Friday, 20 October 2017

Word of the Week - Frustration

Despite my hopes and wishes the infusions I received last week have not worked. Not only that but I've had the most horrendous side effects and I have decided to not have the treatment again.
I'm feeling frustrated that my treatment hasn't worked and that I still can't do anything.

I'm frustrated with my son's school teacher. He's been having problems at school for weeks now. He was being bullied by two class members, they were actually punching and kicking him. The teacher said she has resolved this but my son's mood hasn't improved so I'm sure something else is going on. Every day he comes home and states that he's been in trouble and has had a caution. The teacher told him off for fiddling with his fingers!! He's also being constantly in trouble for disrupting the class, when he swears he only does it because the other kids won't leave him alone. Something is going on and I need to get to the bottom of it. Which brings me to my next frustration. Despite calling the school and asking for meeting to discuss his problems they have still not arranged an appointment for me and it's half term next week.

I'm also frustrated at home because nothing seems to ever get done. The housework is never up to my standards, but when I try to do more I make myself sicker. I look around and think, that needs doing, and that needs doing, but I can't physically do it. I can ask others to do it but that's not the point, I want to do it myself. It seems that no-one else sees it as a problem like I do and there is no rush to get things done, but I want to keep on top of things. I want to do it the way I used to. Can you hear my frustration?

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Space Craft Book - Review and Give Away

This is ground control to Major Tom, are you ready for lift off? You will be after working your way through this fabulous book, The Space Craft Book.

Author : Laura Minter and Tia Williams
ISBN13 : 9781784943653
Binding : Booklet
Pages : 64
Photographs : 170 photographs
Series Title : Little Button Diaries
Publication Date: November 2017

The GMC Group have kindly offered to give away three copies of this book to my readers, aren't you lucky! Read on for my review and fill in the widget below to enter the give away.

First Impressions

I have reviewed a book from The Little Button Diaries before, it was all about Pirates. We had lots of fun trying out the crafts, especially the cake. I knew straight away that The Little Man would love this Space Craft Book but I didn't realise just how excited he would be. He wants me to make absolutely everything in it! Starting with the Walkie Talkies, after all, you need to keep in contact when you are in space. 

We love the bright colourful photos and the easy to follow instructions. There are crafts for all sorts of abilities, from the novice to the more experienced. There are even instructions for party food and a lovely recipe for a Moon Cake.

The Blurb

5...4...3...2...1... blast off! Create awesome space accessories for mini astronauts to pay with.
The sky's the limit with this inspiring craft book, which contains 15 easy-to-make projects for budding space explorers. With clear step-by-step pictures and handy templates, there are also ideas for a space party and instructions on how to build your very own rocket den,  ready for intergalactic missions to explore unknown universes! 

Our Verdict

The Little Man has already given me his list of everything he wants me to make and I'm collecting all the materials. It should be noted, though, that these crafts are mainly for parents to make for their children, rather than children making them themselves. Any child would be thrilled with the crafts though so it's worth it and they will get lots of play from them.
You can purchase the book from GMCGroup for £5.99


If your handy with a pair of scissors and want to make your little astronaut happy then please enter my give away to win one of three copies of The Space Craft Book. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

1. UK only (sorry)
2. Giveaway closes  21st November 2017
3. Entries will be validated according to the rules of entry
4. There are 3 prizes of The Space Craft Book
5. The data of anyone that enters won’t be passed on to any third parties or used for any unsolicited marketing communications.
6. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook or any other social media.
7. The winners will be randomly chosen, and will be shown on this post, with further notifications may be shared on social media.
8. The winners will be notified via email, and will need to respond within 4 weeks otherwise a further winner will be drawn.
9. Prize will be sent out after receiving e-mail details via the supplier.
10.If the prize is not available an alternative may be sent of the same value.
11. There is no obligation to enter all parts of the widget to be accepted into the draw

Laura's Lovely Blog

Sunday, 15 October 2017

My Sunday Photo - 15th October 2017

Autumn trees and two squirrels scuttling along a garden fence

I  have often complained about the view from my window. Nothing wants to grow, every attempt so far at cheering it up has resulted in disaster. Maybe I should give up on the flowers and plants and paint the fence bright rainbow colours?

In my old home we had a brick wall at the bottom of the garden and one summer day I gave the kids all the tins of leftover paint I had and gave them free range to decorate the wall. The effect was lovely and it lasted many years. Even when my kids were adults you could still see their art work, faded but no less beautiful.

I wanted to paint the shed (otherwise known as my hubbies man cave.) I envisioned it in light green and then plant pots attached along the side. The shed is the main view from my chair and I'd love it to look prettier. On my worst days when I barely leave my seat, it would be so nice to see something other than a plain shed!

