Wednesday, 29 June 2016


"I sat in my room feeling lost and lonely and a million miles from home. In fact I was only two hours away from home and my family had only been gone for half an hour after dropping me off, but I hadn't been alone like this before. I wished I had a friend to meet up with to share this experience, I wished there was someone there that I knew already. I consoled myself by thinking that I wouldn't be the only one feeling so lonely and I'd soon make friends. I had two hours until the Introductory Meeting, what was I going to do with myself until then?  

Then I noticed voices coming from next door which was the communal kitchen area. Suddenly I fancied a nice cup of tea, what a better way of making friends that joining them in the kitchen for a cuppa and a chat. I started to shake I was so nervous, how could I walk into a room of strangers and speak to them, it just wasn't something that I was used to doing. 

So I sat there with my mug in my hand arguing with myself. "Did I want to spend this week all alone not speaking to anyone?" Eventually I plucked up the courage to go and make a drink and hopefully some new friends. The muffled voices from next door sounded cheerful and friendly, this was not going to be as bad as I imagined. I could do this.

 I clutched my mug, painted on a smile and breezed into the kitchen. I don't remember exactly what I said but I knew it had been friendly and I said it from my heart. I was met with barely a couple of glances as the group of women carried on chatting, ignoring me. I stood there for a while then walked over to the kettle where another woman was already making a drink. She offered me one of her tea bags and we made tea together in silence while the others carried on their happy conversations. I went back to my room, feeling so rejected and even more alone and drank my tea blocking out the chatter from next door.

 Later, when I emerged from my room to go to the meeting I was met in the corridor by the other lonely tea lady.  "Shall we walk across together?" She asked."

This was more than twenty years ago, but as you can see the story is ingrained in my mind. It wasn't the first time I experienced rejection and it certainly wasn't the last but it was something that shaped me and taught me to fear rejection.

More recently I was at a large convention, again alone. I looked around and saw a table of ladies that I recognised. I didn't know them well, but I'd seen and spoken to them before. I was sure they wouldn't mind me sitting with them. They barely spoke to me, I was not included in their conversation despite my trying. At one point the woman sitting next to me actually turned her chair so she had her back to me. Ok, she was having quite an intense conversation with the woman next to her, but still I felt that rejection sharply.

My instinct now is to avoid rejection and just convince myself that I'm ok to be alone. In fact I probably ooze that 'don't talk to me, I'm not interested' type of non-charisma. In my head I'm telling myself over and over it's better this way and I don't care that other people either ignore me, or feel sorry for me but don't want to approach me. My confidence has taken a bashing and I'm filled with a false sense of security. This is much better than rejection, right?

No, it's not right. It's never too late to change, from now on I will not take any form of rejection personally, I will not allow it to stop me from talking to people, from trying to make a connection. I really wish I'd learnt this sooner, by now I might have been totally over this hang up. I guess you do get wiser as you get older. I certainly don't want to be stuck in my old ways. I know I'll never be popular, or ooze real charisma, that's just not me. But I can take the bullet and not be scared of rejection. It won't be my loss!

Everyone needs to feel loved and accepted, that 's why rejection feels so harsh, but if you fear the rejection then it will stop you from finding out how different things could be if you were accepted. I don't have many friends, the ones I do have are the ones that have made the effort to be friends with me. I've never actually initiated friendship myself. I consider myself to be a kind and friendly person, but it's that initial step that I find difficult.

There are two important lessons here I need to learn (And anyone else needs to learn if they too fear rejection.)

  • Don't take rejection personally, it's not necessarily your fault
  • Learn how to handle rejection effectively so it doesn't create such a negative impact on your life.

Mummy Times Two

Brilliant blog posts on

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What's in your box this week?

Welcome to this weeks linky where you can link up your box posts each week and we can all have a nosey at what you've got ;) Of course there are some boxes that are best not shared as Sarah was telling me on twitter about her parcel!
A much cuter box was received by another Sarah from Life in a Breakdown. You really can't beat a box of gifts put together to make you smile and the Little Box of Happy from Alice in Shabbyland doesn't fail to provide. Thanks for linking up Sarah.

This week has been a little manic so I've not researched enough boxes for you to try out this week, but I'm sure I'll be back on form soon and I have some more reviews to share with you too.

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.

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 he following Monday. Do tell your friends, this is a new linky and we'd love 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

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Single Story

The single story is when only one story is known about a person or place and because of that one story everyone is judged by it. It's a stereotype, a critical misunderstanding, an incomplete picture.

We can all be guilty of believing the single story. It's something that's often portrayed in the media and when we hear the same thing over and over then we believe it to be real. 

Take those on benefits for instance. The media makes them out to be lazy, never looking for work, just taking the money and smoking or drinking it away, or spending it on scratch cards in the hope they can get more money for doing nothing. This is how they are seen in TV documentaries and dramas or in newspapers or magazines. People believe this, people stereotype all benefit claimants as lazy scroungers. The truth is, benefit claimers come in all forms. Yes, there may be some lazy ones that have never done a days work, there are also pensioners who have worked all their lives and have to rely on a state pension to survive after retirement. There are also the families where Dad may work 40 hours per week and still not earn enough to pay the rent and put food on the table so he gets benefits to top up his wages. There are also disabled people who are too sick to work, or find it difficult to find a job that they are physically able to do. There are also single mums who's partners have run off and left them to look after their child alone, they can only work part time because they can't afford childcare and need a top up of benefits just to survive. Basically, there are many stories, not just a single one, but why are people so ready to believe just one? Should we not stop judging all by one story and just imagine what other stories there may be?

