Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Hanbury Hall

3 children entering the garden through a walled entrance

I've been itching to get out and about and visit another National Trust Property after we visited Packwood House four months ago. The place I had in mind was Hanbury Hall in Worcester. It is only half an hour's drive away for us so it was frustrating that I'd had to wait so long. I think this is why I got impulsive and went from being in my pjs at noon, to having the kids dressed fed and on our way just over an hour later.

Hanbury Hall was built by Thomas Vernon, a highly successful London lawyer, in 1710. The building is English Baroque but not like the styling of those that were built by the upper classes that had inherited their wealth. Vernon was one of the new emerging 'red brick gentry' who had gained his wealth by earnings. He commissioned James Thornhill to paint the walls and ceiling of his new country home with lavish mythological scenes.

The gardens were designed by royal gardener  George London, thoroughly structured and rigorously preened. The orangery, walled garden, orchard and mushroom house where later added to retain sustainability.

We started our visit in the gardens, starting at the sunken parterre which is beautiful in its symmetry of plants and flowers.
a sunken garden full of greenery and flowers

We moved on to the orchard and the kid's investigated the snob's tunnel. Then we made our way into the walled garden which was full of fruit and vegetables. They even had a trolley load for sale and we came away with a nice selection of herbs and a few chillies.

The Orangery and Mushroom house was next. Outside the orangery there were lemon and lime trees and the most gorgeous Chrysanthemums. The kids were astounded at how dark the mushroom house was, thank goodness we had torches on our mobile phones, a candle would have been nicer though.

orange crysanthemums

We made our way back to the house for a look around. I could mooch around downstairs but the sweeping staircase was too much for me so the others had to go on without me. I didn't mind too much though, it was really nice downstairs, and I could spend a while admiring the paintings which depicted the story of Achilles.

There was lots more to explore but as we had left it so late it was getting near to closing time so we had to call it a day. I'd be happy to go back again some day though.

I've put all my photos together in a little video.

Our day out at Hanbury Hall National Trust Property in Worcester
Please Pin Me

Country Kids

Monday, 28 August 2017

Do You Walk in Your Dreams?

beautiful summer flowers in the park
photo curtesy of hubby G.

I woke up this morning in a bad mood.
Since I got sick, in the dreams that I remember I have always been walking. In my dreams I have not been sick, I've just been me.  Last night I was not walking in my dreams. Last night gave me a dream in which I was disabled. It was like my subconscious has finally caught up with the reality that I am disabled and I'm not going to get better.

When I woke I was upset and angry, even my dreams were disrupted now as well as my real life.

Then I realised something.
Yesterday we had decided on a day out today. We had decided where to go, and I'd got everything ready for an earlyish start. Everything but my power chair. I had not charged it since our last outing for Star's birthday last week and the battery was really low. We do keep it in the boot of the car for ease, but we know it has to be charged after every use, even if I only use it for a short while.

So, I guess that's what my subconscious was trying to tell me, we were not going anywhere because we'd forgotten about my wheelchair.

I do have a manual wheelchair but to be honest I'm not that keen especially when the kids are with us. I like hubby to be able to look after them and me to look after myself. Also, because of my condition I do find being out in my wheelchair very uncomfortable and if I'm being pushed then my hubby feels guilty. At least if I'm in control then no-one needs to feel guilty about every bump.

We got the wheelchair in to charge but I didn't want to use it until it was fully charged and by that time it was too late to go out...or was it.

We had resigned to stay in but it was such a lovely sunny day, yes, August Bank Holiday was hot and sunny, what a surprise! So we decided to go to the park.

We tumbled into the car with my manual wheelchair, at the park I could look after myself, and off we went. Arriving just five minutes later we parked up and got out. Then hubby realised he'd forgotten the footrests for my chair! He wanted to go back home but I said if we did we'd go back then it was to stay. (I told you I was in a bad mood!) Then I got my walking sticks and declared that today was a nice day for a walk.

I walked into the park and found a bench to sit on while the kids ran around. It was probably about 15 metres from the car which is a huge amount for me to walk outside but I was determined to do it. I rested for about twenty minutes then we went into the shop for ice-creams. That was another 5 metres I walked. We sat on a bench outside the shop to eat our ice creams and I decided that today was not turning out too bad after all. (Even though I'd forgotten my phone and couldn't take any photos of the lovely flowers.) Then I walked all the way back to the car.

