Juggling life as a Mum, Learner Support and a Student!



I really hope this works as i have have made a huge word document and tried to paste it onto this!  If you need any more info i will email you the proper list x


I have put together this list of apps from websites I have found, as yet it is not in any particular order as I never seem to have the time! Many of the pages have been found by other people like myself but I have decided to put it all together in one place so many thanks to everyone who has done the same as me!


The apps in the next few pages are suitable for a range of ages, for SEN, to aid development in a range of areas.


Please bear in mind if using the iPad to develop Speech and Language ensure that the app is set to UK version or that the child has the ability to understand the difference between accents.



Debra Forth



I have found all the information from the internet and at all points have tried my best to ensure that I have left names and web addresses of any other parties whose information I have also shared, before sharing this on this list I have tried to ensure that I have not breached any copyright.


The following is from a school in Austrailia:


This is a set of websites and links to relevant articles especially designed for special Education and using ipads in schools.


Within my school and other special schools in Australia there has been an amazing growth in using ipads.  I have certain concerns in that really they are design for one person usage, with apps being drill and skill and it could just be a games machine, so I am keen for it to be used creatively.  There are so many apps so these websites will hopefully point you in the right direction so that we are not all re-inventing the wheel!



Web address

Comments Re: application

additional comments

Primary audience




This is a marvelous site and has some lovely practical videos on how to use the ipad in the classroom.  The videos are also on youtube.

This site has loads of lovely ideas and is very practical and is constantly being updated.

Severe and moderate intellectual disabilities.





A brilliant Australian blog, which has so much information and tips about using an ipad, starting using the ipad and useful and up to date information on good and relevant apps,

The Spectronics team are really great and they organize a conference every 2 years and information from this year’s conference is available on their website

Severe and moderate intellectual disabilities.



This is an article from Spectronics listing apps.





Ian is brilliant and has worked for a long time in the field.

This is a very practical site.  And within the resources section are some great articles about apps

Everything is brilliant. 

Severe and moderate intellectual disabilities.





This website has loads of very practical information on using an ipad in special education.

I liked the list of apps..

Severe and moderate intellectual disabilities.





Clickspecialednz is a wonderful site which has just started a section on useful information for ipads.

I particularly like the Flo Longhorn articles.

This website has loads of great resources for IWB and so well worth a look.

Severe and moderate intellectual disabilities.





A spreadsheet recommending apps for students with Autism

I love the English section and the




The Victorian Government had a trial with ipads and this is full of useful information

Good information about using an ipad in a classroom, it has a few apps for special education.




A really useful document to download which recommends apps


Severe and moderate intellectual disabilities





This is a great article for tips on using your ipad


Sue Larkey is based in Australia and her website has loads of really useful information.  It is for teachers and parents and therapists and her livechat seminars are great.




Some tips on using your ipad





Special design for special education


Severe and moderate intellectual disabilities



This articles in the SMH on 1st July had some interesting comments on using ipads in the class room










Name of app



Little Fox Music Box – Kids songs, sing along

Shape Minds and Moving Images GmbH


Pip and Posy: Fun and games

Nosy Crow


The Three Little Pigs – Nosy Crow animated story book

Nosy Crow


Toca Hair Salon

Toca Boca AB



Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift

Toca Boca AB


Toca Train

Toca Boca AB


Toca house

Toca Boca AB


Bugs and Buttons

Little Bit Studio


The Icky Mr Fox



6 in 1 children games



Collins Big Cat: It was a cold, dark, night, story creator

Harper Collins publishers Ltd


Collins Big Cat: Around the world, story creator

Harper Collins publishers Ltd


Little Miss Muffet HD

Tantrum Solutions


Kids Doddle Pro – Create video clip with kids Colour and Draw

Bejoy Mobile


Bee –Bot

TTs group


Ladybird: I’m Ready for Phonics

Penguin books


The Singing Alphabet

Ministry of letters ltd Education


Little Digits

Cowly Owl Ltd





(many have a free ‘lite’ trial version which is worth looking at before you buy)


Word Games


Scrabble – same as the actual game (£4.99)

