Thursday 29 August 2013

Pets do you own them or do they own you ?

Pets do you own them or do they own you , that's always been the question. Pets undoubtedly distress you when the other day I had a some what torrid day that was nothing better that seeking the affection and solace of my cat. Admittedly Rollie the prissy, stuck up, aloof Silver Tabby has other ideas half the time. He had been sulking in the garden  for 2 days after I dangled his fur,I removed enough car fur to stuff a mattress.

I've had cats since I was 12 I've never fancied owning a dog despite requests from my husband and son looking at breeds that would fit through the cat flap. I've had muderous hamsters and once look after my Sister in Law's rabbit who was very much Jack Nickcolson in 'The Shining' and you aren't far wrong.

I thought about a rabbit once but shook this idea off after that "Rabbit " incident I was looking after my Sister in Laws (as she was on holiday) rabbit it looked sweet, had floppy ears and nibbled happily on a carrot. Whilst topping up its water and food I noticed it giving me a look , a look of love , a look that whispered pick me up and cuddle me. So I picked up the rabbit which was the size of a Shetland pony and gave it a cuddle " awwwh" it gazed into my eyes longingly it seemed to want to go for a little hope around.

So I took it into the house and let it have a little hop around ... it was like a scene from Snow white except it didn't help with the housework. Then I thought I best get the rabbit back into its hutch before my then boyfriend ( now husband ) came home. I thought it would be as easy as it was before and I would just scope the rabbit up in my arms and happily deposit it back it in its hutch.

I approached the bunny with open arms , it stopped looked and I swear it snarled .. brushing this notion off . I Went to pick it up it stopped again.. snarled and hopped for it little life.  I couldn't catch it .. even with the help of Elmer Fudd,  so in the end I found a laundry basket and step a trap for it. All this was done of course without hurting the rabbit... So now I had a laundry basket that was merrily moving round the living room in a quite eerie fashion.

SO I had to place the call to the boyfriend at work " Can you come home now the rabbit is going wild "

So he came home and did the caveman bit and put the rabbit back in the hutch! he wasn't best pleased. Needless to say when we did we get married we didn't get rabbits ... we had cats instead !

And my Sister in Law is just getting a new puppy so is busy sorting out all  his particulars such as pet insurance, vets etc and I don't think I will be dog sitting do you ! Some more inlays have Guinea pigs and they are name Ronald and Harry alas they are not wizards but are muggle pets.

This is Binky and Bugsy and they are the Guinea pigs of Food blogger Food Quine.

And yes I've owned fish as well they mildly psychotic as well, i don't think they were taking on traits on the owner now.

I know a dog will show you loyalty but so can cats so that's what we are sticking to  ........

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Seaworld Orlando Florida Review

A holiday is a holiday, a break from the norm, to do as you don't normally do , a trip to an attraction doesn't have to be a one time affair it can be repeated. A repeat trip evokes , an evoke cation for the want of a better word. It's been 4 years since as a family we were in the USA last and 5 years since we were last in Orlando.

Last time as a family of 3 we came to Seaworld with an energetic 8 year this time we came with a teen with the expectation of thrill seeking and adrenalin overloading, a tall order to fulfil in this social media , whizzing and twirling modern age. Each age of a child brings it own reward , and this time it was patience and increased wonderment.

Going to Seaworld encourages everyone to be an everyday hero which when you go in turtle trek you will understand! After seeing turtles you are immersed into a 3D cinematic experience in a 360 degree cinema and it's very exciting and intense.

Apart from the obvious sea creatures that are at Seaworld it is also a theme park though less intense than the others and the queues are very much shorter. As a family I don't think we spent more than 10 minutes queuing for any of the rides.

The high octane ride Manta is a sure fire G Force trip for all those that go on the ride , and despite there being lockers where you can put your lose items. People still insist on carrying their beloved designer sunglasses etc onto the ride. So much so that Seaworld have put up strategically placed nets to catch any stray objects so innocent visitors don't get hit.

