Friday, 29 April 2016

Breaking Barriers - Never too Old

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, well I disagree, I don't think it's ever too late to learn something new.

"Yuichiro Miura became the oldest person to climb Mount Everest in 2013. He first climbed Mount Everest in 2003, at age 70 making him the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In 2008 the record was broken. However in 2013, at age 80 he once again climbed Mount Everest making him the oldest person to climb Mount Everest."

Image source: Yuichiro Miura

Of course, not everyone can be like Yuichiro Miura but you can still learn something new at any time. Age should never be a barrier.

This is what the campaign #Breakingbarriers is all about. We are seeing an increase in the number of elderly people thanks to advances in healthcare and improved standards of living. These older people should not be cast aside as being unable to learn new skills.
"Times are changing and it's time for us to change too, breaking the stigma and encouraging each other to take action and get inspired to learn new skills or tricks of the trade."
There are many opportunities for older people these days, they can learn new languages, take up photography, even start a blog! There should be no barriers to the things they can do. There are even fitness sessions for the over 50s, or classes for yoga and pilates. The older generation should be encouraged to break those barriers and show what they can do.

As I am now into my Golden Years, yes, I know it's hard to believe! I find that I am wanting to learn new stuff all the time. When I was younger there just never seemed to be time, I was always busy with work or the kids, or both! Now, my life has slowed down considerably and I feel like I need to get my brain into action. Okay, with my health issues I'm never going to be running a marathon or climbing Everest, but there are other things I can do. I know I'm not retirement age yet, but I am proof that learning new things is not just for young people.

If you've ever done an Open University course you will see lots of older people studying for degrees. I completed my degree when I was 32, which to some people is old, but in fact I was often one of the youngest in the classes. I'd kind of got things the wrong way around, going straight into marriage and parenthood, then returning to education. The great thing is you can return to education at any time. If it's not a degree you are looking for there are plenty of other options. At the Open University you can even get a free taster course. I've just signed up to a creative writing course which I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into. Keeping your brain active like this helps you to feel young, even when your body may be saying otherwise!

Take a look at the Breaking Barriers campaign today and see if you are inspired with their many skill share videos, blogs and more. See their mascot, Peter, in action as he breaks barriers at a basketball match.

Finally remember, it's never to late to learn something new.

Disclosure: collaborative post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Word of the Week - Star!

This week has been all about Star!
First she received a certificate in school assembly. One of the things I like about the school is that they celebrate the children's strengths each week and you can see the determination each child has to be rewarded with a certificate. They are given out in five categories which make up the word Reach. Resiliance, Engagement, Ambition, Confidence, Honesty.

Star's certificate was for Resiliance "in maths and always trying to apply her understanding to problems."
This is pretty big for Star as Maths is not her strongest subject.

Then she had a hospital appointment for her stomach problems. It was after school and as it was best that just one parent went it was Daddy who took her. We didn't get any new information from the appointment, just some more medication. It does feel like we are going around in circles with this problem which has been present for more than eight years now!

Then Star got sick! She was up all night moaning about a headache so I figured she must be having a migraine if it was keeping her awake and gave her the appropriate treatment. She had to miss school the next day because she'd not slept...but it was good that she didn't go in because then came the sickness. Poor child never moved all day except to be sick. She slept on and off and complained of pain in between. She didn't eat all day so we kept her topped up with water.

She's still off school but looking a bit brighter now. Hopefully she'll be fine over the long weekend. Next week it will be back to getting ready for her SATS. Being in year six they are making a big deal about the SATS at the school. I know that Star is a little stressed but she seems to be coping with most of the extra work she's been given. I'm not sure how she will get on in the actual tests but I've already been told that they have made special arrangements for her and a few of the pupils who won't be taking the tests in the same room as the other children. These children will be subject to the same rules but are given a little longer and breaks if necessary. It's reassuring. It's also sad that my child has problems that necessitate this. 

So, I guess this week is all about my star, Star and that her name should be my word of the week.


Please consider voting for me, Raisie Bay, in the Mad Blog Awards, thank you xx

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 28 April 2016

I'm Going to Blog Camp...and I'm Worried!

I didn't want to write this post but my Other Half insisted that I did, otherwise he won't let me go to Blog Camp Birmingham on 21st May.

Now, I've been to Blog Camp before and loved it. It's fabulous to catch up with  lovely blogger friends and learn lots of new stuff about blogging...believe me, even an old timer like me still has lots to learn. I've never had a problem attending, but this year is a little different. This year will be the first year I go in a wheelchair.

I've already created a faff with the event location and the organisers. I didn't mean to, I just asked about wheelchair access and one of the rooms is upstairs. It's ok though, everything will be fine and I didn't mean to cause any faff. I get it now, sometimes you mention disability and some places will jump through hoops to accommodate you.  I guess it's a shame it's not all places, but I've never been one to cause a fuss.

Now, the nitty gritty and why my OH wanted me to write this post. I'm not very good in my wheelchair, my condition also affects my arms and hands as well as my legs and I find wheeling myself a little difficult at times. I'm worried that I'll get in the way, run into people, get left behind, get stuck in a doorway etc etc. I'm also worried that I won't be able to fetch myself a hot drink or food...and cake.. I wouldn't want to miss any cake (or waffles.)

The waffles at last years blog camp!

