Monday, 28 September 2015

Miffy's Adventures- Win a Sensory Miffy

Wow, did you know that Miffy is 60 years old this year! She's getting a bit of a makover to appeal to future generations. Her first book was released in 1953 and over 85 million books have been released in 50 different languages. Every should have heard of Miffy.

As part of the birthday celebrations a new TV series, Miffy's Adventures Big and Small will be starting on Tiny Pop on 2nd October at 7pm.

Do you remember Miffy as a child? Have you read the books to your children? They were created by Dick Bruna, the cute little rabbit and her friends feature a primary colours and simple shapes. It's exciting to see them brought to life on the TV screen.



To celebrate the new TV show I am hosting a give away for a Miffy Sensory Toy aimed at children 6 months and over it has 14 interactive sensors which when pressed you can hear Miffy talk about parts of her body.






































To enter this competition just fill in your details on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good Luck x




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Bake With Bake Off - Mokatines.

The Great British Bake off has reached the quarter finals with patisserie week.

The Signature Bake was 24 cream horns, the Technical Bake, Mary Berry's Mokatines and the Showstopper a tower of eclairs known as religieus a l'ancienne.

It was time to say goodbye to Paul after his tower of eclairs collapsed, but also he didn't quite get the sponge right in the mokatines.

So, after missing out on the baking last week I was keen to have a go this time and join in with all the other bakers and Silver Mushroom. I make eclairs quite a lot, but I didn't fancy creating an entire tower, not without a party coming up anyway. Cream horns are nice but I really fancied a try at the mokatines.

They look pretty simple, although I know the contestants had some bother with them. Surely that was because they only have basic instructions though? Ah, or maybe it's because it's a ridiculously fiddly recipe with lots of little components.

I used this recipe, so I'm not going to repeat it here, but I will tell you some things I learnt while baking these seemingly easy mokatines.

First, it's a genoise sponge, but not like any I've baked before, and I've baked a few. I've always used the whisking the eggs over hot water method and plain flour. I've never used cornflour. The sponge came out lovely and light and wasn't difficult to bake at all.

The coffee buttercream was easy enough for the filling.

While I was toasting the almonds I looked for a no7 star nozzle in my icing accessory box, but I only had a number 8. Be careful when toasting almonds, they burn really quick!

I don't know whether it was because I scorched a few almonds, it really wasn't many, but there didn't seem enough to cover all the cakes. I would say to use 200g rather than 100g.

Then came the creme beurre au moka. I really wasn't going to make this and just do another batch of coffee buttercream, but I did, I tried. Now, I followed the instructions carefully but I think I may have over cooked the sugar just a little as when I came to piping I kept finding crystals blocking the nozzle. I thought it would taste a bit special but to be honest it tasted like creamy coffee flavoured butter..now there's a surprise!  There was certainly not enough to ice top and bottom of all nine cakes and I found myself whisking up some coffee buttercream to finish them off...which was much nicer and easier to pipe.

Finally the fondant icing. I really cannot understand why you use fondant icing and then water it down...why not just make a coffee coloured icing at the right consistancy? I gave it a go though and it was easy enough to do. Although I didn't have dark brown food colouring.

One last word. With preparation and cooking and decoration, the whole process took me THREE HOURS. I don't think I'll be making them again.




Friday, 25 September 2015

School - The next big step!

Next year Star will be going to secondary school.
Now is the time we have to choose which school she is to go to and I've been dreading this for the following reasons.


  • She has autism
  • She has Elhers Danlos Syndrome
  • She is disabled but has no special education needs
  • It really didn't work out when my older kids went to secondary school with them both begin educated elsewhere within two years.


Going to mainstream primary school is okay. Younger kids are much more understanding of peers that are a little different. When they get to secondary school it's so different.

On the autism front, we are lucky because Star is very high functioning, she is not disruptive (mostly) and wants to learn. She takes part fully in lessons. The main problems are her immaturity, which is exacerbated by the fact that she will always be the youngest in the class anyway being August born, and her concentration, if she is not fully engaged at all times she will stop co-operating.

