookie cutting sets from Hobbycraft or online. Taking slices of bread, simply take a cutter and push into a slice to cut different shapes ,then stick on lashings of chocolate spread on top and tuck in!


This is so far my list of entertainment, it seems a lot when I write it but actually our son probably will entertain one activity for ten minuets if we are lucky and then gets back this favourite past times. Thank goodness Father Christmas is coming soon because we are rapidly needing more things to look at and do!


It is difficult when you can't sling a child in a car seat and go out on your own to parent and child groups, it can get very isolating at times and days feel long. I thank god I have my best friend here who not only helps me but makes me laugh and feel loved,my husband is my best friend, like any friend he can annoy me and I annoy him but we are very together and strong, not only do we deal with our individual body failings and pain but we nurture one another and our son.


I hope our son doesn't see our pain or difficulties we have every day because we don't want him acknowledging that his parents are hugely different. A child should have a childhood and not be condemned to a life of disability and understanding all aspects of disability just because he has parents who are disabled. My childhood was full of disability, endless hospital appointments, stays in hospital for a year at times, isolation due to not being able to get out from traction which rendered me in bed all day and night. Life can be fun and I want my sons to be even better. I very much enjoy seeing my friends and family because that is time for Mark and I to be adults and enjoy adults chat but my little man has brought so much joy into our lives as well, really life is very happy and I will wheel over hot coals to ensure he has the happiest childhood possible :)


Enjoy your weekend all lovely people out there x


Sunday, 28 October 2012

First shoes!

It is difficult to explain how this felt to me. I watch my son bouncing from the sofa tumbling to the floor and I gasp for air thinking oh god is he going to be hurt? Is he ok? Oh of course he is, he is well, happy and healthy. It is hard to watch your child do things every child does through the eyes of someone who had rubbish joints from baby hood, no bounce, no working ligaments and on strike cartilage. When I was a child and I put my little hand on a door handle to open it too quickly in my excitement on Christmas day it hurt the whole day and swelled. So I look at Christopher waddling his first steps around our home, stumbling, hitting his foot on a chair when rolling around, bending himself in half to take an upside down look at his bottom and never does he ever get up looking in pain, just grins and gets on with another important task on his manic to do list for the day!

Like every child, I owned a first pair of shoes, but my shoes were huge compared to my siblings footwear! Of course the reason was I walked very very late, although I was stumbling early I only took three steps which didn't warrant shoes and then sadly walking became obsolete for a while.Then I didn't really do walking till I was aged two and a half. My son walked late at 21 months and yet he was younger than I was and speedier and so first shoes were called for. For any parent getting a child's first shoes is a major development marker but for a parent who has been disabled through all of life to have such a moment with your child who is fortunate enough to be happy and very healthy, this is a mega moment of pride, joy,excitement,almost like giving birth again!


Christopher loved the whole shoe shopping experience, we didn't trail around shoe shops, I and husband are not well or able enough to do that, we looked for an out of town,disabled parking outside shop,good old Mothercare store with Clarks in store. We chose some light blue dinosaur cruiser shoes because my son is a little unstable still in walking and these were recommended. We looked for Velcro straps as Christopher's parents already take too long in dressing sir and fiddling with shoes as well would have made for a grumpy chops! My little boy sat on Daddy's lap whilst the feet were measured and he studied the assistant carrying out her job, he laughed when she put his shoes on his feet and stood up in his new footwear, waddled over to a disgruntled three yr old customer,whilst cheering "yeayyyyy " as he walked.


The whole process took ten minuets, once you eliminate all shoes you struggle to get on and off a child's feet with rubbish hands and fingers, chosen one of three shoe colours and got feet measured etc it was in,measure,shoe,quick snap for the first shoe package Clarks do for free, little action shot of child in new shoes and we were out the store. In fact Christopher only cried when we got out and it was time to head home!


First shoes, not just my little boy growing up making me emotional but the fact that I can see the world is going to be my child's Oyster, Christopher you have nothing to stop those feet of yours go where they want to go. You can bet mummy and daddy will be watching and cheering and supporting you and your feet every step you take in your great life x


Friday, 28 September 2012

Holidays,colds, de-cluttering!

