The Tree

Set this ash tree on fire and let it burn to the ground, the flames hypnotic like a tribal dance.

The false hope and promises which turn out to be a myth- no healing or cure of an ailing child will happen if you pass through its cleft.

The Past, Present and Future are as twisted as the Juniper Tree, the inhabitants of this place the same.

They snake through your soul exposing your vulnerabilities for their own gain.

The mighty juniper was said to have protected the prophet Elijah from persecution, yet there’s no protection here.

So I stand, like a phoenix from the flame on the ashes of hope and the cracked dolls with their glazed eyes – a symbol of a broken community.

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Bertie Botts Scented Soy Candle

As my blog has evolved , I rarely do product reviews anymore – unless I really really love the product.

And here’s a product I can honestly say I truly love – I mean look, even Dumbledore approves!

I’ve followed Coineagan Designs for quite some time on Facebook now as she creates some wonderful fandom products – and I just can’t resist a fandom. Especially a Harry Potter one .

So, of course I jumped at the chance to be a product tester of the Bertie Botts scented candle !

I literally could smell it before I opened the packaging – bubblegum , which being the Potterhead I am had me envisioning I’d just stepped into Honeydukes in Hogsmeade Village.

I love the fact it has Harry Potter style font on the logo and I can just tell this candle has a serious amount of burn time in it.

The packaging is classy , you can have your Potter fix without it being too garish or obvious and I think this would appeal to a lot of older fans who love the fandom but don’t want it overtaking their home.

I’m not even usually a candle person but this ,well, it actually makes me smile every time I catch a whiff of it .

So, if you haven’t already, I seriously recommend you checking this great little website out !

A Year of Homeschooling

Today marks an entire year since I made the decision to homeschool Ryan and it’s amazing to think just how far he has come.

Those of you who remember my post why I chose to homeschool will remember what a dark time we had been in , where I had a child that was almost broken at the age of eight, who was anxious , seriously unhappy and wouldn’t leave his bed.

A year later and he is 95% a different child, almost all of his difficult behaviour s and the violence due to pent up anger and frustration he didn’t know how to express are gone.

It’s been four months since he’s even had a meltdown, he will leave his room to join us as a family in activities or just watching TV. He even makes plans now.

It’s been s journey, one I don’t think I’d ever have braved without the support and encouragement of the amazing Facebook group Courageous Homeschooling which is filled with amazing parents from all over the world ready to offer advice and support – and I ll admit I’ve needed it.

From the what the hell have I done moments to the complete fear I don’t know what the future will bring for my beloved boy they’ve been there every step of the way.

Because not only has this been a learning journey for Ryan but surprisingly it’s been a learning journey for me too.

I had to let go of the concept that learning only takes place in a classroom, that even if it didn’t resemble school , it didn’t mean learning wasn’t taking place. And that was a difficult concept to get my head around.

I’d been so conditioned to that “normality” , I was heartbroken my son had left the “system” – one I’d left due to illness aged 15 and was adamant my children wouldn’t follow my path.

But I knew that if I left things as they were , my son would never get better, he would never heal .

I took him out and had pieces of a broken child and my first and foremost priority was to be the mother he needed , to give him space and time to heal. Learning could wait.

Not to say I didn’t have my obstacles , I was even referred to social services as soon as I deregistered him although luckily after three months they even admitted that due to his complex needs and ongoing medical treatments – homeschooling was the best option.

So, for the first five months I was not only trying to piece together a broken child, prove myself to the local authorities and even having a meeting with the LEA to ensure I was doing everything I could for my son.

It was a nightmare …. But also things were beginning to start healing quickly, Ryan’s behaviour s stopped , we enjoyed spending time together playing games, watching movies and TV shows – we even raised our own tadpoles into frogs who now happily reside in my garden pond – all thirty of them !

We had our own caterpillars turn into butterflies , we occasionally went to the park or the beach if Ryan felt up to it.

And the boy who was so sad started smiling again, laughing….

That’s not to say there haven’t been days I’ve been bored out of my brain , all my Pinterest planning , timetables went out the window.

Ryan just didn’t simply learn easily that way, he couldn’t cope with trying to recreate school at home.

And so began , cookery lessons at 3am a complete topsy turvy world which would have most people recoiling in horror if it was mentioned…what about boundaries they’d shreik ?!?

Or my complete favourite – what’s wrong with the word no ?

It’s difficult to understand unless you are living it , and even then you’re unsure 90% of the time .. but somehow we d found ourselves into radically unschooling territory.

I was and am exhausted especially as I still get up at six thirty each morning to ensure Anaïs goes to school – but the benefits and change in Ryan are undeniable.

No longer am I unable to leave the house to go shopping or having to prise him off me – so greatly disturbed that I was leaving him . We had insecure attachment issues that knew no bounds , I was even able to have a five day break alone in Portugal and he was fine with me leaving knowing I would return safe and sound. Something he couldn’t even comprehend before and I would never have attempted knowing how fragile he was.

He although still anxious goes to his medical appointment s safely , no more psychical attacks toward s me or even more worrying trying and sometimes even successfully managing to jump out of a moving car – despite child locks and adult supervision.

