Ash, my new kitten, is now nearly fifteen weeks old, so I thought it was time  for an update.

a kitten lying on the settee


I love this little kitten so much, he’s been a pain at times, but he’s also very loving and sweet.

He’s still sleeping with me as I can’t trust him with our other cat Sabrina overnight yet. He has now found a spot by window on the floor where he likes to sleep best. I guess he can feel a breeze from the window which keeps him cool. He’s so fast though, as soon as the Little Man opens the bedroom door in the morning Ash is out of there in a shot. We let him go as we’ll be joining him soon.

When we first had him he was so tiny he had difficulty going up and down the stairs, now he races up and down them.

He is a good boy and always uses the cat litter tray. He hasn’t wrecked anything yet, but he does like climbing up the curtains and having a good chew on any shoes or slippers left around. Thankfully, he scratches on his post and hasn’t had a go at our new settees.

He loves it if there is a moth, fly or even spider in the house, he will keep on trying until he’s caught them. He’s going to be a good hunter when he grows up.

He has an amazing colouring, stripes on his body and spots on his belly, it’s like a cross between a cheetah and a tiger, so we call him a chiger! He’s got such big ears he could be a bat.

Ash and Sabrina

Our other cat Sabrina is still not happy, but you can’t blame her. Whenever she comes in the house Ash can’t wait to play with her. He follows her around, hides and pounces on her, runs at her then runs away quickly, he’s a proper tease. But poor Sabrina is not amused and just bats him away. I guess it’s a good job we’ve had such good weather as Sabrina is spending most of her day outside under the trampoline.

We keep their food separate so that Sabrina doesn’t have to share with him. They are on different food at the moment anyway. I’ve caught Sabrina having a sneaky snack on his baby food though.

I think things will get better once Ash is older and a little calmer.

At least Sabrina gets the house to herself once Ash has come to bed with me.




Sunday Snap


I’ve known Rebecca who blogs at The Beesley Buzz for a few years now and when she asked if she could write something for Raisie Bay I was happy to host. Rebecca discovered her young daughter had Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis back in 2015. And now her husband Richard is doing something incredible to make a difference to the lives of children who suffer from JIA by starting the Juvenile Arthritic Research project.

I’ll leave it to Rebecca and Richard to explain….

We have loved reading Anne’s blog for so many years and one of the reasons that we keep coming back time and time again is because of Anne’s honesty when things are tough on the health front. Raising awareness of medical conditions, especially less common conditions, is so important – not least because others will know they are not alone when going through it themselves. Awareness can help early detection and diagnosis when symptoms first come about. Awareness can help with understanding and empathy. And so we were honoured when Anne agreed to host a guest post about Juvenile Arthritis. Despite affecting 15,000 children in the UK, many people are still not aware that arthritis can affect children.

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (or JIA)?

JIA is diagnosed in children and young people under the age of 16, and is a different disease to adult-onset rheumatoid arthritis, and entirely different from age-related osteoarthritis. The term ‘idiopathic’ means that, despite a number of theories, the exact cause of JIA is currently unknown.
As we already mentioned, many people are not even aware that children can get arthritis. At present, there is no cure.

JIA is an autoimmune disorder where the body starts to attack the joints, causing inflammation, pain, discomfort and reduced mobility. Left unchecked, JIA can lead to other health conditions as the immune system attacks other organs, as well as permanent disability and long-term health implications. Many children with JIA suffer from uveitis, where the immune system attacks the eyes; if not stopped this can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness. Some forms of JIA lead to systemic inflammatory damage, where other organs are damaged and, in the most severe forms, this can be fatal.

Current treatments for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Nowadays there are a range of treatments available but no cure. The standard treatment is Methotrexate – a chemotherapy drug that works by reducing the immune system. This is often supplemented with other medications (such as painkillers and steroids) when required. However, methotrexate has side-effects and is not always effective. In fact, it is ineffective in treating JIA in around 35% of all patients. Where patients do remain on the drug, they often experience sickness (for which many take anti-sickness medications), hair loss, headache, mouth ulcers, and weakness. Methotrexate is also cytotoxic, and can cause liver damage for which regular blood tests are required.

Where children and young people are unable to take methotrexate, they may move on to ‘biologics’ – the next level of drugs. These work in a variety of ways, but all work to reduce the immune system.
As a result of having their immune system reduced, children and young people on anti-JIA medications are more likely to contract illnesses. Even relatively simple illnesses can become severe and life-threatening.

Prospects for children and young people with JIA

Around half of all children and young people with JIA will go into remission within ten years. However, the remaining half continue to suffer from the disease and need to take medication for life. This means that around 50% of all children diagnosed with JIA will continue to experience the negative symptoms of the disease, and the side-effects of the drugs, for their entire life.