We got back from our four days away in Windsor on Monday.

We have roughed it on vacations in the past,staying in caravans etc but we found self catering, with a baby and just our small family, along with being in damp old Britain with minimal heat sources in a caravan a difficult and painful experience. So we learnt that in future we needed to upgrade our holidays. Staying in hotels with all amenities but just for a shorter time so we could afford it.


We stayed at the Beamount hotel in Windsor. It is dubbed a four star hotel, it maybe was back in the 1970s but the decor was literally retro, looked like something from The Overlook Hotel in the Shining. However decor is not an important aspect for two disabled parents and one healthy toddler, we were interested in the hotel amenities. These were just about adequate! The breakfast buffet of cereal, toast, pastries, fry up was lovely, really worth the forty minuet shuffle from your room to the restaurant. Although the walk killed me, I sweated in agony trying to get down to breakfast before my morphine and steroids had set in but it was worth the scrumptious offerings. Even the disabled parking was located a good ten minuet walk away from our room. Our room was a family room although I should have probably booked a disabled room and asked for a cot to be put in there as I can not get in a bath but in the family room we were in no one could have a bath as the shower glass screen was actually glued to the bath so neither I or daddy could access the bath taps! Really we brought an over priced Premier Inn hotel, we have lived and learnt and decided to stick with a Premier Inn which doesn't pretend to be more than it is, a modern ,well looked after room abode, a restaurant on site and every thing in close proximity. However the holiday was not about just the hotel facilities.

Legoland in Windsor was well laid out, accessibility is excellent as are changing facilities for a baby or toddler. The staff try hard to help. We ate in a Pizza and Pasta buffet and the waiter couldn't have been kinder or more thoughtful, knew I would need to be at a table near the food so didn't have far to walk, he was very good! The Duplo train offered entertainment for our son as did the buggy wash where you push your child around in a complex of water falls etc. You can get a carer in for free and a child under four also gets in for free. With Miniland where Buckingham Palace through to NASA station is all made up in Lego with working engines etc we spent just an hour wondering through Miniland, looking at the little Lego soldiers marching, black cabs racing through Coventry Garden. Great time and worth the money to get in!

Miniland at Lego land
My chaps in Legoland Pizza,pasta buffet

Windsor is an odd place, parking is a bit bonkers, we thought and planned to the nth degree prior to this holiday. We took down postcodes for all disabled parking streets and the best parking spot for shops and castle is definitely Victoria Street, by the library. Other car parks are way too far out from Windsor Castle and centre, the town planners were having a laugh! The shopping is great, we saw the Queens train, we went around the castle outside as I currently am reliant on a scooter and they don't allow electric scooters in the castle itself. Once in Windsor it is an easy place to get around, everything is located in a small area. It is like Bath City without the need for a massive hike. Historical, well looked after and glitzy !


We have all come back with massive colds but we have some good memories, for me memories are so important, happy times we can look back on and smile at. It's not about the hotel really it is about what we do as a family or with friends. It makes sense to stick with a Premier Inn as a disabled parent and save money for making real memories.

Next year I will hopefully be able to go with my boys to Normandy, my husband has never seen all the World War two sites and although I have seen them god knows how many times it is about time as a family, sharing sights,laughter etc. We will stay in a hotel on Sword Beach where I know the hotel is modern, clean ,has its own hydrotherapy pool,great breakfasts and surrounded by yummy Crepe cafes. Heck if we can't get to Normandy either because of my knee re replacements or mark needing a new ankle, there are always friends to visit, places to see and experiences and memories to be made in good old UK.


It's time to get our home ready for winter, clear out the old and unused items, make way for the toffee and spiced apple scented candles, get our logs out ready for our log fires at weekends in front of some great Christmassy films. I love Autumn and winter, going out as a family with my lovely dog for winter air and walks (wheel) in parks, a real time to be together as a family. Ooo definitely time to snuggle down and just enjoy being with one another.