On the way home I made hubby stop at the garage so he could get me some cash from the cash point. There was a queue to get in the garage so I grabbed my sticks and got out and walked to the cash point myself. I even had a walk in the shop!

I don't know whether it was the dream, or the shear frustration of being immobile and so dependant on my wheelchair, but I did a lot of walking today. In total, probably no more than the distance of three double decker buses with rests in between each one, but for me, a huge challenge that I took with pride.

I woke up in a bad mood today.
Tonight, I'm sitting here with my feet elevated, the pain feels like chilblains all along my legs and my ankles are swollen like balloons. I'm totally shattered and longing for my bed and I'm wondering if I'll be able to walk in my dreams again.

Tomorrow we are going out for the day. I will be taking my power chair which is now fully charged.
I will wake up in a good mood.

My Random Musings

Lucy At Home

Sunday, 27 August 2017

My Sunday Photo - 26th August 2017

silhouette of two children in a dark tunnel

For this week's Sunday photo I've chosen another one from our visit to Hanbury Hall.
This is two of my children in the snob's tunnel. I wasn't sure what a snobs tunnel was so I looked it up. Apparently, it was so the gentry of the household could sit and enjoy the garden without having to see the servants running back and forth from the vegetable garden to kitchen. Now, you wouldn't want a maid to spoil your lovely garden view, would you! Snobs indeed. Unfortunately, I didn't get the pleasure of going through the tunnel myself, maybe I'm a snob, or maybe it was just a bit too wet and muddy for my wheelchair. I'll let you decide.

(Disclosure; This photo was taken by my hubby not me.)

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


Sunday Snap

Friday, 25 August 2017

Word of the Week - Birthday!

It's been a funny week with such a mixture of things happening.
I had to visit the GP because of my swollen ankles, they've hurt so much I've barely been able to stand this week. He thinks I may have poor circulation so I now have to have an ECG and blood tests.

On Tuesday I was in the kitchen clearing up after lunch when I heard a crash. The kitchen is at the front of the house and looking out the window I could see a big red van in a weird position outside. I thought he may have hit my car which was parked on the pavement outside my home. Thinking quick (unusual for me) I wrote down his registration number before making my way into the living room where Graham was vacuuming the carpet (that's why I didn't just shout him.) Graham immediately ran outside but the red van was driving off. He had hit my car and done a fair amount of damage. It's lucky I got his number because my insurance are able to claim off his insurance which means I don't have to pay the excess, which would have added insult to injury.

But it's not all been bad because on Thursday it was Star's 12th birthday. No, party though, we have a tradition that has been going for four years now. We go to Pizza Hut in town, and then visit toy shops to spend her birthday money. To make it more special we make a point of not visiting Pizza Hut at any other time in the year.

Star had a lovely day with some lovely presents.  I can't believe she's grown up so quickly, she's so big too, I reckon she'll soon be taller than me and I'm not short.

Star's birthday also marks the end of birthday season...yes, I have four kids all with birthdays in the six weeks over the summer. My first born arrived in January! The only birthday left this year is mine!

Here's her birthday cake. I'm happy with the Raichu but the icing on the cake is not up to my usual standards. Star was happy with it though and that's what counts. Plus it tasted yummy!

What word sums up your week? Come and see what everyone else has been up to this week.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Garden: A Fun-Filled Space For Kids Of Every Age

Your garden can be a peaceful place full of plants and wildlife, and there's no better way to enjoy the last bit of summer than to get outside in the fresh air. However, if you’ve got kids (little, or grown-up); the garden can provide hours of entertainment and fun. Therefore, it’s worth investing some time and effort in providing an outside space that the whole family can utilise and enjoy; whatever the activity. The following are some ideas for those who want to give their garden a boost and encourage everyone to spend more time outdoors.

Image source:

The Food

Eating al fresco is always a welcome treat and can encourage even the most garden-phobic off the sofa and into the fresh air. Therefore. It’s worth investing in a few items that will make your outdoor meals a delight (whatever the weather). You can start with a classic BBQ; they’re not just for summer and can add that scrumptious, char-grilled flavour to an array of food all year round. Provide adequate shelter, with a canopy or covered patio area, add a patio heater, and start throwing some treats on the hot coals.

