Last week ended very badly but I think it was a build up of stress and anxiety. Once it was over, it really was over and this week began really well, and I was briefly back to my old energetic self. I cooked myself a dinner (instead of the toast I’ve been living off for the past few weeks) and we sat down to eat together. We discussed the history of the X Men. As you do.

I also cleaned the house, the car, cut the grass and started digging the garden.


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Autism has dominated the ups and downs yet again this week. I’m glad that autism awareness month (April) has finished because I get upset that so many people are so aggressive about autism awareness and acceptance and I can’t listen to them.

So it was wonderful to realise that one of the characters in this book probably has autism, even though the word has not been mentioned so far. He is a clearly a little different, but his brothers and sisters just accept it, work around his differences and help him to exploit his strengths. I’ve not seen a better way to promote autism acceptance than this. In this story, he’s just another kid.

No big deal is made out of it. No-one is angry, no one is preaching about how he should be labelled or not. No-one is prescribing treatments, He is just a part of the family. I’m loving it! Though he hasn’t had any meltdowns yet…


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It was a school friend who invited me onto Facebook in early 2008. I was interested, but didn’t really see the possibilities, until I lost my job the following December. Within a few months my son had been diagnosed with aspergers syndrome and I was working with the Child Benefit protest group PACUB, and Facebook became the hub for special needs support and on-line campaigning.

PACUB is now dormant, but the friendships I made are not, and some have now become autism mums too. And it is the autism mums that I turn to on a daily basis because even though I also have a severely disabled daughter, it is autism that dominates my life.


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I have a confession to make: I haven’t read the book. But with so many people talking about Marie Kondo, I’ve picked up a few tips and I’m thinking that I might be able to reduce the stress in my life by removing daily activities that do not spark joy. Sadly many of them have to stay. But making a few changes by following the principles in the life-changing magic of tidying up has given me several reasons to be cheerful for this week…

Starting with Socks

In this family we like to know our own socks, so everyone has to wear a different style. As a result I’ve accumulated a drawer full of hastily bought socks with dubious patterns on them that do not look very stylish when peeking out from under the hem of a pair of jeans.

So this week I “treated” myself to another set of black socks (with coloured toes and heels) which meant I could get rid of all the old ones that just annoy me. There’s nothing worse than the glimpse of a Santa hat on a sock in July. Well you know what I mean…

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I had a grumpy McGrumpy intro to this week’s reasons to be cheerful, but I decided not to publish it here. It would jar too much with all the happy stuff I have to report this week…

  • A problem with Smiley’s hoist got fixed. My son did it on his own initiative.


  • Eating cake with Smiley and watching ‘Holiday Homes in the Sun’ after a busy day. It may be my favourite programme ever. Calm, relaxing and sunny escapism. No grit, no anger, no manic presenters, and usually no rain either!


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I was like a young wan going to her first disco. The preparations started the week before with the purchase of a new ‘top’ (black, Dunnes Stores, €20) and the day before I washed my hair, a bigger job than it sounds…

The less you go out, the harder it gets, and I’m totally out of practice. Where on earth is that party girl I used to be?


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So the Easter school holidays have begun, and the days are a bit less stressful. Smiley’s adult programme continues, so I’m still up at stupid o’clock, but the pressure to get my son to school is gone, and I’m hoping to be able to organise some outings for the two of us. Especially as the sun appears to be shining and all is calm.

But first there was St Patrick’s Day. Smiley was at home, except we weren’t at home, as she was invited to take part in a local parade, once again. I *may* have shared most of the photos already, but just in case you missed them, here she is again, showing just what a great day she had.



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Well here we go again, another new year and another new term: and that means lots of stress all round, piled on top of all the other things that need attention. So I will keep looking for reasons to be cheerful to remind me that it isn’t all bad. And this week I’m celebrating the little things:

  • A lovely relaxed lunch out with my son (having discovered on Monday morning that he wasn’t in fact due to go back to school until Wednesday).
  • Shopping with my girls.
  • A new mobile phone for Christmas, which is much faster, has a bigger screen, more storage, and a better camera (though I’m still getting the hang of it).



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It’s that time of year again, when most of us make unrealistic resolutions and then fail to keep them. Not good for our bodies or our minds. So if I make any at all, I try to make them doable, like these four from last year that I mostly achieved.

For 2016, I have just one resolution so far: to start drinking Belgian Beer. What, you say? This is based on good science (apparently) and a book that recommends that we should consume more yoghurt (tick), full fat cheese (tick), dark chocolate (one of last year’s resolutions) and Belgian Beer.  It’s called The Diet Myth and I am seriously considering buying it. I’ve mostly stopped drinking wine, but the occasional beer sounds like a great idea to brighten my life.

And I have more reasons to be cheerful too:

Read them here.