Wishing every one happy, warm times and you can't beat a bit of Dr Who on our television on a Saturday night with a large piece of pâté on toast!




Wednesday, 19 September 2012

One vacation,one family, two disabled parents!

Going on holiday has always been something of a military operation throughout my life.Rarely did my parents show stress about anything but going on holiday with one wheelchair bound, huge steroidal child and three other healthy children including an eight month old baby,two children requiring active past times, other two, youngest brother and I, needing more sedate times,it must have been stressful yet we never saw a moment of my parents losing it! I do not know how they did it but they always pulled off great vacations full of loads of happy memories that we all shared together.


I more recently have appreciated the lengths my folks went to during my own bookings for holidays with friends, it certainly takes the zing out of holiday searching when you have to go through every place you want to visit with a fine tooth comb! You have to study small print about accessibility in every hotel and for every tourist attraction nearby.


Most people who are able bodied, stick a pin in a map and go, they can get a guide to what is on in the area and not wonder if they will be able to get to it, get in it or get with it! Able people can take up late deals because they do not need specific hotel rooms which cater for special needs. If a physically disabled person goes away one can not take up late deals because a venue /location needs to be check out that it will be something that is going to be doable and fun.


It was a military operation back then with friends but now with a family comprising of one healthy toddler and two physically disabled parents the mission just reached epic NASA levels people!

We settled on Windsor!

5,4,3,2,1! Yesssss we have found somewhere that sounds promising, it only took me a good five months to find something but by jove I think I have it, it really feels like a Eureka moment at times!


We plan to go and visit the Queens Cribb at Windsor Castle, ride a Lego train at Legoland Windsor, jolly around Hampton Court which famously was home to our Tudor King, King Henry the eighth.

Windsor Castle, the Queens favourite home.

For Windsor castle accessibility information please go to this site:

We will stay in a hotel in Windsor, with accessibility ,I am told by the hotel proprietors, there is also a restaurant and a swimming pool. My son has not been swimming yet because public swimming pools are not accessible unless some embarrassing display is made of hanging around at pool side, waiting for an adolescent member of staff who aspires to being David Hasslehoff, who sticks you in a giant nappy sling, then doesn't know how to work it ,leaving you and a child suspended in air in this nappy chair, stared at by public then finally lowered in a pool by his mate, it is safe to say the UK is not great at inclusivity yet! God help you if you want to get out the pool quickly with a toddler turning red and filling its swim nappy! So with my husband around at the hotel, he can give me a shove off the side of the pool and lower my son in to me etc, far more dignified all round!


For Hampton Court accessibility go to this site:

Hampton Court
I have read all the small print of all attractions, I have studied the disabled Parking locations in Windsor, I have found where the nearest Shopmobility scheme is in Windsor, all necessary sat nav postcodes for attractions, parking bays are on my phone,we have a cot booked for the room so there is less for husband to carry. My scooter is charged and raring to go etc.


Image from
I have high hopes for Legoland as they have produced an entire accessibility booklet on their site for disabled access and it sounds well thought out and is raved about by other parents with disabled children etc on the Legoland Facebook page. Apparently King George had appalling asthma and so the steps to Hampton Court are very shallow and access relatively good, Henry was a large man so I guess wide doorways were dignified. I therefore hope I can at least see a fair portion of this, I appreciate I may not be able to see all of it by heck, to me seeing something different is a great day and I don't get down on what I can't do.

For Legoland information for guests with disabilities please click on this site:


One last word of advice to disabled visitors planning on coming to UK, if you access the following site:

Here you will find a free "Disabled visitor Rough Guide to Accessible Britain" book available to download. It is FREE! Very useful and cuts out some of the guess work on whether something may or may not be accessible.






Saturday, 15 September 2012

Dave Cameron's Big Society in action!

This week I have mostly been learning to walk a little again. This is not my only mammoth task although is the task I have to have the most patience with and I tend to lack patience where my illness is concerned.


Disabled Parents- Pass it on.


