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


Healing from the Inside, Repairing a Leaky Gut

I have been sick for just over two years now. I have an auto-immune disease and I’m pretty sure it’s made worse because of my leaky gut and my weight.

I have decided that by dealing with my weight and thinking about what I put inside my body is the path I must take to start healing.

Leaky Gut

I have a poorly gut. I’m no doctor but I am convinced it’s either the cause of my issues or it exacerbates them. Before I got sick I was having a lot of problems with bloating, stomach pain, constipation etc. I even had a CT scan which showed that I had a lot more gas inside me than was normal, it was leaking into my womb. I was going to seek further help but then I ended up in hospital. I know the problem is still there, but I’ve decided I am the one who can tackle it.

What is a leaky gut? The medical term is ‘Intestinal permeability’ and it’s when the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged causing the things it contains to leak through into the blood stream. This can cause an autoimmunse response.

Symptoms of a leaky gut include migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies and even rheumatoid arthritis.

It sounds like a pretty serious condition but it’s not mentioned often. In fact a lot of medical professionals don’t believe it exists.

A leaky gut can be caused by food and/or medication. A particular culprit is over-the-counter pain relief that contains aspirin.

Repairing a Leaky Gut and Healing from the Inside

The obvious way to repair a leaky gut is to think about what you are putting in your body and improve your diet.


Last year, after I’d put on a lot of extra weight during steroid treatment, I decided to try a Paleo Diet.

What does the Paleo diet involve?

You should avoid, grains, rice, beans and pulses, dairy products, processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, soft drinks, ready meals, refined vegetable oils, chocolate and sweets, refined table salt.

You can have, meat,  fish, seafood, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, olive oil, coconut oil, nut oil, honey, coconut sugar, nut and seed milks, and even coffee and alcohol in moderation.

It’s not that bad is it?

I lasted a few months but it became a little too difficult. I liked my bread and rice too much. I have taken a few things from the diet though. My dairy intake is very limited, I’m a big fan of almond milk. I have cut down considerably on sugar, I do have sweet treats, but not regularly. I no longer eat pasta, but I wasn’t so keen on it anyway. I have never been a fan of processed foods so I although I have them, I don’t indulge often. I also try to eat gluten free whenever I can. I’ve never used table salt although I do add salt, usually rock salt, while cooking.

a healthy meal of fruit and juice

Time to Lose weight

Although I lost a little bit of weight last year, eleven pound to be precise, my body mass index (BMI) is still 30. I am still suffering from bloating and constipation, so I know my gut is still leaking. I’ve decided that it’s time to lose weight and I think I’ve found something that works for me.


I met Charlie in hospital while we were both having infusions. He has MS and is a true warrior. He was diagnosed 10 years ago and was in wheelchair. With a lot of work he know walks and drives and is living his life as well as he can. To get this far he has tried everything, and has worked out a combination of things which have increased his mobility and given him his life back.

One of the things that Charlie is enthusiastic about is Herbalife. We had a chat and I decided to try some. I chose the vanilla shake and substitute one of my meals in father of a shake with added fruit. Each shake contains a good amount of vitamins and minerals. I’ve recently suffered from a lack of vitamin D, vit. C and Vit. B12. I’ve also taken supplements of magnesium which help with my leg cramps. a Herbalife shake contains all  of these and more so I no longer need to take any supplements.

Since staring Herbalife I have felt a little better and I have lost 7lb. I’m convinced that the shake is helping and I’ve just ordered my second tub.

Mindful Chef

I have also decided to eat more healthily and instead of having the hassle of researching meals and getting in what I need, as well as all the shopping I need for the rest of the family, I have decided to try a food box. With health in mind I went for Mindful Chef. These boxes are delivered with everything you need and all the food is reduced in sugar and refined carbs. You can choose whatever meals you want and when you want it. I have two meals, which are for two people, so I split them up and make myself four meals. It works for me and in combination with my herbalife shake for lunch and a healthy (gluten free) breakfast, I am hoping for some good results.

If you would like to try Mindful Chef you can get £20 off your first box by giving my e-mail address when you sign up. (

a plate of food, sweet potato chips, haddock and a small salad of tomato and lambs lettuce

Fish and chips, Mindful Chef style

My Goal

First and foremost I want to heal my leaky gut, and I also want to lose weight. I am hoping to lose the two stone I put on since being sick. As I can’t exercise much I need to rely on what I eat. I hope that once the weather gets a little better I can go for some outdoor exercise with my walker. I can’t go very far, but hopefully I’ll be able to build up to do a little more.


Have you heard of a leaky gut?

What do you do to keep healthy?


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

The Church Tavern – A Sizzling Pub Restaurant Review

On Saturday we celebrated being free of Chicken Pox by having a family meal out at The Church Tavern in Perry Barr Birmingham.

The Church Tavern has been recently refurbished and is now a Sizzling Restaurant. It has a whole new look and a brand new menu.

The Pub

We found The Church Tavern comfortable and pleasant. I didn’t go in my wheelchair as we were able to park outside the restaurant doors. Some of the seating had steps to it, but there was seating without steps so it was still accessible. There were also two wheelchair accessible/disabled toilets which were also baby changing rooms.