Life has become calmer, the household is happier and most importantly so is Ryan … I don’t mean to sound dramatic but I really believe I saved my son by doing this … That it has proved time and again this was the best path for him.

We re not yet living the journey I imagined for us but when I look at how far he has come , I know it’s only a matter of time.

So here’s a little q & a I copied from the lovely Samie Orchard from the Adventures of Big Toe and Little Toe Facebook page but filled in with my own answers to what this year has been like .. .

Is it an easy journey? No, it’s a rollercoaster
Do we have our ups and downs? Naturally
Is it stressful? Not as stressful as life was before
Does your child drive you crazy? Is the pope Catholic ?!?
Do I have a happy child? Absolutely
Is he learning? Every minute of every day
Is he socialising? Yes, he is socialising more than before just in a different way
Would you make the same decision again? Without hesitation

And here’s Ryan celebrating in bed with his homemade cake he helped bake ..for although he has progressed so much he still becomes easily exhausted and simple tasks require a lot of effort …we ll get there though I have every faith in him

Andy Warhol


 Iconic  American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art  movement known as pop art ,Andy Warhol was born August 6 1928 and dominated the 1960s.
 His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertising that flourished during that period .

Notably an openly gay man before the gay rights movement he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist in the late 50’s after a few gallery exhibitions .

 His New York studio, The Factory, became a well-known gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons. He promoted a collection of personalities known as Warhol superstars, and is credited with coining the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame.”

In 1968 he was part of an assassination attempt by radical feminist and paranoid schizophrenic Valerie Solanas after she believed he had purposely stolen her work and had “too much control ” over her life.

“Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there—I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television—you don’t feel anything. Right when I was being shot and  ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.”

He survived the attempt and died in the 80s of pneumonia.

Pinky Promise 

The Pinky Promise/Pinky Swear is already defined as a cult ritual , almost a child-like bond session of keeping promises and secrets but naturally this being AHS its origins are a lot more disturbing.

In this seasons AHS , the pinky game is used to transfer fear from one person to another. It has a slightly threatening presence , you can’t break the promise and Kai taps into the fear of potentially breaking the oath . It also appears to make people admit the truth and feel relief at doing so…… Howeber, this is no child like game and disturbingly the original pinky swear had a rather violent origin.

Originating in  Japan, as “yubikiri,” it literally translates to “finger cut off,” as in “if you break this promise I will cut off your  finger ”
Even more unnervingly  America defined “Pinky” in the 1860 Dictionary of Americanisms as a “very common term in New York, especially among young children,” often accompanied by this sing song chant 

“Pinky, pinky bow-bell 

Whoever tells a lie 

 Will sink down to the bad place 

 And never rise up again. “

Why I chose to homeschool 

Imagine your child crying every morning at the thought of going to school, imagine the refusals to get out of bed , of anxiously pacing the halls in the middle of the night, begging not to go the next day.

Imagine watching your child deteriorate so much, he refused to leave his bed let alone the house even at weekends.

Imagine, watching as all his self confidence slowly drained away and at the age of 8 was showing the classic symptoms of depression.

What would you do as a parent ?

I tried everything,  forcing him in, having him prised off me each morning tearstained and unhappy – only to pick him up in the afternoon where he was lethargic, pasty and complaining of headaches.

We tried rewards and consequences to no avail …

And all the time the pressure regarding his attendance was on, I took the advice of professionals. ..nothing worked.

The mere mention of school would put him in such a meltdown he would become violent , hurting others , myself included  …. putting him in the risk of hurting himself.

So, I got to the point where as a parent I questioned at what point do I say enough is enough ? When do I recognise mainstream school is making him Ill when he’s deteriorating right in front of my eyes ? 

And recently I have, his mental health is far too important to me to risk him getting any worse. I need to be there to help him heal and do so in a safe secure and loving environment. 

He needs help and support that only I can give him and an approach at his pace in order to want to get out of bed again, play in the garden and leave the house.

So, I made the decision,  instead of focusing on threats of fines and imprisonment, I needed to use all my energy to help my son and if that means by taking him out of mainstream school and homeschooling then so be it 

Sheer Frustration

I’m writing this at the point of sheer Frustration and it may end up all ranty but I’m needing to rant.

Hopefully someone somewhere will get what I’m saying. I’m not a neuro typical person,  neither is my son but my daughter is. Therefore ,  parenting can be hard,  harder than normal.

What works with my daughter won’t work with him , you have to think outside the box, walk on eggshell,  try and  avoid the confrontation s , the meltdowns , the sheer and utter devastation psychically and emotionally on a daily basis.

Things have got so bad recently I have to accept professional help , I ve had to get the school involved because after 8 years of doing it alone , it just became all too much.

And this was hard for me… to expose myself and my child in such a vulnerable way… to ask for help when all I ever learnt is it ll be refused . To let people in my home when I don’t even let my parents through my own front door.

So I’ve done this, I’ve done it because I love my son , because I want to help him.

But all I seem to get from everyone is the lack of understanding that he isn’t neurotypical,  they allude to my parenting , they suggest things that yes would work if he didn’t have emotional , psychological and pyschical disabilities – they don’t understand that I’m agreeing with them in concept but I know it won’t work and to be honest the consequences of trying would be catastrophic. This is not me being difficult. I’m being honest.

