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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Intimate health conversations with Canesten - and £50 Amazon voucher giveaway

As a mum to two girls, and being female myself, I understand how important it is to talk about intimate health matters. Canesten® want to encourage us all to have those conversations.
Steph and her two daughters

As a teenager I always knew I could ask my mum about anything; periods, sex, health. Although it would have been nice to have a sister to discuss feminine issues with if I'm honest (two brothers weren't all that good at the chat), mum knows best as they say, and was of course the best place to start. Being open and honest, and approachable at any time, is what I hope will keep the conversation going between me and my girls.

As parents I think we would all like our children to be confident and well educated in many subjects, and intimate health is something that affects us all but which is for some reason not often spoken about still. That seems a little crazy though - why should it be a taboo subject? Of course there's a time and a place (I'm not suggesting the dinner table!) but there's really no need to keep quiet about issues which affect many of us. 

Back when I was young we didn't have access to the internet of course (wow, how old do I feel?!), but these days it can be an extremely helpful tool in many respects - Canesten® have got some great information on their website. I plan to show my girls the pages about thrush, cystitis and bacterial vaginosis so we can talk about them together - I'm guessing they are still not the sort of things which are taught in school, although I'm not sure why not. It's 'just' about bodies and science really, if you think about it. 

This week there has been a whole thread on Mumsnet about vaginas, and another about vulvas... another good place to learn. Knowing that others go through the same problems could make them seem less frightening if our young daughters experience them.

It should go without saying that it's just as important for our autistic girl to understand about intimate health as it is for our neurotypical daughter; we may have to approach the subject in a slightly different manner, and we definitely need to appreciate that processing time may be longer, but it's still vital to get the message across. School became unmanageable for her just at the time they were about to begin sex and relationship education lessons, so I will definitely be picking up on this preparation for puberty and researching what will be the best way to present the information to her.


'What I wish I knew about intimate health when I was younger'


Now Canesten® are asking people to join in with the conversations by answering the question above. One lucky person who comments on this blog post with an answer to the question will win a £50 Amazon voucher as a thank you for taking part in the conversation. 

Use comments box right at the bottom of this blog post to leave your answer; ends 5th August so enter now!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Terms and Conditions:

1. There is 1 prize of one £50 Amazon voucher. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
2. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Stephs Two Girls and Bayer plc
3. Closing date for entries is 12:00am on 5th August 2017
4. Entrants must leave a comment on this post
5. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
6. The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen
7. The winner’s name will be available on request
8. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address
9. This is a joint promotion between Steph's Two Girls and Canesten®
10. Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions


This post has been supported by Canesten® but all thoughts are my own.






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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Adopt a Cadbury Cow Competition News

Last weekend I took our eldest and her friend into London as an end-of-term treat, and the first treat we enjoyed was courtesy of my favourite chocolate brand, Cadbury.

Animatronic cow


We were invited to the Barbican Centre to meet Buttons, an impressive 8 foot animatronic cow. Amazingly lifelike, this cow was controlled by both robotics and two highly skilled puppeteers inside the body - I kept thinking that it was a good job the weather wasn't as hot as it has been recently! Buttons took a team of 20 prop specialists over 500 hours to create and the performers studied the moo-vements (geddit?!) of real cows for over 300 hours to give a realistic performance. Watch this very short clip to see if the girls made friends with Buttons...


Buttons was created to respond to recent research which has shown that some city children are not exactly sure what size cows are. Ten percent believe that a cow is the size of a double decker bus whilst another ten percent think that cows are as small as cats! Cute!

The girls were given some chocolate buttons (which definitely helped fuel our shopping later on) and the chance to draw a cow in the presence of renowned artist Rose Blake, who was on hand to give tips. I'm sure she was definitely as impressed as I was with the coloured cow...

Drawing of a cow


Cadbury are running a promotion on special packs this summer to give families the chance to adopt a cow, and twenty lucky families will also win a farm-tastic (love the puns) overnight stay at the fabulous Cadbury Farm.

Cadbury Adopt a Cow leaflet
You can find codes on special packs of Buttons, Dairy Milk little bars, and Freddos. Then just visit the website at adoptacow.cadbury.co.uk and enter the code for your chance to win! Competition closes 31st August 2017 and full conditions can be found here.