Stories are important, we all have our own stories to tell, we all have different lives, one story does not fit all. We need to share our stories and add diversity to the mix. Let people know that we are not all the same, we are not stereotypes. 

As a parent of autistic children I've seen first hand how people judge. They may know that my child is autistic and then comment on why she doesn't flap her arms, isn't that what autistic children do? No, that's just one story, my daughter doesn't flap but she's still autistic. My son was once reprimanded in the street because he touched someone's car that had parked on the pavement. I was told to keep him away. That man thought my son was trying to damage his car because it had been scratched before by some wayward teenager. That was one story, my son's story was different, he is autistic, he has to touch cars if they are on the pavement, it's something he does, he can't help it. He gets very stressed if he doesn't, he has never damaged a car in his life.

Always look deeper, it's too easy to judge people when you only know a small part of their story. Don't assume, don't stereotype, just think about why a person is like that, why they do the things they do. There is always another story that may not be as obvious. Read between the lines. Don't assume that because some media has made you believe one story that that is the only story. It very rarely is, there is always more to find out. 

The single story can be about a single person or an entire city, or even a nation. The stories come to us in newspapers, tv programs and novels. To get a full picture you need to read many stories, not just one. 

My post today was inspired by a TED talk by Chimamanda Adichies who talks about the dangers of the single story. It's an incredibly enlightening talk by a charming lady. If you have time do take a look.

I am fast becoming an addict of TED talks, you can find talks on all kinds of subjects that are enlightening, empowering, motivating, inspiring and educational. It's a fantastic resource.
Do let me know if you have already used TED talks or if you decide to do so.

This post contains links but I have not been paid for this post or asked to write about TED talks.

My Sunday Photo - 26 June 2016

Sometimes you don't need an explanation. Sometimes just  a photo will do.
This is a sunset I took on my phone, no filters, no editing. Just the end to a lovely day.


Sunday Snap

Saturday, 25 June 2016

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye...

The People of Great Britain have spoken and we have chosen to leave the European Union.

This was not my vote. I wanted to remain, I felt safe and secure and have always believed that we were better united. The world has changed a lot in past years and we see suffering of all kinds everywhere we look, I could not see the point in risking plunging my own country into suffering of any kind, we were not doing that good, but I couldn't see why we would want to make it worse, even if it was in the short term. I believed that with the right leaders in place we could have continued to improve our place in the EU becoming stronger and more in charge of our own destiny, but with all the advantages of being in the union still available.

Was I wrong? I do believe that most of those who voted exit were fed up with the way our country was being run and that they were not happy with the input of other countries on our laws and regulations. They wanted a complete shake up, a leap into the unknown and a new beginning. And that is now what we have.

Could it work? We all knew that it was going to be a bumpy ride, but whether we come out on top is now up to us, no-one else. No-one seems to be able to predict our future but with the right leaders in place we could move on to better things. Yes, even I believe that although I didn't want to take this plunge.

What has this referendum done to our country? It's caused so much anger, arguing and upset. I have myself been involved in some strong debates, but I didn't wish to cause anger and upset, I've just been firm about my opinion without putting the other person's opinion down. Whenever I have been offended by someone I've not taken it as a personal attack because emotions run high at times like this. I hope that I have not offended anyone either with my views and beliefs.

I'm not the only one. I hear that all around the country we Britons are divided. Both in the run up to the referendum and even more so now. Communities, families, individuals have all fallen out. Words spoken have been vicious and unnecessary. We have proved that we can't debate the future of our country without dividing it.

I live in one of the largest areas of the country that voted to exit, apart from my immediate family most of the rest of my family voted to leave. I still stand by my thoughts and opinions. It's not that I didn't believe that my country was strong enough to go it alone, I just believed that being a bigger player in the union would have been a wiser option.

But we have left, and the European Union are calling for it to be sooner rather than later, so we will have to work quickly to turn this around to our advantage. We have gone from being part of a big union of countries with deals in place to being a small country having to make our own deals. We've been big before, can we do it again? 52% of the countries voters believe we can. If it had been 72% I may have felt more confident, but it's done now and we have to do what we can to make it work. My confidence in success is also knocked by the wishes expressed by Scotland and Northern Ireland. Surely now is not the time to start dividing our country?

The media as always is playing it's part. We have almost non-stop news at the moment about our decision, with some saying it's great and other's saying not so great. I've been listening and absorbing and seeing how the media gives us clear information one minute and then plays on our emotions the next.

We see pictures and diagrams of the falling pound. Some say it will recover again, some say soon, some say it will take a while, many people watching have no idea at all of the implications. Some look at the graphs and think we are doomed. Others understand that it could be much worse and that from now it could go either way.

