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.

Cakes

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!






Photalife


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

School's Out For Summer!

summer time beach
photo by Jerry Keisewetter/ Unsplash 


School

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.

Holidays

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.

Birthdays

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.

Monday, 17 July 2017

New Clothes!

I had to change my style last year when I got ill. I've not worn my jeans since because they feel so rough and uncomfortable. My skin is not sensitive but my nerves under my skin make me feel things differently, it's so hard to explain. Anyway, it was out with the jeans and in with the dresses. I can wear leggings so long as they are soft cotton, so I can keep warm in the cooler weather. In the hotter weather I am faced with a dilemma. I cannot leave my legs exposed and it's too hot to keep them covered.

My legs have a life of their own which is why I don't like them on show. I have, what the Doctors call, a spastic gait, and it's obvious. I can't walk very far but when I do my legs are all over the place. When I stand I feel like I'm standing normally, but photographs have shown me different.

Then I was asked if I'd like to try a Maxi dress from JD Williams. Now, I'd heard of JD Williams, mostly because of their ad. Maybe I watch too much television but I'm often heard around the house singing 'Awoo!' However, I'd not actually visited their site before. I was happy to do so, it was full of amazing clothes and accessories perfect for online shopping. Not only that but it was so easy to narrow down your search to what you were looking for i.e. size, colour, length, brand etc.

Now Maxi dresses remind me of the 70s (yes, I'm old enough to remember!) My mum would make me wear one to every special occasion and then take it up afterwards to make an every day dress suitable for school (school uniforms in primary schools were not a thing back then.) I hated maxi dresses, being tall for my age they never really went past my ankles and I always looked daft.

These days people are taller, even taller than me and clothes are showing this. I can buy a pair of jeans that are long enough so maybe I could by a maxi dress that was long enough not to be classed as a mini dress?

Then I had a light bulb moment. A maxi dress would hide my legs. I would be able to look pretty normal standing and maybe even look okay walking!

I found a dress I liked, it was Joe Browns and I loved it on the web site. In real life it was even nicer, the material was soft and comfortable. Also with a length of 54 inches (137cm) I knew it would be  the perfect length.




I'm no model, but I'm really happy with my new dress. (Not sure what my hubby was trying to achieve with the angle of the photo)


I love the pattern and the material is soft and stretchy, it's figure hugging but not too much, it still has a flowing feel to hide those flaws.

While I was there I also chose a gorgeous Joe Brown's tunic top. It's a beautiful floaty fabric which is lined. I just love the pattern. As this is shorter than the normal dresses I wear (But only just seeing as it is described as a blouse rather than a dress,) I would have preferred to wear it with trousers rather than leggings. However, as I'm mostly in my wheelchair it think it's perfect and I don't have to worry about my wonky leg problem, so I can wear it with leggings until I can find the perfect trousers to go with it.




I just love the pattern on this top, it's so pretty, and it's fully lined so no see through bits except at the very end and the capped sleeves.


Disclosure: collaborative post

Saturday, 15 July 2017

My Sunday Photo - 16th July 2017


Stage Fright

It happens to the best of us. I can remember getting stage fright at my school concert when I was around ten years old. Then my eldest daughter had stage fright in her nursery performance. Star has always been pretty good with school plays and concerts. We saw her perform at Christmas with her school band and although she did fine.

Star's school does Band Musicianship which I think is fantastic. The kids have a proper recording studio and so many instruments. They are put into groups and allowed free range of everything. They write songs and music and then practice their pieces to perform. The kids learn so much about music, but it's not only that, they are learning by fun and developing talents and confidence. It must take a lot of confidence to perform in front of an audience and these kids get loads of opportunities to do so.

Yesterday it was the school BBQ and concert. We piled into the concert hall to watch twelve different groups perform. Most of the kids were nervous but there were a few that  appeared more than once and it was obvious that these were the most confident if not the most talented. 

We waited and waited for Star's group to come on. Then when they did, Star was missing. She is a singer (Although she likes playing the keyboard too) and has a pretty good voice for her age. Her group is called the Young All Stars and I think they are all stars... but where was our Star? She had an attack of stage fright. Her teacher was great and let her come out and sit down at the back with a microphone. She also gave her the song sheet so she didn't feel as though she would forget the words. She couldn't sing though and started to cry, so her teacher took her out. Poor Star.

I was so upset that I didn't get to see her sing with the others. I think that maybe losing a lot of time from school, and rehearsals may have a played a part. I hope that if we can get her health issues sorted out then she can get more confidence to perform. 

We bought a CD that all the children had recorded a song on and I recognised Star's voice straight away, she even had a solo verse and sang so beautifully. I do hope this hasn't put her off performing in the future.


