Saturday, 29 November 2014

To my boy on the eve of you becoming a teenager.

Big T, Thomas, you're about to become a teenager
Tomorrow you'll be 13
I remember the day you were born so clearly
You was quick to come into the world and was such an easy baby
You hardly cried 
I'd sit by your moses basket waiting for you to wake

As you grew we knew you was not like your big sister
At the age of 1 the tests were in full swing
You were so chubby, a cute chubby boy
This presented a problem when trying to find your veins
You'd cry but only after the nurses had attempted to take blood for the 5th time
The testing was soon forgotten by you and you'd return to your happy self
Always smiling, watching, thinking
It has been 10 years since you took your first steps
It was a magical moment to see
A moment we did not know if we would see
I am happy we did 

It has been around 7 years since your were formally diagnosed 
This was a major turning point for you
You joined a new school, a better school
You've been there ever since and will do so for many more years
I think you know everyone in the school and everyone knows you
No matter where we go you see someone you know
They are often greeted with a huge hug
As every birthday passes by you grow very little, but you are bigger each year
You will soon be as tall as the boys you so look up to 
The boys you say "alright laa" to despite it annoying me
I love that you know how to wind us and your siblings up
it is annoying but it is a quirk of yours that I treasure
I love that you speak your mind
but please don't tell the man on the beach he has a fat belly again

I love that you like many computer games
even if you do change them every 5 minutes
I love that you are fascinated that your 3 year old cousin talks
I love your innocence
I love that you still believe in Santa
I love that you enjoy playing with the kitten with his toys
but please stop locking him in the bathroom 
I can't believe you will wake tomorrow a teenager

Lots of love

Santa's Magical Grotto

One of the decisions that needs to be made at Christmas is where to take the children to see Santa. My sister in law recently sent out that very question on facebook and she had a good response. Many people voiced where their favourite place was which must have only made it harder to decide. I didn't have too much of a problem deciding where to take the children. As we only take the children to see him once each year we decided on visiting Santa's Magical Grotto at Chill Factore in Manchester. They kindly offered for us to visit them and review on our blog, I immediately accepted. I knew we would have an amazing time as we visited back in 2012
Finding Chill Factore is really easy and it is easily accessed by all transport routes. They have a large free car park so you won't need to battle for a space this Christmas.

As soon as we walked in through the doors I spied Peppa Pigs ears. I lifted my daughter up so she could see as we walked down to the desks. I knew she had caught sight of her when she whispered "Mummy, I can see Peppa Pig". We stopped for a quick picture and of course a cuddle with Peppa before we took our place in the Santa's Grotto queue. We handed over our booking number and were then directed to the desk where we would hire our warmer clothing from. They have a vast amount of coats and trousers for children and adults, they have green snowsuits for the babies and toddlers too. Clothing rental is £6 per person and I highly recommend hiring them if you don't have warm outerwear of your own. The helmets and snow boots are available for hire free of charge.
With our belongings safely in a locker and us all dressed for the arctic out we went for our snow session. My husband, I and the four eldest children were booked in for the Snow Park, my mother in law and little lady were booked in for Mini Moose Land.

The Snow Park is suitable for children ages 4 years and older. Sledge 'O' Mania is lots of fun, children who are four years and older can sledge here but you must be eight to use the carver sledge as they wizz you down the slope rather quickly(I appologise to the man I crashed into at the bottom). We all loved this part of the snow park and repeatedly raced down the slope, cold snow hitting us when we skidded to a halt. It brings back fabulous childhood memories when our winters were full of snow. 
Downhill Donuts was fun too, to ride on this one you need to be four years old and you get a mini donut to sit in. You just have to grab a donut and step onto the human conveyor belt and away you go up the slope. Little T loved the Downhill Donuts as did the two girls, I hardly saw the girls as they are old enough to decide what they want to ride but they had so much fun. They had been begging us to take them back to Chill Factore for ages and their wish had come true. I wonder how often they will ask to go back this time.
Lastly on the Snow Park is the Luge Slip 'N' Slide which riders have to be six years old. Little T was the first to declare he was going on here and I was right behind him. The slide is covered in ice and you ride down flat on your back on a board. As you slide around the bend you glide up the side from left to right, round and round till you come out at the end with the biggest smile on your face. It is so much fun and like no other slide I have been on before. 
Throughout our play my mother in law would bring little lady over from playing on Mini Moose Land to see what we were doing. I tried getting my mother in law to have a play on the sledges but she declined, she did say she would next time though and I will hold her to that. Little lady watched her older siblings play, I think she was itching to have a go on the sledges but she is too young at the minute. We did have a mini snowball fight though, you're never to young to throw snowballs at your siblings. 

Over at Mini Moose Land little lady played on the soft toys, the slide and even a mini downhill donut ride. She scrambled over the play frames and played on the donut slide many times. She was kept warm by the hired snowsuit, not once did she complain of being cold and trust me she enjoys complaining and is quite good at it for a three year old. She said she had a great time, the next time we go hopefully she will be able to join us on the slopes.
After our session ended we headed back inside to get changed and see Santa. 
Handing back our hire clothing was quick and simple, no queuing was involved at all which was great as the children were eager to see Santa. 

