Last Saturday we were thrilled to be invited to Hatton to visit their Enchanted Christmas Kingdom.
The day was bright but cold and when we first arrived Hatton Village was in full swing with singers. It certainly felt like Christmas had arrived.

We had some to time to spare before visiting Santa in his grotto so we started by feeding the animals in the barn. The sheep were particularly hungry.

Then, we just had to go and cuddle the guinea pigs. Each Christmas the enormous guinea pig village is decorated in Christmas splendour and the kids love it. It’s so lovely to get to hold a guinea pig too and we all had a turn.

We had a little more time to look around the other animals and play on the tractors. The Little Man always makes a bee line for the tractors. They also had a turn on the fairground rides. There is so much to do at Hatton Adventure World, in the summer we spend all day, but this time we were here to see the Enchanted Christmas Kingdom and it was finally our time slot. There is also a big marquee where you can write your letter to Father Christmas and make Christmas decorations. (It’s also a chance to warm up a little)

The kids loved the grotto, there is so much to see. I made a little visit of our journey, being in a wheelchair I guess I have a child height view.

Here are a few photos from the grotto.

When the children finally get to see Father Christmas it’s like visiting an old relative, he’s a chatty, friendly man that made the children feel at ease as they told him what they wanted for Christmas. Thankfully this year they didn’t come out with gifts that gave me palpitations.

After a chat, good old Father Christmas opens his book to see if they are on the good or the naughty list. Then he presents them with gold keys to take to the toy shop where they can pick a toy from the many on display. We had at least five minutes with old fella, which was really enjoyable for the kids. Then Father Christmas pulled out a magic button to take a photo of himself with the kids. The Little Man was most interested in the photo machine! The photos can then be purchased on the way out. I bought two for £12 (one for Grandma.)

The kids were excited to reach the toy shop and the selection of toys is really good. Boo picked a nail varnish parlour, The Little Man chose a ball air blaster (Think Nerf type gun that fires soft balls) and Star was thrilled with her bath bomb and soap making set.

Before we left there was time to play in the park and the sand pit with diggers. I was shivering by now so I made my way to get a hot coffee and a sit by the open log burner to warm up a little. Then we had a little walk around the Christmas Market in the village where the kids had even more gifts, but useful ones as I bought Star and the Little Man woolly hats and Boo a new purse for school.

We had a magical day out but if there was one thing I would change it would be the steep entrance to the Enchanted Kingdom grotto, it was so difficult for me to climb in my wheelchair and terrifying coming back down again.

I’d advise you to wrap up warm and don’t forget your gloves like I did!

The Enchanted Christmas Kingdom is open every weekend from November 25th to December 24th, plus Friday 8th December evening and weekdays from 18th to 22nd December. It’s advisable to book your tickets to the grotto in advance and you are given a time slot so the queues are smaller.

Also at Hatton you can see Zoobee’s Christmas Cracker Magic Show, Zoobee’s Festive Friends Puppet Show, Cool Colin’s Show, Reindeer Quest, Festive Scales and Tales and indoor soft play. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink.

Hatton Adventure World can be found in Hatton, Warwick, literally minutes away from the M40.

Disclosure: We were given free entry into Hatton and tickets for the Enchanted Christmas Kingdom in return for our honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Family Fever
Cuddle Fairy

Country Kids

Okay, in a nutshell, I have two older children that never made it through mainstream secondary school, a younger daughter at Secondary School with Disabilities and two younger children both who have had issues with school. So why do I feel blessed?

Simply because I talk to other parents and I realise how lucky we are.

My eldest found a place in a special school despite not even having a special needs certificate, known these days as an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) This is practically unheard of! Back then, I just thought that his school had failed him and I was failing him and everything was just awful. It was my first time as a mum of a child with extra needs and a sharp learning curve. However, I know now  that it was a lot easier for me than many other parents.