With her EDS she gets a lot of pain but doesn't tell anyone, which means she will suffer in silence mostly. If it gets too bad then she will get frustrated and that's when her school work will suffer. Secondary schools are much larger than primary and there are often a lot of stairs and a lot of moving around during the day. It's going to be tough on her joints. Then there are her gastro problems, which are hoping to get some help with, they could be problematic at a big school.

When a child has disabilities but no special educational needs I have found that the school finds it difficult to categorise them. Those with SEN can go into special classes, but this is not appropriate for a child who is able to compete with their peers academically. Also, Star's disabilities are, mostly, invisible, which causes more confusion on how she should be treated.

My past experiences are from more than fifteen years ago, but they are still very raw in my mind. It is so difficult when school doesn't work for your child. Obviously you want them to have a good education, but you also want them to be happy and safe in their environment. It's not good when it all goes wrong.

Last week I took Star to visit a local Secondary School. It was one she had expressed a wish to attend, so I figured that was good place to start. We spent two hours touring the school, taking part in mini-lessons and speaking to the head teacher. Star was very impressed and I felt quite happy too.

Today, I had another visit with Star's Dad in tow. We saw the school at work during a normal school day which was nice. We also had the chance to have a good chat about the future of the school and all of the worries I have about Star attending secondary school.

I was assured that the school has experience of dealing with autistic pupils from all areas of the spectrum and they were integrated into the classrooms and taught with their peers.

I was assured that because it was a small school that each individual pupil was known by staff personally and their needs always known. So if Star was having a bad day with pain or tiredness they would accommodate her by giving her extra time to get to her classes or letting her have lessons on the lower floor only. They are also in the process of building a new school which will have lifts for children who need them.

I was assured that even when the new school building was open that the school would still be a small school with a family like environment. I do think this would be better for Star, I like that the teacher's will know her and know what her difficulties are. It would be much more difficult in a larger school.

So, at the moment, I am feeling quite confident that this will be our choice of school. I am not going to make up my mind without viewing other schools, but I doubt that we will be happier anywhere else. I am currently happy for Star to continue in mainstream school, I just hope I'm making the right decision.



The Reading Residence

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Moving House When you Have Kids

Two years ago I moved house from a place where I had lived for twenty four years. I found the whole experience very daunting. There is so much to think about when moving but when you add in the mixture your pets and your children it makes it all so much more difficult.

We had the added stress of having our moving date changed several times. It helped a little letting the children know right from the beginning what was going to happen though. We talked to them about moving house and changing schools, we discussed all their worries and fears and visited the area we were moving to so it wouldn't be so strange for them.

The packing was the worst part. After living in the same house for twenty four years you accumulate an awful lot of stuff! We started by having massive clear outs and getting rid of all the things we no longer needed. They were taken to charity shops or the skip.

Then we set down to packing everything up. I involved the kids by letting them pack their toys into boxes and helping me write on the boxes. We colour coded the boxes for each room for ease. They still got mixed up on the day but it did help quite a lot.

It's important to get your removal company right. I left that job up to my partner and it didn't go to plan because he'd left it really late. We ended up calling around the day before we moved to try and get someone to fit us in. The company would not have been my first choice, but we had no choice left. So choose wisely, and in plenty of time.

On the day we took the kids to grandma's house and she looked after them while we did the heavy moving. When we were ready to sort everything out the other end we picked up the kids. The whole experience can be very overwhelming, so keeping them out of the way as long as possible is the best idea if you can.

I packed suitcases for all the essentials we would need for the first day or two so they would be easy to find and close at hand. I was going away the day after we moved so I had a bag packed for that too. these were kept at grandma's house until the very last minute.

Unpacking and getting back into a routine was not easy and took us ages. We tried to make it easier for the kids by having their space ready for them. we sorted their bedrooms and made sure they had their favourite toys. For ages our new home was a maze of boxes, but slowly and surely it all got sorted and life in our new home began.

Do you like moving house? Have you done it more than once? Is it harder with kids?