We rejoined the Santa's Grotto queue and waited. It took 45 minutes in total waiting to get to the front which is longer than was expected however it was on one of their busier days and I have to say the children were fully entertained by the elves. Little lady is not a fan of people she does not know. When people speak to her she respond with a death stare, this did not scare off the elves though. They both continued to involve her in the conversation and won her over with a candy cane. I thought it was nice that they secretly asked the parents before offering a candy cane to the children. They asked them what they will ask Santa for and Little T thought it was hilarious that one of the elves had asked Santa for the very same toys as he wants. I think they enjoyed their natter with the elves as much as they did seeing santa. When we went in to see Santa the little elves said we were allowed to use our camera which was a nice surprise, they do however take a picture of the children with Santa which is available to buy straight away. Some of the picture gifts are lovely and reasonably priced as a package.

After our visit to Santa we headed upstairs to open their gifts and have a nice cup of hot chocolate. The children were all thrilled with their gifts; we had an art set; a foam play set and the two eldest received mini jenga; they are the best presents they have received from a grotto. 

The trip would have cost £139 had we have been paying guests. I personally think this is a fair price for 3 adults and 5 children. Had we have just been seeing Santa then I would expect to pay much less however an hour on the slopes costs £20 alone so it is a very fair price. The hire of the clothing can bump up the price when there are many of you however you are able to bring your own warm clothing so you do not need to hire if it is not needed.

I would recommend a visit to Santa's Magical Grotto and will return in the future. I think next time I go I might have to try a skiing lesson. So far I have only been brave enough to watch the skiers come down the huge slope.

We were given free access to the above event. All opinions and images are my own.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Halloween Frankenstein and Pumpkin Marshmallow Pops

A while back Yolli sent me a selection of their range to try. Since it arrived I have been trying to think of something to make. I did make some cake pops in the style of a chicken but I was not impressed with them. I then saw some marshmallow Frankenstein pops on pinterest, I knew I had to make some and I knew just what products to use.
I only had white and milk chocolate melts so I had to improvise by colouring my white packet of melts after I had melted it. Next year when I make them again I will just buy the green and orange melts to make life a little easier. They were rather easy to make. I melted the melts over a pan of boiling water until they were the correct consistency then added the food colouring. I then stuck a marshmallow onto the white plastic lolly sticks and dunked them into the mixture ensuring they were fully coated. I sat them on baking paper to set, they set quite quickly so I was able to start to melt the milk chocolate for Frankenstein's hair. Once the mixture was ready I dipped him in and sat them aside in a tumbler till the hair was dried. I covered the pumpkin pops in the same way. Once they were fully dried I used royal icing to decorate them, I use royal icing as it sets quite quickly too.
Once they are all fully dry you can place them inside the little clear bags and seal with a silver twist tie, it is important that they are dry before putting them in the bag as they will spoil. They are then ready to be handed out to your trick or treaters or set aside as a treat for the kids. I had a cheeky nibble on one earlier, ok I ate the whole thing and I am please to report that they taste rather good. I think they are really cute and will look good next to the rest of the scary themed food. All I have to do now is refrain from eating them.

Did Asda send me a Trick or Treat?

Today I received a package from Asda, they sent me Bertie bones(that is the name I've given him). I think he is rather cute for a skeleton, he is cheeky too. He promptly stole one of the glow stick lollies that they had sent me. He is a felt skeleton and is a bargain at just £4. He is held together with split pins so his boney legs and arms all move. In his box he brought with him a bag of 8 glow stick lollies, a bag of his little mates, mini chocolate skeletons and a haunted house for them to all live in.

This year we bought our Halloween costumes from Asda. M and little T both had a trail run of their costumes at their school Halloween party. M looked amazing, we bought her the spooky white dress, it looked brilliant on and she looked rather scary, it was a bargain too at just £12.
Little T is Dracula this year, I put a white polo shirt underneath the top because the material is quite thin, it looked really good with it plus it was a tad warmer for him. Little lady picked her own costume this year, she insists on going to our party as a pink witch. She surprised me as I thought we were going to have an Elsa or Anna dress request for this Halloween. Big T went for a skeleton onesie over a costume, that way he can wear it more than once too. I saw some amazing costumes, I think I will have to throw a party for the adults one year and make everyone dress up.

They also sent me this haunted house gingerbread kit. We made a good attempt at it earlier today. The kids were really excited and couldn't wait to get stuck in. I had a bit of a problem with trying to get the icing to soften enough to use it but other than that it is a lovely kit. The kids were really proud of themselves once we completed it. I can't tell you what it taste like just yet as we have not tucked into it yet but is smells delicious.
What do you think, did we do well decorating the haunted house?

Halloween with Poundland

I love Halloween and every year we have a little party for the kids, each year I am on the hunt for different party ideas and of course I add to our ever growing stash of decorations. This year I have once again taken part in the Halloween challenge with Poundland.

