This week my word of the week is sad. It doesn’t really do my week justice because what I feel is much more than sad, but that is the word I wish to use.

First the half term holiday started with a poorly Boo,. That girl has been poorly so much since they went back to school. If wasn’t being sick was bad enough we were also due out for a review of a local pub meal and play area which we had to cancel. So a fun day out was lost.

Then Star had a physio appointment which didn’t go too well, she was really weak. Shortly after we got home she began burning up and also became ill. She has a throat infection. This is on top of the ‘clear out’ we are doing as advised by the hospital. That took a little while to get working, but we know it is now….please, no visitors!

So we’ve been cooped up all week, and it’s not been much fun at all.

I have also had a visit to the GP after a nasty experience and it wasn’t good news. I don’t have all the facts yet, but I will be having tests and a CT scan and hoping that it’s not as bad as the Dr thinks it might be.

Then my Other Half managed to hurt his back, he’s not even sure how but he’s been lying around moaning for two days now. I took him to a walk in surgery today (he’s not registered with a GP) but he wasn’t prepared to wait for 3 hours. Fingers crossed it starts to heal soon.

The saddest news of all was having to say goodbye to my lovely old cat Suzie who was diagnosed with a tumor last week. I was so glad we took her home for a few days after her diagnosis. She was still eating and drinking and going out into the garden. We had lots of cuddles, lots and lots of cuddles. But as soon as she started deteriorating I knew I couldn’t let her suffer. I will miss her so much. Sad doesn’t really cut it at all.

On a positive note, it’s the weekend and the kids don’t have to go back to school until Thursday! Things can only get better.

The Reading Residence

What’s Cookin’ is the fab new album from Reole and it’s a mix of funk, jazz and soul, perfect music for cooking to.

I love to have the music playing while I cook and I’ll listen to whatever takes my fancy. I was excited to receive this CD to see how it would inspire me in the kitchen and it didn’t disappoint. Reole started his musical life playing in Mardi Gras parades and is an American Football fan. About his last album, Here Comes the Drums, Reole says he feels music as music is, ‘you can’t push it on to anyone,you either like it or you don’t but there is something on here for everyone.’

Another exciting thing about the new CD, due for release on 4th December, is that it comes with it’s own cookbook. With fantastic recipes such as gris-gris jerk chicken with beans and coconut rice, Jambalaya fire and Creole slow cooked lamb and sweet potato with minty cabbage pesto.

The jerk chicken was very tasty, I added my own yoghurt and mint sauce for a little coolness.

My cabbage and mint pesto which goes lovely with lamb.

The Cd features a mixture of songs and instrumental pieces, they are all uplifting. I’ll definitely be having this on in my kitchen a lot.

I have two copies of the CD with cookbook up for grabs in my give away, so if you fancy a bit of spice in your kitchen just fill in the widget.

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I’m so glad the kids break up for half term today. We start the holiday with a visit to our local Brewer’s Fayre tomorrow to check out their new autumn menu. The rest of the week we are holding off on plans as I doubt we will be going out much, more about that in a minute.

On Monday I had to take Boo to the GP as she had been poorly since she came home sick from school on Wednesday last week. At first we thought it was a tummy bug, but it was strange that no-one else in the family caught it. I asked her teacher and no-one else at school had been sick either. We got through the weekend without her being sick but she was hot and obviously unwell. Then on Sunday she started complaining about her ear. So I took her to the GP who diagnosed a nasty ear infection, which probably explains the sickness too. She’s better now, but she’s had a tough time the last couple of months with tonsillitis and now an ear infection.

On Tuesday I had to take Star to the Children’s hospital for her long awaited appointment with the gastroenterologist. This was a very thorough appointment and we had lots of questions answered and a plan of action put in place on how to help her. The first step is a complete clear out which we are doing at home next week. This is why we won’t be going out if we can help it. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as I’m imagining. It’s not nice but it’s necessary. I’m so relieved that she is getting some help at last. Today we were sent through her next appointment, it’s 22nd December at 6.15pm. It’s going to be so Christmassy being in the City Centre at that time.

