Thursday, 21 September 2017

Back to School, Finally!

Well it happened, our extended holiday ended and the kids went back to school on Monday. I don't who was most nervous, me or the kids!
Star had a bit of a wobble because she didn't know where she was going for registration. She was calmer when we gave her coping strategies, first she had to find fellow classmates and find out where they were going, then if that failed she had to go to the school reception and ask. Of course, as soon as she arrived at school she met up with classmates and went in happily.

Boo was really excited because she loves her school friends and couldn't wait to see them again. Not only that but they were going to be in a brand new school building! What was there not to be excited about!

The Little Man was just not wanting to go. He claimed school was boring and he wasn't interested in meeting up with his little friends again. Of course, that changed as soon as he reached the playground. He's been really happy all week. Soon he'll be moving to the new school building with Boo. It must be really quiet in his school with all of the years four to six missing.

So the first week back has gone really well. Well, apart from the uniforms. I really need to stock up on some more jumpers, but when you have three kids and you have to buy the special (much more expensive) jumpers with the badges on, it's a big spend. Not only that, I normally spread the cost by buying some early and some later, but they are for the new school and were only released for sale a couple of weeks ago.

I hope they continue to enjoy their school week, we are already in a firm routine which was no trouble at all. I think we all strive on routine so it's working out well for everyone.

The Reading Residence

Half Price Books for Autumn!

I love to read, it helps to relax me and I can't resist being taking into other worlds, other lives and imaginations. I've just finished re-reading Philip Pulman's Dark Materials trilogy, I love the books which are aimed at young adults but are incredible stories that I've enjoyed too. Maybe you've seen the film, The Golden Compass? This is based on the first book in the series, Northern Lights. Why have I been re-reading them? Well, because the books were published 22 years ago, but now there is a brand new succession to the series beginning with 'La Belle Savauge' which will be released next month. I, for one, am truly excited and you can pre-order this book now at Waterstones for half price.

Don't forget that you can also get cash back for Waterstone's purchases from TopCashback.

Book of Dust, Philip Pullman

Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK 
ISBN: 9780385604413 
Number of pages: 560 
Weight: 866 g 
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 46 mm

If you want to read the older books too they are also on the half price offer, you can buy them all separately for £5.99 or buy a hardback volume of all three books for just £11.99.

If Philip Pullman is not your cup of tea then how about the Booker Prize 2017 shortlisted book 'Autumn' by Ali Smith? A story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves. 
This is also in the sale at just £6.99 for a paperback copy.

Ali Smith, Autumn

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd 
ISBN: 9780241973318 
Number of pages: 272 
Weight: 193 g 
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 17 mm

Maybe you are already stocking up on your Christmas presents? I am, I like to get in early it seems like less of an expense and you can grab some great bargains. Books make great presents and I have to buy a copy of the Guinness World Records for my kids each year. You can grab this years copy for just £10, that's half price!

Guinness World Records

Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 17 Publisher: Guinness World Records Limited 
ISBN: 9781910561713 
Number of pages: 256 
Dimensions: 303 x 226 x 20 

Perhaps you'd like to try some new recipe's this Autumn. I don't usually associate Jamie Oliver's recipes as quick and easy but his new books states otherwise. 
Each recipe has been tried and tested (and tested again!) to ensure the book is packed with no-fuss, budget-friendly dishes that you can rustle up, any day of the week. With over 130 recipes, and chapters on Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Fish, Eggs, Veg, Salads, Pasta, Rice & Noodles and Sweet Things, there's plenty of quick and easy recipe inspiration to choose from.
You can get this new hardback book from Jamie Oliver for just  £13! That's another half price bargain!

Jamie Oliver cookbook

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd 
ISBN: 9780718187729 
Number of pages: 320 
Weight: 1198 g 
Dimensions: 254 x 196 x 29 mm

You can find many more books in the Sale at Waterstones, why not take a browse at their Books of the Month.

