Category Archives: Family

Willow’s Activity Farm Santa Spectacular 2017 Competition

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I can’t believe were nearly in November. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE Christmas. After all it is the most magical time of year and I do my best to make it as magical as possible for Oscar and Archie.

Last Christmas we visited Willow’s Activity Farm and met Father Christmas during their Santa Spectacular event. The boys had an amazing day and their were so many activities to do as well as meeting the big man himself! Every child will have a chance to meet Santa in his spectacular grotto and receive a golden key to Santa’s Toy Shop, they can then choose from hundreds of toys. The excitement on the kids faces when you go into Santa’s toy shop is amazing.


Willow’s is somewhere we visit a lot as its only 10 miles from where we live. In fact we went last week with our toddler group.

This festive season, Santa Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm is the only event for families looking for a truly magical day out. Starting from 22 November – 24 December, you can enjoy the ultimate festive experience in St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

You can join in at the Elf Academy, learning the basics of how to be an elf from Santa’s elves all the way from the North Pole – including the Elf-a-bet! The Create-a-Cuddle workshop will also be open daily, allowing little ones to make their very own reindeer cuddly toy to take home, all included in the entrance price.


The popular 3D film is back, with children able to take off into the skies on an adventure with Santa, this was super impressive last year! Then try a real life magical ride in the Willows festive wood on Tristan the Runaway Tractor. Tristan the tractor is Archie’s favourite! Indoors there is the synthetic ice rink, Christmas shows including an Elf Sing-a-Long and Nativity performances featuring farm animals. Plus, meet Mischka, the Alaskan Malamute and Santa’s reindeer. It is a seriously jam packed fun filled day out for the whole family to enjoy!


As well as all of the above the usual activities are open as well; The Farmyard, Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground™,  the indoor soft play areas, the funfair rides, bouncing haystacks, Peter Rabbit woodland play trail, the big dig, trampolines, cotton-tail village and so much more! As well as plenty of places to grab something to eat or drink.


The lovely team at Willow’s Activity Farm have kindly given me a family ticket to be used during their Santa Spectacular (22 November – 24 December) and have a magical day out! So enter below and good luck!

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Putting Your Families Health First At One Stop Doctor

As a parent your children are always your main priority and when they fall ill or hurt themselves you always want the best care for them. I know from previous experience I have sometimes had to wait a day or two for a GP appointment and getting a dentist appointment is like gold dust, our last NHS appointment was delayed two times because of funding. Luckily for us there is a pioneering new healthcare clinic ‘The One Stop Doctor’ that has recently launched in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire that is putting the needs of families at the heart of their quick and friendly services. The clinic is stunning, more like a five star hotel and the staff are all so welcoming and friendly.

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One Stop Doctors in Hemel Hempstead is open 365 days a year from early morning to late evening with a full complement of paediatric services all under one roof. This includes same-day appointments with GPs and dentists who will be able to offer immediate relief for worrying mums and dads whose children are unwell, perhaps with persistent fevers, colds, chesty coughs or toothache. There’s also a private pharmacy that can provide commonly needed drugs straight away.

Only a couple of weeks ago Archie had a high temperature and his little heart was beating quite fast, which is a common symptom of a fever. Greg thought we should take him to A & E but I called the One Stop Doctor for a late night appointment which was available with no problem at all.

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The team of multi-disciplinary health professionals at the clinic are highly experienced in treating common childhood conditions from feeding difficulties in babies and toddlers through to providing allergy testing and advice, alongside treatment for asthma and access to the full range of childhood vaccinations and immunisations. This is fantastic as in our area we were not offered the BCG and I paid privately for both Oscar and Archie to be immunised but had to travel into London. Now having a clinic so local to us is a god send!

One Stop Doctors is one of a number of outlets nationwide that offers the Mummy MOT, a one-hour assessment which gives a thorough examination of mum’s pelvic floor strength and tummy gap – to assess any physical problems that have arisen from pregnancy and birth. The Mummy MOT can also help mums years after childbirth with their pelvic floor strength. The clinic is also putting together special Mother and Baby packages for both expectant mothers and mothers of young children. No more travelling all the way into London for Mother and Baby services!

The specialist dental team are also experts in orthodontics and oral health with a variety of teeth-straightening options for young ones and appointments at convenient times for parents.