Then the media talk to the general public and people seem to be stunned and confused.
"I wasn't really sure what it was all about so I voted remain."
"I voted exit, but I didn't think it would happen, I wished I'd voted remain now"

Then the little old man, complete with his war medals crying,
"I've got my country back!"

Obviously each comment has been chosen carefully by the media. For every confused person there is someone who voted with conviction, and for every old person who believes in freedom there will be one who remember the wars with our neighbours with horror and pray that we never go to war again.
image from EU4real

We have a bumpy road ahead and we won't be riding it well while arguing and fighting with each other. This referendum has split us down the middle. Out of all the people who voted, almost three quarters of the population, the final decision was really close. We have to accept the vote of the majority even though almost the same amount of people did not want it.

I've seen people complaining that those that won the vote have made a huge mistake.
I've seen people complaining that those who lost the vote are sore losers.

Still the arguing continues.

We all have to realise, this was a massive decision for our country and now it's done. People will be upset. If the vote had gone the other way then the other side would have been just as upset. Attacking each other will get us nowhere.

I hope that when the dust settles then so will the arguments because otherwise I fear for how they could escalate.

I don't want to fight with my neighbours, family and friends because they have different views to me. I have not done a U Turn on my beliefs, I still think we would have been better off staying in.
But now that it's done we will gain nothing by fighting each other and we have to instead fight for our country to make it strong again.

Here are the Lyrics of song by Dodgy, written 20 years ago!


Dry as you are, crippled leaves,
Snipped at your prime no longer breathes
Your fragrance is faint to my nose,
Wish I could paint what no longer grows
Where you stood is a mystery to me,
The dead carnation is all I see

I'm beginning to understand
I'm getting wiser every day

This country is not United and the Kingdom's passed away
Shall we start all over again,
I don't know, I don't know
Bleaching light of the moon,
Clears just streets into my room
The dark cloak of paranoia
Feels warm just to annoy you
Stop longing for how it used be,
Stop looking for how it's gonna be

I'm beginning to understand
I'm getting wiser every day

This country is not United and the Kingdom's past away
Shall we start all over again,
I don't know, I don't know
The keys is timing, don't do what they want
No matter what you're revealing, don't do what they want.
Don't get low, don't let go
Don't get low, don't let go
Don't get low, don't let go

Don't get low, don't let go, keep on fighting to unite our country once again. Do people know what they want, can they get what they want, who knows? Stop longing for how it used to be, stop looking for how it's gonna be, begin to understand, get wise, start all over again.

N.B. For the pedants out there (and I know you exist because I'm one) I chose the heading for this title because of where it comes from and I thought it was appropriate....but I do also realise that  Auf Wiedersehen literally means see you later. This does not reflect any belief that we will be able to rejoin the EU as I do not believe that will ever be possible.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

What's in Your Box This Week?

Welcome to my weekly linky where I ask you to join in and share what boxes you've opened this week. They can be subscription boxes, food boxes, gift boxes..any box is welcome. Please add your link to your blog posts or vlogs at the bottom of this page.

Each week I like to pick a few subscription boxes to share with you. This week I'm choosing snack boxes.

Graze - I've been a fan of Graze for many years. These boxes fit through your letterbox and are filled with four different delicious snacks. You can choose from variety, protein or light snack boxes. Boxes cost £3.99 each but your first box is usually half price.

Taste Japan - We are big lovers all things Japanese in our house, my eldest even speaks the language. The boxes cost £15 per month and promise to contain authentic Japanese treats that are only available in Japan.

Old British Sweets - Do you have a sweet tooth? Then this box is for you. Each month you will receive 450g of sweets, you may get a selection of different sweets or they may be all the same or even a themed box of sweets. Subscription is £19.99 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.

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 he following Monday. Do tell your friends, this is a new linky and we'd love 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, 20 June 2016

Beautiful Jewellery - Made By Dozy

A few weeks ago I decided to pay forward an act of kindness that had been offered to me. I was also challenged to offer my services to others. At first I had no idea what services I could offer, particularly while I'm currently stuck at home immobilised by Transverse Myelitis. The it came to me all at once. I could offer a place on my blog to someone who wanted to get a message out, and that someone could be another TM sufferer.
I made my offer and it was taken up by Sarah who makes the most incredibly beautiful jewellery. I asked her to write a little about herself and what she does and to send me a few pictures of her work.
Please take a moment to read Sarah's story and visit her sites. It would make us both very happy.

