One Mum, Lots of Children, A Business and Lots of Chaos

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Our Favourite Merlin Days Out

Our Favourite Merlin Days Out

Our Favourite Merlin Days Out If you follow our family on Instagram you will see we love our Merlin Annual Passes. Brought on a whim in their sale in 2016 I wasn’t sure how much we would use them but we have got our monies […]

Tips for a Family New Year Celebration

Tips for a Family New Year Celebration

I have never overly been a New Year’s Eve party-er. All my adult years I have been a parent. So I can count on one hand the nights I have had out partying for New Years Eve. Over the past 10 years or so I have […]

The Christmas Tag

The Christmas Tag

Hello and welcome to the Christmas tag! It’s a blog post chain linked by bloggers tagging each other to join in. I was very kindly tagged by my fellow blogger – Thrifty Mumma Thrifty Bubba. You can read her own Christmas tag post by clicking here.

So, pour a glass of Prosecco, turn on the Christmas tunes and settle down to read an insight into my family Christmas :

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

I am not a film kind of person but the kids and I love a giggle at Natvity. Also, I have fond childhood memories of watching Home Alone. And dreaming of having a big family like there’s. I suppose that dream has come true but never managed to go on holiday without one of my kids, yet!

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I can’t remember snow on Christmas day. But in 2009 when J, was a baby, the days running up to Christmas were very snowy. Our family, both my sister’s families plus Grandma and Grandpa all shared Christmas in Devon. Our journeys from Hampshire, Wiltshire, South Wales and Cheshire being hard work to get through the snow. It was very icy around the lodges. I can remember a few family members doing a bit of dancing on ice!

Where do you usually spend the holidays?

Even though I’m fully grown and have kids of my own. I always have spent Christmas with my parent’s bar 1 or 2. Now my Dad is no longer with us, we just bombard Grandma’s house to keep her company. 

What is your favourite Christmas song?

I blinking love East 17 – Stay Another Day. Great for a bit of a car singalong. When we are in the festive mood though, you will find a huge selvction of Christmas classics on our Spotify playlist. Including Band Aid, Mariah Carey, Wham and Elton John. 

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Ummm, I don’t think I can. There is Ruldolf obviously, ummm Prancer and Dancer??? Vixen, now to call the kids in for some help. Comet and Blitzen, any more kids, no! Ok looks like that is a definite no then. 
 
What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?

I am not that much of a traditionalist, as well I do get bored and like to keep things fresh. But the kids always put their stockings out on Christmas Eve. Plus leave the big man, a drink and mince pie! Also due to my sheer last minute buying, I tend to wrap most presents on Christmas Eve too. 

What is the best Christmas gift you have ever received?

I had some great presents as a child. But have fond memories of our first ever family computer. It came in great big boxes and took hours to setup. We all thought it was amazing and sat around it mesmerised. 

What is your most memorable Christmas memory?

When I was a child my Dad worked shifts in London. If he was rostered to work on Christmas Day, it was the best feeling in the world when he walked through the door after he finished work. Then we could open our presents. Also loved going to my Grandad’s for lunch and him picking up his dinner plate and drinking his gravy. 

Last year we went to Disneyland Paris the week running up to Christmas. That has to be my most precious Christmas memory with all the kids to date. I really hope it lives on in their memories forever.

What made you realise the truth about Santa?

Big Sister’s, my sisters are 12 and 4 years older than me. So they let onto the fact that Santa wasn’t real when I was still quite young and my friends were all still believers. History has kind of repeated itself in our household too. As the older girls 16 and 11 are non-believers so the 8-year-old is becoming well aware that he might not be real too!

What makes the holidays special for you?

Family, forget the presents, I love spending time with the kids. Also, school holidays mean not running around like a headless chicken for the morning school runs. 

In true tag fashion I now nominate some of my favourite fellow bloggers to join in:

Mummy Mama Mum

Adventures of Dexter and Axel

Burnished Chaos

Cheshire Wife

If you are a blogger and want to join in, then please do
 
Thanks for reading and if you want to see what we get up to this Christmas, pop over to Instagram to join us
 
The Pramshed
Bluestone – Kingdom of The Elves

Bluestone – Kingdom of The Elves

Bluestone – Kingdom of The Elves This year I have not been able to get into the Christmas spirit at all. With less than 2 weeks to go and a house full of kids, I really needed to get my head in the game. So […]

Family Money Saving Tips

Family Money Saving Tips

As a mum to a larger than average brood, I’m often asked how I afford it. My kids don’t go without as they are in a bigger family. I just assess where I can cut costs on everyday living so that we can afford the […]

Precious Memories That Live Forever – Remembering Grandpa

Precious Memories That Live Forever – Remembering Grandpa

This week it would have been my Daddy’s and my little tribes Grandpa’s 71st Birthday. On his heavenly birthday, we take time out of our busy schedule to reflect. On his life and all the happy memories, we have of him. Remembering Grandpa enables our precious memories to live forever with us.

