Saturday, 30 July 2016

My Sunday Photo - 30 July 2016

I took this photo while out with my son a couple of weeks ago. We were visiting a new retail centre near home. This is Bournville College which was relocated here in 2011. Originally the college had been set up by George Cadbury, the famous chocolate manufacturer. This new building was built on the former MG Rover Car Plant in Longbridge.

The Longbridge plant opened in 1905 and finally closed it's doors in 2005. I think most male members of my family had worked there at some point. My Dad passed away on his way to his night shift there. My Step-Dad worked there too and I remember having holidays subsidised by the factory, the families would all go together on a coach to Butlins.

Longbridge was a busy place and it seemed so strange when the factory was demolished. Now the land is being rebuilt again and it's quite amazing when you realise just how big the whole place was. Where the factory once stood is this college (Which is massive) a big shopping complex with hotel, bars and other places to eat, a park and a youth centre and it's still an ongoing project. In fact they are probably only half way though the development.

While I sat there and took this photo I spared a thought for all those that had worked at Longbridge car factory, for many it was so much more than just a job. Now that piece of history has gone and is being given new life.


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Boo's 9th Birthday

My Word of the Week this week is Birthday!

I can't believe my little Boo is nine years old already.
I wanted to do a little post to celebrate her birthday but I also wanted to  tell you all about her party, so I'll mix them together.

Let's start with a baby photo :)

She was an adorable baby, so  easy to care for. Her birth was pretty quick but she was a meconium baby so she wasn't breathing when born..she recovered mighty quick though :) 

At 2 yrs old she had a febrile convulsion and ended up in hospital. At 3 years old we were back at the hospital with pneumonia. She has had chicken pox with no complications, but otherwise has been quite well and healthy.

She is a little artist, always drawing pictures. Her favourite thing is a book and a pen, I think she takes after me there. It was no surprise when she asked for an arts and crafts party for her birthday.

Her party was last Saturday and the weather was lovely. We decided to have the activities inside though because I have difficulty walking in the garden. 

In the kitchen we used a work top as a biscuit station. I made the biscuits myself and they were just vanilla cookies. I used a large round cookie cutter.

I then set up cake cases full of different kinds of sprinkles and bought some packs of writing icing. Then I let the kids decorate their biscuits. When the icing had dried I put them into little food bags for them to take home. 

Our next activity was to make fridge magnets out of Shrinkies. These are sheets of  thick paper that can be drawn on and coloured in. I did some drawings for the children to trace if they were not confident of drawing themselves. Then we cut around the drawing and put the paper in a warm oven for a few moments. The Shrinkies then come out half the original size and feel like hard plastic. I put some self adhesive magnetic tape on each one to be used as fridge magnets.

Our final activity was box decorating. I bought some plain boxes to be used as trinket/sweet boxes. Then I set out a table full of patterned paper pieces, buttons, string, beads, pens and glue and let the kids decorate their boxes. Then when they had finished I filled each box with sweets for them to take home.

The activities took about an hour to complete and the kids really enjoyed each one. When we were done it was time for food and then they played in the garden until it was time to go home. I had planned a further activity, they were going to decorate their own party bags, I'd ordered some white paper bags with handles but they didn't arrive before the party. I bought some bags from the local shop and filled them with their boxes, fridge magnets, cookies, a lollipop and a novelty pen. I think everyone had a fun time and Boo was really happy.

Here is a little video of Boo's Birthday Party.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Honest Brew Box - Review and Discount.

As much as I love wine I find myself getting more excited over a good beer! You can beat a nice refreshing cold glass of beer on a summer evening, or at any time if I'm totally honest. I guess that's why I enjoyed reviewing Honest Brew so much.

Honest Brew is the UK's best online beer service. They research small batch beers form around the world and then tailor each selection to your preferences.

"HonestBrew works with microbreweries from across the world, including
Beavertown, Lervig and Yeastie Boys, to offer a huge range of unique beers. With
95% of the beers sold by HonestBrew not available in supermarkets, this
personalised and curated service offers users something unique."

There are three types of subscription boxes of beer to choose from;

The Beer Club - offers 2 x 6 craft beers sent every month for £29.90 (£10 off first delivery) This is the no fuss subscription and it is great if you just want some tasty beer each month.

The Tailor Made - offers 12 brewery fresh craft beers every month for £35.50 (£10 off first delivery) Your subscription is tailor made to your tastes.

The Treasure Chest - offers 12 exclusive and hard to find craft beers every month for £39.90 (£10 off first delivery) Again your subscription is tailored to your tastes.

All three subscriptions promise a flexible subscription (you can cancel or pause any time) and free delivery.

Interested? Why don't you try a Taster Kit, I can offer you one with 50% off that's just £9 for six craft beers. Just visit Honest Brew through my blog to get this fantastic offer.

I was sent a six beer taster kit to review myself. It's a great way to get a taste of the different types of beers available and see which ones you like best.

In my box I had;

Beavertown Neck Oil - an India Pale Ale which is refreshing light and crisp but packs a punch. It's the kind of ale you can drink at any time of day for refreshment.

Buxton Wild Boar - Another India Pale Ale from the Buxton Brewery in Derbyshire. It had an aroma of lime and mango but you can also taste honey and malt. It had a lovely frothy head on top of a pale straw coloured beer.

Howling Hops Running Beer - I didn't get to try this one, it disappeared from my case, I think my eldest son was the culprit (it's ok he's over the legal drinking age!) It's a full bodied brown ale.

Fourpure Pils - This one was abducted by my eldest daughter (also over the legal drinking age) she said it tasted like larger! Which is probably correct seeing as it is a Pilsner, but from London not Germany.