Shaker HD –touch the letters to spell words (free)

Boggle – same as the actual game (£1.99)

Wooords –drag letters into position to spell words – the ‘key’ letter has to appear in all words (£1.49)

Word Abacus – spell words by touching adjacent letters on the ‘abacus’ (free)

Word Solitaire – spell words using ‘cards’ (£2.99))

Word Domino – drag syllables to make words (69p)

Hangman (69p)

SBS Spelling – can make your own word lists for spelling practice

Word Genius – touch adjacent letters to spell words  (69p)

Wordsearch Unlimited (£1.49)

Wordearch (69p)


Grammar/ Language


Opposites – match opposites (£1.99)

Idioms – identify the meanings of phrases (£1.99)

Zombie Grammar Force – match the words to the correct part of speech  (69p)

Grammar Games – steer the planes and get the words into the correct runway according to which part of speech (69p)

Things  that go together – match the pictures that are semantically linked (free)





Tic Tac Toe  (69p) – multiple choice answers to phonic questions covering beginnings, middles and ends as well as syllables

Phonics Vowels (£1.99) – select the correct vowel to spell the word

Montessori  crosswords  (£1.49)  – spelling single words or making a crossword with some basic words

Tic Tac Gold (£1.99) – match letters

Sound sorting  (69p) – match letters to the initial sound of the item shown


Word Bingo – identify the spoken word to complete a row of four. You can also play a word-recognition game and fire ‘bugs’ at a moving target


Spelling Magic – drag the jumbled  letters into position to spell 3-letter words or select  and drag letters from the alphabet shown on the screen


Fruit memory – up to 54 different fruits to remember (69p)

Memory – up to 24 pictures  (£1.99)


Visual skills


Lost Numbers – look for hidden numbers in the pictures (69p)

ABC Mysteriez – look for hidden letters in the pictures (69p)

Founditlite – find the animals hidden in the picture (free)

Farm Animals puzzle (69p)

ABC Animal Puzzle (69p)


Visual + Listening


Balloons – pop the balloons according to the instructions (e.g. all the sheep)


Fine Motor


Dot to Dot numbers (£1.49)

Bugs and Buttons (with amazingly realistic insect graphics) for basic touching , pinching etc movements. Includes sorting activities

123 Numbers

letter School – demonstrates how to write letters and numbers in an entertaining way




Dyslexia Quest – tests different skills (memory, phonological awareness etc) and gives a review of strengths and weaknesses. (£1.49)

The Reception Teacher – assorted simple addition and subtraction with some word and letter activities (£1.99)

60 Story Starters (£2.49) – ‘Webber Photo Card’ activity – select a picture and tap the screen to listen to a story starter for the pupil to use as a prompt (American voice)

GoSkyWatch – (£2.99) – point the iPad at the sky to see which planets etc  are above

GarageBand (£2.99) – make your own music

Puppet Pals (£1.99) – make your own animated film using the good selection of themed characters (ghosts, monsters, pirates, space and lots more)  and record your voice. Has a choice of backgrounds.

Art Set – (69p) drawing package




Calculator (69p)

Telling Time (69p) – listen to the time and touch the clock that matches.

AB Math (£1.49) – practise basic calculations

Subtraction: a pairs-style game (dinosaur theme)

Tric Trac (£1.49) – complete a line of numbers by responding to calculations

Math Bingo (69p) – complete a line of calculations to win ‘bugs’ which can be catapulted at a display of coins.

PopMath (69p) match answers to calculations shown on balloons

Numberline Frog – addition using a numberline (69p)

Bee Bot – based on the Bee Bot programmable toy – type in sequence of movements to get the Bee Bot to move towards the flower (free)

Maths Martians (£1.49) – complete calculations including doubling (solving equations)

1-20 balloons – touch the balloons in order from 1-20 (69p)

Math Tap and learn (69p)  – computation game= burst the balloon which shows the correct answer  – includes negative numbers

Monkey Maths  (69p)– assorted early maths activities – join dots / addition / more and less (69p)burst the balloon which shows the correct answer to the computation question