You can see the summer out in style with a family get-together; ensure everyone brings something tasty for the barbecue and perhaps a side dish. Or, wait for autumn to set in, before inviting everyone over for bonfire night; get some sparklers in mittened hands and pop some sausages on the BBQ to sizzle away. Your patio heater will provide warmth to the guests, and you’ll all be filling up with tasty barbecued delights. Quality outdoor furniture is also a smart investment, so everyone can be comfortable as they eat.

The Fun

It’s always fun to watch the kids playing in the garden, and perhaps join in yourself, so it’s worth thinking about how you can make your under-used lawn area a great place to hang out. Consider adding a goal net and a football for those who want a kick-about, or you could check out what trampolines are on the market and bring one into your garden for hours of bouncy fun. Fill the shed up with garden games like giant Jenga, bats and balls, and Twister, so that there’s always something to pull out on a good-weather weekend.

For a fun and simple garden game; water sprinklers can be enjoyed by kids (and dogs) during the last few weeks of summer (or during the colder months if you’re feeling brave). Get towels and warm drinks at the ready, switch the hosepipe on and enjoy the giggles and screams.

The Relaxation

You’ll want to chill out after all that food and fun; add a few seating areas to your garden space and add softness with outdoor cushions and throws (you can bring these out from inside). Lie on the lounger in the sun, or sit with a mug of tea on a bench and just breathe in the fresh air and relax in nature. Your garden space should have something for everyone and can be enjoyed all year round, so don’t forget it and get outside!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

5 Tips to Brighten Up Your Kitchen

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it's often the hub of the home. Whether you kitchen is big or small, trendy or old fashioned it's always nice to find ways to make the area brighter and more cheerful. Here are my five tips to brighten up your kitchen.

1. Add Colour

Okay, it might be fashionable to have startling white kitchens these days, although personally I'm not a fan. My kitchen gets way to messy to cope with all white! My kitchen is fairly old fashioned with wooden cupboard doors and black worktops. But whether you like your kitchen stark white or not a touch of colour always brightens things up. I love this worktop saver from Red Candy. I have plenty of chopping boards but I wanted something to protect my worktop where I make my tea and coffee. This saver is perfect and the colour and style is a big hit with my family.

2. Add a picture

My old kitchen was really small and the only place I had pictures would be stuck on my fridge door. Now, I have plenty of wall space and I like to add pictures to break it up. In the dining area I have a board where I pin the kids pictures but in my kitchen I have a few pictures, including a foodie style print, a photo collage and this lovely original piece by my daughter Star which she did when she was 9 yrs old.

3. Update Something Practical

The draining board is officially the most dreaded place in the kitchen. Who likes washing up? Of course having a gorgeous drainer like this one from Red Candy will brighten up your sink area and make washing up more bearable.

4. Add a Rug

Over the years I've had all sorts of flooring in my kitchen from, tiles, to vinyl, wood to carpet. I have to admit, my feet are always more accustomed to a carpet beneath my feet but this is not always practical in the kitchen. So how about adding a rug!

5. Add Something Different

There are lots of unusual kitchen gadgets you can get for the kitchen, from bottle openers to spiralizers. It doesn't have to be something big or expensive to brighten things up and make you smile. Look at this gorgeous little hedgehog zester from Red Candy. I love it! (Although I wouldn't use it to zest a hedgehog.)

In fact Red Candy have plenty of funky, good looking and even practical items for every room in the home.

In what ways do you brighten up your kitchen, do you like a splash of colour?

Disclosure: I was sent some items from Red Candy for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, 21 August 2017

One In A Million

I've just finished reading One In a Million by Jaqui Atkinson

I read it in two days, it was really difficult to put down.

Here is the 'blurb'

Imagine all of your muscles going into spasm, and being unable to move a single part of your body. Imagine being in excruciating pain. Then imagine how it feels when the doctors tell you they don't know what's wrong. And they don't even believe you... It took six years before Jacqui Atkinson was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, a very rare neurological disorder which affects just one in a million people. This is a remarkable story of courage, of faith, and most of all a story of love. This is Jacqui's story. She is one in a million.

I too am One in a Million.

I'm not as bad as Jacqui, she has a very bad case of Jerking Stiff Person Syndrome with PERM.
I do have PERM though so I know that my condition will get worse.

PERM - progressive encephamyelitis with rigidity and myeclonus

It was fascinating reading someone else's story, scary at times, emotional at others. In the end though I felt uplifted. This lovely woman has been through so much but still holds on to life and appreciates every day. She also has a very loving and caring family, despite their own difficulties at times.

