Thursday, 27 July 2017

Word of the Week - Cake

Yesterday it was Boo's 10th birthday, my little girl is growing up fast.

She watches loads of cake making videos and as her party involved making stuffed dogs she decided that she would like a dog cake. We looked at loads when we eventually agreed on one that she liked and I felt I could make.

Since I got sick I've not been able to make cakes like I used to. For one, I can't stand in the kitchen for long periods of time. Also, my hands and eyes don't work like they used to. It makes me sad, but I always like a challenge, so I challenged myself to make this cake for Boo.

chocolate dog cake

At Boo's party we made the stuffed dogs which was fun, then the girls each had a plain cupcake to decorate in celebration of their dogs birthday. I also gave them a little candle for their cakes but they were a little rowdy so we decided not to light the candles.

dogs birthday cupcake

Star and the Little Man also wanted to help so they made some cupcakes and decorated them with buttercream and chocolate chips for the party.

So, this week has not only been all about Boo's birthday, but about the cake!
What word sums up your week?

The Reading Residence

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Help! My Home is Being Taken Over By Slime.

I went to bed last night and there was a dollop of slime on my bed sheet. I had to strip the bed before I could get in and go to sleep.
There were traces of slime up the stairs too, and on the landing, and no doubt if I went into my daughter's bedroom the culprit would be found red handed, or should that be slime handed?

You see, Star is obsessed with slime. Not your ordinary, buy in a tub, slime. But home made, make your kitchen look like there has been and explosion of alien pie, slime. She watches videos on YouTube on how to make slime. She watches videos on people playing with slime. She watches videos of slime, slime and even more slime.

She says that slime makes her feel calm. She tells me that some of the videos she watches are sensory and she loves to hear the sounds that slime makes in someone else's hands.

My girl is weird!

Yesterday she made two different types of slime. One was with Borax (yes, I had to order it online, I'd never heard of it before but apparently it's a laundry starch) warm water and pva glue. The other was body lotion and cornflour.

Borax Slime

This involves 1 and a half tablespoons of Borax dissolved in a cup of warm water which is then added to around 150 ml of glue and stirred. The mixture should be quite runny still but it will stop sticking to the stirring spoon. Then you leave it for a while. (This bit my daughter finds very difficult, she's not good at waiting.) Eventually there will be blobs of slime at the bottom of your bowl and the rest will be a watery, almost clear liquid. Then you take out the blobs and squeeze out the remaining water to make your slime.
We have tried this several times and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I can't tell you why.

If you want to try a UK version of this slime recipe (And I'm sure we will be at some point) then take a look at Someone's Mum's post on Rainbow Glitter Slime.

Body Lotion Slime

Finally a use for all those bottles of body lotion that arrive in Christmas gifts that you have never had time to use. Now, I do love body lotion, but there is only so much you can get through in a year. This is my favourite slime because, 1. it smells nice and 2. it contains cornflour. Cornflour is my most favourite sensory product. I absolutely adore the way it feels on my hands. Normally, I can't stand anything at all on my hands, but cornflour I could play with all day. Plus when you add water you get this amazing solid liquid! It's like magic, one minute it's a pouring liquid, but hit it hard and quick with a spoon and it resists like a solid. 

Enough of my cornflour enthusing, the recipe to this is quite simple. Put your cornflour into a bowl and mix in the body lotion until you get a nice stretchy, slimy consistency. This lovely slime is not only lovely to play with, it smells great and keeps your hands soft! Of course it also tends to break down sometimes and leave blobs of powdery substance all over the place...including MY BED!!

So today we have NOT been making slime, but I'm sure it won't be long before the bug bites again.


This has nothing to do with slime, but everything to do with YouTube. Boo watches video after video of cakes being made and decorated. Many of them are compilation clips and you get to see cake after cake after cake being made. I have to admit, I do like watching them with her sometimes. She told me there is something calming about watching them, but I don't find them calming, I find them inspiring! I'd love to be able to make cakes like that. The other day we watched one that she has decided she'd like me to replicate for her birthday. It's really cute and not that difficult so I'm hoping I can pull it off. I'll show you if I do. 

In the meantime, please take a look at Boo herself decorating a Valentines cake.
Do your kids watch YouTube videos? Which are their favourites? Have you ever tried to make slime at home?

Debs Random Writings
One Messy Mama

Saturday, 22 July 2017

My Sunday Photo - 23rd July 2017

Living in  big city I don't get the opportunity to photograph rolling countryside photos very often, but it's amazing how much we take for granted.

Did you know, for instance that Birmingham has around six million trees,  571 parks and 250 miles of brooks and streams. We are also reported to have more mileage of canals than Venice!

This photo is outside my daughter's school. Here is one taken a little further to the left with the corner of the school visible.

The next picture was taken from Google Maps and it's my postcode area. You can see my little house on the picture. You can also see lots of green area as I live right on the edge of the city.

My mission, this summer, is to investigate a little more of that green area!


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

School's Out For Summer!

summer time beach
photo by Jerry Keisewetter/ Unsplash 


Boo and the Little Man break up from school today and Star breaks up on Friday. Then we have an extended eight week summer holiday! The two schools that my children go to are merging so eventually they will all be at the same school and it will be an 'all through school' from reception to year 11.


As I'm writing this it's grey but very warm outside and I can tell that thunderstorms are threatening to arrive. But I'm not worried about the weather, I just want this to be the best summer ever! We've already had our holiday in June. Next year I'm going to plan our holiday for the summer, it will be more expensive but we've not been away in the summer for many years now. I'm wishing we had something planned this year now, but the holiday we had in June was planned last year and I went for cheap rather than timing. 