Moving House With Children
Attribution to www.volitionremovalslondon.com
Disclosure: All thoughts and opinions are my own, infographic provided by Volition Removals London.
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The MADs 2015

Last Friday morning started just like any other. I got up, got ready and took the kids to school.
A couple of hours later I was on my way to London as I'd been voted as a finalist in this years MAD blog awards. This is my second time at the awards, and I have my lovely readers and friends to thank for voting me there. It's such a lovely experience.

This year I arrived a lot less frazzled. Last time I'd set off the day after moving house and at the end of a nightmare week. So it was nice to get to the lovely Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington feeling relaxed and able to take my time to get ready and chat with my plus one for the evening, Steph from Steph's Two Girls.

We arrived at the event in time for a glass of champagne and the chance to chat with all the other guests. We had our photo taken in front of a big screen and then were given the opportunity to decorate it. I tried to disguise myself as much as possible with a nice big pair of sunglasses. I know the photo will show up somewhere!

Then we were seated for our meal. I was a little further away from the stage this time but I was sat with some wonderful ladies. It was so nice to meet Hayley from Downside Up at last and also the lovely Emma from FACS. The meal was lovely, we had a goat's cheese fondant starter, chicken main and chocolate pudding with ice cream. I did take photos of my food but they were not brilliant, my phone camera does not work so well in candlelight (neither do my eyes!) If you are on Instagram though you must have seen a meal or fifty being photographed at the same time, I believe there may have been a race to be first to post.

After dinner it was time for the awards and hosting the evening was the charming Dr Ranj in his wonderful curtain suit. Well, he said he'd cut up some old curtains, but I distinctly remember my gran having a settee in that material!

You can find a full list of winners on the Tots100 site here. I didn't win in my category, I never expected to, I was up against some fabulous bloggers. It's such a privilege to be there though, winning doesn't even cross my mind. The Outstanding Contribution category is always an emotional one, such deserving bloggers that work so hard on their messages. Becky from Baby Budgeting introduced the award with a lovely speech about how blogging is all about the friends you make by writing from the heart.

I will admit, as I have done before, I'm not good at making friends. I'm not good at socialising and events like this make me feel kind of invisible. I find it difficult to introduce myself to people and when I do I'm often received with a blank stare because they have never heard of me or my blog. But I have made some really lovely friends in the blogging world and for that I am truly grateful. Becky is so right, it's not about who is the best or the most popular, it's about having a platform to express yourself and make friends, especially if that's something you find difficult to do normally. So blogging should be celebrated like this.



Photo courtesy of  Tom Arber/ Tots100









I had a wonderful evening and I'm so thrilled to have been able to attend. Sally and the Tots 100 team work so hard to make the event a memorable one for everyone so I'd like to say a big thank you to them and also to the sponsors of the awards and of course the Royal Garden Hotel.

Congratulations to all the winners and the finalists.


Thanks for stopping by my blog, let's stay in touch, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I love following back.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Time to say Goodbye

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that this is going to be my last Kids in the Kitchen linky post. I have given it a lot of thought and after eighteen months I've decided to end my linky. To be honest it has never really been popular which tells me I have no idea of how to run a successful linky. Since I started I've seen two very similar linkies start up and become successful overnight, so I know it's my fault.
I will of course still be cooking with my kids, especially Boo is becoming a proper little chef. I really want to encourage her and grow her talent. We will still share our recipes with you.
I will still keep adding to my Pinterest board which gets a lot of re-pins. If I see something that fits I'll add it, so if you are ever looking for something to cook with your kids then it will be a great resource to go to.

Follow Anne's board Kids In The Kitchen on Pinterest.

I have had a couple of busy weeks and a manic weekend so we don't even have anything to share with you this week. I'd like to round up a few of my favourite posts from past Kids in the Kitchen weeks.

One of my most popular posts has been Pitta Breads. They are so simple to make and yet so tasty.
Another really easy recipe which gets a lot of visits is Banana Splits.
Finally, I love this post because Star really wanted to make these Chocolate Chip Cookies.



The linky will remain open for one more week just in case anyone was hoping to join in.

I'd like to say thank you to all those who have joined me on this cooking adventure, in particular the lovely Beesley family from The Beesley Buzz, do go and take a look at their latest creation Hot Water Crust Pastry Pasties.

