If in doubt….soup!

poorlyYes it’s going to be my new motto, not feeling so good, eat soup, not sure what to do with yourself, make soup and want to show someone you care, make them soup. The answer to all life’s little queries and quandaries, soup. Well in my small microscope corner of the world this is kind of  true, today, now.

Mr H has a viral chesty thing. It’s most unpleasant, lots of hacking, spluttering going red in the face and looking like he can’t breath has now been replaced with a gruff bark and no voice. Not well at all. So I’ve been doing my best Florence impressions, nurse not Magic Roundabout, and Ive been tending to his every need, sometimes through gritted teeth but mostly not, as I can see he’s really  unwell. Luckily for him my mental well being seems to be remarkably healthy and balanced this week so a good week to go down because I can fully nurture, which for me always involves feeding.

Lots of home cooked meals have been made and been delivered to the bed, the sofa and when he can bare to join us, the table. I’ve slaved away in a bitterly cold kitchen to ensure the resurrection of my mans health. OK, I over did the drama there but our kitchen is really cold.

Getting back to me, lots of lovely people stopped by my last post and LIKED it. Thanks! As a good blogger and a nosy one, I like to see who is visiting and being so kind. And this is how I discovered Home Made With Mess a site full of yummy recipes that all seem to be great “cook at home” dishes. Nothing to fancy but great looking tasty food. This soup recipe, Rocket, Pea and Bacon, jumped out at me, I think the brilliant green said health and goodness and the lump of Camembert, naughty but nice!peasoup

So today this is the soup I lovingly made for the poorly one. Although I didn’t use rocket because I didn’t have any and I used a leek instead of an onion. So technically not the exact same soup but my way or the Messy way, I reckon it’s still a pretty good soup.

There was of course enough for me to share, a good cook would never create something they wouldn’t eat them self! It was like a comforting soft luxurious blanket. I loved the sweetness that the peas brought to it and  the smoky after taste of the bacon. It was smooth and velvety in the mouth with a gooey splurge of cheese for an extra treat. I enjoyed every mouthful.

peasoup2So thanks again to Home Made With Mess for this culinary treat and I will be back soon to try some of your other concoctions.

Click here for the recipe

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year..

032I mused to the children this morning during the school run,car temperature gauge at -5, “such a shame it has to be so cold for the world to look so beautiful”.

Some of you might be aware already, although I’ve hardly mentioned it, that I loath passionately the cold, being cold, cold weather, cold,cold,cold… Yes I can “wrap up warm” to protect myself from this chilly invasion but just how good does a girl feel wearing tights under her jeans and a thermal vest. No, hard as I may try I can’t love this time of year, I can like it it in small doses but once the temperature plummets I require extra TLC to get me through.

Those little moments of love are found in a steaming cup of tea…..

………………………a fires lit during the day,

…………………………….a cosy blanket for my knees,

…………………………………..and occasionally a little day time climb into bed.

COMFORT FOOD is a necessity…….on the menu today,

Breakfast..Scrambled egg and sliced chestnut mushrooms,

Lunch….chickpea, cabbage and chorizo soup.

Tea….Spaghetti with a tomato and olive sauce and mountains of Parmesan cheese.

…………..The final little bit of care for myself……

………….a cuddle with someone I love……………….

…but as I was saying before I got a little self involved, it is a most wonderful no, beautiful time of the year, so I braved the enemy to suffer for my art, went out in the garden and took some pics!





A Review – Popagami Paper Fun


I came across this product on twitter and was instantly drawn to the simple idea that seemed novel. Origami using printed sheets which make up into animal heads or little finger puppets.  On further investigation, a visit to the website, I’m again impressed by the great looking site; bright, colourful and easy to navigate. Not only can you order the sheets and a booklet to arrive by post, some of the sheets can also be ordered and downloaded from the site to print endless copies  out at home,Starting from £0.20.