To keep up to date with news about Cadbury, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cadburyUK or on Twitter at @CadburyUK.





Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.



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Friday, 21 July 2017

End of term or end of an era?

So, as school breaks up for the summer holidays, I'll admit it hasn't quite been the end of term I thought we'd be having.


Thank you teacher from Sasha


This is Sasha's message to her teacher at the end of this school year; this teacher has been great with Sasha and tried very hard to accommodate and teach her and it's true that she will be missed.

Sasha has now been at home full time for four weeks; in that time there have of course been many meetings and phone calls and emails for me to deal with. At the same time, I've had to try to persuade Sasha to do work which has been sent home, and have tried to keep her occupied whilst also managing the various workmen in and out of the house. It's not that Sasha doesn't want to be at school; in fact she is currently definite that she doesn't want me to home educate her. She wants a school to go to, but one where there will be more children like her. 

We attended a meeting at school yesterday and arrived as the children were outside playing. Sasha hid behind me as we walked in; she wanted to avoid the attention from lots of children at once. Once spotted though, there were shouts of her name and a couple came closer. I could hear one of the classmates instructing others not to approach Sasha, saying very clearly 'she doesn't like that, remember?!'. One girl came right up though and put her arms around Sasha to give her a big hug, even though Sasha still kept her back to her and her hands over her ears! 

I think both actions were good in different ways; the instruction to stay away actually showed great understanding, but the hug showed Sasha how much she was loved, by many of her classmates. I like to think she's taught them a fair amount about difference....

Classmates group hug in park after end of school
Today was the last day of school with an early finish after lunchtime. The tradition has always been to go to the local park with a picnic once school is out and so I tentatively suggested to Sasha that we might go and join them at that time even though she wasn't in school. I honestly wasn't expecting her to agree to go, especially as she was aware that many of her classmates would be there and so the same excitement might happen. Maybe it was the hug swung it for her though; she was a little unsure but agreed to go. We went early so that she had time to check the playground out, and then we watched from a distance as her classmates started to arrive.
  Sasha running towards friends in park

As I watched her run across the park towards the first two girls, tears sprang to my eyes. Then I was even more amazed as she went off to chat with a bigger group for a little while, leaving me to chat with the mums (who I've been missing - it's amazing how much you want a school run when you don't have one any more...). Despite being a little anxious of dogs generally she then made friends and played with this cute dog belonging to one of her classmates:


Sasha taking dog for a run
There were then some group photos as we left (amazing that Sasha agreed to pose momentarily for those) and more hugs for Sasha from her lovely classmates. 

I went through a whole bunch of mixed emotions; love for the children who have been so understanding and accepting of her, happiness that she has in fact managed so well at mainstream school and for much longer than I ever thought she would, but also sadness that we've now reached the point where she has realised she's too different for that and it's not a way of learning which suits her, and the knowledge that there is no easy path forward. Or at least that's how it seems for now. While you're enjoying your summer ice creams, watch this space and keep your fingers crossed everyone...



Mummy Times Two

The writing of the card and this whole school year has been a huge achievement for Sasha and so I'm also linking up with:


“Our



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Monday, 17 July 2017

Siblings {July 2017}

Wow, another month has flashed by and time for the Siblings photo has come round again!
Stephs Two Girls by front door

I love this photo even though it's pretty rubbish in terms of showing off my skills (one day I'll make it onto that photography course, promise....).

There are the usual 20 photos preceeding this one, where one or other (but mostly Sasha, I'll be honest) of the girls was pulling a face or moving too quickly for the photo. Tamsin has now cottoned on to the fact that the sooner they both look at the camera and smile, the sooner I'll stop taking photos... she's not daft, my oldest girl. This time, she promised Sasha that they could play on Minecraft together if Sasha would just pose for a 'nice' photo, so I snapped a few more 'fixed pose' ones before Sasha spontaneously reached to hug big Sis. 




The main photo 'warms the cockles of my heart' - definitely makes this parenting lark all worthwhile. They had already been playing beautifully together in the park shortly before this - swings and roundabout, reminded me of their early childhood!































Another busy month with house renovation and school events galore - we're all looking forward to the summer holidays now and some time to relax!


The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful






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