The Staff

The staff were friendly and helpful. They apologised right from the start that they were busy and the food would take longer than expected. However, we really did not have to wait long at all and the plates were cleared away between each meal promptly. We’ve had much worse experiences at other pub restaurants, so the apology was really not required.

The Menu

Now, on to the menu. I love it when you can preview the menu online before visiting a restaurant and you can do this on the Sizzling Pub website. It really helps when you have awkward family members who take forever to choose, or children who can never make up their minds. The first thing that struck me about the menu was how well priced it was, I just hoped the food was good as this seemed good value. There was also loads to choose from, the kids had a total of eleven meals to choose from including a vegetarian option. The kid’s main meals start at £2.99 which is cheaper than the fast food restaurants. Of course when dining out like this the main meals are not enough you have to have starters and deserts too as well as drinks. I was given a £50 tab for the meal and this stretched to starters, mains, sides, deserts and two lots of drinks for all five of us. Then although all our tab was spent the staff were happy for our children to visit the soft play centre for free, usual cost is only £3 so that’s good value too.

The Food

The kids all had garlic bread starters, while me and the hubby shared a large bowl of cheesy nachos. Then for their mains, The Little Man chose a Build Your Own Chicken Wrap, Star chose Chicken Nuggets, Chips and beans and Boo chose grilled Chicken, Chips and peas.
collage with photos of the kid's pub lunches

I decided to go for Fish and Chips, it’s only been the past few years that I’ve eaten white fish and the second time I’ve ever had fish and chips out, but it didn’t disappoint. The fish was huge! The batter was absolutely delicious, it was really light and crispy.
Hubby went for the All Day Breakfast, which again was huge.

The people on the next table went for the Sizzling Grills on the menu and the kids were fascinated by the actual sizzle coming from the plates.

Lunch at the Church Tavern, fish n chips and an all day breakfast
Then if we were not stuffed enough it was time for dessert!
The kids all chose the Build Your Own Sundae, which was two scoops of ice cream that came with a bowl of mini marshmallows, chocolate sauce and a little packet of chocolate buttons. This is Boo’s creation. 

build your own ice cream sundae

I decided to go for the Cream Pie which came with caramel balls and chocolate and caramel sauce and a lovely dollop of whipped cream with chocolate chips.
Hubby went for the Baked Cheesecake which came with a berry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

desert at the church tavern, cream pie and cheesecake

We had a lovely afternoon at the Church Tavern and would definitely visit again. By visiting the website you can see if there is a Sizzling Pub near you.

What do you think, do our meals look yummy? Have you ever visited a Sizzling Pub?

Family Fever

Disclosure: we were provided with a £50 tab to visit this pub, all opinions are my own. 

The Good Food Show 2017

A couple of weeks ago I told you about the Good Food Show and Gardener’s World Live at the NEC Birmingham. I couldn’t wait to go but unfortunately we couldn’t go when we wanted to. On the Thursday I was struck with a migraine, then on Friday, Star was feeling to sick to go to school. So, we had to go on Saturday with all the kids in tow.

It was a little more stressing taking the kids and we didn’t manage to see all we wanted to see. We even did’t get to go around Gardner’s World Live which was really disappointing.

What we did get to do though is see the lovely, and fit, Joe Wicks cook in the Super Theatre. He was very entertaining and the meals he cooked where really easy but looked so tasty, and they smelt real good too, even nose sensitive Star was enjoying the smell.

Joe Wicks at the Good Food Show
After the show Boo was adamant that she wanted to buy one of his books, so we did! It’s actually pretty good and although it’s not family aimed, (most of the recipes are for one or two) the recipes are easy enough to adapt and I’m sure Boo is going to be able to make some of them. She wants to start with creamy chicken pie. 
Joe Wicks told us of his hope to smash the World Record for the largest ever HIIT* session at Hyde Park on Wednesday 5th July starting at 6pm. He assured us it was going to be a great evening with lots of entertainment as well as exercise. Please take a look at his website The Body Coach if you are interested.
*HIIT = High Intensity Interval training. Train for 20 seconds, rest for 40, and it’s over in 15 mins!
I think Joe was definitely our biggest highlight of the show but we did buy some things that were on offer so here are a few more favourites.
Flower and White had some gorgeous cakes and meringues on show and we just couldn’t resist. The cakes were also gluten free which is an added bonus. They were so tasty too, little round cakes of delight.
Laura’s Fudge was spotted early on by Boo and we couldn’t leave without buying some of the delicious flavours on offer. 
laura's fudge, oreo fudge
The kids were really interested in the Baking Products from Bake and Create and we ended up buying some silicone mould from there.
bake and create moulds
I’m big lover of cheese, although I’m not eating it at the moment, but a little treat every now and then never hurt anyone. So we bought some tasty truckles of cheese from Blacks Cheese.
blacks cheese truckle

The kids went wild for the apple samples at Jazz Apples and I have to say I can understand why, they are so tasty. We had to come away with a bag!

Do check out the Jazz Apples website, they have some great resources for kids!

There was so much to see and do at the Good Food Show. We took a rest and tried to persuade the kids to visit the Gardner’s World Live Show afterwards but they were totally worn out. Next time we will have to try and go while they are at school. 

Disclosure: I was given a press pass to attend the event, I’ve not been asked or paid to write this post, by The Good Food Show or any of the exhibitors mentioned.

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.