Carson's Corner: My cake recipe!

This is a post written by Carson himself as part of Carson's Corner

Hi Everyone!

Today I want to tell you all about my cake that I made on Saturday. It's a Vanilla Sponge with Raspberry Buttercream. It went down a treat with my mum, dad, nin and grandad (and if I say so, myself!)

So first off, Mum went and bought all the ingredients we needed like real butter, icing sugar and - important this one - SEEDLESS raspberry jam. We had a lot of the stuff in already to be fair though.

The recipe is crazy easy to remember. It's just 3 equal parts!

Cake recipe
225g self raising flour
225g butter
225g sugar
4 eggs
vanilla beans in a grinder

We don't have any electric whisks or mixers in our house so it was hard going to get it right. I even had a cake mix-splosion a couple of times hahaha! But mum gave me a little help and we did it in the end. Literally put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix like mad! Done. 
Oh, the vanilla is to taste apparently. I just ground it in until I saw a nice even spread of black dots in the mixture, seemed to work perfectly to be fair!

I put some greaseproof paper on the base of the cake tin so it didn't stick and then poured the mix inside the tin.

It took about an hour on gas mark 4 to cook (because mum said our oven is rubbish and we need a new one!). To test it was ready we did the knife test. So what you do is jab it in the middle and if it comes out clean  you know it's ready.

Buttercream recipe
140g butter
280g icing sugar
Half jar of seedless raspberry jam

Creaming together the butter and icing sugar was hard just using a spatula or a wooden spoon but keep doing it as the flavour will be worth it. The jam needs to be stirred to make it go like a sauce so it's easy to drizzle over the top too.

I'm obsessed with baking at the moment and I'm going to practice for a whole year and apply to enter junior bake off.

I thought the final result was amazing (big head!). 

What do you think?

Getting winter ready with the #ACEWinterRefresh challenge

Leaving the house to see ice on the windscreen is a pretty big indicator that winter is a'coming! Already. The absolute swine... 

This was me last week shivering my backside off whilst using the old credit card card to scrape it all off. To say I was under prepared is pretty fair. I wasn't dressed for it, I wasn't equipped for it. I just wasn't ready to admit that summer never truly appeared this year. 

This weekend I'm packing the summer wardrobe away and refreshing my winter wardrobe so at least I won't be shivering and quivering next time I'm de-icing the car ha!  I do love the season wardrobe changeover. It's like going shopping all over again, rediscovering items you forgot you even had. It grinds my gears having to re-wash everything though before it's wearable. Yes, no one wants to smell like a moth ball, but seriously... it's going to take a whole weekend to wash and dry all those winter woollens. Urgh, CBA. 

Being involved in the Britmums #ACEWinterRefresh challenge, I've been given a bit of a helping hand which is something I probably wouldn't have thought about doing myself. ACE for Colours Powder is guna reinvigorate your clothes, using its stain-removing powers to bring coloured garments back to life. So instead of whacking in a detergent pod and hoping it does it's thang, I've given it a boost with couple of tablespoons of ACE because by the sounds of it, it was likely to do all the hard work for me! 

True enough, there's a difference about these winter woollens. They don't look faded or old. They're looking pretty spankin' actually. And the freshness is something to behold. My house smells like Dot Cotton's workplace and I love it. 

Top tips for you...

1. Do the lighter thinner wash before the thicker heavier wash. They'll be almost dry on the radiators by the time second wash is done. Warm home, fresh smelling, efficient drying to boot! Speaking of efficiency, this bad boy comes in a fully recyclable Tetra Pak as well so no plastic - pretty important in today's day and age, in my humble opinion. 

2. Don't forget the accessories such as scarves, shawls, gloves and hats! They make any winter outfit complete so you need them tip top and revitalised as well!

3. Wash (using ACE of course), iron and vac-pac the summer wardrobe so they're ready to rock and roll come next year. There's nowt worse than waking to a beautiful warm sunny day and having no summer-wear you can grab quickly and easily, seriously.

Tell me your best tips below!   

This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge, sponsored by ACE for Colours Powder. 
Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper and pick up the range at your nearest Morrison’s store or buy online on Amazon.

