Thinking About New Schools

With our house move will come new schools for the littlies. I am worried about the girls. Star has real problems with change and I think a new home and a new school is going to be a big strain for her and I have no idea how she is going to cope. With Boo, things are a little different. She’s sometimes a little slow in her understanding and I don’t believe that it’s actually sunk in yet that she will be moving home and school. She’ll talk about a new school and say it all looks great and she’s really looking forward to it, then five minutes later she’s talking about her class mates and what teacher they will have next term in her current school, so she hasn’t really understood that she won’t ever be going back.

The house will be a big change but it’s one we all need, we’ve been cramped up for far too long now and it’s time for the girls to have a little freedom and a room of their own. They will be able to play in their room and invite their friends around. Something we can’t do at present because we just don’t have the space.

We need to move but I so wish the girls didn’t have to move school. It won’t affect the Little Man so much as he is only just about to start nursery.

So, in preparation I’ve been checking out the schools in the area we are moving too. In terms of Ofsted reports they are all Good schools and not yet being made into academies, the reports are all very similar so nothing to differentiate them in there.

The closest school to our new home is a Catholic school. We are Christians but not Catholics. I know the school does take in a certain number of non-Catholics, but until I ask them I have no idea whether they will be able to accept my children. I like that the school has good values and is close to our home in easy walking distance even for the Little Man. However, the thing I like most is that it’s a small school with the same amount of pupils as the girls current school. Star has a lot of sensory issues and her main problem at school is the noise and business of the other pupils. I’d really like to keep her in a smaller school for a while longer. Hopefully she will be more mature enough to deal with that problem when she has to move to secondary school.
I also wonder how non Catholic children would fit into a Catholic School.

The other two schools are about the same distance from our new home in opposite directions. We are talking of about 30 minutes walking time. The girls are used to walking but the Little Man is only just at the ditching of the buggy phrase so it will be hard going on him (or me if I have to end up carrying him)

One of the schools is in a modern building and they have a grassed playground. So many school these days no longer have grass, including the girl’s present school. I know it’s not a vital element but I have many happy memories of my school days sitting on the grass on sunny days or doing handstands with my friends. My main worry with this school is that it has twice as many pupils as the girls present school and I fear it may be a little too much for Star and her difficulties. The saving grace may be that the school is split into infants and juniors, which means it may seem smaller, but I won’t know until I check it out.

The other school is a much older building but again it’s twice as big. The website shows a really nice school though and it’s in a lovely area. The main problem with this school is that it has no nursery, so The Little Man will have to go somewhere else which could be really awkward.

I won’t really know which school will be best until I’ve spoken to the head teachers and visited the schools. I am really worried about Star and her difficulties, she’s classed as special needs because of her autism but she does not have any learning difficulties. Past experiences with her older brother have shown me that schools can have difficulties in dealing with children like this. Boo, does have learning difficulties so I worry about her getting the help she needs too.

I’d love to hear some advice and views from other mums. I can’t draw on past experience myself because I never changed schools and neither did my older children. I have no idea of what it’s going to be like for my girls.

Taking the Kids to London

As we had an early start for the MAD day out at Legoland we decided to spend the weekend in London. We travelled up by train on the Saturday morning for a day of sightseeing. With a little hindsight I may have travelled a little earlier because we just missed the trooping of the colours, however, I do think the crowds might have been a little too much so maybe that’s something to save for next year.

So were we crazy taking three small children into a big city? I had taken the Little Man on his own earlier this year and decided against using his buggy, instead having him on his reins. However, we were there for a specific reason and not walking around all day so it worked. This time, however, we decided to take the buggy simply because the Little Man wants to be picked up a lot (and he is heavy) and because he has a tendency to wander off and reins are not always practical.

My main worry was using the underground with a buggy. I know the tube is the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to travel around the city, but how would it be with a buggy? It wasn’t as bad as I had expected. There are lifts at most stations which makes life easier, because as anyone who has ever used the London Underground, there are lots and lots of stairs and escalators. Getting on and off the trains was easy enough and mostly there was enough room for the buggy. Overall, I think it was a positive experience.

We didn’t really have too much time to spare so we made a list of the places we most wanted to visit, mapped out our journeys and went for it.

First up, to please Daddy, we went to Abbey Road. I think most people know that this is the place made famous by the Beatles, particularly the crossing where they were photographed for one of their albums. I have to admit I found the whole thing quite surreal. There was a constant stream of people there from all over the world who had arrived just to have their photo taken on the crossing. I’m thinking that people who live and drive in London would purposely avoid this road at all costs, it must be infuriating.
There is even a webcam on the street, where you can watch people crossing a road all day long.
So we arrived, and it was raining pretty bad. It didn’t put people off though. I sheltered with the kids under a tree and observed the craziness that is a zebra crossing made famous by a band.

Here is Daddy doing his walk of fame (or should that be shame?)

Next up was Buckingham Palace. The kids were excited to see where the Queen lived, but they were totally wide eyed amazed at the size and grandeur of the palace.

On the way back to the underground we stopped off in Green Park to look at the water feature, and look, the sun came out!