Poundland sent me £20 to buy some of their range, I was a little late at getting to the shops this year as I have been snowed under with college but there was lots still available on the shelves. I stocked up on a range of goodies for all of the children that will come knocking. I picked up a black lipstick and nail varnish for just a £1 and bought some plates and horror bandages. I also went a tad crazy on the glow stick but I do have a good reason for that. I am going to use the glow sticks to put inside the balloons and I have created some toilet roll eyes, I will use the glow sticks inside them too. I will then plant them in the bushes around my garden.

I hope to scare a few kids, what do you think?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Decorating Tips for a Halloween Party

If you’re hosting a spook-tastic Halloween party this year, or just want something to delight the trick or treaters at your door, we’ve come up with some tips for decorating your home.  
There’s luckily something for all budgets too so don’t worry if you don’t want to spend a fortune; you can still make it look amazing regardless! 
Don’t be afraid to get thrifty and crafty 
If your budget is modest, don’t feel like you have to go out there and buy half the products in the Halloween section from the party stores. In fact, making your own decorations can be really interesting and surprisingly successful...and the best bit is, there are loads of easy things you can do if you don’t value your arty skills very highly! 
Get a bit creative and a massive white sheet and a bit of black paint soon becomes a spooky ghost – you can get fabric paints at George Weil for great prices too, and everyone tends to have a spare sheet lying around. There are loads of fab ideas here that are well worth checking out, and hunt around on sites like Pinterest for further inspiration, too.  
Look for supplies and decorations in different places 
Instead of sticking to the general party stores on the high street and online, it might be a good idea to look in different places for your decorations and supplies. This can be a good way to save on money but to also find unique stuff that’s a bit different to the norm. Places like craft stores are a good bet for higher quality stuff too. 
Think outside the box 
If you want something that will really amaze and impress, think outside the box of more generic idea and suggestions and look for something a little different. You’d be amazed at some of the genius ideas out there already so get hunting and you can soon get creating unusual and incredible creations.  
Incorporate the whole setting 
As well as decorating the indoors of where your party will take place and just decorating one or two rooms, why not really go for it and decorate the whole setting? From the path leading up to your home to your bathroom, there are loads of different ways you can incorporate the Halloween theme into your whole setting. This will get your guests talking until the next Halloween too as it will show how much effort you’ve put in! 
Get your family or the kids involved 
If you’re throwing a party as a family or as a household with your friends, get everyone involved. This is a great way to not only have a fab time all together, but also it helps shift the load a little! (It’s also great to get the kids involved if you don’t value your arty skills much as you can tell your guests they did most of the work!). Each person will bring new ideas and inspiration to the table which will work really well. 
In collaboration with George Weil.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Why Hello Guilt

Most of you may know that I am currently on an animal management course. As part of my course I am required to complete an assignment where I have to evaluate an enclosure at a zoo, I have to also design a zoo enclosure. To complete this we are scheduled to go to Knowsley Safari Park tomorrow and Chester Zoo during the week after half term. I feel incredibly guilty as I have never been to a zoo or safari park without the kids, I darn't mention anything about my trip to little lady, she loves our zoo trips as much as I do.
Last time we went to Knowsley was for the Jungle Dog event, we had an amazing time and I managed to get so many brilliant shots, the lions seemed to be full of beans and were brilliant. We also saw a zebra crossing, ok there were 5 zebras crossing but at the time we were in stitches.
Little T laughed for about a week about it, I still find it hilarious now despite no one else still sharing my humor in this image. I don't think I will have as much fun tomorrow and I doubt I will get many brilliant shots of the animals due to the UK getting the tail end of hurricane Gonzalo but that does not stop me feeling guilty about going without the kids. 
I should get you all to place bets now on how many times I will be looking around for them, although I will have my college friends with me, I will just have to keep track on them to keep me occupied. 
I have not made a decision on which animal enclosure to evaluate, I love so many animals I can't decide which one I would like to spend lots of my time near on the visit. I know I am going to design a tiger enclosure, I am even considering making it 3d, they'd have to give me a distinction then won't they?

I will share my design here when I am done, someone suggested I make the enclosure out of cake but I am pretty certain I would eat it before I handed it in. It will be 3d or 2d, no cake designs from me.

Do you ever feel guilty about going somewhere without the kids knowing that they would love it?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Life in the Fast Lane