Anyway, I'm digressing and I've not told you about my photo. I like to take photos of the trees at the bottom of my garden. I call them my trees, but they are not really, they line the canal at the back of my house. I love to watch them change colour in the Autumn, lose their foliage in the Winter and then see it grow again in the Spring to full bloom in the Summer. They give us lots of visitors, usually birds. There are owls in there too and we can hear their 'conversation.' On a summer evening if you stand still and quiet in the garden, you may be joined by bats. The past week or two though we have been visited quite regularly by these two squirrels. They are very brave and come right up to my door. I'm pretty sure they have hidden some of their nut supply in my garden as they keep visiting over and over, despite my cats.

I wasn't actually taking a photo of the squirrels, as I said before, I like to take photos of the trees and I just caught the squirrels by chance, scuttling away because I'd opened the back door.

I hope they have all they need now to keep them warm and well fed over the winter.

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, 13 October 2017

Word of the Week - Infusions

This week has been mostly about going to the hospital every day to receive my intravenous infusion of immunoglobulin.
Each day I have been hooked up for three to four hours and sitting in a reclining chair on a ward with mostly Multiple Sclerosis patients.
When you receive these infusions you get to see familiar faces and make new friends. I probably won't see them outside of hospital but it's always nice to catch up with someone you've seen before. Some patients are there every month, some only once a year, everyone is different and of different ability. Some walk in as if there is nothing wrong with them. Some look really sick. Some can walk, some can't. But we all have something in common, we rely on these infusions to keep going on with our lives.

The infusion I get, Immunoglobulin, is plasma taken from blood donors. It contains anti-bodies which can help conditions like mine along with other auto-immune conditions.

Today is my last day and I probably won't be back until January for my next session. So far I am not doing to bad, the side effects seem less this time and I already feel like I have more energy. Last night I was feeling like I could do anything, but when I walked it still felt like I was walking through treacle. Still, even if my walking is really slow, if I do have more energy I can walk further than before, fingers crossed. I'm not sure how long the effects will last. Come on little anti-bodies, I believe in you!

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Looking After Your AGA This Winter

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It’s that special time of year – the time you fire up the AGA after a lazy summer. You may well have missed it over the summer period, as it’s so handy for drying clothes and making slow stews, so it can be exciting and some compensation for the longer nights and cold mornings.

The only problem is that your AGA will have gone from being dormant to being in demand and this means it needs the right care and treatment. From finding the right cheaphome heating oil provider to having a full service towards the end of summer, it’s important to start autumn with your AGA at the top of its game.

Monitor your heating oil levels
AGAs are designed to be in constant use, so if the oil levels run low, you run the risk of introducing air into the system, which means an airlock, which in turn shuts off the system entirely. This is a major hassle. You may have topped up your kerosene levels at the end of the summer, but you sometimes use more oil than you realise and you can find yourself dangerously low if you don’t keep an eye on your consumption. You can install oil level monitors, as well as sensors which alert you if your levels drop suddenly, which could indicate theft. There’s even an app for it…

Use the most appropriate products
By using cooker kerosene, you’ll eventually see the benefits over using the cheaper standard fuel. Standard kerosene can clog up your inlets which means annoyingly frequent services and fixes, as well as more downtime. Cooker kerosene also offers a lower char value for a better burn, as well as preventing the development of deposits and slowing down the corrosion of the tank.

Using fuel additives also helps to prevent the formation of tank sludge and rust; they help the AGA to run more smoothly and are relatively inexpensive – certainly much less money than those extra engineer call-outs.

You still need your engineer, though
You must get your AGA serviced at least once a year by a qualified technician as this improves safety and helps to prevent breakdowns. The best times to book a service are at the end of spring and the beginning of autumn just before you crank it up again. This minimises the risk of a breakdown during the coldest week of the year…

Don’t let it get out of shape
AGAs are meant to run all year round, but many people turn them off in the summer to save oil and money. This is fair enough, but you can’t let your AGA lie dormant for the entire period – run it every couple of weeks for a few hours to prevent airlocks and other problems. It’s also good for spotting problems before the cold sets in.

Clean your AGA regularly
You must clean your AGA regularly to get the best performance. Clean as you cook, as this helps to prevent the formation of hard carbon deposits that get in the way of efficient cooking. There are AGA-specific cleaning products, but for everyday cleaning, a wipe-over with a damp cloth is all you’ll need.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

Monday, 9 October 2017

Preparing for a Miracle

I wrote a blog post and my daughter, Boo, leaned over my shoulder and I was horrified. I told her to go away and not to read what I was writing over my shoulder, I said she was rude.

