Sunday, 31 July 2016

Seven Months -Transverse Myelitis

I've now reached seven months in my recovery from Transverse Myelitis, the cruel condition that took away my ability to walk in just a few hours.

On January 1st this year I woke up with pins and needles and by the end of the day I could not feel either my arms or my legs. After two weeks in hospital I'd made enough recovery to come home, but only once my home was filled with aids that would help me. I was certain that I wouldn't be using those aids for long, I looked out of my window and my car and was impatient to be out there driving around again. That wasn't to be.

My car was taken away in February. I'm the only driver in the house so now we have to rely on public transport again. My other half is learning how to drive so we are hoping that he'll pass his test before the end of the year. We've been without a car before and actually became used to it, but it's so hard now. Particularly as I find it difficult to use public transport in my wheelchair. Planning even a simple trip can prove to be a complete nightmare. As a result, I don't go out much.

I work hard at getting better, I have physio at the hospital and I work at home to try and improve my movement and I think I'm doing really well.

I can now walk unaided for short distances.
I can bend a little more.
I can walk up the stairs without dragging my feet.
I can shower alone.

There are also things I can't do.

I can't walk outside my home.
I can't walk for more than 6 metres without having to take a break.
I can't bend down to get things from the cupboards, I also can't stretch.
I can't walk up the stairs using my left foot first and I still have to step up with both feet on each step.

When I get really tired doing anything becomes a struggle and I get tired quickly.

The pain never stops.

I wish the pain would stop. I can get one with things mostly, so long as I don't do too much I can ignore the pain. Sometimes I can't ignore the pain, like when I get into bed, when I get up in the morning, when I've been standing too long, when I've been sitting too long. When I'm in my wheelchair too long. When I try to do anything that takes the remotest bit of effort to do. When I do nothing at all.

Lately though I've been suffering with something worse than pain.
Lately I realise that my mental health is not so good.
I'm still positive, I'll never give up trying to get well again but sometimes I just don't want to have to do it any more.

Fighting is what keeps me going, but it's when I realise that my medication is creating a fuzziness in my head, making me forgetful, lost, unable to find my way. I can't cope. I can't cope with not being in control, of my body, my brain and my life.

And I just get so fed up of not being 'right.'

It seems like I'm stuck like this, as each day, week, month goes by I get less and less sure that I will or can recover. The odds are stacked against me making a full recovery.

This condition is so rare there are no clear answers.

Even if I did recover it's possible that something simple like a cold or fever can put me straight back to where I was when it all began.

How can I hope, how can I fight, how can I be positive when I know that it could go back to beginning in an instance, at any time?

So, this month I'm under a dark cloud. It may be sunny outside but I'm mostly stuck indoors, in pain, unable to do even the simple things I used to do.

This was not the plan, this was totally unexpected, this has blighted my life and my loved ones lives.

Transverse Myelitis sucks big time!

My Sunday Photo - 31st July 2016

I took this photo while out with my son a couple of weeks ago. We were visiting a new retail centre near home. This is Bournville College which was relocated here in 2011. Originally the college had been set up by George Cadbury, the famous chocolate manufacturer. This new building was built on the former MG Rover Car Plant in Longbridge.

The Longbridge plant opened in 1905 and finally closed it's doors in 2005. I think most male members of my family had worked there at some point. My Dad passed away on his way to his night shift there. My Step-Dad worked there too and I remember having holidays subsidised by the factory, the families would all go together on a coach to Butlins.

Longbridge was a busy place and it seemed so strange when the factory was demolished. Now the land is being rebuilt again and it's quite amazing when you realise just how big the whole place was. Where the factory once stood is this college (Which is massive) a big shopping complex with hotel, bars and other places to eat, a park and a youth centre and it's still an ongoing project. In fact they are probably only half way though the development.

While I sat there and took this photo I spared a thought for all those that had worked at Longbridge car factory, for many it was so much more than just a job. Now that piece of history has gone and is being given new life.


Friday, 29 July 2016

Boo's 9th Birthday

My Word of the Week this week is Birthday!