Made By Dozy
"My Dad is probably the biggest influence in my decision to work with metal. As a child I recall he would return home from working at the foundry smelling of hot metal and burnt sand, mixed with Paco Rabanne. I was fascinated by the pattern makers, my Dad would say how very skilled they were at their jobs, I found it magical that they could create this shape in sand, molten metal would be poured and a heavy, solid, permanent form emerge. That permanence really appealed to me too, and would peak my interest in archaeology, the idea that an object crafted by hand could be rediscovered far into the future was very provoking.
In art college one of my tutors had a handmade Clogau gold ring, it was just beautiful, he and his wife had matching rings made for them. He encouraged me to pursue 3D design rather than my first choice of fine art. At the time I might have resented that a little! no more so than when I went for an interview for jewellery making in St.Martin's college, when at the end of the interview they told me to take my portfolio to the fine art department as they thought my work was leaning far more towards painting than design .... I ended up getting a BSc Music Technology haha!  Today though I find myself working in metal. I returned to silversmithing via an adult ed course in Gower college, where I refreshed the skills I learnt way back in art college, and I love it. I love the design element as much as the creating, and although I have now started making pieces that I can recreate time and again my real passion is in creating the unique, and a little part of me concedes, I should have listened to Ozi way back and stuck with 3D design! work is heavily influenced by living in Gower, the landscape holds all the things I find inspiring, from iron age earth works and cairns to deserted beaches and ancient woodland. I try to walk everyday gathering inspiration as I go, even more so since my initial diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis, as it made me realise just how precious the ability to move freely really is. A couple of weeks ago that realisation became even more precious as my diagnosis changed from TM to MS, now there are no excuses, nothing will stop me making the most of my legs, no rain, no wind, no anything, I will walk and I will continue creating so that in the future I will have left a little something solid and permanent in the form of a ring, or locket or something else small and precious that somebody will love and maybe wonder about the hands that made it."

Facebook page
Etsy shop
Folksy shop

Thank you for reading, please do take a look at Sarah's work, Thanks x

Friday, 17 June 2016

Pain - My Word of the Week

Two weeks ago we went on holiday and it was lovely. We were out every day and had loads of fun. Now two weeks later I think I'm still paying for it with the pain.

On my help forum other TM sufferers always talk about how having one day of fun means having to put up with two days of pain afterwards. Well, I think having one week of fun has meant me having two weeks of pain.

We stayed in a caravan which was nice, I loved being in a small place, I could walk around the caravan with ease, there was always something to hold on to. The walls were close so it was almost impossible to fall. In our bedroom there was such a small gap between the wall and the bed I could walk along the wall to get to where I wanted to sit on the bed. At home I have this terrifying walk of around six steps of just floor to get to my bed. (OK, I still have a zimmer frame in my bedroom so it's not that terrifying, but it would be without the frame.)

There were steps into the caravan, but with a bar to hold on to and my other half to help I managed them ok. We couldn't have an adapted caravan because they are too small for all of us. This also meant that my poor other half had to life my wheelchair up into the caravan every night too. Thankfully we had no rain all week so it was ok to leave it outside during the day.

When we got home I felt exhausted but I was sure it would pass. I didn't really do much at all last week. I went out in my wheelchair only once.
This week I thought I would be feeling better but if anything I've felt worse. I had to go out twice on Tuesday but other than that I've been stuck indoors, I really don't mind when it's raining.

I've tried eating healthily and early nights, but nothing has helped. I'm just a wreck and the pain has been unbearable at times. It's not just my TM, I've had other issues as well. It's not been much fun at all and I'm sure my Other Half is getting pretty fed up of me now. (Not that I complain much.)

I'm seeing my GP on Monday to talk about my medication. One I'm supposed to be taking twice as much as I am but the GP keeps writing me a prescription for less, so I need to sort that out.

I thought I was getting used to being in pain every day, it's been so long since I had a pain free day. When it gets worse though, I just don't know how to cope, well other than read a book or watch football to take my mind off it!

Fingers tightly crossed that next week will be a better week. Maybe not too tightly crossed though, they are hurting after all.

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Win an Apple iPad Mini 4 - 16GB Wi-Fi with JCT600

It's almost time for the summer holidays and recently I was invited to work with JCT600 to produce the Ultimate Guide to Surviving Those Long Car Journeys When Travelling With Kids.

Along with three other blogger mum's I provided my tips along with some stories of journey's which hadn't quite gone to plan. 

It's a great read if you are planning your holiday journey. Maybe you've already thought about how to entertain the kids on long journeys. I believe entertainment is very important, whether it's music, colouring books, games or DVDs. JCT 600 are offering the chance to win something that is bound to keep any child entertained on a journey, an Apple iPad Mini 4 -16GB WiFi.

To enter this fab competition all you have to do is sumbit your details below and follow JCT on Twitter, for a bonus entry visit the JCT600 Facebook page and to get an additional three bonus entries, simply leave a comment with your top tips below.

The competition closes at midnight on Thursday 30th June and a winner will be selected at random.

Good Luck and happy road-tripping.

(NB. Please note that Raisie Bay has been chosen as a host for this competition only. I will not responsible for providing the prize or choosing the winner. This competition will also be hosted on other blogs that appeared in the above article.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


To say Star gets obsessed with things would be an understatement. It started many years ago with Peppa Pig, we could recite the script for the program word for word and the songs would be song at bedtime, in the morning and while washing up (and that's just me!) Then she grew up overnight and at the age of six became obsessed with High School Musical. The movies were watched over and over and she showed me that autistic kids can show empathy while she sat there crying as Gabrielle made her emotional return in HSM1. I'm not complaining, the music was marginally better than 'Big Balloon, Big Balloon, Bigger than the Sun and Moon' and Zak Efron was pretty easy on the eye. Since then the obsessions have increased and changed.
When she gets obsessed it's like her whole life revolves around it, it's all she thinks about and talks about, all her games revolve around it. I'm assuming it doesn't take over her school work, but you never know. Maybe they've worked out how to do Pokemon Mathletics?
Her current obsession is Yo Kai Watch. This is a tv show and a DS Game. I had to buy her the game while we were on holiday as she was bored, bored, bored without it. She watches You Tube videos about it, sings songs about it (that she's heard on You Tube) and no matter what you try to talk to her about you can guarantee she'll find away to include Yo Kai's in the conversations.