I made her cry.

I comforted her and then read back what I'd written. I'd poured out my deepest feelings and they were horrible. No wonder I didn't want her to see.

Have you ever sat at a keyboard and just written everything down, all your feelings, all that's wrong with life?

It's not a bad thing to do, it does help to get those feelings out. But sometimes it's just not right to share them and my reaction to Boo made me realise that. So I apologised to Boo, gave her a big hug and all was right with her. If only life was that easy to fix!

Then I decided to take a positive turn and starting looking up miracles. Oh yes, that's what I need. forget winning the lottery, I need a miracle. I need to get well so I can fix everything else. Sometimes I think that I got sick because I spent so long trying to fix things, sometimes I think I burnt myself out. Stress and stress and more stress trying to be here and there and solving everyone's problems, carrying everyone's burdens. Then to see a family member drop down in front of me and never get up again. Maybe that was just too much. Maybe that pushed me over the edge and my body decided to start attacking itself?

But, if I had  a miracle, a cure for myself, then that would prove that I could do anything wouldn't it? All with the hindsight that looking after myself is most important.

So, as I said, I started looking up miracles and I came across Jordan Bach. A little research made me think he was slightly bonkers, you know, the sort of person that oozes so much positivity that they must be a complete depressive zombie in their own world. (oh, hang on, no, that's me.) No, Jordan Bach does have some great resources if you are feeling down.

Here is what Jordan Bach says about Miracles.


There are 2 important steps to manifest what you want:
1) Create a channel through which the miracle can flow. You can't have the miracle just by wishing for it. You have to stretch yourself: send out the resumé, make the phone calls, and put up the website.
2) Prepare to receive that which you want. Align your energy with abundance, not lack. Affirm, "This or something better is on its way to me." The perfect mental vibration to hold is gratitude for what you already have and excitement for what is to come.

So, my miracle is a little more than something I can just wish for or plan for, I definitely can't stretch myself (ok, that's a personal joke, I have stiff person syndrome, my muscles are stiff and stretching is something I cannot physically do!) I can prepare myself though. Instead of thinking this treatment didn't work last time and it's not going to work again, I can think, this treatment didn't work last time but that doesn't mean it wont work this time. Just a tiny little difference in the way of thinking can create the channel for a better outcome.

I know this. I have a degree in psychology. I know how positive thinking is real and can have very real affects. Start the day on a positive note and you are more able to deal with whatever the day throws at you. I have practised this for so long.

I have young children, what could be a more stressful start to the day when you have to get them up and ready for school on time. Even when completely planned, clothes ready, bags ready, even breakfast bowls set up, you can't account for the odd tantrum or refusal to get dressed.

If you react with anger then the kids will go to school miserable and you will feel guilty.

If you react calmly and positively, count every blessing (she put her socks on all by herself today) and get on with the stressful times (cuddle the tantrum thrower and tell them everything will be okay) then everyone's day will be more positive and happy.

It's simple, yet sometimes so difficult.

Today, I am pushing my problems to the back of my mind. I am going to the hospital feeling positive. I'm going to receive my infusion with gratitude. I know it costs the NHS around £450 per infusion and I will be having five of them, that's just the cost of the infusion, never mind how much it costs the hospital to treat me. It's mind blowing and I'm so utterly grateful for the NHS.

Each day I will expect my miracle and at the end I won't get depressed like before. If my miracle doesn't arrive then I will look for it elsewhere. It has to come eventually.

miracles only happen if you believe in miracles

School Runs and Shopping Trolleys

Debs Random Writings

Reflections From Me
Lucy At Home

W7 Eye Palette Review and Competition

I'm no expert when it comes to make-up, in fact it took me a while to stop my make-up habits first developed circa 1982. Jackie Magazine was my inspiration, it was hard work getting my fine, thin hair looking as full as this! The blusher application was a talent in itself.

I do love a more natural look now though, and when I get dressed up I will go for a smokey eyed look rather than full on colour. So I was thrilled when I was sent this W7 Smokin' eye palette from Free Stuff.

As you can see, the palette contains 12 eye shadows with shades of greys, browns and nudes. There is also a choice of matt or shimmer shades. It's perfect for carrying you from day to night by adding a little sparkle. The palette is a sturdy tin so it will stay safe in your bag and there is also a handy applicator and brush supplied. The shades are crease free and provide great coverage and they are perfect for a smokey look.
How do you fancy the chance of winning one of ten W7 Eye Shadow Palettes for yourself? 

