DD is 18 and I'm not sure if I'm still 'mummy'

This month DD turned 18. She's an adult. While she still has a few months of sixth form college left, she can drive, and she can buy booze (though she is teetotal) and she can get married and vote.

For the last 18 years I've been 'Tattooed Mummy' (well only tattooed for the last 12 years but still...) and now I wonder, when you have grown up children are you still mummy? I think I've moved into 'mum' territory, and it feels like a big change - I refuse to let DD call me by actual name though!

I'm so proud that DD has turned out to be a (mostly) lovely teen. Caring and polite (untidy and lackadaisical), helpful (when asked) and reliable; but now I'm more mum than mummy, fewer cuddles, less being asked to 'kiss it better' if she falls, more asking what time she'll be home.

I think my role now has moved into the advice section, no longer am I the all-knowing one, but I still have my uses, explaining how tax works, telling her the best places to get petrol, and suggesting ways to crisp up her roast potatoes, so not totally useless quite yet.

DD didn't want a big party for her 18th. Saying she didn't want to drink and most of her friends are underage anyway, so that in the end it was a quiet family affair.

I sort of miss throwing toddler parties if I'm honest. (Parents of toddlers reading this in amazed horror - no really I do!) Toddler parties can be themed and have simple games, young children love to play pass the parcel, enjoy jelly and will eat egg sandwiches without fuss. Teens demand specifics, some want alcohol and a houseful of other random drunk teens.

So when I was asked recently by Party Bags and Supplies if I would like to review a themed party set I was disappointed that I couldn't leap at the chance, I toyed with the idea of having a Star Wars themed party for Mr TM (who is about to turn 71!) but he's not really a party animal either (must be where DD gets it from).

If DD was turning 8 instead of 18 I could plan a party around pets or Mario Karts or Super Hero Girls. I could choose Minions or Hello Kitty, Jurassic World dinosaurs or mad scientist (actually mad scientist is so cool I might get this for MY birthday next year - we could make cocktails in test tubes...) or maybe I'm more My Little Pony...

Party Bags and Supplies really is a cool site that helps you sort a party out all in one place. Plates, table cloths, cups, napkins, party bags and gifts, all sorted at reasonable prices. The even have those fun cardboard cutouts for maximum selfie fun!

You can win an 8 place setting themed party pack of your own, valued at £28 in this easy to enter giveaway. The winner can choose any set from this page. And the prize includes 8 place settings and 8 filled party bags. (Previous winners of prizes from Party Bags and Supplies are not eligible, and the competition is open to UK entries only. Closes 29th December 2017)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Premium quality dog food put to the test by my premium quality dog

Guess what Fizz has been up to this week! She has had the best dog chore after testing dog beds, yes she's been dog food tasting!

title image collage with border terrier looking up, dog eating, and a dog snack

We were lucky enough to be sent a variety of flavours from the Webbox wet dog food range to try out and review. I let Fizz do the trying out and then I wrote the review - I felt it was best that way around, although maybe less entertaining for you, the reader.

When Fizz arrived with us over a  year ago she was incredibly fussy. Despite our careful planning and searching for the best dog food, she often went a whole day without eating and even then would only try a mouthful or two, because how does a human judge what the best dog food is? I can't taste test it myself! Luckily we finally found a quality dog food she liked. Gluten free and full of meaty goodness she was happy to eat Butchers complete, and later we added some James Wellbeloved gluten free kibble. Now she has a mix of those and enjoys them. So how would she take to a new food? A new taste?

I had a look at the ingredients first of course, because only the best dog food for Princess Fizz. Webbox Natural food is free from wheat gluten, and is a complete dog food (you don't need any supplements or extra mixers) . It has no colours or preservatives added either, so it lives up to the 'natural' name. It looks almost exactly like paté too - so careful not to confuse it and spread it on a baguette.

According to the feeding guide wee Fizz could have up to one and a half of the little pots a day, but I'm not so sure, and she doesn't want to get tubby, so we stuck to just one and some snacks from the Natural Treat bar range. (in the image below she's having half a tray for breakfast)

collage of images showing dog food and dog eating

The wet food foil trays will be great to take away when travelling and camping as the trays are small and light, and using a whole one in a day they will be better than big tins for little Fizz.

The treat bars are gluten free too and are 50% meat. they look a bit like protein bars! (do not feed them to your OH if they annoy you....they might like them) They are quite hard but you can cut them with a knife, Fizz had an inch as a chunk to chew and she really liked it. It took her a while to chew it all up but like the brave soul she is, she soldiered on and ate it all.

She was suitably impressed with the Duck Paté too, snuffling it all down very quickly and licking her bowl to check she hadn't left any. Other flavours include Salmon, Lamb, Chicken and Beef.

Border terrier eating from a dog bowl

So Fizz is happy to give Webbox Natural wet food a ten out of ten for tastiness, and the treat bars score highly too. They include the super festive flavour Chicken with Duck and Cranberry.