I can't believe my little Boo is nine years old already.
I wanted to do a little post to celebrate her birthday but I also wanted to  tell you all about her party, so I'll mix them together.

Let's start with a baby photo :)

She was an adorable baby, so  easy to care for. Her birth was pretty quick but she was a meconium baby so she wasn't breathing when born..she recovered mighty quick though :) 

At 2 yrs old she had a febrile convulsion and ended up in hospital. At 3 years old we were back at the hospital with pneumonia. She has had chicken pox with no complications, but otherwise has been quite well and healthy.

She is a little artist, always drawing pictures. Her favourite thing is a book and a pen, I think she takes after me there. It was no surprise when she asked for an arts and crafts party for her birthday.

Her party was last Saturday and the weather was lovely. We decided to have the activities inside though because I have difficulty walking in the garden. 

In the kitchen we used a work top as a biscuit station. I made the biscuits myself and they were just vanilla cookies. I used a large round cookie cutter.

I then set up cake cases full of different kinds of sprinkles and bought some packs of writing icing. Then I let the kids decorate their biscuits. When the icing had dried I put them into little food bags for them to take home. 

Our next activity was to make fridge magnets out of Shrinkies. These are sheets of  thick paper that can be drawn on and coloured in. I did some drawings for the children to trace if they were not confident of drawing themselves. Then we cut around the drawing and put the paper in a warm oven for a few moments. The Shrinkies then come out half the original size and feel like hard plastic. I put some self adhesive magnetic tape on each one to be used as fridge magnets.

Our final activity was box decorating. I bought some plain boxes to be used as trinket/sweet boxes. Then I set out a table full of patterned paper pieces, buttons, string, beads, pens and glue and let the kids decorate their boxes. Then when they had finished I filled each box with sweets for them to take home.

The activities took about an hour to complete and the kids really enjoyed each one. When we were done it was time for food and then they played in the garden until it was time to go home. I had planned a further activity, they were going to decorate their own party bags, I'd ordered some white paper bags with handles but they didn't arrive before the party. I bought some bags from the local shop and filled them with their boxes, fridge magnets, cookies, a lollipop and a novelty pen. I think everyone had a fun time and Boo was really happy.

Here is a little video of Boo's Birthday Party.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Honest Brew Box - Review and Discount.

As much as I love wine I find myself getting more excited over a good beer! You can beat a nice refreshing cold glass of beer on a summer evening, or at any time if I'm totally honest. I guess that's why I enjoyed reviewing Honest Brew so much.

Honest Brew is the UK's best online beer service. They research small batch beers form around the world and then tailor each selection to your preferences.

"HonestBrew works with microbreweries from across the world, including
Beavertown, Lervig and Yeastie Boys, to offer a huge range of unique beers. With
95% of the beers sold by HonestBrew not available in supermarkets, this
personalised and curated service offers users something unique."

There are three types of subscription boxes of beer to choose from;

The Beer Club - offers 2 x 6 craft beers sent every month for £29.90 (£10 off first delivery) This is the no fuss subscription and it is great if you just want some tasty beer each month.

The Tailor Made - offers 12 brewery fresh craft beers every month for £35.50 (£10 off first delivery) Your subscription is tailor made to your tastes.

The Treasure Chest - offers 12 exclusive and hard to find craft beers every month for £39.90 (£10 off first delivery) Again your subscription is tailored to your tastes.

All three subscriptions promise a flexible subscription (you can cancel or pause any time) and free delivery.

Interested? Why don't you try a Taster Kit, I can offer you one with 50% off that's just £9 for six craft beers. Just visit Honest Brew through my blog to get this fantastic offer.

I was sent a six beer taster kit to review myself. It's a great way to get a taste of the different types of beers available and see which ones you like best.

In my box I had;

Beavertown Neck Oil - an India Pale Ale which is refreshing light and crisp but packs a punch. It's the kind of ale you can drink at any time of day for refreshment.

Buxton Wild Boar - Another India Pale Ale from the Buxton Brewery in Derbyshire. It had an aroma of lime and mango but you can also taste honey and malt. It had a lovely frothy head on top of a pale straw coloured beer.

