Friday 30 September 2011

Autism ... communication.

Being Autistic you can sometimes be locked in your own little world, even though you sometimes cannot communicate verbally, it doesn't mean you cannot communicate in other ways from makaton (of which I know nothing myself, to usual visual pictures with simple words on.

The simplest thing that I have found that brings me joy to unlocking the silent world that lies within an autistic  is a tray with sand in it and a paint brush. Who knew that such simple items could break such pleasure.

Many children are unable to vocalize their emotional state because of their autism or if they are on the autistic spectrum . Incorporating the element of a familiar medium, the sand, allows a child to instantly achieve a sense of comfort and security. With little instruction from the teacher or a teaching assistant like myself , the child is free to play and develop his or her own expression of situations. Oftentimes the children will experience a sense of independent play and will begin making assumptions and behavior changes without cues from the teacher or teaching assistant. This method therapy serves as a valuable and powerful outlet for children and an incredibly insightful method of opening access to their world.

The way that I used it was that i said the sound and the child with a paintbrush drew the letter in the sand. Amazing with phonics going off all around us this served as reinforcement for the activity we were doing. A calming and pleasant activity, you will often find they will do letters that you never thought that they knew.

Jml Mircowave Steamer Review.

Micro Steamer
With the handy Micro Steamer, you can combine the nutritional benefits of steaming with the convenience of a microwave. Micro Steamer is a quick and easy way to get tasty, flavour-filled food that’s full of goodness. Simply place your food in the special perforated container, add water and cook on full power. Steam is released and circulates around the container to give perfectly cooked food that’s never limp or tasteless. All the nutrients stay locked in your food, so you can have healthier meals in no time at all. Once you’ve tried Micro Steamer - you’ll never boil again!


  • Self-venting cover for even steaming

  • Locks in goodness and flavour

  • Non-stick and easy to clean

  • Dishwasher and freezer safe

  • 2 litre capacity

  • Doesn't look all that attractive, perhaps a colur change would be better!.

Is it Value for money?  yes its not a bad level entry steamer.

My Overall Reaction: It was easy to use whilst I got on and cook the rest of the curry whilst the steamer when to work with the rice. You have to remember to stir it half way through!.

( I was sent this for purposes of review)
I added the desired amount of water to the steamer. Then put in in the mircowave for the required amount of time.

. £7.99,
There you have lovely fluffy rice after being cooked in the JML mircowave steamer.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

nostalgia remember when

Many people can identify with certain memories or recollections , especially those of us who are now considered "pre interneters!" and reminisce about days gone by nostalgia -- things the way they used to be before the age of computers, iPods, iPads, and the Internet.

Do You Remember When...

  • Monster munch and Wagon Wheels really were bigger years ago .

  • A family picnic meant spreading a blanket at the side of a busy A road road and enjoying homemade sandwiches, curled up sausage rolls, and Mr Kipling's finest.

  • The martians from the Smash adverts they really were cool.

  • You wondered if you really would wrinkle up if you tipped in the bath too long!

  • Jim will fix it. I so wanted to go on but never wrote in.

  • Rentaghost was ulttmaley the best programe on television along with mr 'Ben' 'Jamie and the Magic torch'

'The Spy who loved Me' I loved the Underater car The Lotus Espirit S1 it was my favourite car. I love james Bond anyway but as everyone has a Doctor Who of their generation. This car is my car of the my James Bond era. And when Corgi bought a model of this car out I was there it was my heaven , while other little girls where playing with Sindy and that Barbie I was playing with cars, cap guns swords and Mr Potato head.

Meowgon Pawney cooks @Very Lazy food Chicken Chasseur.

I knew that you couldn't what to see the happy chef Meowgon Pawney again the temperamental chef that swear like a trooper.

Well those nice chaps and the lovely ladies over at Very Lazy food decided to send me their Chicken Chasseur concentrate to cook with.


You require the concentrate of course and a willing assistant, well sort of willing and taking a break from world domination.

Rollie is smiling within honest.
Add the chicken and the onion and brown for 2 minutes.