Since I started college in September time seems to be going so fast. Loving my course plays a huge part I am sure, no part of my course is boring which is amazing. I am learning so much yet have so much to learn.
Less than 3 weeks ago I was handed my first assignment, when my tutor handed out the assignment brief the butterflies began to flutter, then came the dread, it was a presentation. I sat amongst my peers, they are all younger so have experience of presentations or how the hell you use PowerPoint. Power point to me was a plug socket. I questioned myself, could I do this, can I deliver a presentation and get a grade? Pass, Merit, Distinction or fail are the options. I am aiming for a pass, anything higher would be a bonus. So for my first assignment in 16 years I  presented the evolution of the cat. I think the assignment handing out is contagious because two other tutors followed suite. After a few days my presentation was graded and handed back to me, I did a silent squeal when I saw Distinction in the grade box, little old me can do this, I can do assignments and now work Power Point. I feel extremely proud of myself. 
This week I have handed in 3 assignments, the worst being the presentation which I now know I did well in, this weekend I will be doing more assignments along with maths and English homework, oh did I not mention that I am resitting my maths and English GCSEs, every Friday I turn up at college for maths and English, I keep telling myself it is just 1 year and hopefully if I pass I will be done with them
In other college news I am a class rep and campus rep, and today I had an interview to become a campus ambassador, I have taken on plenty of ambassador roles as a blogger so hopefully they will want me too and I can apply those skills I have learnt over the years as a blogger. I shall find out on Monday if I was successful. 
Home life is going super fast, Halloween, bonfire night and Christmas will soon be upon us. Little T has joined Beavers and M has joined Girl Guides, both are loving every second of it. C has started her important GCSE years at school and Big T has moved up a class at his school, we have had some problems with his medication, his previous teachers requested his medication be upped slightly so over the summer we managed to get his medication moved up to 40mg however his new teacher said he was too out of it so he requested that his medication be changed back to 30mg. This I was far from happy about and his teacher is too after talking to us and his past teacher. But the doctor now insists on it staying at 30mg so the school will just have to cope, if Big T gets in trouble for being naughty I will be annoyed. I can not be happy about this situation at all and I am eager for his next medication review. Little lady has returned to ballet and started nursery. She is doing so well and loves both ballet and school, she draws little pictures for me for when I return home from college. I get a run down of her day and then I tell her mine, she is as animal mad as me so she loves to hear about all of the animals at college.

I can't believe the school holidays are almost here, I will get to spend more time with the kids and cram in assignments. I have made it to half term almost, when it gets hard and I think I am not cut out for it I take a glance at my trusty bag. It gives me great advice and carries my heavy files and books.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

My Beautiful Water Feature from Swell UK

Last month Swell UK sent me one of their lovely water features to review. The one they sent to me was the Stowasis Stainless Steel Sphere, it is available in a variety of sizes from 30cm in diameter right up to 200cm. The sphere size we chose was the 30cm one and with that came a 450 lph pump. Swell UK also sent me one of their Stowasis reservoirs to use with the sphere, the one they sent me was the round Deluxe feature reservoir. These two go together perfectly and could not be easier to fit. All you need by is an electrical supply. The wire length of the pump is 10 meters long so if you don't have an electricity supply nearby an outside weather box extension lead works perfectly.
Like I said earlier it is really easy to install, all you need is some muscle power to dig yourself an hole big enough to fit the the reservoir in at ground level. I chose my spot in the front garden, we tend to sit in the front garden on a summers evening and we use it daily so it seemed like the perfect location. When your hole has been dug and you've check the size is correct ensure your reservoir sits level. If it does place the pump on the base of the reservoir and fill it will water, there is a small cut out in the lip on the reservoir for your wire to run through. At this point I checked that the pump was working, it of course was working lovely. I placed the round cover over and fed the tubing from the pump up through the sphere, I carefully placed the sphere in the centre of the reservoir, now come the exciting part. I switched on the electricity supply to my new, shiny water feature and watched the water spill over the side of the sphere and back into the reservoir, a soft tinkling sound of water filled the surrounding area, I do love the sound of water running, I find it so relaxing. I had noticed that the pump was not pumping enough water up to cover the whole sphere but this rectified itself once I allowed it to run for a while, this gave the pump time to ensure it had no air bubbles restricting the flow.
It also took me a while to decide if I wanted large pebbles or slate to decorate the surrounding area and I eventually settled on a plum slate. I used 4 twist concrete boarders to hold back the slate and over time I plan to add a charcoal coloured patio surrounding my water feature and I plan to paint the wall that sits behind the water feature in a storm grey paint. I also plan to add small solar lights to the four corner so the light bounces off the steel of the sphere. The pump does require some routine maintenance and to help with this the reservoir lid has a small access hatch so you don't have to remove all of the stones or the sphere. This makes it quick and easy to check the pump is not sitting it any dirt.
I held a rehome day for Fresh Start For Hens recently and many of the rehomers commented on how nice it was, I have to agree with them. I love sitting out in the evening listening to the water softly running whilst the owls hoot in the trees, so peaceful. 

The spheres start from £129.99 for the 30cm diameter and the deluxe reservoir is priced at £89.99, I think both of these prices are fair as both products are excellent quality. The reservoir can hold 100 litres of water and goes perfectly with the sphere water feature. I know I will have a brilliant water feature that I can enjoy for many years. 