The clinic has invested heavily in the latest diagnostic imaging machinery including advanced MRI scanning equipment, CT, ultrasound and digital X-ray, which means that One Stop Doctors is able to offer an on-site urgent care and fracture clinic. We were at a birthday party about six weeks ago and Oscar’s friend fell off a swing and her parents on a Friday night at 7pm got an X-Ray appointment straight away instead of waiting for hours in a busy Friday night A & E department. She was then plastered straight away.

One Stop Doctors is fully accredited by all major regulators and private medical insurance companies, such as Bupa, Aviva and Cigna so it’s easy to pay, and is approved by the Care Quality Commission. However, what makes this pioneering clinic truly unique is its one-of-a-kind membership plan. This allows families to join for only £65 a month and gives them the ability to spread the cost of treatment in a payment plan, with no interest or credit agreement and provides guaranteed same-day GP appointments for any number of children aged 21 and under. This means that parents can spread the cost of healthcare for their children, making the very best private healthcare accessible and affordable.

Keep Your Family Happy & Healthy!

With the ability for parents to book appointments directly, and the large amount of free parking available to patients right outside the clinic, many of the usual stresses of visiting a medical establishment with children are taken away.

For more information and to book an appointment visit www.onestopdoctors.co.uk or call 0800 852 1234.

Hitchin Lavender Farm

I have wanted to go to Hitchin Lavender Farm for a few weeks since I saw lots of beautiful family photos amongst the lavender rows on Instagram but as the weather has been so awful we hand’t got to go. So on Sunday as the Sun was shining we decided to make the 30 minute journey. I packed my new Olympus Pen 8 and tripod and off we went.


Hitchin Lavender is a lavender farm attraction close to both London and Cambridge and they have 25 miles of lavender rows which you can walk through and pick your own fresh flowers from. When we arrived we parked up and paid only £11 for the four of us to get in and we got given a bag and scissors to pick and collect our own Lavender. Adults are £5.00 (picking included), Under 14’s are £1 and Under 5’s are free. You can buy additional bags to fill for £4.


The farm is open from 10am until 5pm every day throughout the season which runs from mid June until early September.


As soon as we got to the field, the smell was amazing! I love the smell of Lavender. The boys enjoyed picking their lavender and filling up their brown bags and we took so many great photos. You can also pay £50 for a professional photo shoot but if you have a good camera and a tripod you can get some great pictures.


We had a great morning, captured lots of great photos and it was a really cheap and fun family day out. We will be going back next Summer and making our family photo in the lavender rows an annual thing!

 

Personalised Photo Gifts From Snapfish & £50 Competition

I have used Snapfish for years now and always use their app on my phone to upload my photos into albums ready to use on any of my projects. I have made everything from huge acrylics to photo books. I just love making personalised photo gifts from Snapfish! Every Christmas I make Oscar & Archie calendars for the grandparents so the app is a great way of storing my favourite photos ready to use in the December.

When I was asked to review some of the photo gifts for Greg for Father’s Day I knew straight away what I wanted to order for him. The Snapfish team have also kindly given me a £50 gift card for one of my lucky readers too.

The website is easy to use and I designed Greg a personalised photo mousemat which is new to the Snapfish range, for the office with one of my favourite pictures of the boys on it that was professionally taken a few months ago. Greg loved it and it now has pride of place on his desk. You can choose all sorts of designs, photo configurations and add text to make it as personal as you like. At only £7.99 they are a bargain!


I also made Greg a personalised Father’s Day Card to go with his presents and as always you can pick from tons of different designs, colours, themes, sizes and pick your photo configuration. He loved receiving a card that was personal to him instead of the normal generic cards your can pick up in the shops. It is a card he will keep forever!


Oscar also wanted to pick a couple of pictures to make into acrylic blocks. I love the acrylic blocks as I prefer these to having photos in frames. You can pick between A5 and A6 acrylic blocks. Last Father’s Day I made three of these blocks that Greg has on his desk at work so we knew he would like them. The A6 size is £29.99 and the A5 size is £34.99.


You can also make huge acrylic panels which I ordered a couple of months ago and absolutely love it!


Head over to the Snapfish website and see for yourself how fantastic their  range of personalised photo gifts are and all at amazing prices. Don’t forget to enter below to be in with a chance of winning a £50 Snapfish voucher to use too! Good Luck!

 

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Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Snapfish UK. 

Our Summer Holiday Round Up 2016

With Oscar returning to school on Thursday 🙁 I thought it would be nice to put together a Summer 2016 round up post of all that we have been up to. We have had a very long Summer as Oscar had nine weeks off as he broke up on the 8th of July. I absolutely love him being at home and we have had so much fun.