Howling Hops Running Beer - I didn't get to try this one, it disappeared from my case, I think my eldest son was the culprit (it's ok he's over the legal drinking age!) It's a full bodied brown ale.

Fourpure Pils - This one was abducted by my eldest daughter (also over the legal drinking age) she said it tasted like larger! Which is probably correct seeing as it is a Pilsner, but from London not Germany.

Wild Beer, Wild Goose Chase - This is a Saison beer which is not something I am familiar with but is described as wild and interesting. I was pretty sure I could detect gooseberries, which in my books is pretty interesting for a beer.

The Five Points Brewery ,Railway Porter - This promised me coffee and chocolate as well as beer. I don't know if it was just the promise but I really loved this beer, I think I'm definitely more of a stout person (as in stout beer not fat!) Not as refreshing as the lighter ales but dark, interesting and somewhat comforting. My favourite in the box (out of the ones I got to taste anyway, Thanks Kids!)

I also received the lovely Siam beer glass that you can see in my photos.

Overall I really enjoyed my selection and found my box emptied pretty quick. It would be nice to receive a box every month, I'd probably go for the tailored boxes though so I could get more of what I liked while trying new brands. 

Did you know that beer could come in so many flavours? They come under six main categories;
  • Light/crisp - light and easy drinking lagers or pale ales.
  • Citrusy/fruity - refreshing, often bitter hop-focused beers
  • Malty/toffee - never overly bitter, occasionally sweet and warming
  • Roasted/chocolate - usually rich, full bodied, and brewed with darker malts
  • Wild/Interesting - Experimental and wild, these test the boundaries of what beer is thought to be.
  • Earthy/spicy - expect herbal and earthy flavours.
Are you a beer lover? Which flavours do you think you'd like to try? I'd love to hear in the comments.

Honest Brew also have an informative blog, I  liked this post about Vegan Brews, Particularly as I have a vegan friend coming over for drinks soon.

They have their own shop where you can buy individual cans and bottles if you don't fancy a regular subscription. Or you can buy Howlers, which are tubes containing three cans of beer and are ideal for transporting to parties or festivals. Or you can buy a mixed case of beers, there are several options to choose from and are a one off purchase.

Honest Brew are offering my readers a 50% discount on a Taster Pack, that's just £9 for 6 craft beers!


I would recommend Honest Brew to my friends and family and beer lovers everywhere. They provide a unique service and the prices are decent. The subscriptions are easy and adaptable and the best value as you are rewarded with free postage and with some you get an extra discount in their shop if you need to top up with extra beer if you need it. I was given the taster pack free for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

My Sunday Photo - 23July2016

What could  be nicer than a bunch of children having fun in the garden in the sun...mmm, let me think, a nice cocktail on the deck of cruise ship maybe?

Yesterday it was Boo's birthday party, it's not her birthday until next Wednesday but experience has shown me that if you have a child with a birthday in the school holidays then it needs to be as soon as possible after they break up!

She chose a craft party and we made some lovely things, decorated biscuits, trinket/sweetie boxes and shrinkie fridge magnets. There was also lots of colouring, gluing and sticking going on. Then after the party feast they were let loose into the back garden for some imaginative play. They all had lots of fun.

Next up is the Little Man's birthday party in just two weeks time, followed by Star's birthday (no party) two weeks after that...Summer is birthday time!

Fancy a slice of cake?


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

School's Out For Summer!

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote this post about how worried I was about my youngest children's school. Today is their last day and I'm glad to report that I'm feeling happier now.
I haven't managed to get them into another school, there was no room for both of them at the same school and I didn't want to have to run around 3 different schools picking them all up. So they will have to stay at their current primary school for now. However, there has been a change around with the teachers and I found out yesterday that the Little Man will be staying with his current teacher in the next year which is good as she knows best how to deal with him. Also, Boo is going to have Star's teacher for next year and I believe that she is currently one of the best teachers in the school. So, at least I know both children will have the best teachers for the next year.