Photalife

Friday, 14 July 2017

No No! My Hairless Review

Since becoming ill I have had a real problem with hair removal. My condition is neuropathic and it's difficult to explain but what I feel on my skin has more to do with my nerves than my actual skin tissue. Shaving feels like I'm ripping off my skin, similarly waxing (although, I will admit I've never been a fan of waxing anyway.) Depilatory creams sting on my skin and the most painful suspect is epilators.

Then I was asked to try No! No! The No! No! is a thermicon hair removal tool that promises to be pain free. There is a 60 day guarantee where you can return the product if you are not completely satisfied.

When I first put on Facebook that I had a No! No! I was met with a few comments that said it was useless, so I went into my review period feeling un-optimistic.

What's in the Box?


no! no! box contents

The No! No! I received was 
no!no! Thermicon 8800 Face & Body Complete Painless Hair Removal System - Heat Treatment For Short & Long Term Results With No Side Effects - For Men & Women

It came with the No! No! two thermicon tips in different sizes, a buffer, a charger and a cleaning brush.

Before Use

The No! No! needs charging for about five hours then you get three hours of usage time. 
Your skin needs to be clean and free from any sort of products.
Be prepared for the smell with aroma candles or air freshener.
Hair should be about 1-3mm for best treatment.
Assemble the No! No! with the correct tip. The booklet has details of how to do this with pictures. I found it really easy.

Using the No! No!

 It's recommended that you test a small area of your skin first to see if there is any irritation or discomfort. I tried it on my arm and felt nothing. So I moved on to my legs.
When you switch the No! No! on you are met with a small digital screen which shows the battery power, and the treatment level, low, medium or high. It's best to start low, then moving up to as comfortable as you feel with it.

Handling the No! No! is a little more complicated. It has to be held at a 90 degree angle with the rollers flat against the skin. There is a blue light that glows steadily if you've got it right. I found this a little confusing at first and was not sure where the blue light was. When I got it right though I could see the light right at the tip of the  No! No!, it flashes if you are not doing it right and makes a weird clacking sound. It actually made me jump the first time I heard it.

When I'd got the movement of the No! No! right I found it really easy and quick to move it all over my legs.

The next thing that hit me was the smell! Burning hair is really not pleasant. This is how the No! No! works, it gives a gentle pulse of heat to the root of the hair which makes the hair drop out. I'm happy to report that the smell does not linger though and quick burst of air freshener got rid of any remaining smell. Rubbing a moisturising lotion on my legs got rid of the smell there, although the smell did seem to be in the air rather than on my skin.

When I'd finished I wasn't overly impressed, my legs felt stubbly and my skin dry. I gave them a buff with the buffer provided which helped a little, and then put some moisturising lotion to combat the dryness.

I wasn't too worried with the stubble as the No! No! instructions state that it may take more than one session to get rid of the hair.

The good news is that I felt no pain or sensitivity at all from the No! No! 

You Need Patience

The No! No! clearly states that it takes more than one session, you really need some patience. The No! No! should be used 2-3 times a week for the first 4-6 weeks. It can take this long for the  best results to appear. After 4-6 weeks you can reduce the treatments to once or twice a week and then use as needed for maintenance. It all takes time, you have to be persistent to get the best results and then you will find that you don't need to use it so often and your hair will not grow back as quick.
I cannot comment on long term use as I've only just received my No! No! but I will endeavour to return to this post in 4-6 weeks to let you know how I'm getting on.

Where Can You Use use the No! No!

With the different size tips you can use it almost anywhere. You cannot use it on your genitals, eyebrows or around your nipples. You can use it on your face and I  had a try with the smaller tip. Being of an older age I do get some more hairs around my upper lip that I've not had a problem with before. I found it difficult to get the No! No! working properly, the blue light running smoothly, in this area. However, I found that by starting on my chin or cheek, and avoiding my lips, I could get it working and reach the upper lip area more easily. It just took a little practice. The good news is there was no pain or irritation on my face or upper lip area, it was not even red afterwards. 

Of course you have to think of the safety of your skin and do not use the No! No! on sunburnt skin, open cuts, bruises, blisters, large moles, cold sores or big scars. It makes sense really. 

Care of the No! No!

The No! No! is easy to care for, it comes with a little brush to keep the tips clean. Obviously it would not be smart to get the No! No! wet. You need to keep an eye on your tips but your No! No! will flash a warning if there is a problem with your tip, then you will need to replace it. 

My Conclusion

At £149.99 the No! No! is probably a purchase I wouldn't be able to budget for, however, if you have salon treatments regularly it could work out as a much cheaper alternative over time.
I'm not that concerned about immediate results so I'm happy to be persistent with the No! No! until the results are good, this may frustrate some people, but you have to think of the long term effects rather than the immediate ones.

I found the No! No! really easy to use once I'd got used to it, which didn't take very long at all. It was quick and effortless.