We were sent the products from Swell UK for the purpose of the review, all wording images and opinions are my own.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Cirque Du Hilarious

The school holidays are in full swing now and I bet you are marking the days off on the calendar, fear not you only have 2 more weeks to survive. Just kidding I know you all love the 6 weeks holidays, it is these holidays that we cram in all the fun filled days to make the kids summers one to remember.  We recently took a trip to Blackpool to see Cirque Du Hilarious, you might recall I hosted a giveaway for them back in July, well in return I got to visit too. We attended with my in laws so were a party of 8, my eldest 3 children were staying with my Mum for a week so this gave us the perfect opportunity to spend with my niece and her Mum and Dad.
When we arrived we collected our tickets from the box office, and was told to go to the entrance, from here we were offered the lift but me being a huge chicken opted out and walked up the stairs instead. Once at the top we were asked to fold our pushchairs and take a seat, we chose a nice big table near the bar, right at the back. We ordered our drinks and waited for the show to begin.
Cirque Hilarious are award winning father and son duo so you know the chemistry and humor between them will be, well, hilarious. They have been together for 15 years and it really does show in their act. You will get Slapstick comedy along with a bit of cheekiness, a bit of magic, some audience participation  and if you don't laugh you are made of stone. I was amazed by the magic tricks, I still don't have a clue how they did it, little T almost popped a vein laughing at Danny. I laughed so much when Mick was trying to stay in character but found it difficult as he was trying not to laugh at what they were doing. I love that they laugh at themselves too. 
For those that are visiting with children I will warn you that some of the ladies are dressed in burlesque outfits, no more is shown that what you would see in my images but I just thought I would mention it. 
 No matter what your age you will enjoy it, there is something for everyone and the faces that they pull will have you in stitches. We all still say the comical catchphrases that Danny says now and it has been a few weeks since we went. All of us would happily return to watch them again. When their act went slightly wrong how they dealt with it was hilarious and they did all of this in the middle of the scorching weather we had, I know you will all know when I mean as it has rained since. They all worked incredibly hard to entertain us and entertain us they did! I highly recommend a trip to see them if you are a visiting Blackpool this summer.

Disclaimer- We were given free entry to Cirque Du hilarious, however all opinions and images are my own.

What do you want for your birthday?

Buying gifts for someone you have no idea what they want can be difficult, it can sometimes leave you in the middle of a store trying out your telepathy skills with the person who is to receive the gift. If you're like me your telepathy skills are as strong as your ability to fly. I hate surprise buying so I always ask them what they want, sometimes they still won't tell me and others give me a list of things that they would like, who do they think I am, Santa?
My husband for instance is easy, tomorrow he is one year wiser and I knew before asking him that he would know exactly what he wants, true to form he asked for a game for his PC, the game is not out till September so he can pre-order from Origin and have it as soon as it is available. He is so easy to buy for.

I am pretty easy to buy for too, this year I'm asking for a canvas. I have been looking around and found one with Photobox that I like, I also like the price, at the minute they have a sale on,  £23.99 for a 20" by 16" canvas is a bargain. The last canvas I had is the picture of my blog background, it is an image that is 3 years old now and everyone still comments on how they love it and ask how I managed to capture it. I find it hard to explain how to get the perfect shot but Photobox recently sent me this guide they created which explains it perfectly, the only thing I would add is to choose your subject carefully. They say never work with children or animals and I have to agree, if you want a posed shot, follow the guide provided and have patience. Candid shots are much easier to capture but I never get all 5 of the children in a candid shot. 
Animals can be very tricky to capture too but they can also be pretty funny. I wanted to get a shot of a giraffe the other day whilst at the safari park using the sky as the backdrop, it would have made a great picture only I chose a pretty nosy giraffe. The scene was set, I had it pictured in my head and now I just needed it in my camera, it wasn't meant to be though. My button pressing was not quick enough, before I knew it the giraffe was making friends with my camera lens. Once it saw I had no food it went back to head scratching with its giraffe mates and the picture opportunity was gone. I do like the picture I did get but lets face it, it isn't an award winning image. 

The picture I will be getting on a canvas this one, it is a posed shot and again people comment on how they love it, I love it too but I giggle when I see it. What people don't know is that little lady was about ready to thump her brother, I can still hear her now telling him to get off her and to go away, you can see in the image she is pulling away slightly. Little T just looked at us like she was so amateur. I think it will look great on canvas.
Next up is buying for the children, some of mine are easy and some are difficult. Big T is always hard to buy for. I wrote a post on hunting for the elusive indestructible toy last year and it still stands only now he has found something he loves, loom bands! He would happily spend most of the day creating huge lengths of looms bands only to unpick them and start again. If I buy him the scented ones he goes into sensory heaven. They are brilliant for his fine motor skills too. They are most parents worse nightmare but for me they are a learning tool. My older children get creative with them too making figures for the younger ones so they all get to enjoy loom bands.
That is the remainder of the birthdays sorted for 2014, games, canvas and loom bands galore!
Now to get started on the next gift buying frenzy that is known as Christmas, did I mention it is only 19 weeks away? 
Are you easy or hard to buy for?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Which Haven park do we choose next?

It is that time of the year again when we start thinking about our Easter holiday. Earlier this year we did something we have not done before and surprised the kids with an extra short break. We split out holiday in two and visited two parks.
For our first week stay we headed to Perran Sands again. Easter 2013 we stayed at Perran Sands for 10 nights, things didn't run quite smoothly but I am pleased to say this year was perfect. Again we stayed in a prestige caravan and the funny thing was it was the exact same caravan in the same location as the year before. We were pleased as it was a good location, yes you are far away from the main complex but it was very quiet.