Sooo, against my normal nature of I can do it all myself, I don't need anyone, I just wanted to say that if you see me and I'm looking like I'm struggling or lost, could you give me a hand? I'm really not good at asking for help, and I'm not good at being fussed over. So I don't want any fuss, I'm just asking for a little consideration. In return, I promise to do the best I can not to run into anyone.

I'm happy to talk about what's wrong with me, but just in case you see me and you don't want to ask here is a brief outline. On January 1st this year I was admitted to hospital with inflammation on my spine. I was paralysed in both my arms and legs for a couple of days, but then I began regaining some strength. I can walk but the inflammation has caused nerve damage and now my brain doesn't communicate properly with the rest of my body. So my walking is slow and wobbly. The nerve damage also causes a lot of pain, which is constant and exhausting. (I may not make it to the end of the day!) This means each step I take really hurts my legs and feet. So, I am now in a wheelchair, with no idea if I will get better or not. The condition I have is called Transverse Myelitis and it is so rare it only affects 1 in 3 million people a year in the UK. I have a tab at the top of the page where I'm recording my TM journey.

Friday Fabulous

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A Box Full of Excitement! - Boxcitement.

If you read my blog then you will already know that I love surprise boxes and I've just received one that really made me smile.

My lovely gift and treat box from Boxcitement.
The box neatly fitted through the letterbox, so no worries about being out when the delivery is made. Inside the gifts were neatly packaged and straight away you can't wait to get stuck in and see what you have got.

My lovely box was Spring Themed and promised 'It's time to sew, grow and sow.' On the top were some lovely pastel leaves which were not only a pretty touch but could be useful in a crafting project.

On opening the box my excitement grew, the first things I spotted under the tissue wrap was a lovely notebook and a gardening kit.

I opened the package carefully revealing each surprise, this is what it contained.

  • A pack of Thank You Cards with envelopes; I have a few people who are overdue a thank you from me so I already know who will be the lucky recipients. 
  • A stylish beaded tassel necklace; I love this, it comes in a hessian gift bag so it would be lovely as a gift. The thing is, it matches a lovely dress that I've just bought for my holiday so I may just have to keep it myself.
  • A mini gardening kit including gloves, wooden plant markers and wildflower seeds; just my thing, I already have some little pots and my daughter has promised to help me with a little gardening this weekend.
  • A set of cute buttons; I was actually looking for some buttons for a crafting project I had in mind, these will be perfect.
  • A useful notebook: I always have a notebook on me and this one is so pretty, it will be a pleasure to use.
  • Some bright bakers twine; great for tying around gifts or crafting.
  • A make-your-own paper flower template; I will look forward to making this.

Boxcitement is the perfect subscription box for lovers of pretty things, crafts and stationary. You can keep them for a special treat or pass them on to friends as gifts.Each item is of good quality and they all come together under the monthly chosen theme.

You can pay monthly or in advance for 3, 6 or 12 months. You can cancel anytime. Or if you wish you can choose to buy 1, 3 or 6 boxes without subscribing. They'd make a lovely present for someone who deserves a real treat. Price for each box is £18 including P&P with prices reducing for the more you subscribe too.

Disclosure: I was sent this box for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and honest.

I'm a finalist in the MAD blog awards, please could you spare a moment to vote for me, Raisie Bay, in the Schooldays category..thanks xx


A Final Word on the A Word - Missing

I didn't write about the A word last week, it's not that I didn't have anything to say, it's just that I didn't really know what to say. Unlike many others I was still seeing a desperate mum in Alison, while many others were still disliking her.

This week, the last episode, we saw something else in Alison. A situation she couldn't control, she couldn't bully her way into getting a result, although she may have tried at one point.

Joe, the five year old newly diagnosed autistic boy went missing.

The whole village were enrolled to look for him.

Alison had to admit to everyone that Joe had autism.

Alison declared that she wouldn't try and change him and that she accepted him for who he was.
At last!

As the hours went by and the search was fruitless, emotions were high, both on the screen and in my living room.

My boy went missing, it was awful. He was gone for hours, we all scoured the streets, we called the police, we answered questions, we looked some more. Then he came back. He hadn't run away, he was just out walking. Tension within the house had become too high and he felt the need to go for a walk.

Over the years he did this several times, before and after his diagnosis. In fact, he still does it now, he will just leave the house and walk and walk. You may think that is not unusual in a grown man, but normally he does not leave the house alone. When we first moved here three years ago he got lost on his first 'walk' because it was an unfamiliar area and this was very distressing. Thankfully, we found him. It never stopped him.

The A Word portrayed the despair that families feel while looking for a lost child. You will do anything to find them, the desperation grows by the minute while they are gone. The panic, the fear, the pounding in your chest that doesn't settle. It's so difficult, so painful, so worrying. I cannot imagine what it must feel like for those parents who have children that have not returned.

In our house the first few times the return was also stressful. He would not understand why we were panicked, he had no idea of the fuss he'd caused. On a couple of occasions a police officer came out to see him the next day to tell him how dangerous it was for him to go off on his own and told him not to do it again. He took no notice. My first reaction to him coming home would be to hug him and just be thankful that he was back. He didn't understand why I was behaving like this and mostly just wanted to go to his room and lie down because he was tired and worn out. We learnt to adapt, you don't get used to it, but you do adapt. Now he's grown up I still worry, my biggest fear being that he doesn't come back, or he gets attacked in the street. The fact that he is over six feet tall and pretty big doesn't stop me worrying.

