Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My son..

This is my son, Oliver. He was born on the 21st of February 2009 and is my first born.
I had a pretty perfect pregnancy and he was born at home in a birthing pool in my bedroom - it was quite a long labour but he was born naturally with no complications.
As soon as I saw him I felt that rush of love that everyone talks about - it was as if I couldn't remember what life without him was like.
He was a perfect baby; he fed and ate well, I never had to rush him to the hospital or doctors, he hit all his milestones in good time except for his speech - at the age of 18 months he still wasn't talking much at all and I started to worry.
Before I became a stay at home mum I worked with babies and children in nurseries and schools, so I suppose I was subconciously comparing Oliver to children I had cared for who were all far more chatty by this stage.
Around this age he also started rejecting food he had once enjoyed..
I don't mean simply pushing it away - he would gag on food or even vomit.
I couldn't understand why this was happening but everyone around me said it could be teething making him fussy and sickly, and that kids go through all sorts of phases which eventually pass - basically not to worry.
My second child, Isabella, was born on the 1st of January 2012 and by this point I was really starting to worry about Oliver - he was having tantrums and became quite withdrawn from me (his main carer and the person he had been closest to emotionally) when his sister was born.
I put it down to jealousy at first, but the more I thought about it the more concerned I got.
He would sit and play with his toys by himself and if I tried to join him he would take the toys from me and push me away. I felt so rejected and wondered what I was doing wrong.
My family kept telling me I had nothing to worry about, that he was a quirky toddler and I should relax, but I just couldn't..
I would watch him moving a spoon backwards and forwards in front of his eyes, or crouching by the coffee table moving trucks and cars back and forth at his eye level and I knew this was different behaviour that I just hadn't seen before.
I typed some of my concerns in to a search engine and "Autism" just kept on coming up..
I hardly knew anything about it, so I did my research and slowly but surely, everything started to make more sense.
I booked an appointment with our gp who I expected to share my concerns but he told me "I've seen autism, I've worked in hospitals and what I'm seeing with your son is not autism.".
As he told me this, I looked at him and I knew I couldn't and wouldn't rest until I'd had a second opinion, so he referred Oliver to a paediatrician. And I'm so glad that he did!
She agreed that Oliver was probably on the autistic spectrum, so sent us for a formal assessment at a clinic and it was there that Oli was officially diagnosed when he turned three years old.
I won't lie, I cried when we got that diagnosis.
I cried happy tears of relief because I knew that I had been right to push for this - that I hadn't been overreacting and worrying too much, and I knew that an official diagnosis would mean help and support for my precious boy.
But I also cried bitter, frustrated tears because I simply didn't want this for my child - Oliver struggles to interact, communicate and lacks flexibility of thought, as well as having a lot of sensory issues - all of this means that everyday life can be a scary and frustrating thing for him.
No parent enjoys seeing their child screaming because a certain sound is too loud or a texture is being processed by their brain as something deeply unpleasant and scary..
I certainly found it challenging trying to get in to Oliver's world, learning what things he needed, which things we could avoid and how to make him happy.
But as time has gone on we've had some amazing help and support - Oli attends a mainstream preschool where he receives amazing support from a team of people who truly care about him and his development.
He's got a specialist preschool teacher who comes to our house and his nursery to work with us all on areas of his development that need attention (such as joint attention and social interaction, his speech and sensory processing issues for example), then when he starts school he'll have a special statement put in place which will enable him to receive help there too.
Oli also has a speech and language therapist who is helping him with his communication and interaction and I did a parent training course called "Good Beginnings" which has helped me no end - it was amazing to meet other parents walking in my shoes.
I think that's one of the hardest things about this - the looks you get when you're out and other parents stare at Oliver because he is different. Or when children his age try to talk to or play with him, not understanding why he won't interact with them.
But I've learnt to put those things out of my mind - instead I'm focusing on my amazing little boy and all those tiny baby steps it's so easy to take for granted.
I'm so proud of the little person he's becoming, and when he runs out of nursery and in to my arms with a huge smile on his face I honestly feel like my heart could burst.

To anybody reading this: Do you know someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
If you read this and want to talk about it then please leave a comment - I'd love to chat to people who are in the same boat!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Here I am again..

I'm feeling slightly ridiculous as I sit here typing this with one hand while I hold a sleeping Isabella with the other..
I feel like all I ever write about is why I haven't posted in so long and I want to stop doing that, so this will be my final time explaining it.