When we received the pack at home, it was great to see all the brightly coloured sheets, they instantly looked like fun. The book initially was a little disappointing as I had hoped it might make a good small present idea at £4.99 including P&P. But with only the smaller sheets included, folding instructions and lots if ideas on how to use the little puppets it is more of a manual. However the pack of bigger sheets, starting at £2.75 for 24 sheets, is a delight, the little faces are cute and inviting and my two boys want to have a go straight away.


When I do sit down, first with my nine year old there is much discussion about which creature to make first. I opt for the tiger and my son for the robot. We follow the instructions from the book. To look at they seem initially complicated but as we start and read carefully they are actually straight forward and well presented, the wording is easy to follow and the diagrams are clear.

As we start I realise it’s a good opportunity to teach my son how to fold neatly, so  we match corners carefully, hold in place and run our fingers over to create the creases. It gets a little more complicated towards the end but on the whole we follow the instructions easily. My son has remained engaged and has not found it too difficult; I’ve helped him only slightly. It’s fun working through it together. So we come to the point where the folding is finished and another exciting surprise we have to inflate the creatures by blowing them up.

“This is awesome” exclaims my son.


There we have it two little puppet heads. My son is keen to make another one straight away. Then a couple of days later he makes another three now with hardly any assistance. My youngest son, aged eight, is also keen to have a go and he too finds it fun and not too difficult to do. He also enjoys looking at the names of all the creatures in the book; they are also on the website, when deciding which one to make.

So I can see that these will keep creating fun, although not a long activity to carry out and one which needs a little guidance, it is quickly rewarding and they can be played with after. My son has suggested that we make them for the Christmas dinner table, one for everyone.

On a whole I am very impressed with the product. The pack of sheets is excellent value for money and if you did just want to buy these then the folding instructions are on the website.

A great activity that the kids can come back to time and time again, gaining in confidence as they go. Good fun for big children and adults too!

Pack starts at £2.75 including Postage and Packaging.

To visit Popagami Website Click HERE

Disclaimer : We did receive a free pack and book to try out and all opinions are genuinely my own.

An Olive? Yes Please

004A week ago our life was being turned upside down by the boy’s behaviour in school. So a week later where are we?

Those two days at home were calm time. Not really work time, he did a few bits and after talking  about what it feels like when he gets angry he wrote a poem, I may share if he’ll let me but as always he showed a deep awareness of how his emotions work even if he can’t at 9, yet fully control their ferocity. This always gives me very high hopes for his future. By the afternoon of day two the anxieties regarding his return to school were starting to show. He acted a bit silly, babbling nonsense to fill any spaces; sometimes it’s hard not to be annoyed with the rubbish he spouts in this frame of mind. Giddy and jumpy, sometimes when standing he almost hopes from foot to foot, skittish he precariously increasing the chances of  a clumsy accident, like the one when he rocked off his stool, crashing to the kitchen floor, rolled into a ball and wouldn’t come out for about five minutes. Nerves have a way of heightening sensitivity. He can’t get comfortable to watch the television, moving between the floor, the sofa and his feet, it’s totally exhausting to watch and not very relaxing. His head and shoulders meet, no neck in sight he is racked with stress, at these moments I recognise the plains of his birth mothers face in him.

So back to school and a reintegration meeting, the Head, the SENCo, the husband and me. No shared smiles this time, I can hardly make eye contact, I’m just concentrating on keeping my emotions together. The air of uncertainty hangs heavy. Then an olive branch is extended a hope to repair the recognised damage that has been done to the school parent relationship. The hope that we can work together as we have before to support our children. There is discussion regarding the events and there is conversation regarding the nature of the punishment applied. The talk turns to the culture of discipline that surrounds us, the fact that it is not necessarily right but it is the way of things, a long road to travel for change. It is noted that a journey requires taking the first steps and that those steps do not as yet appear to be taken. Reassurance is given that our children are in the safest of hands, a school where attachment is indeed understood and under the umbrella of the Enhanced Resources this school offers. There is a hope to move forward. We leave the meeting, reports in hand to read later and with an improving relationship.

