Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Chalkola Review and Give Away, plus discount code.

We were really thrilled to be sent some Chalkola pens to review and couldn't wait to get started with them.

Chalkola wet erase markers are bright, bold and versatile and can be used on so many things like, ceramic, glass, mirrors, chalk board, tiles, metal and plastic. They are great for all sorts of arts and crafts and are useful as well as fun. I'm so pleased to be able to give away a pack of 21 Chalk markers including 5 metallic colours. Please see the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post for your chance to win. Also, read on for a fantastic 15% off offer code to use on Chalkola products on Amazon.

Chalk markers need to be used on non porous surfaces as porous ones will absorb ink and leave ghosting. They are Eco friendly, non toxic, xlyene free and odour free. They are great for kids and adults alike.

As it's nearly Valentines Day we decided to start with some Valentine Heart Messages.

Valentines Heart Messages.

What you need.

tin foil
Chalkola pens

What you do.

Cut out two hearts the same size from your card.

Cover one of your hearts with a piece of tin foil slightly larger than the heart.

Glue the other heart on the back.

Decorate with the pens.

Glass Decoration

For our next activity we used some old glass coffee jars and Gu jars that we had stored away and decorated them with the pens.

Chalkboard Messages

I purchased some chalkboards off Amazon and the kids had fun decorating them. We were lucky that these ones were not porous and the ink was easily washed off to use again and again.

As you can see these chalkboard markers are so versatile and have many uses. You can keep your designs or simply wipe them away and start all over again. To find out more about Chalkola Markers and their uses please visit the Chalkola Website

I've been given a 15% discount code for my readers to use when purchasing Chalkola Chalk Markers.

Use code: 15OFFSTR on Amazon for any Chalkola products.

We've had so much fun with our pens and we are sure you'd love them too. So here is a chance to win a pack of 15 chalk markers and 5 metallic markers worth £16.90, just by filling in the widget.

First a few rules:
Open to Uk only
Entry will be picked at random after closing date
Prize will be sent out by Chalkola

a Rafflecopter giveaway
We're going on an adventure

Monday, 30 January 2017

Life is a Story.

We were invited into the school this week to take part in a Chinese New Year workshop. I really love that the school does these workshops and I love going in to spend some time with my children at school. I  remember many years ago that my mum came into school to help with the costumes and decorations for a school play. I was only about 9 years old and I loved having her there in school with me. Hopefully my children will remember me being in school with them when they grow old.

Boo's teacher is off school at the moment so she had a supply teacher who I had not met before. She thought I was Boo's grandma!! To be really honest, how can I be upset. I am old enough to be her grandmother, I have children old enough to be her parents. I guess it's one of those things when you have children later in life, on one hand they make you feel younger, on the other they make you feel so much older.

Then you have to take into consideration of my appearance. I can't walk properly and although I didn't use my wheelchair this time, I was walking with sticks. Also, I've had to change my wardrobe because my skin hurts and I can't wear tight clothes anymore. I generally wear dresses for comfort and ease. My jeans have been ditched!
Admit it! I look like an old lady!

old lady cartoon figure

Suddenly my perspective on life is changing. A couple off years ago I had so much trouble coming to terms with reaching fifty. I mean, it seems so old doesn't it FIFTY. Middle aged, the golden years, OLD!! Of course once I turned fifty and didn't feel any different I just carried on regardless, it wasn't so bad.

Then I got sick and my mobility was affected. Sick and disabled and fifty! 

I find now that looking back over the past makes me feel like I've been on this earth such a long time. My memories go back such a long way, my childhood so far far away. But the memories are there and they are so precious. I wonder, if as I get older, my memories will become confused? Maybe I'll start mixing up memories of my older children with that of my younger ones. 

Memories are important, no matter what age. You need to keep making them as happy and as memorable as you can. Life is short, fill it up, enjoy it, don't wallow, get out there, make your story a good one. 

if you don't turn your life into a story

I've been so low this year thinking about the future and if I actually have one. It's hard living with a disability, especially one that appears overnight and takes everything away. I had to learn to walk again from scratch, and now even a year later my body refusing to respond properly. It's difficult looking to the future, I don't know what is going to happen to me but I know it's only going to get worse. I wanted to be around to watch my younger children grow up, I want to be a part of their entire childhood and maybe achieve my dream of becoming a grandma for real one day.