I created this new ,voluntarily run ,Facebook group page ran for disabled parents, disabled children or disabled parents with a well child. The group involves parents uploading a photo of any item they found outstandingly useful for independent parenting but no longer need. Not charging anymore than postage for the item so that another disabled parent or disabled child, healthy child can get a better quality of life just for the price of posting the item. Many disabled parents spend money they can ill afford, on baby equipment or baby clothes that they hope will be an accessible solution to helping them with a daily parenting task, only to find when they get something home, it is definately not accessible. I brought three car seats just praying one of them would actually enable going out with my son without a carer. I spent hours in shops trying their models but of course these display models had been worked so much by other customers, the harness buckle was a breeze to undo and do up etc. When I got the seat ordered and home I realised the new buckle was impossible, I realised I had neglected to look at various aspects of the seats which rendered it totally awful. I must have ended up spending two hundred pounds in my desperate car seat pursuit.


This group should eliminate expense and randomness of whether something will work for a disabled parent. The person wanting an item on the page will only need to pay for postage or courier to the person passing an item on. If the item is not working for the receiver they simply pass it back on to the group page and charge for shipping only.


I know Freecycle exists in the UK but very few disabled people find it very easy to jump in a car,drive into the back of beyond to try and pick something up without the need for a carer to go with them, to potentially jump out the car, run up a flight of stairs, negotiate a busy road to get to a property and lift a heavier item back to the car. Posting is often the only way disabled parents can get hold of anything easily.


So any disabled parents, with healthy or disabled children want to check out the group, contribute towards it by passing on anything etc please do come on by,I will be very glad to see you.


Photo shoot for the Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine.

I am to be in the Sunday Telegraph because well that is just the way I roll baby. A brilliant journalist , Eleanor Tucker, felt inspired to write about me, my determination I share with many parents to just be a good mother despite my severe physical limitations. To write about my blog and not forgetting my Canine Partner assistance dog. I expect this article to not be out until the end of October but will let every one know shamelessly. I also have a photographer for the ST coming over, that will be exciting as we have no professional photographs of my son and family as no photo studios in Gloucestershire are wheelchair or buggy friendly, nor can we afford hundreds of pounds worth of photos! I am collecting useful resources, blogs, organisations, Facebook groups that support disabled parents so when the article is out there ,there will be a well timed post of a wealth of information and support available to new visitors to my blog.


Small talk.

I have been involved with a Linguist researchers work,a chap named Ben Aldridge, at Liverpool University , in his quest to write a book on children's communication in the early years. This really interests me as is a subject close to my heart. At the moment his reasearch involves answering questionnaires on Christopher's first words, word sequences etc. Mr Aldridge is a modern chap and aware that not all of us can travel their house let alone the country and will be conducting interviews via skype, I expect Christopher will do his usual by just shouting "iPad" at the man!


Popping by saying hi to the guys off The Greedy Crow app.


I would like to mention this great online book that has kept my son entertained so I could get emails done, exercises, setting up of a Facebook group, arguing with Occupational Therapists for still not getting the ramp in our house to help me get out yet somehow expected to attend at least eleven hospital appointments in the next month!


The book is called "The Greedy Crow" by Jason Harris, it is an interactive app book so don't make the mistake of trying to find it in iBooks, it is actually located in the app store.


I am always sceptical about animated books, too often the book loses a story line because too much emphasis is put on animation, a bit like watching a block buster special effects film. With "The Greedy Crow" I was pleasently surprised. The story is like a modern version of Mr Greedy from the Mr Men, a crow flys down for a good old worm feast, eats and eats and eat, ignores warnings of his over eating which will result in an inability to fly etc, eats some more and then a fox arrives, the rest I will leave it up to you to find out what happens. With easy pictures of a bird for toddler to poke at to make move, sounds and the bright flat colour of illustrations this book kept my son entertained for a good five minuets which is a lengthy time for Christopher. Thank you Greedy Crow author and producers.


Grumpy father.