I found the No! No! completely pain free, which is a big plus for me. I also noticed no after affects or redness anywhere I used it. What I did notice was dryness which was easily resolved with a little moisturiser.

The No! No! smells and it's not pleasant, but the smell means it's working. It's also not a lasting smell which is easy to get rid of so it's a small drawback really.

I am looking forward to using my No! No! more and I'm pretty confident that the long term results will be good, watch this space!


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Word of the Week - Busy




Now, before I start I realise that my idea of a busy week may not be yours. Most weeks I spend ninety percent of my time stuck indoors with little more than housework, reading and crochet to do. But this week has been very busy for my and to be honest, I've loved it.

First I started off with a manic Monday which involved a trip to the dentist, a shopping delivery, and a last minute rush for the school run. Hubby had gone to pick up my daughter from the airport but got lost on the way home. He was going to be late for the kids, and my power chair was in the boot. I had to get my eldest son to push me around the school in my manual chair and we made it just in time. Then to finish off the day it was parents evening for Star. The good news is, that although her attendance is bad, she's managing to keep up with most of her work.

Then on Tuesday I was planning on resting all day but we had a visit from my friend who had just passed her driving test. It was lovely that she passed and that they came to visit, but it also meant a house full of six kids too.

Wednesday we had to take Star to the clinic so we had to pick her up from school early. I decided that I was going to walk in the clinic. We can park right by the doors but it's quite a long walk down the corridor inside. I took my rollator walker which also has a seat on it so I can rest when I need too. This is a lot slower than going in my chair but I really wanted to give it a go. I was so proud that I managed it but it hurt so so bad later and my ankles were really swollen. Star did not have good news though and now we have to start the school holidays with a disimpaction. I'm not going into details, look it up if you are interested, but it's not fun. (This will be her third time.)


Thursday was calmer, although not for the kids, Boo had to take in some old clothes for some painting, it's all very vague but I bet it's fun. The Little Man had to take in his favourite toy. I did think that the lap top and the PS4 would not be appreciated so he ended up taking his very noisy Iron Man Figure.  I have been busy sorting out birthdays. It's Boos birthday in less than two weeks, then exactly two weeks later it's The Little Man's birthday, then exactly two weeks later it's Star's birthday. So, I've been getting their presents and figuring out what do to. Boo is having a Splodge Teddy Party, which I have written about before, The Little Man is having a BBQ party where we are just inviting close friends and family (we've tried birthday parties before but you don't get a good turnout if the birthday is in the middle of the school holiday.) Then Star is insisting she has the same birthday as she's had for the past six years, that's Pizza Hut with our direct family and a bear from Build A Bear. I've got their presents sorted already and I feel extremely organised.

Friday, it's the school BBQ. We have to be there at lunch time and there will also be a little concert from Star and her classmates. It sounds like fun. I am hoping for a restful weekend, but we have our Teacher gifts and cards to make!

How's your week been?



The Reading Residence



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Nemesis - Book Review

Nemesis is a Young Adult book by Brendan Reichs, son of Author, Kathy Reichs and co-author of the Virals series.





Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Main Market Ed. edition (13 July 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1509860304
ISBN-13: 978-1509860302
Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm


The Blurb

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, the same man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later she wakes up in a clearing just outside her hometown – alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him too, though he does his best to hide the signs.

And as the world around them begins to spiral towards panic and destruction, the two troubled teens discover that people have been lying to them their whole lives . . .

A YA summer blockbuster thriller for fans of The Maze Runner and The 100

My View

I have to admit that this book was a real page turner for me, I probably would have read it in one go if it wasn't for the fact I needed to eat, sleep and look after my family. 
Not being familiar with Brendan Reichs or his author mother, Kathy Reichs, I wasn't sure what to expect.

At first I really thought it was some sort of crime thriller but I was excited by it turning out to be more of a science fiction thriller. 

The characters were believable, typical teenagers which their usual problems and emotional turmoils. From the start I knew which ones I liked more and the difference between the goodies and baddies where obvious. 

I like how the book kept me guessing, I had no idea how it was going to end. There were many twists and turns and you were kept waiting for the conclusion.

I wasn't sure at first if I was satisfied with the ending, it's obviously left open for more books. Answers were given but then at the end you are suddenly lunged into a completely new situation. It's difficult to explain without giving anything away, but it's typical of a sci-fi ending. 

The book is described as a genre-defying mixture of a crime thriller with a sci-fi twist at the end and I'd agree with that completely. 

Who is it for?

Aimed at Young Adults the books main characters are all teenagers, but the book would appeal to anyone who loves a good mystery. It really does keep you guessing on many things. If you like stories with apocalyptic themes then this book would suit you, likewise if you were a sci-fan or crime thriller fan. The rating is 12+

The book is out now on kindle and is released in paperback on 13th July.