I know that not all autistic children do this, my daughter doesn't. It's a really difficult thing for families to deal with, but to the autistic child, it's a release, it's a way of coping.

Back to the drama, many people have been annoyed at the parents for allowing to let Joe go out wandering each morning. Maybe they could see it was his way of coping, they were sure he'd be picked up each morning and brought home, as indeed he was. Maybe they had become a little complacent though. This routine did not bother them, but when Joe decided to wander at an different time then the panic was released. To Joe, it was just another way of coping, it was his release.

The conclusion of the drama was good for the family as a new phase of acceptance was clear. We all know that the journey from there on is not going to be easy for them, but with acceptance they can begin to work together as a family and deal with all that Joe's autism throws at them...hopefully!

I do have one question though...are there EVER any buses in that village?

The A Word - BBC tv


Please consider voting for me, Raisie Bay, in the Mad Blog Awards, thank you xx

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

What's in Your Box This Week?

Welcome to my weekly linky for box lovers. Come and link up any of your box posts, old or new. All are welcome. Full details coming up.

This week I received my second Degustabox.

Degustabox contents april 2016

Again I was very pleased with the products included.

  • Canderel Sugarly (I do use a lot of sugar, and I don't normally like alternatives, but this tastes pretty good) 
  • Popchips, I'm not over fond of rosemary but the chips were a lovely texture,
  •  Bebeto fruit strings, I loved these, 
  • Veetee microwave rice, always handy to have.
  •  Parle G biscuits, yummy! 
  • Parle G rusks, a little weird with cardamon but I liked them with a cup of Darjeeling. 
  • Green Lady, I love green tea, but I'm not keen on it fizzy!
  • Rejuvenation water, this was delicious, I'm going to buy this a lot.
  • Pimm's Cider Cup, I'm not sure how I feel about this, I love Pimm's and I love Cider but together they take a bit of getting used too, although I think I may have been the cucumbers that put me off.
  • Levi Roots Jerk sauce, we all love jerk and we all love Levi roots, we just need a BBQ now.
  • Milky Bar and Smarties, chocolate! say no more!
I can't wait for the next box!

I've decided to set up this linky so that subscription box lovers can link up and find out what everyone else is getting.

It might give you some ideas of the best ones to sign up too!

In the future I hope to feature some of the best posts that have linked up, so please do join in. I'll also tweet your posts and share them on my Facebook page. I'll also comment on all submissions.

Last week Kim shared her Bookawoo Box review. Thanks for linking up Kim.
I'm really excited because we have been asked to review a Bookawoo Box too, we are just waiting for it to arrive.

Now for the Rules, don't worry they are easy.

  • link up your subscription box post or video, it can be any kind of box
  • take a look and comment on a couple of other posts in the linky, it's only fair and you may find something exciting to subscribe to.
  • include my badge so that others may find the linky and join in.
There you have it, simple!

I'll put the linky up every Tuesday and you can add to it until Friday. Do tell your friends, this is a new linky and we need everyone to join in.

I really can't wait to see what you've had in your boxes!

Here's my badge, the copy code is underneath.

blogbadge photo badge_zpsf0b88074.jpg

Monday, 25 April 2016

Why I Miss My Bubble Baths

I admit, I am a shower person normally, but there is something about a having a bath that is so relaxing. You feel as though you can soak away your cares and worries. Having small children means that having the time for a bath can be difficult, but sometimes you need that little break. I loved it when my other half promised to keep the kids occupied while I relaxed in a hot soapy bubble bath.

I love bath products too, they are so much more luxurious than shower gels and lotions. You can have your bath smelling of whatever you wish, even chocolate if that's your thing of delight. You can add glitter bombs and fizzy bombs and smells that enhance your mood. I loved to fill my bath with tons of bubbles and relaxing scents and just lie back and chill out.

Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds Bubble Bath Bar from of my all time favourites!

We stayed in a hotel in Blackpool once and there was a jacuzzi bath tub. I couldn't wait to try it out and was in it like a flash. It was lovely, after a long journey it was just what I needed. When I finished I emptied the bath and eek! I couldn't work out how to turn off the jacuzzi, it just kept whirring away with no water. After the Other Half had a go at turning it off we gave in and called reception for help. By the time help arrived it had turned itself off. Ooops! tad embarrassing.

I can remember the last day I had a bath, it was January 1st this year. The day that I woke up with these horrible pins and needles that wouldn't go away. I tried everything and then my Other Half suggested having a relaxing bath. So I did, and it was lovely. Sadly, although it made me feel more relaxed (I'd been getting pretty stressed) it didn't take away the pins and needles. This was the day I ended up in hospital with Transverse Myelitis. Now, I can't even get in our walk-in shower without help, having a bath is out of the question.

Or is it? I was thinking that a wet room was the way to go. A Shower that I didn't have to get help to step in, with a comfortable chair and a non slip floor. It would work perfectly for me and it's probably the way I would go. But I would miss my bubble baths, I know I would. It's not just about getting clean, it's about relaxing and taking time for yourself. Then I saw these walk in baths at Premier Bathrooms and I thought how lovely it would be. I wouldn't need help to get in and I'd feel safe and able to relax just like I used to. This is definitely on my want list.

Walk in bath with lift and overhead shower, my dream come true!

What do you think? Are you a strictly shower person or do you love your bubble baths too?