Add the Lazy Food Chicken Chasseur concentrate.The recipe calls for tin mushrooms for some reason I much prefer fresh so that's is what I added.

Add a can of tin tomatoes cook for ten minutes.

Voila the chasseur served with potatoes as suggested.

I 'd like to see some posh easy suggestions of how to do potatoes apart from the obvious mash that you can do, all in all and enjoyable recipe to cook and only takes 5 minutes preparation and 15 minutes cooking.

Rollie says cook with Very Lazy Food or else he'll smile.

Don't worry all surface are wiped down if I ever invite you to dinner....

A Hampton Court review.

Here I am working at a school as a teaching assistant a world a away for what I am qualified for. You may indeed wonder what I am qualified for? NASA space scientist =No, Nobel peace prize winner= No, or maybe an angst poet= sadly No.

Well its heritage Conservation , "Whats that" I hear you cry? Well its the care of old buildings and artefact's . I have a qualification from Nottingham University it called an ordinary Certificate which equates to the first year of a degree.  I have further qualification from Derby University in American Studies which would add further to the completion of a full degree.

Why don't I go for it , I don't now really., I suppose its cost , it would cost be a fortune to pursue my dreams of being an archaeologist or museum curator.

So I am instilling my love of history and archaeology into my son who is loving it. We were all really impressed when we went to Hampton Court for the day a few weeks ago , J totally loved it. I love the way children from a young age are immersed into the history of Hampton court. Children and even adults can dress up as people from Tudor times. And it was great fun to see Henry the 8th wandering into the chapel, there was musicians playing,it was a joy there was something every corner you turn. The palace is larger than you think so you need a whole day there. However, we were there over 6 hours and didn't get to see all the palace, and not all of the the gardens as well. You can see the gardens from the palace and there are descriptions of them through the audio commentary when you walk around.
J enjoying looking at the highly intricate ceilings at Hampton Court.

Hampton Court Palace

The wine flows from this fountain on a Bank holiday!.

J loving the interactive features in abundance at Hampton Court Palace.

Tudor kitchen hands spit roasting chickens.

Hampton Court gardens.

A plethora of History here long may it reign!

New! Royal Beasts at the Tower of London
For 600 years animals were held in the Royal Menagerie.  And now they're back!  
See how the Tower would have looked, smelt and sounded before the animals left, 
with stunning life-size sculptures of lions, baboons, a polar bear and more.  To 
book visit

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of 
London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew 
Palace. Although the palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, we 
receive no funding from the Government or the Crown, so we depend on the support 
of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors.  Our aim is to help 
everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in 
some of the greatest palaces ever built.

Friday 23 September 2011

Nando's crisps, cashews and mixed nuts the review ... its hot

Nandi Peri-Peri Cashews

I never knew that Nando's did crisps and nuts, following on the wave of the Lee Evans jokes about Nando ( they were positive of course and the joke was that Nando's are everywhere). I discovered that there was more to this brand that just their restaurants. So I was sent some of there hot snacks for review.

There is a hotness gauge on the back so if you can't handle it , you really only have yourself to blame. the gauge ranges from "I like brown paper packages tied up with string" to " I like the taste of napalm in the morning"

PERi-PERi Chicken Crisps

PERi-PERi Chicken is what we do best at Nando’s, and so it would be criminal to launch our chips without including PERi-PERi Chicken as a variety.
With a medium heat, these chips are packed with flavour, combined with a healthy kick of PERi-PERi. Incredibly moreish and great for sharing, available in 150g and now 40g bags.

For me personally the medium had just the right level of spiciness without me having to permanently suck the cold water tap dry.

The first crisp we tried were the Peri- peri chicken groove cut these are very good as well if you are coeliac as they are gluten free, and I know it is hard to fin great tasting snacks if you are coeliac.

On the other hand I couldn't handle the hotness of the Hot peri- peri groove cut though my husband who can eat anything loved them and even my son who doesn't ever like spicy food enjoyed them.  I am hoping this will broaden his horizons into other foods as well.

The other products myself and I husband were unsure on were the Peri -Peri cashews and the mixed nus but that's just our personal taste.

