general, lifestyle, parenting

Roadtrip to Manchester

I realised just thismorning that we’re almost at the end of week 4 of the summer holidays! WEEK 4. Crazy. Looking back I feel like we haven’t done all that much, but putting it into perspective and to kind of justify it to myself,  we do a lot with the kids throughout the whole year. We’re out somewhere every Sunday regardless of the weather, so don’t really feel the pressure to have plans for every day over six weeks, or have the funds. Who does?

But my hubby was off last week. He takes two weeks off each summer but breaks them down as two single weeks. We’re strategic. Or rather I am. I figure I can do two weeks on my own no problem, it’s just like the Easter holidays (but minus the chocolate, unfortunately). By week three I’m usually lagging, and needing a bit of daddy support.

Rather than have a big holiday, we have short breaks throughout the year. This give us things to look forward to, an opportunity to unwind as a family, and I just love a roadtrip (and really really really, do not like flying)

So, as always the decision where to go was left up to me. I admit, I can be a bit of a control freak, but this is more because my hubby is rather laid back and happy to have little input in where we go. Although I always run suggestions by him, and this time we decided on Manchester. I then spent probably a whole afternoon deliberating where to stay. City Cenre, half an hour from the City Centre, or about an hour away in a country hotel, which wouldn’t really have even been Manchester.

We went with the city centre. I feel I want to boast for a second and stress that we set off around 9.30 am. I’m NEVER ready for 9.30 in the holidays (unless I’ve made plans to meet a friend. Otherwise I’m a sit in my pjs till lunch time kinda gal), but Andrew cleverly used the suggestion of  a McDonalds breakfast as an incentive. I have a feeling he will use this every time we go away, now

We arrived in Manchester City Centre after just under 4 hours travelling. We then spent around another hour figuring out how to get into the damn carpark. Andrew eventually resorted to popping into a local pub to use the toilet  ask the barman for help. He explained it’s a nightmare at the minute with roadworks and advised us to find another. So we did. Then we had a bit of an issue buying a parking ticket as it could be done over the phone only. Which would’ve been fine had we been able to find the ‘location number’ to enter into the automated phone system. We gave up and found another. Then had a 7 minute walk to our hotel (using google maps)

We then made our way to our rooms to sit back after the long journey, and relax. Only joking, we had a right muck on checking in having brought no photo ID with us (never been asked for this before) and I lost my patience with the receptionist when she looked at me with absolute horror that we’d booked a separate room for my son. I gave her ‘the glare’ with a sharp ‘And? Is there a problem’? Seriously though, he turned 18 on the sunday after we returned home.

Anwayay, after around another hour,  we finally made our way to our rooms. They weren’t the best, but fine for a couple of nights and a reminder that I really need to check out Tripadvisor first.

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We felt we really could do with a swim, so got kitted out in our swim gear, and the kids waddled down the corridors with arm bands over their clothes and goggles on,

2to be told children could only use the pool up unitl 5pm. It was 4.45.

So we had little options other than to check out the city centre instead. We thougt a Chinese buffet for tea would be nice, but the kids insisted on chicken nuggets and chips. Cue our second trip to McDonalds of the day for them, then a Chinese for us. However, they then thought they quite liked the look of Chinese too, and I think one of the waiters clocked me giving Emily some prawn toast. Although she was pretty vocal and drew attention to our table stating rather loudly ‘oh that food looks YUMMY. I wish I could have some’.

 

 

 

Obviously I had to try a cocktail, and Emily showed signs that she is going to be a bit of a party girl by asking if kids could have cocktails too.

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We then made our way back to the hotel, picking up a load of leafltes from reception for more ideas what to do the following day

bf After breakfast, we headed to Gullivers World in Warrington. We’d never took the girls to a theme park before, so this would be something different for us all. I wished I’d knew of Guillivers World earlier as it also has a hotel with themed rooms which looked amazing. and the girls would’ve loved a night there. But we were staying in a hotel which I am convinced smelt of illegal substances, had the smallest tv known to man on the wall and a Jacuzzi bath which didn’t work, so it was all good

We spent a full day there, arriving at 11 and leaving around 4.30. It’s a great place to go for kids from between the ages of 2 – 13. I was really worried surprised when the girls asked to go on the wooden rollercoaster. Obviously myself and Andrew had to go on with them, and it was fast. Really fast. The kids loved it, we actually really did too and a must if you visit.