Disclosure: This post contains links.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Sixteen Weeks - hitting a low point.

Sixteen weeks ago my life changed dramatically.
Sixteen weeks ago I was in hospital unable to move, not knowing what was happening to me and feeling so afraid.

Time seems to have passed quickly which feels strange because I thought that time would go slower while I waited and waited for some sort of change. Sixteen weeks ago it felt like eight weeks would be a lifetime of waiting. I'd read somewhere that recovery could take two to eight weeks and felt horrified that it would take so long. Of course now I realise that is just initial recovery, basically to regain some sort of feeling and movement. Yes, I could move by two weeks and was sent home. I still couldn't walk without help though.

Yesterday I read a document called 'Health Condition Insight Report Into Transverse Myelitis' written by the Transverse Myelitis Society.

"There is no set pattern to the recovery process from TM; it is uncertain and the prognosis is unpredictable. Everyone recovers differently and at different rates. Some people who get TM make a full or nearly full recovery with a few residual symptoms. Others make a partial recovery and may have mobility issues. Other make no recovery and have to use a wheelchair for part or all of the time. They can also experience on-going residual symptoms that can be debilitating such as fatigue, chronic neuropathic pain, bowel/bladder dysfunction, spasticity, and/or depression.  There is currently no cure for TM. " 

The document reduced me to tears.
It was so difficult seeing it all written down like that, in words that I can never seem to find. This document was describing me, my life, what I have to deal with. And I'd not thought about it this way. It hit me like a ton of bricks. How could that be me?

"People living with TM often struggle with balance. In the kitchen some people may have a perching stool, however this does not help with tasks such as lifting food out of an oven or carrying full/heavy pans they may also struggle reaching for things out of low or high cupboards. For the people left in a wheelchair cooking can be difficult because appliances may have been installed and built for everyone else in the house or there may not be enough room for suitable adaptations. People with TM who have lost core strength may not be able to sit for long periods without pain and so cannot use perching stools, as these chairs do not offer enough support for the back and sides and the seat may not be large enough. People with TM often struggle carrying drinks due to balance as they can become ‘wobbly’. People with TM often use a shower chair because they cannot stand and balance for long. They may also need someone to watch over them to ensure they do not slip and to wash feet/hair."  

I can no longer take my children to school or pick them up.
I can no longer cook a meal without help.
I can no longer pop to the shops if I've run out of something.
I can no longer put on my own shoes.
I can no longer reach the top shelf of my kitchen cupboards, I used to jump on a chair to do so.
I can no longer bend down into my bottom cupboards.
I can no longer get into the shower by myself.
I can no longer stand in the shower.
I can no longer drive.
I can no longer walk, skip, hop, jump, run, bounce, dance.
I can no longer kneel.

I could go on but some things I'd rather not talk about in public.

Then there is the pain. It's hard to describe.

"Neuropathic pain is different from nociceptive pain. It results from the injury to the spinal cord and comes from problems with signals from the nerves. Neuropathic pain is often associated with abnormal sensations such as a stabbing, pins and needles, buzzing, numbness, itching, burning, coldness or heaviness. Neuropathic pain can also be caused by non-painful stimuli such as hot and cold water, when a person is touched by someone or even wearing clothes."
The pain is constant. It's with me always, every minute of every day. I believed that the pain relief I was taking was not doing anything for me so I stopped taking it for a day. I discovered that it was helping and will not try anything like that again.

I have more to look forward to, I'm already seeing cracks in those around me as they try to deal with the changes that have happened. I say, I'm coping well, I'm strong, I can do this. Then I cry myself to sleep at night. I insist that I'm not depressed, then I cry reading a document about my symptoms.

"Due to the often sudden and debilitating nature of TM, many people suffer feelings of isolation and loss of self-esteem as they and their families/friends haven't had a chance to prepare for the challenges that now present themselves. People with TM may get depression and anxiety, as activities that were once taken for granted as "normal" - daily activities of washing, cleaning and cooking as well as social activities - now need planning and adjustments. Often the planning itself brings on fatigue which means the activity cannot then be completed. For some people living with TM, a social activity or journey may require them to rest for several days in advance of and afterwards.
People with TM may also have emotional issues, as they find it frustrating to not be able to physically do things that their minds think they should be able to do. The person with TM has to put themselves in a lot of "try it and see" situations, and it can be demoralising each time they find something else that they can't do. The nature of friendships changes too, with the friend either having to play the role of a carer when with the person with TM or with a separate carer being involved in personal relationships to support the person with TM. Sometimes trying to cope with everything can feel very overwhelming."  

At this moment in time I hate Transverse Myelitis.

I will not let the hate consume me, I will let it make me strong. I will fight it all the way and show it that it won't control me.

But first I need a little nap.

And then the fun began...

The MAD Blog Awards 2016

I can barely believe it but I'm a finalist again in this years MAD blog awards. I really thought I didn't stand a chance as the standards in the blogging world have risen and there are so many great new blogs out there. I almost feel as though I'm in a blogging rut, I don't have an interesting twist, I've never even found my niche. I'm not actually sure where I fit in, but I do know that I love blogging and I'm not ready to give up yet. And that is why I blog, purely out of the love of it. I have my own little space here on the internet and whether anyone comes to read it or not I'll still keep going.