And a special thank you to Annabel from Tickle Fingers who has joined in lots but also does some fantastic cooking with toddlers.

Kids in the Kitchen will be back, just not as a linky.


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Creating a Home

This house is our magnolia palace, which we are trying to colour in like a large colouring book to fit in with our life. It's not as easy as I thought it would be.

When we moved in two years ago I didn't mind that every wall was magnolia. The house was a new build and everything was shiny and new and so much bigger than our previous house. We had to wait twelve months before we could decorate and I became really impatient. I had so many ideas rushing around in my head for how I wanted each room to look.

Then the twelve months were up and suddenly one thing became very apparent. It wasn't just my choice of how the house should be decorated. I started in the hallway, I just went out and bought what I liked and got the job done. It didn't go down well with everyone. The colour wasn't right, my feature wasn't liked, it seemed I'd got it all wrong.

So with the kitchen I discussed my ideas first and everyone had a different idea of what we should do. As the room is so large I wanted to use two colours to distinguish between kitchen and dining area, but no-one else agreed. Eventually we chose one colour all over.

With the girl's bedroom I handed the choice over to them and let them choose their paint and paper and I bought matching furniture. They went for lavender which to me says 'old ladies room' but it is very nice and peaceful in there. It's a lovely colour for a bedroom. The Little Man wants his room Orange and Green...I don't think there will be much sleeping going on in there if we let him get away with this!

Now our plans have turned to the living room and my headache is growing. It's a lovely big room and I'd like to do something really unusual in there. Maybe some wallpaper like this from Mineheart.


Interiors : Walls & flooring by Mineheart
Interiors by Mineheart, photo credit - Homify

And I really have a penchant for seventies style sideboards like this from Forest London.


Characterful Teak Sideboard : Living room by Forest London

In fact I've been spending the last hour browsing for wonderful ways of adding character to my room.

I know that in the end the family will have their say and we will end up with something to everyone's taste. I guess that's the drawback of living in a house with four adults!

Maybe I'll still be able to sneak in a seventies sideboard though, or even a radiogram, I'd love one of those!

















Disclosure: This is a collaborative post, all words, thoughts and opinions are mine, photographs are credited elsewhere. Post contains links.






Monday, 14 September 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Orange and Lemon Biscotti

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen.
This week Boo brought home a letter from school saying that her topic this year was Italy. We decided it would be nice to cook something from Italy, something apart from Pizza or pasta as we make that all the time. We thought it would be nice to make biscotti but most recipes are based on nuts and the little ones don't really like them. So together we came up with a recipe for orange and lemon Biscotti. They turned out really nice and Boo took some into school along with a little piece of research on the history of biscotti.



Orange and Lemon Biscotti


Ingredients:


450g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt

50ml vegetable oil
225g caster sugar
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:


Preheat oven to 190C/ gas mark 5

Whisk together the vegetable oil, caster sugar, eggs and egg whites until smooth
Add the lemon and orange zest, almond extract and vanilla essence and whisk well.

Stir in the flour baking powder and salt.

The dough is quite sticky so make sure your hands are well floured.
shape the dough into two even shaped logs and place on a greased baking sheet well apart from each other. flatten the logs slightly

Bake for 25 minutes.

Cool for at least 10 minutes. Place logs on a cutting board.
Slice diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. 

Lay the slices sideways on the sheet and bake fro 10 minutes.
Turn the slices over and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Let cool and serve.







































The linky is open for a month and you can join in as many times as you wish.
So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)









Thanks for stopping by my blog, let's stay in touch, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I love following back.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Great British Bake Off Week Six - The One with the Soggy Bottom

Can you believe we are on week six already? This week was pastry week and one of my favourites because I love making pastry. I think I get it from my nan who was the best at making pies, especially mince pies at Christmas time, everybody loved them.

Back to this weeks show and we had Frangipane Tarts for the Signature Dish, Flaounas for the Technical Challenge and for the Show Stopper...Vol-au-vents.

Like the contestants I'd never heard of Flaounas which were a cheese filled pastry from Cyprus. I really didn't fancy trying to make these.