Just follow the Link to enter;

Terms and Conditions:

This competition ends on the 1st December 2017

By entering you agree to sign up to WOW FreeStuff Newsletter

Must be over 18 and based in the UK 

Good Luck!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

My Sunday Photo 8th October 2017

I've seen these little Christmas pudding chocolate orange holders on Pinterest for a while now and I really wanted to have a go at making one. Well, I thought they would make nice stocking fillers for Christmas, a nice handmade gift along with a chocolate treat!

So I went searching for a pattern, but being a skinflint I wanted one for free. I found just one and I knew I needed to be wary when the first line of the post said 'I've never written a pattern before.' When I finished my masterpiece it wasn't big enough to fit an satsuma, never mind a chocolate orange.

I thought, well, how hard can this be really? (Yes, that thought did come after a disastrous attempt the irony is not lost on me.) But, while I'd been following the 'pattern' it did occur to me that this crocheter was not used to making amigurumi like I was, she was not really crocheting a round, but more using the same method you'd use for turning a line. (sorry if I'm getting technical, I'm not even sure what I'm on about myself!) Anyway, I have crocheted many circles now so I'm sure I could make one to fit a chocolate orange. So I gave it a go. And look! I did it! And it doesn't look too bad for a first attempt does it. The little red berry is actually a button and you can undo it to make the pudding cosy big enough to put the orange in, or take it out of course. I even made up the leaves myself, although they are not identical. 

I can't wait to get started on making another one, and this time I'm going to write down what I'm doing, just in case I forget in the future. 

And, I've only been able to crochet for 30 years!
Okay, I learned how to crochet when I was expecting my first born. I made him a blanket which was not too bad. Then I made a little sweater, which was awful. I didn't pick up a hook again until a few months ago. Since then I've been making little amigurumi toys just for fun. 
Do you crochet?

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, 6 October 2017

What Happened When I Decided to Send my Cats to Cat College

I have two cats and although they are getting on a bit I wondered whether you could teach an old cat new tricks.

Salem and Sabrina came to join us nearly 10 years ago as kittens, and we got them from an old lady. Their mum was a ginger cat and their dad was black. So although both cats are black and white, when the sun shines you can see a ginger tinge in their fur. The very first thing they learned was how to gobble up their favourite kitten food. Then they soon learned many other tricks, like escaping from the garden and climbing up the curtains.

They both have very different characters so I wondered how they would get on in Cat College. What is Cat college? I hear you ask (go on ask!) Well, it's just something I set up for a bit of fun and wanted to share with you.

The first class was;


We gave the cats a box and asked them to build something. Pretty easy task don't you think? The kids would have turned it into a fantastic castle, or dolls house. But the cats? Well, lets see how they got on.

First up is Sabrina who decided that the box made a perfect podium. Who needs to construct something when you can just sit on it? Or maybe she's learning how to address her followers, we could have a future catminister on our hands.

Then there was Salem, who constructed....a bed!

Board Games

Board games are important for interaction and learning. They are also fun, and cats like fun don't they?
Well, Salem seemed to think the board games were lots of fun.

But on closer inspection we can see......

That he's actually sleeping in the box. Is he ever going to change?


Dogs can learn to obey commands but can cats? Well, I've been teaching Sabrina to fetch my slippers for me.

Well done girl! (what do you mean, the photo is staged, I can't help it if she decided to sit next to my slippers!) 


After all that work you would think that I'd let them off with homework, but no, they need to keep notes of everything they have learnt and Sabrina was keen to get started.

Look how attentive she is!

I give them both an E, for Effort of course!

Well, that's how my cats got on at Cat College, but I wonder how these adorable Kittens will get on at Kitten Kollege?

Warning! cute video coming up!

This post is a collaboration with WHISKAS®, but all thoughts are my own. Check out their website for more information on their cat food and their YouTube channel for fantastic Kitten Kollege videos.

Brand New

Word of the Week - Appointments

This week has been all about appointments.
My eldest son had a GP appointment and an appointment at the bank.
Hubby has a dentist appointment today.
My daughter had her regular appointment with the nurse on Wednesday and while we were there we talked about the Little Man and now he has a referral and an appointment in December. I also have to make him an appointment with the GP to talk about his problems, but that will have to wait for a little while. Don't worry, it's not urgent.

I can't take him next week because my appointment came through for my IVIG which I will be starting next week. I will be going to hospital every day for five to six hours at a time. Lots of reading material will be required then.

I am hoping to make a vlog or two about having IVIG. I say hoping because I'm not feeling very confident about vlogging and who knows if I will ever let them be seen! If anyone has any questions about IVIG (Intraveneous Immuniglobulin) or Stiff Person Syndrome then please let me know and maybe I can answer them.

