After various callouts on Twitter for October and December guest posts, Taryn of She Hangs Brightly (click here to see her blog) got in contact with me. Her she tells us about her hobby to bejewel a skull. As part of Blogtober, this is a guest post week, with appropriate topics of ‘Autumn’. 
So in my conquest to make Pinterest saved crafty projects terribly I took on bejewelling a skull. There was a few to choose from, and obviously I didn’t use a real one, but I picked up an amazing crow skull replica from Ebay. You can pick any kind of skull you want, but as the cross has a long beak and a lot of head to cover, this was my choice!
I picked up some stick on half pearls from Primark, and then decided on lilac stick on half pearls from Ebay. I saw on Pinterest that someone had put a full pearl in the eye socket for an eye effect but I thought I’d take the simpler route for my first project!

So as you can see in the pictures, I did one side of the skull, and then popped some in the eye socket for interest. You can really be so creative with this, do the whole skull, use all different colours, it’s really up to you! I am currently planning my second skull, much to my OH’s horror, but as I am all about Halloween 24/7 I am definitely into this hobby!
Have you made something like this? Show me pics!
T xx
 

This is the final part in a guest post series by Lisa Kallas, the Blogger behind Sugar Loaf Dream (click here to view her blog.) Here she writes about Aspergers, in relation to her son. To read part one, click here. And to read part two, click here.  
By the time Michael was finally diagnosed with Aspergers it had been a very long and winding road so it seemed. It was also the final piece of the puzzle and the one that
I always thought was missing. Finally every loose end was tied up and it made more sense. It didn’t make things great, but it did make them a little more understandable.
As time went on it became apparent that as disruptive as the ADHD and the Bi-Polar had been , the Aspergers had taken over when it came to interfering with his teenage life. The awkwardness that Aspergers brings made peer relationships, which were already strained, near impossible. However then combined with ADHD “annoyance” made friendship building difficult.
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For many years I tried to teach Michael that people react to how they are treated. So if he approaches someone with anger or rudeness then that is how they will respond. Having a short fuse is an ADHD trademark, not understanding how that affects others is an Aspergers one.
For many years my dad would get annoyed with me, as he said I was making excuses for Michael. I wasn’t, but I could give reasons for why certain behaviours occurred. There is a difference between an excuse and a reason. Now at 24 I can still pin point certain times and actions and tell you exactly why you will see the reactions that you do. Like when a full moon is approaching.
Yes, Michael is one of many who reacts to the moons cycle. I have learned not to push my luck at that time…..to be honest, I have learnt over the years when and how to pick my battles in general. I guess we have both grown in that respect, better late than never I
say. I also made it my mission to know absolutely everything I could to assist him through and have an understanding of his life.
As different maturation stages have occurred, Michael has been very lucky in be able to have a higher understanding of the way his mind works, but more importantly how it
impacts on others. Empathy is something that sometimes never occurs for Aspergers patients, luckily it has happened for Michael and even though others might not always see it, I know just how hard he is trying.
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I have to say the psychiatrist that finally shed the light on his Aspergers was an interesting man in himself. I’m sure he was very intelligent and capable in his field
but he was a little, well…..odd!!! To be honest he reminded us of Mr Bean,
so much so I often wondered where he was hiding Teddy in his office!!! I do believe this helped in Michael warming to him as Michael was a big Mr Bean fan. It did make it a little difficult to take him seriously though.
Michael has always been musical, right from a very young age. He showed a particular talent for singing. A pitch perfect ear and a beautiful voice. He still uses it, but leans
more towards rap these days. He’s very good at it, but I do miss him singing “normally”. He is also self taught guitar, piano and drums. Actually anything that he has ever put his hand and mind to he was good at. (A proud mummy moment there, sorry!!!)
Now at 24 we have the best relationship we have ever had; it has taken a lot of work and more low moments than I really wish to count. Times that I didn’t think we would get
through but we always did. I always used to ask why was I given this naughty, difficult child? Then when that first diagnosis of ADHD came and I knew he wasn’t just naughty, there was a reason, I still asked “why me?”Then I realised that either he was given to me to teach me patience or for me to be able to teach him how to get through in
life. Now, I think it was a little of both. I also believe it was to be able to recognise issues in others and assist their parents where I could.
Either way, I often think how boring my life would have been without him…..quieter, calmer, less stressful, but yes, boring. He will never be perfect, but whose child is?Anyone that tries to tell you they have a perfect child is pulling your leg. Some might come close in their parents eyes, but no one is perfect.
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So my slightly flawed, perfect boy has made me proud. He has faced challenges head on, taken a few casualties along the way. He has tried very hard to learn from his
experiences and mistakes. No, it doesn’t mean he wont repeat a few, but he will certainly try not to hurt others along the way.
24 years and still learning….both of us, how to live and survive the roller coaster.
Thank you for coming on a little part of our journey with us.