Boo is not so obsessed. She gets upset with her sister's obsessions because it affects everything they want to do together. We have periods of screen free time that are an absolute rule in our house and that's when the trouble begins.
 'Let's play outside' Boo will say.
 'No, let's play a Yokai Game, or draw some Yokai, or repeatedly talk about all the million things that Yokai do' will be Star's reply.
Then Boo will get upset and angry.
 'All you ever want to do is play Yokai, I don't like Yokai.'
At which point Star will run off upstairs crying, 'you hate me!'

After this happened the other day Boo turned to me and said, 'sometimes I just can't cope with her.'
I asked her gently, 'you know she can't help it don't you?'
'yes' she replied, 'it's because she's Autism.' (This is not a typo.)

Shortly afterwards I was getting a very uncharacteristic hug off Star as she wept, 'why do have to be like this, I hate myself.'

My heart broke. But this is something I'm used to. Autism is something we are all used to in this house. I told her gently that being autistic does not mean that she can't be loved and that we all loved her very much, even Boo. Everyone argues, everyone is different, being different just means that other people may not understand your behaviour, it doesn't mean that they don't love you.

Peace was restored once again. (For five minutes.)

How about the Little Man? He got frustrated while trying to play with the girls in the garden and came stomping inside.
'What's wrong?' I asked.
'They're playing Yokai again, I don't like Yokai, I just don't get it!'
Then he stomped over the computer and back onto Roblox.

He rarely plays with both his sisters when they are playing together. Yet he will play with Boo if it's just the two of them. I think this is because Star appears to refuse to believe that the Little Man exists. This has been the same since he was born. Star was just going into year 1 at school and her baby brother was a few weeks old. Her teacher talked to her about the new baby and asked, 'did you get a sister or a brother?'
'I don't know' was Star's reply.
Her teacher tried again, 'What's your baby brother's name?'
again the reply 'I don't know.'

A lot of the time she just pretends he is not there. He doesn't seem too bothered though. She's five years older than him, she's too old to understand him. Boo on the other hand loves to play with his toys with him.

As the years have passed I've seen the once close relationship between Boo and Star start to drift apart. Boo, doesn't have the same interests, and Star doesn't play fairly in as much as she gets lost in the game herself and no-one else really matters as long as they are doing what she tells them to do. Boo gets fed up of this.

Boo has always loved her little brother, but I can see that relationship beginning to change too as Boo matures.

Whatever happens, I do hope they will all look out for each other in the future.

I don't talk about my older two much but despite them being of different gender and one of them being autistic they are fiercely protected of each other. That doesn't mean they don't argue with each other, but when one of them is in trouble, the other one is always there to help.  

I guess that's the best you can hope for?

Sons, Sand & Sauvignon

What's in Your Box This Week?

Welcome to this weeks linky where I ask you to share your blog posts or vlogs on any interesting parcels you've had. Yes, it's a box linky (no to be confused with a boxing linky, unless you've unwrapped boxing gloves of course!)

The instructions are below but first let me share some subscription boxes I've found.

I usually pick a theme but this week I'm going to do a bit of a mash up of boxes which are slightly more unusual (or rather there are not many subscription sites for them.)

Bloom and Wild What could be more delightful than a beautiful bunch of flowers through your letterbox (yes please!) Bloom and Wild do one of boxes of flowers or you can order a subscription of boxes every month for 3, 6 or 12 months. One box costs from £23 and a bundle for 3 months starts at £50.

Simple Candle Co  If the smell of flowers doesn't appeal, then how about filling your home with the scent of wax melts. Simple Candle Co will send you a box of 8 different candle melts a month for just £10, including p&p, smells good!

Allotinabox Fancy getting a little green fingered? Allotinabox sell all sorts of seed boxes that can be used anywhere. You can buy an annual subscription for £59.99 and get quarterly parcels containing all sorts of goodies, including seeds, tags, twine and bespoke gardening tools.

If you do try any of the boxes I suggest, please do let me know how you get on.
Last week I was joined by DragonRiko who linked up her fabulous Graze Box. I really love Graze boxes, problem is I feel I have to eat all the contents in one go!

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.

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 he following Monday. Do tell your friends, this is a new linky and we'd love 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, 13 June 2016

Madeleines and Oaty Shortbread.

I've been baking again. Now I've found the Tate and Lyle Recipe site I just can't keep away.

This time I chose two recipes, Orange and Honey Madeleines and Oaty Shortbread.

Orange and Honey Madeleines

I've had a madeleine tin for years but this is the first time I have used it. I couldn't resist the combination of Orange and Honey. This recipe is incredibly delicious.



