Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Which Super Power?

I've had a few days off Blogtober16 but today I'm back with the prompt 'Which Super Power?'

When I was in hospital  the lady in the opposite bed was also immobile like me and one day she played 'I Believe I Can Fly by R.Kelly

We both decided that this would be our 'tune' from then on. If we were never going to walk again then we both believed that we could fly.
So you'd think that my superpower would be to fly....but I already believe I can!

My superpower would be more magical than flying, anybody can fly.

My superpower would be to stop people being horrid to each other, whether it was words or violence I'd be there in a shot (probably flying) and stop them in their tracks, make them think of what they are doing or saying and they would just walk away.

Bullies would apologise to their victims and leave them alone forever more.
Criminals would stop hurting to get what they wanted and find another way to live.
Soldiers would put down their weapons.
Warmongers would sit down and discuss their problems instead of dictating to people.

My superpower would be Peacemaker, but much more powerful than anyone who has tried before to install peace. I would be able to do it in an instant to anyone who is disrupting the peace in this world.

Not only would I install peace, but those I've stopped will understand why I've stopped them. They will understand that what they were doing wrong and make sure they never do it again. Those that have been hurt will have a soul full of forgiveness so the hurt goes away and they never think of it again.

To start my peace campaign I will smile, and spread my smile. Soon everyone will be smiling and at peace. What a world we will live in.

What Super Power would you choose to have?
To see what other bloggers have chosen please visit the #Blogtober16 linky.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Great British Bake Off Fondant Fancies

I can't believe that next week is the final of the Great British Bake Off, this year has gone in such a hurry.
This week we saw savoury Palmiers for the signature bake, a Savarin for the technical bake and Fondant Fancies for the Showstopper.

Andrew did really well this week saving himself from final elimination as it was Selasi that was shown the door with just one week to go.

I have made Palmiers before and I don't have a tin to bake a traditional Savarin, although I do have something similar, I guess I didn't fancy it.

The kids had already decided for me anyway, they wanted to make Fondant Fancies.

Of course, my kids like their cakes pretty plain so when we were coming up for ideas for their cakes they wanted chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and icing. So, forgive me these are not the most exciting or fancifal Fancies.

Also, I really can't get on with watering down fondant. I still have nightmares from when I had to do it when I made the Mokatines from last years Bake Off. This time I messed up when the icing was just not runny enough to cover the cakes, so I watered it down a little more and then it was too runny.

Maybe if I'd been decorating them myself I would have been more patient, but it was not good when the kids were all keen to do it but have the patience of a flea. It was really mess too. I think there was more Icing on the greaseproof paper than on the cakes themselves. I tried to scoop it up for a second coating but the kids were pretty quick at scooping it up into their mouths.

fondant fancies with icing dripping off
messy cakes
The cakes were tasty enough, but I wasn't happy with the decoration.

Fondant Fancies


300g self-raising flour
325g soft butter
325g caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
4 eggs


100g soft butter
200g icing sugar
10g cocoa powder


500g fondant icing
75g water
drops of food colouring of choice.


preheat oven to 170C/gas mark 4
grease and line two 7" square tins
cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl
add eggs and beat in one at a time
sift in flour and cocoa powder and fold the mixture together
pour evenly into tins and bake for 30 mins until a skewer comes out clean
cool the cut into equal cubes (9 per tin)

Make the buttercream by creaming together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter

coat four sides of the cakes but not the top and bottom
put the remaining buttercream into a piping bag and pipe a shell on the top of each cake

Chill in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour

Make the fondant by mixing the icing with water and food colouring.
We split our icing into three and made one white, one blue and one orange.

put the cakes on a cooling rack over a sheet of greaseproof paper
pour the fondant over the cakes from the top and allow to drip over the sides.

Another method I've heard of is to put a fork into the bottom of each cake and dip them into the fondant icing, covering all sides, then leave them to drip on cooling rack.

Do not do as I did and make the fondant to runny.

Here are our finished Fancies.

As you can see from this next photo, I also could have spent a little more time mixing the fondant with the water and there were some lumps present.
Next week, I'm going to attempt a bake without the help of the kids.

Mummy Mishaps

Friday, 21 October 2016

Getting Zapped - More Hospital Tests

I had some tests at the hospital last week and it was quite a surreal experience.

I arrived for my 6.30pm appointment and the hospital out patients was closing down for the evening and spookily quiet.

I waited for no time at all as I checked in, was told immediately what desk to go to, and as I arrived at the desk there was a nurse waiting for me to go straight into the consultation room. How often does that happen?