Then On Thursday I had to take my old cat Suzie back to the vets. We took her a few weeks ago because her left eye had become dilated and wasn’t shrinking back. The vet said she’d had a stroke and we should watch out for her becoming unsteady on her paws. Well, this week, her right eye became dilated and she became unsteady so we took her back. We were told she had tumor on her kidney and that the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep. I wasn’t ready for this, she was still walking around, eating and drinking and not in obvious distress. So I brought her home with an appointment to take her back next week. I am heartbroken. I only lost her sister last month and now we only have a few days together. She’s getting plenty of fuss and cuddles and seems quite happy. I will take her back if she does get really ill though.

So, that’s my week this week, And to think my plans last week were to paint the living room!

The Reading Residence

My girls have really made me proud recently.
Star was the first to receive a special award in assembly. She had a certificate for Engagement

My Little Boo had been having problems with another little girl in her class who was calling her names and constantly upsetting her. Boo rarely complains and has always loved school. She tries really hard at everything and has always charmed her teachers with her kindly manner and dedicated approach to her work. Then suddenly she doesn’t want to go to school any more and becomes moody and snappy. She started refusing to eat her meals which may be because the other girl was calling her fat…she really isn’t.

I talked with Boo and managed to get her to tell me the full story, then I asked her what she wanted me to do about it. She said she would like me to talk to the school, which of course I wanted to do, but I didn’t want to upset her further if it wasn’t what she wanted.

I talked to her teacher first and thought that if that didn’t work then I would go to the head teacher. The nastiness continued for a while longer. Some don’t like to call it bullying at that age, but if it’s upsetting the child then something has to be done whether you call it bullying or peer grievance, it’s practically the same thing anyway. I’d planned to call the school to arrange a meeting with the head teacher but it didn’t come to that because all of a sudden things were sorted. The teacher had talked to both girls separately and together and they had managed to sort out their differences. The other girl has been much nicer since and has tried to explain to Boo why she behaved so badly. Now Boo is happy to go to school again and equilibrium is restored.

To top it off nicely, Boo also received a special award in assembly for Confidence.

Now, I just need to get the Little Man sorted, he’s forever getting into trouble. He loses his temper really quickly and although he has never lashed out at another child he does lash out in other ways. He will get a certificate next week though, he’s not had a single day off this term so he’ll have his 100 per cent attendance award.

I guess two out of three aint bad!

My kids love books of all kinds so were were thrilled to be able to review these four fantastic books from Lonely Planet Kids. They are four very different books and each of my children had their favourites.
Please read on to see what we thought of the books and a fantastic competition where I am giving away two sets of the books. That’s right, you can win all four books too!

Adventures Around the Globe.

This book is great for my Little Man. He’s the youngest at only five years old so this lovely map and sticker book is perfect to keep him intrigued. There is lots of fun and humour in the book and a fold-out 3D model of the globe to make. It’s also attractive enough for the older kids, I don’t think you ever get too old for a sticker book do you?

How To be an International Spy

This is Star’s favourite book. At ten years old she’s just the right age to start thinking about a career in espionage 😉 I can’t tell you too much about the book because it’s Top Secret, but all recruits will learn a host of skills that will soon turn them into secret agents and discover cool gadgets and crack fiendish codes.

You Rule!

Perfect for eight year old Boo, You Rule! lets her create her very own country to rule. Starting from scratch you learn how to make a new nation, decide on the laws, choose the borders, create, organise, govern and judge. You even get to design your own flag. 

The Travel Book

This is a book for everyone, even Dad couldn’t put it down. This kids version of Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book takes a world tour through 200 countries. You’ll be drawn in by the thousands of amazing facts on wildlife, how people, live, sports, food, festivals and much more. Perfect for all young explorers who want to know more about the world.

The books are a great addition to any family library whether you are travellers or not. There is so much to learn about the world we live in. My Children are currently learning about different countries for their topic work at school. Star is learning all about Germany, Boo is learning about Italy and the Little Man is learning about England. 
Boo found The Travel Book really interesting when she was reading up on Italy.

So, how do you fancy the chance of winning all four books yourself? All you have to do is fill in the widget. Best of luck! (UK only, sorry!)

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