What do you think, does it sound like something you might enjoy? 

Disclosure: This book was sent to me in return for my honest review. This post contains an affiliate link.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Church Tavern - A Sizzling Pub Restaurant Review

On Saturday we celebrated being free of Chicken Pox by having a family meal out at The Church Tavern in Perry Barr Birmingham.

The Church Tavern has been recently refurbished and is now a Sizzling Restaurant. It has a whole new look and a brand new menu.

The Pub

We found The Church Tavern comfortable and pleasant. I didn't go in my wheelchair as we were able to park outside the restaurant doors. Some of the seating had steps to it, but there was seating without steps so it was still accessible. There were also two wheelchair accessible/disabled toilets which were also baby changing rooms.

The Staff

The staff were friendly and helpful. They apologised right from the start that they were busy and the food would take longer than expected. However, we really did not have to wait long at all and the plates were cleared away between each meal promptly. We've had much worse experiences at other pub restaurants, so the apology was really not required.

The Menu

Now, on to the menu. I love it when you can preview the menu online before visiting a restaurant and you can do this on the Sizzling Pub website. It really helps when you have awkward family members who take forever to choose, or children who can never make up their minds. The first thing that struck me about the menu was how well priced it was, I just hoped the food was good as this seemed good value. There was also loads to choose from, the kids had a total of eleven meals to choose from including a vegetarian option. The kid's main meals start at £2.99 which is cheaper than the fast food restaurants. Of course when dining out like this the main meals are not enough you have to have starters and deserts too as well as drinks. I was given a £50 tab for the meal and this stretched to starters, mains, sides, deserts and two lots of drinks for all five of us. Then although all our tab was spent the staff were happy for our children to visit the soft play centre for free, usual cost is only £3 so that's good value too.


The Food

The kids all had garlic bread starters, while me and the hubby shared a large bowl of cheesy nachos. Then for their mains, The Little Man chose a Build Your Own Chicken Wrap, Star chose Chicken Nuggets, Chips and beans and Boo chose grilled Chicken, Chips and peas.

collage with photos of the kid's pub lunches


I decided to go for Fish and Chips, it's only been the past few years that I've eaten white fish and the second time I've ever had fish and chips out, but it didn't disappoint. The fish was huge! The batter was absolutely delicious, it was really light and crispy.
Hubby went for the All Day Breakfast, which again was huge.

The people on the next table went for the Sizzling Grills on the menu and the kids were fascinated by the actual sizzle coming from the plates.

Lunch at the Church Tavern, fish n chips and an all day breakfast

Then if we were not stuffed enough it was time for dessert!

The kids all chose the Build Your Own Sundae, which was two scoops of ice cream that came with a bowl of mini marshmallows, chocolate sauce and a little packet of chocolate buttons. This is Boo's creation. 

build your own ice cream sundae


I decided to go for the Cream Pie which came with caramel balls and chocolate and caramel sauce and a lovely dollop of whipped cream with chocolate chips.
Hubby went for the Baked Cheesecake which came with a berry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

desert at the church tavern, cream pie and cheesecake

We had a lovely afternoon at the Church Tavern and would definitely visit again. By visiting the website you can see if there is a Sizzling Pub near you.

What do you think, do our meals look yummy? Have you ever visited a Sizzling Pub?

Family Fever

Disclosure: we were provided with a £50 tab to visit this pub, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

How to Capture Your Summer Holiday

I love capturing all my special memories with photo graphs. I remember many years ago when someone would  ask the question, "if there was a fire in your house what would you save?" Of course this is after you've saved all the living things in your home as family and pets come first. I would always answer, my photographs. I have many of them, recording the events over the years of my life. The further back you go the fewer there are. I don't have any baby photo's of myself but I do have photos from my childhood and ones taken with my parents who are no longer of this world.

These days photos are saved digitally. There is nothing wrong with that, back when I was younger we would have a film containing 24 photos, sometimes I would take two films on holiday, that's 48 photos. You can take that many on a day trip on your phone or digital camera these days. Then I would have to wait for my photos to be processed and then go and collect them. I remember the photos from my eldest girls third birthday, the whole reel was ruined. I did not have a single photo and almost cried in the chemist where I was picking them up from. They compensated me with a free film, but I couldn't re-create my daughter's birthday party.

I still like physical photos though, and I even enjoy putting them in albums to look at. Recently I've discovered photo books and I love them. I have a whole shelf of them now. They take up less room than photo albums and you can fit more photos in. You can also add text and backgrounds, it's like digital scrapbooking.

Here is a photo book I made last year of our Summer activities.

summer memories photo book

inside my summer photo book


I can't wait to start taking photo's and capturing our Summer this year. I've already got enough to fill one album for our holiday which we had earlier in June.