The Dr was in soon afterwards and I had to lie on the bed on my side. Not my most comfortable position, but he needed to get to my back. From my position the only thing I could see was the wall so my other half has told me what happened next. I didn't feel anything.

I had two needles put into the muscles either side of my spine. These were to measure the electrical activity in my muscles. I was then asked to move my head back and forth as the activity was recorded on a noisy machine. This procedure is called Electromyography. I can only speak from experience in saying I felt nothing, I do still have a lot of numbness in the areas tested so it may be more uncomfortable for others.

The next part of the test was a Nerve Conductive Study. This measures nerve and muscle function and is used in the diagnosis of a lot of spinal conditions. During this test I had little pads attached to various parts of my body and I was 'electrically stimulated.' On my legs I felt nothing but my legs did move. By this time I was getting really uncomfortable so I was happy to be able to go onto my back. The pads were then added to my arm and I found out that electrical stimulation was actually little electric shocks! It hurt a little but I was more fascinated by the way they were making my fingers move with their shocks and the pain was soon forgotten. I can imagine this kind of test being quite stressful for someone with normal sensitivity.

I now have to wait a few weeks for the results.

I know my Consultant is testing to see how my nerves are reacting and if he can pin point any damage. He is also testing for Stiff Person Syndrome, but I'm pretty sure I don't have it.

I'm still getting used to my new medication but I'm not sure if they are making me worse instead of better still. I'm now approaching my fifth week of taking them and I thought my body would be getting used to them by now, especially as I have to increase the dose next week. I've been a lot more tired which is bad enough, but I've also been more unsteady when I do walk, I've walked a lot less and I'm getting more pain.

I'm also waking more in the night, even though I take strong  painkillers to help me sleep better. I woke the other night in so much pain I got scared for a while. In my sleep state I'd forgotten that my body was damaged and the pain I often get just surprised me by waking me up.

Then last night I'd only been in bed for an hour when I woke up because it felt like someone was shaking me. It took a few seconds to realise it was my body shaking and I couldn't stop it. I managed to turn over to reach my mobile and I quickly sent a text to my partner. It just said, can you come please. He came straight away but by the time he had reached me the shaking had stopped but I still felt very weird and quite nauseous. He felt the muscles in my legs twinging and I realised that all I had experienced was muscles spasms. I vaguely remember having them when I was back in hospital over nine months ago. They've not been so bad since, until last night.

I get a lot of muscle spasms but they are usually the stiff type, you can't tell so much in my legs when I'm having a spasm but you can in my feet. I may even feel brave enough to record it one day. My feet go stiff and my toes separate. Sometimes my feet turn inwards, or outwards (They are not fussy) and during a spasm I cannot move or control them at all. The pain is pretty bad while it's happening, but I have got used to it. This can happen ten or more times a day.

My legs stiffen too but I don't get the twitching type of spasm very often. I get them more when I'm in my wheelchair because my body is in a more 'confined' position. Or late at night when I am tired. They don't last as long as the stiff spasms. I've not had a continuing spasm of such extreme since the very early days of my condition.

So, is it my medication making me worse or is it my condition getting worse?
I don't know so I guess I'll have to speak to a Doctor. I'm going to wait until I get the results of my tests and see if they have any answers first. I know my GP will not have a clue and getting an appointment at the hospital is not so easy.

In the meantime I'm determined not to get any worse, especially before my big day next month.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Five Super Cool Things About the Place I Live

I'll start close to home and move into the City, see if you can guess where I live.

1. Tudors. 

We live very close to a Tudor Church and one of the oldest school buildings in the Country, they date back to the 15th Century. In front of the Church is a Merchants house and between them they are the finest collection of Medieval buildings in my city.

A photo of the 15th Century Merchants House
The Merchants House

2. Cadburys: 

Yes, chocolate! We live close to the original Cadbury factory and of course Cadbury World. 
Now, everyone knows about Cadbury World and the chocolate factory, but it is in the most beautiful part of my City and most people don't take the time to notice that. George Cadbury built the factory when his chocolate business took off and he had a village built to accommodate his employees and their families. He wanted them to have nice homes which were not as cramped as the general housing of that time. He called his village Bournville after the Bourn river which runs through it. He also named a chocolate bar Bournville but you probably know that already. As George Cadbury was a Quaker there were no pubs built in the village and there are still none today. (However, if you did fancy a drink they do have a licence to sell alcohol at the nearby Rowheath Pavillion, which is also worth a visit.) 
Opposite Cadbury World is a school and the entrance to which has a bell tower. This is no ordinary tower though, it holds a Carillon of 48 bells which are played by a keyboard. The Bournville Carillon ranks as one of the finest and largest instruments in Great Britain. George Cadbury commissioned the Carillon as a gift for his workers in 1906. Because of the way the Carillon is played it is very different to normal bell ringing. You can hear it being played on weekend afternoons. It really is very beautiful. If you visit Cadbury World, do take note of this wonderful building, and if it's the weekend then stop and listen when it is playing.

