Friday, 27 February 2015

Rare Disease Day 2015

If you look at my links above you will see one saying My Little Zebra. This takes you to my blog written especially for Star, a medical zebra.

"When you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras"
This is what medical students are taught, to look for the obvious.

Star has been diagnosed with Hypermobility Syndrome Type III which is very similar to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I am chasing a diagnosis of EDS for her because I believe that is what she has. We were told by a surgeon after an operation that her connective tissues were too stretchy which is why they would not hold her discs in her spine together.  This combined with the Hypermobility, her pain and the subluxations (as well as many other symptoms) she has do signify that she has EDS.

Had she had the diagnosis earlier her treatment for her subluxation may have been different. Everything they tried for the first six months did not work, simply because of her connective tissues. This is the problem faced by many with rare conditions and that is why I'm writing this in aid of World Rare Disease Day.

This is the official video for Rare Disease Day, please take a minute to watch.

Today is the day to put rare diseases in the spotlight.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Needing an Emergency Dentist

Just before Christmas I woke one morning with incredible pain in my tooth. Isn't toothache the pits, it has to be one of the worst pains you can endure. Thankfully there is so much that can be done to relieve it.

The first step of course is to call your dentist. It was at this point that I realised that I'd not yet registered with a dentist since I moved house! Darn it, I'd written a list, I'd worked my way through it, how could I have forgotten the dentist? We'd been moved more than six months too so no excuse, I had already missed a check up appointment.

So I found my nearest dentist and went to register.

Yes, we can take you on and your family. Phew! Your first appointment will be in April 2015!!

Seriously, they could not do any better than that. I rang around a few other dentists but none of them could see me sooner and the answer was always the same, "you'll have to go to the dental hospital"

I've been to the dental hospital before. You arrive as early as possible in the morning, preferably before 8am, then sit and wait until they can see you. It can be half an hour, it can be three hours! Then you go into a room and are seen by a dentist with someone else being seen by another dentist in a chair right next to you. I felt so uncomfortable I left without treatment. I was later told that they do have private rooms, but the whole experience was unpleasant, particularly if you find going to the dentist unpleasant anyway.

I decided to suffer for a while until I could find something better. I brought some Oraldine and it really helped so I think I may have had a gum infection. The tooth still hurt but it was bearable.

Then, just after Christmas my eldest son woke with toothache. I phoned the dentist but was given the usual reply, "go to the dental hospital"

There had to be something else. I had searched online before but without success but in actual fact you just need to look in the right place. There is help available and all you need to do is find an out of hours dentist

Both myself and my son were helped with 24 hours and are now pain free. We are still waiting for our regular dental check up in April.

This is a collaborative post. All thoughts and opinions are my own

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Birthday Cake Decorating

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen.
I don't have a recipe for you today, but don't despair because there have been some lovely ones shared on the linky. You can find all recipes on my Pinterest Board too.

Follow Anne's board Kids In The Kitchen on Pinterest.

Thank you to last weeks linkers, Mummy Plus Two Girls had a lovely little helper in the kitchen when they made some yummy pancakes.
And the wonderful Tickle Fingers shows us how to make rice balls without using egg just in case you have a little chef who likes to lick everything.

It's almost the end of the month so I'll be starting a new linky soon, everyone who joins in will have their post pinned to my Pinterest board and get a mention here on Kids in the Kitchen. So do come and share what you've been doing with your little ones in the kitchen.

Birthday Cake Decorating

As I said, I don't have a recipe for you this week but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy in the kitchen. It was Daddy's Birthday so I baked him a cake and Boo helped me decorate it in his favourite team colours. I think we did a good job, and Daddy was pleased. (the cake was yummy too!)

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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Jack Link's Beef Snack

We love snacks in our home, the men are the worst for it and I have to keep a well stocked snack cupboard to keep them happy. I was sent some Jack Links Meat Snacks to try so I put them in the snack cupboard to see how things went.

They went pretty quickly!