I've been a finalist three times now, the competition is tough and I've never expected to win but the more I go on the more I covet that trophy, just to say I did it. Of course it's a popularity contest, most of blogging is, there are so many blogs out there how could it be anything else. I've never really been popular though so how come I get this far? I guess there must be some people out there kind enough to nominate me. Maybe there will be some out there kind enough to vote for me too?

So, the voting is open for about four weeks and you can find the voting form here: Vote in the MAD blog awards 2016
Before you make your choices you can see a whole list of finalists here: 2016 - The Finalists
There are some fabulous blogs there so do take a few minutes to click through.
And if you've clicked through that list and come to my blog for the first time, then a big hello, I'm Anne and I've been here since 2011. I have three school aged children which is why you find me in the school days category. I blog about our family life, our life with autism and EDS, my crippling condition Transverse Myelitis, our fun times (because nothing stops us) and quite a bit of cooking too.

My little blog, Raisie Bay, can be found in the schooldays category if you would like to give me your vote.

Thank you to everyone who helped me to get this far.

I've put together this little montage of photos from Raisie Bay from the last year, there have been some good times and so much cake!

This year started badly, but despite what has happened I'm determined to make it as good as last year, in fact even better! Getting to be a finalist in MAD blog awards is just the beginning.

Thank you once again to anyone who takes a minute to nominate and/or vote for every single blog, it really does mean a lot.

My Sunday Photo April 24th 2016

I managed to get out this week! Some friends took us out shopping and for a lunch time meal. We visited a new shopping complex near home and I managed to get a few more bits for our holiday in a few weeks time. (I can't wait!)
For our meal we visited a Wetherspoons which was really nice and spacious so I felt so comfortable in my wheelchair. It's one of those things I'm getting used to now...will my chair fit? Will I be in people's way? I've always been the type of person to worry about what other people think, even if it does annoy my other half.

Anyway, I didn't feel obliged to take any photos of my food, I wasn't reviewing the place, so I had a nice relaxed lunch with friends. If you are interested I had a chicken breast burger! 

I wasn't going to take any photos at all but then the other half pointed out these sharks floating above our heads and I couldn't resist. You could get a closer look at them if you went up the stairs. Not an option for me, so here you have them, a little cropped to cut out the stairs and brightened up a little but otherwise untouched. 

This week I also had some exciting news when I found out that I'd reached the finals of the MAD Blog awards in the Schooldays category. Don't forget to do your voting, every finalist is counting on you. 
You can find the list of finalists here: MADs Finalists
You can vote for your favourites here: MADs Vote


MAD Blog Awards 2016

Friday, 22 April 2016

Word of the Week - Eyes

This week I had to take the Little Man to see an orthoptist and an optometrist at the paediatric eye clinic. He'd been given an eye test at school and it had shown that he was weak in one eye, so he was sent to the clinic.

They gave him another eye test and again it showed him weak in one eye...but the other eye! After all the tests were done it was shown that he didn't have a problem but there might be one starting, so they are going to monitor him for a while, with a further appointment in 3 months time.

I'm not sure what's going on with my Little Man, first it's hearing tests, then eye tests. Is he being mischievous or is there a problem? My concern with his eyes is that he could have Elhers Danlos Syndrome like Star. We already know he has hyper mobile joints, in fact he and Boo are both more bendy than Star and score higher on the beighton chart. They both have experienced joint pain at times too, but the difference with Star is that she has had joint pain since birth. Elhers Danlos Syndrome affects the connective tissues by the over production of collagen, and the eyes are 80% collagen. Another similarity is that both Star and the Little Man suffer from photophobia, which is not a fear of photos (which is how I feel when I see one of myself) but a sensitivity to bright lights or sunlight.

Star was referred to a geneticist because of her problems and although it was agreed that she does have Elhers Danlos Syndrome, it was concluded that it may not be type 3, which is what we originally suspected. There are several types of EDS but she doesn't fit neatly into any of them yet, that doesn't mean that other symptoms could arise later. It's worrying but it's also good that she is being looked after properly now.

So, Star is also being sent to have her eyes checked out at the hospital. Apart from the photophobia she doesn't really seem to have a problem with her eyes,apart from an other sign of EDS, blue sclera which means the whites of her eyes are actually blue. When the appointment came through for her at the hospital it was the week she is supposed to be doing her SATS at school so  I managed to re-arrange the appointment for the week after.

Finally, just so that Boo gets a look in on this post, she got shampoo in her eye during her shower this evening and screamed so loud it's a wonder the neighbours didn't call the police!

This weeks word of the week just has to be eyes!

The Little Man posing at the clinic after the eye drops which made his pupils enlarge.

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Breaker Crank Your Handle

When I was younger we had no internet. In fact, during my last couple of years at school there were computer studies, but only the boys were allowed to do the lessons. Us girls had to make do with typing classes or domestic studies, or, and believe it or not as I'm a mum of five, my worst ever lesson, childcare!

When I was a teenager we had no mobile phones! I had to go to the red phonebox at the end of the street and pop in my spare cash to speak to my boyfriend. I had my first mobile in 1998 and it was brick like. You couldn't even text on it, let alone surf the internet!

There was, however, a social media that I was totally addicted to  and that was my CB radio. They were made for cars and at fifteen I didn't drive, obviously, so I had to have it in my bedroom fixed up to a car battery, with the ariel slotted into a metal biscuit tin. That was until my brother gave me his Sirio Starduster which was tied to the garden fence. I used to broadband all my CB neighbours with it. Ah, broadband, there's another term that's changed, back then it meant I blocked all the other's signals.