As he died 5 and half years ago the youngest kids have very little real memories of Grandpa. Well, A the baby of the family never got to meet him as she was planned as the bright light at the dark tunnel of my grief for losing my beloved Daddy. She was born 14 months after his death and never got to have a real cuddle from him. But I know he is keeping a little eye on how they grow. All the lessons he taught me over the years has given me the kick up the butt I needed. To carry on when life has thrown my some pretty shit curveballs in the last 5 Years.

Anyway where was I going with this. As much as death is heartbreaking I have dealt with it in my own little way. After all, it’s called ‘The Circle of Life’ for a reason. We’re born, we grow, we live and we die. Everyone deals with grief differently but I felt the what ifs, why him, thoughts were too consuming and dragged my backwards rather than carrying on. Because ultimately however much I over thought things it is never going to change what is already done. What I would give for one more cuddle or conversation but it’s not ever going to happen. So I need not dwell on it. Oh god that makes me sound like I carried on regardless I didn’t for a long time I can assure you.

I want my children to know about their grandpa’s life, what he was like and what he didn’t too! We talk about him as often as we want. F my only son, has many characteristics of Grandpa, when he takes his shirt off in the house or takes way too many biscuits from the tin. I smile and thank the powers that Be I have a mini version living with me. We talk about Trinidad where Grandpa was born and dream of travelling to see extended family one day.

The kids ask Grandma questions and raid the photo albums. We have also been known to search YouTube and Spotify for Calypso song. Talking of music I also crank up Billy Ocean’s ‘When the going gets tough’ as I can remember us singing along to it when I was a child. When my eldest picked up her fantastic GCSE results this summer, I thought her Grandpa would have been so very proud of her.

Sometimes I wonder if the older children have dealt with the huge positive role model they lost but hope us all talking about it has helped.

The happy memories we hold certainly outweigh the sad times.

 

My 4 Year Old Co-Sleeps with Me!

My 4 Year Old Co-Sleeps with Me!

Parenting is a constant learning curve and I am not sure I will ever get it sussed. So this is a post I thought I would never be writing about why my 4-year-old co-sleeps with me. Ok, when all my babies were small they didn’t co-sleep […]

Disneyland Paris at Christmas

Disneyland Paris at Christmas

Disneyland Paris at Christmas – A Memory to Last a Lifetime Last Christmas after thinking of what to buy the kids for Christmas. Dreading the thought of just buying lots of toys just for the sake of buying toys. We certainly didn’t need more toys […]

My First BlogOnXmas

My First BlogOnXmas

BlogOnXmas

For the last couple of years, I have wondered what all of the hyper was about the BlogOn conferences. I have tried other conferences which I have enjoyed and met some fab fellow bloggers. Also listened to some inspiring talks and taken part in thought-provoking workshops too. But wanted to try BlogOn for myself, this is how I got on at my first BlogOnXmas

But when I have been to a couple of these people have always mentioned Blog On events. Which somehow I have always managed to miss, whether it was due to not being quick enough to get a ticket (they are like hot cakes) or not having childcare. When the date was announced for the Christmas one I jumped straight to it and booked, even though it is far too early to talk Christmas in September.

As the months passed and the date quickly approached, I doubted myself about driving all the way to Manchester to have a day at a conference where I didn’t really know anyone. The childcare was in hand, Manchester is a fair old trek so arranged to stay in Hotel Football where the event was being held.

Something crept up with work so I had to work on Saturday afternoon, so arrived late missing the Pre-Party, bummer a Southern Comfort or two would have calmed my nerves.

I arrived really really late as I decided on a last-minute surprise visit to my big sister in Cheshire on the way. There were roadworks all around Old Trafford but I found the car park. But wasn’t sure of the route from the car park to the hotel. So called the reception to ask and the receptionist came out to meet me and show me the way.  Once I checked and headed straight to my room. It was lush to chill for an hour or so what a treat. A complete night of unintterrupted sleep, bliss!

hotel football

The morning came with the usual worry of have I got the right outfit etc. I knew plenty of the bloggers attending were wearing Christmas jumpers. But as I have never owned one and live my life last minute, I didn’t get a chance to search the internet looking for one. Also, I thought I might not know anyone.