This morning we attended Star's Year six leavers assembly. They did really well with no interaction from any teachers. The whole thing was set as a news interview where they were interviewing a current pupil as if he was a grown up and had become the President of the World. They worked through all the values they had learnt at the school and told us how they had helped the former pupil to become so mighty. It was also done with a little tongue in cheek moments and there were breaks in the broadcast for musical interludes and certificate awards to the teachers. The Ukulele playing was particularly good. At the end of the 'show' the children were all presented with special t-shirts.

Here is Star 'proudly' showing off hers.

Of course at the end of term we have the presenting of teachers with gifts. I usually put a lot of time and effort in making the gifts with the kids, and have even been furiously baking 24 cup cakes the day before the last day of term. This year I wasn't up to all that so I bought gifts. I was really happy with the gift I bought for Star's teacher, and she was really happy with it too, she said she'd never had a gift so thoughtful and nice. She was actually quite emotional so I knew she meant it. So what did I get her?

It's a Boxcitement Thank You gift box. I also bought on of these for a really good friend and she was equally pleased. If you want to know more about Boxcitement, I did a review for them recently here on Raisiebay.

So, in a couple of hours we will be picking up the kids for the last time until September. I've been meaning to write a bucket list of things to do over the summer but I didn't get very far. The Little Man decided to write his own but all it included was computer time, eating and sleeping. However, I'm not too worried about being so organised though because our calendar is filling up quickly and I'm already thinking this summer is going to fly by.

So, plans so far include...
hospital trips (Which can be combined with bench hunting and Pokemon Go)
Reading Bench hunting (last year we did Owl hunting!)
A trip to Hatton Adventure World.
Star will be going to summer school for four days including a trip to Stratford-On-Avon
Family Pizza outing for Star's birthday
Party for Boo
Party for The Little Man
Then we can fill in the other time with Pokemon Go...which will probably include parks, rivers and wildlife centres.

I will also be bringing you some special news in early August..shhh for now ;)

So, Bring on the Summer. I am ready, are you?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

What's in Your Box This Week?

Welcome to this weeks What's in the Box? The weekly linky where I invite you to come and share all your blogs or vlogs on anything box related, whether it's a subscription box or something nice you've received in the post, anything is welcome.

I've had a couple of really different boxes this week. One was addressed to my daughter and contained a selection of wonderful activities for her to do which are educational and fun. We've already done a couple of them and I'm getting my review ready so do watch out for that. The box was from Brainboost and they do subscription boxes for ages 2 -12 years.

My second box was most definitely not to be shared with the kids. I was sent a box of craft beers from Honest Brew. It didn't take me long to get stuck in as I do love a nice cool glass of beer...oh and they sent me a lovely glass too. Watch out for my review coming very soon. I'm thinking I may be tempted to sign up to this one!

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, 18 July 2016

Soho Juice Co Cocktails - A Review

The last time I had cocktails was at my friends hen night. We were taught how to make them and then got to enjoy our hard work. It was lots of fun.
I really enjoy cocktails because you always know you are going to get an explosion of flavours. I don't often make them at home though because they can be a bit complicated and you need lots of ingredients.

Soho Juice Co. have aimed to ease the job of making cocktails at home by providing an interesting mixer based on the humble cucumber. The Soho is a soft drink made from a mixture of lemon, lime, cucumber and mint and it tastes refreshing on it's own but is great mixed with alcohol.

I received my Soho Juice in a glass bottle with a plastic stopper. I couldn't wait to get started and flicked through the book I'd been provided with all the cocktail recipes. I decided it had to be a classic Martini.

To make this cocktail I used;

  • 20ml dry vermouth
  • 40ml dry gin 
  • Splash of Soho Juice
  • Some ice cubes
  • A slice of lime (and a little squeeze)
So easy, and very tasty. You are supposed to add a slice of lemon but I love the tangy taste of lime so I added a slice and also squeezed some into my drink. The taste of cucumber really came through, and it also had a very citrus tang. I've never really tasted anything like it and as someone who isn't really fond of cucumber in drinks I did find it very tasty. I would definitely buy Soho Juice again. 

You can also add Soho Juice to Cobble, High Juice and Margarita cocktails  and maybe invent some of your own. Soho Juice works well with so many other flavours. 

Take a look at the Soho Juice Co. website and see what else you can do with Soho Juice.