I'm happy to give it ten out of ten too. It looks nice, is easy to serve up and being a complete food it's nice to know that that's all you need to serve up to keep your dog happy and healthy.

gif of border terrier yawning
Exhausted from all the eating

You can buy Webbox dog foods (the paté foil trays are 65p) and treats at Morrisons, Asda, Ocado, Tesco and Sainsburys, and even online via Amazon.

border terrier looking at dog food packs

I was sent product free of charge for the purposes of the review but have received no other compensation and all views are my own (and Fizz's)


Wordy Wednesday with Rae Stoltenkamp

Welcome once again to Wordy Wednesday. I'm happy to introduce you to Rae Stoltenkamp, a long time twitter friend and author of The Rainbow Quest Series. Set in a domed world of the future, featuring young adult protagonists battling against injustice and environmental abuses.

Book 1: WHERE RAINBOWS HIDE is an environmentally conscious SciFi adventure with a 19 year old heroine at the centre of the plot.

Book 2: WHEN RAINBOWS CRY is set some 30 years later and features a 14 year old heroine battling the stresses of teenhood along with her concerns for her failing world.

So let's get all comfortable and ask Rae some questions.

When and why did you start writing?
I started writing as a child around age 11/12 and was inspired by my maternal grandfather who wrote short stories for a South African newspaper. I however started with poetry - the typical teenage angsty stuff, before graduating on to short stories. Then I couldn't seem to stop and have been writing ever since.
Rae Stoltenkamp

What 3 things (not including paper, computer, pens) would you like to facilitate a good days writing?
I currently have everything I need to ensure I have a good day's writing. But if there was one thing which would probably improve my experience then it would be a back support chair from The Wave Seat Company. It's on my wish list.

Do you write to a schedule, eg every day or three times a week, set times, etc or do you write as and when the mood strikes?
I write 2 days a week as I have a teaching job at a local charity on the other 3 days. It means I have to get a lot in on those designated writing days so they're sacred to me.

Who is your favourite fictional character (that you've written) and why? (no spoilers please! though teasers are fine)
My absolute favourite character I've written is called Sprax. to know him is to love him. Here's an extract about him because it's easier to understand his nature through this and I've also attached a drawing of him my friend Sarah did for me. 


Sprax nudged his way from beneath the leather tooled cover till his head and shoulders were free.  He used the back of his hands to wipe the sleep from his eyes before adjusting the points of his ears.  Lanna should know better than to think she could keep him confined like that.  Huffing and puffing he pushed the rest of himself out, unfolding his spindly legs till they touched down on the surface of the desk.  Surveying the barely explored territory before him, he hunched down closer to the surface and sniffed at the honey aroma of the wood polish.  He stuck out his long tongue and tasted it. 
“Yeuch!  Nose lied.”  His face squidged up in disgust as his tree frog fingers tried to scrape the offending taste from his tongue.  Unhinging from his crouch he shrugged a purple toned shoulder and stepped forward to investigate.  His temple was jabbed by the edge of the hefty dictionary piled on top of art history texts. 
“Foolish Sprax - slowing down - rushing less - time is time is time.” 
His finger pads soothed the hurt as he side stepped jauntily and continued on his trail around the desk and its accoutrements till he reached the precipice.  All the while he talked in a steady babble of conversation to no-one but himself. 
And always, pulling at him, was The Essence of Faetaera.  But he ignored it, shrugged it off.  This was home now.  Because the Essence of Here was oh so fascinating.  And Lanna was here.
He's from a book called Sharp Dark Things I've been working on for a while now which I'm hoping to get back to next year once I've completed all my publishing commitments for this year.

Is writing your main source of income, I read lots of articles saying writers make no money, and my readers asked this question a lot! Can you survive on book writing alone? if not, what else do you do?
Sadly I can't survive on writing alone. I've only just started out in the self-publishing business. I'm learning the trade and sometimes it's pretty full on. To pay the bills I teach after school clubs for a creative writing company called Inkhead and also do private tutoring in the evenings on top of my 3 day stint at the charity.

What are your favourite biscuits?
Ginger butter biscuits from Lidl - there are chunks of ginger in the dough. So yummy with a cuppa.

Where do you do most of your writing?
My desk in the living room but a lot also goes on in my head when I'm shopping or driving the car. I usually make a note of ideas on my phone if this happens.

What book are you reading at the moment?
Am reading 3 books simultaneously: Jingo by Terry Pratchett, Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood & Blue Gold by David Barker.

Is truth really stranger than fiction?
In my personal experience it generally is. Most of my stories spring from experiences in life which I then simply translate into my writing.

If you could genetically cross an animal with a fruit or vegetable what would you choose and why? 
Can't think of a fruit/veg animal cross but would rather like a breed of pig which regularly sheds its skin and as it does this it automatically turns into crackling. I'd go for that. (I'll allow it - sounds tasty)

If reading and writing were banned on pain of death, what would you do instead?
If it doesn't exist already, set up an underground network to fight this dastardly evil, maintain a secret library and battle to the death to free humanity from this disastrous situation. (many other authors has said the same thing, I think it would be an interesting underground...)

If you could bring a dead person back from the dead for one day to have tea and a natter with them, who would you choose and why?
My mother - I miss her wisdom and spade is a spade attitude to life.

Thank you so much for sharing Rae, good luck with the new book (launch date - Dec 2nd 2017)

Follow Rae's blog here and check out her author page on Amazon here. Rae is on twitter and Facebook

You can even claim a FREE e-Book (Six Degrees) here.

This post is part of a blog tour, pop over and read more at Lisa M White's blog, Lindsay Bamfield's blog, and at Anna Caig's blog.