My Sunday Photo 17:20. Meeting Your Hero

We all have those heroes in our lives who we look at for inspiration from time to time and it is no different with children.

I'd like to think that myself and Keighley are Olivers and Leos hero and for the most part we probably are, however for Oliver he has also developed other heroes who he looks to and wanted to meet.

Well recently he got the chance to meet four of his heroes and his biggest hero was within that four.

For as long as I can remember Oliver has loved Disney/Pixar Cars, so when we went to Disneyland Paris recently he was over joyed that they have a whole area dedicated to his favourite movies. Although this area was literally one ride and the above props within the Walt Disney Studios Park, he loved it and loved seeing Lightning McQueen, Mater, Luigi and Guido.

To be honest I think he was a little over whelmed by it all but he had mentioned it a few times since which I can only take as a good thing.


My Experience of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

written by Carly Sygrove of My Hearing Loss Story

Nine months ago I was sitting in a school auditorium, listening to a guest speaker giving a presentation. I am a teacher of Early Years children, and this was part of the school training sessions, a week before the start of the new school year. I lifted my head up from writing some notes, and out of nowhere came a loud screeching sound that filled my head with pressure. The sound grew quieter into a dull ringing, but the pressure continued and I was soon feeling light-headed and disoriented. This is how I lost the hearing in my left ear. There was no accident or known infection or virus that caused it. There was nothing inside my ear blocking the sound. It was not a gradual deterioration. My hearing just disappeared. I had experienced something called sudden sensorineural hearing loss.The treatment that followed was anti-inflammatories and nasal sprays prescribed by my doctor. When these didn’t help, I was referred to a specialist, who told me to go to the hospital where I received a week-long course or intravenous corticosteroids and anti-viral medication. I continued taking the corticosteroids for another four weeks after leaving the hospital. I also received four injections of steroids directly into my ear, each a week apart. I went for an MRI scan which ruled out a tumour as the cause of my hearing loss; which of course I was relieved by. Yet nobody was able to find a cause of the loss of my hearing. Despite the medication and treatments I received, there was no improvement in my condition. I am now severely deaf in my left ear.
The obvious problem with being deaf in one ear is that I can’t hear. I have read about other people’s stories of sudden hearing loss and it seems that everybody’s experiences are unique. Many people lose their hearing in similar ways such as hearing a pop in their ear or feeling a fullness sensation in their head accompanied by pressure. Yet the after-effects can differ a lot. For me, it is not the actual deafness that is the main issue I am dealing with, but rather the other ‘hidden extras’ that come with my condition. Of course, I get frustrated by not being able to hear well. How many times can I ask my boyfriend what he has just said to me? How many times can you ask someone to repeat themselves, before they decide that what they were saying ‘doesn’t matter’? But I am facing more challenging issues than just having unilateral hearing.

With only one hearing ear, I have no idea where sound is coming from. I might hear some music or a noise, but I won’t know which way to look to see what has produced the sound. Sound localization is a skill enabled by having two working ears, not one. I find it difficult to filter out background noise. When I am in a place with sounds such as traffic, people talking or music, and somebody tries to speak to me, I cannot hear them unless they are standing very close to me on my hearing side. Another issue I am having is that I developed a sensitivity to sound. I find loud noises painful and with loud noises, my head fills with pressure. The kitchen is an orchestra of cutting sounds: water running and clinking as it splashes in the metal sink, kitchen pots and pans clanging together, the ping of the microwave and the beeping of the washing machine, and the oven fan that blends the other sounds together; making a mass of pressure in my ears. Another uncomfortable part of my day is when I open the main door to the block of apartments where I live, and am immediately faced with city sounds of traffic and people. Eating crisps, or anything crunchy such as crusty bread, sounds so loud and distorted in my head. This was originally something I found really difficult to cope with, but seems to be getting better with familiarity.

One of the most upsetting things is that I have realized that many of the things I love involve noise. I love music and listening to podcasts on my IPod. Now I no longer can enjoy music how I used to. I have programmed my earphones to filter all the sounds from music into mono so that it ensures I don’t lose the sound of the drums or vocals when using only one headphone. However, this obviously means that all the sound goes into my right ear, which is already dealing with enough right now, and soon becomes uncomfortable with the intensity of the noise.