I can relate to a lot, I too have painful spasms, but mostly in my legs and lower back. Only recently have I been getting them in my arms hands and upper torso.

I can relate to her ability to sit with her feet straight out. She holds a competition with her doctor and her husband to see how long they can hold their legs up and feet in the air while sitting on a chair. Try it yourself, see how long  you can do it for. When my legs spasm I can do this for up to half an hour.
woman in chair with legs stretched out straight

I think Jacqui's book explains a lot about Stiff Person Syndrome, how difficult it is to get a diagnosis, how people don't believe you about the pain, how people don't understand why you can't move, how people think you are 'putting it on." I think I was lucky, although I did look back in my diary and find a page where I was obviously very upset after visiting my GP as I'd been experiencing pain for quite a while and he didn't believe me. In fact he referred me to a mental health centre. Yes, he thought it was all in my head. However, when I went into hospital and had a paralysing attack right in front of them they did give me thorough testing and keep me in for a couple of weeks until I could walk a little again. I was given a diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis which actually fitted what I was experiencing. It was a year later and after further testing (EMG, NCS and bloods) that I was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome. Most people have to wait a lot longer for a diagnosis.

I related so much to Jacqui's first story of how she felt when she came home from hospital the first time. It's such an emotional period which people don't really understand.

Jacqui has been through a whole range of treatment and finally, after 15 years, she is living her life much better with pain management that suits her and keeps her most severe attacks from happening so frequently. It was really interesting for me to read about the treatments and their affects on her. I know I will face many of these treatments myself at some time. If the money is available and my consultant is understanding. I really hope I can find a treatment that improves my quality of life sooner rather than later. I know there is no cure but I long for days that are free of pain and my being able to walk again, even if it is only between treatments.

I managed to get through to my consultants secretary this week with the help of the hospital's patient liaison team. I got my appointment brought forward by a month, so now I only have a month to wait rather than two. Thanks to reading Jacqui's book I have some questions to ask about treatments. I really want to try IVIG again, but it didn't really make that much improvement apart from give me a little more energy and releasing a little of the stiffness. I do think that with more treatments I might get more relief from my condition, but I've accepted that it's not the miracle I was hoping for before I had my first treatment. I know that's the reason I got so low afterwards, I'd built myself up thinking that I'd be able to walk again afterwards but it didn't happen.

Now, I will face whatever there is to come. There are some fantastic treatments out there, I just need to find the one that suits me best.

If you would like to know more about Stiff Person Syndrome then please visit The Tin Man.

Or please take a look at Jacqui's book on Amazon.

Mummy Times Two
School Runs and Shopping Trolleys

Sunday, 20 August 2017

My Sunday Photo 20th August 2017

two stones from Hanbury hall which look like they have been carved

Yesterday I was sat in my pyjamas at almost noon and I thought...I don't want to stay in today, I want to go out. This is very unusual for me, usually going out involves lots and lots of planning and we hadn't planned anything. But I was feeling okayish and I wanted to do something, to go somewhere. The kids were not so eager though, stuck on their screens, the girls playing Undertales and the boy Minecraft, they were happy were they were, also in their pj's.

I got dressed and had an idea. It was lunch time, lets go out for lunch. I asked the kids were they would like to go and they cried Mc Donalds. Hubby wasn't happy but I wanted to go out and anywhere would do. While in Mc Donalds I decided that I didn't want to go home. I told hubby that I wanted to go somewhere else, in fact, I was quite determined that I wanted to go to Hanbury Hall a National Trust Property. It was only a thirty minute drive away. He agreed but the kids wanted to go home, probably keen to get back on their computer games. I was adamant though, it's not often I feel up to going out and I wasn't going to sit in the house today, so off we went. Star complained bitterly, but after about ten minutes driving she was chatting away with her sister and the complaining forgotten.

We had a lovely afternoon and the kids got to run around in the fresh air. I loved taking it all in and will tell you all about it soon. For now I'm sharing this photo of a rather unusual pair of stones that caught my eye.

I'm so glad I was impulsive, it's something I'm really not these days.

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


Sunday Snap

Friday, 18 August 2017

Word of the Week - Blurry

This week seems to have passed in a blur, you know, one of those weeks when you have no idea what day of the week it actually is. I didn't even realise it was Friday this morning, so I'm writing this post last minute.

