Friday, 24 October 2014


We had only just moved into our home this time last year and had no idea what to expect at Halloween. In our old home we rarely had anyone call for Trick or Treat and as the years passed by I just let Halloween pass by too without doing anything. Then, last year we had caller after caller for nearly two hours as soon as it became dusk. I ran out of treats to give them, but the little ones were so excited answering the door to see the other children all dressed up.

So this year we are planning to join in. We are going to carve pumpkins and make some decorations and I've been hoarding my stack of spooky treats for a few weeks now. I'll let you know exactly how it all goes nearer the time but for now I'd like to do a round up of all the exciting things I've found to make Halloween a fun time for all.

Halloween Decorations

carving your pumpkin is something most people do at Halloween. Mine always end up looking the same, amateurish. Then I get pumpkin envy at all the pumpkins posted up over my social media sites. Well, here is a neat little trick for those who are not experts at pumpkin carvery like me...use cookie cutters. How simple! 

How about some lovely Pumpkin bunting, even the littlies ones could help with this task from Life As We Know It.

I love these Tin Can Luminaries from the Purple Pumpkin Blog, You can find tons of other Halloween ideas over there too.

How spooky are these Ghosts from Jelly Rose Yate, my kids would love these.

Halloween Cooking

Halloween cupcakes are always fun and Steph from Steph's Two Girls has some great decorating ideas here. 

Scary Zombie Fingers look great fun to make and serve from ET Speaks From Home

These Pumpkin Patch Carrot Dippers from Cat's Yellow Days would look great on the party table.

I confess that I'm not that keen on pumpkin, but these Pumpkin Spiced Muffins from Dad Creek without a Paddle look really yummy

Spiders are definitely not on my list of favourite things, but I might make an exception for these Spooky Spider Cookies from Thinly Spread.

I am loving this monster sandwich from the Mini Mes and Me, my kids will love to make one.

These Witches Broomsticks and Spooky Slime drinks from Family Ties look really scary!

Halloween Costumes

Want something easy and fun to make with the kids? Pink Oddy shows you how to decorate a spooky t-shirt

.Here are some easy Halloween Costume ideas over on Mumsnet.

Places to visit at Halloween

Many Farms have events where you can go and pick a pumpkin for Halloween and they throw in a lot of extra activities for children to enjoy too, at the National Forest Adventure Farm in Burton they are having a Halloween Spooktacular where you can pick and carve your own pumpkin, visit a haunted hotel and learn how to fly a broomstick amongst other fun things.

Hatton Adventure Farm is having a pumpkin week where you can pick a pumpkin and corn on the cob a well as taking a spooky tractor ride and listening to the Wicked Witch tell some scary tales around her cauldron.

The girls already have their witches outfits and the Little Man has a Gruffalo costume (if he'll wear it for more than five minutes) So my next decision we have a Halloween party?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Cancer Doesn't Care about Christmas

This week we learnt about the death of the lovely Lynda Bellingham from that horrid disease Cancer. She was brave and faced her untimely end with courage and a smile. She did wish for one thing though, one last Christmas with her family. Well, I'm so sorry she didn't get her wish. Cancer doesn't care about Christmas.

I was in two minds to write this because it's something tucked safely away for me now. Always there, but not shared.

I wanted to spend Christmas with my mum, just like the old days. We hadn't spoken to each other for five years, then we started talking again and rebuilding our relationship. We spent one Christmas exchanging gifts, but the next year we felt we'd progressed enough to spend some time together at Christmas. Up until the fall out I'd always spent Christmas with my mum, even when I was married and had my older children. I was really looking forward to doing it again. We made plans, we wrote lists, we'd even completed a little Christmas shopping.

Then she got sick.

Then we were told it was cancer.

Then we were told that she had weeks to live...not years, not months, weeks!

She made it until Christmas. I got to spend Christmas day with her. In the morning I held her hand while she rested. In the afternoon I held her hand while she rested in peace forever.

That was a Christmas to remember indeed.

It's been six years now and, although it was really difficult at first, I do enjoy Christmas again. When you have small children you get consumed by the magic surrounding Christmas. The traditions, the beliefs, the fairy tales if you wish. I still think of mum but I can still enjoy Christmas with my family. It does make you realise though, sometimes wishes don't come true, especially when Cancer rears it's ugly head.

