We went out for the day on Friday, a visit to Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Centre. It’s not very far away and it’s somewhere we’ve been before. I would have liked to have ventured further but Star was adamant that she didn’t want to go out and when she’s like that, forcing her just makes things worse.

The morning was stressful. We’d talked about our day out but she’d changed her mind about going. Not only that but the other two didn’t want to go  either. But we managed to persuade them and with the Conservation Centre being local and familiar we got them to agree to go.

We had a little meltdown in the car park but everything changed once we were in there and it turned out to be a lovely day. The sun came out, the animals were playing and the kids had a great time. Sometimes you have to know when it’s worth the effort to persuade an autistic child to do something they don’t want to. It can end in disaster or fun, and this day turned out to be really good.

There was also some new things that we’d not seen before. One was the tree person which I’ve used as my Sunday photo. The other was a playground which the kids really enjoyed. There were also some new animals but I will write more about the things we saw later.




Sunday Snap


Well, what a week it has been this week.

I had my hospital treatment on Monday which went well, no side effects, yay! The session only last 3 hours and it’s only for one day this week. As it’s school Holiday this week Graham took the kids out for some fun while I was there.

Today we are having a day out together, I’m hoping we’ve picked the right day for the weather. This week has flown by but I’m hoping the kids have had lots of fun. The trampoline is getting lots of use and the kids have been playing with their water guns too.

I’ve had to choose Sofas as my word of the week though because we’ve had two new sofas in our living room. The old ones were okay but I needed something firmer and wanted something brighter too. So we’ve gone for red leather! And they fit right in with our decor. Now we just have to get the cat to like them.


The Reading Residence


Paperback: 256 pages
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Highlights Press; Act Csm edition (9 Nov. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629798401
ISBN-13: 978-1629798400
Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 1.6 x 27.6 cm

First Impressions.

When this pad arrived I left it on the coffee table and it was picked up by Boo as soon as she arrived home from school. She started drawing in it straight away. Then Star had a go and finally the Little Man had his turn. They couldn’t put it down between them it kept them all engrossed.

The pad is a colourful A4 size with a whopping 256 pages of activities. A lot of them involve drawing yourself and my kids love this.

The Blurb

Doodling and drawing has never been more fun with the addition of Highlights™ puzzles to extend the experience. The Jumbo Pad of Things to Imagine, Doodle, and Draw is packed with colorfully illustrated puzzles that kids can solve and add their own creations to. With a wide variety of activities that encourage creativity, this oversized pad features Hidden Pictures® doodles, mazes to imagine and draw, cartooning activities, and more. This perfectly portable activity pad will keep kids entertained for hours whether on car trips or at home on rainy days.

Our Verdict

This pad is so much fun. It attracted a lot of attention from my 7, 10 and 12 year old. They all enjoyed doodling and using their imaginations. It came just in time for half term so they’ve had plenty of time to enjoy it. The Little Man even took it to bed with him last night and I woke up this morning to find him sitting doodling.

It would be great on a car trip, or even on holiday for those chilling out times. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a child that loves to doodle.

You can buy the book from Amazon here Jumbo Pad of Things to Imagine, Doodle, and Draw (Highlights™ Jumbo Books & Pads) for just £11.99

Here’s a few pages from the book that my children have enjoyed doing.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

the storm lighting up the night sky

I Hear Thunder

Wow did we have some storms this weekend. I was woken in the early hours of Sunday morning by the most enormous thunder crash. It’s a good job that storms don’t frighten me, although they do make me wary as I know they can be dangerous. Thankfully, the kids didn’t wake up.

Sunday morning started quite sunny and we thought the storms were long gone, then mid afternoon we could hear rumbling. It was weird, not like normal thunder that comes and goes but a continuous rumble. I wasn’t even sure it was Thunder at first, but then I saw a flash of lightening, and another, and another. Within minutes came the rain and a proper deluge it was, the garden was soon like a pool. It just kept coming and coming, continuous rumbling, constant flashes and so much rain.