Dishwasher Magic and Washer Magic review

Give your dishwasher a thorough clean with Dishwasher Magic, £3.99 - it sits in your cutlery tray and will remove any build-up of food, grease or scum.

I had never used a product like this before and I was really pleased with the results. I have gone from a smelly dishwasher to a sparkling clean one .  I shall use this as often as my dishwasher tells me to my the way it smells and looks.

Dishwasher Magic disinfects which is a relief especially as you set your machine to clean your dishes while you are at work and they can often be left sitting in dishwasher for hours on end.

Its very simple to use, you just take the cap off leave the wax seal on, this melts in the hot water and pop upside down in the cutlery basket.

You just switch it on a wait for the cycle to run.

After running this through my dishwasher it was if I had bought a new machine it was all shiny and clean. This has increased my confidance in using my dishwasher as I know that using this product regularly will keep the nastiness away.

Now all I need is a magic husband at my beck and call...

Washer Magic, £3.99, can be poured into your washing machine dispenser drawer to remove bacteria and odour-causing residue that builds up. Both available at

Designed to remove odour-causing residue from your washing machine.

Very easy to use just pour a little onto a cloth and wipe round the rubber seal and then rinse off with a damp cloth, that's the hard bit out of the way. Next pour 1/3 of the bottle where you'd normally put the powder. Then do a normal wash cycle with the hot water setting and that's all there was to it.

There was no residue left after using it and it defiantly freshened up my machine and shall be repeating the process again in a few months.

Washer Magic removes soap scum, iron and mineral stains which improves your washing
machine's ability to wash clothes. It will improve the lifespan of your washing machine and clothes! It is safe to use in any washing machine as it is non-corrosive.

If only it could do the ironing ....................

Shoe Zone Back to School savings.

In these harsh economic  times when your finances are being stretched by the ever increasing cost of day to day living, it is nice to find a company who offers good quality and good value.  Shoe Zone is the "No 1 Value Footwear Retailer" with over 550 shops across UK and Ireland.  They sell approximately 30 million pairs of footwear per annum...which is about 57 pairs every minute!!  Prices are kept keen with an average price of 40% of the national average.
They sell a great range of shoes for Men, Women, Boys and Girls at really competitive prices.  Their range includes footwear for fashion, work, school, sport and fun. I has sent lots of pairs to review my son has adult size feet. So there was no way he could road test girls and boys size 10 shoes impossible. So I am sending some of the shoes out to be road tested by some bloggers, well not the bloggers but their children. Also road testing are some people who aren't bloggers so who knows after this they might.  Prices start from just £1.99 so take a look and see how much you could save.

So I will be able to report back to you in a week or so exactly what they and their parent s thought of the  shoes from Show Zone and we all know how fickle children can be.

Shoe Zone offer an online click and collect in store service, free delivery on online sales, free return to any store and next day and Saturday delivery (chargeable).  
Check out this season's new arrivals online at or instore now.

Here is what one of the ladies thought about the shoes I sent her.

"I received a pair of Shoe Zone girls lace up Brogues to review. They are black, slightly pointed toe brogues with thin laces and my first reaction was would my daughter like these as they are quite different from the normal style of shoes she would wear. I showed them to her and she was very excited – new shoes (what girl wouldn't be?!!).

She tried them on immediately and they were a good fit and seemed really comfortable. Being a budget style shoe they are synthetic rather than leather but the upper seemed quite soft and supple. The laces were thin and round, so were easy to put a double bow in to stop coming undone during the day. My daughter hasn't yet mastered the art of tying a shoe lace but hopefully she'll get a lot of practice with these!

Overall we were happy with the shoes, they are a very fashionable style, with brogues being seen in all the shops at the moment and look great with skinny jeans/leggings for the perfect little daytime outfit."

Another blogger gave his reaction or rather his four year old did!!!

"The shoes look really lovely. Yusuf has another pair of school shoes from a very popular shoe shop especially for kids.  We prefered these, they looked nicer and felt a lot lighter which is good when your thinking of an energitic almost 4 year old on the go all day!!  Yusufs' take on the shoes was:  "Daddy am I wearing the top quality shoes today?!"   I promise that these words were on his own behalf (top quality is a popular thing with him at the moment!!)  We think coming from a 4 year old that says quite a lot."