Star was diagnosed with high functioning Autism when she was six. When you think of the term high functioning autism, it makes you think that the Autism can hardly be a problem if the child can function like others. Of course, that’s not what it means though, basically anyone who can talk can be classified as high functioning. Trying getting around that one when claiming disability benefits!

Star’s first primary school had very few children with disabilities and at first it was a little tricky with Star, but they were willing to learn and wanted to proceed with an EHCP. Then we moved house and the first problem I had was getting the three kids into ANY school in the area. When we finally got the girls into a primary school I wasn’t overly happy, it certainly hadn’t been on my list of schools that I’d hoped they’d go to. In fact it was a failing school that had just been made into an Academy. The first year was a bit rocky as they failed to address any of Star’s problems. Then she had a year off because of her operations and being in a halo brace. The consultant had said she could go to school with it on, but the school said they couldn’t be responsible for her care and attention, and she would be a prime target for bullies. So we were given a home tutor for the time she was out of school.

When she went back to school things seemed to have changed and the school was improving. They took good care of Star and listened to us when we stated what she needed. They did not mention ever applying for an EHCP.

Then Star moved to a Secondary School that was run by the same Academy as her Primary School. The school was being rebuilt and they were all excited that they would be getting a brand new building. I was worried that maybe more care and attention was being paid to the building rather than the education, but I was so wrong. The school has turned out to be perfect for her. She gets extra help when needed, she has counselling whenever she wants, she has a whole part of the building where she can go any time of the day if things get tough for her and she’s not coping. It’s really quiet there and only a few children can go there at a time, Lessons are continued in a one to one basis. She can even go there to eat her lunch if she’s finding the dining room too much. She absolutely loves school, and that’s a big plus. All this and it’s provided just on the basis of her diagnosis. She even has toilet passes and is excused from p.e. whenever she wishes.

Last week Star has been suffering from a fractured wrist so they have provided her with a laptop to do her work on, she can type with her left hand better than she can write.

So, I realise that although my children have had their problems, we have all been incredibly lucky with the help from schools, both in the past and now. For this reason I do feel truly blessed.

I know that others struggle daily with getting the help their children need and finding the right schools. Having a child with disabilities is no easy ride. I’ve had my rocky moments but now we are happy, and I truly hope that some of my luck rubs on those that need it. Don’t give up the fight, do make sure your child gets what they need. But don’t beat yourself up over it. Believe me, as a parent of two adults, school is over in a flash and what happens next doesn’t always have a bearing on what happened at school.

School Runs and Shopping Trolleys
Debs Random Writings

Reflections From Me

bare trees sitting against a background of pink clouds at sunset.
If you follow me on Instagram then you may have noticed that  I like to photograph the trees at the end of my garden. I have them in the Spring when leaves and blossom are just beginning to grow, in the Summer when they are full and heavy with leaves and birds, in the Autumn when the leaves are changing colour and in the Winter when they are bare and barren. Just like they are in this photo. But it wasn’t the trees that caught my eye, but this lovely pink sunset.
I don’t know if it’s still a ‘thing’ but I remember it once being an insult saying “what’s the colour of the sky on your planet” meaning that you are behaving more than a little weird or alien. Well, I’d like to live on a planet where they sky was always pink or purple. 
This day my sky was pink, but I wasn’t being weird, I was just changing the bedclothes when I saw it and grabbed my phone to take a photo….or maybe that is weird?
p.s. this was me this time last year! 
It’s also my birthday and it was to make my hubby’s life a little easier not having to remember two separate occasions. I’m pleased to say, he didn’t forget my birthday present this year 🙂 

I pin My Sunday Photo pics I visit on my Pinterest Board. Please let me know if you wish your photo to be removed.

Photalife

Sunday Snap

Author: Jonathan Hennessey
Artwork: Jack McGowan
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications; 01 edition (7 Oct. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0399578908
Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.5 x 25.4 cm
I was sent this book to review and I was really excited as many members of my family are big gamers and we have been gaming for many years. When I was a teenager consoles were just coming into use in homes and I had to play my games in arcades, which was no great difficulty as I worked in one! 
This book is so much fun and really interesting for any gamer no matter how long they have been gaming.