Dare To Care: How Supporting The Elderly Has Changed

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If you’ve spoken to anyone about senior care in the past, you’ve probably heard the horror stories which come with this industry. In the past, companies weren’t very good at looking after their service users, often considering profit before anything else. But this has changed over the last few decades though, and care homes are far more friendly than they used to be. 

Both my mum and mum-in-law work as carers within residential homes and it's clear to me that they love their jobs, caring for the service users as they'd care for their own family.

So how exactly has the industry changed? To give you an insight, this post will be exploring some of the key work which has been done over the years to improve this field.


One of the biggest fears people have as they get older is that they will lose their independence. As your body gets weaker and suffers from more and more issues, it will be hard to keep control over each element of your life, eventually making it hard to do even the simplest tasks, like
going to the toilet. In the past, this was handled by treating the patient with little humility, getting the job done as quickly as possible. Nowadays, companies work hard to interfere as little as possible. This ensures that people can do things for themselves for as long as possible, improving their quality of life by a huge margin.

Quality Residences

When you see homes in TV shows and movies,  they always look glum and depressing. I mean, in real life, nowhere is always happy, especially as a lot of people will pass away in these facilities, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be unpleasant. Companies like Porthaven and many others have worked extremely hard to create a care setting which will make most people feel comfortable. Being able to provide someone with a nicer home than they one they used to own is a great way to handle care, especially as the population gets older. You can find reviews for these sorts of establishments all over the internet and it's always good to check them out. 

Professional Staff

It takes a long time for any field to mature and develop, often requiring a lot of assessment and monitoring along the way. The field of care has benefited from a lot of attention over the years, and this means that researchers have had the chance to figure out the best way to handle the tasks they have. Care professionals will be extremely well trained, limiting the chances of mistakes and accidents, while also improving experience each service user has. Even something as simple as moving someone across a room can be complicated when they can’t support their own weight. It takes proper training to be able to do this, making it crucial that the right people are doing it. 

It makes sense that some people worry about this sort of business. Care homes have had a lot of negative press over the years, but this can sometimes lead to ignoring the successes they’ve managed to achieve and somewhat tarnishes the good, hard work that's put in. I think it's an important topic to start talking about, highlighting it's evolution. That's what I'm talking about when I say 'dare to care'.

5 Nifty Ways to Pay For Your Summer Holiday

Summer is fast approaching and for many of us that means an expensive holiday to pay for. Use these simple hacks and you could end up having to shell out much less than you’d think out of your monthly budget to pay for your 2 weeks in the sun.

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The Gig Economy

It has never been easier to do extra work on the side, in fact this new found flexible way of working is known as the gig economy. There are plenty of options open to people who want to earn some additional cash outside of the normal 9-5. The most famous is perhaps driving or food delivery with the likes of Uber and Deliveroo, but there are plenty of other opportunities out there, many of which don’t involve you leaving the house. Great if you have little ones at home that need looking after in the evening. Check out sites like Freelancer and upwork for small one off jobs ranging from photography to content writing. You’d be surprised how quickly a couple of hours per day can add up to a decent financial reward at the end of the month.

Matched Betting

Before you run for the hills thinking that there is no way that you can make some extra cash from betting, let me assure you that matched betting is a proven way to make some risk free cash. For this one you can go and ask Tracey at One Frazzled Mum Blog for proof as she managed to buy a car last year doing this! It involves using bookmaker bonuses to lock in profits covering all outcomes of a sporting event. Just completing sign up offers can net you around £800 from an initial £100 investment and you can complete it from the comfort of your own home.

Refer Friends

A lot of companies have refer a friend schemes whereby you receive cash or credit when one of your friends signs up to a service using one of your links. Airbnb runs one such scheme, where you can earn £15 per person that signs up and makes a booking via one of your links. Get 10 people to use via Airbnb and you can get £150 off your next booking.

Cashback sites

Use Cashback sites like Quidco and Topcashback to make your everyday purchases. These sites give you cash on purchases that you make providing you use a special link. The big cashback comes from insurance, utilities and phone contracts, but as you are making these purchases anyway, you might as well get a kickback for doing so. It’s not inconceivable that you can make £400 from just switching your utilities to cheaper offerings each year. Topcashback also has a refer a friend scheme as well, so you get rewarded for sharing the love.