55g soft unsalted butter
67g Tate and Lyle granulated sugar
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbs honey
2 eggs
1 tsp orange zest
68 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 190C/gas mark 5
  • In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugars and honey until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs beating in one at a time
  • Add the orange zest
  • Fold in the flour and baking powder
  • Fill madeleine moulds to just below the rim
  • bake for 6 -12 minutes *see Note
  • Remove from oven and turn out immediately and leave to cool
*Note: My madeleine tin seems to be a large one because this recipe was to make 16 madeleines and I only made 12, they also took a little longer to cook. So, I'd say the cooking  time varies on which size pan you are using. As a rough guide I'd say 6 minutes for a mini tin, 9 for a medium and 12 for a large. When they are cooked they are well risen, lightly browned and spongy to touch.

Now that I've made my first madeleines I'll definitely be making them again, they are so easy and taste delicious.


Oaty Shortbread

I love shortbread and I love flapjacks and this recipe was a mixture between the too. When you take a bite it starts to melt like buttery shortbread, then it goes all chewy like a flapjack. Difficult to describe but very scrummy and I'll be making it again. The recipe calls for fruit sugar which I've not used in cooking before. Fruit sugar is fructose which is sweeter than glucose but is absorbed into the body slower, giving energy over a long period of time.


175g unsalted butter
50g Tate and Lyle fruit sugar
110g plain flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
75g rolled oats/porridge oats
1 extra tsp of fruit sugar


  • Heat oven to 170C gas mark 4
  • grease a 23cm loose bottom flan tin
  • put butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy
  • add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the final spoon of sugar) and mix until a crumbly mix
  • tip the mix into the tin and press it to the edges evenly
  • prick the shortbread all over with a fork
  • bake for 30 -35 minutes
  • remove from oven and while still warm score into slices then sprinkle with the remaining sugar
  • leave to cool in the tin
  • cut into slices to serve
This is my shortbread, and I forgot to sprinkle the sugar on before taking this photo.

oaty shortbread

I'm already wondering what I'm going to bake next on the Tate and Lyle recipe website.

Disclosure: I have been sent some sugary goodies from Tate and Lyle, but was not asked to write this post, neither have I received payment for this post. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

My Sunday Photo 12th June 2016

The last time The Little Man visited the beach was three years ago when he was only two years old. He didn't remember it so he was really excited when we went away to Blackpool at half term.
It was so good to get away and we all had a lovely time. I just hope we don't leave it so long before we get to go to the beach again. The Little Man doesn't have to wait so long though, he's off to Weston-Super-Mare with his school on Tuesday. That's if he behaves himself at school tomorrow, he's currently in their bad books, naughty boy.

I find it so hard to believe he's naughty at school, while we were away he was the most well behaved of my three children. In fact he's nearly always well behaved at home. So why is he naughty at school? He told his teacher it was because he misses me...awww! I'm pretty sure that's just an excuse though. Even if he is a mummy's boy.

Be good Little Man and you will get to go to the beach again x


Please check out my lastest giveaway The Activation Game.

Friday, 10 June 2016


This week my word is honesty.

I've chosen this for a few reasons. It's the value I'm looking at in The Activation Game which I'm doing at the moment (I'm also giving away five copies of the Activation Game, if you'd like to know more please click through.) Of course this means it's something at the front of my mind right now while I'm exploring the honesty around me as well as my own honesty.

I also read an interesting blog post the other day on the back of the Noel Edmunds controversy. I wish I had the link to share but unfortunately I didn't save it and now I can't find it, typical! Anyway, just in case you are not familiar with the story, in brief, Noel Edmunds blamed Cancer on negativity. If you want to know any more, look it up. I think Noel made a big mistake with his comments, but I do believe that negativity doesn't help anyone, let alone anyone with a serious illness. The post (that I lost) also commented that it's not healthy to be positive all of the time.

So where is this taking me on my theme of honesty?

Well, I'm a positive person, I always have been. I'm most definitely a half full cup type of person. Even my childhood is viewed with rose tint glasses. Of course it must have been brilliant with my Dad dying on his way to work when I was just 8 years old, and then my step-dad dying in front of my eyes at 13 yrs old. But I've never a bad word to say about it all. I was happy (or deluded.)

I didn't hate school either, I tried to get out of going whenever possible, never made many friends, was most definitely not a popular girl, but I worked hard and got some fairly reasonable exam results.

My first marriage was ok as well, there were good times, he cheated on me occasionally. I'm still friends with my ex husband.

The years I spent as a single parent I describe as one of the best times of my life. Oh yes, you can't beat the life of a full-time working mum, leaving your kids in the care of those you thought you could trust during the school holiday while you went to work to pay the bills.

Do you see where I'm heading yet?

It's all about your attitude to life and how you perceive things. We live in an age where oversharing is the natural thing to do. But how much of this sharing of our lives is truly honest?

Now, I will be honest with you.

I DON'T share everything?

Like I said, I'm a positive person, looking at life through a rainbow of dancing unicorns. It's not that I don't want to be honest and share everything, but really, is that what you want to hear?
More importantly, is that what I want you to hear?

My answer, honestly, is no. I'll say it again, I am a positive person and my positivity stems from how I portray myself to others. Ask my partner or my kids, I often don't tell them how I'm really feeling because then I wouldn't feel so positive.