I braved it and headed down about 10am and got a drink and sausage bap for brekkie. I spotted the friendly face of The Cheshire Wife so it was lovely to catch up. Then we headed for the welcome and the comical keynote set the conference off to a light-hearted start.

The schedule of sessions was full of fellow bloggers that were very happy to share their expertise. Whether it be with newbies like me or established bloggers that wish to conquer their weaker area.

One of the things I had heard about BlogOn was the large range of brands that were there to meet face to face on the day. Well, what can I say but wow, the lower floor of the Hotel Football was transferred into a Marketplace. With representatives from many toy brands ready to chat to bloggers about potential Christmas collaborations. I braved it and spoke to plenty so hopefully, some work will flourish from that. There was also shoes and wine, win win! 

At lunch I got to chatting with a few new faces, it is always great to meet people and hear about their blog. Laura from Tired Mummy of Two and the rest of the team were very helpful and welcoming.

The day ended with the Toy Awards a first for BlogOn. There was a huge selection of toys to choose from, all delegates were asked to vote throughout the day. Then all of the toys were raffled off to raise funds for the BlogOn Community Fund. The community fund helps bloggers when unexpected things happen in life. Throughout the whole day, The Grinch was also milling around which made tied in well with the Christmas theme.

BlogOnXmas Goodies

The final part of the day was to collect our goody bags. They were bursting with a huge variety of things from candles to top trumps, shampoo to Lego tape, children’s magazines to crisps, the list goes on and on.

All in all I had a fantastic day. I have already pencilled the May date in my diary as I will definitely be returning to BlogOn in the Spring.

Our Summer Holidays Highlights

Our Summer Holidays Highlights

What does the Summer Holidays mean to our family? Lazy days, adventures, sunshine, rainy days and most important of all no routine. The holidays seem to have been way too short and flown by. Looking back on my 10,000s of pictures I thought I would […]

Time for a New Routine

Time for a New Routine

Well, where did the summer holidays go? The start of the Autumn school term means it is time for a new routine in our family. Lots of changes happening throughout the family, only the boy, F, will remain at his school that he was at at […]

Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park – Review

Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park – Review

Even though we live about an hour and a half from Weymouth we love a day at the seaside. We often head to Weymouth as there are lots of other activities to do as well as just the beach. One of the must visit places in the town is definitely Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park.

Last week our family visited Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park, we have visited before and it has to be our favourite Sealife Centre. It has lots of other attractions as well as the aquariums. The outdoor space is fab to sit down and relax too. I thought that I would share with you what was new for 2017 and our favourite bits too.

New Attractions

During this month they have an Octonauts attraction to become an Octoglow Explorer, so definitely worth a visit, if you have an Octonauts fan in your family. The kids get a little time to play and solve the Octoglow tasks, then they got to meet Kwazii Kitten.

Octoglow at Weymouth Sealife Park

My favourite new addition was the Turtle Rescue attraction. It is an interactive task for the kids to rescue, weigh, feed, hydrate and get their turtle. Once it is back to good health they can release back into the sea. The kids talked about Turtle Rescue all the way home, so was definitely a hit with them.

turtle rescue sealife centre

Also this year they have opened the pretty fantastic Caribbean Cove Playground. It is bright spacious and very child-friendly. There are parts for children of all ages from the sandpit to the climbing up the tall towers and sliding down the wriggly green slide. The area has a coffee shop, so parents can grab a cuppa while they relax and watch their children play.
There are also toilets in the area, so you really can spend a large proportion of your day in this area if the weather is fine.

caribbean cove weymouth sealife

Good Old Favourites

Every time I mention to the kids that we are going to Weymouth Sealife Park, the first thing they say is I hope it’s sunny so we can go in the Splash Zone. And luckily on this visit, it was very sunny after all the summer rain we have had. So they got to get soaking wet and have loads of fun in the water. There is also the larger pool too but the littlest member of our family wasn’t that keen on getting in there, so the others stayed in the splash area to play with her.

On this visit, we caught the Seal’s talks and feeding time, heard about the otters during the talk. Plus we spent awhile observing the Penguins and comparing birthdays and names.

Walking through the ocean tunnel and spotting the turtles and sharks is always great fun too.

Once we had spent a good 6 hours in the Sealife Park we headed just across the road for a paddle, before we picked up so dinner and headed home. A great family day out, with some lovely memories made. Very much worth the trek.

It’s almost GCSE results day

It’s almost GCSE results day

The summer has flown by and it’s almost GCSE results day. A first for our family and a new learning curve in my parenting journey. Check out my thoughts. The last few nights I have had sleepless nights. Not because of restless toddlers or unsettled […]

Girl’s Day Out in London

Girl’s Day Out in London

Being a parent to big brood means that is can sometimes be tricky to spend time with the older girls. Without the younger ones fighting for my attention. But awhile ago, we managed to grab a ‘grown up’ day out in London, as Grandma offered […]

5 Emotions – My Baby’s Starting School

5 Emotions – My Baby’s Starting School

This September my youngest of my 5 children starts Big School. So I thought I would share the 5 emotions I have been feeling lately about her starting in reception.