Sell Your old Stuff

The old saying goes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure so put that ethos to the test and sell all the stuff that you don’t need anymore. I've been doing LOADS of this recently myself! List stuff on Gumtree first because it’s free. If it doesn’t shift you can try ebay, but look out for cheap listing days to keep the selling costs down.

There you have it, 5 simple ways to help pay for your summer holiday. We reckon you can cover up to 70% of the cost of your next trip using these 5 simple methods.

WIN: La Bellefee Gift Set of Scented Candles

Browsing Amazon the other night and saw this gorgeous looking set for less that £12. All I was thinking was what an absolute bargain and how it would make a lovely gift for someone. 

As luck would have it, I don't have any birthday's or anything coming up ha! So, I'm going to gift it to one of you instead and run a giveaway. So, for the chance of winning one of these scented candle gift sets simply follow the rules and enter via Rafflecopter below.

Good luck!

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One winner, UK entries only.
Gift will be ordered from & dispatched directly from Amazon UK.
Should the gift be out of stock when the order is placed for the winner, an alternative prize of the same value will be sent instead.
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Starting to use PECS

Fin has been at school now for coming up to 6 months already. His complex needs meant we weren't expecting too much in the name of progress, however being at a specialist school it wouldn't have been too surprising had he actually have managed to come on in some way - we just didn't want to have our hopes up to be honest.

Well we had parents' evening the other day and we were very pleased to see that Finley has moved from 0-6m or 6-12m in the EYFS charts to 8-20m in most areas. Wahoo!! It's all the teeny tiny things that happen which are so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, yet they're the mortar to his brick building progress. 

Coming up to 5 years old now we remain non-verbal however school reported that he is very strong on his use of PECS (Picture Exchange Cards). In particularly with his choice of juice. He has a choice of blackcurrant or orange (in a green cup) and if he wants one or the other more you will know about it and he'll not give in with his whacking you on the head with his card of choice ha! 

This is just fantastic. He knows what he wants and can finally express it to adults... even if it is a little forceful at times. Well done Finley!! Currently we have food cards but that's purely down to what motivates him. He's not really very requesting of toys or anything like that, and he won't eat biscuits or chocolate;  but apples and raisins etc... he loves. We don't limit him when it comes to snacks and even though we know he won't opt for sweet things, the cards are always available should he change his mind.

Do any of my readers use PECS with their children? Any hints or tips? 

My one tip is to keep them low, almost at head height, and freely available. Fin normally goes to the kitchen if and when he wants something. He would usually drag one of us in and throw our arms in the rough direction of where his desired item lives. So we chose to pop them on the fridge with magnets and it seems to be working well at home. Not all the time though, but hey what else is new with autistic children. All on their terms isn't it! 

Fingers crossed he can start using makaton soon as well. We've been trying with 'again' and 'more' for approx 18 months and it now, very occasionally, is used. To nail makaton would be the icing on the cake for me but for now, PECS does us just fine. I'm just so pleased that he is now able to have a form of communication with people, regardless of it's limitations!! 

Rock on Fin.

Have you entered our most recent giveaway? If not... Get me entered!

WIN: Vitaminnies' second book in the series & other goodies...

Remember our giveaway last year... Cece The Strawberry? Well not only am I privileged to bring you an exclusive look at the next book in the series, Tassi the Banana, but I also have THREE to giveaway again this time round.

Striving to educate through fun, the characters in each book of Vitaminnies' series will aid children in learning exactly why different types of fruit and vegetables are good for them by explaining the effect that different vitamins and minerals have on our bodies. Not only will this generate more of an interest in their own five a day choices, but it makes learning fun whilst introducing the collectable element.

Having recently passed my driving test late last year, I can vouch for a few of the pages in this book through first hand experience. Tassi really does give you extra concentration and nerves of steel in stressful situations! It's a way in which reading with your little ones, you yourself can give examples of how these important foods have an impact on you as the parent.

I am giving three of these books away...

One of which you can win below, the other two you can win over on our facebook and instagram pages. Why not enter all three to give yourself the best chances of winning. I'm also going to throw in some foam banana sweeties and/or other random banana goodies to go with the book so you'll have a nice little package in the post if you're lucky enough! Good luck!!

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