Life has taken some downward turns lately..
My son Oliver has some ongoing health issues and I've been very busy taking him to different appointments then researching and reading during my free time, so I have to admit that blogging was at the bottom of my list of priorities unfortunately.
I'm not going in to any major details yet, but once we have an official diagnosis I'll be happy to talk about it; it's hard bottling it all up inside when it's such a big thing to me.
Anybody who knows me knows that I am a sensitive soul and that my children are my world, so this has hit me hard.
However, I feel it's important to reach out to others in similar situations and share information and experiences, so I will be blogging at random times (whenever I have a moment) and it won't always be beauty/ shopping related - this will be more of a "documenting my life" type of blog; a place to record and share whatever is going on.
I know this won't be everyones cup of tea and that's fine, I'll understand if some subscribers choose to leave.

Now that part of this post is over, I'm going to finish with some things that have brightened my days lately..

1] Autumn /winter: This is my absolute favourite time of the year - a time for bundling up cosy and warm in gloves and scarves when you leave the house, to look up at clear night skies and see your breath in the air and most fun of all, a time to do lots of pretty crafts with the kids ♥
My kitchen is full of things the kids and I have made (almost all involving glitter at some point, haha) and I'm sure the dining table has glue all over it, but I don't care - I wouldn't have it any other way.
We're getting our Christmas tree soon and I cannot wait to decorate it.

2] Isabella learning new words: My little girl is a baby no more!
She will be 11 months old on the 1st of December and she is now a very loud and mobile toddler.
It seems like she says or does something new every day, but some of my favourite new words have been "BEAR!", "Ta!" (as she's giving you something or taking an object from you) and "Atchoo!" when she actually coughed, bless her heart.
She makes me very proud.

3] Oliver learning to count to 10: This is a big deal! He's refused to do this for the longest time but suddenly loves to count random objects with me, it's adorable.
Moments like that fill me with pure mumma-joy; I love to see him learn and grow in confidence.

4] Books: I've always been a bookworm (something that both of my children have inherited from their mumma), but they have become a massive part of my life once again recently.
From the time Isabella was born I had no time to read and at the risk of sounding extremely sad, it really did break my heart a little bit.
But now when the children are asleep at night (after their own books have been read), I try to take an hour or so to catch up on research then read a bit of something more lighthearted - I am currently reading "In Tearing Haste" which is a book of letters between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor, and "Mini Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella and I love them both ♥

5] Horses: I have always adored horses and other "countryside" animals but since I moved out of London I see them all the time and I'm so happy about that - there are lots of horses near where I live and I take the children to see them whenever I can.
The children aren't keen yet (they must seem quite huge and scary to the little ones!) but I'm hoping they'll change their minds as they grow older and maybe we'll even go riding one day!
Horses have such a calming effect on me, and I always feel much better once I've spent some time with them on what was a once stressful day.

So that's that really!
As I said, I won't promise to write again soon, instead I'll leave you with a few piccies and that'll be that until next time.

Hugs as always,

Nikki xo

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

NYX Round Lip Glosses - Ballerina Pink and Sorbet

I've been wanting to try some NYX lip products since I bought 2 of their 10 colour eyeshadow palettes from Ebay ages ago..
I'd heard so many good things about the brand but never saw any products in stores near me, so I had a little look online again.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a complete lip product junkie - I have so many glosses and lipsticks but I can't seem to get enough of them!
I really do think they make a look complete.
Anyway, I found my the round lip glosses here on Amazon and after Google image searching for ages, I finally decided on Sorbet, a soft peachy pink, and Ballerina Pink, a bright pink with blue undertones.

Both glosses have fine multicoloured shimmer in them which I personally like (sparkly things have always been an addiction of mine!) but I know that some people might find glitter irritating.
One thing that does bother me about these glosses is the smell - it's almost like washing up liquid!!
I don't notice it so much once they're applied to the lips but if you sniff the applicator directly it is a bit unpleasant, haha!
Other than that I don't have anything negative to say - the glosses aren't very sticky at all, still manage to last a decent amount of time and I bought them for a very reasonable £3.94 each with free p&p :)

Are you a fan of NYX products?
If so, what are your favourites?

Hugs as always,

- Nikki xo

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sleek: A little something special?

I'm aware that everyone and their mother has done a blog post or YouTube video about this, but I have been so excited to get my hands on this palette that I had to throw in my two pennies worth! :)

I am of course talking about the Sleek "Oh So Special" palette.
When I heard about it I was instantly intrigued - you know I love my neutral eye looks and I've wanted the Urban Decay "Naked" palette for a long time but have resisted..
A lot of people have said that if you want something similar on a budget then this is your best bet, so I hurried to my mum's local Superdrug as that's where I was at the time.
I found the tester straight away but they'd sold out, so I ordered my palette directly from the Sleek website for £6.49 plus £2.95 p&p.
It is part of the permanent line so there is no rush to buy it, unless you're over-excited like me, haha!