The overall consensus was that they were a tasty snack, just a touch spicy and nice and chewy. Out of the packet they looked a little greasy, but they didn't taste greasy. My boys gave them 9 out of 10. To get 10 they would have to be bigger and spicier!

At £1.30 you can buy them from Tesco Express stores which is great value, however, for even better value you can currently get them for just 80p using the coupon on the Jack Links Facebook page

"High in protein and low in fat, Jack Link's Beef Snack products are made using only the best beef, which is then seasoned and slowly cooked in a smoke oven using authentic, treasured Link family recipes passed down from generations."

About Jack Link's

Jack Link's is the world's best-selling meat snacks company. The family driven company from the USA is one of the most successful and fastest growing companies in the industry. Jack Link's offers a wide range of products across the world. Jack Link's has its headquarters in Minong/Wisconson and over 3.500 employees all over the world. All European activities for the Jack Link's Meat Snacks brand are headed from the European Central in Berlin

Disclaimer: We were sent some Beef Snacks to review, this is a collaborative post.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Ocean Colour Scene - Live and Acoustic at Birmingham Symphony Hall, February 2015

My OH is a huge fan of Ocean Colour Scene so how appropriate that they should be playing in Birmingham on his birthday week! No problem for me choosing his present then, oh and I get to enjoy it too.

"Fare you well I'll carry me away ....
and sing for those I know upon their birthdays...."

My first memories of Ocean Colour Scene were from TFI Friday back in the 90s where they appeared on the first show and a snippet from The Riverboat Song was used every week. Chris Evans was a big fan.

"I see double up ahead 
Where the riverboat swayed beneath the sun 
Is where the river runs red" 

photo credit: Liam Garland (Little Liam)

I've seen them play live a few times now and I remember at the last gig saying how weird it would be watching them sitting down. We were standing, well dancing, throughout the whole gig. So, it was quite novel going to see them at Symphony Hall Birmingham, where it is all seats. OH has seen them play acoustic before at Town Hall and he loved it, but this was a first for me.

Ocean Colour Scene are known for their mix of rock and folk music. Their fans will argue which they prefer, but they actually make both work. I remember some stranger saying to me before we went into the hall, 'I bet you don't know what to expect?' I'm not really sure what he meant but if I'm honest, I'm not sure anyone really knew what to expect. I've come to learn though, that when going to see OCS live there is one thing you can expect and that is not to be disappointed.

Let's start with Simon Fowler's voice. He is just amazing live. A recording can be tweaked to perfection, but to be able to sing like that on a stage is real talent. He complained at one point that the smoke machine was choking him, but honestly, I hadn't noticed.

Simon Fowler. Photo Credit; Liam Garland

There were three band members on stage, Simon, Steve Cradock and Oscar Harrison, they were backed by a string quartet. For some tunes Steve was on his electric guitar with his box of special effects to give the show a more rock feel. The strings fitted in seamlessly and often added a lot more, particularly in haunting tunes like Alibis. Of course, Symphony Hall is made for music like this.

The band played a real mixture of tunes to please the audience. The theme was acoustic so there were lots of lovely melodies like Families (dedicated to all the mums dads and children, have I missed anyone out?) , Have you got the Right, Better Day and one of my particular favourites, She's Been Writing. Then there were the classic rock tunes which had the audience up in their seats dancing and singing along, One For the Road, Profit in Peace The Day We Caught the Train and The Circle. Something for everyone, new fans and old, rock fans and folk.

"She's been writing
She's been writing
She's been, ah, she's been... writing"

We had a great evening, the music was great, the atmosphere was great and I'd definitely go and see them again like this.

Photo Credit: Liam Garland

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Sunday Photo

 For OH's birthday I bought us tickets to see Ocean Colour Scene play acoustic at Birmingham Symphony Hall. It was a fantastic night, despite our seats being up in the rafters! Lucky OH has been invited back to see them again on Tuesday.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Salmon and Leek Quiche Recipe

My eldest daughter came back from France and had tasted the most delicious quiche. She wanted to make her own so came up with this recipe which I am going to share with you.

