My Sunday Photo – July 6th 2018

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


Beauty Exists Not in Sameness But in Difference

Last month I spent a lot of time on Instagram promoting Rare Disease Day, 28th February. I also wrote two posts, one about my rare condition and one about my daughter’s. How lucky are we to be so different and have two rare conditions in one family. (hint of sarcasm!)

In fact we don’t have a normal family situation either. I live in a house with four adults and three young children which makes life pretty interesting. The other two adults besides me and my husband, are my older children from a previous marriage. They have yet to leave home and make their own life.

Sometimes I wonder why we have to be so different, why we have so many issues to deal with. I read blogs, lots of them and I see so many ‘normal’ families, enjoying life as it should be. I wish we could be like that. Then I realise that if I think like that I will never be happy. Sometimes being different is okay.

Then I found this story from one of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho.

Beauty exists not in sameness but in difference.

Who could imagine a giraffe without its long neck or a cactus without its spines?
The irregularity of the mountain peaks that surround us is what makes them so imposing. If we tried to make them all the same, they would no longer command our respect.

It is the imperfect that astonishes and attracts us.

When we look at a cedar tree, we don’t think: ‘The branches should be all the same length.’
We think: ‘How strong it is.’

When we see a snake, we never say: ‘He is crawling along the ground, while I am walking with head erect.’
We think: ‘He might be small, but his skin is colourful, his movements elegant, and he is more powerful than me.’

When the camel crosses the desert and takes us to the place we want to reach, we never say: ‘He’s humpbacked and has ugly teeth.’
We think: ‘He deserves my love for his loyalty and help. Without him, I would never be able to explore the world.’

A sunset is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds, because only then can it reflect the many colours out of which dreams and poetry are made.

Pity those who think: ‘I am not beautiful. That’s why Love has not knocked at my door.’
In fact, Love did knock, but when they opened the door, they weren’t prepared to welcome Love in.

They were too busy trying to make themselves beautiful first, when, in fact, they were fine as they were.
They were trying to imitate others, when Love was looking for something original.

They were trying to reflect what came from outside, forgetting that the brightest light comes from within.

taken from A Manuscript Found in Accra, Paulo Coelho

We may be different, we may not lead the same lives as others, but inside we have light and love.

a beautiful sunset shining through the clouds




Monday Stumble Linky
School Runs and Shopping Trolleys
Naptime Natter

Weekly Chat – Keeping it Real Linky

I’m joining in with a brand new linky this week from the lovely Deb over in Sunny Zakynthos  (I’m sure she’ll laugh at that, she’s always saying how it’s not always sunny in Greece. )It’s all about keeping it real and not hiding away behind our keyboards making up life as we wished it to be rather than it is.

A Big Gap

The last week or so has been a difficult one for us with the loss of our cat, Salem. He got sick in December and just before Christmas they were sure it was a tumor. He was ill, but he didn’t seem to get any worse, we were just plodding along accepting that he was now an indoor cat with smelly poos, rather than an outdoor cat that fetched us rats.

We took him to the vets every week for check ups and pills and nothing changed. Then he started to get sicker and it was more noticeable. We decided that the best thing to do would be to let him go rather than see him suffer any more, so that’s what we did. He’s left a huge gap in our family. Everyone loved Salem.

Take Out Night

take out night, a cartoon selection of take out food such as a burger, chips, curry, pizza and a hot dog


We decided to have a take-out on Friday evening, that’s always a bit of a nightmare in our house because everyone wants something different. Unless we go to KFC then we just buy the largest bucket they have and a couple of extras. Yes, take outs in our house are very expensive. Anyway, it was not a KFC night Friday, the little ones decided they wanted sausage in batter from the chip shop, then the big ones decided they wanted Pizza. Star changed her mind and wanted pizza too but didn’t want the same as the big ones.

After much debating, the two big ones had a big pizza deal with extras and I bought Star a little individual pizza for herself. Me and Dad decided to have chip shop with the little ones, pizza gives us terrible heartburn. (Deep down we’d fancied an Indian Curry, but we were in the minority and the cost would have been more to buy from a third outlet!)

Dad went to fetch the chip shop food and the pizza was delivered….but, I’d not changed the sauce on the individual pizza and Star wouldn’t eat it. She didn’t like the big kid’s pizza so I ended up giving her my chip shop meal in return for a couple of slices of the big kid’s pizza, while eldest son filled the gap by eating Star’s pizza.

So, this is a little insight to life in the Raisie Bay household. And to think, I always thought that take-outs were there to make life easier!

Pop over and see how everyone else is keeping it real on Deb’s linky by clicking the badge below.



Debs Random Writings

My Sunday Photo – 3rd February 2018

my three children sitting on an extra large chair together


Hello, and welcome to my new look blog! I’ve a confession to make, I’ve stolen my Sunday photos this week from my Big Brother. He took them while we were out having a family meal together last week. He took some lovely photos of the kids outside the pub. So in this first one is Star, Boo and the Little Man sitting on a rather uncomfortable looking chair!

two children looking over the back of a very huge chair with trees in the background

This is The Little Man and his niece looking over the back of the chair. Now, let me explain something, the little girl in the photo is a year older than The Little Man. She is actually the daughter of my eldest brother’s son. So, my brother’s son is the Little Man’s cousin, and his daughter is his cousin first removed…or to put it correctly, his niece! Confused yet?  haha, our family does get confusing. I have two much older brothers which means their children are not really that much younger than me, in fact my eldest brother had a son born before my younger brother was born! Then there is me, I have been married before and have two older children who are both old enough to be parents to my younger three. I guess it’s a good job that my older children don’t have children themselves yet, it could get even more confusing.

Now if you are s still with me, one more photo to share of Boo and her niece.

two little girls looking over the back of a huge chair with trees in the background

Boo is a year older than her ‘niece’ and they get on like a house on fire!

The trees in the back ground belong to a local attraction the, Lickey Hills. They are not too far from our home and we have had many fun days exploring the hills and trees. In fact, I’ve lived around here most of my life and spent a lot of my childhood in those hills too.

We don’t have any plans this Sunday but I do hope that we get to go out with the family for lunch again sometime soon, it was such a lovely day. I even bumped into my niece (actual niece, not cousin first removed) that I haven’t seen for over 20 years.

I hope you have a lovely Sunday, see you next week.





Sunday Snap


Word of the Week – Rollercoaster

This weeks post is difficult to write, not because it hasn’t been a roller coaster of a week, but because a lot of it is not my personal story and there is only so much I can share.

I live in a big home with four adults and three children and sometimes things just erupt like a volcano. It seem sudden but then you realise that it’s been building up slowly like a roller coaster ride on it’s ascent. Then after the eruption you get the descent and the plunge of emotions all around. We had our ascent begin the weekend with the big eruption on Monday. Tuesday brought us all down with a massive extra sadness that one family member had to deal with outside of the family but made us all realise just how suddenly things can change. (Not that we don’t have heaps of experience in that area already.)

Then to bring us back on the up, the sun shone beautifully on Wednesday and me and my eldest girl went for an impromptu picnic in the park. We purchased our food from the supermarket and ate from a plastic carrier, not very civilised, but lots of fun, and also peaceful.

I’ve been feeling on an emotional roller coaster myself, first because of my new treatment. I’m happy that I’m going to be getting it, but also scared that it may not work. Even if it does work I’m worried about being on it for the rest of my life.

Whatever life’s roller coaster throws at us I’m sure we will deal with it, one day at a time.

The Reading Residence

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

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.