What is life like for a child with JIA ?

Trinity is six years old. She was diagnosed with JIA when she was two. For her, JIA looks like this:
Weekly injections of methotrexate, causing sickness and increasing the number of other illnesses and infections she suffers as her immune-system is reduced

  •  Folic acid supplements six days per week (to combat the side-effects of the methotrexate, such as hair loss)
  •  Blood tests every 2 to 6 weeks (to monitor liver damage due to the methotrexate)
  •  Physiotherapy exercises at home five times per week
  •  Regular hydrotherapy sessions
  •  Regular x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs of affected joints to monitor progress
  •  Eye-drops during uveitis flare-ups
  • Antibiotics when infections set-in
  •  Podiatry-prescribed insoles
  • Specially-fitted shoes
  •  Use of a wheelchair during flare-ups
  •  Appointments with: paediatric consultants every three months: eye specialists every three to four months: paediatric physiotherapists every six months: podiatrists every six to nine months
  • Regular admission to hospital with secondary illness and infections

Trinity’s experience is not uncommon but, in some ways, she is one of the ‘lucky’ ones as her JIA is currently responding to methotrexate and joint damage is currently being prevented.

All of this is to enable her to live as normal a life as possible. She is not alone. There are thousands of JIA patients across the country, all of them on similar treatment regimens to Trinity. A life of injections and treatment, hoping for remission but planning for a forever without it.

The Juvenile Arthritis Research (JAR) Project

In January 2018, Richard Beesley took a step of faith and founded Juvenile Arthritis Research in order to find a cure for JIA. Richard has a background in biomedical research from the Institute of Child Health, and experience in running clinical trials and research programmes, and has worked in research, project and programme management in a number of public and private sector organisations – most recently in local government. He is the father of Trinity, who has had JIA since she was two years old, and husband to Rebecca who had JIA from the age of ten some thirty years ago.

JAR has the support and endorsement, both in terms of our aims and methodology, from the leading research teams in academic research. Our aim is simple – to find the cure for juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Juvenile Arthritis Research is a project of the Jabez Charitable Trust. This allows the project to continue with minimal administrative overheads whilst having the integrity and accountability of a registered charity.

Further information

You can find out more about Juvenile Arthritis Research, including ways you can get involved and support us, at Even if you cannot get involved yourself, simply sharing this blog post will help take us a step closer.

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England flag - St George's cross

The past week seems to have gone in a flash. The kids had a long weekend because of an inset day last Friday. We had planned on a trip into town for a food festival but Star was having none of it. She didn’t want to go to town, it was too hot and there were too many people. Well, she wasn’t wrong.

I wasn’t feeling so good myself either so as a compromise we decided to go out for lunch instead. The kids immediately piped up that they wanted to go to Mc Donalds, but I thought it would be nice to go somewhere else. I still wanted it to feel like a day out rather than a quick lunch at old Maccy D’s.

We ended up at a pub with a lovely outside area for the kids, so we had a nice meal out and the kids got to play outside.

BBQ and Water Fun

On Saturday the main focus was football. It was England’s quarter final match with Sweden and our hopes were high. Our neighbours suggested that we had a BBQ and shared the fun of the match together. They fired up first and fed the kids. Then they got their water slide out and the kids, young and old, had a lot of fun.

Then it was time for the match and we watched it in each of our homes but shared our tribulations in the garden. We soon discovered that as we received our television by cable and they by satellite, we were getting the match quite a few seconds earlier than them. The first goal we started yelling and they just looked at us weird…then they saw the goal and joined in. It ended up being quite amusing listening to their reactions a few seconds after ours.

Everyone was overjoyed when England won 2-0 and made it to the semi finals.

To celebrate our BBQ was fired up and the kids got in the paddling pool. It turned out to be a real fun day.

On Sunday Graham had to drive down to Luton to pick up our eldest daughter. Her flight kept getting delayed and she was originally due home at 6pm, but ended up getting back at nearly 8pm. It was almost 10pm before they got back.

I had a busy day alone without Graham’s help but I managed, although I was pretty shattered by the end.

I have been enjoying all the hot weather but the last day or so I’ve noticed a change. I’m not sure if it’s me or the actual weather but it feels a lot more humid, the air feels thicker and I’m sweating a lot more. It’s been cloudier today but I’ve been hotter than ever! I’m really hoping for a little rain soon. I might be able to sleep a little better too.


Back to football, I’ve really been enjoying the World Cup this year and I’ve barely missed a match. Some I’ve found exciting and others not so, I still can’t quite believe it, I’m watching football! This week we see England play in the Semi final against Croatia and I’m really excited. Maybe we’ll even see them in the final next week!