Rocket Math (69p) computation practice to earn money to build and launch a rocket

Banana Hunt (69p) – estimating angles to win bananas

Ghostblasters (69p) –blast ghosts which show multiples of the chosen number

Eggs on Legs (69p) solving simple equations

Multiple Wipeout (69p) – pop balloons that are a multiple of the chosen number

Math Splat – practise computation skills

Meteor Math (£1.99)– tap the two orbiting meteors which when added, subtracted etc make the target answer at the top of the screen

Maths memory – pairs game involving number bonds

Coop Fractions – matching fractions to decimals by moving the ‘marker’(a nest)  along the number line. If you are correct, the hen manages to eject its egg into the nest, if not, you get a row of broken eggs!




The Monster at  the end of this Book (£2.49)

Another Monster at the end of this book (£1.49)

Jack and the Beanstalk (£2.49)

37 picture books for Kids (69p)

Animal Flip Book

Kindle Books

Kids poems (69p)

Pedro the ugliest Dog in the world (free)

The Cavern of Wonders – adventure game (86p)

Death by Choice (free)

To kill a stone heart (£2.29)

Safe (97p)

Grey Eyes (Book 1, the Forever Trilogy) (free)

For Fun / Strategy


Sprinkle (69p)

Doodlelump (£1.99)

The Moron Test (69p)

Create a Car (69p)

Always Up (£1.49)

Toca Hair salon (£1.49)- restyle hair. There is a free Christmas version of this

Toca Doctor (1.49) – diagnose and correct the medical conditions (broken bone, splinter, headlice!)

Toca Monsters(free)  / Toca kitchen (£1.49) – prepare and serve different foods and see what reaction you get.

Toca Robot Lab (£1.49) – simple build-a-robot activity

Cake Doodle (69p ) – mix and ice a cake

Lego 4+ – build a lego car and collect gold coins to make other leg models or improve your car (free)

Sheep HD – get the three sheep across the obstacles. Each sheep has a different skill so you have to plan in which order to tackle the task.

Genetics – use qualities of animals to ‘design’ other creatures.

Build a Train (free but you can buy extra layouts for £1.49)  – choose an engine and carriages and negotiate round a choice of tracks collecting parcels– quite tricky to manage the points!

Leap Sheep (69p) – get the increasingly speedy sheep over the fence, performing somersaults at the same time in order to ‘win’ the emergency ‘ram’ who can clear all the casualties.

Reflexion (free)s – re-align the ‘mirrors’ enable the light to  bounce around the screen and reach its destination without hitting any of the ‘avoid’ obstacles.

Logo Quiz (free) – see how may logos you recognise.


Hope these prove useful. I work with KS3 and KS4 in a PRU and with others of all ages who are out of school for various health reasons. The older pupils still enjoy the really silly games like the Hair Salon and the Lego Car 4+ game. In fact, they are the ones who often tell me about them and ask me to get them!    – Clare North









Account Required


This app provides MicroSoft Office compatibility and gives Excel, Word, and Powerpoint compatibility.  However this requires access to a cloud based file system and the best of these  is dropbox.






This allows saving of files to the cloud and synchronized access to files stored on the pc/mac.

Dropbox is free for individual users for up to 2Gb of files. 

There is a “teams” option at $800 per year allowing sharing however this is possible with the single user account, as a trial perhaps?



Free basic account.

Extra for more storage.



This allows writing, note taking, and sharing of those notes. Requires an account but is good for sharing notes, links and files.





Documents Free

Office applications. Paid version available although CouldOn has pretty much superseded this app.


All Apples

Free, paid version available.



Required to watch ClickView on an iPad.


All Apples, PC



iMindMap HD

There are numerous mind mapping apps available but this is one of the best.






Download and read books and magazines, as well as pdf files etc.

Free App, many free book but also a cost for books as well.


Free App.



as above but also works with Apple’s own eBooks which can be produced and authored by people in school.

Free App, many free book but also a cost for books as well.

All Apples

Free App.


QR Code Scanner

A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobiles phones with cameras and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. The QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the initialism of Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.