Instead of looking forward I've spent some time looking back and the memories are what keeps me going. I don't have parents any more but I have so many happy, lovely memories. My Dad passed away when I was very young but I still remember him taking me to the bluebell woods, or the brook in the park where I could paddle in the water.

My mum passed away 8 years ago but it doesn't seem that long. I can always pull a memory of my mum from my mind. Dancing at family parties, going to the tulip festival, having fun on the beach on our many big family holidays. We once pitched our huge frame tent on a field in Weymouth only to find the next day that our 'plot' was water logged. so mum came up with a great idea, instead of taking the tent apart again to move it, we could all get inside, grab a pole and 'walk' the tent up the field. It worked, but it was hilarious, especially from the outside seeing this huge tent sprout legs and walk up a field.

I have made many memories for my older children, I'm sure they will remember them and me in years to come. I also plan to continue making memories for my younger ones, for as long as I can.

My story will be a good one to remember, I'll make sure of that.

Debs Random Writings


Sunday, 29 January 2017

My Sunday Photo - 29th January 2017

This week it was my eldest son's birthday, we dropped the little ones off at their nanny's and went out for a 'grown-up' meal.

The place of choice was Myako Teppanyaki where the food is cooked right in front of you. It was really entertaining evening, the waiter told us everything he was doing, made jokes, played music with his cooking tools and even managed a few games with the guests around the table, like egg shell golf. Of course, he also set the cooking area alight which is what you can see in my photo. Whoosh, right in front of us, at least three times.

The food was fresh, tasty and with very little additions. Here you can see the chef cooking up our fish dishes including the lobster shells which he was calling baby crocodiles.

It was good watching him cook and my mouth was watering to get stuck in.

Dessert was dessert, you didn't get a choice. Normally, while out, I'd go for the most decadent of desserts, with plenty of chocolate. However, this ice cream with fruit and mango sauce was a perfect way to end the meal, and it left me happy as well as knowing I'd not just added a couple of inches to my waistline.


Sunday Snap

Friday, 27 January 2017

Dreams - Word of the Week

I wasn't sure whether my word should be dreams or nightmares!

I'm taking medication that gives me the most weird and lucid dreams. Then on top of that I'm on a high dose of steroids which also affect my sleeping patterns. This means night time has become rather strange and disturbed.

Let me try to describe a couple of the dreams I've had this week.

I was lying on a cold floor in a dark cellar, there was barely any light but I could see a dark shadow across the room. The shadow came closer and started to cover me. I felt I could barely breathe and my body became stiff. I woke up and I was in a complete body spasm from my ribs to my toes. My legs were actually risen off the bed I was so stiff. I was terrified, but I knew I had to calm down because my breathing was becoming strained. Thankfully I did manage to cam myself with breathing techniques and eventually my body followed releasing me from the spasm.

This one is a little weirder and I don't remember it very clearly. I don't know how or why but I was sharing a very large bed with several women, we were all together for some kind of sleep experiment. The bed was very lumpy and I complained that if the woman next to me could just move over a little then I 'd be able to get comfortable. The women next to me began arguing that I wanted special treatment because I was disabled and really started to have a go at me. I woke up feeling quite sad.

I always wake up from a weird dream and then I find it really hard to go back to sleep again. The dreams that imitate my illness are the worst, but I still have nice dreams too, they are just harder to remember. The dreams stick around in my mind all day and I guess they have dominated my week.

Edit: Last night I remember two dreams, In one I was diving off a very high building with a parachute. I remember waiting to jump and not feeling scared, but I don't remember actually jumping. In the other dream I won a family holiday to Florida! Only I couldn't tell anyone because I knew I wouldn't be able to get travel insurance. (I guess this is something that has been on my mind recently and just turned up in a dream.)

I'd love to hear about your dreams too.

The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

What's the Last Thing My Child Needed?

I've been asked to think about what the last thing my child needed. Well, I do have three young children and they are always needing things. Generally, it's food, or comfort or just attention. It's only natural to want to provide for your child and give them whatever they need to grow into adults and find their way in the world.

My children rely on me to provide their food. It's not a hard thing to do, each week I go shopping and fill the cupboards and fridge with the things we need.Then I prepare and cook their food for them.

In Zimbabwe, drought means that there are very little crops and food to feed the families. Old fashioned farming methods did not help them either. World Vision helped to provide them with Cattle which in turn gives them fertilizer as well as meat and milk. Not relying on the rain so much has helped to feed many families. 