When she was born, I remember saying that 2017 would be a big year. My eldest has just taken her GCSEs, awaiting results and will be off to college. My second daughter is off to secondary school and then A starts primary school to join her 2 siblings.  So even though it is the start of something new for her it is the end of a long stage (16 years) of having at least one pre-schooler. I have felt every single emotion possible recently. 

emotions of starting school
Baby Aliza Aged 4 Months
  1. Sadness – Having 5 children it would be very obvious for anyone to guess that I love babies so much. The warm and fuzzy feeling when you bring a brand new baby home from hospital can’t be beaten. Knowing that a newborn is totally dependent on you for feeds, nappy changes and being rocked to sleep. When I decided to have A it was to bring light after the sadness of my Daddy’s (the kids Grandpa’s) death. But as time went on the sadness of him never meeting her was tough and days like her first day of school that he isn’t there for are difficult too. She has grown so fast and the last 4 years have seemed to go quicker than with her older siblings, so I get sad that I have blinked and missed it. Now she will be finding her own path without me to oversee what’s going on.
  2. Excitement – Once all my kids have started school they have changed from the word go, so I am very excited to see her flourish. And find her feet on her own at school, see the new friendships she builds.
  3. Regret – I didn’t spend enough time with her in the last 4 years. Having been the only one financially providing for the kids for the last 5 years, I have had no other option than to work. I had a little bit of cover for the first few months of A’s life. But being my own boss running my business, I was never able to turn off to what’s going on. So I have been guilty of feeding her whilst replying to emails. Plonking her in front of cbeebies whilst I market my next event. Not noting down when she got to milestones, as I was so busy dividing myself in 5 or 7 if you include the house and work!!!
  4. Proud – I am so proud that A is ready for school and become a confident little girl. I have solo parented the kids for the majority of A’s little life so a little pat on the back that I have managed this far.
  5. Happiness – As I am ready for a new chapter in my book too. I have been running my business around having a pre-schoolers at home for the last 7 years. So I will hopefully have more time to devote to building my business. As kids only get more expensive as they get older, so I need to fund them. Plus as selfish as it seems I am looking forward to having some time to myself. You might even find me at the gym, well when I have finished that chocolate bar!!!

Phew now that is off my chest, I feel kind of ready, but know that there will be some tears. Pop over to my Instagram account and prepare yourself for 1st Day at School Spam.

Our Favourite National Trust Family Days Out

Our Favourite National Trust Family Days Out

Our Favourite National Trust Family Days Out Last year I decided that we needed to get out for more family days. So I spotted an offer in a magazine for a reduced rate National Trust membership. What was better was that with a 1 adult […]

10 tips for a stress-free day at Legoland

10 tips for a stress-free day at Legoland

10 tips for a stress-free day out at Legoland We love family days out and now we have Merlin Annual Passes we are forever darting off along the motorway for an adventurous day. Recently we visited Legoland and I must say it was a much […]

Pre-Teen Mobile Phone Agreement

Pre-Teen Mobile Phone Agreement

So when I was ten I probably couldn’t even use a computer, now my 10 year old is a whizz online. The internet is a great resource but also a pretty dangerous place, so the request of a mobile phone is a pretty big deal. I have granted her request and she now has a smart phone which is going to be essential for me to get hold of her when she heads to secondary school in September. But as I handed over her new phone to her I also got her to sign a pre-teen mobile phone agreement, which gave her pointers on how to use the phone safely. 

I have chatted with her about what is wrongs and rights of how to use the internet. Also her teachers at school, have recently covered how to stay safe online during Safer Internet Day earlier this month. So hopefully she will use it in the right ways and a calls when she goes awol when she’s a little older!!!!

Pre-Teen Mobile Phone Agreement between Parent and Child.