Here are a few more bargains you may be interested in, click the book to find out more.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which if you click they won't cost you anything but they may help me build up my book fund.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Ed Place - The Home Education Resource

Sometimes kids need a little extra help with their learning at home. Sometimes parents choose to educate their children at home. I've done both.
When my eldest daughter was young she did the last three years of her education at home. We did have help with tutors and I really don't know what I would have done without them. Back then the internet was fairly new and their was little in the way of home education resources online.

When Star was in her halo brace and couldn't go to school she had a year of home education. Again, I had help from a professional tutor, but this time we found lots of helpful resources online.
Then there is Boo, who has had a little trouble catching up with her peers and I've been giving her that little extra push with online activities to help her improve, and it's worked.

Today I'd like to tell you about a new program that I've found EdPlace. It's a comprehensive educational resource that's available 24/7. All content has been written and checked by teachers with over five years experience. It is 100% national curriculum aligned and prices start from just £10 per month for one subject and £15 a month for all subjects. You can even trial the program with full access for fourteen days for just £1.

EdPlace is the most accessible online educational tool in the UK. They believe every parent should have access to quality educational support that effectively helps their child succeed. As parent champions, their mission is to become the most trusted partner for parents with the biggest impact on their child’s education. They do this by providing parents access to the best educational tools, technology, resources and teachers. They cover English, Maths and Science across the National Curriculum in Key Stages 1 to 4 (age 5-16). They see big opportunities to help parents by blending the best online tools with leading resources created by their teachers.

Once you sign up to EdPlace you are assigned topics for your child based on their year and their progress will be adapted to their progression.You can keep check on how well your child is doing through the parent dashboard. There are also fun and customisable  rewards to keep your child motivated.

What do you think? Does your child need a little extra help at home with their school subjects. I know as they get older the homework increases, do they really need more work on top of that? I do believe that if a child wants to improve on their school work, at whatever age, if there is someway of making the learning fun and rewarding they will do it. Then there is always the problem of revision, EdPlace can help with that too.

Also, you can get up to £10.50 cashback at TopCashback, and £10 off any subscription with the code 10FREE

Disclosure; This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Great British Bake Off - Cottage Loaf

I'm really getting into the Great British Bake Off now, despite the missing Mary, Mel and Sue. It's all about the baking after all.
This week was bread week and I love baking bread...but I've not done so for a long time. The signature task was to bake tea cakes, something I've never tried before but I may try one day as I do like a nice toasted tea cake with my cuppa. The technical challenge was a cottage loaf, again I've not made one before but I do remember making a mini one many many years ago at school. Finally, the show stopper was a bread sculpture, yes, like I'd have the time, or energy for that!

So, I went for the cottage loaf. I love making bread kneading by hand but with my hands giving me so much trouble lately, it was good to have two little helpers to hand, Star and Boo, who each took turns with the kneading.

The recipe I used was a basic white loaf recipe.


500g bread flour
25g butter
1tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1tsp dried yeast
320 ml of warm water


rub the butter into the flour
add the sugar, salt and yeast,
mix in the water a little at a time until you have a firm dough
knead the dough for 10 mins and leave in a bowl covered with cling film, or a tea towel for about 1 hour
knead the dough again and shape into two rounds, one slightly bigger than the other
Put the smaller mound on top of the larger one and push two fingers all the way through both rounds from the middle of the top round.
leave to prove, covered lightly, for a further 30 mins.
Bake at 180 C for 40 mins, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

cottage loaf

Saturday, 16 September 2017

My Sunday Photo

I love receiving flowers and these were delivered yesterday. The lilies have yet to bloom but it's still a beautiful bouquet. They are a lovely addition to my home especially as the summer days are ending and Autumn is creeping in.

I really miss having flowers in my garden. In my last home we had lots both in the front and back garden. We have lived here four years now but nothing has grown for us. We have some plants in the front, but no flowers, and nothing at all out the back. The soil is terrible so I bought some pots of plants, but even those have refused to grow. Maybe next year will be different.

I pin My Sunday Photo pics I visit on my Pinterest Board. Please let me know if you wish your photo to be removed.


Sunday Snap

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I've also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I've loved. If I don't love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It's always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I'll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.
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