I've always found it difficult to offer help and advice when it comes to grief. I never know what to say. It's such a personal experience and it is different for everyone. Do you offer up some kind words, do you tell them the pain won't last forever? Do you tell them what to do to make it easier to bare? I had all of this and more offered to me when I was hurting. It was lovely to know that people cared about how I felt, that they wanted to make things easier for me. It also made me really sad. Anyone who has experienced grief knows that there is nothing you can say or do to make them feel any better. You can show you care though. If you don't know what to say then just say you are thinking about them, that you care how they feel. Sometimes, the simplest words are the best.

Me and my mum, on holiday 30+ years ago

Monday, 20 October 2014

Kids in the Kitchen - Toad-in-the-hole

Welcome to his weeks Kids in the Kitchen.
This is where I like to share what my kids have been up to in the kitchen and hope that you will join in and share too. There is a linky at the bottom of the page.

All kids love to help out in the kitchen, even if their helping just mean making a mess! It's all good learning fun though and it's good to share those moments and recipes with others. I welcome old posts or new, so do come and join us.

In return for joining in I will add your posts to my Pinterest Board as well as Tweet them. I may also give you a special mention here on the blog next week.

Big thanks to last weeks linker, The Beesley Buzz and the lovely Miss T who made a delicious looking  Apple Crumble made with Apples from their own apple tree.


Toad-in-the-hole is one of my favourites. In fact, when I visited the restaurant at the Grand Designs Exhibition recently I chose it for my lunch. Their menu had dressed in up as 'Sausages in Yorkshire Pudding with Red Onion Gravy' When I asked the lady behind the counter for the sausages in Yorkshire pudding she replied in a lovely Brummy accent 'ya want toad-in-the-hole' mmm yes please.

Of course Yorkshire Pudding is an egg recipe and I'm going to be featuring a few more egg recipes over the next few weeks. I find eggs are so versatile and are used in many things. I really like poached eggs and the kids favourite is scrambled. I always use British Lion eggs which is not difficult because 90% of eggs in our shops are now British Lion. Yorkshire puds are not very healthy but there are plenty of egg recipes that are, do you know how many calories there are in an egg?


Sausages, we usually have two per person...although Daddy likes three!
1 egg
100g flour
300ml milk
1tbs oil


make the batter by whisking together the flour, egg and milk in a bowl. Then when you have a smooth batter put bowl in the fridge.

put oil in 20cm by 30cm roasting tin
add sausages and cook in pre-heated oven 220C/gas mark 7 for 15 mins
Take tin from oven and add batter immediately.
Put back in oven for about 30 mins until batter is risen and golden

Here is a very smart Little Man in his shirt and tie making the batter.

  We like ours served with mashed potato, peas and gravy.

So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)

Thank you for reading, if you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay
You can find out more about Kids in the Kitchen by clicking here.

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Collaborative Post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I have not been paid for this post.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Word of the Week - Empty

This week my two oldest children have been visiting their dad in the South of France.

It's been a little quieter, a little easier on me with less meals to cook and a little less stressful with the little ones not annoying their older siblings all the time.

Most of all, however, it's felt empty.

This is the first time they have been away since we moved here and suddenly this house feels huge without them. ED has a floor all to herself and I rarely go up there, but she still makes her presence felt around the house. Similarly, No1 Son spends a lot of time in his room, but he also spends time with the family. Suddenly it feels a lot emptier without them.

I think I know now that this isn't going to be my home for life. Once the kids have left the nest then I'll be looking for somewhere smaller. It's lovely having a big house after being cramped up for so long in our old home, but I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like with just the two of us here.

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hatton Adventure Farm Half Term Pumpkin Event

Hatton Adventure Farm is in the West Midlands and this coming half term they are hosting a Halloween Pumpkin Event and I have four tickets to give away to one lucky winner.

Children can pick their own pumpkins and carve them in a halloween themed marquee. There is also a pumpkin hunt around the farm and lots of other activities for families to enjoy.

Of course you are still able to visit the farms 300 plus animals and play in their indoor play area. There is also an outdoor adventure playground, tractor rides, fairground rides, falconry displays and so much more to enjoy on your visit.

You can find out more on the Hatton Adventure Farm website.

Now, if you would like the chance to win four tickets to take your family to Hatton please pop over to Raisiebay's Facebook page. The competition will be open until Tuesday 21st October and winner announced shortly afterwards. I hope to get the tickets posted out by Wednesday 22nd so that you can enjoy a day out during pumpkin week which runs from 25th October to 2nd November.

Good luck!