Week 1

We started off the holidays going straight from school at 12 o’clock to a hotel near us with Oscar’s school friends and went in the walled garden where they swam all day had hot dogs for tea and had a fantastic time! As the weather was nice we spent the rest of the week in the garden and got ready to go on holiday. We also went into London to a Finding Nemo event with Epson which was great fun! Archie had his first hair cut at Sharkey’s and he was so good sitting in the Lightning Mcqueen car.


Week 2 and 3

We flew to sunny Mallorca on the Saturday. We had an amazing time and the flight being only 2 hours was perfect for Archie who was a right fidget. We met up with one of Oscar’s school friends who was also in Mallorca which was lovely and went to see some close friends of ours that moved out there a few years ago. Our hotel was on the east of the island, the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel and Spa and it was really lovely. We went on an excursion to see the Pirates show which if you have kids is a must. The show is absolutely amazing, I have never seen anything like it. It was fantastic!


Oscar made lots of friends around the pool and both the boys loved the kids disco in the evening. We also hired a quad bike for Oscar which was so funny as Greg had to run behind him to make sure he didn’t bang in to anyone and we took a horse and carriage ride where the boys waved to everybody we went past.

Week 4

When we got home Oscar’s friend from outside his school had finished for the Summer so we went swimming with them and for a picnic. We went for our weekly fish and chips on a Tuesday with Great-Nanny which was lovely for Oscar as he is usually at school. It was great to go and check on our house build to see the progress. It was amazing to see what they had done in just 2 weeks! We had some lovely weather so I put the pool up in the garden and we also went to the local park a few times. Oscar also went to the cinema with Daddy.

Week 5

Daddy went on a stag do for a few days so I booked a few days in Norfolk with my best friend and her two children which was so amazing! Norfolk is home from home for me as as a child we went there 3 or 4 times a year staying in Brancaster. This time we stayed a few miles from there at a hotel called Briarfields and the kids loved being on the beach, building sand castles, eating ice cream and running around. We had such a fantastic time and we will try and do it every year now! We missed Daddy loads though!


Week 6

We met up with Oscar’s school friends at the walled garden for the day and the weather was amazing! I looked after my friends son for a couple of days and we went to the opening event of Gravity Force in St Albans that the boys loved. We went to visit Great-Nanny, went to the local aquadrome and went to see Scooby Doo Live at the London Palladium which was great. Even Archie sat in his own seat the whole time as he was transfixed on the singing and dancing.

Week 7

Daddy took a day off and we went bowling and for lunch with my Mum and Dad. The weather was amazing so we spent quite a lot of the time in the pool in the garden with Oscar’s friends over to play. We went to the Crayola Bus Tour event and Oscar got to do lots of art and crafts. On the weekend we went to Oxford for my Auntie’s 60th birthday and I got to see all my cousins and we even retook a photo that was taken 27 years ago!


Week 8

One of Oscar’s best friends had been away the whole Summer so we got to catch up with him and go for lunches and to the park and they played in the river. Oscar was so pleased to see him.

Week 9

This week has been a really special week! On Saturday Oscar and Archie were page boys at Greg’s best friends wedding. Greg was best man and I was asked to do a reading in the church. I won’t bore you to much but Steve has become one of my closest friends, hes more like a brother to me than a friend and we were so happy for him and Cheryl and it was an extremely emotional but amazing day. I almost crumbled in the church when I had to do my reading, I had never been so nervous! So congratulations Steve and Cheryl and thank you for a truly amazing day!


On the Sunday Greg was a little worse for ware and I was totally exhausted. We went to bed at 2am and Archie woke up at 6.30! Oscar stayed awake until 1am and partied all night long so he was a bit of a grump on the Sunday. So we decided to get some fresh air and went to the hills in Northolt, had a picnic and walked to the top of the hills and looked at the view of London.


We also went bowling with friends, went to see Great-Nanny and now we are ready for Oscar’s first day back tomorrow! Year 2 he we come….

My Positive Elective Caesarean Experience On The NHS

Last week I was on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire show talking about how I was listened to by my consultant when I opted for an elective caesarean when I was pregnant with Archie and had a really positive experience at Hillingdon Hospital.