Very Useful





Account Required



Pearltrees is a place to collect, organize and share everything you like on the web.

Pearltrees’ interface lets you keep everything you like at hand so you can organise it your way.

Collect web pages and turn them into pearls. Organize your pearls into pearltrees based on your interests.

Enrich your collections with pearltrees from other community members. Share all of this and start to cultivate your interests with Pearltrees.





Audioboo is an application for recording and sharing your voice with the world. The free version allows you to create audio up to 3 minutes in length and post that to your own account on the web.

You can add titles, tags, geo-location info and a photo to the recording before you upload it and we’ll save all that with the file.

The audio can then be shared via Moodle, Facebook, Twitter & more social networks by managing your account at http://audioboo.fm.


Free – limited to 3 minutes


Homework Planner

A free planner for students to get their homework organised.





Both online and downloadable this is a very nice app for task organization. 

Allows grouping and teamwork functionality to be used.






A timetable app.





Puppet Pals


Simple movie creator: pupils use the backgrounds and characters and then

create a story by simply providing a voice over while moving characters with

fingers. Movies can be saved, embedded and added to You Tube




ReacTickles Magic:



A suite of applications that use touch, gesture and audio input to encourage

interactive communication






PCS Apps     http://www.mayerjohnson.co.uk/apps/ 

A selection of apps covering different areas of SEN (Speech and Language, Sign

Language, Memory, etc.). All apps use PCS symbols


Angry Birds Free:          http://bit.ly/hjlcuj

Rovio Mobile Gaming app that can be used in a creative way with reluctant writers and other

pupils. Can be linked to Science (forces), DT (nets), Literacy and other areas


BeeBot:         http://bit.ly/zxjm2X

TTS Group Great app with different levels to build skills progression. More apps are on the



Show Me   Interactive:      http://bit.ly/qTSLhL

Easel Great app to use with pupils who have difficulties with memory


Somantics:              http://bit.ly/wlUXPx

Cariad interactive Another great suite of touch led applications to use with pupils who have

autism and associated conditions



Dragon Dictation:     http://bit.ly/9ekZWs

Communication  –  A great dictation app that claims to be 5 times faster than typing. Truly useful



Choiceboard Creator:               http://bit.ly/qjjHMt

Techno Chipmunk Great app for creating choice boards: just use photos/symbols/Images that are

uploaded to your device



Simple app for developing visual perception skills

Possibly Useful



Khan Academy


ITunes U

Google Earth




IEP Checklist

Design Museum Collection

Evernote Peek


Dragon Dictation

KeyNote Presenter




AirSketch Free

FancyPages Lite

Prezi Viewer

Socrative (voting system)


Design Studio

StickPick (costs)

Visual Talks


PowerPoint Remote



SkyView Free


StarChart (cost)



iElements – periodic table





 Ian Bean – SEN ICT Consultant and Trainer.

 http://www.ianbean.co.uk – Follow me on Twitter: @SENICT

Ipad apps shown at TES Resources Show in Manchester

Touch Skills:

Ooze, Reactickles, Drawing with Stars, Target and Touch: Hidden Grid, Target and Touch: Musicians

Making Music

Glow Tunes, Virtuoso, Songify, Garage Band

Photos, video and animation

Ilookfunny, Art Maker, Toontastic, iMovie


Talking Ben, Scene and Heard, Sounding Board, Proloquo, Grid Player



Counting Songs (Inclusive), Splingo!, Alien Buddies, Hairy Letters Ian Bean – SEN ICT Consultant and Trainer.

http://www.ianbean.co.uk – Follow me on Twitter: @SENICT


Stories and Books

Avatar Books: Peter Pan, Into the snow, Toy Story (Disney), Story Maker


Odds and Ends

Smarty Pants (emotions), Dragon Dictate, Dropbox.


Other useful links:

Communcation Apps from Jane Farrall



AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS: Strategies for home and school 4


Using Computers


Computers play an important role in teaching students with an   ASD as they allow presentation of information tailored to the     unique style of learning for each individual student. Be aware,

computer time needs to be carefully monitored to ensure the  student is learning.