Photo albums are great for keeping your photos safe and in order and are so lovely to keep forever. 
At the moment PrinterPix have a special offer on photobooks.


No code required!! The book is A4 hardback and you can buy now and create your album later, you have up to three months. Perfect for capturing all those Summer memories. 

Making photo books are easy, anyone can do it. You find the book you like, upload your photos and then just click and drag your photos into the frame into the book. You can add text boxes if you want to write something to go with your photos. You can even move the photo frames around, make them bigger, smaller or delete them and have a complete page photo. You are instructed with symbols to make sure your photos will print nicely, if you get a warning sign then you know you have to make your photo smaller for better quality printing. It really is simple.

Have you ever made a photo book?





Debs Random Writings

One Messy Mama

Pink Pear Bear

Saturday, 8 July 2017

My Sunday Photo 8th July 2017


After nearly three weeks of Chicken Pox we were finally out of quarantine and managed to leave the house. I had a pub restaurant to review and I'd already had to push the date on it because of illness.

We enjoyed a lovely meal which I will tell you more about later but the desert was extra yummy. Kids all chose a Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae and I have to say I was tempted to have one myself. As well as two scoops of ice cream they had marshmallows, chocolate buttons and a pot of chocolate sauce to get creative with. This creation belongs to  Boo.  I think they all enjoyed making them as much as they enjoyed eating them! 

Boo took this photo herself on my phone. I edited it a little to crop of the mess of the table and to put the focus on the ice cream art.

It was so good to get out at last. Fingers crossed there will be loads more outings to come, especially as school is nearly over.





Photalife

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Back Seat Driver

I'm not sure why they call it a back seat driver, I sat in the back seat yesterday while my husband drove and for the first time ever I managed to keep my mouth shut!!

Hands up though, I am the worst back seat driver ever, if they could give and award for it then mine would certainly be gold!


Yesterday evening I had a call from a friend.
"I've got my driving test next week and I wondered if you would take a drive with me so I can get some extra practice?"

MY Worst Nightmare!!

I couldn't even get in the car when my husband was learning. Thankfully I couldn't get him insured in my car until he passed his test so I had a good excuse. But I am seriously scared of being in a car with a learner driver. A driving instructor would be my nightmare job.

I had to let her down, I hope she understands. I just couldn't do it. I hope she passes her test, I really do. I have everything crossed for her.

When my husband first passed his test I was a nervous wreck getting in the car with him. In his first six months of driving he's had two bumps, that's two black marks on our insurance policy. I haven't had a bump in nearly 20 years! I am a very careful driver though and I hate it when I see someone else not being so careful. I don't even have to be in the car to notice, oh yes, I saw you cutting off the corner or speeding up the crossing and braking hard at the last minute. You wouldn't catch me doing that.

My husband is a good driver but he's most definitely a MAN driver. The seat is pushed back so he can relax in it and he loves having just one had on the wheel. I have to drive with one hand on the wheel because as a hand driver my other hand is on the accelerator/brake, but I have a knob on the wheel to make one handed steering easier. He takes off my knob when driving but still thinks he can control the wheel with one hand, while fiddling with the radio with the other.

I do feel more comfortable in the car now but I often notice that he will pull off at an island when I probably would have waited a little longer, he speeds up to junction and stops suddenly (one of my pet hates) he stops suddenly at traffic lights as if he hasn't been paying attention, and he edges out of junctions impatiently. He also gets angry with other drivers and throws insults at them.

And me? I can't keep my mouth shut. I'm telling him all the time, which way to go, to slow down, to be patient, to look out for the lights, to watch that car coming from the right, that he's in the wrong lane going around an island. I just can't help myself. I drive him nuts and we often end up arguing.

Then I apologise because I am trying not to be critical but to help him drive better.
He accepts my apology and we turn it all into a joke.

I never used to be like this. I was driven around for many years before I started driving myself and I never once opened my mouth in criticism. I think being a driver makes me more aware and more critical.

I don't speak when I'm other cars but I do notice. I notice taxi drivers that are speeding or taking too much notice of their radio rather than the road. But I wouldn't dare tell a taxi driver off.

I hope my husband understands. I do think he's taken to driving really well and in just six months he's achieved loads. When we went on holiday he drove for hours on the motorway and country lanes and he did brilliantly. I felt relaxed enough to take in the view. I only got panicky once when he went down a very steep and bendy incline a little too fast. I'm pretty sure he felt he was in complete control but I felt my stomach in my mouth. I think I may have been scared if I'd been driving too.

He rarely panics, even when lost. I panic terribly when I lose my way. To be fair we are both as bad as each other when it comes to directions, so it doesn't matter who's driving and who's giving directions, we always get it wrong. Thankfully we can laugh about it (after the argument.)