Micheal & Lisa

Hello,
my name is Natalie Benton and I’m the blogger behind Gorgeous and Geeky (Click here to view.). I ‘met’ Lydia from Mademoiselle Women in June on Twitter, and we quickly decided on writing a collab post. I hummed and hawed for a few weeks about what I wanted to write about and thankfully Lydia didn’t get sick of my indecision. We came up with a few ideas, but when I saw Lydia’s recent “My Planner Wishlist” post (click here to post) , I knew I wanted to write a post about my favourite diary.

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2017 edition. 

I was that nerdy kid at school that loved going to get school supplies (particularly Lisa Frank) in anticipation for the start of the school year. Therefore, around November I start looking for my planner for the following year due to my excitement for a brand new start with new supplies. In 2015 I stumbled upon the Every Day Matters Diary for 2016. I feel in love! It was everything I wanted in a planner: colourful, inspirational, week-to-view, and A5 sized. The charming artwork immediately grabbed my attention and the insightful content found inside made me click “add to cart.” I was incredibly impressed with the 2016 edition that I purchased the 2017 version last year. Dani Dippiro from Positively Present (Click here to view) has been creating these diaries since 2015; her goal was to help others “make the most of every day in the year” and “live more positive and present lives.”
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June 2017-Insparation. 

Once it arrived, I finally had the opportunity to look through all the pages and discover the exciting features to this diary. Each month you are presented with a theme and an affirmation, which helps to cultivate positivity throughout the day-to-day tasks we routinely do daily. This month’s affirmation is “I seek inspiration in every situation,” which relates to me particularly due to my job as a mental health support worker; there can be stressful situations in which I must remain calm and find inspiration to turn negatives into positives. I try to incorporate every affirmation into my career because that’s where I spend the majority of my time and it’s imperative that I remain positive and supportive.
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Week-to-view layout. 

I was thoroughly impressed with all the ways this diary encourages me to be positive. Each week, you are given a task which enables you to grow internally. In March, this diary highlighted the importance of forgiveness and challenged me to forgive myself in the above activity. I won’t lie: I don’t always get to take part in the weekly activity due to time constraints, but I enjoyed the refreshing perspective I developed when I had the opportunity. Apart from the weekly exercises, I was impressed with how much space you’re given to write our daily tasks. I absolutely love writing out to-do lists because I feel accomplished and productive when I complete an item. Because my partner and I work so much, we try to plan our meals and who will cook depending on our schedules. We actually lost weight by doing this!
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Weekly quote. 

Have a careful look at the week-to-view photo…what do you see at the top right? A quote!! If you are like me, you have your quotes inspiring quotes everywhere. This quote from Henry David Thoreau is quite profound; it’s probably one of my top 10 favourite quotes.
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Monthly Reflection.

Finally, I wanted to write about the monthly reflection feature. At the end of every month, there is space for jotting down what you’re grateful for. I find this interactive portion exceptionally important because it is so easy to forget how blessed we are. I love looking back at these; it makes me feel happy and content. We’re in a technology age where we’re constantly bombarded with ideas of what we need to look like, what we need to be successful, what we need to own. It can be difficult to remain happy, positive, and fulfilled when you’re slammed with the idea of not being good enough or having enough. Therefore, it is crucial we take a step back and look at what we have to be thankful for instead of seeking out more and more external happies.
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I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite diary. I sincerely hope Dani will continue to create these diaries for years to come; thankfully, she’s already released her 2018 version. You can find it here (click to view). I would like to thank Lydia for allowing me to write this post!
If you’d like to check out my blog, you can find me at Gorgeous and Geeky (Click here to view). You can also find me on Instagram (Click here to view) and Twitter (Again, click here to view). If you follow, I will be sure to follow back. If you have any feedback on this post or would like to share your own favourite diary, please send me a DM! I love getting to know new people!

This is part two of a guest post written by Lisa Kallas, over at Sugar Loaf Dreams. Click here to view her blog.
 