The weather was much nicer this year too, it was windy but we hardly had rain. The pool was warmer, the entertainment was excellent and guess what, they have a roller disco. This was brilliant for the me the girls, most nights they would go down and spend some of their evening roller skating, well M did, C spent most of her time falling over. I took the boys down during the day, I expected big T to be on his bum most of the time and little T to not do too badly. I was wrong, little T was worse than Bambi on ice and Big T would not allow us to help him and braved letting go of the side. I of course hired skates too, I was dragged back to the  early 90's skating on the concrete outdoor rink at Golden Sands, I loved every part of my Haven holidays as a child so I love that my children can do the same activities. Every Haven should get a skating rink, I loved every second of it. Whilst we were skating or being Bambi on Ice little lady was entertained in the same building, she made sand art with her Nanna, I did scoop her up and carried her round the rink a few times, she loved it and I can't wait till her feet fit into a pair of skates. We had activity passes this year and I highly recommend booking them, there is lots to use them up on and you save money if you book in advance, we will book them again for next year.
Throughout the week we took advantage of abundance of activities to do in the surrounding area. We visited St Micheal's Mount, Dairy Land(twice) and St Ives. I highly recommend visiting all of them, it was my first time at St Micheal's mount and I loved it as did all of the children. They thought it was hilarious that the sea had started to come up to the cobbled causeway as we were walking back, we warned them that if we were not quick enough we'd get wet feet but little did we know how close we were to those wet feet. About 1 minute after reaching the other side we looked back to see people wading through the water over the cobbled causeway. Big T was in stitches laughing at them, I might be guilty of giggling too. So take note of those times on the board otherwise you will get wet feet or have to take the boat.

On site there is always something to do to keep you all entertained, we went out most nights and loved the entertainment, there is also great places to eat. Papa Johns was my favourite to order in to the caravan, the Fish and Chip shop was the kids favourite because they got their meal served in little red boats which they all loved and ours was the Surf bar, everything we ate was delicious. I also highly recommend the hot chocolate from there, it is one of the nicest I have ever had. I love the food and how they present the food too. Before we ever went to Perran sands we cooked a lot back at the caravan but we love the food that much here and the prices are what I would expect to pay for the quality of the food we ate out a lot! It is safe to say we loved Perran Sands.
Our next holiday journey took us to Devon cliffs, the kids all thought they were heading home but we surprised them with a 4 night stay at Devon Cliffs. Their little sad faces turned to beaming smiles and happy tears fell from their eyes when they knew we were staying for real and not kidding. We were placed in a lovely caravan with its own decking and was situated in a new part of the park. It is not a place to be put if you have walking difficulties but again it was quiet up there. We love Devon Cliffs, it has an amazing pool and we love visiting the World of Country Life and the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Devon Cliffs is one of the bigger park and in the past we seeked out those lively flagship park but we found ourselves missing the smaller quieter park. What had come over us I don't know, I used to grumble at the thought of visiting a smaller park and now we were missing it, we were missing Perran Sands! Don't get me wrong Devon Cliffs is excellent, if I could take that pool with me to every park I would, I loved the caravan too.
We ate out at the Mash and Barrel and again the food was lovely but it lacked the sparkle that the Surf bar offered us, it didn't help that people don't know how to close a door behind them so we kept having to get up to close the door whilst eating our food. We tried Papa Johns, Burger King both were great places to eat. My mother in law is not a Burger King or Papa Johns fan so she ordered from the fish and chip shop, I liked that whether we ordered from Burger King, Papa Johns or the fish and chips we could all eat together. You will find something to suit your taste and the service was always great. 
The show bars at Devon are separate, young children's shows in one bar then moving onto another bar for the shows aimed at the older guest. Both had a great range of entertainment, I loved that I could play cash bingo in the Capones show bar, it was my little me time, I never won but I had fun.
Both Perran Sands and Devon Cliffs are great Parks, as we have visited Devon Cliffs 3 times now I think we will give it a miss for a few years so we get that sparkle back when we do return because it is an amazing park. I would go back to Perran Sand next year because there is still so much more to do in Cornwall and I love the park. So what do we do, 10 nights in Perran Sands or go for 7 nights there and 4 nights in a completely new park, maybe Rockley Park?

What ever we do we need to make a quick decision so we can book exactly what we want.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Royal Welsh show with Joules

Last Thursday we filled the car with petrol and set off on a 2 hour journey to attend the Royal Welsh show in Bulith Wells. For a good while now I have wanted to attend the show, the urge to attend was even stronger now that I start an animal management course this September. The college I will be attending also had a stand at the show so I was looking forward to stopping by to have a chat.
I invited my sister in law along for the ride too so our children could spend some time together and of course my mother in law came too. 
We were offered free entrance for one adult and a voucher to spend at the Joules stand, I would have been rather silly to say no especially as I was attending anyway. I had a few stands in mind that I wanted to attend, Joules for a warm jumper and welly socks for the cold winter days when I will be at college, the college stand just so I could say hi, the Donkey Sanctuary to say hello and make a donation. You were spoilt for choice with the stands. The events that were on my must see list were the Sheep dog trials, Equus & Falco and the Royal Signals White Helmets Motorcycle display. All of the others were added bonuses.