So where to now? For me the question remains as to whether the situation could have been handled better and therefore the outcome have been less extreme.  I still feel aggrieved for the punishment enforced, with a greater degree now knowing the extent of this schools understanding of the attachment issues my children face. The Enhanced Resources aspect of this school has indeed supported my children excellently and many an individual have been amazing with my kids. This is why the disappointment is so impacted because ignorance is not an excuse that can be used for this decision. I have answered in response to some comments placed on my previous post that I do not expect my child to go without consequence but a consequence that suits only the observers and those with no understanding is not acceptable. In a school where children’s individual needs are a speciality then what appears to be a blanket one fits all discipline policy is also not acceptable.

I’d like for a moment to contemplate the difference between a looked after child and a child that is considered to have a good enough start to life. This is what should happen. A baby is born ready to learn like one gigantic sponge that is waiting to absorb all the new and incredible experiences that await. Immersed in love, nurtured and responded to, a baby starts to learn their place in the world. A world that they see as safe because someone is caring for them, any fears they have are allayed by those that love them and validation of their belonging is made by their parents responding to them.

This is what happens to children who have been neglected. In brief little to no attention is paid to them as babies. No one comes when they cry no one feeds, changes, cuddles and stimulates them when required. Contact that is made is most likely irritable, angry or violent, mum probably needs a fix or a drink and then maybe she might act nice for a little bit. There is so much more but I said in brief.  Once the decision is made by the local authorities to remove these children, they are taken often with police support, with few to no belongings into care, the care of people they do not know. Whilst decisions are made they may remain here or they may be moved, more than once, sometimes without their siblings. So what is this child’s large sponge like brain absorbing about the world they live in?

That it is a frightening, no terrify place where no one can be trusted. The only way to ensure ones safety is to take control of one’s self and allow no one else to make decisions for you. That you must be a very horrible and bad child if no one wants to love you. To reject people that try to form attachments with you because of the fear of being rejected again. This is what they absorb and this becomes the foundation of their relationships for the future, altering this is a very long and difficult task and in some cases not all these beliefs can be changed, the brain has hard wired them for good.

When educating children who struggle forming attachments the relationship formed with the child by individuals in the school and the school as a whole is key. In order for these children to learn to follow your rules and respect your decisions you need to obtain their trust. A trust that shows that you have their best interests at heart and you will not let them down. This trust is also formed through setting boundaries and enforcing them. So there is a very fine line to be walked between keeping the trust and showing the child who is in charge.

When we have similar outbursts at home, or if there have been school occurrences that require a restriction of activities at home I find jobs for my son to do, loading and unloading the dishwasher, sorting washing, recycling or helping to cook tea. Marginalising him in his bedroom, on his own will allows his negative self belief to grow stronger and feeds the thoughts that he is not a good person. Granted isolation is sometimes required as a cool down period but on the whole “time in” as opposed to “time out” is more constructive. These jobs he will do willingly, wanting to regain your admiration, keen to show you that he is sorry for his action and offering some time for us to reflect together. I can praise him for his helpfulness and talk through how things went wrong and what could have been done better. He actually responds well to a debrief because he is keen to learn and he also does not want it to happen again. There is also a need to move forward and return to normality.

I have always supported internal exclusion because I know that this provides him with some connection with the school although he is being isolated, but I feel that this method of discipline as a whole does need to be looked at. Is there a way that children who quite clearly show remorse can do something positive for the school for example dig the garden, help clean somewhere or the age old pick up litter as I way of making right their wrongs. I’m sure that resources, logistics and other things will create lots of obstacles for this suggestion but just consider aren’t criminals that show remorse extended some leniencies?

So I wonder if the first steps to change can be made here? I would like to think that maybe they can because this is a good school with good intentions and I will be offering my support and assistance in creating these steps to change. For now, today I take the olive attached to the branch and move forward for my son.

I am also considering how best to possibly collate stories of adoptive parents experiences in dealing with mainstream schools to present to The Care Inquiry. I currently have a spot on the AdoptionUK  discussion board under Adopters called Educating the Educator. If you wish to share your experiences I would be interested to read them. I am awaiting some advice on this matter but will keep people informed here and through twitter and facebook.