Journey to Atlantis was essential for my husband and son as the temperatures were hitting a sweltering 95 F , why wasn't I on the ride .. well someone had to take the action picture didnt they now ?!.

At SeaWorld Orlando’s new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, families are transported into an icy world like they’ve never seen before where they can explore the majestic grandeur of the South Pole and see it through the penguins’ eyes on a first-of-its-kind family ride. You have the option of choosing either a mild ride or a more thrilling seeking option on this ride. Don't worry though the thrill seeking option only spins and waddles like a penguin. Then, guests step off and explore a massive penguin colony of nearly 250 feathered friends – gentoo, rockhopper, Adélie and king penguins — in an expanse that envelops them in cool extremes, both above and below the penguins’ icy world. It’s a must-see, one-of-a-kind experience only at SeaWorld Orlando.

Seaworld is also known for its spectacular shows in our time we have seen them all 'Blue Horizons' is out of this world, the original Shamu has long gone replaced by a fleet of killer whales. The show is still called ' Shamu' we were all entralled from start to finish, there's is always a call to honour the service personal of the world they are told to stand up and identify themselves to which they receive rumptious applause.

Walking a dog say no one bats an eye lid but when is a whole host of flamingoes been taken for a walk  by their keepers with a Touchan keeping an eye then an ordinary walk becomes extraordinary!.

 There are opportunities to feed both Dolphins and rays something which both adults and children enjoy , I was a little wary of the ray food I do have to say.

Tops tips for visiting Seaworld :

If you are going for one day plan what you see , you can do it all in a day but it's quite exhausting if you don't duck and dive out the heat.

Take refillable water bottles.

Wear a hat.

Take a stroller or hire one if you have very young children.

If you want soft drinks you can buy a refillable cup for $8.99 and there after refills are $1.6 prices are always subject to change.

Disclosure I was given family tickets to Seaworld all thoughts words and opinion are my own.

Monday 26 August 2013

#easyteam Peach Ploughman's Salad

Ice burg lettuce can be transformed from being a 'Water Mitty' (ie weak) of ingredients, you can transform this sometimes sodden member of the salad family into an exciting and salivating dish. It doesn't require any cooking its a cold dish , I have seen lettuce cooked but I'm not sure if that works ?

Having been in the good ole USA for the past two weeks I have had countless dining experiences, I have more steaks and seafood than you can shake a Cinnamon stick at. Its exciting and invigorating at first but then the American portions gets to you and the insistence that you have a dessert after each meal can leave you hankering for the simple life.

When I ordered a Chicken pesto salad in Florida I was expecting exactly than but alas no , it was a gorgeous pesto chicken but I think the salad was being held captive in the chefs kitchen.

So when I got back to the UK I was on a mission to get back to controlled eating but I wished to extend my taste buds.

So I bought some peaches peeled a peach.. or is it skinned. any way I took the flesh of the thing and then preceded to use a potato peeler to create strips of peach into a dish. I then sprinkled a small amount of Himalayan pink salt on the peach strips, I used two peaches for this.

I left the salted peaches in the fridge for around an hour or so . I shredded the lettuce, and then added the salted peach to it and lightly tossed it. I then added other sale items such as cucumber, snacking tomatoes and cheese, chicken ham and leek pie, and the obligatory dollop of pickle turning the salad into a Ploughman's lunch of sorts.

I am one of three lucky people to be selected as a brand amassador for Zanussi #Easyteam. I am looking forward to the opportunities it will bring and the experiences that I will learn.

I am on a constant drive to improve my cooking and trying new recipes. Cooking doesn't have to be a fearful experience.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Sheep Cat

Dear Rollie cat,

I don't remember owning a sheep, hours of solid grooming and I have enough fur to weave a jumper. And yes I've looked on Amazon and there's a book on weaving with cat fur. I won't be buying it despite there be a credit crunch about !

There's something wrong in life if I spend £20 on cat hair products... Never did I think I would spent more on your hair/fur than mine!