What about you? Are you a back seat driver? Is your partner? Would you have the patience to teach someone else to drive? I'm sure I'm not the only one.


diaryofanimperfectmum

Monday, 3 July 2017

Looking for the Silver Lining

I always try to be positive, I'm definitely one of the cup is half full type people. Sometimes it's not to my advantage as it makes me less likely to fight for more.

I'm not saying that I'm always happy, oh dear, definitely not. I can be pretty miserable sometimes, and I even get visited by the black dog of depression. But, I do tend to look at life through rose tinted glasses a lot of the time.

Now, last year was difficult being struck down by a debilitating illness that seemed to have come out of nowhere, plus dealing with a traumatic family death at the same time. The whole time I stayed positive because I was sure I was going to get well again, to walk again.

This year, I think the bad news hit me harder than I would ever expect. How can you spend a whole year feeling positive about getting well then suddenly be faced with the fact that you are only going to get worse. It was not what I wanted to hear. It was not what I wanted to deal with.

Then my consultant put me forward for some treatment that I'd heard could work wonders. I'd spoken (online) to others who had received it and were now walking again and leading relatively normal lives. It wasn't a miracle cure, the treatment had to be taken regularly to keep working, but it sounded great and I was going to get it.

So, almost a month ago I spent every day for a week in hospital receiving Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG.) I spoke to other's  on the same treatment in the hospital and they all had good things to say about it...but they all admitted that it didn't start working until about the third round of treatment. At the end of my week I asked when I would be going back for my next round and was told that my consultant had not requested it. His instructions were that unless I showed significant improvement then there would be no more.

I was devastated, not only was I not showing significant improvement but I felt that I was not been given the chance to improve. Surely my consultant would know that one dose would not be enough. I could understand if I was refused if I'd shown no improvement after three treatments, but the consensus was that one was not enough.

I called my consultant's secretary every day  for a week, morning afternoon and early evening. Each time I called the phone would just ring out. I double checked that I had the right number. I did. I was so frustrated, I just wanted to talk to someone, I wanted to know when my consultant was planning on seeing me again as I don't have an appointment.
I didn't think I could feel any lower.

Then daughter became sick with chicken pox, then my youngest son caught it, and my other daughter, that was all the little ones. It's ok, I thought, I've had chicken pox, I should be okay, so had my husband and my older children. I did worry for a while about shingles, but you can't catch it from chicken pox, you can, however, catch chicken pox from shingles. I have an auto-immune disorder so I felt very vulnerable. Then my oldest son, 29, caught chicken pox and became really really sick. The rest of the adults in the house were extremely worried now.

Thankfully, no-one else has caught it and the afflicted are getting better. Then I heard from a friend in the know that vulnerable transplant patients are given IVIG if they come in contact with Chicken Pox. So, inadvertently I was given something that had protected me. So having the IVIG had been worth it after all, even though I may not have caught it anyway at least it has made me feel less worried.

So, now, after all we've been through in the past couple of weeks (And believe me, it's been pretty hairy at times) I can forget about the stress of my treatment and not getting well. I'll just take it in my stride. My consultant will see me when he's ready and decide if I get any more IVIG or not.

I'll focus on my silver linings, the IVIG probably helped prevent me from getting chicken pox and because I was able to try this new treatment it meant I was weaned off the steroids. I'm on  a really low dose now and should be off them completely by the end of the week. I've already started losing some of the weight they made me put on and I don't have a moon face anymore.

A few months ago I didn't even know what IVIG was, I'm not going to let it, or the lack of it, stop me from getting on with my life. After all, a lot of people get used to not walking for lots of reasons, I'll just have to accept my fate. At least I have a lovely new power chair to get around in...see, another silver lining!

I've decided that I have to regain my positivity. I may not get a miracle cure, I may not get treatment that makes me feel better. I know that I will get worse in time so I have to make the most of the time I've got. I need to stop dreaming that I will get better and just get on with things. This summer is going to be the best that me and my family have ever had. We are going to do loads and enjoy being together. I'm not going to worry about anything.

So what if I'm in a wheelchair! I'm breathing and living and my mind is well. There is still so much I can do so I won't focus on what I can't.






Debs Random Writings
Mummy Times Two

Sparkles at Midnight

Saturday, 1 July 2017

My Sunday Photo - 2nd July 2017


It was my daughter's birthday o Friday but with four out of seven of the family down with Chicken Pox it was not a good time for celebration. We would normally go out for a meal but instead she had to make do with a take away. We were really excited to hear of a new Japanese take away in the area so we ordered a meal of sushi, takoyaki and tempura. Graham doesn't eat fish (or Japanese food) so it was just me and my daughter to share.