So my word of the week this week is football. And trust me, I never imagined that it would be 🙂

EDIT: I did write this post before the match before Wednesday and sadly England did not win against Croatia and won’t be playing in the final on Sunday. Will I be watching? Yes, I will and of course I’ll be watching England face Belgium again.


Debs Random Writings
The Reading Residence



The Twisted Tree


Just like this tree, sometimes I think I have many stories to tell, with lots of twists and turns. If I wrote a book about my life I’d probably have to write three volumes!

A long time ago, when I was a teenager, my brother and his wife would take me out to pubs with their three young children. I would see it as a real treat, but I guess they saw it as someone to look after the three little ones outside while they could have a drink in peace. They would even sneak me a drink sometimes, Snowballs were my favourite, or maybe a Babycham. To me it was the best of both worlds, a scamper around the woods or park playing with the kids and a very grown up drink! Oh to be 14 again!

Hopwood House

One of the places they would take me too was a lovely pub next to a canal. Outside was a wooden area and a park with swings and a roundabout. It was really lovely there outside, one of my favourite places to go.

The canal is actually the one that runs alongside my current home and the pub is just a few miles down the road….but, I haven’t been there for many years, very many years.

We wanted to go to a pub for lunch and as the kids were off school on an inset day, we wanted it to be somewhere for them to play outside. I remembered this childhood venue and I was sure the kids would like it. We have our very own (almost) teenager so we knew they would be able to play outside, but Graham still kept popping out to see how they were getting on.

One thing I’d only vaguely remembered were all the steps to this pub. There was wheelchair access but I wanted to use my sticks. I’m glad I did, because the ramps went such a long way around and once inside you had to go up in one of those tiny open lifts that are just big enough for a wheelchair. There is nothing wrong with all this of course, I appreciate that they are there. But sometimes I just like to be a little more ‘invisible.’

So, once inside I was kind of glued to my seat while the kids and their Dad where coming and going. I’d have loved to have roamed about outside, see if any memories came flooding back to me, but it wasn’t to be. Those days are history now. But, it’s still nice that my kids can enjoy themselves like I once did.

They came in for food and regaled me with stories of broken picnic tables and fallen trees. They had made believe that there had been a hurricane and they were there to see if there were any survivors in the rubble. (I’m sure it wasn’t that bad, but it was enough to awaken their imaginations.)

The food was pretty nice too and I was so proud of my kids for ignoring the chips on offer and going for more healthier options. All washed down with milk and squash. I think it will be a long time before Star gets interested in alcohol.

Now we have rediscovered this place, I’m sure we will be visiting again. Do you have any childhood places you like to take your kids?




Sunday Snap


books, pens, laptop and educational items in a flat lay, education

Photo by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash


Our children might not always realise it, but their education, even primary school education, is incredibly important for them to get a handle on. With a good quality education, our children can make sure that they have the foundations that they need to become a future success.

However, what if they are finding standard education a struggle? What if they need a helping hand to reach their full potential?

To help you to help them, you might want to consider finding a tutor for your child. But how can you ensure that your search is successful and that you find the right helping hand to get them there? James Goldsmith at offers the following advice:


Consider what you want first

The first thing that you should do during a hunt for a tutor is to figure out what it is that you are looking for. Think about what subjects your child is struggling with and could do with some extra support in. As well as their own particular learning style too. Knowing this will make the search a lot easier.


Take your time to research

Finding a tutor means that you need to research into the different options that are open to you, and it is something that you really should take the time to do. There are a variety of ways that you can find a tutor, there are a wealth of tutors out there, so, you are going to want to make sure that you are looking properly and that shouldn’t rush through.


Find out if anyone can recommend a tutor

Whilst you may feel like the only person having to find a tutor, there is actually a good chance that there are plenty of other people out there in the same situation. Some of which could be friends, family, other parents at the school and colleagues. All of whom are trying to find their very own tutors in the local area. Asking for recommendations for which tutors to approach can prove to be a valuable way to source a good option. In the most part because it will ensure that you know you will get the best possible results for your child.


Make an appointment to meet the tutors

Despite finding a tutor online, or being recommended one by a friend, you will never know if they are completely the right fit unless you meet up with them and see how they fit with your child. Make sure that your child feels comfortable working with them and that they are going to increase their confidence.

Remember that it is an investment

It is no secret that hiring a tutor to work with your child can be expensive. However, much like many things for our children, we often don’t care about the expense. Arranging for a tutor to work with your child is an investment. It is a helping hand towards to their future, it offers them the building blocks to a better career.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to think about when it comes to finding a tutor for your child. Why not start your search at the 11 Plus Tutors in Essex?


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Disclosure: This is a collaborative article.