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!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Kids in the Kitchen - Pinwheel Biscuits

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen.
Have you been baking with your kids? Maybe you've been rustling up something for halloween? Please share if you do, I'm going to be doing a halloween round up very soon and I may include your post, also, I may just have a go at your recipes with my kids.

This week as been rather exciting for us because we had a brand new cooker! My old cooker was well past it's use by date and the only reason I could cook with it was because I was used to it's daft ways. It was very annoying when the oven would just switch itself off though. Another big change is that I've switched from gas to electric. I have never had an electric cooker before, and we never had one at home when I was a child either, it's always been gas. So I'm on a steep learning curve.

I did joke that I would have to adopt the Great British Bake off style of sitting in front of the oven while cooking, then look what happened....

New cookers are fascinating for my two young chefs.

Kids in the Kitchen is all about sharing so please come and link up your posts old and new. I will add them to my pinterest board, and tweet your links. I'll even give you a mention on next weeks Kids in the Kitchen. So tell your friends and come and share.

Pinwheel Biscuits

I found a recipe for these in a Mary Berry Cookbook but they were vanilla and coffee and the method was to make the two mixtures separately. We decided to make ours vanilla and chocolate and we made them a little differently.


120g butter
60g caster sugar
180g plain flour
1tsp of cocoa powder mixed to a paste with a tsp of water
a few drops of vanilla extract mixed with a tsp water

We mixed the butter, sugar and flour together to a fairly dry mix.
I then divided the mixture in half by weighing it and putting in separate bowls
In one bowl I added the cocoa mixture
In the other bowl I added the vanilla
I gave one to the Little man and one to Boo and they each kneaded their mixture to a smooth dough
We then wrapped the doughs and left them in the fridge for two hours.

We took the doughs out of the fridge and The Little Man and Boo each rolled their piece of dough into a rectangle.
I cut them to make them neat and we placed one on top of the other before carefully rolling them together kind of like a swiss roll.
We re-rolled the leftover bits I'd cut off and did the same with them.
We then wrapped our rolls and put them back in the fridge for 30 mins

I sliced the rolls into small slices and spread them out on two baking trays.
I cooked them at 180C gas mark 4 for about 15-20 minutes.

They were gone within minutes!

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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