I loved my radio so much. I would talk to friends every day after school and we'd arrange eyeballs (meet-ups) all the time. I would take a friend with me and never meet a stranger alone. But very soon nearly everyone 'online' was a friend anyway.  I could chat away with anyone else with a radio in the surrounding area, I think my signal took me around three to five miles from home. I could get further but it was harder to get a copy (hear them) and the further you got the more lingo you had to learn, including DX codes.

I feel lucky to have been part of the CB radio boom in the early 80s. I made so many friends over my Midland CB radio and Sirio Starduster or DV27 when I didn't want to upset the neighbours. If there was a party going on the news spread really quickly over the radio and you'd never be short of guests. Clubs were set up where Breakers would meet up each week, Events would take place like the great breaker BBQ which was held on Brecon Point at the Lickey Hills. Or we would simply gather and watch CB movies like Convoy or Smokie and the Bandit.

I even took part in my first ever protest walk across town when legalisation for CBs was brought in but on a different channel to what we were all using. (Oh, yes, I may have forgot to say, CB radio usage was illegal. It was perfectly legal to buy them, but not to use them!)

My handle, or codename was Sweetpea and some of my best friends were, Little One, Sleeping Beauty, Galaxian, Guiness, Alcoholic, Thumper and Bashful. I also had a lot of family members who used CBs too.

Then, one day I met a guy with the handle Honey Boy and he became my boyfriend. We grew out of CB radios, but I ended up being with Honey Boy for a further 14 years. We are not together any more, but I can say I met him through the old fashioned internet.

10-10 til we do it again.
Over and out

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

What's in Your Box This Week?

Welcome to my weekly linky where I take a look at subscription boxes, or any boxes really, just those wonderful parcels you receive that you would really like to share. Please add your blog posts or vlogs to my my linky, more details on that in a minute.

I like to pick a theme each week to introduce you to boxes you may not have heard of. You don't have to stick to this theme for the linky.

This weeks theme is Kid's Boxes. I've already tried a few of these and my kids love them.

Sassy Kids Box - A box full of fun kids activities sent every two weeks for £3.99 and 99p delivery. For ages 3 - 8 years. (first box 99p)

Rainy Day Project - A monthly box full of fun activities, a whole 45 of them! This reflects in the price as these boxes cost from £19.95 per month.

Toucan Box - A fortnightly box containing a fun activity for ages for ages 3 - 8 years. Costs from £3.95. First box is free. Different sized boxes are available for more activities.

BrainBoost - A monthly box full of educational, but fun activities aimed at 2- 12 years old. You choose which age group when you subscribe. Each box costs from £20.

I've decided to set up this linky so that subscription box lovers can link up and find out what everyone else is getting.

It might give you some ideas of the best ones to sign up too!

In the future I hope to feature some of the best posts that have linked up, so please do join in. I'll also tweet your posts and share them on my Facebook page. I'll also comment on all submissions.

Last week Mandy shared a fabulous blog of a Glossy Box Opening. Thanks for linking up Mandy.

The rules are simple.

  • link up your subscription box post or video, it can be any kind of box
  • take a look and comment on a couple of other posts in the linky, it's only fair and you may find something exciting to subscribe to.
  • include my badge so that others may find the linky and join in.
There you have it, simple!

I'll put the linky up every Tuesday and you can add to it until Friday. Do tell your friends, this is a new linky and we need everyone to join in.

I really can't wait to see what you've had in your boxes!

Here's my badge, the copy code is underneath.

blogbadge photo badge_zpsf0b88074.jpg

(hint...add the name of your subscription box in the linky box that says 'name')

Monday, 18 April 2016

Our Meal Plan for This Week

Do you write a meal plan each week. I do, I have to plan everything. I've got seven mouths to feed and the plan is generally done on a Sunday when I do my online shop. I can't believe I actually miss going to the supermarket but with no car and legs that can't walk more than a couple of metres then it's obviously not a choice I have at the moment.

I have a list of all the meals we enjoy and try to add something new most weeks. The new meal is not always a hit, but when it is it goes onto our long list. Then I rotate the meals so that we are not eating the same things week in week out. I've not shared my meal plan before but as I keep watching out for others who do this every week I thought I'd have a go. I may give up after my rotation of meals has finished, especially if my new meals flop.

I have two fussy eaters so my menu has to take them into consideration, but occasionally they will end up having something different to the rest of the family.

Here is this weeks menu:

  • Monday - Pizza, we all have different tastes so I often just buy bases and we add our favourite toppings. The kids love pizza night and getting involved in the cooking.
  • Tuesday - Indian Mix Up - we take a selection of Indian foods, like samosas and bahji, and serve them with a potato curry, rice, chapatis and popadoms. Basically we serve it up as a pick and mix
  • Wednesday - Quiche and salad. again we all like different quiches so we make our own to suit, current favourites are quiche lorraine, salmon and leek and spinach and goats cheese.
  • Thursday - Spaghetti bolognese, the kids have spaghetti and meatballs.
  • Friday - Fish and chips. The other half doesn't eat fish so he has faggots. Mushy peas are a must.
  • Saturday - Golden Curry, this is a chinese style curry with chicken, carrots and potatoes and steamed rice.
  • Sunday - Lamb steaks with pear and cider, hassleback potatoes and asparagus. (This is our new meal for the week, my compromise as the older kids are fed up of Sunday Roasts.)