 The positive outcomes of using computers    Learning style: Students with autism are visual learners. We  can support verbal instruction with visual representations.

Practice skills: Computers provide predictable routines,  information, responses and outcomes. As the computer

provides the same response every time, a sequence of steps  is followed; this can give the student greater opportunity to  gain mastery of skills.

Motivation: Provides a non-threatening, predictable, nonintrusive  visual tool through which a student can experience success.

 Independent work skills: Computer programmes with a  structured start / finish, and a set number of components to be  completed, can be used to teach, promote and extend  independent work.

 Interaction: Computers can be used as a tool to teach  children to take turns and interact with their peers.

 Fine motor: For students who have difficulty with written  tasks, computers can allow them to produce written work through standard or alternative keyboards (range available).

 Play/recreation: For students who are highly motivated by computers, they can provide an excellent recreation activity.

Computer access can be an excellent play activity for students who find “play” time a challenge at school.

 Job opportunities: Computers can provide excellent future options for students, as they are suited to the student’s learning style and interest, and require minimum social skills.




Reading on the iPad


I have searched for a long time to find the equivalent to a reading scheme on the iPad, but whenever I have found a book it has either had an American accent or it has cost to much, or simply been to complex for what I needed it for.

Until now, Collins Big Cat is already a well established reading scheme used in many schools in the U.K and it seems the have now entered the world of the iPad!


This is a brilliant app, they currently have four books at different levels or reading.

20130321-092256.jpg they have a very descriptive text which explains about the levels of reading and how to use the app.

There are 3 ways to use the app, firstly you can read to myself, I usually start of with this one, using my son as guinea pig! The screen is interactive and has lovely background sounds which aren’t distracting.

So you would read through the book by swiping the pages you can press the hint button at the bottom if you want to know what parts are interactive.

I would then listen to the story next, the child can enjoy checking if they have read correctly of just listening to the story!

Next is the fun bit! Story Creator, this is just fab you can now create your own story using the characters and scenes from the book.

You could recreate the story or make up your own story and best of all you can also record your voice to each page.

So firstly to make your story you need to click on the scene and choose your setting then you can choose your characters and finally add text, it does take a few minutes to get used to how you manoeuvre the the text and characters, but it doesn’t take long.




Now you can also record your voice to each scene so you listen to your version of the story.


Here is a snapshot of the other texts available



I think you will agree it is great these are fab books which fit in lovely with the National Curriculum. And can be used at home or by teachers and support staff in schools.

Just an update, I have completed my first week back at work and I have loved being back. my doctor advised me to start with two weeks of mornings just to get eased in, he said if you go back full time it’s highly likely you’ll wear yourself put and end up needing time off.

I did think actually I feel ok and think I can do full days but thought no I will follow doctors orders and be sensible. I was very glad I did as when I came home dinner time on Monday my leg was sore and tight and I did feel quite worn out, as the week has went on I was feeling a bit better each day. I decided next week that I will maybe do a full day in the middle to say how my body manages that. I found I need to make sure I keep mobile, as the first day I sat for an hour then it was break then sat for another hour so I made sure I would stand up move about etc.

I’m over the moon to be back at work and it doesn’t feel like I’ve been off but I look back and I just can’t believe how much pain I was in and how much everything was a struggle I am really grateful to be healthy and not in that extreme pain.

I was talking to someone in the staff room who asked why I was off and once I had explained she was shocked as someone she knows had the exact same thing everything that I had described, however his operation wasn’t successful and he is now left with permanent damage to his sciatic nerve he has to walk with a crutch but that is a struggle, he has lost his bladder control. They tried a second op for him but that failed too, hearing what he went through and that he was only 31 has made me just so grateful that my outcome was very different.

I woke up yesterday (Saturday) with a really sore foot, just my toes and the flat bit where you toes connect, it really hurts when I put my foot down to walk and from my knee down my leg feels rather tight and a kind of burning sensation. I’m not worrying myself I checked the spine health forums and apparently the L5 nerve is the longest recovery and these are hopefully just symptoms of recovery and the affects of scar tissue, it is still the same today so if no change by Monday I will ring the hospital for advice, I’m staying positive and hoping it is just the recovery as I would be devasated if I had to have another op don’t think I could handle more time of work!