After spending a couple of hours watching the events we headed indoors to get out of the glaring sun. We came across a stand that made things out of bees wax and had a few of their European honey bees with them, I was amazed to learn that a queen bee will only sting another queen bee and she is the only one to repopulate the colony, I have never been so interested in bees in all of my life. We walked away with a little more knowledge about bees and the kids made some bees wax candles that we will save and light on Christmas day. 

We had spent some time looking at all of the animals in their holding pens and decided to go and do a spot of shopping when my sister in law and I managed to get ourselves stuck on the opposite side of some barriers. The assembly of the livestock for the parade was about to begin so my sister in law was on one side and I on another, in between a line of huge bulls and cows paraded by. It turned out quite well that we had to wait for them all to go into the cattle ring because we had an excellent view of all the prized cattle. Each cattle that went by had won a prize at the show so what we saw were cattle that were at their best. I am not sure exactly what makes a prized cow or bull but what I do know was that they all looked excellent.

The parade finished and off we went to do our shopping with the first stop being Joules. At the show some of the prices were slightly cheaper than they are online, I bought some welly socks for £5.18, a new candy pink pony print coat for little lady for £19.98 and lastly a Cowdray striped jumper to keep me warm, it should have been £49.99 but was just £24.99. I just wished they did steel toe capped wellies so I could have some pretty wellies for college too, I do however have Joules welly socks to keep my feet against something soft, they are that soft I will be buying more.

I bought little lady the coat for this winter so its a little big for her at the minute, it is microfleeced lined and 100% weather proof so will be perfect for keeping her warm for when she is at nursery.

Disclaimer-We were given one free adult entrance to the show and a voucher to spend in Joules. All of the other tickets we purchased ourselves. All opinions and images are my own.

Monday, 28 July 2014

When did you stop loving me?

When did you stop loving me?
It has been four months since you last called me,
almost a year since I came to visit.
Last time you called it was my birthday,
do you only remember me on special days?
Well that isn't true you forgot me at Christmas!
I saw you the other day, you did not expect to see me,
guilt was all over your face, you handed me money.
Does handing me £10 make you feel better?
I wish you had kept your guilt money and used it to call me,
your excuses are lame, the latest two were the worst yet!
You have no phone and are decorating.
When did the decor in your home become more important than me?
For one whole week I stayed just around the corner from you,
was it too hard to come see me?
I hope you and your family had a great time at Lego land,
I bet you didn't expect me to see the pictures either.
I am not mad at you for going on holiday without me,
I am mad that you never called, I am mad that you lied.
It is the same as last time when you took your children abroad,
you left me at home though and told me you was working.
I played in the percussion band at a music festival the other week,
I also played at my local theatre.
I am learning to play the flute too, these things I've been waiting to tell you.
I have been waiting for you to call, the call never came.
I remember when I would see you all of the time,
we laughed at funny things and ate Pringles.
I also ate delicious jam tarts, they are still my favourite.
You'd make me pack lunches for our train journey home.
I would see you every two weeks then and you'd call me lots.
When did everyone else get put before me?
When did you stop loving me, Dad?
Was it on my birthday?
I know I turned 10 but I still need you.
You may have forgotten me but I have not forgotten you.
I am still the same little girl you once adored.

I love beach days

 A couple of months ago my mum asked me if she could have the 3 eldest children for a week, yes a week, 1 whole week, 7 days, 168 hours of not having my 3 eldest children here. I jumped at the chance once I knew she was 100% certain she would manage. Now I am not certain if it is the same with all families but teens and pre-teens are hard work, throw Big T in the mix and we have mini volcano's ready to explode on many occasions, they have opinions and are not afraid to give them to you whether you want them or not, they push buttons that I never knew existed so a week off sounded brilliant(the last one was 5 years ago), they too would benefit from a week away with their Nanna, a Nanna who they don't get to see that often. I knew they would be spoilt rotten so I set about making sure the youngest two didn't miss out. I bet you are now wondering why all 5 didn't go to stay, the simple answer is that my Mum just does not have a bond with them that she does the eldest 3, we moved away before they were born so they never really spent much time together. It is strange for me to have 3 children close to their Nanna and the other 2 not to be but that is the way it is.