I regularly feel exhausted. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s my body trying to adapt and cope with feeling off balance and sensitive to my surroundings. Everyday sounds are tiring. With tiredness comes the difficulty of concentrating on individual sounds, which in turn makes the process of hearing conversation difficult. I also have continuous tinnitus in my deaf ear. For me, my tinnitus is rarely just one constant sound, but rather a mixture. Some common sounds for me are: the sounds of swimming with my head underwater, bells, ringing and whooshing – like the sound from those corrugated plastic tubes that children swing in circles to make a noise. During the daytime I am often able to disconnect from my tinnitus, as there are usually other ‘real’ sounds to occupy my hearing. However, when I am lying in bed trying to sleep I hear only my tinnitus. Every day at this moment, I wish for silence.

There have been difficult times where I have lost my confidence or when I’ve experienced moments of sadness and the feeling of loss. I sometimes think it would be easier to have been deaf in one ear all my life, than for it just to happen to me. I know how great music can sound in stereo. I know how easy it can be to talk with people and hear their responses over background noise. I know how it feels to enjoy the loudness of the cinema or to experience the force of live music at a festival bouncing through your body. I also know there are people going through much more difficult and scary things. Yet it is only human nature to feel sad. I have felt angry at my body for letting me down. I lost a part of me that played a big role in enabling me to interact with the world. I am starting to deal with it. I will keep trying every day, to tackle the new challenges that come with my hearing loss. Eventually I want to be able to embrace my hearing loss, and not let it upset me, rather for me to take control. I want to enjoy the hearing that I do have and feel grateful for it.


Our Cochlear Journey!

So yesterday marked the start of our Cochlear Journey for Leo…

We had an appointment at St Thomas’s Hospital in London for a briefing on what is going to happen. Some of the information we knew because of already having a Cochlear Implant but there was a lot for me that was new. We have a couple of busy months ahead with the appointments that we have scheduled, and although I have a lot to process on certain elements of what is going to happen I know that this is what is best for Leo, if we are successful and eligible for an implant. 

We know that if eligible we are going to go ahead but there are some questions we still need to answer in our minds, they will be answered over the next two months, for now I am just going to read up on what they gave us and both Keighley and I are going to look at the different brands on the market that the hospital uses so we have a better understanding on what the benefits are of one brand over another. 

Great Nanny Gales Christmas Cake Part One. 

 A Christmas cake is something that both of our families make each year and Fruit cakes/Christmas cakes are a cake that taste better the longer you leave it especially if you are going to feed it brandy (adults only) this year Oliver went to his Great Nanny Gales to help make the cake and nearer to Christmas he will be decorating it, but in the mean time here is how they made it…


What You Need.

150g/5 oz Currents

50g/2 oz Sultanas

50g/2 oz Raisins

25g/1 oz Mixed Peel Chopped

OR 275g/10 oz Mixed Fruit

40g/1.5oz Glacé Cherries

Dash of Lemon Juice

100g/3.5oz Plain Flour

Half a teaspoon of ground Cinnamon

Quarter of a teaspoon of ground Mixed Spice

75g/3 oz Butter

75g/3 oz Soft Brown Sugar

1 and a half Eggs (size 2)
Please note if you intend to add brandy to your cake then it is best to soak the fruit in 2 tablespoons over night the night before you intend to make the cake. 
Making the Cake

*First off take the butter and put in the bowl and then cream with a whisk until light and fluffy. This can be done with either an electric whisk or by hand.

*Next add the sugar and mix into the mixture until it is light and fluffy.

*Now add the eggs and then stir in the flour and spices.

*Finally add the fruit and cherries and stir in. Do not over beat the mixture at this point otherwise the cake will end up heavy.
Baking The Cake

*Line with baking paper and grease a 6 inch cake tin (round or square)

*Next pour in the cake mixture and then level off the top

*Finally place the tin on the bottom shelf of a preheated oven.

120c – 150c, 300F, Gas Mark 2.

and cook for two hours, at the end of this time take the cake out of the oven and check it is cooked all the way through by placing a knife in the centre (top to bottom), if it comes out clean then it is done. 
The cake now needs to settle for around 3-5 weeks so the flavours can mature. The best way to do this is to place the cake in a tin or plastic storage box and store it in a dry and cool place. 

Have Yourself a Thrifty Christmas Launch

Welcome to this years ‘Have Yourself A Thrifty Christmas’ over the next few weeks we will be giving you ideas on numerous ways to save money and having a Christmas to remember without breaking the bank. 

Christmas is about family and making sure you spend time with your loved ones, but for some it has also become a time when it is a great idea to out do everyone else with those expensive presents. It also seems to be a time when people get more and more stressed  about what should be a fun time. 