Mobile Phone: Pre-Teen’s Responsibilities

  • I will not send threatening or mean texts to others
  • I will not text or place phone calls after 9 p.m.
  • I will give my phone to parent at bedtime every night
  • I will keep my phone charged at all times
  • Once I have used my monthly allowance of usage I understand Mum will not add any more credit
  • I understand that I am responsible for knowing where my phone is, and for keeping it in good condition
  • I understand that my mobile phone may be taken away if I behave badly, fail to do my chores.
  • I will obey rules of etiquette regarding mobile phones in public places. I will make sure my phone is turned off when requested.
  • I will obey any rules my school has regarding mobile phones, such as turning them off during class
  • I promise I will alert my parent when I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages from people I don’t know
  • I will also alert my mum if I am being harassed by someone via my mobile phone
  • I understand that having a mobile phone can be helpful in an emergency, but I know that I must still practice good judgment and make good choices that will keep me out of trouble or out of danger
  • I will not share embarrassing photos of my family or friends to others, without there permission
  • I understand that having a phone is a privilege, and that if I fail to adhere to this contract, my mobile phone privilege may be taken away
  • I will not join social media sites without ask my mum without permission
  • I will give my parent the login to my phone and all accounts setup on it eg. instagram, snapchat

Mobile Phone Contract: Parent’s Responsibilities

  • I understand that I will make myself available to answer any questions my child might have about owning a mobile phone and using it responsibly
  • I will support my child when he or she alerts me to an alarming message or text message that he or she has received
  • I will alert my child if our mobile phone plan changes and impacts the plan’s minutes
  • I will give my child _______ warning(s) before I take his or her mobile phone away

Signed ______________________________ (Pre-Teen)

Signed ______________________________ (Parent)

Date ______________________________

Download your copy of the agreement  HERE

 

Our 2017 Plans and Wishes

Our 2017 Plans and Wishes

New year always brings a refreshed hope and ignites all those dreams of a better life. So while the ideas are still at the forefront of my mind and seem achievable, I thought I would share our 2017 plans before the stress of everyday life […]

New President Trump – What The Actual F*#k

New President Trump – What The Actual F*#k

Trump – What the actual F*#k So I had set aside some time this morning to blog about some great days out and experiences the children and I have had recently. But my head is not in the game as news broke this morning that […]

Choosing a Secondary School

Choosing a Secondary School

Choosing a Secondary School for your Child

So the first day at Big School 6 or so years ago seems a distant memory, the primary years have flown by and all of a sudden it is time to look into secondary education. Choosing any school for your child is a massive decision, but when it comes to secondary that may well be the most important, as most of us will have some very vivid memories of secondary (senior in my day) school. Those years very much shape you into the person that you maybe today. So as a parent I want to know my child will be happy, every child is different in all kinds of ways, from the ability to make new friends to the interests in specific subjects.

Each parent will have their own thoughts about what they are looking for in a secondary school. Whether to follow your heart or head. I have shared a list of a few things that I have taken into consideration when choosing a secondary school for my second daughter, who will be moving up in September 2017.

  1. Check out the Stats – I am not hung up on facts and figures, but it is always good to take a look most school website will have their recent exam results available for you to view, if not then ask. You can also look of the Ofsted website for details
  2. Always take a look – You can get a feel from a school by visiting for an open evening, or some schools have working open days, where you can see lessons in action and the school alive with children not an empty shell as it maybe for an evening. On open day’s you will also get a feel for whether the students and polite and happy in their learning environment. Also take your child with you, they need to be comfortable in their new surrounds as they will be the ones spending what feels like the majority of their teenage years there!
  3. Check out the areas that a chosen school excels in – If you child has a particular passion or talent for a certain area of their education whether it’s languages or art, computers to writing make sure your chosen school is suited and able to engage your child’s strengths.
  4. Location, Location, Location – If you are looking at school in the next town or on the other side of your city, make sure that the trip is doable. Is there good transport links, regular buses, including later that the planned school bus if your child wants to stay after school. If you have other children, can the morning routine include an extra drop off at the bus stop or at the school gates. If it is walking distant for your child that is a bonus, if it’s a bike ride, be realistic about whether your teen will be willing to ride in all weathers. Also the school trip includes a ride on public transport, look into the costs, it maybe be a heavy investment throughout the year.
  5. Uniform – Cost is a huge factor for many families, so check out the cost of the full caboodle. Also will your child be comfortable and at ease in the uniform to wear it on a daily basis.
  6. Friends – Most of us have probably made lifelong friends at senior school, some of those you may well have never met in junior school. So even though many 10/11 year old children will want to stay with their friends the reality is that they will form many more friendship during their senior years even if they were with their primary school friend. So don’t be afraid they won’t know anyone if they choose somewhere different, kids are great at making new friends.
  7. What’s the local word – We all know parents will share experiences, so ask people who currently have or had children recently attend the schools you have been looking into. Don’t go by old stories of the parent’s experiences moons ago, as things change a lot in 20/30 years.

Most importantly remember every child and family is unique and will be looking for different things in a school, so what works for your best friend’s family might not be what works for yours. So make your own choice and I’m sure whatever the outcome it will all be good in the end.