I've made vol-au-vents many times before, with my favourite ones being filled with prawn cocktail or chicken curry. Or maybe even strawberries and cream.

I have never made a frangipane before and I quite fancied a go but with time running out and not a lot of ingredients to choose from I had to opt for an apple one. Maybe not exciting, but very tasty.

Meanwhile, back in the tent, I really thought it might be time to be saying goodbye to Nadiya this week but she got through on the strength of her vol-au-vent fillings despite them not actually being in the vol-au-vent cases. It was Alvin who was sent home.
Star Baker this week was awarded for the first time to Mat.

Apple Frangipane Tart 

my Bake With Bake Off challenge with Silver Mushroom.


Ingredients:


Pastry;
200g plain flour
100g cold unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
about 50 ml ice cold water

Frangipane;

125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
125g ground almonds
2 tbs flour

Topping;

2 dessert apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp water

To make the pastry;

rub the butter into the flour until it represents fine breadcrumbs
stir in the icing sugar
add the water slowly until it comes together into a ball of pastry.
Chill for 30 mins.

grease a 23cm loose bottomed flan tin.

roll out the pastry and line the tin
line the pastry with baking powder and fill with baking beans or rice
bake at 190C/gas mark 5 for 10 minutes
remove paper and beans and bake for further 3 minutes until pale golden

To make the frangipane;

cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, beating them in one at a time.
fold in the almonds and the flour.
pour mixture into the pastry case.

Place the apple slices around the top pressing in lightly

bake for 30 mins.

meanwhile, in a small pan add the sugar, lemon juice and water and bring to the boil. 
simmer for 1 minute then take off the heat and allow to cool and thicken a little

When the frangipane is baked, risen and set, take out of oven and brush with lemon mixture.
return to oven for 5 more minutes.

Cool in tin for at least 10 minutes before removing.

































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Thursday, 10 September 2015

It's a Cat's Life

In memory of Scribbles September 2001 - September 6th 2015



I never knew I was  a cat person. I was brought up with dogs, my mom was actually scared of cats. When I moved into my first home with my new husband we had a cat. I'm not even sure where he came from, and he wasn't a kitten, but I called him Sylvester and he was the perfect companion. Then I became pregnant and I was told that it was dangerous for me and my baby to have a cat in the house. I was young and naive and I didn't have the internet to look things up on so in fright I asked my neighbour to take Sylvester for me and she did.

I had two babies and we moved to a new home. When my daughter was around six she became obsessed with cats so we had another one as a pet. The film Casper was out at the time so we called our cat Casper. He lived with us for many years until he met his fate by  a car. My daughter was devastated and it took a while before we had another cat.

When she was ready we adopted two kittens, Midnight and Sunshine. Unfortunately Midnight was very poorly and died the day after we took her home. The cat's home said we could pick another kitten and we went to look. That's when we argued. I fell in love with a grey cat and she fell for a tabby and white one. In the end we took them both and they became Scribbles (tabby) and Suzie(gray). So now we had three cats altogether. 

On the kittens very first outing in the garden I thought they were safely trapped in the bottom end but they managed to escape. I was searching everywhere for them and a neighbour from a couple of doors down helped me look. He found them in his neighbour's tree and rescued them for me. I invited him for a  coffee to say thank you and fourteen years and three kids later those pesky kittens have a lot to answer for because he's still here! 

When I fell pregnant almost four years later I was worried about the risks but proper research told me that it's still possible to have cats while pregnant, you just need to be careful and clean. When Star came along I bought a cat net for her moses basket but the cats never went near her, so I never bothered using it again. It's all about how careful you are, don't leave the baby unattended with the cats around and all will be well. 

Then in the winter of 2007 Sunshine grew very sick very quickly. We took him to the animal hospital and they said his lungs were full of water. We are not sure what had happened but basically he had drowned. He'd managed to get back home and crawl behind our tv. The Vet had to put him to sleep as there was no way for him to recover.

In the Summer of 2008 an old lady asked us if we could take in another kitten and we went to look. That's when we ended up with Salem and Sabrina, two black and white cats. 