My children need to go to school. It's important for them to get an education and have hope for their future. They are lucky that they have good schools to attend with lots of learning resources. They may complain sometimes and even want to stay at home, but they know that they need to learn. They would be lost without their school and all their friends and really just the chance to be children and do what children do.

In Lidita, Ethiopia, the children had to go to work to support their families.There was poor sanitation and lots of disease. Now, there are schools well equipped and the children can stay at school while the parents have been helped to set up business and sanitation has been improved. With lots of thanks to World Vision.

But the time when I know my children really need me is when they wake at night, maybe after a bad dream or feeling unwell. No matter how big they get still need a cuddle and reassurance that everything is going to be okay. All through life they will be my children and I will be there to support and love them unconditionally. We are so lucky we live in a world where there is peace and understanding. Were there are droughts or violence and war. Where we have clean water and bathrooms and food on the table. Even when times get rough with illness or money worries, we cannot compare to the suffering of other's in Third World or war torn countries.

We spend a lot caring for our children's needs but could we also go a little further and Sponsor a Child With World Vision.

If you would like to know more about World Vision Child Sponsorship or help promote the campaign please visit the Blog For #OURKIDSWV Child Sponsorship Campaign page and get involved.

3 Little Buttons

Monday, 23 January 2017

Being Human

What is normal?

I often think that why can't my life be normal, where did things go wrong?

I don't talk much about my older children but they had a fairly normal younger childhood, their older years where a little different with me splitting from their dad and lots of other horrible stuff going on. They grew up with my friends two children who are almost exactly the same age as them. When my friends lad's hit the teenage years they went off the rails a bit, drinking, joining gangs, getting into trouble. I was so grateful that my kids were not like that, I felt lucky. Now, those boys are settled with babies and living a fairly normal life. It's not the same for my kids, My daughter has a really good job and works longs hours, I guess it's okay these days to not be settled with kids by the time you reach thirty so I'm not so bothered. My son however, is very different. He's different anyway and he can't help that but I do worry that his life is not normal. I talked to others that were like him and the biggest advice they gave me was to leave him alone. He's dealing with life the way he knows how and if I interfere I could make him really unhappy. So his normal is his happy. If he doesn't seem happy I will step in, but otherwise I have to accept it.

Life is not normal for my younger children who are having to grow up with a disabled mum. I went into school just before Christmas for a workshop with my Little Man, he introduced me to his class  "This is my mum, she's disabled."
Why can't I be normal, why can't I be like the other mums?

I know it's tough for them, they are no strangers to hospitals, they have to deal with me being in a wheelchair, they know I can't do the things I used to do. They do not have a normal life.

Or do they? I can still play with them, read with them, make things with them and we still all bake together. I can still do normal things and I try to do them as often as I can. We still go out to places, eat out, go to the park. It may take a little more planning but we still do it.

Then there is Star! She also has disabilities and we have to deal with them as a family. Again, no strangers to hospitals! The school she goes to is fantastic, they have ways of dealing with the anxieties of children like Star without singling them out as different. They try to make school normal for them. And most of the time it works, Star is happy at school. Not all the time, but mostly, which is like most kids anyway isn't it? It's normal.

We live in house where we have to keep the noise down, unless there is a tantrum going off. We have arguments, we have things that are really not nice to deal with, but we get on with it. Sometimes we feel like we are living under a time bomb and when it goes off everything goes crazy. Sometimes we feel normal like any other family. We learn to adapt and cope with the idiosyncrasies of our family. Sometimes it feels like there are too many people in our house, sometimes it feels good to be a big family.

Are we normal? We have a lot to deal with, it can be really difficult but we do it. No two families are the same, everyone is different, it doesn't make one family more normal than any other. We are all human.

we may not be normal but we are human

Debs Random Writings

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Danny Dingle's Fantastic Finds, The Metal Mobile - review and competition

We were asked to review this book from Boolino and also tell you about a fantastic give away.

To stand a chance of winning one of 500 copies of Danny Dingle's Fantastic Finds by Angie Lake, all you have to do its register here. http://www.dannydingles-fantastic-finds.co.uk/ If you are not one of the lucky ones everyone who registers gets a free mega activity pack to download!!

But don't rush off just yet, let me tell you about the book.

 First Impressions

This book is simply fun from the start, the lovely bright blue tactile cover and the blue bleed onto the edges of the pages is simply stunning. The line illustrations take me back to the fun of traditional comics that I enjoyed as a child. The book is lightweight paper back and perfect for fitting into a school bag or travel bag.

