We all love to take a trip down memory lane once in a while and that’s what I am doing today. First up I was thinking about my blog and what I’m doing here, where I want to go, what I want? Naturally then I start to look back to my first blogging experiences. Way back in 2003 I started an online diary of my trying to conceive journey, not so much a blog, but I guess it was really. I had my own website, not a blog site and I had to write in the entries back to front so that they would appear chronologically! I still have the transcript somewhere. Here is a little snippet found on the Wayback Machine.

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Then I had a Babycentre blog when my wish finally came true and I became pregnant with Star (I found out on Boxing Day 2004)

My first actual blog was started in August 2008 and to be quite honest it was really boring to start with, then my mum was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly my blog became my crutch where I could record my feelings and let it all out. It was very intense in the few weeks leading up to her passing, yes it was a total of four weeks from being admitted to hospital, diagnosis then death. Then straight afterwards I was hit with another tragedy. The following months my blog gave me an outlet for my grief and emotions, I was truly grateful for it.

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Then I settled back into the more boring every day stuff. My blog was a diary, nothing more nothing less. Then I went to Blog Camp and found out that people were actually making money from their blogs and getting to review fabulous items. I went home and decided that’s what I wanted to do. First step was to start a new blog. I already had a baby blog (baby number five was born 2010) a business blog (my shop was born in 2009) a cake blog and my original personal blog. However, in my mind, none of them seemed the right sort of blog for doing reviews and writing posts for payment.

So that sort of brings me back to where I am now. Why do I write my blog?

I love writing! I know I’m not a brilliant writer, I’m not witty or funny, or clever or opinionated, I’m not one for stirring up trouble or emotions. I just like to write things down, anything really. I really do actually enjoy writing reviews, in fact I’ve been writing reviews for far longer than I have been blogging. Many moons ago, way back on Windows 98, I joined a website where you could write a review and earn a couple of pence every time someone viewed it. (oh yes, those were the days!) You even had to pay for your own product to review!!

I’ve always kept journals, or diaries. I have a shelf in my wardrobe stacked with handwritten ones. Yep, I started before the internet was around.

So I guess it’s natural that I blog, for me anyway. I blog because I write and because I like to write about the things I do and the things that I have in my life. I like to write about my precious family and what matters to us. So forgive me if I’m not unique, or full of fascinating information. Forgive me for not being funny and giving you a giggle every time you visit. Forgive me for not showing how to make fabulous craft items or tell you the very latest trends in make-up or fashion. Forgive me for not having the foggiest idea when it comes to interior design (eeek, and I have an entire house to decorate come September!!)

I’m just me and I write my blog because I like to write. I like to connect and tell you about me and my family. It’s not exactly going to rock your world, but you may learn a thing or two along the way.

Thank you for reading, if you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay

If you are interested in reading the story of my mum’s cancer you can find the archive here.

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Now I will be the first to admit I’m a bit of a sticker with make-up and have been using the same brands for years. I was an Avon Representative for a long time before I moved house (I still miss my regular customers) so a lot of the products I use are from Avon. When it comes to trying something new, I just don’t know where to start.

I had to the chance to meet Rose, a personal beauty shopper at Selfridges Birmingham. Selfridges is the iconic building which is part of the Birmingham Bull Ring Shopping Centre.

I’m a big fan of the food hall there, it’s truly amazing, you can even buy jars of Fluff! My favourite place of all is Yo Sushi where I started my trip with lunch from there with my Eldest Daughter.

Then I went to meet Rose, and start finding about what beauty products were on offer. Rose is lovely, she instantly makes you feel comfortable and is so bubbly and friendly as well as beautiful. She asked me what I would like to try first and told her about how I never seem to be able to get my foundation right. I don’t like to feel my foundation it has to be as light as moisturiser and the tone has to match my skin. She took me over to Giorgio Armani where I tried the maestro in 5.5. I was instantly impressed, it felt so light that it was barely noticable, but the cover was really nice and even. If there was just one thing I wanted to purchase it was this. Rose asked for a sample for me to take me home so I could make up my mind in my own time. I did not feel pressured at all throughout my entire time there to make a purchase which was really nice.

Next up was blusher and Rose showed me her favourite brand Clinique Cheek Pop. I chose the Plum Pot which looked quite dark to what I would usually use, but as Rose showed me, it was actually quite light and if you wish you could add a little more to make it darker.

Then we popped over to Estee Lauder for some lipstick. I chose Pure Colour lipstick in Dominant which again looked quite dark, but it was lovely once on. It also felt really rich and creamy and lasted well too. We also had a little try of some of the fragrances from Estee Lauder, my favourite has always been beautiful, but I also like Modern Muse and Bronze Goddess.

Next it was time for the eyes. As an older woman I do tend to suffer from baggy eyelids and dark undereye circles, but I also have very round eyes and have never really known how to make the most of them. At Bobbi Browns you can go in for free make-up lessons like Party Makeup, Classic or Smokey Eyes or even Bridal Beauty. The lovely Tharanseet gave me some lovely natural looking eyes and some great tips on how to make my eyes look more open. She did a great job of concealing my dark undereye circles, so much so that my daughter was really impressed (And believe me it takes a lot to impress her!)

At the end of the day I came away with a really nice make-over, done just the way I asked. A real natural look that didn’t feel caked on. I was really pleased and would definitely recommend Rose to anyone.