We even made time to chase some pigeons in the park

Before heading off to the hotel we just had time to visit Westminster. The Little Man was thrilled at seeing Big Ben but seem concerned that it was broken…until it chimed 🙂

We had a wonderful day and the kids were really excited. I’ll definitely take them back again, maybe next year without the buggy.


Children’s Rooms

I have some exciting news, we are moving house. Our new house is still being built but should be ready by the end of July and we will move in during August, well, that’s the plan, fingers crossed nothing goes wrong.

At last, the children will have their own rooms and we are already thinking of ways to decorate them. The girls will probably go for something pink and girlie, although Boo’s favourite colour is blue so maybe a mixture of pink and blue. The Little Man loves cars, trains and boats, a typical little boy.

kid's bedroom
I love this girlie pink room with little splashes of colour
kid's bedroom
I think the little man would love a boat theme like this!

I just love these blinds, they would brighten up any room!

Rainbow Blinds available from http://www.shutterlyfabulous.com/

These are just initial inspirations, I’m sure as time goes on we’ll change our minds many times. We’ll have to stick with adding accessories for colour at the start because being a newly built house we won’t be able to paint for twelve months. So plenty of time to get the creative juices flowing and then we can let go with the colour.

In the meantime we could use prints and wall stickers to brighten up the walls. Next has some great ideas, like this Space Invaders Wall sticker, a great way to add a splash of colour.
Space Invaders Wall Sticker £24 from Next

Or the girls would love this flowers sticker,

Flower Wall Sticker from Next
It will be lovely to have a blank canvas to start with and I’m really looking forward to decorating.
I have found this brilliant free e-book of decorating tips ’28 Tips on How to Decorate’ to download. 
It has loads of information on wallpapering and painting as well as tips for tiling and fixing shelves. Also, there are handy tips on getting paint out of carpet (oh yes, done that before!) and how to fix squeeky floorboards.
You can also download a free app. to give you quotes from local traders if you don’t fancy doing all the work yourself.
This post has been submitted to the Next Bloggers Network. I have not received anything from Next for writing it and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Whinfell Forest our Center Parks adventure part one

On the 10th June we set off for our adventure to Center Parcs Whinfell Forest. I am lucky to be a Center Parcs family blogger and to receive this wonderful prize holiday along with my friend and Blogger Mrs Bee. One of the reasons I chose Whinfell Forest is because it has red squirrels. Also, I hadn’t been to Cumbria before.

We had a midweek break from the Monday to the Friday. First thing we did on arrival was pick up our bikes. I’d not been on a bike for around 35 years but guess what, it was easy as riding a bike! The only problem I found was how harsh it was on my poor old bottom. (Ok maybe that is too much information) The Little Man got a ride in a seat on the back of Daddy’s bike and the girls had bikes with stabilisers. Star fell off hers as soon as we got back to the lodge and hurt her arm. She didn’t ride again but pushed her bike around. Boo fell off hers a little later when she turned too quickly as a car approached and really bashed her knee which needed medical attention. The real bad news was that we were advised not to take her swimming.

The first evening we went for a stroll around the Village Center and had a meal from the take-away diner which we ate on the patio overlooking the lake. We played bowling and had a wonder around the arcade before retiring to our comfy beds. The only child we had problems with was Star who found it difficult settling in an unfamiliar place.

center parcs

The next morning we went to one of our pre-arranged activities, mini golf. We played along with our friends and had lots of fun. Although with the little ones being so slow it was going on forever so they kindly let us have a ticket to go back and play the second half another time.

center parcs

We had lunch at Hucks restaurant which was very tasty but also a little expensive. Then we did some shopping in the Parc Market. I was really pleased with the Parc Market, the range of products was very good and the prices where mostly in line with the supermarket back home. There were more expensive brands in more prominent places, but it was easy to find the better value products.

On Wednesday the kids were overjoyed to be left in their own clubs. Seriously, my kids have no attachment problems and will leave me at the drop of a hat with no fuss, so long as they know they will have some fun. The Little Man went into the creche where he played with the toys, had snacks of fruit, played with more toys and poo’d his pants (ok too much information again, sorry) The girls went to fairy school where they were face painted, made magic wands, fairy cakes and wish boxes.

So what did we do while the kids were having fun? Some nice relaxation in the wonderful Aqua Sana spa. We had three hours of saunas, showers and pools. Then I had a fantastic massage and facial which was bliss.

A big favourite with the kids was the huge wooden playground which was near to our Lodge. It was big but also safe, the Little Man was able to join in with everything, although he did go on the zip slide with his Daddy. It wasn’t the only playground on site but it was the nearest, and in my opinion, the best.

Wednesday evening we had a BBQ back at our lodge and invited the neighbours around. We had good fun without leaving ‘home’ until the rain forced us indoors.

|Just look at our back garden!