So there you have it. I generally stick to it but if I have to do something different it's usually a pasta bake or sausage and mash.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

My Sunday Photo -17th April 2016

When my son left school he went to a college called The Glassworks, so called because it was actually part of a glassworks factory. He learned many things while there, including lots of arts and crafts and well as academic studies. 
He actually loved glass blowing. This really surprised me and I was invited one day to see him at work. The factory was very hot, smelly and noisy and my senses were going into overdrive, but he was calm and obviously enjoying it. He had to listen very carefully to what he was told, not something  he was ever good at doing, but here he knew he had to or he might get hurt.
As a result of his love of working with glass I have many mementos from the place, glasses, vases, Christmas tree baubles, mushroom shaped paperweights and two really big marbled glass paperweights, today's photo being one of them. 

I can hardly believe that these things are all eight or nine years old now. They will always be my 'treasures.'


Friday, 15 April 2016

Word of the Week - Procrastination.

What is it about having plans of all the stuff you want to do, or get done and then sitting around doing nothing about it?

Hands up, I'm one of the world's worst when it comes to procrastination. The only way I can overcome this is by making lists and then ticking things off. It usually takes me a little while to get on to the first thing on the list but once I've started I get great pleasure in getting the list done.

I wrote a list of the things I wanted to do after the Easter Holiday and the kids were back at school.
I've not started on it yet.
I'm not entirely to blame because a lot of the things I'm going to need a lot of help with due to my disabilities. Cue the other half, but there is an even bigger problem because he's worse at procrastinating than me.
Honestly we both need a boot up the backside!

So, here it is. The list of things I want to do before our holiday at the end of May. That gives us six weeks. Easy!

  • De-clutter my kitchen drawers; apart from the cutlery drawer they seem to be the place wherever everyone leaves their 'don't know where else to put them' things. It has to stop. I'm getting rid!
  • Clean up the girl's bedroom; the girls can help with this. In fact it should be their job, but I want to get in there first and get rid of all those toys they never, ever play with. I know if I do this while they are around they persuade me they really, desperately need them to stay.
  • Sort out the Little Man's bedroom. He's still got un-opened boxes in there from our house move, which was over two years ago now! Time to get them sorted.
  • Move the little shed in the garden around to around the side of the house. This is one for the other half to do on his own, but he won't do it unless I keep asking (nagging)
  • Empty the under the stairs cupboard, de-junk and put it all back in properly. This has been driving me mad. When I went into hospital the Christmas tree and decorations were still up. I wanted them taken down before I came home as Christmas was well and truly over and I never leave them up that long. So what did my other half do, throw the whole lot in the cupboard willy nilly. They all have their own boxes and were stored neatly before. If we leave it like that much longer I will be throwing them all away as they won't be any good for next year.
  • Sort out our wardrobes; I started this before I got sick and it's not been finished. I think I may have the strength to do it now. I need to be much firmer with myself and throw out those clothes I've not worn for years and am unlikely to wear again. 
It's not a huge scary list is it! I'm sure once we give this procrastination the good kick it needs we'll have that lot done in no time. After all, it's all here for everyone to see now.

I'll start next week, I mean tomorrow, I'll start tomorrow!!

procastination is the thief of time

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 14 April 2016

The A Word and the Un-accepting Mum.

As you know I've been avidly watching the A-Word, the BBC drama on Tuesday evening at 9pm.

Last week the mother of the newly diagnosed autistic child was not painted in a very nice light. As a result she's not been getting much love or support from the community in general. This week, again she was seen as pushy and un-accepting of her son's diagnosis, desperately wanting him to suddenly be normal. This was shown by her excitement when her child showed empathy and more understanding of his world while running a fever. Generations of parents of autistic children have reported that when their child is running a fever their autistic symptoms seem to abate. I cannot vouch whether this is true or not, it's not something I've experienced with my children.

I've been in the situation where I refused to accept my child's differences. When the school said they were worried, I went out and bought loads of educational tools and sat with him day after day, making sure he was more than ready to do the work they provided for him at school. In fact, it wasn't the work he ever had trouble with, it was his behaviour. This was just me in denial. In my head, because I knew nothing at all about autism at the time, I thought it meant that he had learning difficulties and refused to believe that any child of mine could be born 'stupid.' Forgive me, I was young and naive.

The diagnosis period was an extremely difficult time. Even though I'd come to terms with there being a problem, in particular, one that I couldn't solve myself, it was still hard to believe it couldn't be fixed with some magical wand or something. Acceptance is difficult, this your child they are talking about!

The drama also showed the mother feeling 'locked out' while she saw other's able to communicate with her son in a way she was unable to. She was jealous, and it showed. I too have experienced this. Not with my son, but with my younger daughter. She  is high functioning and very verbal, but her behaviour seems so much different with others than it does with me. She relates mostly to her dad, she loves it when he's been totally silly, he can always make her laugh. I'm the serious one, the one that refuses to read her books backwards or in a silly voice. She hugs him far more than she hugs me. Her excuse is I smell minty, I don't even like mints but I tried to hug her once shortly after cleaning my teeth and she hates the smell of mint. I do feel jealous a lot, but I try not to let it show. It's not her fault, or her Dad's.