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We also got thoroughly soaked on one of the water rides, but luckily the sun was out and we dried in no time. Only for Andrew and the girls to get soaked again on the Log Flume, which I found amusing.

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After about 5 hours in the theme park, we made our way back into Manchester. And we even managed to get lost walking back from the car park to the hotel, again.

 

After a quick change, Turtle Bay was my our choice of place to dine that night, and it was just amazing. We were literally spoilt for choice with a menu of Carribean food. I was however, gutted we’d just missed the 2 for 1 cocktail off. Didn’t stop me ordering a few though

Along with Garlic and Chili Pit Prawns and a Garlic and Herb Flat bread which we all shared, then a main of a Jerk ‘n’ Pull Pork Bun

Then we made our way to Gino Gelatos for ice cream and the most delicious Oreo Waffle.

8 So if you’re planning a trip to Manchester, you have to visit Ginos. To.die.for

37And no, my hubby will not thank me for this pic

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So after an early rise for a morning for a swim in the pool and use of the steam room and spa, that wrapped up out trip to Manchester.

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But one more thing. No matter how many hotels we visit, or how many gyms and leisure centres I go to. I just can not get my head around communal changing.

This hotel went one step further with a windowed shower. No curtain, just a big pane of glass. I showered in my costume and changed in the toilets.

We’re on our travels again in the last week of the holidays. We chose the last week for Andrews second weeks as presumably I’ll be demented by then. We’re off to Bath to visit family and we have lots of days out planned, and I am so happy to see there is a Turtle Bay in Bath.

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dance, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, parenting, wellbeing

Clubbercise Mush Event

I know I should’ve written this way before now, but with it being the summer holidays and having two children to entertain, it’s often hard to find the time

But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, to wrap up the two weeks of promoting Mush – the free app for mums, I’d planned another Clubbercise event. I’d chosen the same venue as the previous one, as Flares as it is just the perfect venue for what I was looking for.

So after weeks of first of all getting myself in a right panic nobody would turn up, deciding what to wear and spending a small fortune on accessories and decs for the venue, the night was just brilliant. 

Along with Mel I arrived early to set up the venue. We thought having an electric pump, 45 minutes before the doors would open, would be more than enough time to inflate a variety of animals, palm trees, sharks and lilos and even a giant donut. However, the pump failed to do it’s job and I think we had our work out before it even began, by inflating them ourselves.  However, once done and put in place the venue looked ready for us to rock a Caribbean Neon party.

I think there was around 30 of us ravers who turned up in the usual neon, but this time with grass skirts, garlands and even flowery bras, to go with the Caribbean theme. 

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We were all just as rowdy and excited as the last event, and did our dance workout for around 45 minutes (I spent a lot of it taking pics/videos. Dancing wasn’t easy, and far too sweaty under a lot of pink and purple clip in hair pieces, a flower hairband and sunglasses)

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The girls were awesome, with their smiley faces, singing cheers and whoops. Seeing that alone made the night for me, as this is what it was all about – having fun with friends. And I know it’s always gonna be a good night with this crazy lot

The event itself definately ended on a high, with some of us even getting frisky with or riding on the ‘Dophin of Clubbalove’. You’re right Mel, Dave the Dolphin should to be your mascot and join us in every class.

We all stayed around for drinks afterwards, (like we were ever gonna just go home). My lovely friend Jeannie was lucky enough to have won us a VIP booth so there was 2 bottles of fizz and a giant Partini and a booth for us to sit and chat afterwards. We also decided rather than keep going to the bar, we’d all just order a cocktail jug for ourselves. So I was classy as always sat drinking 2 pints of Woo Woo, straight out the jug.

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We also found ourselve having a bit of a dance off with another group of girls in the VIP area, which is always fun. 

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I said from before I started my 5 weeks of marketing with Mush, I wanted to host an event which was all about forgetting about parenting duties for one night, letting our hair down, having a laugh, and remembering us mums can have fun too. Smashed it. Thank you girls all so much, for helping me do just that.

Thank you to Melanie once again for leading (and putting up with my often outlandish ‘Lou, we can not do that’ ideas), and Flares for their hospitality. The guys at Flares really are ace and could not do enough to help make us feel welcome, and the event a success. And they do awesome cocktails.