The quiche is really easy to make, and the Roquefort gives it a real bite. The cheeses can be a little pricey but you only need to use a little so you can use them in other recipes or save them for making another quiche. The Emmental Cheese gives it a lovely stringy texture, but you don't use too much so it won't be like a pizza.

The pastry you can buy ready made or make your own. I do either, it depends how much time I have. When I make my own I just use a recipe of half fat to flour, so 200g plain flour and 100g butter, then bind together with a little water. I always leave my pastry in the fridge for at least half an hour before using it. 
Then l line a flan tin with the pastry put in a lining of foil or greaseproof paper and weight it down with either baking beans or flour. I cook this for around 15 minutes at 190C. Then the pastry case is ready for the filling. 


  • 1 piece of salmon steak chopped into small pieces
  • 20g Roquefort cheese
  • 50g Emmental cheese grated (you can buy this in packs already grated)
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml single cream
  • 50g Chedder, grated
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • small blob of butter for frying


  • Using a large frying pan melt the butter and gently fry the salmon and leeks for about 5 minutes.
  • Put the mixture into the pastry case
  • In a large bowl mix together the eggs, cream and grated Chedder cheese
  • sprinkle the grated Emmental cheese over the salmon and leek mixture
  • Break up the Roquefort and sprinkle over the salmon and leek mixture
  • Finally add the egg, cream and cheese mixture. 
  • Bake at 190C gas mark 5 for 15 minutes or until it is set and lightly brown.

Thank you eldest daughter for letting me share this delicious recipe, I guess it's a guest Big Kids in the Kitchen post ;)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Marshmallows

Welcome to this weeks kids in the kitchen. I'm really excited because this week we made marshmallows for the first time and they were so yummy! I can't wait to make some Rocky Road now.

Last week we were joined by the lovely Brick Castle crew who showed us how to make a really tasty looking Sausage and Bean Pie.
And as it's Pancake day you won't want to miss Tickle Fingers recipe for German pancakes, no hot frying pans involved!
Thanks for joining in, I always share posts on my Pinterest board and on Twitter and of course here on my blog.


My kids are not big sweet eaters, cakes yes, even chocolate, but not sweeties or jellies. One thing they really do like though are marshmallows so I thought I'd give it a go and see if we could make some. Now the recipe is not entirely kid friendly because it does involve some really hot sugar syrup. There was a lot of waiting to do but the end result was worth it. We are going to try again with some different flavours now.


14g powdered gelatin 
100ml cold water
175ml water
450g caster sugar
a few drops of almond flavouring (this was our choice, you can use vanilla)
25g icing sugar
25g cornflour

We used a 8" by 10" tin which we prepared by coating with sunflower oil, lining with baking paper and coating again with sunflower oil.


We started by mixing the gelatin powder with the 100ml of cold water which we then left.

We mixed the caster sugar with the 175ml of water in a heavy saucepan and stirred until dissolved while on a medium heat.

Then I continued to stir until the mixture boiled. I turned it down to a simmer and left it for around 20 minutes until a sugar thermometer read 113C/235F You can check it's at the right stage by taking a small spoonful of the mixture and putting it into some ice cold water. If you take it out with your fingers it should form a soft squidgy ball, which keeps its shape but doesn't set hard.

We then put the gelatin mixture into the mixing bowl of the food mixer and put it on slow. The Kids stood right back while I slowly poured the hot sugar mixture into the mixer. Then we added the flavouring and turned the mixer up to medium and left it to do it's work for around 20 minutes. The kids kept coming back to see how it was doing, watching how it changed from a clear liquid to a frothy white liquid to, eventually, a very thick white mixture which was holding it's shape as it was starting to set.

We mixed the cornflour and icing sugar together and dusted the pan with a little.
We then poured in the mixture and dusted the top with the rest of the icing sugar mixture.