Anyway I’m thinking of starting swimming and/or Pilates to help strengthen my back, we went swimming yesterday with the kids so I only did 4 lengths to see how my body reacts, I had to get out the water after 40 mins as my leg was tightening up but I really enjoyed swimming so hopefully I will be ok to continue.

If your recovery from surgery hope your doing well, ill update maybe in a week.

Speech Cards lite


I have just been playing with this app with my son (guinea pig lol) and I love it! This app can help improve Speech and Language Skills with flashcards, now the lite version is free it comes with 1 deck or cards which are animals.


That is the green box you then press the deck and an image comes up with the word. Now the only problem with this is the person speaking is American of course not a problem if you are American but for the U.K this is the commen problem with fab speech apps – very frustrating.
However I used this app without using the installed voice if you press the bird it says bird but the great thing about this is you can record your own voice.


So if I was using this (which I will be!) I would first ask the child what is this? Then I would record the child’s response this is great so the child can here how he/she says the word the if their is a problem you can re record and explain to the child “you say b bird not d dird” if the child can hear where they are making the mistake it helps them to understand where they need to correct thier speech. You could also extend this activity to asking questions about the bird for example what colour is the bird, can you point to the birds beak or you could extend to more complex questions which require the ability of abstract thinking like “Where would you find a bird? Or What does a bird eat?” The pack has the set of cards –

I would simply not press it and avoid hearing the American voice if you are using the app for the U.K

In the free version you have the ability to create your own deck and it will store information for one child. This is where the fun really starts, the possibilities are endless I created a new deck named Home

In this deck I took a photo of my son and labeled it with his name,

20130110-191956.jpg You can choose a photo already in the camera roll or take you own photos.

Again you record the word or even better the child records the word.

If you upgrade you have access to many decks and can have multiple children on,

20130110-192143.jpg I think this would be money well spent.

You could use this in school if you had any child who needs a visual and kinaesthetic approach, this could be used for a child starting school you could take photos of various parts of the school and pre record your voice with the description then let the child record their voice – this could make transition into a new environment easier.
Or if you have a specific need with a child you can tailor it to their need – they could take the iPad on a nature trail and and take photos then label them back in class.

20130110-192459.jpg. — record of student/pupil


Each card has a customisable text and picture
Use the mic for recording and have immediate feedback
Create and share cards


Communication Photo Book – increase receptive and expressive vocabulary skills
Articulation Cards – practise sounds to increase articulation, listen and record your voice
First words
Category words – ie animals, food, school
Reading, sight words and literacy
Social stories – create your own with images and text
Encourages the use of spoken Language/Communication skills
Learn another Language

Overall this app is great I think it is very good and will be using this!

Student Life – Postponed

Unfortunatly I have had to defer Uni until September this year. It was the most hardest decision I have ever had to make – I started the BA Hons in Education Studies last September and loved it, however when my back started my tutor said to me now are you sure you can manage this it is very fast paced id consider defering, well my reply to that was no chance I will be fine, i can mange it no problem! Thats what I thought! The degree is fab but as it a degree it involved masses or research, only being able to use journals to get the higher grades etc and the course is fast paced the workload is the same as a full time uni student but we work full time and go to Uni on a tuesday night leaving 90% of the work to be fitted in in your own time, the lectures are intense and the assignments are due in every 4 weeks – you would be doing an assignment at home but at uni be getting the next new work for the following assignment.

Now i managed to hand in my first assignment but i was very disappointed with the quality of it  – I knew I could do better but I was still at work when I got home from work I would be exhausted from the pain and mix of morphine so trying to get uni work done was virtually impossible! I handed the assignment is then had spinal surgery, I knew id have to miss at least one Tuesday session which i was dreading as if you miss one its like missing a months lot of information – yes you get the powerpoints etc but its just not the same.  So after my surgery i had another assignment due in the following week – i had thought Oh ill be fine ill be recovering so i will be at an advantage and be able to get all my work done. Well no who was I kidding, I couldnt even sit up long enough to type any words then of course I couldnt drive to the library to get access to the books i needed. Thats when it hit me, my tutor was right i shouldnt be doing this now.

