24 Jan 2012

Haircuts and Son2 - handle with care!

For most mums, going to the hairdressers is a treat. It makes you feel better, walking out of the salon knowing your hair looks good.
The same cannot be said for many children, especially those on the autistic spectrum.
For our boys, haircuts have always been a major undertaking often accompanied by teeth gritting, hand clenching and when they were younger writhing and screaming.
Now they're older they can cope better- but only if the haircut turns out to have been an imperceptible half an inch off. For a start they don't like having their hair touched by strangers and for seconds, the anxiety of it going wrong is almost too much to bear.
And Son2 isn't the only one
who hates haircuts...
When they were small we used to do it ourselves with clippers, but that usually ended up with everyone in tears, covered in hair and red in the face. Now they have longer styles and the clippers won't cut it, so to speak.
But unfortunately at times a haircut is unavoidable. I'm such a coward I make my husband take them to the local barber with instructions that it has to be out of their eyes.
Last weekend the haircut did not go well for Son2 and he still hasn't got over it. Neither has the barber who subsequently refused to do Son1's hair after the trauma of cutting Son2's
Son2 meanwhile has worn a furry Russian hat ever since, even in his bedroom. He only takes off inside at school because he is required to. I have no idea how long this will last - perhaps until it grows back into his eyes, which might be the summer. We may have to cover the mirrors - even catching sight of it in the reflection of the window is enough to spark fresh angst.
We can't go back to that barbers, I don't think. I'm now looking for a mobile hairdresser who is experienced with dealing with special needs kids. If you know anyone in North Surrey or North Hampshire give me a shout!
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21 Jan 2012

Grab a FREE romance from a great friend

Since I've published my novels on Kindle, I've made some great online friends. One, in particular has become a friend in the flesh as well.
Mel Comley lives in France but came to stay with me and my family last year when we went to a writer's workshop in London. It must have been a bit of a shock, staying in a house with two tween/teenagers!
Since we met online she has published nine novels and shorts and contributed short stories to several other books. This is all in the space of just over a year.
Mel is a Kindle success story - she's now making a living from her writing, something many people can only dream of.
We have a symbiotic relationship - I design her covers, which I enjoy immensely and Mel helps me every day with book promotion which I find difficult to squeeze in between working and looking after my two Asperger's boys.
She's kept me going in dark moments and I would have probably given up everything to do with writing without her encouragement.
Mel has three great thrillers out - the 'Justice' featuring Brit crime-fighter, Lorne Simpkins, and several romances.
If you'd like to try her writing out for free, she has one book, A Time To Heal, available for download right now completely gratis. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download it on Kindle for PC, Ipad or smartphone - just get the right app from the Amazon site.
Mel is a prime example how determination, grit and hard work gets results. She has driven her own success and even attracted a top New York agent to sign her up.
If anyone reading this is about to take the leap and publish their book onto Kindle, it would be a great idea to follow Mel on Twitter @Melcom1 and find out how much work you need to do once your book is finished to get it noticed.
Grab A Time To Heal while it's free - it won't be for long!
Click the right store for you and download it.

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17 Jan 2012

Beauty and Functionality - what more can a girl want?

This week I'm writing my blog on my brand new iPad. It's a truly wonderful piece of technology.
I'd been debating what to get to enable me to work while I wait in my car for my boys to come out of school. I have to get there early as parking is a bun fight and I need to park in roughly the same spot so Son2 can find me easily without becoming anxious.
So would it be an android tab or an iPad? I needed it to be compatible with Google Reader and Calendar so at first glimpse an Android tab
Might be better and cheaper. Ah, but the lure of the iPad is irresistible and after some research I discovered that there are iPad apps that can get the Google things I need.
So the, the wifi or the 3G version? I was going to go for the 3G as I need connectivity, but the nice lady in the phone shop said that as I was due a phone upgrade next month why not get the WiFi and an iPhone and just tether the two together using the unlimited Internet for my iPad.
OMG what a great idea! She lost the sale of an iPad as I scurried up to the Apple store upstairs for the WiFi version not on sale in the Phone shop, but I'll be back there next month anyway for my upgrade. And it was very nice of her to consider what was cheaper for me rather than pushing a sale.
And my new iPad? It's sleek and shiny and it does what it's supposed to do - work with responsiveness and speed.
I love you iPad. I don't care if they bring out an iPad3 in the next few months. I'll stay faithful.
My beloved Kindle however was immediately snatched by Son2 on the grounds that the iPad had a Kindle app. Oh well, mustn't be greedy.
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3 Jan 2012