My dad, a great seventy year old, has had enough of his kids having finally all moved out but their stuff still remaining in what my parents now fondly nickname their "Big Yellow Storage garage". Latest whine is about a light weight kick out stroller that we gave to my mum for using with her grandchildren but the reality is the grandchildren are never taken out in it. So as both my sister and I have been asked to stop abandoning junk over there, it may be time to actually go over and review our wears and argue with one another as to who should have what, usual sibling stuff. If neither of us can store the stroller then I will "Pass it on". Someone potentially is going to get a lightweight, very easy to kick out and fold up buggy for the cost of shipping, not a bad deal considering it cost a fair bit!







Tuesday, 11 September 2012

"iPad mummy",great apps for kids and parents!

It's a total turn up for the books when one of your child's first words is "iPad"! Every morning my husband brings our son upstairs so my child can be with me, every morning I get "iPad mummy".


I can not fault these tablets for accessibility for any disabled person, the lightweight design, the quick Internet access, the world at your fingertips without having to lug a heavy laptop out. As I physically can not lift my laptop, nor even get it out from a low drawer where it is housed this iPad has been invaluable! It has been a major source of keeping up with friends and family on Facebook, the ability to download a game is excellent.I can rattle of blogs on the iPad now thanks to "Blogsy" app, access emails, fire of letters of complaint to services that are failing my husband and I at a time of most need. I know I could do all this on a laptop but the whole process is bulky, slow, difficult and always more complicated than it need be.


I totally struggle to get books to read to my child at the moment, try holding several books and crutches whilst ballancing on one weak leg then holding books in mouth and trying to get over to a chair to read to little person, it is a mega mission and difficult ! Praise the lord for geeks who made tablets,ebooks, apps and Kindles! There are hundreds of books, many free, at your finger tips in one light weight bit of kit.


I don't want every activity ,done with my son ,to be academic based. I question whether children who are constantly pushed to be academic end up rebelling and exhaust of learning too early. Therefore I need games at my finger tips as well.

If my son insists on iPad every day then an app has to work for its money, it has to keep me interested enough to load it up and do it with him! According to an article in Gurgle magazine ( the best down to earth parent magazine, in my opinion), studies suggest that technology is not all doom and gloom for a child's development as long as an adult is with the child discussing with him or her about what they are looking at and doing etc. So Mr Apple or in daddy's case Mr Android, your apps are well and truely being put to the test in this house!

Here are some of our favourite apps and ebooks for very young children:

Itsy Bitsy Spider- by Duck,Duck,Moose-£1.49 iTunes app store.Also on Android.

Amazing app, basically involves the song being sung in the background whilst your youngster prods the spider and every thing else on screen to make move, jump, talk, squawk, hide, fly etc. There is an egg hunt and really big images that allow a child with less definite movements to prod and poke at every thing on the screen and make it do something. Totally worth paying for app for a boy or girl, my son and I spend a good eight minuets playing this every day!


Wheels on the Bus-Duck,duck,moose-£1.49 from ITunes app store.Also on Android.


Personally I am not so keen on this app as it seems a little less involved than Itsy Bitsy, however my son loves it, you move the bus along by swiping ,prod things in a picture to get them to move and all whilst the song plays opperaticaly in the back ground.


A day at the circus. £1.99 in I apps store and android, no "in game" purchases required,basically £1.99 covers it all


20 mini games including:

Play with the clowns instruments.

Feed circus elephants and lions.

Juggle balls.

Read of have a short story read to little one.



Old McDonalds Farm-Kids Games club.Free on apps store for iPad.

There are several games to play with an infant here.

1. Tap the animal (three animals shown and you are asked to find a pig for example).

2.Who is hiding in the barn.

3.Old McDonald song



Keeps my son entertained for quite a while and most of the game is free so there is nothing to loose!


Dino Hospital-Doctor Game for kids Lite. Free from apple app store.

You get three poorly dinosaurs for free, if you want to branch out in your medical skills then you need to get in more pooly patients and buy them in, bit like the UK NHS, without us poorly patients the doctors, Physiotherapists,Radiographers etc ex would be up a smelly creak without a paddle!

You treat these dinosaurs, send them for X-rays, give them medicines, a very cute game really, the aim is to make the creature feel better.


Ebooks and story apps.