The Blurb

Author Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Jack McGowan present the first full-colour, chronological origin story for this hugely successful, omnipresent artform and business in the form of a graphic novel. As he did with The Comic Book Story of Beer, Hennessey provides readers with everything they need to know about video games–from their early beginnings during World War II to the emergence of arcade games in the 1970s to the rise of Nintendo to today’s app-based games like Angry Birds and Pokemon Go. Hennessey and McGowan also analyse the evolution of gaming as an artform and its impact on society. Each chapter features spotlights on major players in the development of games and gaming. The result is an easily digestible, giftable package that contains everything that gamers and non-gamers alike need to understand and appreciate this incredible phenomenon.


My Verdict

I love this book, it’s easy to digest, fun and interesting. I may be biased as a gamer but I’m pretty sure it would be enjoyed by non-gamers too. It would make a great Christmas present. The book is Paperback but quite big and sturdy. The comic strip images remind me of the comics that were around when I was younger so a little more nostalgia to enjoy. It’s a great read for those who remember the old consoles (like me) and those that want to learn about the history of games. 

BUY

You can currently buy The Comic Book Story of Video Games on Amazon for just £13.44 (RRP £16.99) Do you know anyone who would enjoy this book?



Disclosure: I was sent this book to review from The GMC group, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you read my post on Wednesday then  you will know that my daughter Star has a fractured wrist. She did it at school by falling up the stairs last week. We thought it wasn’t serious but still took her for medical care on a few occasions. However, our lack of urgency meant that we were not prepared to wait for hours to see a doctor. Until Tuesday, by which time we realised she really did need medical care and I went with her to the hospital well prepared to stay all day if we had to. Now she has a splint and we just have to wait for the fracture to heal. Thankfully, Star doesn’t complain too much, she’s been through a lot worse.

I accept that we, as parents, we mainly to blame for her not getting medical treatment sooner, but we have seen first hand at how fractured the NHS currently is. And more disturbingly, how much worse it’s got in recent years. We, as a family, are more than familiar with hospital waiting rooms, but we have never seen it so bad.

When we arrived at the hospital on Tuesday morning we were there quite early and there was around fifteen children in the waiting room already. Within an hour there were more children than I could count and no seats left to sit down on. When we arrived we were seen by a nurse, in a room, who took Stars details, weighed her, took her temperature and gave her some pain relief. An hour later the same nurse was calling names out for parents to go to her in the corridor and taking just the names of the children and a quick reason why they were there. The waiting room was getting fuller and fuller but the thing I noticed most was how few were being called through to see a doctor. We were there for an hour and a half and I think I heard no more than ten children called through. These were children with different medical issues, so would not all be seeing the same doctors. The board on the wall showed how illnesses and injuries were catagorised and how the more urgent ones would be called through earlier. Earlier still meant at least an hours wait. My heart went out to those poor sick babies who obviously needed help but had to sit around for hours being nursed by stressed out parents.

I can’t blame the hospital, they do a wonderful job, I have nothing but praise for them. But only a week ago a young toddler lost his life at the same hospital because he had not been treated soon enough. Why is it so bad? It’s obvious the staff are working hard, but there really does not seem to be enough staff to cope. The hospital is broken and needs fixing soon before any more young lives are lost.

It’s not just this hospital though, I’ve heard stories of people waiting for hours and hours for treatment from A&E hospitals all over the country. Of course there has always been waiting, but the time left waiting seems to have increased so much more than before. The last thing you want to do is sit around waiting when you are sick or injured. More people are giving up the wait because they feel so ill, then what happens to them if it’s something really serious, there are two options, they die or they require an ambulance which puts even more stress on the emergency department.

Then there are ambulance waits, a friend dealing with a sick old man found in the street had to wait over half an hour for an ambulance to arrive. The man could have died in that time.

Have you had any poor experiences with hospitals lately?

The Reading Residence