I am sorry I didn't buy the Paul Mitchell branded detangling spray. But I'm sure you'll be tickerty boo with the pretty kitty de tangling spray instead.

Yours lovingly 
Your owner 

PS The cuts have stop bleeding now.
PPS Are cats meant to bark ?

Silent Sunday 8

Friday 23 August 2013

Starting School : Preparing Your Child For School

Starting School ,Preparing your child for school.

Whether its is because children start school to early , some have just turned 4 when they start school or whether parents or nursery are not preparing children for school. Many are coming to school nowadays without basic skills.

   They can not dress themselves.

   They can not cut up their own food.

   They don't know when to ask for help by putting up their hand.

   They have no manners.

You need to prepare your child for school in conjunction with your nursery  or any one else involved in your child's care.

   Visit the nursery or school with your child to give them an opportunity to see what the class does.

   Explain what will happen during the school day ,: play at school children will love being the teacher!.

   Read books about starting school.

Reinforce the activities that your child interests and the things they will enjoy " there's be lots of duplo to play with- you love building" or "There's a teddy you can take on holiday!."

Talk about the fun activities you already do at home that will be replicated in school such as painting,drawing,craft activities story time etc.
Before there first day.... well before their first day that is. You might want to check a few things with the school.
   What's the typical school day.
   Toilet trained our child where possible- though not a problem if your child has learning delays etc as school will have an intimate care plan in place.
And these tips are the ones that will make your life, your child life much easier at school as it is often the little things that upset them such as not being able to put on their own coat.

   Try and mimic the timings of the school day where possible "Oh Look it's 12 o' clock the children at school are having their lunch now."

   Practice doing up buttons and fastening shoes.... Velcro is ideal but as they get older laces are ideal especially as by the time they get to senior school : Velcros trainers  really are not cool.
   Practise social skills, such as taking turns, following directions and making choices
   Visit friends with children or invite other children to play
   Teach simple  jobs that may be useful at school, such as packing away toys. The teacher doesn't want to break their neck on a stray sheep now do they?
   Help your child to recognise his name - most children can't read or write yet, but they may be able to recognise the first letter of their name or even the whole thing
Remember, all these activities should be fun - it's important not to pressurise your child. If you're making your child in the least bit anxious, stop talking about it quite so much.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Air travel The Gin Edition

Air travel is an ubiquitous affair , you want to travel places therefore you have to place yourself in a flying tin can. Air travel has come on leaps and bounds since I travelled as an Infant in a rickety old Dakota from the outer Hebrides to England. Travel promises the world , well of course it does otherwise it wouldn't be travel would it now.

What I see from air travel now is a world I want to immerse myself within , the only time I came close to first class travel was when an air stewardess threw a Gin and Tonic over me resulting in me wearing a pair of first class pyjamas. They were black pyjamas so the slimming effect was on my side there , only problem was they made me look like an escaped convict.

So on my latest jaunt which was to Orlando Florida I experienced a frightening experience it really properly, defiantly , undeniably was not the best idea to watch the film Flight again. If you haven't guessed it already I am a nervous flyer , but I didn't want to watch Bond and the hairy feet film The Hobbit so I plumped for the film that would add to my nerves. There's nothing like facing your fears full on is there now , travelling in a plane you get buffered around like a lightly tossed airline Caesar salad, turbulence is part of air travel . 

But when around 40 minutes of me watching the film flight the seat belt sign came on .. when I am flying I never undo my belt except for the obvious toilet break. We hit turbulence and dropped over 100ft it threw cabin crew off their feet , and it was a very scary moment , i know there will be people with worse.

The flight back what can I say ...

Apparently the beef stew had two pieces of beef in it , my butter milk chicken was chicken korma and the key line pie was verging on the ridiculous. Oh and I thought I 'd try and watch that film again until there was a fire somewhere in Manchester blocking our flight path , resulting in us circling twice think rollercoaster  and that's what it was like.