Then we waited and waited and waited. In fact we left it overnight just to be sure. The next day we had lovely marshmallows which we cut into around 40 chunks.

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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Sunday, 15 February 2015

My Sunday Photo

Our first cat Casper will always be with us, he still has his special blanket and a spot on a sunny windowsill.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Valentines Cupcakes

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen.
We usually do our cooking for Kids in the Kitchen over the weekend when I can remember to get out my camera and take a few photos of the kids hard at work. This weekend was particularly busy, with not one but two parties! We still managed some quick cupcakes though. Not incredibly imaginative but for some reason the Little Man had been asking constantly for some pink icing, so what better than chocolate cakes with pink icing hearts on top.

Thank you to last weeks linkers, the fabulous Tickle Fingers with Valentine Biscuits and Mini Carrot Cakes, we HAVE to make those mini carrot cakes and soon!. Also thanks to Life With Baby Kicks for sharing Dinosaur Cakes and what it's truly like cooking with a toddler.

Tickle Fingers is hosting a fabulous Toddler Cook Off competition, so do take a look and share a pic of your toddler and their creation. I'll be entering very soon :)

Valentine Cupcakes.


125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
10g cocoa powder
2 eggs

for topping:
60g icing sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
25g soft unsalted butter

about 100g pink fondant icing (we had some left over)


we creamed together the butter and sugar in a large bowl
then we added the eggs
we sifted in the flour and cocoa powder and folded into the mixture
we put into 12 cake cases and baked in a pre-heated oven at 170C gas mark 5 for about 12 minutes

To make the topping we sifted in the the icing sugar and cocoa powder into the butter and mixed until smooth.

We rolled out the pink icing and cut out pink hearts with a cookie cutter

we put a blog of the chocolate butter icing on each cake and placed a heart on top.

N.B You could use jam to stick on the hearts but my kids are not keen on jam.

This weeks helpers were Boo, who did all the cooking, and the Little Man who cut out the hearts out of the pink icing.

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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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Weekend Box Review

We were sent a lovely box of activities from the Weekend Box Club.

The Weekend Box club was set up in April of 2013 when it's creator was unable to find something educational and creative as a gift for his nieces and nephews. The Weekend Box club offers a themed box of activities all set out for you and your child to enjoy and learn together. The box is small enough to fit through your letterbox yet full of exciting creative things, while also being environmentally friendly.

Our box was themed for Chinese New Year and contained  four different activities coloured, red, green, blue and yellow.

The red activity was for making fortune cookies and required some further cooking ingredients which I was informed of by e-mail before the arrival of the box. We really enjoyed making these and you can read all about it on our Kids in the Kitchen Post.

The green activity was to make a Chinese Lantern and Boo was keen to have a go at this. We needed to add a toilet roll middle which Boo painted with the glitter paint provided in the pack. There was also some paper to make the handle with and some glue spots to stick the handle onto the lantern. The instructions said to cut slits into the lantern but Boo didn't want me to do this, so we just left it as it was.

The Little Man was keen to make the Chinese Dragon which was the yellow activity. He had fun painting the head and tail of the dragon with the paint provided. He even managed to fold the paper in a concertina pattern for the body. The box provided two lolly sticks to hold the dragon with as well as some googly eyes. 

The Blue activity was to make some paper plate drums and both children made one of these. The box provided the materials to make one, but our craft box had plenty to help make another. We found that the blue tack provided to stick the lolly sticks was not strong enough, so we used some tape instead. We also used a little glue to stick the plates together. The ribbon provided was not very long so I added some more, the Boo decided to cut hers off as she didn't like it. I explained that the drum wouldn't work now, but she didn't seem to mind, she just wanted to decorate her paper plates.