A photo of the carillon bell tower of Bournville

3. Canals.

It is said that my city has more canals than Venice! It's probably true but the canals are more wide spread so don't worry, you won't need a gondola. 

I have a canal that runs alongside my house, it's just behind the trees I keep sharing photos of. We can walk along it any time and it really is lovely. We see lots of barges going past. The kids can even walk to school along the canal. If we carried on walking we would end up in the city centre but I can imagine it would take a long time. The train line runs mostly along the canal and takes around 20 minutes to get to the city, so it would take a lot longer walking or by barge.

The canals in the city have been refurbished and you may see one if you visit the International Conference Centre or the Barclaycard Arena. More common attractions of my city. Even the Sea Life Centre is next to a canal. 

Here are some buildings sitting alongside a city canal.

canal buildings in the city centre

4. BullRing

Now the canals have brought us closer to the City Centre I have to talk about our city Icon The BullRing. 


The Bullring Centre was built in 1964 and the Rotunda in 1965. I've lived in this city as long as the Rotunda!

The Rotunda has had a bit of the facelift but the Bull Ring has undergone major redevelopment opening again in 2003 looking very shiny and new and is now one of the most visited shopping centres outside of London.

5. Grand Central.

We had  a pretty big station in our City, it was called New Street Station. If you went up the escalators you could get to a shopping centre called the Pallisades. It was a bit dated and grubby so they decided to give it a bit of a makeover. Ok, they gave it a major makeover, all while the station was still functional. We could watch the changes before our eyes. It's now a very nice place to visit with some fabulous shops. It's been open for just over a year now, I bravely went to visit on opening day.

Grand Central Station

So, have you guessed? What City do I live in?


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Help Keep Families Close - Ronald Mc Donald House Charity

Today I want to tell you about a charity that is close to my heart.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provides free 'home from home' accommodation to families while their child is in hospital.
This Saturday McDonald's restaurants are helping this charity.
McDonald’s restaurants around the UK will be bringing the jungle theme to life this Saturday 22ndOctober, with four new wild animal soft toys for customers to purchase for £2.50 each from the Kiosk, front counter and Drive-thru window, with 100% of donations going to the charity.

 Mc Donalds Restaurants are helping RMCH charity 

Back in 2013 my little girl had a problem with her neck. We took her to A&E several times before she was admitted. This was the first of three stays in hospital over the next 18 months. The first time she was admitted we were offered a place to stay at the hospital's Ronald McDonalds House. Although we lived in the same city, it was still a forty minute drive away from home to the hospital and with two other children there was a lot of juggling going on as at least one person had to be at the hospital with Star at any time. 

Little girl in hospital after an operation

Having a child in hospital is a stressful time and being near to them is very important. It's important to have all the family close because the siblings of the sick child also have to suffer a complete disruption of their lives. It's times like this that families need to be close and Ronald Mc Donald Houses offer this opportunity. Sometimes you have to travel to a different city to be with your child in hospital. Imagine how expensive it would be to have to stay in a hotel. Ronald McDonald houses offer their accommodation for free, you have to pay a refundable key deposit which is  not very high. It's a lifeline for many parents and their families during a very stressful time in their lives.

Having Mc Donalds restaurants on board means they can raise the money they need to keep the houses running. Every little helps so if you can do go along to Mc Donalds this Saturday and buy a toy or pop a little in the box.

man giving money to charity in Mc Donalds Restaurant

Kids love going to Mc Donalds, I know mine do. We have one close by and we will be visiting this Saturday for a spot of lunch. I'll make sure my change goes in the box and I will treat my kids to a cuddly toy. It will be my way of saying Thank You to Ronald Mc Donalds House and all that they do. Will you join me?

cuddly jungle themed toys available to buy at Mc Donalds

Still not convinced, then please watch this video featuring celebrity dad and 'Help Us Keep Families Close' campaign ambassador Jeff Brazier.

If you would like to know more about Star's journey please check out my other blog www.Zebra Hooves.co.uk Or click the link 'My Little Zebra' at the top of this page. 

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I will be giving most of the money I earn back to the Ronald Mc Donald House Charity. (I'm keeping some to pay for our Mc Donalds meal.) 
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