Having spare seats in the mini bus meant we could grab a rare opportunity to spend some time with my niece, sister in law and brother in law. Along with my mother in law we hit the beach, we always go to a place known as Black Rock in Porthmadog, you can drive onto the beach and they have toilet blocks so you can literally spend the whole day there, it is one of my favorite places to be. We had packed the minibus full of food, windbreakers, spades, kites and suncream. I also bought a fantastic gazebo with netted sides from Asda for just £30, it kept the children out of the sun whilst they ate their dinner or paddled in the pool. It will be coming to every beach day from now on.
 We had an amazing day jumping over waves and eating sand sandwiches, we all took turns to fly the kite, and the kids all threw sand in each others eyes despite being told not to a million times. We each winced at the cold water as soon as the sea level went above our knees whilst watching the kids just dive in without batting an eye, do they have no feeling? We then all retreated when the sea started coming in because it brought with it a range of jelly fish, jumping waves whilst being on jelly fish watch is not as fun but having said that it is still my favorite place to be, I just wish the jelly fish would not have the same beach fondness.
Of course I missed the eldest 3, I think little T missed his older sibling too as they normally help him to dig holes. Little lady loved having her cousin though, she loved splashing in the pool and making sand castles with her. I will cherish the day we had, we do not get to spend enough fun days with my niece and her parents so special memories were made. I will now however cross my fingers and toes that we get more beach day weather so we can go back with all of us because my eldest 3 love the beach just as much as I do.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Dulux bedroom in a box round up and competition

Regular readers will know that I recently reviewed the Dulux Avengers bedroom in a box, three weeks on and it still looks amazing and my son still loves it. If you missed the full review you can find it here. I loved seeing the other bloggers reviews of the other bedroom in a box themes that Dulux offers. I am 100% certain that my daughter would happily have the Fairy Princess theme on her walls, she loves all things princesses at the minute. 

Big T tells everyone about his Avengers bedroom, he even had hulk painted on his face at my nephews christening because he wanted to match his bedroom, it was such a shame we weren't staying at home that night because I think he would have blended in perfectly. So as he is telling everyone how amazing his new bedroom is I thought I would tell you about an amazing competition that Dulux have, if you are planning on buying a bedroom in a box now is the time to do so as you can then be in with a chance to win a Merlin pass for the family, you can check out how to enter here. Read the full terms and conditions here

Whether it be the Avengers bedroom in a box or one of the other themes I am sure your child will be talking about their amazing bedroom for weeks. Below you can see a video of some of the other bedroom transformations.

We were sent the Dulux bedroom in a box for the purpose of the review.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

My little ballerina

Five weeks ago, just one day before little lady turned 3 she started ballet lessons. Her first lesson and the first time we had ever left her with a stranger she went in through the door alone, she looked like a lost lamb. Her daddy and I peered through the window nervously. She was joining in but still looked like we had abandoned her, left her alone with these dancing strangers who were asking her to do things that she had no understanding of like '1st  position' or 'good toes, naughty toes'. Her first lesson tears were released in giant sobs all because they asked her to carry a pretend balloon across the room. The lesson did not end so badly though, I went in to comfort her and show her that ballet could be fun, no I did not put on a tutu and join in I just sat and supported her. The lesson ended with her sat beside me, as far away from the strange children and strange teachers as she possibly could get but she did join in, she did enjoy it. So next week we tried again.
Week 2 of ballet, driving up to to the dance studio made little lady decide she didn't want to do ballet school anymore she wanted to go to school instead, she cried on her first induction day to nursery just 2 days previous so why she wanted to return there instead I don't know. We asked if we could just go inside and look, she agreed and joined in with the lesson. Well I say joined in she sat next to her dad the whole time but she did take part and learnt new skills. She came away with no tears this time, if we have to sit in every lesson till she is comfortable we will.
Week 3 I could not attend as I was at Britmumslive in London so Daddy2five did this one alone. He told me she did play up a little when it came to the group activity because she was still glued to his side, not quite ready to join the circle of children. She also forgot Timothy(her stuffed Donkey), at the end of each lesson they dance with their teddies then place a loving kiss on their head before laying them gently down on the floor.
Week 4 she told us she was going to go in alone, she soon changed her mind at the studio door but we did have a break through. Half way through the lesson she joined the circle, I wanted to shout to every mum and dad in the room that she had joined the circle but they might have just thought I was totally bonkers and mud sticks, I am totally bonkers but they don't need to know that do they! This lesson she was also wearing her ballet outfit, she had her pink skirted leotard, her pink crossover cardigan her seamless ballet tights and the adorable tiny ballet shoes. She looked absolutely adorable, I wanted to squeeze her. She is getting more confident, she will now happily get up on her tip toes and walk her pretend balloon across the room to one of her teachers. One good thing about one of us having to go in the room with her means we know what she has been learning and can practice at home, my husband doing some funny ballet moves to encourage our daughter is an hilarious sight to witness, I love that he will do anything to make her feel more comfortable at ballet school.
Week 5 is now, right this second as I am writing this, she went through the door with Daddy but joined the circle. She did not immediately stick to his side. Again I wanted to tell everyone that she had indeed joined that circle, she is making friends with her teachers who are all really friendly. It is sad that she will only have one more lesson before breaking up for the summer, I hope in September she still feels comfortable. I am certain that over the holidays we will be sat on our rug doing 'good toes, naughty toes'.
I am so happy that we did encourage her, you can see she loves it, if the day comes when she no longer enjoys it then she can stop. At this moment in time she loves being a ballerina.