My only concern right now is that people see me as some wonderful, amazing person, who tosses aside any struggles that come my way and makes everything seem hunky dory. (I love that phrase!)

If I'm honest, and honesty is what I'm trying to portray here, I'm not anything special. I have a lot going on, some good, some bad and my way of dealing with everything is to stay positive. If I let that drop, then well, I drop. And I do sometimes, but that's when I stop sharing, so you probably will never know.

I love reading blogs, there are many amazing blogs to be read. My favourite ones are the ones where the authors are honest and record all their lows alongside their highs. They are the amazing ones, they are the strong ones. They are the ones I know are just as positive as me, but have found a way of allowing themselves to express their sadness and grief just as eloquently. And honestly.

I am a positive person (And I believe that saying that over and over makes you feel positive too!)
I am also a honest person.
I am just not as good at sharing my honesty as I am at sharing my positivity.
I hope you will forgive me and continue to read me.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Transverse Myelitis Awareness Day 2016

Today is Transverse Myelitis Awareness Day. Many of you will have not had heard of Transverse Myelitis, neither had I until it came into my life on January 1st this year.

I get asked lots of questions, most of them repeatedly because it's such a rare condition and no-one really has all of the facts. Every sufferer is different and every recovery is different.

In my post today I'm going to attempt to answer some of the questions that I get asked in a way that people will understand. However, please remember, not every who has Transverse Myelitis will be affected in the way that I am. I will also include information from the Transverse Myelitis Society throughout my post.

The first question asked is

"what is Transverse Myelitis?"

Well, everyone who has Transverse Myelitis has had some sort of inflammation in their spinal cord which has damaged the nerve coating, myelin. The damage can be on any part of the spinal cord, it can also be in several parts of the spinal cord. Depending on where the damage is a part of the body will be affected. If the inflammation also incurs in the brain then the diagnosis will more likely to be Multiple Sclerosis.

"Can you be fixed with an operation?"

The answer is no. But some sufferers do have operations later on to release ligaments that have been trapped by the condition. For example, sometimes the feet go into a spasm and the sufferer is unable to put their foot flat on the floor, then they may have their Achilles tendons lengthened to  assist the foot in returning to a more normal position.  A sufferer may also have a baclofen pump inserted because the medicine has strong side effects and works better for some if it is directed into the spinal fluid to ease muscle spasms caused by TM. Some sufferers also need surgery to help their bladders work properly.
The spinal cord damage itself cannot yet be fixed by operation.

"Is it Contagious, are your children more likely to get it?"

" Can you be fixed by physio therapy?"

A lot of sufferers do have neuro physio therapy to help ease their condition. I have mine weekly at the moment. My therapist has told me that they can teach me to walk again, fire up the nerves that are stopping my brain communication with my body. It's like learning from scratch, like a toddler, because what I knew before has been through the damage to my spinal cord. I can also learn to deal with the pain and discomfort.

"Do you take medication?"

Most sufferers do, so do I. The most common medication usually given at the beginning of the attack is steroids. They help a lot in getting the body to spring back into action. Until I had intravenous steroids I could not move my legs, or feel anything from the waist down. The most common medication is a neuropathic drug called Gabapentin or one of the other forms of Gabapentin. You can build up to quite a high dose of these drugs but they do come with side effects. Another common drug is Amitriptyline which has an effect on the chemicals in the brain. It also helps me sleep so I only take it at night. Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can also be taken regularly to ease pain. I also take Naproxen, a stronger painkiller. That's as far as my knowledge of treatment drugs goes, but I know that some may also have stronger painkillers and even plasma exchange to help their symptoms.

"Will you get better?"

I can only hope, the truth is no-one really knows. Initial recovery takes from two to eight weeks. As it's all so vague I'm going by what I've learnt from other sufferers. The initial recovery generally means from total paralysis to being able to move at all. The next stage is learning to walk again and this can vary greatly. Then you have to factor in where the damage of the spinal cord is. Some people don't even have their legs affected, but they can have the use of their arms and hands affected. Some are affected in their chest area which means they have difficulty breathing, eating and drinking. Some have issues around the middle which means they have digestion, bowl and urine removal difficulties. Some are affected in more than one area. Some are affected in just a small area, like just their hands or feet.
I've heard said that the quicker the attack the longer the recovery. Some are ill for a long time before being diagnosed with TM, others, like me, have the symptoms come on rapidly and severely. I've seen people making a massive recovery in just a few months, and others are still struggling for a good recovery many years later.

"What does it feel like?"

I was asked this by a friend suffering from disc problems in her cervical spine (neck.) She was telling me about how she was hurting and expected me to be feeling similar. I don't think it is.
My inflammation was in my cervical spine and also around the Thoracic spine (middle back) but quite low down my back, almost at my lumber region (lower back) The cervical means I have problems with my arms and hands, the thoracic means I have problems from the waist down.
It is really difficult to describe how I feel. Pins and needles is the most obvious explanation but even that doesn't fit properly.
Imagine sitting on the floor with your leg bent beneath you for a long while, then when you stand up you feel like you are going to fall because your balance has gone and your leg is tingling wildly.
Yes, it feels like that in my legs all the time. My feet are slightly worse, I cannot feel the floor properly.
My arms are less affected, I have pins and needles but not so severe and my fingers ache. I cannot lift anything vaguely heavy like a saucepan.
Also, I can't bend properly. This is even difficult for me to understand. I can sit properly with my knees bent, so why can't they bend when I'm standing. If I'm on my feet then my knees want to stay rigid and it takes an awful lot of effort just to bend them a little to walk without dragging my feet.
I cannot stretch up to a high cupboard, or bend to a low cupboard with out extreme stress.