You can contact her for an appointment at rose.gallagher@selfridges.co.uk. It costs £30 which is redeemable against any products you may wish to buy. You can also find Rose on Twitter at @MixedGemsBeauty

The advantages of having a personal shopper are that you have loads of advice about products you may of not used before, you have someone who knows exactly where everything is and knows who to speak to at each store,  you have the opportunity to try lots of different products to discover which is best for you and you are never under any pressure to buy.

I was given my Personal Shopper experience for free but I was not pressured into writing about it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This week, 23rd to 29th June 2014 is Child Safety week. The Child Accident Prevention Trust are commited to reducing the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents. Child Safety week is the annual compaign to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented. This year they are focusing on the morning rush and why more accidents are likely to occur at this time.

Knowing the dangers can greatly reduce the risks of accidents in the home. I have seen two children fall from bedroom windows, not my own I hasten to add, but it just goes to show how often this happens. I know someone who was burnt badly by the kitchen cooker when they were a child just by standing too close on a cold morning and their pyjamas caught alight. I have heard of so many children who have drunk dangerous chemicals which have accidently been left in their reach. Even my current partner nearly drowned as a baby in the bath.

It’s so easy to find out what dangers lie in your home and to protect your family against them. Betta Living are supporting the Child Safety week campaign and have a list of Top Tips for Child Safety in the home.
They also have a great interactive quiz for Kitchen Awareness which you may like to try. See how aware you are.

The home can be a dangerous place for children who are naturally inquisitive and often end up in some kind of accident this infographic shows the results of a survey by BettaLiving.

So be aware of the dangers and keep your children safe. Awareness is such a good way of preventing these accidents. 
This post was produced in association with Child Safety Week and Betta Living.

Woo hoo! we are back.
Now my Star is getting better and things have settled down at home it’s time for us to start sharing our cooking fun again. Boo and the Little Man helped me make a Lemon Drizzle Cake which happens to be one of my very favourite cakes.

I’m thrilled that we were able to take part in the Bahlsen Family Bake Off and we have our fingers tightly crossed for the wonderful prize of a weekend in Legoland.
You can see our entry here:

I would also like to give a mention to Steph’s Two Girls and The Brick Castle who are also taking part in the bake off and linked up their entries to the last Kids in the Kitchen (which seems such a long time ago now!)
You can see all the rest of the entries on the Bahlsen Family Bake off You Tube page.
A big good luck to everyone taking part x

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients:
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbs milk
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 6 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tbs golden syrup
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4
lightly grease a 2lb loaf pan

The Little man loves measuring so he measured the butter and sugar and then Boo mixed them together until they were creamy.

The Little Man beat the eggs with a fork and Boo added them to the mixture a little at a time.

The Little Man measured out the flour and Boo folded it into the batter.
Mummy grated the lemon and added it to the batter
The Little Man juiced the lemon and we added about a tablespoon to the cake batter saving the rest for the drizzle.
Boo mixed in the milk and then we put the batter in the loaf pan and I put it in the oven.

Just before the cake had finished cooking I heated up the remaining lemon juice with the golden syrup in a pan. When the cake was cooked I pricked it all over with a skewer and then poured the lemon drizzle all over while still in the pan. I then left the cake to cool before turning it out.

If you wish you can make an icing for this cake using 1 tbs of lemon juice with 50g icing sugar.


As you can see, the Little Man really enjoyed his slice of cake, as did the rest of the family who are not so happy to be photographed stuffng their faces with cake.

 Now it’s your turn, please come and share your recipes that you have made with your kids help and link up to my linky. 

I’d also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in.



I love my kitchen, it’s not perfect, yet, but I will get there. We moved into this house last September. I had lived in my old house for twenty four years and the most received comment I had about it was ‘how do you cope with this kitchen?’ It was tiny, I mean really tiny. I had 3 overhead cuboards and one under the sink cupboard. I had one small work top. I didn’t even have a drawer. There were five doors in my kitchen so no wall space! I did cope for twenty four years but imagine my joy of now having a kitchen three times the size of my old kitchen, with only one door! I have so many drawers and cupboards I don’t know what to put in them.

My new house is just that, brand new, and because of that we can’t decorate until it has had it’s one year old inspection for cracks and faults. This means every wall in the house is magnolia, even my kitchen walls.

I’m so looking forward to adding some colour, but as of yet, I’ve not decided on the colour of the kitchen. What is a good colour for a kitchen? You can get matching products in all colours these days, I’ve even seen purple microwaves. I’d like something a little more traditional though, maybe go for a foodie type wallpaper on one wall, or a nice fresh colour scheme like spring green? I really can’t wait to start choosing.
Here is a snippet of how it looks now.

I can’t wait to add some colour

So what do I do in my kitchen? When no-one is looking you can find me dancing around to Kasabian singing into my banana microphone…but don’t tell anyone that will you?

My kitchen has many uses. I love to cook and try out new recipes, but even more fun is cooking with my little helpers. I love this so much I even have my own weekly linky Kids in the Kitchen.

The Kids in the Kitchen

Then there is my hobby, I love to bake and decorate cakes. I have two cupboards dedicated to my ‘cake stuff’ and you will often find me sat at the dining table making fondant models.

Some of my cakes

Another favourite pastime is crafting with the kids, we get out the plastic table cover and paint, glue and stick to our hearts content. None of us are really good at this, but we do have lots of fun.

A little bit of Crafty fun

Then to liven up the place we have one wall to display our lovely work.

wall of art and certificates

So we do all sorts in our kitchen, and it really is my favourite place to be.

This post is an entry for the ‘My Kitchen Story’ Linky challenge, sponsored by Fairy Platinum

Fairy Platinum is an excellent way of keeping your dishes looking their best.