Oh hi! Where did I leave you? Oh yes bullying……I won’t go into that too much as it could be a whole
post just on itself. Needless to say it was ongoing, physically, verbally and emotionally and it was relentless. The children, their parents and in their own way the teachers. No of course they weren’t bullying as such but back then they weren’t taught how to teach these children. So many of his teachers just put him in the too hard basket as they didn’t know what else to do.
So this takes us to when he was around 7 and our first encounter with a child psychiatrist. You see this was
when he first mentioned suicide to me. Yes you heard me correctly. My little boy, my tortured little soul, now what?
According to the psychiatrist it was a combination of the bullying, the feeling of being let down by his
teachers and the inability to understand and cope with what was happening inside his own head.
He suggested at that time that he also thought there was more going on than just the ADHD and sent us to a
specialist that dealt in multiple diagnosis. As I said….I always knew there was more going on in there than just the ADHD.
So off to the new specialist we went. I liked him immediately, he was great with Michael and certainly didn’t
pull any punches with me. We endured a barrage of testing……with medication, without medication, scans, written, reading and verbal testing. You have to remember he was 7, it’s hard to get all the results required in one or two tests.
A new diagnosis…….no doubts about the ADHD and he classed that as severe but my beautiful boy also had
rapid cycling Bi Polar. Are you sure? 99.9% based on all the relevant tests and results. OK so now we start an additional medication for that as well as his ADHD meds and regular council ling.
So life goes along…. I wish I could say with this new found information and treatment things made a vast
improvement, but they didn’t. He was still being bullied at school, still misbehaving constantly at home, still violent towards his big sister, destructive of anything that was in his way at home. Oh and even though he was now sleeping through the night, that started just before his 5th birthday, finally, he would be awake til around 11 or 12 even at 7 and 8.
When I say behaviour at home I think I need to clarify.
From around the age of 3 I would wake every morning to food all over the floor. When I say food you have no idea. I wish I had photos of it but I don’t, this was way before the Iphone made it’s appearance. He would break eggs, pour milk, sugar, juice whatever he could get his hands on ALL over the kitchen floor. It got so bad that I ended up with chains and locks around the fridge and the pantry all the time. This was not only inconvenient it just wasn’t fair, especially for his sister that had to ask me to unlock them every time she wanted a drink or snack.
All knives and sharp objects were also locked away, not only to protect him but us too, as he was starting to become violent. And yet again frightening me with his behaviour.
Back to this multi dimensional specialist…….more testing, more medication changes, more questions and not that many answers. As I had been told before the more severe the ADHD the more chance of a co morbid condition…….after several consults with extra colleagues it was mentioned and suggested that he may also have Oppositional Disorder running alongside his ADHD in conjunction with his Bi Polar……… oh wow….life was really starting to get interestingly scary now!!!!! You need to remember he wasn’t even 10 years old. How did this happen, why as his mum can’t I make it go away? That’s our job to guide, raise and help our children. I was doing everything I possibly could but it just wasn’t good enough, I felt like such a failure as a parent…..but I would  get up every day and start again.
Actually that was one of the best pieces of advice I was ever given by a Doctor…..in time I have realised it wasn’t only right at the time but is right for any parent of any child, no matter how “perfect”……..No matter what the day brings, what disasters or indiscretions had occurred or how much damage was done that day……ALWAYS go to bed and wipe the slate clean. Get up the next day with no residual resentment or anger hungover from the day before. In a world of hell that builds and builds learning to let go was THE best things I was taught.
So here I am, a daughter with virtually no problems…..except for the stress having a little brother like she did, it naturally affected her, their relationship with each other and unfortunately at 26 and 24 it still does. As a mum, you can imagine how that still upsets me. My son was almost 10, I have been given all these diagnosis which was overwhelming to say the least but you know, I still thought there was something they were missing, but I wasn’t and am still not a Doctor, what would I know? Call it mothers
intuition if you like……it just kept niggling.
I’ve told you what school was like and friendships were very few and far between. Most “friends” were only so because of what they could get out of him. He would do whatever it took to gain friends, so he was a gullible scapegoat for
being set up and caught out in the end. For the so called friends this was very funny, for my boy it was heart wrenching. Not only did he get caught and punished, he also so his new “friends” disappear…..he was devastated and couldn’t quite understand what
had happened and no matter how hard you tried to make him understand they were only using him he was convinced in his own mind that they were real friends. Therefore he would try to move back into the peer group and be shunned and bullied. This pattern went on for many years through out school. As his mum who could unfortunately see the big picture, I did everything I could to help him understand gently……..it took many, many years and a lot more insight than what we had then.
Again, hindsight is a handy tool or it would be if it was only foresight.