Warwick Castle – Knights and Castles not just for boys.

Warwick Castle – Knights and Castles not just for boys.

Warwick Castle – Knights and Castles not just for boys. Our final Merlin trip out for the summer holidays was to Warwick Castle. I have to admit it wasn’t first on our list when we got our Merlin Annual Passes earlier in the year. But […]

Back to School They Go!

Back to School They Go!

Back to School they go! I love the lack of routine and one of my aims as a Mum has always been to let the kids amuse themselves and enjoy spending time with each other. Plus getting out for lots of adventures, sometimes life doesn’t […]

Rio Olympics – What Did They Teach The Kids

Rio Olympics – What Did They Teach The Kids

Once every 4 years, the world seems to come together to put on a great show of solidarity for just 2 weeks. So it got me thinking about what the Rio Olympics were teaching the kids.

We aren’t a hugely sporty family, we don’t take any notice of the football league tables. But when the Olympics are on we catch up with as many events as possible. From Gymnastics to Swimming and Athletics to Diving (yes that sure is Mummy’s favourite!) there’s always something good to watch.

When watching the kids get right into it shouting and cheering at the TV, their passion towards the varied games got me thinking, yes my brain is still just about functioning after entertaining little people for the last 4 weeks. And I wanted to share the 5 things that the Rio Olympics have taught the kids.

  1. Never Give Up – Watching those olympians that have waited for years to get the results they want, taught the kids that some things take longer than others and there is no instant success.
  2. It’s ok to show emotion – When an athlete gives their sport their all and and they get the result they want or they don’t you see tears of joy and woe.
  3. Some things don’t always go your way – Two words Tom Daley, we loved the Diving and Tom Daley looked certain for a medal after diving amazingly in the first round of the his diving category and then came the semi’s and he literally belly flopped it, so after years of training, the pressure got to him and he didn’t even qualify for the final.
  4. It’s great to be part of a team – Even those that competed individually were present cheering on their fellow Team GB team mates
  5. A sport for everyone – The kids said to me that they didn’t realise that there were so many sports, how true is this so whether you are a team player or like to do your own thing, there’s something to interest everyone.
Summer Holiday’s – Week Four

Summer Holiday’s – Week Four

After a fab third week I was looking forward to spending more time with the kids during week four of the summer holidays. It was a very different week and my patience have been tested to the max. Monday friends popped over to continue sorting […]

Summer Holiday’s – Week Three

Summer Holiday’s – Week Three

Week three came around so quickly and we had plans to catch up with loads of friends we don’t get to see during term time much. Monday was a funny day, I woke up raring to go, we had a workman due to come in and do […]

Chessington Adventure

Chessington Adventure

A few weeks ago we headed to Chessington World of Adventures, check out the highlights of our Chessington Adventure.

As a child I have some fond memories of family days out at Chessington World of Adventures. So it is great to add to those memories by taking the pickles all too.
A few years ago I took the two eldest girls for a night’s break at the Azteca Hotel,  we had an amazing time and ever since I have wanted to return with the whole clan. Now we have our Merlin Annual passes, top of myself and most of the pickles theme parks to visit was Chessington.
After a rocky start to the holidays with the boy breaking both of his wrists, I wasn’t sure if we should still go as he wouldn’t be able to go on any rides and could be bored. But seriously what was I thinking, after taking a good look at the website, I saw there was shows for him to watch and tons of animals to see.
So we set off along the M4 on Wednesday, loaded up with a hearty picnic and waterproofs well it is British Summertime so rain was forecast.
After several toilet stops, we arrived just after 10, I thought being the first week of the school holidays it would be packed but I was wrong, the park was pretty quiet, with most ride queues only being between 5-10 minutes.
We downloaded the Chessington app, which was really helpful, to keep an eye on queue times, showtimes, closest toilets (essential when your taking a recently toilet trained toddler), a map of the park and where you were in the park, plus planner to help you keep track of all the things our family wanted to do on this visit.

What did we do and see?

So going back to those childhood memories of mine, a firm favourite has always been the Bubbleworks and as it is closing in September we hot footed it there, we will be returning later in the summer hopefully once Faryl’s plaster is off for him to ride it before it closes.

Then we had a rest and a snack watching the sea lion show, next to the sea lion bay is the Land of Kings featuring Tigers, Lions and Gorillas. The lions were pretty sleepy but always for the pickles to see the sheer size of them close up. As we got to the Tigers one came out had  a wander around and the pickles followed her to the top of her enclosure, where she stretched out to bathe in the sunshine. We could watch the cheeky gorillas for hours on end, seeing the silver back get a little bit irritated by the young gorillas and beat his chest, then Aliza, 3 was so excited and proud that one of the baby Gorillas came to the glass and high fives her, definitely the highlight of her day.