The Story

It begins by telling you not to read it, don't turn the page or the book will explode. Will you believe it? Curiosity will prevail, right from the start. 
Danny Dingle is young school boy who wants to be an inventor. He shares his experiments with his friend Percy and pet Super Dog. His Dad is also very helpful to the dismay of his long suffering mum!

Danny also has a hero in the form of Metal Face and wants to be his future assistant, he'll do anything to go and see his new movie, but can he get an A in science at school?

The story covers Danny's school life, his experiments, and the school soap box race. It has no chapters but there is not huge amounts of text on each page and it's easy to read.

The Illustrations

I love the comic like illustrations, along with the text they really bring the book to life and make this funny story even more fun to read.

The Blurb

Because we all like to read the blurb on the back...

Meet Danny Dingle, aka Experimental Face (ha ha) - super-secret spy and future assistant tothe greatest superhero EVER, Metal Face!

Danny and Percy know they have to pull out all the stops to beat Danny's arch-enemy, Gareth Trumpshaw, who's an evil genius, with an evil genius dad.
(They are also big fat cheaters!)

Can Dad;s special brew of super-fizzy cola save the day? Or will it be down to Superdog to come to the rescue yet again?

The Verdict

The book is aimed at early readers 7-8 yrs. However, all my kids loved it (Ages 6 to 11) and even though it seems to be more aimed at boys, the girls loved it just as much as their brother. It was a real page turner and they all found it funny, We will definitely be looking out for the next book.

If you don't win a copy of the book in the fabulous give away above you can purchase it at Boolino, recommended price is £6.99 but you can currently save 30% and get it for £4.89

Disclosure: As a Boolino Blogger I received a copy of this book in return for my review. All thoughts and opinions of myself and my children are our own.

My Sunday Photo - 22nd January

trees in low sun

I have to admit I have a love of trees, They always look beautiful to me whether they are barren in winter, laden with snow, covered with blossom or simply green and wonderful. These trees are outside my kids school and it's a view I see regularly, although not so much now that my husband drives to pick the kids up.

Last Friday we were waiting outside for them and I just loved the way the low sun was shining through these familiar trees, like a sign of hope and blessing of better things to come. It seems like the days are over too quickly right now, with sun setting soon after the kids are home, but on Friday it also seemed that the sun was low all day. I'm not a hater of winter, but I do think that getting sunlight in your life is important and grey and dismal days fail to bring hope.

The trees at the bottom of my garden were covered in frost and hidden in the fog this morning. They still held a certain mystery and attraction for me. The other day there seemed to be a bit of a battle going on between the pigeons and magpies amongst their branches, Even in their bare state they are still full of life and activity. At night we have owls that serenade us and in the summer we get bats flying around at sunset.

I really do love trees.


Sunday Snap

Friday, 20 January 2017

Start Rite

Three years ago the Little Man was invited to walk the catwalk in a pair of Start Rite Shoes. You can see him here in this little video.

It's so hard to believe it's been three years already!

We have always been big fans of Start Rite shoes and I'd like to take a moment to tell you about their fabulous sale they have on right now.

That's right, up to 70% off!

How about these Spider Snow, Navy Blue Boots which have been reduced from £29 to just £15. I bet these will keep those little feet warm in the bad weather.

Or These gorgeous Gallop, Black Leather Girls Boots with the amazing reduction from £69 to just

Maybe it's a new pair of school shoes that's needed. These Rotate, Black Boys Riptape school shoes have been reduced from £42 to £12.50.

Or for girls, These Princess Serena, Black Leather shoes reduced from £47 to just £14.

Or for the toddlers in your life, I love these Soft Lily Purple leather rip tape boots now half price, reduced from £40 to £20.

And for the boys these Flexy-Soft Milan, Green Boys Riptape shoes at £15, reduced from £41.

Start rite also offer fitting guides to buy, you find all the detailed instruction on how to use them on the site. 

  • Start-rite have 220 years of experience and expertise.
  • Quality, durable and stylish fitted footwear.
  • Start-rite have a choice of shoes for every occasion!
  • Standard delivery is only £2.99 with free returns.
  • Start-rite are there for every step.

  • Thank you for reading my suggestions on these kids shoes, I hope you have found it interesting or useful. I have used affiliate links in my post so I will be rewarded for your click throughs but it will not make any difference to you, your choices or purchases. If you wish to visit the site without my credit then please just use this link.

    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 me...is 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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