I had a day of tears trying to figure out what to do on one hand I wanted to graduate this summer as i planned to do a Masters in Special Needs and Inclusion at Northumbria Uni this Sept and I wanted to graduate with my friends who i started on the first day of a teaching assistant course! But long term I never wanted to become a qualified teacher untill Matt is at least 10 hes only five now, the fact is at the moment I just love my job and whatever qualification i get I actually don’t want my job to change I love it, I am learning so much from it that id be crazy to want to change! So i thought do i want to graduate in the summer but by only scraping through and getting marks that I know I could do better, Teaching is becoming so competitive now that I want to get a 2.1 but i know this wouldnt be possible with the few months ive had of pain! So after many chats with my hubby, with the head at my school and my friends, I became happy to defer till september.

I still feel a pang of upset when i think of my friends graduating and im not but in the gran scheme of things I know id have been torture to live with, my children would have missed out as id be hiding trying to do work and i just know i could not stay up late to do the work – im in bed by 9pm these days!

Uni were fab my tutor has sorted it all out, only problem is i still have to pay for it now even tho i wont start it till sept, but im not worrying about that just yet! It means i can give work my all when i get back and start reading ready for september.

Hard decision but its done and Im Happy!

Happy New Year!

My resolution – to blog at least once a week! I admit I got sidetracked with the festivities but ill be posting more.

So my recovery is going great! Im 6 weeks post op this saturday, i started driving again at 5 weeks just short journeys and so far so good. My scar has totally healed now so i can finally have a proper long hot soak in the bath! Generally i feel great, I have no back pain at all, occasionally my leg feels a bit wierd like if ive been in bed for to long i can feel the nerve that had the problem feeling very stiff but not painful, im pretty sure from what ive read in spine heath forums that this is normal, it also gets a bit sore after a busy day.

Catch up time – Of course with not been able to do much before Christmas I was only washing the essentials so i now have a huge backlog of washing that needs doing and piles of ironing, i still cant stand long enough to iron a huge pile so i do get rather frustrated!58617_10151161399886636_1003136420_n

So i got bored over christmas and dyed my hair pink, then for new year I went back again


I used ColourB4 and was amazed at the results it took the colour out brilliantly!

We had a brilliant Christmas, in fact one of the best now i dont know if this was because i was off work so I had all the presents sorted very early, but we also had our relatives from Oz come

over too so 27 of us had a Christmas dinner at The Whitehills Pub. http://www.partyatthepub.co.uk/bars/the-whitehills  This was just brilliant for anyone thinking of eating out on Christmas Day  – DO IT!!! Firstly there was no stress at all we simply got up on Christmas Day opened pressies got ready went for Bucks Fizz reception at 1130 which was fab, the kids had an orange juice Mocktail so felt included.

We had the conservatory part to ourself which was perfect with having so many children, the staff were brilliant and especially for working on  christmas day they were just fab! The food was brilliant you couldnt fault it, the portions were a very decent size everyone had plenty of veg to go round, and the desserts too were amazing! They actually let us alter the menu slightly too as alot of us dont like the fancy starters like brie etc so they stuck on an extra option of soup!

By 1.30pm we had finished the food so whilst coffee was served we dished out the presents. So by 3pm everyone was home with no stress of cooking dinner or timing the turkey and the best part was no washing up. For me i found that this was the first Christmas i wasnt stressing out all day rushing round cooking or shouting at kids to get out the kitchen, I think we will do this again this year,  well worth every penny!                                 178714_10151154611491636_1901581480_o

Christmas passed in a blur, i caught a terrible cold that lasted till New Years Eve which i was very gutted about but it didnt stop me having my annual New Year Party, it was my birthday and after spending most of the day thinking i was 34 during the party Matt my 5 year old kindly reminded me i was only actually 33! So that was a huge bonus! We had a fab party with my family and close friends (who got me a cocktail making kit – just fab) i managed a few cocktails, we had fireworks for the kids plenty of food and loads of gossip  – it was a bit emotional remembering our Granda who we lost in Feb but i do know he would be very proud of us all sticking together.  The kids had a hoot, spent most on the night playing on the Wii or blowing the hooters! I couldnt stop sneezing the whole night and my nose was streaming but i did have a brilliant time and as i didnt drink much i had no hangover!!