In 2013 All four cats moved house with us. That was quite daunting. We had them in the spare bedroom for over a week but we gave them lots of attention while they were in there. Then we let them around the house. Then finally they were allowed to go outside. Suzie and Scribbles, the two older cats never went further than the garden. 
Scribbles favourite place overnight became the landing. She had her bed there but would often sleep, as if on guard, outside the Little Man's bedroom. There is still a fur patch there, I can't bear to clean it up just yet. In the day she would sit on the kitchen windowsill and I would leave the window open for her as it was her preferred way of exit and entry. She loved the front garden. If we went out she would be sitting and waiting for our return. 

She had the cutest meow, it really sounded like she was trying to talk.

On 1 September we had a freak hailstorm and Scribbles was outside. She came in quickly but was already soaked. The little ones fetched a towel to dry her off and then gave her a blanket to lie on.
The next day she seemed ok. The following day she was sick a few times. Then the next day she could not even stand up, drink or eat. We took her to the animal hospital and for two days they tried to make her better. Then we got the call saying they could do no more and did we want to be with her. So I took Eldest Daughter and we went and gave her a last fuss. She couldn't move but we could see she recognised us. We gave her lots of cuddles and she went to sleep forever knowing that we loved her. 

Goodnight Scribbles xx

Monday, 7 September 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Flapjacks

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen.
This week Boo was still poorly but she managed to feel well enough to help me make some flapjacks.

Last week we were joined by Miss T at the Beesley Buzz who helped mum make a fabulous sugar free and gluten free orange and maple polenta cake with amazing candied carrots.

You can see all past and present link ups here on my Pinterest Board.

Follow Anne's board Kids In The Kitchen on Pinterest.


Blueberry Flapjacks

Ingredients:


225g butter
225g soft brown sugar
75g (3tbs) golden syrup
275g porridge oats
75g blueberries

Method:

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat and warm until completely melted
take off the heat and add the oats
mix in the blueberries
press into a square pan
bake for 30 minutes at 160C

Allow to cool before slicing







The linky is open for a month and you can join in as many times as you wish.
So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)








Thanks for stopping by my blog, let's stay in touch, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I love following back.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

My Sunday Photo - 6th September 2015





































Say hello to Florence Nightin'owl our latest find on the Big Hoot situated outside Birmingham Children's Hospital. Star had to go for a check-up after her first day back at school.

I noticed that Florence had very wet eyes. Being a regular at BCH I can confirm that this is quite appropriate, there are lots of wet eyes here.


Poor Florence x



OneDad3Girls



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Just Another Post about Syria and the Refugee Crisis...we're English, it's ok to ignore!

There is no doubt that this country has it's problems. We have thousands of homeless, our NHS is stretched to it's limits, the benefits system is failing the poor and needy, their are not enough jobs to go around, the country is in huge debt and the elderly do not receive the care they should.

There are many poor people in this country, not just the unemployed but those with families on low incomes who find they have to use food banks just so that they can eat.

Austerity is the key word of the government, we need to clear the debt so they have to cut back on everything, the NHS the benefits service. The elderly, disabled and children are the ones who are suffering. Life is so tough for so many.

Yet we are the 23rd richest country in the world. So many poor and needy yet so many with such a lot of money. I mean billions, I mean more money than the average person can even imagine. Living right here in this country, with their savings stashed away in other countries so they don't have to pay tax. Look at the amount of money spent on football players alone, millions of pounds crossing hands and this is considered normal in such a poor country?

We have over 700,000 empty properties in this country, more than 100,00 more than needed to house those that need to be housed. But these properties belong to rich people, they won't let people live in them, they want to sell them to increase their already huge bank balances.

Rich people can't get enough you see. They believe they deserve every penny they have and maybe they do. That's why they get to pay less tax, why should they pay more because they have more, it's just not fair is it. Why should rich people look after poor people, it's just not done. Let them put their hands in their pockets occasionally for charity to make them feel good and get even more tax relief.