Now time for some pictures (click on them to enlarge)..

I love the box it comes in, so pretty..

The actual palette is just the standard black though, was slightly disappointed about that :(

And here are the 12 shadows - a mix of matte and shimmer shades..

Some swatches..

For some reason "Gateau" didn't show up very well in the photo, but it is a really pretty shimmery golden pink in person, just the kind of colour I love!
I'm sure it would look even more gorgeous with a base underneath, but so far I've just put the shadow straight on to the lids and I am so happy and impressed with it so far.
As always, these mineral shadows are buttery smooth, easy to apply and blend and have great pigmentation.
There are also plenty of matte shades here for those of you who like a good mix - personally I like the shimmers best of all, I love the sparkle!
There is enough of a variation in colours to create many looks and I'm really excited about using it more and sharing my experiences with you :)

Do you have the "Oh So Special" palette or are you skipping this one?
If you have it, what do you think of it - do you think it's worth the hype that surrounds it?


- Nikki xo

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Revlon Apricot Chiffon and Benefit Sippin' n Dippin'

Hi again all!
I don't know if anyone is reading this as I'm losing followers, but I enjoy blogging so I'll carry on writing whenever I can :)

Things have been busy as ever; my mum is moving from London to a house literally opposite mine here in Essex and I can't wait!
It's been manic helping her pack and deciding what I wanted to keep from my old bedroom at her house, as well as all the usual mummy/ housewifely duties but I'm so excited, it's worth the tiredness ♥

I've been using pretty minimal make-up the past week or so and looking through my collection to find little hidden treasures that will make my life easier.
One thing that I've really been appreciating is cream shadows..
My skintone is pretty uneven on my eyelids and they get a little bit oily at times, so I need something I can apply quickly that will stay put!
Some time ago I was in the local Poundland looking at the make-up (you never know what goodies they'll have, although it is completely hit and miss) when I found a cream shadow by Revlon called "Apricot Chiffon".
I couldn't see much through the packaging but I figured that it wasn't the end of the world if I didn't end up liking it very much as it was so cheap!
I ended up really enjoying it in the end, as it's a pretty colour, makes a good base for powder shadows and looks nice and simple on its own to boot.
More recently I purchased the Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/ Liner in "Sippin' n Dippin'".
When I put it on it reminded me of something I already had, but I couldn't remember what..
Then I rediscovered my Apricot Chiffon, and I thought I'd compare the two:

As you can see from the photos, the two pots are almost the same size and both are pretty shades of peach with golden shimmery undertones.
I would say the Benefit shadow is much more gold, whereas the Revlon is much more peachy.
They both offer a similar amount of coverage and both last well when worn alone on the lid.
The Benefit shadow is of a slightly higher quality/ standard as you would expect, but to be honest I think that if you're on a budget and want a pretty cream shadow like these ones, you'd be more than happy with the Revlon - I've made a big dent in my pot and I know I'll be a bit sad when it's gone as I haven't seen it for sale anywhere since - fingers crossed it can be found online :)
I am tempted to try MAC's Paintpot in "Rubenesque" but keep stopping myself from buying it as there are only so many peachy cream shadows a girl can justify having, haha!
We'll see..

If you have any questions about these products or would like to see swatches on my eyes please ask away!

Big hugs,
- Nikki xo

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What are you grateful for today?

I live right next to a hospital in Essex and I think I've got used to hearing ambulances zooming back and forth over the past 4 months I've lived here (in the same way that I was used to hearing police sirens when I lived in North London)..
Today, while I was doing some washing up in the kitchen, I saw an air ambulance coming in to land on the helipad - this was something I hadn't seen here and I was reminded of an accident which occurred while I was still living at my mum's house.
My mum lives next to a stretch of road where a lot of accidents happen - people tend to speed along it and often lose control of their cars and bikes..
My own uncle died in the same way on his motorbike there unfortunately.
One day my mum and I saw an air ambulance landing at the side of the road and it was only then that we noticed there had been another accident and there was a lady trapped in her car.
Apparently they had spent a long time trying to free her and her injuries were so serious that she needed to be airlifted to hospital immediately.
So back to today..
I stood at my sink for a few moments, feeling sad and so so grateful.
I said a prayer for whoever needed that air ambulance, then looked around my messy kitchen; the pile of unwashed laundry that had been bothering me, listened to my son shrieking and keeping my baby daughter awake and I felt so alive.
I know it probably sounds dramatic, but it's things like this that make me realise that I am incredibly lucky.
My chidren may be challenging and I may feel tired and out of control a lot of the time..
My house may be messy and there will always be things I need to do which I haven't gotten around to doing, but in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?
We have our health, we have a lot of love and happiness in our lives and without those things, life would be very different for us.
Don't get me wrong - I know that day to day it is hard not to complain when things don't go the way we want them to, or when life deals us a blow and it's hard to get back up and carry on.
But when I face another challenge, I will always try to remind myself of standing in my kitchen watching that air ambulance and remember how it made me feel.