So thats an update, I’m back to work on the 7th I just cant wait, I have missed my friends and the children so much, my doctor said i should go back to work on a phased return as he reminded me that it is only 6 weeks since spinal surgery and he said if you go back full time you could end up exhausted and having to have time off at a later date, he suggested doing two weeks of just mornings which will help me to figure out just how worn out i get. Its hard to predict this as of course over christmas if im worn out i just have a lie down and you dont know how much worn out ness is just because of having a cold or the craziness of Christmas or if yes its because i simply had surgery 6 weeks ago. So for all i was tempted to say NOOOOOO im going back properly, ive decided to listen to the doctor and do what he says – i do not want to jeopardize my back and have any more time of work.

I see my surgeon tomorrow night at 1930 for the 6 week check so im gonna ask him about my leg, ive woke up this morning and it is aching again – not painful but heavy like i can feel the actual nerve needs a good stretch or rub, feels a bit dead? This is worrying me a bit as when i stand to wash up it is quite sore and i feel i have to sit, but fingers crossed it is ment to be like this and hopefully it will get better quick!

On Sunday 2nd December we went on The Polar Express. This was at Weardale Railway near Stanhope in the U.K This is the first time it’s been done in the U.K and I feel we have been so fortunate to have went.


My brother ran me and told me he’d just booked so I rang up and managed to get the same day, at the time I didn’t realise it would only be a week after my surgery! But I felt able to go and I’m so glad I did! When we arrived I asked the parking attendants if we could park at the front due to me not been ment to be on my feet for to long – the staff were fab couldn’t have been more helpful. We parked and the young lad went to tell another staff member within minute a man came out was so kind and friendly, he took my email and was kind enough to take brothers too and he got our tickets for us. Just a note for others the ticket office doesn’t open until 1910 so the que was huge people were there fir an hour before standing in the cold, I’d turn up at seven wait in car then get tickets no ones gonna pinch ya seat!


So the lovely man escorted us through a side entrance to the train, now as we’d booked separately we weren’t sitting together – however the fantastic dancing waiters said they would try their best to swop people round and sure enough they did.

20121204-112013.jpg The lovely waiter!

The kids all had their pjs on and the train journey began, before we even started the waiters had everyone singing even dancing in the aisles I’m hoping ill be able to attach the YouTube video I made onto the end of this.

20121204-112205.jpg The conductor chopping away at the tickets (ps thats Matt my 5 yr old)

20121204-112305.jpg My oldest he didn’t want to wear his pjs but he loved it too!

20121204-112350.jpg Hot Chocolate time!

20121204-112430.jpgYummy! Cookie time


After our hot choc and cookies the waiters walked up and down with the book ensuring all the children got to have a look while the train told the story through the speakers this was great as it calmed the kids down after an exciting start – now as soon as I saw the book I thought here we go they will be selling the book now – I did actually want one but they didn’t which impressed me loads there was so many opportunities for them to sell my amount of goodies but they never did once which ment no pressure for adults to spend a fortune there was a gift shop but even that was discreet so well done Weardale – you’ve kept parents happy too!


After the story the waiters told the kids to watch out the window where we saw elves dancing outside, Santa’s sack of toys etc. The waiters told the kids how we’ve travelled so far to the North Pole and it only feels like minutes Matt was amazed and believed he has been to the North Pole. then Santa came on the train he took his time and gave every child a bell, he even had time to ave a little chat and a photo took.

When we got off the train I was touched to see the same man who sat us down waiting and asked me how i was and if I needed a hand. I have since emailed Weardale to say well done and a huge thanks the whole experience was brilliant and even though it was a week since my surgery I was able to enjoy it too. Right I’m going to try to put the link on now!