So while the average person is fed with the lines that we need to pay off our debts and it has to be done by taking away from what little is given to the poor and needy we take it all in and agree. We sit by and watch while our society is destroyed, all that was once great taken away. Why, because we are constantly fed with images which 'prove' this is the right thing to do. The television shows us how those on benefits are fat and lazy and cheat the system getting all they can for free while the hard working pay for it. Anyone who has ever had to claim benefits knows this is not true in 90% of cases (probably more, I'm guessing the figure here) The worst people hit are those with families who do work but don't earn very much and relied on benefits to top up their wages so they could survive.

Then you see those claiming disability benefits being 'caught out' by filmed playing golf or lifting their mobility bike up a step. Even disabled people can have good days you know. It's besides the point though, so many seriously disabled people have lost their benefits because of a system put in place which is failing them just to get the number of people claiming down. I won't go into details now but the number of people who have died after having their disability benefits stopped is utterly shocking. It's meant to be a lifeline, it's failing badly.

So, welcome to Britain, where even most of schools leave something to desire. I spent hours yesterday researching secondary schools in the area for my daughter who is due to go next year. There is not one here that is suitable, to be fair there is not one here that I would like to send a dog to  never mind my child. They are all failing schools, we'd have to travel miles to find one half decent.

Is it any wonder that all I keep seeing on my Facebook timeline is people saying that we cannot take any refugees from Syria (or anywhere else) That people are angry at David Cameron for sending them money. That people are arguing amongst themselves whenever someone shows any sort of sorrow or support for the refugees.

I've seen people complain that they are fed up of seeing photo's of dying or drowning children on their timeline. It's not nice to see, it's horrific. It's not a movie or tv program, it's real life and it's happening. It's happening to thousands on a daily basis. Why should we not look, because it's awful, sickening, horrific? What if it were happening here in our own country? Yes, things are bad here, but they are not that bad yet!

I see people saying we can't take any refugees we are overpopulated, we have too many of our own problems.

Yes, we do, I've just outlined them and they are dire. But we are not being tortured or bombed. We do have food even if we have to go to food banks. We do have money, even if it's not very much and we have to beg for it. We have homes or shelter even if it's not good. If we don't, at the very least we have streets left!

A lot of these refugees are not poor people, they had jobs, they had lives, homes, businesses even. They left everything because they didn't want to die.

What would you do? If someone started fighting and bombing our country tomorrow would you carry on as normal or pack up your family and flee for your life?

I've heard it said that by helping these people we'd be letting our hearts rule our heads.  Maybe that's true, but that's something that I'm usually guilty of anyway. I don't want my life to change, or my country to change but if it means that I can save some lives then so be it.

Then there is the worry that by letting refugees in the country you could let terrorists in too. This is true, and it's a huge worry. Heaven forbid we end up in a state like their country by allowing such scum in. However, if they can come in disguised as refugees, they'll come in disguise by any means, if they want to be here they will find a way. That's if they are not already here. We'd have to put our trust in the powers that be to ensure that those allowed in are safe. It's a risk. It's a risk every time we accept a plane from another country.

I read that if our population continued on it's current growth (and this was probably a scaremongering article but I couldn't find anything I trusted as actual facts) then in 100 years time we would need 52 more cities on our land. The truth is we have room for 52 cities, we'd even still have green land left. The sad thing is, the green land is what makes our Island so beautiful and no-one wants to lose it. I'm sure we'd find a way around this if it ever happened. We do have to think of the future for our families.

I've presented a lot of questions and a lot of problems. I don't know the answers and I'm not a politician. I've admitted that I think with my heart and not my head sometimes.

Yesterday I had to deal with a dying cat, a child that is really poorly and the fact that my money has run out so we have no Sunday lunch today (we still have food in the freezer though) But still, I can't help thinking how much worse life would be if we had to flee from war, where would we go, would we survive? How much worse would our lives be?

If we can offer help at all to these people I believe we should. If it causes more upset to our already suffering country we will deal with later. In fact, history has shown us that people have moved around the world since time began, yes, even us. It's not always turned out to be a bad thing. We shouldn't be afraid.

Save Syria's children is a Save The Children Campaign where you can donate to help if you wish but the website gives you some details of what is actually going on.

The New York Times is running an interesting article on the movement of the refugees. This makes them look more human and shows a little of what their journey entails.