Coming in this years ‘Have Yourself a Thrifty Christmas’ are gift guides including ‘Gifts for Mum for £10 and under’ and ‘Fantastic Gifts for a Loved One All That Cost £1’. We are also going to be giving you great craft ideas to help decorate your house this festive season and much much more. 

We will be using the hashtag #thriftychristmas so make sure you follow us on Twitter @2bottlesofmilk and on Facebook (search for 2 Bottles of Milk) and finally Instgram also @2bottlesofmilk. 

Thrifty Christmas Coming Soon! 


Starting next Monday here on 2 Bottles of Milk we will be running Have Yourself a Thrifty Christmas for ten second year running. 

This year we will be including craft ideas, money saving tips, gift guides for a tight budget and much much more. 

If anyone is interested in writing a guest blog then please contact us via the link above. 

My Sunday Photo 16:05: Saying Goodbye

This photograph is almost five years old. However this coming Tuesday we will be saying a final goodbye to the gentleman on the left. 

That gentleman is my Grandad and boy what a Grandad he was. He was always there for you whatever the time of day or night. His words of advice were almost always right. 

He was the best a man could be and as my wife described him when he passed away almost three weeks ago he was a ‘true East End Gent’. 

My Grandad was the most selfless person I have had the pleasure of having in my life and boy do I miss him. 

On this coming Tuesday l, as I said we get to say Goodbye for the final time, but I know he will be there not only in my heart and mind but also the hearts and minds of everyone that had the honour of knowing the truly fine Gentleman. 

Goodbye Grandad miss you. 


My Sunday Photo 16:03


This photo, that I have chosen this week, I think shows how similar Oliver and Leo are even though there is a two year age gap.  

We took the boys to Brands Hatch yesterday for their American Speedfest event and we were lucky enough to meet a trio of Cars from the hit movies. 

The boys loved it and Oliver is asking when we can go back. 


Baby Signing

This post was written by guest blogger Laura Green who blogs at All The Things I Used To Know and was originally published on 17th February 2015.
At almost 13 months now, Ted’s communication has taken a giant leap in the past couple of weeks…It is so exciting!
He now says Muma, Dada, Gdad, Nana consistently and makes lots of animal noises, this week he also started attempting car and more.
Ted’s communication is aided considerably by baby signing, the few words he’s attempting are amazing but they are not the extent of his ability to communicate because we sign too.
We attended classes with Jane of Little Bear Baby Signing, starting when Ted was 6 weeks old and from 6 months he started to sign back to us – the very useful ‘More’ at about 7 months was one of his first signs (after Milk and Aeroplane, obviously!)
It’s a slow process and at the start it does feel like you’re not making much progress (Jane prepares you for this and is honest and realistic within her classes which is massively helpful) but at about 4/5 months Ted started to smile when we did certain signs and he’d calm in anticipation of his needs being met once he saw us sign our understanding of what he wanted.
Our first big breakthrough was at 6 months when one evening, after a big bedtime feed he unusually woke screaming, nothing that normally worked was settling him until in his softly lit room I noticed him curling his little fist repeatedly…This means milk. I gave him some more milk and within 5 minutes he was contentedly snoozing away again.
At this point we really felt we’d found something special.
My husband attended a lot of the classes with Ted and loved going, he spends a lot of time with our son and his enthusiasm for signing with him too has been instrumental in its success as repetition and consistency really are the key.
At just over a year now, Ted can communicate when he’s tired, hungry or thirsty, he tells us if he wants more, if he’s had enough or wants to go home, he waves hello and goodbye, points out lights, the sun, stars and rain and shows us Cars, Aeroplanes, Lions, Bears, Bees, Monkeys and his current favourite Ducks (while carrying his bath duck around with him).
If you have a young baby and are thinking about groups, I cannot encourage you enough to look into Baby Signing – I’m positive life with a one year old would be a lot less fun and a lot more frustrating for us all if we didn’t understand a lot of what he was trying to tell us.

The group although obviously focused on sign also includes lots of lovely sensory activities and songs that you will be singing all day in no time.

I hope this also helps to reassure parents that signing does not interfere with or slow down speech, it just aids the ability to communicate. Signs are always accompanied by the corresponding word and it means you understand your child as they attempt to say things, this gives you increased opportunities to model the correct pronunciation and reduce frustrations, for everyone!
Thank you Jane – what an amazing gift it is you give us parents!

(Editor) The following video is a more recent demonstration of Baby Sign Language and how it can benefit both Parents and Child.