I have seen the adverts for Pandamonium and have to admit I wasn’t so sure but, the kids were captivated and loved the interactive, entertaining show. Plus the baby Panda was pretty cute.

We headed to the sealife centre, definitely more interesting for the older pickles than the Little Pickles that were more interested in just dashing through until they found Dory, which the did and briefly looked at before racing off again.

We stopped for a picnic, but then it obviously started to rain, so we had to decamp and shelter under a tree finishing our picnic before the rain passed and we continued with our day.

My favourite animals are Giraffes so I couldn’t miss Zufari, the bumpy truck ride to see, Zebra, Rhinos, Giraffes and Flamingos.

We donned our poundland ponchos and got soaked on the Dragon Fall, a complete must for a family day out at a theme park.

Then we did some other rides including Tomb Blaster, Scorpion Express (The Baby’s first roller coaster) and finally myself and the 3 oldest girls braved the Vampire ride which I remember from my childhood and it was just as heart racing as ever.

So what did we miss?

Things we missed the Penguins of Madagascar show,  Temple of Mayhem, Dragon’s playhouse, Canopy Capers and Jungle Bus plus several smaller rides. So plenty more to explore on our next trip plus you can never have enough goes on Zufari and of course the Bubbleworks before they close.

Plus all the rides Faryl missed out  whilst waiting with Grandma sporting his plaster cast duo!

What did we eat?

We took a bumper picnic like we always do on a day out, full of plenty of bottles of water and snacks as walking 16,000 steps (yes that’s what my iPhone told me) needs lots of energy.

We only brought the odd coffee and slushy from a kiosk on this visit but next time we will hopefully take advantage of our 20% Merlin Annual Passholders discount and fill up at one of the parks restaurants before our long drive home.

Kids verdict?
On the way home the kids actually said a huge Thank You off their own backs (no prompting, that is like a huge parenting win in itself). Then went on to say that Chessington was the best theme park they have ever been to and can’t wait to go back, so off to find my diary and schedule a date to return.

 

Summer Holiday’s – Week Two

Summer Holiday’s – Week Two

So the first week of the school summer holidays flew by, so it was full steam ahead into Summer holiday’s – week two. But where’s my energy gone? I was feeling shattered from the start so it was an exhausting week. On Monday we returned […]

Summer Holiday’s – Week One Done And I Survived

Summer Holiday’s – Week One Done And I Survived

Week one of the summer holidays are now over and done with, I survived. Our week started with the confirmation the The Boy had fractured both his wrists after a fall off a climbing frame at the weekend. So bring on the emotions, when they told […]

Our Family aka The Tribe

Our Family aka The Tribe

A Little bit about our Family

One Mum, One Business, One Home, One Car aka Bus, 5 Children, 2 Cats and anything else our busy lives through at us.

Me a Mum who never wanted to follow the rules, well I was the baby of the family afterall. So 33 years on I am a single Mum to 5 children and if I wasn’t busy enough I run my very own business too.

 

The Firstborn is now a teen and knows her own mind. She has fundamental made me the mother I am today. Growing and learning with her everyday.

The Smiley One is all ways there to check up the room, she easily makes friends and always sees the good in everyone.

The Brainy One can often be found reading a book quietly whilst chaos erupts around her, whilst she is busy trying to decide weather she will be an author or scientist when she grows up.

The Boy the one that taught me how to raise a boy after so many girls (who am I trying to kid, I’m still clueless about raising boys and generally blagging it through this parenting malarkey as I have done for the last 15 years)

The Baby the cute/naughty one that has the rest of the family wrapped around her little fingers.

Our Home is lived in, well seriously I would much rather be spending time with my tribe rather than spending all my time off cleaning. One day soon I will employ a cleaner but need to tidy up first!!!!

So having a larger family I have no choice but to drive a huge 7 seater car aka The Bus, no sports car her.

That’s a little bit about us, please hit like our Facebook page to keep up with our fun, stress, adventures, celebrations and the odd tear too.

Mum Under Pressure xx

Our Alternative Family Holiday

Our Alternative Family Holiday

Our Alternative Family Holiday As a family we love a holiday, it’s something to work/save towards all year and a very welcome reward and break from the general pressures of life. I had originally planned our holiday to Eurocamp in Brittany, France. Having had two […]

18 goals for 2018

18 goals for 2018

18 Goals for 2018 We are now a few days into the new year and before the full-on routine kicks back in. I thought I would take a little bit of time out to make some goals for the year ahead. No big new year […]

Our 2017 plans and wishes review

Our 2017 plans and wishes review

Wow, where did the year go? As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back at our 2017 plans and wishes and review it. Did we tick them all off, what will be carried forward to 2018? So read on for our 2017 review. 