Before I tell you about my elective caesarean I will tell you why I wanted one in the first place. In February 2010 I had Oscar at 37 weeks by emergency caesarean after being in labour for three days and Oscar’s heart rate dipping. After having Oscar at 1.58am on a Monday morning I stayed in the next day and then discharged myself on the Tuesday as I felt well enough to go home. Afterwards I was adamant that when we had another baby I would opt for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). After that I went on to having two miscarriages, one in 2012 and 2013 and then had to give birth to a baby in 2014 at 17 and a half weeks. I was prescribed 150mg of aspirin and when I fell pregnant with Archie in March 2014 I took it everyday.

As you can imagine I was nervous the whole way through my pregnancy. At one of my first consultant appointments at 16 weeks I was very clear that I wanted a elective caesarean as I didn’t really want to go back on the delivery suite after the experience we had had only a few months before. I walked out of the delivery suite with no baby and would of done anything not to have had to go back there.

My consultant listened to me, explained the risks and told me if I changed my mind at any time throughout the rest of my pregnancy that that was fine. I honestly couldn’t have wished for a more understanding consultant. As the pregnancy went from week to week I still wanted to go with an elective caesarean as in a silly way after loosing the three babies before and having no control over any of it it was my only bit of control that I could choose just how I wanted to have my baby.

When I read articles saying women that have had a caesarean are cheated out of giving birth or haven’t “properly” given birth it does annoy me. I carried my babies and however they were delivered I gave birth to them! I think people should keep their opinions to themselves and however a mother chooses to have their baby is their business not the rest of the Worlds to judge. We should be supporting each other as women and parents not criticising one another.

So in December 2014 I had Archie by elective caesarean. I also took part in a enhanced recovery course which meant that I had Archie on the Monday at 9.32am and was discharged at 11am the following day. I was also allowed to drive after 9 days so I was back to normal in no time, taking Oscar to school. I am quite a proactive person and like to just get on with things so being able to get up and get home quicker was great for me. Having an elective caesarean this time around was quite strange as you walk in absolutely normal and within an hour I was in theatre having my epidural put in and then Archie was here. This time around I had the curtain dropped and got to see him being born which was amazing!

I wanted to share my story as I know that the NHS make mistakes but at Hillingdon Hospital I couldn’t have paid for better care, from the support they gave me after loosing the babies and then in my pregnancy through to the birth they were fantastic.

Share Your Ghastro Ghoul or Noro Story To Win A Break To Legoland

Norovirus causes diarrhoea and vomiting and is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK. As a Mummy to two boys Norovirus is a nightmare! Archie is only 15 months and touch wood we have swerved it so far but Oscar has had it a few times over the last few years. One particular that time that I will always remember was when Oscar was 4 and I had just been for my 20 week scan as I was pregnant with Archie. Oscar had had a fun afternoon playing in the playground as we had met his Nanny for lunch afterwards for lunch. On the way home Oscar said he didn’t feel very well and that he had a tummy ache. I just thought he needed the toilet and told him we would be home in 5 minutes and not to worry. We were literally a couple of minutes from home and Oscar was sick, he was so upset that he had been sick and also worried that he had ruined his car seat. Seeing your little one so upset when they are ill is awful, you just want to switch places with them. Luckily when we arrived home Daddy was there and as it was a warm Summer’s day I took off Oscar’s shorts and tshirt and Daddy lifted him upstairs to give him a shower and get him cleaned up and in fresh clothes. After taking the car seat out of the car and putting the covers in the wash Oscar was in fresh clothes and still feeling really unwell. We gave him plenty of fluid and snuggled on the sofa to watch a DVD.

Dioralyte Family

Within a couple of hours the diarrhoea set in and I Googled what the best remedies were to treat it and rehydrate Oscar as I knew this was really important and Dioralyte came up as the number 1 selling rehydration therapy. I sent Greg out to get some Dioralyte from the chemist.  Dioralyte provides the right balance of mineral salts and water to combat dehydration and rehydrates better than plain water, fruit juice or fizzy drinks and contains essential electrolytes (mineral salts) and works by replacing fluids and body salts lost as a result of acute diarrhoea. By the next morning Oscar was feeling much better and it is amazing how quickly children bounce back after an illness and he very much enjoyed having 48 hours off of school to recover and play! Annoyingly after a day I came down with it as well, which was awful as being pregnant I couldn’t take a thing, only drink loads of water and pray that Oscar didn’t get it back again from me as obviously he was off of school at home with me. Luckily we both recovered after a few days.