Unfortunately, the food wasn't as nice as we expected. The tempura and takoyaki was cold and we felt it had been made for a while and left lying around. The Sushi platter was not cold, which was not pleasant. We tried to enjoy it as much as we could though and the Rose Wine helped it go down a little. You see that round thing in the tempura box, I thought it was onion but it was actually Calamari (squid) and I ate it. I really don't like squid or octopus. That's why my daughter got the takoyaki (octopus) all to herself. I don't like Sashimi (raw fish) either but I can just about manage it if it's in maki (The little sushi rolls)

It was a big difference to the normal Japanese food we enjoy in our favourite restaurants. To make up for it I've promised to take her for a meal in a couple of weeks when she comes back from her trip to France.

Desert was much nicer. I'd bought a huge chocolate chip cookie on top of a chocolate sauce which had to be warmed up in the oven. It was delicious with ice cream. She also chose a mountain of profiteroles.

Thankfully, she still enjoyed her day and had some lovely presents. And of course she has her little holiday to look forward too. I just wish my kids would stop growing up! I now have two of them that are much older than I was when I gave birth to them.


I post all the photos I visit on my Pinterest Board, if you see your photo and you would rather not have it pinned then please let me know and I will remove it. 





Photalife

Sunday Snap

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Word of the Week - Spots



This week my word choice was easy, especially with two kids down with Chicken Pox.
I saw a program on television where they said that Chicken Pox got worse with each family member that caught it, and boy they were not wrong.

First was Boo, and within 5 days she was scabbing over and back to school after 7 days. We had a couple of days where she felt poorly, but she didn't complain much about the spots and didn't scratch too much with an application or two of calamine lotion.

Then came The Little Man, again he was poorly for a couple of days, but the spots seemed twice as many. His poor little face was almost totally covered bless him. The calamine helped but he looked like a ghost he had to have so much applied. We did have a night or two where he didn't sleep much because of the itching. It's coming up to 7 days now and he's nowhere near as clear as Boo was at this stage. Maybe he will have cleared up enough to go back to school on Monday.

Just a couple of days later and Star was complaining of feeling unwell. "look!" she said as she showed me one lonely spot on her belly. I kept her off school just in case and by lunch time she'd quite a few spots on her belly and back. Within 24 hours she was totally covered in spots from head to toe, I've never seen so many. And not tiny spots either, it seems that because she is bigger the spots are bigger, some of them are huge! She's been so poorly with it as well. The only peace I've had is when I've let her lie in a bath of oily lotion  which has helped ease the itchiness and burning. She's been very concerned that she may be dying she's felt so ill. People should not underestimate the awfulness of chicken pox.

My eldest son, 29, has been unwell since Tuesday, he's been having hot sweats and his throat was sore. Since I discovered that you can't get shingles from Chicken Pox I've not been too worried. I know he had Chicken Pox as a child. Then yesterday, I noticed his face was looking rather spotty, and he had a few on his arms and one on his tum. No, they can't be Chicken Pox I assured him. As I watched him slowly become spottier and spottier throughout the day, I'm really not so sure.



The Reading Residence

Unfolding Journeys from Lonely Planet Kids - review and give away

As you know, here at the Raisie Bay household we love our books. We've been a big fan of Lonely Planet Kids books for quite a while, despite us not being big travellers. There are other ways of finding out about the world.

The book I am reviewing today is Unfolding Journeys - Following the Great Wall



ISBN: 9781786571977 Language: English
Authors: Stewart Ross, Victo Ngai
16 pages, 16 pp colour | Dimensions: 934mm x 305mm

"From the dusty desert of Gansu province to the rolling waves of the Yellow Sea, this amazing journey takes you past flaming mountains and ancient wonders. Watch out for mighty fortresses, giant pandas and the extraordinary Army of Terracotta Warriors.  Along the way you’ll discover breathtaking wonders of nature, visit modern China, and see how the traditions and landscape of the Great Wall are changing. You’ll also encounter fascinating ancient Chinese monuments and amazing creatures living near the Wall."

Created in consultation with William Lindesay OBE – author, presenter, geographer, researcher and leading non-Chinese expert on the Great Wall.

The first thing you notice about this book is that it doesn't read like a normal book by turning the pages.  It starts off with an information page and fact file and then you are off on your journey along the Great Wall of China. As the book unfolds each part of the journey is marked with short facts which are numbered 1-49. If you want to find out more detail you can look up the number on the reverse side. By the time you have finished you will have unfolded the pages of the book into an eight page frieze of the Great Wall, with all the detailed facts listed along the back.

The book would be a great learning tool for a pupil wanting more information on the Great Wall. It would look good pinned up on a wall or board for reference in a classroom. The frieze is illustrated throughout making it attractive as well as factual.

The book is aimed at children aged 7 plus and is priced at £12.99, although at the time of publishing this post it can be purchased for just £8.70.