If you’re looking to make new mum friends, check out the app which can be downloaded via Play Store, and if you’re still to try Clubbercise, and think it may be the work out for you, click this link to find your nearest class.

Please excuse the poor quality of the video, but it’s from a Facebook Live

 

anxiety, birth, depression, general, health, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, post natal depression, pregnancy, wellbeing

July and why and what’s next

So, just briefly, around 8 weeks ago I noticed a post on the Facebook page of a free app, Mush, looking to recruit mums around the UK to market the app in their area.

The app works similar to Tinder (I don’t even know if this is the best comparison) but without the creeps, and the sleeze (no offence if you’re loved up through Tinder and views/opinions my own). But it’s similar in how it connects mums with other mums in the area.

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The reason I wanted to get involved is I know too well how social isolation feels and it ain’t nice. I saw this as an opportunity to help mums sat at home feeling like I did for so many years, with hope of helping them turn their life around.

Over the last 4 weeks I’ve dropped flyers off at local childrens centres, maternity units, handed them to Teachers, Childminders, Midwives. I’ve felt like a super sleuth quickly dropping them in baby change/feeding areas (do you know how weird that looks without a baby?!), changing rooms and even ladies toilets (yes, I know – living the dream). I’ve stuck stickers on park benches, pic-nic tables, bus stops, attached posters to park railings, school gates. I’ve done interviews over the phone for Smooth Radio, The Chronicle and had an exciting morning at Metro Radio, sharing my experiences of how life changes once you have a baby. I wanted to highlight that as expected, you are filled with love, you do feel complete, you do feel blessed, you do feel joy, but you also lose yourself as you put this new little person first. You completely forget who you are and what you like. It takes forever to get ready to go out anywhere, so often don’t bother. You lose contact with friends, or turn down any invites to nights out, to the point your friends stop asking you. The days are long as they start super early, the nights are late and sleep is broken. These are the negative aspects we don’t seem to hear or read about and the devastating affect they can have upon your emotional wellbeing. So basically I progressed from wanting to promote an app, to highlighting issues in parenthood we tend not to talk about. The more taboo subjects if you like. I don’t do taboo. I’ll talk about anything and everything

Moving forward, I knew as part of this role I’d be expected to plan an event. This event would be an opportunity to bring more mums together and to mark the end of the 5 weeks as part of the Mush team. I knew I could organise a coffee morning at a local soft play, or a picnic in the park. But I decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted this event to be all about the mums. I wanted an event where the babies stay at home with Dad (you don’t see dads giving up their social life once baby arrives, right?) and the mums get some much deserved ‘me’ time. And I thought I’d throw an opportunity for a well deserved cocktail or two

So it’s in a pub. Out of the 50 Mush recruits, pretty sure I’m the only one to be hosting a piss up. But in my defence,  we’re not just meeting up for a Saturday night sesh in town. We’re Clubbercising first for an hour. We’re throwing on our gym gear and trainers, grass skirts (Caribbean theme) and coconut bras (not me, but my friend is) painting and glittering our faces and doing a dance work out, with our glow sticks, whistles and whoops to 90s to current day tracks on the lit up dancefloor of Flares. I can not wait and loving the prep I’ve been doing this week. I’m currently sat on the sofa with a blow up dolphin to the left of me, and giant banana and crocodile to the right. And a pile of lilos and rubber rings on the table.

We did this in May in aid of Radio Lollipop where I volunteer and it was such a good night, I could not miss and opportunity to do it all again.

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I want music, I want dancing, I want laughter and I want a night to hopefully remember. But most of all, I want a fun night with my friends. The girls who mean more to me than they probably know. It’s only Wednesday and I’ve already seen three of them this week. How awesome is that. I want other women who feel alone to realise that it’s never to late to rediscover yourself. To remember what you like, what makes you laugh, how it feels to have fun. But most of all, how important it is to have friends, as they could be a lifeline.

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And I was about to share some more exciting info, but I’m keeping that for a future blog. I’m keeping this one all about the Mammys, how awesome they are, how hard it can be and how they don’t ever have to do it alone.

For more info about my event click on this link

https://www.facebook.com/events/102859490355781/

And to download the Mush app

https://mushapp.app.link/zeSiqqr4mE