I feel undermined,  I feel like I’m being called into question when actually I have proof in the shape of a 12 year old daughter this isn’t my parenting that is the problem. It isn’t like i havnt tried the same techniques with both.

I had to remind them today of this,  I got upset through the sheer frustration of talking but never being listened to.

All I’m asking is that I have some support to do it the way I know will work, because I know I can’t do it alone anymore, I broke before Xmas but I need to be strong for my boy but I need  to be believed in.

The Seven Deadly Sins :Envy

The Seven Deadly  Sins : Envy 

 on JANUARY 8, 2017

​With its religious connotations throughout the book, Flowers in the Attic was always going to have the “hidden” religious themes such as the Seven Deadly Sins. 

In this section i will be exploring each sin and what section of the story they appear in , how they affect the characters and why ….

Envy (Latin, invidia)

Envy (jealousy, malice) —
Grieving spite and resentment of material objects, accomplishments, or character traits of others, or wishing others to fail or come to harm. Envy is the root of theft and self-loathing. Dante defined this as “love of one’s own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs”.

Sin: Envy

Sinner : Cathy 

The greatest  example of Envy rears it’s ugly head on the night of the Christmas party.

Corrine arrives beautifully  adorned in a green dress , breathlessly telling her children of the party her father is throwing her. 

The colour of the dress is linked to the symbology of  the  colour green – green  is the color  of the deadly sin Envy and through Cathys eyes and the exquisite detailed narrative we can, as readers feel Cathys own envy, longing and frustration having been locked up and missing out on so much ….

I was envious of the arrogant;

I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pain;

their bodies are sound and sleek.

They are not in trouble as others are;

they are not plagued like other people.

Therefore pride is their necklace;

violence covers them as a garment.

Their eyes swell out with fatness;

their heart overflows with follies.

They scoff and speak with malice;

loftily they threaten oppression.

They set their tongues against heaven,

and their tongues range over the earth.

Therefore the people turn and praise them,

and find no fault in them….

Such are the wicked;

always at ease, they increase in riches.

All in vain I have kept my heart clean

and washed my hands in innocence.”

(Psalm 73:3-13, NRSV


This Psalm I feel really speaks for the seed of fear, doubts and negativity that has been planted in Cathys mind regarding her mother and this night and this dress with the adorning emerald jewellery just fosters her envy.

Envy is the most joyless of the Seven Deadly Sins, and trying to get to the bottom of it is like wrestling with a shadow. The glutton enjoys his banana split, at least for a moment, but the envious appears to derive only a gnawing sense of comparison, competition, and injustice from his secret sin. At its best, envy remains a hidden pool of ingratitude and resentment, secretly applauding the downfall and sorrow of others.

This festers inside Cathy the more time goes on and where it is proven her suspicion s are correct, her envy towards her mother is still a driving force behind her actions especially later on in the series particularly in Petals on the  Wind . 

She may require revenge for all that has happened but it is her envy, planted so long ago in 1957 that spurs her to dress in a replica gown in 1972 and exploit her mother the way she did. For the sad truth is despite all the sorrow, heartbreak and wrong doing , she loved her mother, so much so she wanted to be her – just like she did that Christmas Eve when she witnessed her in that Green dress.

TABOO 

I’m rather partial to a gritty period drama.

Give me murder, betrayal, secrets and lies in a historic setting and I’m there.

Add Tom Hardy to the mix and I’m – well- happier than the proverbial  pig.
Taboo, an eight part historical drama, premiered tonight on BBC One – two days before its premiere on FX in America.

Of course,  I’d been looking forward  to it but I hadn’t expected to be so gripped.

James DeLaney,  presumed dead for 10 years ,  returns to 1814 London for his father’s funeral. 

A complex man, part hero part villian, his “ghost” haunts those who wish he’d never come back.
With a reputation  that precedes him, alluding to despicable crimes – this is a man who’s mental health is just as unstable as his late fathers .

With amazing cinematic scenes especially  in his “episodes” in which he controls hallucinations  by simply putting his blood stained hand up and very sternly tells “I have work to do today” – you can’t help but be drawn into the storyline and his character especially. 

I may have swooned a little , if not a lot , every time he spoke even when he was threatening to cut a whores trotters off.

But as I’ve said his return is not particularly  welcomed and not just because he is thought of as the devil himself.

His sister, has mixed feelings,  for they share a dark secret of the past she wishes to be buried……

His brother in law is furious  he is the sole heir …

The East India  Trading Co wish to buy the inheritance  left to him and will go to any means to obtain it …
An intriguing , dark period piece which is disturbing with the underlying threat which is not obvious but unnerving all the same …. Hardy s performance and that of the supporting cast is just outstanding. If you get a chance , definitely  watch this …. I promise you ll love it! 

******Potiential Spoilers ************

OK,  I am totally calling it now 

The 10 year old brother is in fact the lovechild of James and his sister and the reason he left for Africa in the first place.

The brother in law  was the one poisoning  James father with arsenic in order to inherit