Bucket List

I don't have a bucket list, although I might plan one with the kids later as I've lots of ideas. We will be going to visit relatives in Dorset so we'll definitely see the beach again! I also want to visit some national Trust Properties, we have a few close by that we've not seen yet, but I want to go a little further too. 

I also want to take them swimming, we have some fabulous pools nearby and I've just ordered Passport to Leisure for us all (Apparently you need these to go swimming here.) The kids enjoyed the pool so much when we were away so I think they'll like to go and splash about. I'm going to sign them up for swimming lessons later in the year, or see if there are any courses held over the holidays. I think they need to learn.

There are two places nearby that are by rivers and I really want to take the kids for days out there. One is Stratford on Avon, I haven't been there for years but I know it's lovely to visit. Maybe we can even go on a boat, I'm just not sure how I'd get on, but you never know there may be some way. The other place is Stourport, which has a small leisure park and arcades which the kids will love. If I remember correctly they also have a big outside paddling pool which will be loads of fun.

Closer to home I think a visit to the local library is in order, the kids like it there and we can go and pick up some summer reading for the rainier or lazy days.

I also want to visit the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, it's always an interesting place to go and they have some fantastic exhibitions. A couple of years ago we took some sketch books and pencils and the kids re-created some works of art.

Then if finances allow we could visit the Think Tank. I believe they have a huge moon landing there this summer. It's not cheap but it's a great day out.

Not Going Out

There will be times when we won't be able to go out for whatever reason, but there are plenty of things we can plan at home. I would love the kids to help with the garden, I'll like to get some nice potted plants sorted and maybe even a special fairy garden. 

Also for the garden I would really like a paddling pool for the kids to cool off in. We also have swings and a slide in the garden. I'm thinking maybe some badminton rackets or rounders bats for some bat and ball fun. Of course they have their nerf guns too, we just need to replace the bullets.

We have some birthday cakes to bake, so there will be time in the kitchen. I'm also planning on getting the kids to make their own lunches while they are at home. With supervision, of course.
I'm sure we can think of many things to cook up!

The girls are getting  a little old for the arts and crafts sessions, but if I start something with the Little Man they like to join in. The girls have their own art books that they are always drawing in. They also write their own stories.


For us, summer is birthday time. Boo turns ten next week! She's having some friends around to make some Splodge Teddies. She's chosen the dog pack. It's going to be fun making them and then the kids will get the chance to decorate a cupcake for their teddy's birthday. 

Next up is the Little Man's seventh birthday. We are having a family BBQ and inviting a few family and friends around to celebrate. I've found in the past that when you have a birthday in the middle of the summer then school friends can't make it, or forget about it. So this way I will be making sure that we have people around to celebrate. 

I tried to get Star to agree on something different but she's insistent that she spends her birthday the same way that she has done for the past five years. That's a visit to Pizza Hut then toy shopping. She normally goes to build-a-bear but we are skipping that this year. 

Bring It On!

I am so ready for this holiday, it may be longer than usual and I'll probably be glad to see the back of them come mid September, but I just want to make the best of it.

I may not be well enough to do much with them next year, I want to make happy memories while I can.  Up until now I've put things off because it can be so difficult being in a wheelchair, but I've been silly, it's time to forget about my wheels and just get on with life, plenty of other people do. At least I can go out with having to carry lots of equipment with me, I don't know how long that will last so I really have to make the most of it now. 

The future scares me and the past makes me feel sad because I can't do as much. I have to live for the here and now and think of my wonderful children that I have been blessed with.

So, what are your plans for the summer? Have you made a bucket list? Are you going on some fabulous holiday? I'd love to know what you are up to, do let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Strange, Unusual, Gross and Cool Animals - Book Review

Do your kids love animals?
This book is sure to please, My kids love it and are always flicking through and saying 'oh look at this!'

strange, unusual, gross and cool animals book

Hardcover: 128 pages
Age Range: 8 - 11 years
Publisher: Liberty Street (7 July 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1618931660
ISBN-13: 978-1618931665
Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 1.6 x 31.4 cm
Author: Charles Ghigna

The Blurb

The ickiest, stickiest, blobbiest, oddest animals in the world are the ones kids really want to know. Packed with more than 200 vibrant photographs and fun facts about animals with unusual behaviours, strange appearances and remarkable stats, this deluxe gift book is perfect for established readers (ages 8 and up) or anyone who loves animal facts. Animal Planet's fascinating exploration of animal oddities introduces young animal lovers to some of the most astonishing, gorgeous and obscure animals in the world - including some brand new discoveries!

The Book

This is a colourful, fascinating book with loads of photographs.

This page shows lots of small photos with snippets of information. Other pages have less but bigger photos, and some have just the one huge photo...these are usually the grossest animals! The book is informative, but mostly it will keep the kids fascinated which is an excellent way to learn. I bet there are plenty of animals in this book that even parents will not of heard of!

Our Opinion

It's not a book to read from cover to cover in one go, but it is one to pick up over and over again and enjoy new facts and photos each time. My kids love it, even the Little man. The adults in the house have had a look through too, it just arouses curiosity.
The book is large, hardback and the pages glossy and show the photographs well. This is going to be a favourite book in our house for a long time and we have to give it a big thumbs up. 

You can buy Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals (Animal Planet) from Amazon for £14.99.

Look for this and other great books at The GMC Group

Laura's Lovely Blog

Disclosure:  I was sent this book for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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