On Kindle and Kindle Fire:

Hairy Scary Spider by Paula McBride. £1.95

Hairy Scary spider from


Silly monsters ABC by Gerald Hawksley - £1.92 from

Great rhyming, simply and beautifully illustrated children's book. If your child likes Dr Sueuss this will go down well.


Pedro,The ugliest dog in the world by Papa G. 0.77p from

Perhaps a book for a little older child as the books uses words like poo, snot and fart and a child of three and four can't get enough of these words where as a two year old and younger probably won't get the cheek of it all.


Tablet,phone story apps and iBooks stories.

Read me stories. Free app in app store on iPad, iPhone and android. However there are only a few books in app you will need to purchase more for £1.49 once you have read the freebie books if you so wish.

"Read me stories" app icon

I would say the majority of free books on offer in this app are for the older child, aged four to six, however the animal based stories are more geared up to a younger reader of aged 1 upwards.


Magic town-Apple app only. App is free and you get a few free books but will have to subscribe if you want more.


A lovely cheerful app, please watch the you tube official video to get a taste of what the app offers. Personally I feel Magic Town offers more well known children's books from well known authors than Read me stories offers. However Magic town charges £7.49 a subscription a month where as with Read me stories you will expect to pay £1.49 for a series of five books and that is a one of cost, no subscription. This is where disabled parents have to weigh up their child's needs with extra cost, prehaps the monthly subscription is worth it as getting to a library or book store for our children is not always accessible.If you think about well known childrens books such as Elmer the Elephant, this book alone costs £4.49 on iBook store, so £7.49 for a lot of access to a huge number of books a month seems good value.


iBook store free books.


For 6-24 month old child:


The Animal Book by Monica Dinh.

Very big picture of an animal and in simple big letters, the word of the animal is written underneath.


Out and about-by Salem and Agnes De Bezenac.

Lovely story, illustrated with simple, sweet pictures of a daddy with his shy little boy going out for a walk together.


Garbage, Monster, Burp-by Tom Watson.


For an older child aged 4-8 I would say as the story is a little longer than those books that keep the attention of a younger age range. About a friendly monster, with some hero children, working together to save their town.


Games for parents when stuck in hospital!


We can't forget ourselves now can we!


Angry Birds have a new Halloween version coming out very soon for apple and android, we all love a bit of Angry Birds.


Where's Wally on the iPad, or Where is Waldo on the android phone is rather addictive and has the same theme and point to it as the legendary "Where's Wally" books.


Bag It lite on iPhone,iPad and android. is just so cool and free! It sounds a dull game where you have to stack groceries in a bag so as to not break groceries or the bag, all in a time constraint, a more clever tettris game where you have to think of weight as well as shape.



The tablet or smart phone is a totally justifiable great piece of kit for any parent and child. It is worth the rather costly price of tablets so go out and get yourself one if you don't already own one. It is difficult for those with deteriorating conditions and pain to feel physically able to go out with your little ones every week, so put aside those in your life that feel they can have a say in what you own as a disabled person, yes we all know some of these idiots, and go buy the best! x


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Goodbye Paralympic games.

Thank you to the UK channel 4, I have felt totally part of something so exciting. We have come third in the medal tables and we left with 120 medals!


Truely inspirational to watch and as one of the Channel 4 presenters said today, "today disabled people can walk a bit taller and able bodied people be in awe". We say good bye to the Olympics and Paralympics once and for all in a few minuets. We will watch Coldplay perform along side a festival of fire. It will be all singing and dancing and so it should be for all those athletes, an amazing games organisational team , volunteers who have proved with thinking about accessibility, dynamic thought, a can do attitude and communial support, all our world atheletes can be in an environment where they can compete and strive to be better than the next person!


However as we say good bye to the British games, disabled people are left wondering how long the new positive ,public opinion of disabled people will last? Previously there have been reports of hate crimes soaring towards disabled people in the UK, fuled by various poor journalistic articles flooding our newspapers, it would appear the games have lessened these feelings. However perhaps the darker side comes from those that should know better, should be more intelligent than just lumping ALL Disabled people as scroungers, we expect the tabloid journalists and readers to come out with ill considered statements but those employed to work for the people,we expect better things!