What are you grateful for today?

Hugs as always,

- Nikki xo

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A bit of retail therapy

On Sunday I popped in to town on a mission - I was determined to have a look at the new MUA (Make Up Academy) Pro line!
But when I got to Superdrug and had a look around, I realised they only had the regular products which was quite frustrating - I just assumed they'd have it..
I've since found out that my local branch aren't planning on stocking it yet, so I might have to get some online once the full range is up :)
Anyway, after that little disappointment I decided I needed cheering up so I had a look at the Sleek stand.
I've bought some of their eyeshadow palettes before and loved them, but never really paid much attention to the rest of their goodies..
The first thing to catch my eye was this Pout Polish in the colour Powder Pink -

This is definitely my colour, it's a real girly barbie bubblegum pink! ♥
It's glossy but not sticky, and from what I've heard, the Pout Polishes are moisturising too, almost like a balm.
I can't wait to try this out properly and let you know what I think of it!

Next up was the blush in Pixie Pink -

When I first saw this I thought it was gorgeous but possibly too bright for me - I'm not the most daring of people when it comes to make up these days!
But after swatching it and blending it in I decided I needed it in my life - it's summer after all :)
The consistency is lovely, really smooth and easy to blend and work with, so although it's very pigmented I'm sure with a light hand I'll make it work.

The latest eyeshadow palette Sleek have bought out is the Monaco i-Divine -

It's a mix of matt and shimmery shades inspired by the Mediterranean and it's amazing..
After my daughter was born in January I went through a phase of only wearing the most neutral of eyeshadows, since I hardly ever got the chance to do my make up and simply didn't have the time to experiment!
With colours like this I can add a bit of a colour burst to an otherwise boring eye look by using one of these shades as liner underneath the eye or lining the top lashes - and fingers crossed I'll have a bit more time for "putting my face on" once Isabella gets a bit more independent!

Next I took a wander over to the Barry M stand as it looked particularly well stocked and enticing!
I love the Dazzle Dusts and have been using them since I was at school (now that was a looong time ago, I can tell you!), so I always have a look and see if any catch my eye..
This time I picked up a basic shimmery white colour to add to my collection -

I'm thinking if I don't have time to create pretty colourful looks then at least I'll be sparkly eyed, simple as that, haha!

Which leads me on to the next product I picked up; the new Collection 2000 Glam Glitter Loose Glitter Wand in "A List" -

It's a simple product really - it has loose glitter in one end and a gel in the other, but it's very handy to have if you're a complete magpie like me and love glittery things :)
I like to do a line of glitter above my black winged eyeliner and this would be great for that purpose, as well as adding a bit of dazzle anywhere else.

I'm trying to add to my brush collection as it's pretty sparse, so while I was in Boots picking up some things for my kids I grabbed this No7 eyeshadow blend and contour brush - my mum has it and loves it, so I thought I'd give it a go too.

After that my Fiance Steve had had enough of make up and was bored senseless, so we went to do a bit of food shopping..
I always take a peep at the magazines and it seems like a lot of them are giving away free gifts at the moment - this always happens in summer but there are some really lovely things you can get your hands on at the moment - I was spoilt for choice!
I eventually decided to get Marie Claire which had a pencil eyeliner by a brand I'd never heard of, since I adore eyeliner and was in a daring mood, haha :)

The brand is Inika and it's a certified organic mineral eyeliner, which in itself is appealing.
It had a sharpener in the lid which is great as it saves you having to carry a separate one around with you, and the packaging is generally nice and simple - it looks quite classy.
The shade is "05. Graphite" and I really like it - the texture is so smooth and creamy, it doesn't tug on your skin at all when you apply it like some pencil liners do.

I'll probably do a face of the day using all of the products I have mentioned so you can see what they look like..
If you're interested in seeing that then please let me know! ♥
I think I'm also going to do small posts with a few photos summing up my day/ week and "In's and Out's" too so keep an eye out for those :)

This post has taken me two whole days to do, haha!
I miss blogging so much, I don't think I realised how much I love it until I had my daughter and my spare time disappeared.
Anyway, until next time..
Hugs as always

- Nikki xo