Grandsreads Ginger wine and traditional lemonade.

I was sent all four flavours of Gran Stead's, I can tell you that the Traditional Still Lemonade is a trip back in time and the Ginger  wine will have you sending Dug the dog to farm warn warn them that little Timmy has fallen down the well. Refreshing and tangy it hits the spot.

And then there the wild one....
We call this “lemonade with attitude!”

Our newest drink combines the refreshingly zesty flavour of Sicilian lemons with just enough ginger to give it a gentle hum of spice. It’s a fusion of our two other drinks, Gran Stead’s Ginger Wine and Gran Stead’s Traditional Still Lemonade. We spent a lot of time trying out various combinations, consulting our customers all the way. We believe our new drink is unique and we hope you love it as much as we do.

Naturally, it’s absolutely free of artificial colourings or flavourings.
What’s in it?
Simply water, Sicilian lemon juice*, sugar and ginger
(* contains a trace of sulphur dioxide – this is added in Sicily to help it keep its fresh, lemony colour)

It’s gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Once opened, it will keep in the fridge for four days.

 Gran Stead's Non-Alcoholic Ginger Winehowever,  Fiery and sweet the perfect drink to match Mr T's personality ( I am joking rfeally . Mr T is a pussy cat reallly) !!

Gran Stead's say its an invigorating, alcohol-free drink made in Sussex from natural ingredients. The historic recipe is over 150 years old.
This hearty concoction, prepared with exotic spices and years of know-how, is simply brimming with character. 
Rich, smooth and vibrant, Gran Stead’s Ginger has broad appeal and won’t leave you gasping for water. 
That’s because the heat is expertly balanced with a welcome hint of sweetness. 

Christiana Stead was born in 1898 in a small country village called Middleton-in-Teesdale in the North of England. Her ginger wine recipe - now over 150 years old - uses all natural ingredients and the result is a mellow, versatile drink for all seasons.

We liked it so much we bought the business”

In 1994, Len and Dot Knox bought the recipe for their favourite drink. They began preparing Gran Stead’s Ginger Wine from home and selling it at craft fairs. As word spread and demand grew, they moved on to farmers markets and began to build a list of stockists.

The business was given a marvellous start by the hard work of Len and Dot and we’re delighted to say that fifteen years later it continues to grow. Today it’s  their son Chris and daughter-in-law Rosemary, who take care of the day to day running of the business and production has moved to a local farm. Sadly Dot passed away in 2008 but Len is still an important member of the family team and you may well know him, as he is often out and about offering tastings as he continues to spread the word about his beloved Gran Stead’s Ginger Wine.

There are some wonderful recipes on their website , so please do take a look there drinks are a very pleasant alternative to wine.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Forgiveness ... Do you? would you?

A conservation reared itself today which made me upset and think back to a conservation I had with an old boss.

Working in a schools its hard nigh on  impossible to get time off only for deaths ,family emergencies etc.

So a few years ago when my Nan died I had to arrange the funeral, family matters made it impossible for my mother to do this. So I went to my boss at the time and asked for time off to arrange the funeral and to grieve . Her response to this was NO you get one day off for the funeral and have to be back in work the next day. My Nan lived over 250 miles away in Kent , so I had to arrange the funeral for half term, leaving my Nan in the morgue as a connivance to my boss at the time.

So can I forgive my old boss for this in away No its always there but I can respect the qualities she did have , even if humanity at the time was not one of them.

So could you forgive a situation like this, we all make mistakes don't we but our some mistakes too big to forgive for?

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Munchy Seeds review

Pack a Munchy Picnic!

This balmy sunny weather is the perfect excuse to be eating outdoors with friends and family, 
enjoying delicious British picnic food, barbecues, al fresco dining or festival food.  Whatever 
your summer eating occasion, Munchy Seeds have spent all their working hours carefully 
blending and gently roasting premium quality seeds which make an ideal healthy addition to 
pack for your picnic feast! 