Our welfare system is out dated, it needs modernisation, there is not a genuinely disabled person who would not agree with this. We all know that work needs to change so work works for disabled people, whether we need help wiping our bottoms , feeding, washing,protection from self harm or have regular major surgery, I know of no actual disabled person who does not wish to work, oh sure there are lazy itis people ,as there is in able bodied groups, who you can bet had a poor work ethic before and and we're anxious to gain a disability label for the smallest of problems just so they would be absolved from needing to be anyone to anyone, perhaps a welfare shake up will shake them out because they embarrass genuine claimants. They are the black sheep of our disability culture. We are as angry about these people as our able bodied friends. However at the moment what is happening is a shake up of welfare with no infrastructure in place to actually get those deemed fit for work ,with severe disability,a job! What welfare shake up seems to be doing is giving some civil servant (rarely a disabled person is employed to be a disability assessor with DWP or ATOS) a basic job of ticking a few boxes and stating if the assesee is capable of work or is a bag of spanners and needs to be stuck in a dark corner of society, not allowed out their houses and definitely no smiling or laughing allowed from them as this makes them look too happy and healthy! Now all this is fair enough, after all the assessor is mearly doing a job,but with no "best practice" in situ in order to support organisations, companies or the individual employer in how to support a disabled person in employment, all the welfare shake up will do is cease benefits in genuinely very ill people leaving the vulnrable up poo creak without a paddle. It is putting every physically disabled or mentally ill person or their carers, in a position of having to appeal, costing tax payers thousands and appeal is usually won because the initial assessment is so flawed. The alternative is leaving individuals unable to get a job because in the UK jobs are scarce right now and whether we accept it or not, if you put a well twenty five year old beside a twenty eight year old requiring accessible buildings, disabled parking space, personal carer for personal help in the loo or feeding, plus a need for regular surgery, chemo appointments, dialysis twice a week etc up for one job, who really is likely to be given the job in this economic climate?


We would love to say oh no the disabled person would get a job but one of our Paralympic gold medalists has been reported saying he got a 2:1 in sports education in 2004 and has applied for hundreds of jobs and only got four interviews and no job offers!Can we really honestly say the UK is really actively supporting, or ready to support employing those with major "special needs"? Indeed many of our athletes are very concerned that the welfare support they receive to meet extra costs of living with their disability, will be withdrawn or cut and they will find themselves, come the next Paralympic games, unable to compete because the very money that helped them get an accessible taxi or their own adapted car to get to training, will no longer be there, this is a sad state of affairs as we say goodbye to a tremendous exhibition of all sports people's determination to try and be the best.


So here we are, the closing ceremony, disabled sports people, given a chance, given the right support tailored to their needs, given the time, the patience, the motivation, the determination both from organisation and individual,the accessibility, will often work and work hard. Whilst public transport is still inaccessible, whilst work has to take place in an office rather than at home via Skype, voice dictation (needed to be done in a quiet room useless in an office), emails then work for those who need personal care in a day or extensive medical intervention will NEVER be able to work. It really is as simple as that, until we change the way work works then the welfare shuffle is a very expensive disaster for the tax payers, not one that I think is fair on anyone, disabled or able bodied.





Thursday, 6 September 2012

Books,books,glorious books!

Ever since my son arrived in this world he has been exposed to books, from those first black and white pattern baby first books, right up to "Pants" by Nick Sharatt.


Brilliant black and white rag book for a first born baby, simple white on black background picture of mummy, daddy and baby on each page, simple picture with word underneath, heck may as well get started in one of the best activities out! From

If there is one fun activity that is easy for mummy and him to do it is reading and chatting, I read to him and then he attempts to read it to me ,totally his own will.