Monday we did the food shopping with the kids in tow. Not one of my brightest ideas I admit. I find shopping totally exhausting and the kids find it boring, so it was a recipe for disaster. However, I'd already done half the shopping online so we could skip several aisles and I had reward vouchers that I gave to the kids to spend.

So we set off to our local huge supermarket. The kids chose their gifts pretty quickly, and then we were off. I just wanted to select the fresh produce myself for a change, so our aim was fruit and veg, meat and fish and fresh bread. Of course the kids had to have cakes too. We didn't do too badly, until I came to the checkout. I had a budget, seeing as I'd already done half the shopping online. I nearly died when the tiller asked for nearly twice as much as my budget!! I'm not going to the supermarket again!

My hubby Graham has been spending a couple of days this week helping my brother and sister-in-law with their house move so he's not been around so much. The kids have spent more time on screens that I would like, but I've not had the energy to do much with them. I guess that's why one day has blurred into another.

We did venture out again on Wednesday, to the clinic for Star. We watched a rather informative You Tube video called 'The Poo In You," go on, check it out if you have five minutes. Anyway, the bad news is that Star still has a big problem and we still have a program to stick to, which we are hoping will help.

That's two days out this week, so Thursday left me exhausted and I also felt ill. The smallest illness can have the most drastic effect on my body and the kids have had colds this week so I guess they've passed the germs on to me. Yesterday I spent a lot of time in bed.

Last night was the worst I've had in a long time for spasms but thankfully I didn't fall out of bed. I'm just glad that I finally got through to my consultants secretary this week and managed to get an earlier appointment. My appointment was in October, now it's in September.

Also, this week, I've managed to spruce up my kitchen with some new items, including a new toaster which is much nicer than the last, and I've read a book. My week may seem a little tame in comparison with others but I think I've achieved a lot despite being ill. (More than usual) It's the illness that's blurred one day into the other.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Perfect Outfit for My Man

My husband is also my carer, he has to do so much for me and our small children. I really don't know what I'd do without him. He has to help me with everything from the housework to cooking. I can't do half as much as I used to. He also has to help me by bathing the kids and putting them to bed. I try to help as much as I can but it's really hard for me, especially if it involves going up and down the stairs. He doesn't get much time off to go out so he has converted our shed into his man cave. He has his stereo, guitars and even our old settee in there. He's made it proper cosy and it's where he goes for some time out, and he's still only a shout away if I need him.

Every now and then I like to treat him and this week I had the opportunity to treat him with some new clothes from Jacamo. Here he is posing in front of his man cave...aka the shed!

I chose for him a denim look shirt which I knew he would like. I really like the contrast around the collar and the sleeves. I also chose some blue chinos. He likes the smart casual look. To go even more casual he also has a new polo shirt he can wear with his chinos.

He's always been a big fan of Jacamo, the clothes fit really well and come in a large range of sizes which is perfect if you are extra tall or overweight. The prices are really competitive too and there is lots of choice.

So what do you think of his look?

I think he's happy anyway, the only thing that would make him happier is if someone offered me a guitar to review... as if!

Disclosure: I was sent the clothing in return for my review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Not Today, Today I'm Feeling Blue

Our Summer holiday is half way through, we still have another four weeks to go of this extended holiday. So far we have, had a birthday party, visited relatives by the sea side for a weekend, had another, quieter, birthday lunch and have been out to the shops three times. It doesn't really sound a lot for four weeks does it?
For me it's been exhausting.
It seems that every time I leave the house I need at least two days to recover. Also, we are still having major problems with Star and it's so difficult to get her out.
This is not the summer holiday I wanted. I wanted to make it one they would remember. A really good happy time with lots of fun. I don't know what sort of condition I'll be in next summer as I feel myself getting worse day by day.

I got really upset this last weekend, simply by reading other blogs. It seems that everyone is off on days out, going to festivals, enjoying holidays. Doing the normal things you do during the summer holidays. Doing the sort of things I wanted to do. But my stupid body won't let me.