There were areas of flooding nearby, even some of the main roads were more like rivers. Living at the bottom of a hill we’ve seen a fair bit of water but the drainage is pretty good around here so it soon disappears again. The water in the garden was almost up to the edge of our patio doors but it didn’t come inside. I think we were lucky.

It was the rumbling that affected me most though, it really didn’t stop for over an hour, just a deep heavy grumbling in the sky, the heavens were certainly annoyed at something!


I spent last Thursday at the hospital with my Little Man after an accident at school. He hurt his arm on a radiator and the GP thought he may have fractured the bone. It turned out to be just bruising though. Sadly our day revealed a lot more though, the bullying that has continued for my boy on a daily basis. He is being kicked and punched on a daily basis both in the classroom as well as the playground. This is after us complaining to the school. We are now taking him out of school on a concern for welfare. In fact we are considering not sending him back at all. You can read the full story here on my post last week.

Also on the subject of hospital, I’m off for my IVIG treatment today. I’m hoping it gives me a little more relief for the rest of this week. I don’t think one days treatment is helping much though, I really need to talk to my consultant about alternatives.


This week is the Whitsun holiday from school and it feels kind of strange because for the past four years we have taken a holiday. This year, however, we have decided to take our holiday in August. It feels like a long wait, but at least we will be going for a full week instead of a midweek break.

I am hoping that we can fit in a couple of days out this week but it will probably be nearer the weekend. I’m not even sure where we will go yet but Star wants to go to the Nature Centre. We’ve been there loads of times before but she’s happier going somewhere familiar.

I want to go to a National Trust Property, there are still a few nearby that we’ve not visited yet. Maybe we can fit in both.

What have you been up to this week?


Debs Random Writings



Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

By: Gail Honeyman
Narrated by: Cathleen McCarron
Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 18-05-17
Language: English
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited

The Blurb

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

My Verdict

I listened to this on Audible. You can easily get the book but I did feel that an audio version was the better option in this case. Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of a strange thinking character and reading her thoughts might make it a little more difficult to get a feel for her personality. She does have a strange grasp of the English language, particularly at the beginning of the book. Of course this is a personal choice, but I did find the narrator, Cathleen McCarron a very good interpreter of the characters in this story.

Eleanor Oliphant is that person that we’ve probably seen at sometime in our lives. The one at the office that doesn’t interact very often and when they do they come across as inappropriate. The one often made fun of behind their backs. The one that wears the same clothes on rotation like a uniform and takes little notice of their appearance.

Then she meets Raymond and together they meet Sammy and suddenly a whole world of social interaction opens up for her.

We know from the start that there is something from her past haunting her, we know she was brought up in care from the age of ten. Little snippets of information are let out throughout the story but it’s all too painful for Eleanor.

It takes a very drastic moment in her life for her to realise that she is not alone and that people do actually care about her.


I didn’t want the story to end, I wanted to carry on hearing about Eleanor and what happened next. It wasn’t left on a cliff hanger, I just felt so engrossed, so close to the characters that I wanted to keep on listening.

The story made me tingle with emotion at times, it also made me laugh out loud. There was also a silent tear every now and then. This book certainly has all the feels.

I even enjoyed the chat between the narrator, Cathleen McCarron and the author Gail Honeyman at the end.


Audible is my best friend at the moment, I’m always popping in my earphones and listening to some story or other book. I’ve just purchased 6 volumes of Sherlock Holmes with my free credit this month. That should keep me occupied for a fair while.

You can try Audible yourself with a 30 day free trail and then it’s £7.99 per month afterwards including a free credit which you can use on a book of your choice. There are also lots of members offers to be had like this month’s 2 for 1 offer. Do let me know if you decide to give it a try

Of course if you don’t fancy Audible, I’d still recommend this book as a read which you can get from Amazon.

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