The drama also shows the neurotypical ( autistic) child being pushed aside and ignored. The daughter, Rebecca, is always being let down by her mother, she gets ignored, is the subject of snappy retorts whenever she dares express her opinion, and feels as though she is being pushed out of the family. She ends up confiding all her personal stuff with her uncle and his wife. My children have been closer in age but I've still been guilty of planning things based on the autistic child's needs rather than their siblings. Sibling have missed out on days out, parties and probably loads more at some point during their lives. Eventually things have evened out and I've worked out how to make life easier on the siblings, but at the beginning I couldn't help it, I didn't know how I could do things better. It's a steep learning curve.

So what about Alison, the mum in the tv program? Is she really so awful? Why do people hate on her so? It's as if the program is deliberately set out to make her not very likeable.

In my personal opinion, I think differently. I think she's probably more realistic than any mum would like to admit. We all think that we would go that extra mile for our children, but do we do it forsaking all others in the family? Do other siblings suffer because of our mission to do the best for one child? Do we feel jealous when other people find a way to reach our child that we seem unable to reach? Do we wish that our children were perfect or at the very least not too different to other children? If we are honest we have probably been through similar stages like this whether our child has autism or not. I think Alison is a fair representation of a mum of an autistic child. Even if it's only for a small part of our lives we can feel and act the way she has done.

I actually feel sorry for Alison. I'm sure she will come to terms with it eventually, accept her son for the way he is. She will still jump through hoops to help him in whichever way she can, but then she'll be perceived as the fierce mother who will do anything for her child, rather than the demon she is coming across as because of her un-acceptance of her child's condition.

What do you think? Would you admit to relating to  some of Alison's faults or do you think she is just a bossy, a bully and generally unlikable character?

The A Word - BBC1

Sons, Sand & Sauvignon

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What's in Your Box This Week?

Welcome to this weeks What's in the Box? Where everyone is welcome to link up any boxes they've posted about each week. Just read on for instructions.
Each week I will tell you about some fabulous subscription boxes I've found. You don't have to stick to the theme to add yours.
This weeks theme is tea and coffee!
I recently received this lovely package of goodies from Ringtons. It's not a subscription box but you can order online if you fancy some goodies yourself.

Ringtons tea

Provide a selection of especially sourced tea for their members each month and cost from £10 per month.
Cafe Direct promise you a different, exceptional coffee each month. The Discovery plan is £7.95 per month, or you can choose the Destination Plan for your favourite coffees.
Is a monthly coffee club that allows you to make your own unique blend of coffee.
Discover and enjoy gourmet loose tea from around the world for a cost of £16.95 per month.

I've decided to set up this linky so that subscription box lovers can link up and find out what everyone else is getting.

It might give you some ideas of the best ones to sign up too!

In the future I hope to feature some of the best posts that have linked up, so please do join in. I'll also tweet your posts and share them on my Facebook page. I'll also comment on all submissions.

Last week we had a Degustabox opening from the lovely Mandy of Raising the Rainbows. Thanks for linking up Mandy.

The rules are simple.

  • link up your subscription box post or video, it can be any kind of box
  • take a look and comment on a couple of other posts in the linky, it's only fair and you may find something exciting to subscribe to.
  • include my badge so that others may find the linky and join in.
There you have it, simple!

I'll put the linky up every Tuesday and you can add to it until Friday. Do tell your friends, this is a new linky and we need everyone to join in.

I really can't wait to see what you've had in your boxes!

Here's my badge, the copy code is underneath.

blogbadge photo badge_zpsf0b88074.jpg

(hint...add the name of your subscription box in the linky box that says 'name')

Monday, 11 April 2016

Cheesecake Rules my World - Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe

I love cheesecake, it's one of my favourite desserts, and I'm not fussed about what flavours or toppings are used, or if it's baked or not. Maybe, my passion for cheese plays a part, but cheesecake is something I make a lot.

My family are a little different to me. You see I like my cheesecake with loads and loads of topping and a thin base. Like this one I made earlier, it's a Key Lime Cheesecake.

My family are also not keen on baked cheesecake, but I loved this one I made, Ginger and Blueberry cheesecake.

I've even got the kids helping out with making a White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Currently my family's favourite has to be a blueberry topped cheesecake with a crispy chocolate base.

So I'm going to share my recipe with you. If you try it do let me know how you get on.

Blueberry Cheesecake


100g digestive biscuits
50g melted chocolate

200g full fat cream cheese
200g double cream
50g icing sugar

150 g blueberries
3tbs sugar
2tbs water

To start, cover a 7" shallow tin with tin foil. It helps to life the cheesecake out.


  • melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water
  • crush the biscuits into fine crumbs
  • mix in the chocolate coating every crumb
  • put the mixture into your lined tin and flatten down to cover the entire base with a spoon.
  • put in the fridge while you make the cheesecake
  • cream the cheese together with the icing sugar in one bowl
  • whip the double cream until it forms stiff peaks
  • fold both the cheese and cream together gently
  • fill the base and return to the fridge for at least an hour to set.

  • put the blueberries into a pan with the sugar and water
  • bring to the boil and simmer until reduced to a thick sauce
  • top the cheesecake just before serving.

It's easy isn't it! I think that's one of the other reasons I love cheesecake, it's really not hard to make and you can have it so many different ways. It will always be my favourite.
What's your favourite dessert?

Friday Fabulous

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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