Both children really enjoyed the activities and it was nice to have clear instructions and (almost) everything provided. The Weekend box also has some lovely talking points to share with your children on each card and you can reward them with stickers for there hard work. They can also use the box as a certificate and colour it in. 
If you would like to try a Weekend Box for free you can visit and enter code Anne58

Disclaimer: We were sent a Weekend Box for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Fortune Cookies

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen and it's a new month so new linky time. Thank you to everyone who linked up last month, I really enjoyed reading all your recipes that you made with your little ones and have saved them all on my Pinterest Board for Kids in the Kitchen.

I'd like to say a big thank you to Tickle Fingers for joining in with recipes for Cheesy Biscuits and Courgette and Carrot bites which we were so impressed with we made our own :)

I'd like to send an extra big hug to the lovely Miss T a regular little chef here on Kids in the Kitchen and currently nursing a broken foot :( Get well soon Miss T from The Beesley Buzz

Fortune Cookies

This weeks recipe comes from a Weekend Box that I was sent to review. The box is full of fun activities for your child and I'll be writing up a full review of the contents of my box very soon so do watch out for that. If you want to try out a weekend box for free, or even just find out more then please visit and enter code ANNE58 for your free box.


4 Large wholemeal tortilla wraps
6 Chunks chocolate
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs golden syrup
toppings, seed mix and strawberry pieces (provided in weekend box)


These are really easy to make and we've put a little video together to show you how.
First we made the fortunes by writing them on 12 small strips of paper. We cut 3 circles from each tortilla wrap and put the fortune in the middle. We used a little olive oil to seal the wrap as we folded it over, then we folded it again and placed it in a muffin tin.
When they were all folded we baked them for five minutes until crispy.
Then we dipped some in chocolate and some in golden syrup and sesame seeds. The weekend box also provided strawberries pieces but Boo didn't want to use these.

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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Monday, 2 February 2015

Is Katie Price a Scrounger?

I've been taking a little break from the internet, but one thing that has caught my eye and drawn me in is the debate over whether Katie Price should be accepting school transport for her disabled son Harvey.

I may be late jumping in, but I feel I have to have my say, and I'm afraid that many are not going to agree with me.

I do not believe that Katie Price is a scrounger. Yes, she may have plenty of money but what she is taking advantage of is a service for her disabled son, which is what he is entitled to. It doesn't mean that because he is taking it that someone else is missing out, it means that he is entitled to it just as any other child in his position would be whether their mother was rich or not.

So why do some people have to fight for the service?

It's the way it works, it depends on the area, the school, the budget, the child. My eldest child was entitled to school transport. I was a single working mother, he was 16 years old and offered a place at a special college which was a fair distance from home. At the time it was what was best for him, and the closet available school. I was not made to feel a scrounger for taking the service, it was just like any other service available.

I did not see the discussion between Katie Price and Katie Hopkins on Celebrity Big Brother, but I do not believe that what Katie Price was saying was that the transport provided costs £1000 per day. I think that was her estimate of how much it would cost her to take over from the service. It would be a two way journey twice a day, with medical staff on hand. Of course it would cost a lot more than the service that Harvey actually receives.

When my son first went to his new school it took a couple of weeks for the transport to be arranged and in that time I had to take him in myself. It cost me a small fortune in extra petrol for the journey and I had to take annual leave from work because of the time it took. I was so relieved when the transport took over. I can understand why Katie Price appreciates it too.

I'm not sure which came first, the home in which Katie Price and her family lives or the school that Harvey attends but I gather that there is some distance and it has angered some people that he has to travel so far. These special schools are difficult to find and if a child is settled then it would be a shame to uproot them if moving house. Similarly, it  would be difficult to uproot a child from a home they are settled to move them closer to a school.

So now we get on to the moral question. Is it morally right to take a service offered for free if you have plenty of money? This is what saddens me most. Why is it so wrong to take something that is offered. If you give, then taking is okay too, surely. Pay your taxes, take the services offered. You do it every time you go to the GP or hospital, when you call a fire engine or the police. Or maybe if you have plenty of money you should make sure you pay for each of these services privately too?

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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