The Blues, Views and Downs Side Up News

I realise that there's been a little radio silence of late. I won't apologise because I'm certain that you aren't sitting waiting for the latest instalments from team Downs Side Up, but here are some of the events that have filled our time recently.

Blogosphere Magazine
Life hurtles on, commissioned articles for others (apologies due for those that are late) are increasing, a teen and tween need more attention (who knew!), EHCP plans take research and time (and bucket loads of chocolate), I've taken on a school Trustee post which is quite a steep learning curve too. 

There have been trips, travel and a house full of friends. Natty spent SATs week at home having dancing, swimming and music lessons and we've spent a lot of time desensitising her ready for a routine blood test, by way of play therapy.  

Add to all of this a world that feels like a confusing mess at the moment and I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling my energies sapped. Our thoughts are with all those affected by recent events in out cities, and we cling to the hope that we can all pull together moving forward.

And so it was that I realised that I hadn't even looked at my blog for weeks. I found 23 unfinished blog posts sitting in my draft folder. Each one is a corker I promise 😉, but they'll have to wait. I might never get around to finishing them, and they'll drop off the bottom of the list of things to do when they cease to become relevant, but no-one will ever be any the wiser.

I pondered. How about a newsletter-style round-up of some of the highlights of the last couple of months? It's cheating I know, but quick and easy, so here we go...

Digital Detox

We tried Airbnb for the first time and spent some relaxing time in the warmth of southern Spain.
The girls loved the out of season swims in their new wetsuits and everyone tried new tastes and experiences. We switched off our phones and got out the board games too!

Spanish sights

Wetsuits swims

City break!

Mia and Sally Phillips son Luke were interviewed by BBC Radio 4 for the Listening Project. They talked about life with a sibling who has Down's syndrome and I have a feeling that flatulance might have been mentioned/heard too. We'll keep you posted when you can it airs.

Then we excitedly dashed across London and watched Sally film an episode of QI. Mia was hugely excited to shake Alan Davies' hand, but of course was too cool to ask for a pic, hence the unimpressed expression next to a poster.

Radio 4 studio

In the Green Room for QI

We met Grandma and had some multi generational fun whilst in the city too. If you ever get a chance to take a 'more mature lady' to Madame Tussaud's, I highly recommend the 4D film and The Voice experiences. Mum's reaction was priceless! Worth every penny!

Madame Tussaud's Mum and daughter time

Grandma as The voice judge at Madame Tussaud's

Serial Finalist!

I attended the UK Blog Awards for the second year running. Downs Side Up was a finalist in the Health and Social Care section which is a huge honour! 

I came back to Cornwall with 2 awards.... not for us, but one for Coombe Mill and the other for Eco Fluffy Mama. So proud of you both!
For my part I am just so very happy for Downs Side Up to be considered again this year. 

Collecting Coombe Mill's award at the UK Blog Awards

Magazine Feature

We were honoured to have hosted the Blogosphere Magazine team at home for a photo shoot to be included in their Summer edition of the quarterly publication. Chasing children and chickens, dogs and husbands around the home making sure everyone stayed clean, fed, watered and wearing something appropriate/not clashing was hard work, but enormous fun. The issue is due to be revealed this week.

Our story in the Summer issue of Blogosphere Magazine

Podcasters Unite

I was honoured to take part in the Sue Atkins Parenting Show last week, where she invited me to talk about the joys and challenges of bringing up a child with Down's syndrome. We also talk about sources of support and the cathartic power of writing. You can listen in here and subscribe for future programmes.

And the tireless and resourceful Tim Liew recorded the 50th episode of the Meet the Parents Podcast to which I am a (very) occasional contributor (sorry Tim). Listen here as we all talk about what inspires us to blog, our original motivations and where we are heading. I give a shout out to Fermented Foodie, My Two Mums, Just Bring the Chocolate, Red Ted Art, Her Melness Speaks and Wally Mummy as just a handful of the blogs I like to dip into when I feel like a change.

Meet the Professionals

I was honoured to be invited to speak to a local group of learning disability nurses and two groups of SENCOs recently. In exchange for sharing our story and explaining just how much their services have helped our family over the years, I learnt so much from them in return, and gained a sense of relief that such a safety net exists around our family.

Sharing our story with SENCOs


I reviewed an episode of the Police documentary The Met which dealt with the sensitive subject of supporting a victim who has Down's syndrome in the wake of a sexual assault. Read our interview with filmmaker Clare Richards The Met Tackles Tricky Taboo here on why she chose to include the story in the series.

The Met features the story of a young woman with Down's syndrome after her assault

Awards for Changing Hearts and Minds

Mulit-award winning A World Without Down's

And just in... the biggest news of all is that BBC Two documentary created with Dragonfly TV, A World Without Down's? which we were proud to feature in, was awarded not one, but TWO Sandford St Martin's Awards last night. One as voted for by the Radio Times Readers and the other for best ethics TV programme.

Sally Phillips, who co-wrote and fronted the programme, said that prizes were never the reason for creating it, but that it was wonderful to have the hard work of the team recognised as it came at quite a high personal cost. 

First TV award!

Judges stated that the documentary, which looks at the way antenatal screening is implemented and the possible consequences for the Down's syndrome community as well as asking what kind of society we want to live in, had a lasting impact on them and changed their way of thinking about the condition.

And that is all we ever hope for: changing the perceptions of down's syndrome, gently and from within hearts. 

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