Wild Beer, Wild Goose Chase - This is a Saison beer which is not something I am familiar with but is described as wild and interesting. I was pretty sure I could detect gooseberries, which in my books is pretty interesting for a beer.

The Five Points Brewery ,Railway Porter - This promised me coffee and chocolate as well as beer. I don't know if it was just the promise but I really loved this beer, I think I'm definitely more of a stout person (as in stout beer not fat!) Not as refreshing as the lighter ales but dark, interesting and somewhat comforting. My favourite in the box (out of the ones I got to taste anyway, Thanks Kids!)

I also received the lovely Siam beer glass that you can see in my photos.

Overall I really enjoyed my selection and found my box emptied pretty quick. It would be nice to receive a box every month, I'd probably go for the tailored boxes though so I could get more of what I liked while trying new brands. 

Did you know that beer could come in so many flavours? They come under six main categories;
  • Light/crisp - light and easy drinking lagers or pale ales.
  • Citrusy/fruity - refreshing, often bitter hop-focused beers
  • Malty/toffee - never overly bitter, occasionally sweet and warming
  • Roasted/chocolate - usually rich, full bodied, and brewed with darker malts
  • Wild/Interesting - Experimental and wild, these test the boundaries of what beer is thought to be.
  • Earthy/spicy - expect herbal and earthy flavours.
Are you a beer lover? Which flavours do you think you'd like to try? I'd love to hear in the comments.

Honest Brew also have an informative blog, I  liked this post about Vegan Brews, Particularly as I have a vegan friend coming over for drinks soon.

They have their own shop where you can buy individual cans and bottles if you don't fancy a regular subscription. Or you can buy Howlers, which are tubes containing three cans of beer and are ideal for transporting to parties or festivals. Or you can buy a mixed case of beers, there are several options to choose from and are a one off purchase.

Honest Brew are offering my readers a 50% discount on a Taster Pack, that's just £9 for 6 craft beers!


I would recommend Honest Brew to my friends and family and beer lovers everywhere. They provide a unique service and the prices are decent. The subscriptions are easy and adaptable and the best value as you are rewarded with free postage and with some you get an extra discount in their shop if you need to top up with extra beer if you need it. I was given the taster pack free for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

My Sunday Photo - 23July2016

What could  be nicer than a bunch of children having fun in the garden in the sun...mmm, let me think, a nice cocktail on the deck of cruise ship maybe?

Yesterday it was Boo's birthday party, it's not her birthday until next Wednesday but experience has shown me that if you have a child with a birthday in the school holidays then it needs to be as soon as possible after they break up!

She chose a craft party and we made some lovely things, decorated biscuits, trinket/sweetie boxes and shrinkie fridge magnets. There was also lots of colouring, gluing and sticking going on. Then after the party feast they were let loose into the back garden for some imaginative play. They all had lots of fun.

Next up is the Little Man's birthday party in just two weeks time, followed by Star's birthday (no party) two weeks after that...Summer is birthday time!

Fancy a slice of cake?


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

School's Out For Summer!

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote this post about how worried I was about my youngest children's school. Today is their last day and I'm glad to report that I'm feeling happier now.
I haven't managed to get them into another school, there was no room for both of them at the same school and I didn't want to have to run around 3 different schools picking them all up. So they will have to stay at their current primary school for now. However, there has been a change around with the teachers and I found out yesterday that the Little Man will be staying with his current teacher in the next year which is good as she knows best how to deal with him. Also, Boo is going to have Star's teacher for next year and I believe that she is currently one of the best teachers in the school. So, at least I know both children will have the best teachers for the next year.

This morning we attended Star's Year six leavers assembly. They did really well with no interaction from any teachers. The whole thing was set as a news interview where they were interviewing a current pupil as if he was a grown up and had become the President of the World. They worked through all the values they had learnt at the school and told us how they had helped the former pupil to become so mighty. It was also done with a little tongue in cheek moments and there were breaks in the broadcast for musical interludes and certificate awards to the teachers. The Ukulele playing was particularly good. At the end of the 'show' the children were all presented with special t-shirts.

Here is Star 'proudly' showing off hers.

Of course at the end of term we have the presenting of teachers with gifts. I usually put a lot of time and effort in making the gifts with the kids, and have even been furiously baking 24 cup cakes the day before the last day of term. This year I wasn't up to all that so I bought gifts. I was really happy with the gift I bought for Star's teacher, and she was really happy with it too, she said she'd never had a gift so thoughtful and nice. She was actually quite emotional so I knew she meant it. So what did I get her?

It's a Boxcitement Thank You gift box. I also bought on of these for a really good friend and she was equally pleased. If you want to know more about Boxcitement, I did a review for them recently here on Raisiebay.

So, in a couple of hours we will be picking up the kids for the last time until September. I've been meaning to write a bucket list of things to do over the summer but I didn't get very far. The Little Man decided to write his own but all it included was computer time, eating and sleeping. However, I'm not too worried about being so organised though because our calendar is filling up quickly and I'm already thinking this summer is going to fly by.

So, plans so far include...
hospital trips (Which can be combined with bench hunting and Pokemon Go)
Reading Bench hunting (last year we did Owl hunting!)
A trip to Hatton Adventure World.
Star will be going to summer school for four days including a trip to Stratford-On-Avon
Family Pizza outing for Star's birthday
Party for Boo
Party for The Little Man
Then we can fill in the other time with Pokemon Go...which will probably include parks, rivers and wildlife centres.

I will also be bringing you some special news in early August..shhh for now ;)

So, Bring on the Summer. I am ready, are you?

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