Thursday was our last full day so we decided to go to the pool. Boo couldn’t come with us because of her poorly knee so her big sister looked after her. I was really impressed with the pool, it was lovely and warm in there and lots for everyone from the smallest to the grown ups. The Little Man loved the baby pool with it’s watering cans and Star loved the waves in the bigger pool. We went around the rapids with me holding the Little Man and Daddy holding Star. The Little Man loved it, but Star was a little scared.

On the evening we had a fantastic meal at the Lakeside Inn. The staff were very accommodating and the food delicious. We had a very lovely evening, and of course the views were pretty stunning too.

center parcs

On the Friday morning, when we were all packed up and I was up early enjoying a little piece with my cuppa on the patio, I got a wonderful surprise. All week we had been trying to get a good picture of a red squirrel but even though we’d seen a few they were very shy and very quick, so we had been disappointed. Then that morning a gorgeous little fella came right onto my patio to take drink of the rain water that had collected on a chair. I even managed to fetch my camera and take some photos. What a glorious way to end my holiday.

red squirrel
In part two, I give more of a review of our stay at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest



Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Whinfell Forest, our Center Parcs Adventure part two

In my first blog post I give an outline of the lovely holiday I won for becoming a Center Parcs Family Blogger with Tots100.
In this post I wanted to give a more of a review of our holiday.

We stayed in a New Style Lodge, we were right at the edge of the park but it only took five minutes to walk to the village centre and even less on our bikes. The lodge was lovely and clean when we arrived and we also had a grocery pack delivered which contained all the basics you would need, tea, sugar, coffee, milk, bread, sausages, bacon, sauce, washing up liquid and a lot more. There were also some samples of tea, coffee, sugar and milk for those that do not order a grocery pack.

We were all provided with a bath towel and a hand towel and their was a hairdryer in every bedroom. That sure saved a lot of space in our suitcases. The kitchen was well stocked with utensils, there were even BBQ utensils provided and we had brick BBQ outside on which you could use a portable BBQ pack from the Parc Market. We also had a dishwasher which was a novelty for me, and a microwave. The oven was full size and the fridge a good size too.

The beds were cosy. I found the double to be ok but my 6ft daughter found the single to be a little small. The bedding was really nice and soft. I had no trouble sleeping.

Here is a little video tour of our lodge

The views all around were absolutely stunning. I loved looking out of the window and seeing just trees with the sunlight shining through. The walk to the village centre was lovely, all around you could see evidence of the wild life and the birds would sing you on your way. We saw rabbits, pheasants a grouse and even a few red squirrels. Of a night time we became addicted to watching the badger cam provided on our tv to catch a badger or two.

The village center was like a tropical paradise with a stream flowing through, sometimes you forgot you were indoors. There were many places to eat to suit all tastes from burgers to Chinese, Italian to Indian and of course Cafe Rouge and a Starbucks. There was also a takeaway food place and Pancake House. The Parc Market was the well stocked supermarket. They were good value and had everything you would expect to see in a supermarket. We did notice that the more pricier items where nearer the entrance. They also made fresh sandwiches and pastries.
There was also the usual gift shops, toy shop, sweet shop and clothing shops. Something for everyone for all tastes.

The lake was beautiful, we spent a lot of time sitting around watching the ducks and the fish. The boardwalk was the perfect place for this with tables and chairs under cover and coffee and food shops nearby.

The subtropical pool was a welcoming place with something suitable for all ages. There were baby pools, toddler pools, sharing pool, jacuzzi’s, rapids, waves, slides and an outdoor pool. It was lovely and warm in the pool areas which was nice. The changing rooms were a little like a maze but I didn’t get lost so they couldn’t have been that bad. There are also hairdryers and swimsuit dryers for your use. You can hire towels if you don’t want to take your own.

The Aqua Sana Spa was a wonderful experience. I was really worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it having never been in a sauna before, and being a little self concious about my body. However, once inside I felt myself relax and enjoy many of the different sensations offered. Each sauna has a notice telling you exactly what to expect, so if you don’t like it too hot, or too humid then you know which one to avoid. After your time in the sauna you are refreshed with a shower and then encouraged to drink water or fruit juice and relax on one of the many chairs or beds for twenty minutes before trying the next one.

I was also treated to a facial which involved so much more. I was also given a back and shoulder massage and a scalp massage. The actual facial contained many elements and I have to admit sometimes it was like being at the dentist, not knowing what was going on and feeling a little uncomfortable, but then being treated to something nice afterwards. I did feel really good by the time she had finished and my eyes in particular benefited greatly from the experience.

There are many activities available at the parcs and it’s a good idea to plan before you go. We played mini golf and went ten pin bowling. The children enjoyed a few hours at the play scheme. The girls went to fairy school and the Little Man went to the créche. It is hard to fit everything in if you like to relax a little on holiday, that’s why it’s a good idea to plan. We had also booked a session of pottery painting, but just before our time we walked past the place while the smoke alarm was going off and everyone was being evacuated. It wasn’t anything too serious, but it put Star off going, she couldn’t face going in. That was a shame as I’ve tried the pottery painting before and I’m sure the girls would have loved it.

We all had a wonderful time at Center Parcs Whinfell Forest and I wouldn’t hesitate in going back there again sometime.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.