I was sent a cocktail kit and booklet for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 15 July 2016


When was the last time you did something courageous?

Take a moment to think about that question.

I was asked this question earlier this week and my mind instantly went to the fear I felt when I left my daughter in the hands of the surgeon for her major operation. It felt different from her other operations because this one was the 'serious' one, things could happen, things I didn't want to happen. She could have been left brain damaged, she could have been left paralysed, She could have died. We were told all this before the operation and had to sign a form to say we understood. We could have not signed, not risked all of that and just let her live her life deformed and in pain. It was the most courageous thing I have ever done, letting her go, not knowing what would happen, trusting her life and well being into the hands of someone else.

She came back safe. It was worth it. Our biggest fears revolve around losing those we love.

Now, on a smaller scale I was set to thinking of what scared me in my every day life. I don't like spiders but I wouldn't say I'm scared of them anymore. I have built up my courage slowly and now I can catch them in my bug catcher and put them outside.

I'm also scared of conflict. It happens a lot in my life and I'm the peacemaker. I need to keep things calm, I can't bear it if it isn't. I'm frightened of the consequences of violence and hatred. Even if it's only verbal it can be just as bad as physical. I hate violence of any kind and I will admit to being afraid of it. I feel that sometimes I let my fear of conflict get in the way of expressing my true feelings. That's not very brave is it?

With my illness I fear that I may never get better. I'm afraid of living the rest of my life not being able to walk, not being able to run or climb or do the things I used to do. However, this is one fear I can calm. Yes, I'm frightened but my positivity and love of life itself gets me through this. I'd rather be here and disabled than not be here at all. Most of all my positivity gives me hope. I can accept being disabled even if I fear it, but I can't let the fear stop me from getting better.

That sounds paradoxical and it probably is. I fear not getting better, but I also fear the things I have to do to get better. It's scary getting to my feet and walking in a body that no longer responds naturally. It's scary letting other people see me try. It's scary when I think about falling either inside or outside. If I fall I know I won't be able to get back up alone,  and it will be so painful having someone lift me up. I've been so lucky not falling so far, I've had a lot of near misses in the house. but not actually fallen yet. There is always something to lean on to stop me from going down.

This week I faced up to a fear and I was really courageous.

This week I walked outside! I walked out of my front door and up the garden path to the street. Our path is about 3 metres long and a slight incline. I've not walked on an incline before. I have walked the path with my crutches, but this time I walked alone, no crutches, no sticks. My partner walked with me, there to catch me if I fell.

I didn't fall or stumble, I concentrated very hard and walked unaided to the end of the path. It was slow, it was scary, it hurt, but I wasn't frightened, I felt brave. I did not worry about the neighbours seeing me. I know I walk funny and I do feel embarrassed. I don't want to be laughed at or pitied. I just want to be me, be normal.

I think I might do it again sometime.

Cuddle Fairy

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Forces of Nature - Time Space and Doctor Who.

Have you seen the BBC series presented by Professor Brian Cox, The Forces of Nature.
The second episode which showed amongst other things, how you can surf in the jungle on a Pororoca, ended on a poignant note which probably left many watchers feeling quite emotional.

Professor Brian Cox

I love Brian Cox, the way he looks at everything as though it is the most amazing thing he has ever seen and that glorious toothy smile just makes him a really likeable physicist. I'm not sure he'd be the easiest person to live with, but I bet he could teach me lots. (Or make my brain explode!)

I'm already familiar with the space time theory, what Doctor Who fan isn't? But it means something so much more when you realise it could actually be true rather than some fantasy, something a little more concrete than that 'wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

Somewhere in space time all those precious memories are still there. I am walking through the bluebell woods with my Daddy as a six year old, or going to the Tulip Festival with my mum and my nan. Just because they have left this world, it doesn't mean they are gone. My memories live on, and my memories feel more solid, more real. Maybe some day we will find away of accessing that spiral of time space and revisit our memories, without the use of  a Time and Relative Dimension in Space machine.


Monday, 11 July 2016

More School Woes

In January 2014 I wrote this post about my kids school. My kids are still at the same school and there have been some improvements, but today I have been calling around other local schools to see if there are any places for Boo and the Little Man.