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Maurice the Unbeastly - Book Review

My kids are fast growing out of picture based books but my Little Man still loves them and I love them because the illustrations are usually delightful.

We were all impressed by the illustrations in this book, Maurice the Unbeastly.

Hardcover: 26 pages
Age Range: 4 - 7 years
Publisher: Sterling (7 Oct. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1454919531
ISBN-13: 978-1454919537
Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 1 x 27.9 cm

As you can see Maurice was a very attractive beast, much to his parents dismay.

So his parents send him off to The Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts.
But, things didn't really go to plan!

The moral of the story is there is nothing wrong with being different, and this is put across brilliantly.
Maurice becomes he hero when the Academy is invaded by a scary creature and soon earns a different but positive place in the Academy. A nice touch is how none of the monsters in the Academy look the same, it's certainly a celebration of being different that young children will relate to.

The story by Amy Dixon is lovely and the illustrations by Karl James Mountford really bring the book to life.
Released on October 7th 2017 you can purchase this hardback book for £12.95.

About the Author:

Amy Dixon is one of seven siblings so the only peace and quiet she got was inside a book. Amy and her husband Rob wrangle their four beasts in Clovis, California where she encourages them on a daily basis to be less beastly.

About the Illustrator:

Karl James Mountford has been drawing, painting and generally making a mess since he was a kid. This hasn't changed much as he's gotten older. Born in Germany, he was brought up in the UK and currently lives in Wales. He and his sketchbooks rarely get a day off.

Disclosure: We were sent this book to review from TheGMCGroup where you can purchase all kinds of lovely books for all ages. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Laura's Lovely Blog

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Great British Bake Off - Chocolate Molten Puddings

This week it was pudding week on The Great British Bake Off. We had steamed puddings for signature bakes, molten chocolate puddings for technical and Trifles for show stopper bakes.
Now my  miserable family are not keen on puddings unless they are chocolate so I didn't have much choice but to go for the molten chocolate puddings for my bake.

The next problem was...there are seven of us and most recipes for individual puddings were for 4 or six. So I had to do some adjusting and my recipe makes seven puddings, made in regular ramekins.

If I'm honest, they were not perfect to look at, but they did pass the taste test.

I added a little white chocolate to the kids puddings, both in the middle and on top. For the adults we had to make do with dark chocolate because the white didn't go very far (or it may have got eaten by a family member when I left it in the fridge!)

molten chocolate pudding

As you can see, the white chocolate in the middle was trying it's best to escape before I took a photo. This was the best of the batch of three, the others had already oozed out. I didn't manage to make a neat job of spooning the white chocolate on the top either. Trust me, these puddings are alive, they ooze, they collapse they fall apart, all before you get the chance of a good shot....but they tasted yummy. I give them 10 for taste and 1 for presentation!

I'm not sure if you can tell by this photo but the sponge was light and fluffy and the inside gooey. Isn't that the objective? Okay, I guess looking nice would be good too.

The other puddings fared even worse for's a minus 4 from me! As soon as I took them out of the ramekins they collapsed as the middle bit oozed out. Too much chocolate maybe? I think they might have needed a little more cooking. I was under the impression that they had to be served straight from the oven, which I'm sure contributed to them breaking up.

Here is my recipe (if you want it!)


  • 200g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g white chocolate (if adding)
  • 5 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75gg self raising flour
  • tbs of cocoa powder.


  • Melt the dark chocolate and butter in bowl over a pan of hot water. (or carefully in the microwave) set aside to cool
  • in a large bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and light
  • fold the chocolate into the egg mixture
  • add the flour and cocoa powder and fold in
  • grease 7 ramekin moulds
  • divide the mixture between the moulds place on a baking tray. If adding white chocolate put a chunk into the top of the mixture, no need to push it in as it will sink while baking.
  • bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/gas mark 4 for 10 - 12 minutes
  • when baked, loosen the puddings and turn out carefully onto serving plates.
Serve them with cream or melted white chocolate sauce.

Mummy Mishaps

Sunday, 1 October 2017

My Sunday Photo 1st October 2017

black and white cat on a box

Why do Cats love boxes so much?

Say hello to my Cat Sabrina, first to find the abandoned parcel box. She jumped on it and scratched it, then curled up.

My other cat, Salem, wasted no time at all though as he crawled inside and went to straight to sleep.

I don't know why cat's love boxes so much but who needs cat toys, or even cat beds? Not my two that's for sure.

black and white cat in a box

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

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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