You can have a look on the Dioralyte website and if anyone in your family is suffering from sickness or diarrhoea you can find the right product for you to get rid of it as quick as possible. In the range are:

DioraleZe

DioraleZe is a product which can stop the symptoms of diarrhoea in just one dose, it contains Loperamide Hydrochloride, which has an exceptionally rapid onset of action compared with other anti-diarrhoeal drugs. DioraleZe works by slowing down muscle movements in the gut which leads to more water being absorbed from stools. The stools then become firmer and are passed less frequently. NHS guidance recommends taking oral rehydration sachets and anti-diarrhoeal medication as one of the ways in which you can help to treat diarrhoea – taking DioralyteTM and DioraleZe together can help aid a faster recovery time. DioraleZe 2mg capsules RRP £3.49 for 6 capsules and are available from Boots, Asda, Superdrug and independent pharmacies.

Dioralyte

Dioralyte is the number one selling rehydration therapy. It is clinically proven to treat dehydration faster and more effectively than plain water, fruit juice or fizzy drinks, it works by replacing fluids and body salts lost as a result of acute diarrhoea.

Dioralyte comes in three different flavours:

• Blackcurrant

• Citrus

• Natural Dioralyte is suitable from 2 years.

Dioralyte Relief

Dioralyte Relief has a unique formula which reduces the duration of diarrhoea and the time taken to return to normal drinking and eating, thanks to the rice powder. It also treats dehydration faster and more effectively than plain water, fruit juice or fizzy drinks by replacing essential electrolytes (mineral salts) and water – just what your body needs to help you rehydrate and start feeling better. Dioralyte Relief is available in blackcurrant and raspberry flavours. Dioralyte Relief is suitable from 2 years.

I would love for you to share your Ghastro Goul or Noro Story of when somebody in your family was struck by either the Norovirus or Rotavirus. By sharing your story you will be entered in my competition to win an amazing family mini break (2 adults and 2 children) to Legoland Windsor, including centrally located hotel accommodation for one night and tickets to Legoland worth over £560! We went to Legoland ourselves last week and it is amazing! Competition closes Monday 16th May 2016 at 11am.

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Competition terms and conditions:

1. This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland.

2. All information detailing how to enter this competition forms part of these terms and conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.

3. Entries should be submitted as a comment on the blog post or via the bloggers given email address (mummyszone@gmail.com). Entrants should include their own name and relevant contact information i.e. email address.

4. All entries must be received by the advertised closing time and date.

5. Each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to Sanofi to feature any or all of the submitted story in consumer and trade press and Sanofi company publications, on their websites and/or in any promotional material connected to this competition.

6. Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt entries will not be accepted. No responsibility can be accepted for lost entries and proof of transmission will not be accepted as proof of receipt. Entries must not be sent through agencies or third parties.

7. The winning entry will be chosen by Pegasus. The winner will be notified within seven days of the closing date of the competition.

8. Offensive or entries deemed by the competition organisers to be inappropriate will not be accepted.

9. The winning entry will win an experience with a perceived value of £560.

10. The winners may be required to take part in publicity.

11. Events may occur that render the competition itself, or the awarding of the prize, impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.

12. English law applies and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts shall prevail.

Disclaimer:

• This competition prize is provided by Dioralyte as part of their Gastro Ghouls & Noro Stories campaign

• Dioralyte has not influenced the content of this piece

• To find out more about Dioralyte, Dioralyte Relief and DioraleZe products visit www.dioralyte.co.uk

• Always read the label when using any Dioralyte products.

 

The Clangers Home Planet & Figures, Oscar’s Birthday Competition

Oscar got so many amazing presents for his birthday but one of his favourites was his new Clangers Home Planet play set which he got from his great-auntie and he also got the extra play sets to go with it. I used to love Clangers when I was younger and love that Oscar now watches and loves it too!

The Home Planet play set comes with Granny Clanger and has lots of different features. You can press the button and see Soup Dragon pop up, lift up the dustbin lid and there’s a secret slide and the Telescope can be put in different locations. You can also swing Granny on the hammock. The other play sets available all go with the Home Planet and can be all used together.

Smyths Toys currently have all the Clangers Toys in their clearance sale at amazing prices. I picked up the Home Planet for £10 instead of £25 and the family pack of figures for only £2 instead of £9.99. So I have brought an extra set as I thought they would be a great toy to giveaway. So to enter to win The Clangers Home Planet play set and the family figure pack enter below. Good Luck!

      

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