Even though its nearly Autumn we can still enjoy those Indian summers we will be having!.

Seeds are an excellent natural source of essential vitamins, minerals, oils and fibre too so enjoy 
them as a healthy snack or sprinkle them on just about everything from jazzing up summer 
salads, to using them in baking cakes, flapjacks or muffins. The best, classic picnics are lengthy, 
sociable affairs, so seeds are great to graze on through the afternoon too.... 

There are seven moreish varieties to choose from, some are deliciously sweet, some are 
savoury and some are sizzling hot.  All are free from artificial colourings and preservatives and 
pack a punch with masses of crunch, flavour and goodness.  

The Munchy Seeds range includes Omega, Pumpkin, Chilli, Vanilla, Munchy Granola, Original 
Mix, plus the delicious new Choccy Seeds. 

Omega Mix – Savoury roasted 7 seed blend (pumpkin, sunflower, 
sesame, linseed, flax, hulled hemp and rape seeds) 

Pumpkin Mix – Savoury roasted 3 seed blend (pumpkin, sunflower 
and sesame seeds) 

Chilli Mix – Hot savoury roasted 3 seed blend (Apricot kernels, 
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds) 

Vanilla – Sweet roasted pumpkin seeds dusted in vanilla icing sugar 

Munchy Granola –Roasted oats, seeds, sultanas and orange zest drizzled with honey and maple 
I particularly like the Vanilla Munchy seeds and also the Pumpkin mix which I added to my Moroccan cous cous.

Relax with Wilkinson at Bath time

When you have had a hard day at school working with children and a space hopper has smacked you in the head for the 100th time you know you need to relax when you get home. I have a lovely bathroom , though I was feeling it was a little hotel bathrrom like if you know what I mean. A few little touches make all the differance, so the lovely people over a Wilkonsons sent me some products to jazz up my bath time. And they didn't send me a space hopper which I was most grateful for.

Back in the mists of time I had taken Wilkinsons Skinology range on holiday obviously the products were not there for the amazing Cornish view but to mantain if you have spotty spotty skin.

There are many products within this range and I have to admit I am impressed with the product. My son tested these products as he's getting to that spotty age, I have to admit Wilkinsons was a place I just used to run into and just grab my cleaning products. Though I can see now a great deal of thought has gone into the look of their products and , making sure they actually deliver . So my son is looking less spotty and rather happy bit odd for a child that has just turned into a teenager.

J relaxing with the cottage cat on holiday.

So when we got back off holiday and the summer holidays had ended boooooooooo and I was back at school getting smacked in the head by space hopper and embarrassed by 7 year old by being told that their ipad 2 had told hem our bones turn to fossils when you die, I really need to relax. So if I wasn't busy comping with my cat.

A bath sign! this is just £5.00 from Wilkinsons!

I love this it transform my bathroom from something that looks like a  hotel bathroom to something that is individual to my personality. Also there was a bath pillow to relax with ....

So I will definitely be heading off to Wilkinson for more bathroom items and other products to accent my home. Thank you Wilkinson for brightening my bath time. You can't find all these items over at Wilkinson's except my cat wearing a tea cosy

(I was sent the Wilkinson Products for review, the space hopper was provided by my place of work )

Monday 19 September 2011

Birimingham Sea Life Centre review and giveaway.

I was very pleased to be invited to go Birimhgham Sea Life centre, i have been to many aquarium around the world so I was interested to go to a local world. First impressions was that it was a very busy attraction which is a good sign!.

A busy Sea Life Centre

The star attraction were  the Hammerhead Sharks and turtles ( though one turtle was away and the other was asleep, famous people can be fickle.) we found all the attractions fascinating to watch,. . Another highlight was the rock pool where you can hold crabs and starfish if you are brave enough. 

J getting interactive with the rockpool.

An informative Sea Life staff member giving an interactive talk on rockpools.

I’d also recommend the walk-through underwater tank. It’s like being in a submarine. Huge turtles, manta rays and leopard sharks swim just above your head – quite unforgettable.