Here’s Our List we made in January 2017

2017 review

  • Firstly to make the most of the last 6 months of our Merlin Annual Passes. We brought them on a whim last June and have had fab days out in Weymouth, at Chessington, Blackpool and Alton Towers. But there is still so much to explore we will be visiting London a couple of times. Where we will visit all of the attractions included there especially The Shrek Adventure and The London Eye. The teen also wants a grown up day out to Thorpe Park to enjoy the rollercoasters, not sure how keen I am but heyho best keep the eldest happy. Review – We did make the most of the last six month of our Merlin passes. With trips to Legoland and Chessington. Plus an amazing day out to London, with my eldest 2 girls. 
  • A personal one for me would be to grow my blog following. Regularly post weekly or more and also gain confidence in vlogging too. Review – oops this certainly didn’t happen! I blogged but not in a regular pattern. I have however read listened and learnt lots about how to establish a cracking blog. So I have made some tweaks in the recent weeks. I have planned and already written several posts for the new year, so I’m on track.
  • Our first and maybe one and only camping adventure. The eldest it 16 this year and asked to go to a festival for her birthday special treat. So we have booked for the whole family to go to Camp Bestival in July. I’m really not sure where to start. So any camping tips gratefully received. Some of the line up has been announced and looks like so much fun. Review – We did it! We camped even if we opted for the easier option and booked Pitch Village. They offer pre-pitched tents, with sleeping bags. Plus they have separate toilets, showers, plus a constant supply of hot drinks. It was, however, the wettest Camp Bestival ever I think. But once you’re wet, your wet! And we still had the most amazing time and we may well head back in 2018. family-trip-camp-bestival
  • It is GCSE year so a biggy, so we are all hoping that the pressure of exams doesn’t make the house a too dull place. She will shine I’m sure, good luck gorgeous. Review – Even though I was worried sick come August. She completely stormed it. I was so very proud that she is now the proud owner of 9 A-C GCSEs. So she got onto her desired course at college. And seems to have grown into a little adult in the last few months.
  • My business goals have been set and they will be achieved (positive thinking at it’s best). I will keep to them this year and see some growth enabling (us) me as the only adult in the house to not worry so much about making ends meet each month. Review – Business has been steady throughout the year. But some targets have been missed but life threw me some curve balls I got distracted by. So I have returned to the drawing board and 2018 plan is mapped out. Now to action it and not let anything get in my way! (words of a determined lady)
  • We absolutely loved getting away to Disneyland Paris just before Christmas this year. A getaway was much needed after the long school term, but as completely amazing as it was it was bloody knackering too. So it got me thinking, dreaming and wishing for another holiday next Christmas, but I would love for us to chill in the sunshine and let the kids swim/splash about it a pool (as I would love to see the benefit in heavy investment into swimming lessons). So I will be in contacting my travel agent soon to pick her brains for ideas of where to go. Review – We didn’t venture overseas for any of our holidays in 2017. However, we did take some amazing breaks. February Half Term saw us head to an old favourite, Trecco Bay, Porthcawl. Easter we stayed at home as it was J and A birthdays, so it was party galore. Plus T went on a trip of a lifetime to New York with her school in April. In July we had the most amazing bargain holiday to Cornwall. Booked last minute, we managed to blag the hottest week of the year. We could have been in the Carribean, we returned sunkissed and totally refreshed. We then finished off the year with a festive visit to Bluestone
  • Our house is busy and very well used by our big family. I’m first to admit it isn’t as tidy as I would like but seriously I can’t keep up with it and running a business and looking after the kids. So a cleaner would be a dream but until I can afford one, I think it’s time for a freshen up, so we plan to get the paint out! Review – oops this one so didn’t happen, we still live in a little bit of chaos. I did get the paint out early in December, but the hallway isn’t finished yet. So this one will be carried over to 2018!
  • I’m sure we will add tons more adventures along the way this year but this gives up a good start. What have you got planned? Review – Looking back we made too many amazing memories to list them all. Some favourites, all three of the youngest going to the same primary school. T and I going on BBC 5 Live. A lush weekend away with some amazing ladies and no kids, so much laughter. Seeing Take That in concert. Welcoming our new family member, Topsy the Tortoise. Dancing to Craig David in concert with T, 15. Who wasn’t even born when I was garage mad!

Phew what a year, the good times certainly outweighed the tough times. Now onto the new year, with excitement for what awaits.

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