In fact he and I are so interested in reading, books and chatting we are embarking in some research by a Language acquisition researcher for the university of Liverpool, Ben Aldridge, who is writing a book on "Small talk-Understanding your child's language development (and how you can help)". I have to agree with Nigel Latta, author of Politically Incorrect parenting, when on discussing baby sign language his response is "are you kidding me? Sign language for babies? What on earth could a small incontinent person who has never been anywhere, done anything of consequence, have to say that could be of any possible interest?". I see little point in learning Baby sign language at all unless you or a child is actually deaf. If we have the power of speech, verbal and non verbal gestures then why not focus on teaching that. Fortunately The Small Talk programme is all for talking! My only time I dabbled in baby sign language is when I thought it might be a useful thing to learn for the long term in communication as I myself have British Sign language qualifications. However my son decided he would just say "Apple" rather than mucking about with unnecessary energy required in signing!


I will let you know of our antics, fun and games in this very interesting research.


In the mean time the Ladybird Peter and Jane reading scheme books are out for tomorrow, my mother taught my siblings and I to read on this scheme and it still seems a timeless system to me, I can not abide the Phonetic reading system, probably because I just do not understand the science behind it being easier for a child to understand the word "apple" by phonetically pronouncing every letter of the word and the using of some ridiculous gesture that seems to go alongside with different letters in the phonetic programme. Perhaps Mr Aldridge will explain to me how this system is better than simply just route learning and perceiving words through regular exposure and use of a word in different contexts.


Christopher has a three tiered bookcase loaded with books, roll on the Kindle for children because it is ridiculous the amount of books lying around his bedroom by mid day, a total hazard for me on crutches! Here is a list of his favourites past and present, they are some you might want to check out in a library for free or very cheaply online!


Nick Sharatt has to be one of the best illustrators for children's books and the stories are just as great as the bold pictures, simple, rhyming stories. Pants is available in many good bookshops such as



Just a fantastic book of child with a pet, loveable simple illustrations showing a little boy and his pet penguin initially not getting on, penguin ignores him despite the boys best attempts to get a rise from the bird, all turns out well in the end. Fun book for child and adult to read, not too long either! My sons top ten in his books. From




Another beautifully illustrated simple book about a bored lazy shark who can't get into helping the other fish garden, at the end he gets left out for being lazy but he turns it around for happy times at the end. Short easy read for young toddlers who don't want "War and piece" bed time stories. From

Both my sisters son and ours loves this story. The fantastic illustrations followed by a great poem story just make for a great combination along with a story of emotions. From


I found this book lurking in a dark corner of Sainsburys supermarket, a really lovely book, similar to Topsy and Tim books from days of yor only simpler and better illustrated and more updated. Great quick read for bed time. From

Such a great book, brilliant bold illustrations, a fantastic story about a spider desperate to be a family pet, sparkly glitter everywhere. Just a great book to read to a child and my son just giggles and giggles when I shout "arrrrrrrrr spider",oddly cries when daddy says "arrrr spider" like a pirate! From

Every toddler seems to get to a stage where lift the flap books are a must have feature of a book, this book has lots of them! A nice simple, old fashioned story line of a little boy going in search around his grandmas farm, for eggs. Is there any child on the planet who hasn't loved Rod Campbell books? From

For a baby up to one year old in age, very simple big pictures of cartoon bears with different textures to touch, this book is one of a huge series from "That's not my tractor" through to "That's not my puppy". Great simple book to read to a young baby but by the age of nineteen months the books are a bit simple. From
Great textures book and great simple,bright bold images of vehicles with touch and feel areas on each. A fantastic book, each image of a vehicle has its word written simply in bold black writing underneath. My son still pulls this book out to look through it. From

Final must buy book for boy or a girl, with a little lady bird, sometimes microscopic, to find on each page, a lot of gorgeous illustrations and a fantastic poem you really can not go wrong with this book. From

I have to say once a child gets crawling the disabled parents job gets a lot tougher, however reading is constantly loved by a little one and gives you time to stay still for a good few minuets and read to your child. We read about fifteen books a day because trying to keep small man out of mischief is tricky when immobile and the more books we can ballance on the bed to keep him entertained, the better, sometimes the bed looks like a game of Jenga! I thank god for the library or we would be broke!!!!


Our son enjoying looking at a few books!