On one of the support groups I visit for TM someone once mentioned Banding and I though yes, that's what I feel. I don't know if it was the same for them but the word is a good description of the feeling I get in my body where I feel like I'm enclosed in a tight elastic band. It's like my skin (the band) is getting tighter and tighter and every movement is pulling on it like an elastic band. It's not continuous, or all over at the same time, but it comes and goes throughout the day. It's more noticeable at night when I'm trying to sleep. I only get it in my lower body from the point where my spine is affected and down. Mostly I feel it in my feet and legs, but sometimes I feel it around my middle which crushes up against my ribcage and makes breathing difficult.

I also have a weird sensation in my skin which causes pain if anyone brushes against me, and I can't wear certain materials without them feeling like they are ripping into my skin.

I also have a lot of numbness remaining in my hip and waist area which means I find sitting down on anything hard difficult or uncomfortable. I also have bladder and bowel issues due to this numbness, but thankfully I'm managing without intervention.

"How Did You Get It?"

IN hospital I was tested (blood tests and  lumber puncture) but they could not find any cause for my TM, so it's idiopathic. It was not caused by any type infection, although some sufferers find it develops after an infection.

"How were you diagnosed?

I was incredibly lucky, a lot of sufferers do not get diagnosed correctly so quickly. The onset of TM can be like so many other conditions and it is often mistaken for MS or Guillian Barre's Syndrome. A the hospital where I was admitted my care was transferred to one of the leading neuro consultants for Transverse Myelitis so I was diagnosed immediately after my MRI scan. When I went to my GP after I'd been released from hospital he had never heard of TM.

I had mild back pain, mostly across my shoulders which I noticed while driving. This started a couple of days before my attack. Then on the morning of January 1st I had pins and needles in my right leg and arm. I couldn't shake them and I started to get worried. Once I started feeling them in my left leg and arm I decided something was wrong. Pins and needles can often be a cover for pain and I began to think that something was very wrong. By the time I was taken to a cubicle in A&E I was paralysed in both my legs and arms and completely numb. The Drs where sticking pins into me and I could not feel them at all. The lifted my limbs and I could not hold them so they flopped back down. The first words mentioned were MS but the MRI ruled that out and I was diagnosed with TM.

I hope that I have in someway enlightened you about Transverse Myelitis. If you would like to know more you can always visit the TM site

Why do we have a TM awareness Day? Well I think this last Key Fact Explains it. We need better treatments, the ones currently available do help but there are two thirds of everyone who has ever had TM still suffering, which means more needs to be done. We all dream of a cure for TM, it may be possible one day.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

We Love Clowns! Our visit to Blackpool Circus 2016

Back in 2013 I did a post about my trip to Blackpool that I'd won in a competition. I'd made a cake of the Blackpool Tower, out of Curly Wurlys! In that post I told how my favourite part of the trip had been our visit to the Circus in Blackpool Tower. That had been my first ever circus visit, I was so happy to be given the opportunity to go again on our holiday this year.

This year the Circus is celebrating their Silver Anniversary for the Endresz family being at the helm. Laszlo and Bubu Endrezs are the clowns of the show and provide excellent entertainment inbetween the other acts as Mooky and Mr Boo.

Photo curtesy Blackpool Tower Circus

Seats are unreserved and you choose them by the position you are in the queue to go in. Last time we had seats near the front which were amazing.

This time we were assigned seats in the wheelchair accessible area which is near the orchestra. Although the circus is set in a ring, it does appear that we were at the back. There was only one act of knife throwing/crossbow that we couldn't see properly though. There were screens provided but often showed the action a couple of seconds later.

blackpool circus

, blackpool circus

The show was entertaining for both children and adults, there was never a dull moment, it was full of excitement, thrills and laughs.  All my kids really loved the show and were rooted in their seats, well, apart from when they were doubled over laughing at Mooky. We saw fantastic acrobats performing stunts that made you gasp, trapeze artists which perform high up to the ceiling so they are swinging before your eyes, juggling feats and amazing stunts with knives and crossbows. There is even a fair bit of audience participation. There are no animals in this circus, although they may have performed with them in the past.

At the end of the show we were treated to two amazing gymnastics performing on a disc in the middle of the stadium which had been filled with water. They got the last part a little wrong, but tried it again, which was amazing because it required incredible strength. I may even be tempted to say that they got it wrong deliberately because it certainly had us all on the edge of our seats when they tried it again, with success.

Photo curtesy Visit Lancashire

I would recommend a trip to Blackpool Circus to anyone, young or old. It's something the whole
family can enjoy, and I promise you, you will be on the edge of your seats and enjoy a good laugh at the same show.

Disclosure: I was given tickets to the show in return for my review. All thought and opinions are my own.

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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