Next September Star goes to Secondary School and I believe I've made the right choice for her. She's certainly excited about going so that's a good thing.
The other two will still be attending their primary school but I'm not happy about them staying there.

The Little Man has had trouble from the start. At nursery his teacher left and was replaced, this has also happened in Reception class, and in year one, the teacher didn't leave but another teacher took over his class. Such a lot of change for a little one. His current teacher is the best he's had and it shows because he's always in trouble. Back in my original post I said he was trouble, but the school didn't think so. Well they are noticing now! He needs firm control and a proper schedule. He gets bored very quickly and needs to be kept active doing the things he enjoys. He is clever but refuses to write things down. He is excellent at maths, reading and can work a computer as good as me. But he doesn't like writing or quiet times. He needs to be kept engaged at all times and I just don't think this is happening. I have big concerns about his teacher for next year as I've already seen how her class misbehaves.

Boo, is very hard working and extremely well behaved. She's also not so clever and has to try really hard to keep up. Her teachers have been wonderful and have understood her extra needs and given her a lot of help. She's has blossomed educationally. Unfortunately she has had problems with the other children in her class. She has always been a sensitive child, but lately she's ten times worse and is bursting into tears several times a day. I honestly believe this is from the teasing she gets at school. I am also not impressed with the teacher she is to have next year. I don't really know him but I saw him at school sports day and I was not impressed with his behaviour and the way he spoke to the children. Not the sort of teacher I am happy for my oversensitive little girl who is being teased daily by her peers.

If my circumstances where better I'd seriously consider home schooling them until I could get them into a better school. I still have another couple of schools to try, but each one is getting further and further away. I am certain now that I don't want them to stay where they are.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Sport - Word of the Week!

I never thought I'd hear myself say this but I'm totally enjoying the Euro 2016. I hate football!
I was devastated, but not really surprised, when England went out to Iceland. I was also upset when Wales lost against Portugal. But I have been rooting for France and now they are in the final against Portugal and I so hope they win.

It's not just the football though, this week it was the school sports day.
They did their events inside the 'cage' which they've not done before. Parents had to stay outside and photos were forbidden. I do appreciate that some parents do not want photos of their children splashed all over the internet, but it does make me sad when I can't take photo's of my own child.
I did take a sneaky pic of my daughter Boo though.

Yes, I know it's not a brilliant photo, and if you are wondering where everyone else is...well they were well on there way to the finish line. I have to give Boo credit though, she wasn't good at the sack race but she did win the Egg and Spoon race and come close in a couple of others. Well done Boo!
Star does not take part in sports at school because of her health condition but we did stay and watch her classmates and Star was giving out winner stickers.
Sadly we missed The Little Man's class through some misunderstanding. Last Friday we received a letter stating that Sports Day would take place at 1.30pm and 2.15pm. It did not state for which classes. When we asked when The Little Man's class were taking part we were told they did theirs in the morning. We asked the teacher why we hadn't been told and she said it was on the newsletter. I checked the newsletter at home and all it said was that Sports Day was on Thursday, there were no times or classes mentioned. Parents had turned up on the morning, but these were parents who only had one child in the school, so they probably received a different letter to the one I had. The Little Man wasn't too upset though, he was upset that he had not won anything though. I told him it was because he spent too much time playing Minecraft and he needed to run around outside more! I can try.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

I Carried Towels up the Stairs.

I carried some towels upstairs.
Such a simple statement don't you think?
This is how I did it.

First I grabbed the towels and put them under my right arm.
My right arm is the strongest but the bannister on the left hand side of the stairs was fitted for me as it's stronger, easier to hold and goes all the way up the stairs including the bends. The bannister on the right only goes up the straight stairs and cannot be grabbed as easy. I wouldn't really call it a bannister.
So, I have towels under my right arm and now I have to go upstairs with just one hand.
You may think this is easy but it's not for me.
My legs don't work properly so when I go upstairs I use my upper body to drag my legs up the stairs. Each foot has to slide up the stairs one at a time.
It's hard work with two hands.
It's even harder with one.