My romance, Sweet Seduction available in paperback

My romance novel, Sweet Seduction, a light happy read, is now available in paperback on Amazon and at other online stores (see links to your right) Here's what it's about:
Millionaire businessman, Rufus Knightly, is used to getting what he wants in life. When artisan baker Livia Rossetti turns down both his offer to finance her cake company and a chance of romance, he's determined to change her mind. Livia's lack of confidence in herself and lack of experience in love mean she's running scared from Rufus's campaign to win her round. Can she find the courage to grab his offer—and him—and convince herself it's not the recipe for disaster? If you like sweet romance...you’ll love Sweet Seduction.
I got the inspiration for Livia selling cakes at the Farmers' Market as I was then the PR for Hampshire Farmers' Markets who have some wonderful artisan bakers and cake makers - it's well worth a visit.
Livia is bruised from caring for her mother, who had Alzheimer's, for many years. She's now picking herself back up with the help of the redoubtable Lady Knightly. She's met Rufus before - the last time when she was sixteen when they shared a magical kiss under the mistletoe at the annual Christmas party at Rufus's family home, Archmont.
It's described as a modern feel-good romance and it fits the bill precisely. If you like Mills and Boon/Harlequin Cherish book, then this is for you. It's also available in ebook format for instant downloading from the sellers to your left.
If you read it and like it, why not leave a comment?
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1 Jan 2012

Brioche Butter Pudding

Asperger's Son2 has a problem with breakfast. He's not a big eater so when he settles on something he likes for the most important meal of the day, we go with it. For a while, it's been brioche rolls filled with chocolate paste.
They were on BOGOF in Tesco for a bit, so I made the most of it. But he went off them and we still had a bag and a half left, nearing expiry date. Son1 can't have them, he's allergic to hazelnuts. So I had a brainwave - bread and butter pudding with a difference!
Using a base Bread and Butter Pudding recipe from Prue Leith's Step-by-Step Cookery, now almost two decades old, I changed it to suit my ingredients. It's not for those on a diet, but as a special treat, your family or guests will be in dessert heaven.

Brioche rolls
Dried fruit (I used sweet cranberries & sultanas but use whatever you fancy)
225ml of milk
225 ml of single cream
1 vanilla pod (Mine was quite big so I cut it in half as I needed some for something else)
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten

To convert weights & measures to US go here

First I melted the butter in a bowl, then split open the brioche rolls and dipped the insides in the butter. I actually melted it by accident as I was softening it, but it was much quicker to use melted.
Then I layered them into a loaf tin (you can use whatever you have that's big enough).
Then add dried fruit between the layers.

Layer the rolls dipped in melted butter into an overproof dish
 and add dried fruit between the layers
With the last layer, I laid the rolls face up and compacted them all down.
End with a face-down later and sqiush down

 Then take the three eggs and beat them
Beat three eggs

Then add the milk and cream to a pan and put the vanilla pod and sugar in. Bring to boiling point. Next, add the beaten eggs and stir until thickened to a custard consistency.  
Keep stirring so it doesn't stick

When it's thick enough, pour over the top of the brioche mix. I used a sieve to make sure there were no lumps.

Pour over the brioche through a sieve

Then place in  large tin like a roasting tin, cover with foil and pour hot water into the LARGER tin until it comes half way up the outside of the brioche tin
Don't get confused and pour the water in the wrong tin..

It should look like this...

Bake in the oven at 180c for around 50 mins until it's set.
When it's ready it should look like this
Then you can turn it out onto a plate or serve from the cooking tin. It's delicious  with cream or ice cream.
OMG it's just fab..
I think my husband loves me just a little bit more now...

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