We had a lovely weekend in Dorset, I really enjoyed the break from routine, the sunshine, the change of scenery and the fact that the kids had a good time. What I didn't enjoy was not being able to get to places, the fair was a nightmare for my wheelchair. I couldn't get on the beach and play with my kids. I wanted to sit in the sand and paddle in the sea. I wanted to run around and play with my kids. I wanted to go over the rocks hunting for  fossils.  Instead I was often left behind on the promenade. I love being by the sea, just taking in the air and the scenery was lovely, but I felt I was kidding myself because I wanted to join in too.

Two people hugging with the text, sometimes when I say I'm okay I need someone to look me in the eyes, hold me tight and say, I know you're not

Every time we plan to go out we have to take into consideration my wheelchair. Will I be able to get around, will there be parking close by for me? If it's outdoors I have to consider the weather, it's an electric chair, too much rain is not good for it. (or me)

Even a simple shopping trip can be difficult. What if there is a missing drop kerb? We went to a shop the other day, the disabled bays outside were full so we had to park in the regular car park. There was no drop kerb so I had to drive along the busy road to a zebra crossing before I could mount the pavement.

We bought a National Trust membership this year, which is great, I've a long list of places to visit. But National Trust properties don't have lifts so I'll never be able to see upstairs. Also, I can't take my powered wheelchair into the properties at all, so I only get to see as much as I can walk with my sticks, which is usually not a lot. If it's a nice day I can get around most of the gardens, until you come to steps. And most gardens have steps.

Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself today. I have been all weekend. I hate that this has happened to me. It doesn't make me feel any better thinking that there are people worse off than me. In fact I feel even worse because I feel so bad for them too.

I'm lucky that I have my lovely, understanding family. But, I don't want their lives restricted just because mine is.

My hopes of a fun filled, memory making summer are slowly drifting away.

But it's not over yet, I need to fight this, I need to turn it around and make things even better. Stop feeling sorry for myself and let my kids enjoy the experiences even if I can't join in.

Just not today.

Dark blue image of man and the sea and the text, Today I'm feeling Blue

Mummy Times Two

Saturday, 12 August 2017

My Sunday Photo

beach huts under an ominous dark cloud.

This photo was taken last Saturday at Charmouth Beach in Dorset. The kids were busy hunting for fossils on the beach and I was on the promenade, unable to get on the beach in my wheelchair.
In front of me was a lovely blue sky and twinkling sunlight on the sea. Then I turned and saw these lovely beach huts. It wasn't until after I'd taken the photo that I noticed the dark clouds, but I think they add even more atmosphere to my photo. 

Thankfully the clouds passed sideways and didn't go over the beach. They also didn't cause any rain where we were.

This next photo is what was in front of me, taken seconds before the one above.

the sea on the Dorset coastline under a blue sky

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


Sunday Snap

Friday, 11 August 2017

Our Weekend Away in Broadchurch AKA Briport, Dorset

Did you watch Broadchurch? I loved it but I never really thought about where it was filmed.
Then, last weekend we went to visit relatives in Bridport, Dorset and stayed a couple of nights.
On the first day my Brother-in-law took us to West Bay which is less than a mile away from his home and instantly I recognised it from Broadchurch. It was quite amusing seeing lots of people stop and take photos of 'Wessex' police station. Of course I had to sneak one in myself.

a photo of the police station that appeared in the drama Broadchurch

And here's one I took of the Jurassic Coastline at West Bay.

the sea, beach and cliff side at West Bay in dorset

The next day the kids went fossil hunting at nearby Charmouth Beach. The beach was too rocky for me so I had to be content with sitting on the promenade being calmed by the sea and enjoying the sunshine.  It was a real strange day weather wise. When we arrived it was raining so hard we couldn't get out of the car, but once the rain cloud passed we had lovely sunshine! A couple more dark clouds passed by but we didn't have anymore rain.

The sea lapping against a sandy beach and lots of big rocks

After lunch we went to visit Lyme Regis, a seaside town I'd not visited before. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the kids quickly changed into their costumes and went paddling in the sea and were building sandcastle on the beach.

The beach full of holiday makers, the sea and a lovely blue summer sky

Once again I was stranded on the promenade but my longing to tip my toes in the sea got the better of me and it was so close I thought I could make it. I asked my hubby to hold me and I hobbled barefoot across the sand to the water and paddled. It was amazing! It was also very cold and sent my feet and legs into spasm so walking back was incredibly painful and I couldn't get back up the step to the promenade and hubby had to ask a stranger to help lift me. It was so worth it though.