I did it though. One handed, I dragged my body up the stairs all the way to the top and I put the towels in the airing cupboard.

I was exhausted! If you are familiar with the spoon theory I could tell you that I used up most of my spoons for that day doing that one exercise.

Such a simple task, one that I would have done with ease last year. As soon as the tumble drier finished I'd fold the clothes and take them upstairs. Now I have to ask someone else to do it for me and I find that frustrating.

Today has not been a good day. In fact it started last night when I had difficulty sleeping because my feet had gone into spasm. Eventually the drugs kicked in and I slept, having the most weirdest dreams that freaked me out. Luckily I don't remember them. I do wonder if it's the drugs though, I never used to have freaky dreams before.

This morning I woke up with spasms in my feet, which had probably been there all night, spasms in my legs, my right arm and my back. I couldn't move. I was scared, I've been paralysed before and I really don't want that to happen again. Eventually, using my bed guard I managed to drag myself into a sitting position and reached for my pills. My bedside table looks like a pharmacy, it used to look like a bookshop.

After a while, and a helping hand from my other half I managed to get to my feet. I washed and dressed and went downstairs. I've felt dreadful all day, but the spasms have mostly stopped, just my feet and my back have continued.

Today has not been a good day, tomorrow will be better.
This year has not been a good year, next year will be better.

I want to sit on the floor and play with my Little Man and his lego.
I want to run around the park playing games with my kids.
I want to do my housework, my way, without being exhausted in just five minutes.
I want my life back!

I have hope, recovery for Transverse Myelitis can take up to two years. I've only had it six months, things can certainly get better.

Today was not a good day, but yesterday I carried towels up the stairs.

What's in Your Box This Week?

Welcome to my weekly linky where I ask you to share what boxes you have opened this week. Yes, I'm nosy and I like to know what you have received, whether it's a subscription box, or something to review, do come and tell me in my linky at the end of this post.

This week I'm going to tempt you to some alcohol, drink anyone?

Sip and Learn How would you like to learn a  little more about wine? You can with this subscription box. For £30 per month you can receive 2 bottles of wine and an educational booklet.

Or if beer is more your thing how about Flavourly where you can get 10 bottles of beer for just £20 per month. Choose from Light, Dark or Mixed crates all from small batch breweries.

Maybe it's cocktails you'll love delivered monthly? Taste Cocktails offer enough to make 5 to 6 cocktails every month for £24.

I love subscription boxes, there is something for everyone, don't you agree?

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, 4 July 2016

Where's Wally! - Book Review

Kids have been hunting for Wally for nearly 30 years now! The guy with glasses, a bobble hat and red and white striped sweater has kept them occupied by hiding in some amazing pictures throughout all of time.

We were sent three new Where's Wally books to enjoy.

I'm absolutely thrilled that there is now a Where's Wally colouring book!  The kids have not had a look in with this one yet, although I might allow them to colour some in with me. Look how much fun you can have!

So are you up to the challenge of not only finding Wally, his pencils, and lots of other things, but colouring them in too?
It's great fun!

We also received Where's Wally in Outer Space Activity book.
This is a fun book with so many things to do;

  • Space mailroom mix up
  • Wandering Lines
  • Word Worlds
  • Space Station Duplication
  • Teleportation Tangle
  • Strange Creature
  • Half Alien, Half
  • Star Gaze Daze
  • Moon Mayhem
  • Out of This World
  • Satellite Sets
  • The Planet Hop Game
  • Making Contact

The book is set in outer space and you still have to find Wally and his friends. It also comes with over 100 stickers.

The third book we received is Where's Wally Across Lands Activity Book.
This is also full of fabulous puzzles and games but this time you join Wally on a trip across ancient lands.

  • Great Guidebooks
  • Going Underground
  • The Terrific Temple Trek
  • Survival Sequences
  • Cave Life Quiz
  • Footstep Finds
  • Building Blocks
  • Spectator Sport
  • Scaling ladders
  • Monster Mayhem
  • Right Angles Animals
  • Write Like an Egyptian
  • Imagine Your City
  • Count of the Castle
  • Westward Ho!