The Book I am going to give away is Unfolding Journeys - Secrets of the Nile.

ISBN: 9781786571052 Language: English
Authors: Stewart Ross
16 pages, 16 pp colour | Dimensions: 230mm x 305mm

"From the golden beaches of the Mediterranean, travel upstream to explore the cultural, historical and natural wonders of ancient and modern Egypt. Find out about Egyptian pharaohs and explore their treasures, tombs and mummies; visit modern Egypt and see how the landscape of the Nile is changing; discover the Pyramids and other wonders of the ancient world; and encounter some of the exotic creatures that make the Nile their home." 
Created in consultation with Anthony Sattin - award-winning author, journalist and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.




If you would like the chance to win a copy of this book please fill in the gadget below.

Terms and Conditions

1. UK only (sorry)
2. Giveaway closes  27th July 2017
3. Entries will be validated according to the rules of entry
4. There is 1 prize of a Lonely Planet Kids Book
5. The data of anyone that enters won’t be passed on to any third parties or used for any unsolicited marketing communications.
6. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook or any other social media.
7. The winner will be randomly chosen, and will be shown on this post, with further notifications may be shared on social media.
8. The winner will be notified via email, and will need to respond within 4 weeks otherwise a further winner will be drawn.
9. Prize will be sent out within one week of receiving e-mail details via the supplier.
10.If the prize is not available an alternative may be sent of the same value.





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Monday, 26 June 2017

Chicken Pox

When I was little my Mum said to me,
"Mrs SoandSo's little girl has chicken pox so I'm taking you to play with her."
I was bemused, did my mum want to cheer up Little Miss SoandSo?
"But Mum," I groaned, "I don't like Little Miss SoandSo, she picks on me at school."
Mum wasn't having any of it though, and I was dragged down the street despite my protests.

Little Miss SoandSo didn't look poorly but she was covered from head to toe in horrible red spots. She didn't want me to see her like that and immediately started being mean by not letting me touch any of her toys.

Mum and Mrs SoandSo had a cup of tea in the kitchen while I sat watching Little Miss SoandSo play with her toys. Then she went and sneezed on me!!
Mum was overjoyed, "oh, she'll catch them for sure now" she beamed.

So, there I was, a young child forced to go and visit a sick child that I didn't even like and it wasn't even to cheer her up, it was to catch her horrible spots. I can still see her sitting there scratching herself while playing alone.

Mum was not so happy when I didn't catch Chicken Pox.

Quite a few years later, when I was eighteen, I was at work when a customer bought her children in on a school day. I asked her why they were not at school and she said they had Chicken Pox, but it was ok because the spots were out and they were no longer contagious.
She was wrong.

A couple of days later on a Saturday morning, I was enjoying a lie in when my cousin came to wake me. She gave me a shake and as I popped out from under the blankets she squirmed....
'Eugh! you are covered in zits"
WHAT! I hadn't got a single spot when I went to bed. In fact I had really good skin and had avoided teenage acne completely (well, apart from the odd spot on the tip of my nose!)

I crawled out of bed and looked in the mirror. She was right, but to be honest, I felt so sick it just didn't bother me. I looked over my body as I struggled to get dressed and found it was not just my face, I was covered in spots. I was covered in Chicken Pox!

For an entire week I barely moved, or ate, or even spoke. I had pox in my mouth, my eyes and my ears as well as everywhere else. I was so ill. I am living proof that it's better to get Chicken Pox as a child. Mean Little MissSoandSo wouldn't even share her pox with me.

Mum got my little brother, aged 10, to bring me drinks and keep me company and sure enough he caught them too, but nowhere near as bad as me.

A couple of weeks ago we had a letter from the school saying that there was a Chicken Pox epidemic. It was Boo who caught it first, she was feeling unwell for a couple of days but soon felt better. Her spots where everywhere imaginable but they didn't seem to bother her too much. I smothered her with calamine lotion and she didn't scratch. They have scabbed over and started to disappear now and she is back at school.

Then yesterday the Little Man was feeling unwell. He cuddled up to me on the settee and soon fell asleep, very unlike him to sleep in the afternoon. Then I noticed he had a couple of spots on his neck. This morning he was covered from head to toe in spots, he even had one on his eyeball. I was really worried about this but it soon healed up and now he has nothing but a little bloodshot in his eye.

This morning Star woke up with a headache and sore throat. We thought she was trying to wing a day off school, but she did have a high temperature. So, we let her stay home and sure enough the spots are starting to appear now.

Well, that's all three of them!


I did get worried about catching shingles seeing as I'm a little bit old and have an auto-immune condition. However, Mr Google informs me that you can't catch shingles from Chicken Pox, although you can catch Chicken Pox from Shingles! 




Debs Random Writings
Mummy Times Two

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