Do I need to watch the film ?? Flight 

Friday 16 August 2013

Imagination parenting

Once I lifted you above my shoulders to see the fireworks in the sky. I think of those times when you had wonderment in your eyes. Those years ago when you believed the mouse was real , you think imagination dies when you get older. 

Imagination doesn't die you just have to work harder at your dreams , you can be anything you want to be. You are nearly as tall as me now, though we quibble with you thinking you are as tall as me now. You have worries, panics and all of life's situations can be overwhelming but no matter how old you get. I'll always put you on my shoulders even if just your worries of life ...there's never an end to being a parent or a child.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Raspberry Summertime Muffin


110g/40z plain flour
110g/40z butter
65g/ 2 1/2 oz caster sugar
2 free range eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
125g/4 0z raspberries


Cream the butter and sugar together then slowly add the eggs, mix for three minutes. Add the flour, baking powder,  stir to combine, then refrigerate for at least an hour. preferably overnight.

Place a spoonful of muffin mixture into each muffin case, filling each to just over half way.

Stud each muffin with about 4-6 raspberries.

Bake in an oven set at 200c/ 400f / gas 6 for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Serve with cream

Thursday 8 August 2013

Summer Sensory Tub

A Summer Sensory Tub

Firstly I would like to say thank you very much to Claire for hosting my guest post!
I first discovered sensory tubs when I read about them on the Counting Coconuts blog – Basically, sensory tubs are a large container filled with all sorts of different sensory materials for children to touch, interact with and explore. They often have a theme – perhaps seasonal or based around a particular colour or texture.

Many people prepare them for very young children, although I didn’t make one for my son until he was at least three and a half. Although it’s great for younger children to have the sensory experience, and my younger daughter definitely enjoys sensory play, now that my son is a little older he takes a lot more enjoyment from the sensory tubs that I make for him. They entertain him for a great deal longer than they would have done when he was a toddler.

The first sensory tub that I made was a beach sensory tubs I have made a couple more since. Now that summer is finally here, I created this summer sensory tub for my children to play with.

I always use dyed rice as a base for my tubs. It’s really easy to make. Just buy some plain white rice (the cheapest that you can find is fine), place a good amount in a bowl and mix in some food dye. You can add more colouring depending on how deep you want the colour to be. I’ve found that some colours work better than others – yellow and red always come out well for me. A squirt of antibacterial hand gel will mean that the coloured rice dries quickly enough to use straightaway, otherwise you will need to spread it out on a baking tray or similar and leave it to dry.

For this summer sensory tub I made some bright yellow rice, to represent a sandy beach, and found some shells to place on it. I had some mixed coloured rice left over from previous play sessions so I used that for the other half of the tub. I usually try to include some kind of role play activity, and so inside I also placed some cones of paper and some pom poms so that the children could make pretend ice creams.

Summer Sensory Tub

When giving the children a sensory tub I always raid the kitchen cupboards and drawers for things that can be used to scoop and pour the rice. This time I put out an ice cube tray, a small metal bucket, some seashell chocolate moulds and a couple of spoons. Then I used an old tablecloth on the floor underneath the tub, to at least try and contain some of the inevitable mess!

Both children spent a lot of time playing with this. My daughter (22 months) enjoyed spooning the rice in and out of the different containers, and pouring it over herself. My son (4) invented a series of different role playing games. The rice started as sprinkles on the ice cream, became chocolates and sweets, and then he moved on to using it to recreate a cement mixer pouring concrete which he had seen in action earlier in the day!

If you are looking for some sensory tub inspiration I can thoroughly recommend having a browse through Counting Coconuts  and The Imagination Tree where you will find some fantastic ideas for sensory play. Have fun!

(Do make sure that you supervise young children when they are playing with sensory tubs – they can contain things which are very tempting for little ones to put in mouths or up noses!)
Jennifer is Mum to two and lives in West Sussex. She blogs about parenting, craft and travel at Jennifer’s Little World