This is a brief explanation of how it all began Europe's Refugee Crisis Explained

The hypocrisy of British Tabloids, is it any wonder we are arguing amongst ourselves?

Jerusalem

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my chariots of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight;
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Til we have built Jerusalem
On England's green and pleasant land.

######################################

We should fight our government, we should not sit back and let things get worse, the rich should not get richer while the poor get poorer. We should protest, we need to have a voice. We can do this peacefully with campaigns and petitions.

What happens when people here really do get fed up and rebel? It could happen. It could go that way in the future.
 Just like in Syria.
How will we react when innocent people get killed for having a say? Will we start fighting for our rights? You can't say it won't happen here. We've seen unrest already. We've seen violence and disruption in our country. It could get worse. It could happen on our doorstep. Then what would you do? How far would you go to save your family? What would other countries say about us? Do you think they would say we were after their jobs or their homes? Would they turn us away and tell us it's our problem not theirs?
Just think about it for a moment today, and then say we can't help these people.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

The Obligatory Back To School Post.

So the time as come, far too quickly, it's time for the little ones to go back to school.
Only they are not so little any more.
Star is going into her last year at primary school and in the next few weeks we will be looking at secondary schools for her. I'm dreading this transition, but no doubt I'll be writing more about that later.
Boo is off into year four with her first ever male teacher, who seems really nice, and she's in Mozart class (which has me humming every time I think of it because I'm a bit of a fan of dear old Mozart)
The Little Man is starting school proper in year one and he's thrilled because he's being re-united with his nursery friends. For some reason they were all separated last year.

I know more mum's in the playground than I have ever done before. I don't make friends easily and with my RBF(resting b***ch face..I really can't help it) I guess I'm not that approachable, but somehow I seem to have forged some friendships, or at the least to point of being able to talk to them. When my older children were younger I was working full time and rarely picked them up from school myself, something I often regret. At the little ones last school I had one close school run buddy, and basically we didn't speak to anyone else.

Now the holidays are over I've been looking back at what we have done.
We didn't go away again but we already have our holiday booked for next year. (whoo hoo!)
We spent a lot of time looking for owls in the Big Hoot. We went to the cinema and watched Inside Out which we all thought was a brilliant movie. We had two birthday parties at home and one birthday outing at Pizza Hut. We had a bouncy castle for a whole week! We visited the park a few times and even went paddling in the stream. We went to a couple of BBQs, and two summer fetes. I took Boo all the way to London for a cookery class with Bee Berry. We met Dennis the Menace at Brewers Fayre and the kids played in the fun area before we all had a delicious meal. In all we had a fun time and I've made a little video about our month. It's only a minute long.




Then on 1st September at around 7.30pm we had a freak hailstorm. It was really kind of crazy with thunder and lightening and huge hailstones. This is outside our house with a river flowing down the road and the hailstones gathering in huge blocks which were still there in the morning.


Well, I know we had snow last year in August, but at least that was fake! 

Before they went back to school we wanted one last day out and as we couldn't trust the weather we decided to go to the bowling alley. It was loads of fun.














So here it is...the Back to School photo. I managed to get them to stand still for minute before they jumped in the car.




























I miss them already :(


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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Welcome to September

It's a new month and time for a new linky. Autumn is on the way and the kids are getting ready to go back to school. My little chef Boo has not been very well for a week now so we've not been doing much cooking together. I'm sure we'll have something new for you next week though.

In the meantime why don't you pop over to ETSpeaksFromHome who has been baking up a storm with her kids. Take a look at these Thunder Chocolate Kisses '65 There's also a tasty competition on the page. Or how about these scrummy looking Pumpkin Whoopie Pies mmmmm.

Joining in is easy, just link up your posts at the bottom of this page and I will add you to my Pinterest Board and give you mention here on Kids in the Kitchen the following week. Do take a look at what other's have been cooking too. The Pinterest board is a great source of inspiration if you don't know what to cook.



Follow Anne's board Kids In The Kitchen on Pinterest.

The linky is open for a month and you can join in as many times as you wish.
So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)








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A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay



Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I've also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me...is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I've loved. If I don't love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It's always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I'll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.
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