You'll find castles, caves and pyramids on your journey as well as hunting for Wally and friends. This book also comes with over 100 stickers.

I love that both books have a double spread game to play for one or more players. You don't need anything else to play, just your fingers, so the kids can play it wherever they are.

My girls found them fascinating. I love how they sat together with a book each and laughed with each other. They'd only just come home from school but picked the books up straight away. The puzzles were fun and the girls gave these books a big thumbs up! I'm sure they'll be picked up again and again until they have finished all the puzzles. They'd be great for car journeys or for keeping kids occupied on holiday too. I loved how my girls worked together and shared the books.

My only gripe with the activity books is that they were not very big with only 24 pages. I think they are more the size of an A4 magazine but with nice thick pages and card covers. They are great quality and real good fun, but I'd be happy to pay more for more pages. I guess the advantage of being magazine like is that they are perfect for long car journeys, or day trips. Not so bulky to carry but still lots of fun. At £5.99 each they are still good value for money.
The colouring book is much bigger with a whopping 64 pages. It has folding card covers, so double thickness and the pages are thick good quality paper. It retails at £8.99 and I believe it is also good value for money. It's a little more expensive than some colouring books but it has a lot more to offer as it's also a Where's Wally book and you have to hunt for things in the pictures.

While the girls loved the activity books, my favourite has to be the colouring book. It gives you a true sense of the artistic talent of Martin Handford as you colour in each wacky picture. Some of the pictures are really detailed and will take a fair bit of time to colour completely. This might get a little tiring for kids but I really don't mind, I can colour in for hours. It would be great fun to colour a page in together with the kids and see who finds Wally and the other missing things, including his colouring pencils, first.

We give these books a big thumbs up and would recommend them to any Where's Wally fans young or old. (And yes, my grown up children were Where's Wally fans back in the 90s!)

Disclosure: We were given these books for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

My Sunday Photo -3rd July 2016

This week I'm going back in time. Probably about 1975, look at that decor! This was my childhood living room and we had our cousins come to visit. I'm sitting in the middle with my little brother on my lap. The reason I have chosen this is so you can see how wonderful our wallpaper was in the 70s, and those curtains were nylon and would give you a static shock if you only had your socks on when you touched them!!

Actually this was a pivotal time in my life. It was the year after my Dad had passed away on his way to work and my nan and my cousin (The one on the left) had come to live with us. Everything went a little crazy in the next few years it was a difficult time for us all.


Sunday Snap

Friday, 1 July 2016

Shoes - Word of the Week!

Lots of things have happened this week but the strangest thing has to be Star's shoe.
The kids didn't go to school on Monday as it was an inset day. On Tuesday morning we couldn't find one Star's shoes. To prevent them from being too late for school we had to send her in her trainers. She has about 4 pairs of black shoes but there was something wrong with every pair, too tight, strap broken, heel too worn on one side (it's the way she walks.)
We spent the whole day looking for her other shoe, including going through the bins. When they came home from school on Friday last week, the last time both shoes were seen, we were in the middle of cleaning out the cupboard under the stairs and threw away a big bag of unused shoes. So we thought maybe her shoe had got mixed up in those, but no, it was a waste of time.

When we hadn't found the shoe by the time they came home from school I decided to buy her a new pair. We have continued looking for her shoe, but it hasn't shown up...very strange!

By the way, here are her new shoes, just 3 days old and she's managed to scuff them badly!

I know they were only cheap shoes, but aaarrrggh!

Anyway, apart from the shoe incident we have had quite an exciting week.

 Star spent the day at her new secondary school and she loved it. She will also spend 3 days there in the summer holidays so the transition in September should be fairly easy. She had a free school meal in the canteen and she said she loved it and there was loads to choose last, no more sandwiches!

Then we had Eldest Daughter's birthday. We all went out to a nice restaurant for a meal. We had a lovely time and filled our tummies with some lovely food like this....

Today the kids are having a pirates and aliens day at school and have had to dress up. Star and the Little Man usually refuse to dress up for anything but today they have. I can't wait to see them do their special assembly later.

The Reading Residence

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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