On the evening we had a lovely BBQ in our relatives back garden while the kids played on the trampoline. It was such a lovely weekend and our relatives were amazing hosts.

The next day we made our way home and decided to stop off at Weston-Super-Mare for lunch at a beach side cafe.

We love Dorset so much we are planning on returning next year for a whole week.

Country Kids

Word of the Week - Growing

This week we had the second of our little ones birthday's.
My Little Man, my baby, turned seven years old!
My babies are all growing up. In just two weeks it will be Star's 12th birthday. So I will have a seven, a ten and a twelve year old. Definitely not babies!

I talked with the Little Man earlier this year and he said he was happy not to have a birthday party. After Boo's manic day I was really happy we'd come to this decision. I still wanted to make the day special for him though so I invited my friend and her two children over for a party type lunch. We had sandwiches and chicken dippers, crisps and chocolate bars. (Totally unhealthy which is how birthday spreads should be.)

And of course we had cake!

He went for Minecraft again, last years cake had a minecraft sword in it. This one was quite therapeutic to make. I'll have to invest in a roller cutter though, I cut out all those pieces individually!

For anyone not knowing about Minecraft, this is Stampy Longnose one of the characters and he's made up of pixels, which is why he is made with squares.

After the party lunch the children played lovely together for over an hour. Then on the evening the Little Man's grown up brother and sister played Mario Party with him which made him so happy. 

Before he went to bed I said to him,
"I'm sure you've grown bigger today" and he replied,
"yes, I've grown bigger which means my brain has got bigger too and I'm more intelligent."

I love my Little Man.
I love all my children and it scares me how quick they grow, but on the other hand, I'm so happy to have this time with them and I really hope and pray that I have long enough to see them grow even bigger.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Five Tip Tips for Outdoor Fun with the Entertainer

Do your kids play outside enough?
I do worry that mine spend too much time indoors, especially my illness not allowing us to go out to places as frequently as I would like. We do have a back garden though and I've tried to make it as fun as possible for the kids. We had a swing set that we've had for ages but the kids still love it. We also have a slide which they play on..who needs to go to the park? We also like outdoor toys like bats and balls to play rounders. We received a Phlat Ball from The Entertainer and it's really good fun.

The Phlat Ball is like a Frisbee but when you throw it, it turns into a ball. It can pop open at any time so there are many games to play. The kids think it's great fun.

Here are some top tips that Katie Gritt from the Entertainer has put together to entice children to play outside.

Make Outdoor Games a Hit

Make it ‘sound’ fun!
‘Going for a walk’ can feel like more of a chore to kids but telling them it’s an ‘adventure walk’ can be more enticing.  Take a ball or Frisbee with you so you can stop along the way for a game or make a nature treasure hunt map before heading out.

On your bike!
Give your bike or scooter ride a purpose and make the destination more fun – heading to the park for a session on the swings or stopping for an ice cream makes the cycle more rewarding!

Set them a challenge.
Help give them something to work towards and test themselves.  See how many laps they can do on their bike or scooter, how many times can they catch the ball in one minute or set up a target for water blasters.

Let them play on their own.
While it’s good to play with your children, it’s also beneficial for them to learn how to have fun independently.  Give them an idea to get them started if they need it, such as ‘what can you build in the sand’ or asking them to make up a story about the toy they are playing with and you’ll be amazed at what they manage to come up with. 

Invite their friends.
Older children in particular will be much more excited about playing outside if their friends are there.  Set up games such as Frisbee or Snap It or for those really hot days – have a water fight!  
Whether you’re out in the garden, heading off to the park or camping for the weekend, The Entertainer has a huge range of toys for all ages that will have them riding and splashing around and are guaranteed to keep the kids happy and entertained this summer. 

We love going for walks in Autumn to collect leaves and pine cones to make decorations. Even now the kids are older they have a passion for collecting things while out walking, sticks in particular.

My kids love to play with the neighbourhood kids on their bikes and scooters. Thankfully we live in a small cul-de-sac so there are not many cars around.

I often let them play alone, they have amazing imaginations and make up some fantastic games that keep them occupied for hours. There is no need to plan everything.

It's guaranteed that as soon as any friends turn up then they are off into the garden!

The slightest bit of sunshine and they are wanting their paddling pool filled up, we even add a little bubble bath to keep them clean, haha!

Have you any good tips to get the kids outside?

Disclosure: tips provided by The Entertainer.


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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