This is anbrave, personal guest post, written by Lisa Kallas at Sugar Loaf Dreamer. (Click here to view her blog.)
February 7, 1993: a date I cannot nor would want to forget. You see, this was the day my second child was born. A handsome blue eyed boy. I now had a perfect pair as he had a sister 22 months older. He looked so much like her it was uncanny. She had been a perfect baby and toddler and now she had a little brother to follow in her footsteps.
When I say perfect she really was as close as you could get. She slept through the night from 5 weeks old, only ever cried when she was hungry or sick and at the point her little brother was born she had never thrown a tantrum, not even a teenie, tiny one. But this was a boy, he would probably be a little different.
When he was taking a little longer to sleep through the night I put it down to he’s just a boy!! Looking back if I had a dollar for every time I uttered those words I would be living on an island somewhere by now!! He was also really fussy, fussy feeding, fussy playing, just damn fussy. Oh well, he’s just a boy, they’re different ….right?
He started to hit his milestones and even though I had read that boys are usually slower than girls he was right on par with his super quick, super smart sister. But something was just …..off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something. By this point he was just over 12 months old…..still not sleeping through the night. His behaviour was becoming a problem. For someone so small he was extremely strong both physically and strong willed. He was tearing apart the house and climbing….even on higher things that his older sister wouldn’t think of. He was physically hurting his big sister. He would get this look in his eyes that even though I loved and adored him…..it scared me too. He would stiffen and his eyes would glaze over; looking back now it was very frightening. Something had to give and my mum who up until then had remained quiet spoke up and agreed there was something not right. She had also noticed that he would rock back and forth at times. At first, being a musical family I just thought he was musical……then I realised that he was doing it whether there was music or not.
So I made an appointment and took him to our family Doctor, at this point he had not long turned 2, but he was causing absolute chaos in the family. My Doctor listened to me, watched him tear his office apart and told me there was nothing wrong with him and I just needed to be a little stricter with him.
So I took him home but certainly not feeling any more comfort than before. My mum suggested I take him to her Doctor as he has 4 sons, surely he would know if there was something wrong?  I agreed as I, by this point, was at my wits end. Long story short…..after being observed for 20 minutes I was told this was NOT normal and given a referral for a paediatrician. OK….now what?
So after a 2 month wait we finally had our date with the paediatrician. In the meantime I had been writing copious notes on sleep patterns, behaviours etc. The kindly, older Chinese origin paediatrician read through my notes quietly, at all times also observing my boy without it being obvious. He then re read through the Doctors referral. He then very quietly approached my son and engaged him in a couple of questions before leading him to the bed for some testing. Based on everything he knew from watching, reading and listening he was 90% sure my son had Hyperkenetisis…or in modern terms ADHD. Finally an answer, not one I wanted but at least it meant my boy wasn’t just the naughtiest kid in town. At that point I didn’t really know anything much about it and I certainly didn’t know anything about the Autistic Spectrum..Anyway, we were referred to one of our largest children’s hospitals for an assessment with a Child Behaviour Specialists ,which was a leader in the the field of ADHD. He confirmed the original diagnosis and at that point, being a mum that would do absolutely anything to help her son and her family, I agreed to trial him on some medication.
Medicating your child is a very personal decision and I butted heads with and lost a few friends over my choice but the positive results in him were outstanding. I had my son back, that was my main job as his mum. His improvement over all areas was outstanding….except sleep, we were now 3.5 and had never slept through the night..do you think I was tired? Just a tad!
We started kindy and for the most part fitted it, but something was still not right.
You need to remember I didn’t own a computer, let alone know what Google was, so all and any information I could gather came from pamphlets the Doctors would give me and books.
We went on a family holiday to America, my parents, my children and myself. I would go into every book store I saw and would come out with a new book. I remember my dad saying to me why do you keep buying another book? My hope was that there may be just a snippet of information in one that was different to the others that I could learn from.the medication on its own was not enough, there was more and I needed to fix it…..I was his mum and his advocate that was my job. My dad joked to one of his specialists that I had more books on the subject than he did, he said maybe I could lend them some. You see I would take both or one of my parents to every Doctors appointment with us as I was always given so much information, I couldn’t always remember it myself. So between us it was like putting the pieces of a jigsaw together every time we went home.
Through all of this and his increasing doses of medication something just wasn’t right. He would metabolise his meds very fast so we would have to split them as doses every couple of hours to sustain him instead of just morning and afternoon.
He was becoming angry and violent , still not sleeping, extremely fussy with his eating…..when he started primary school he was restless, and sad as it is for me to say still after all these years he was bullied terribly due to the fact he was different. Not just because he was different though, because the parents of the other kids were so damn ignorant! I’m not sure how ADHD is, or was portrayed in the media in other countries, but here in Australia these kids were almost shown to be the devil incarnate. They would only show the worst of the worst in behaviour and this in turn frightened people, in believing that they were demented and dangerous. Unfortunately like most behaviour disorders ADHD has a spectrum that runs from the mildly dreamy ADD child ( without hyperactivity) to ,yes, the very destructive, angry and malicious ADHD child. However this usually is because other co morbid conditions run with the worst of the worst.
Children learn what their parents teach them and all I am going to say is there were some horrible, uneducated parents out there at the time. The bullying continued for my son right through school from the age of 6 through to 16….10 years of hell. No wonder he came to me and begged to leave when he did…….of course I said yes, it was still my job to be his advocate and protector and at the the age he is now, which is 24…..I still am.

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.