A Moray eel wouldn't want to get on his bad side!.

Nemo ie the Clown Fish.

Negatives.I would like the Jellyfish to have a better looking tank, my son J commented on it and it was his fear that it might get bored.

Overall, I’d recommend it. But as it’s not cheap, it’ll be a while before we go again. However, the wide variety of species, seen at close quarters makes it a memorable experience for all age groups.

However you can buy a Merlin pass as well that lets you enter all the Sea Life Centre and attractions such as Alton Towers as well all year.

Yes it can be quite expensive to go round , I would recommend it as part of your day out as it is not a day out in itself you will probably be there 2 and half hours maximum. There are always plenty of 2 for 1 vouchers around.

There is also a 4d cinema show there showcasing scenes from Happy Feet , probably a bit scary for really young centre but gentle enough fun .

Throughout the Birmingham Sealife Centre there is a emphasis on sustainable fishing. You can take a takwaway card with tips on how you can reduce your impact on fish in general ( including tips on eating sustainable fish). Its good that they do this and if you can catch the young ( No pun intended it's a good thing!.)

Sustainable fishing

Visit  and then come back here and tell me your favourite sea creature. The prize is a family pass to a Sea Life Centre. just in time for half term that's one day sorted.

Ends 19th October

( I was given a family pass for the purpose of this review and opinions are entirely my own)

Saturday 17 September 2011

JmL Vacpac Vacuum Storage Bags review.

I honestly believe this to be a good product, much preferring this to the shoe storage offered by JML , it allowed me to Vac Mr T's cricket gear up instead of it clogging up the bottom of the wardrobe. I have one of those lift up beds with not alot  except junk not mine Mr T's honest  no I lie it's mine!

Running out of storage room? Are your wardrobes a disaster zone? VacPacks are the incredible storage solution that gives you more space for your stuff! Just pack, seal, then Vac, and in no time at all your home will look and feel so tidy. It's the revolutionary way to store, protect and care for your possessions. You could make up to a third more room in bulging drawers and wardrobes instantly.

Condense clothes with Large Vacs - Just pack it ... and Vac it!!

Simply place your items into VacPack Large, seal the patented watertight zip and vacuum out the air. Bulky ski and sports wear, duvets, towels and sleeping bags pack down instantly. Store away your summer or winter clothes when the seasons change. You'll find so many uses - triple your storage.

Running out of storage room? Are your wardrobes a disaster zone? VacPacks from JML are the incredible storage solution that gives you more space for your stuff! Just pack, seal, then Vac, and in no time at all your home will look and feel so tidy. It’s the revolutionary way to store, protect and care for your possessions. You could make up to a third more room in bulging drawers and wardrobes instantly. 

Simply place your items into VacPack Jumbo, seal the patented watertight zip and vacuum out the air. Bulky ski and sports wear, duvets, towels and sleeping bags pack down instantly. Store away your summer or winter clothes when the seasons change. You’ll find so many uses – triple your storage space today! 

  • Contains 2 Jumbo VacPacks (90 x 125 cm)

  • Compress, protect and organise for more space in your home

  • Durable construction and double sealed locking mechanism

  • Airtight and waterproof so your items stay safe, dry and protected

  • Also available in Large, Tote, Hanging Suit / Dress and the complete VacPack Collection

  • Made from nylon to lock out dirt, dust, bugs and moisture

  • Transparent so storing and finding is simple

  • Works with any vacuum nozzle

Admittedly at first after getting the product out of the it seemed really really, thin like it would tear perhaps. However after getting Mr T's gear into the product neatly I soon realized this was not the case. However when you do pack items away make sure the nozzle for when you use the vacuum cleaner on it is facing upwards!.

Clothing storage Jml Vacpac.

These VacPac bags come in a variety of sizes the one I was sent to review was the jumbo size perfect for duvets an other such bulky. This item retails for around £12.00 a price I feel happier paying though I always shop around for the best price. You cam buy this from JML though it will cost you slightly more though if you are buying more than £50 worth of items postage will be free , so it might be worth placing a bulk order of items you need.