Monday, 6 July 2015

Football fun come rain or shine!

A couple of weeks ago I told you that Chester's Football dreams are coming true. Well last weekend he  got to show his Nannie and Grandad some of his skills.

My parents were down for the weekend, which was the perfect opportunity to come and watch Chester's football training session. My Dad has been desperate to come and watch him from the moment I told him Chester was part of a football team! 

Sadly, aside from 10 minutes at the start, it poured down with rain the whole time! I did feel sorry for the team as they were soaked right through, but none of them complained they just got on with the training session. 

As you know, Chester is the goal keeper, and he has come on so much since his first training session. This week he did so well that he got Trainer of the week! His little face when he got it was just priceless. I was so happy for him and how nice for it to happen when Nannie and Grandad came to see his skills! 

He really is into his football in a big way right now, joining the team has not only boosted his skills but also his confidence and understanding of the game. The coaches do a fantastic job, they are so patient with them and really make sure they are challenging them every week. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Our mini break to Chessington!

When I started my new job, one of the things I wanted to do was make sure that our family time was quality time. I also wanted the children to see that me being at work full time means that we are able to enjoy a few more days out.

So the first thing I did when I got my first months pay was book a mini break to Chessington World of Adventures. Chester had a random baker day coming up so I thought I would make use of that, booking the break for a Sunday night stay, so that we had to full days in the park and hopefully it wouldn't be too busy.

I have to hold my hands up and admit that my expectations for The Safari Hotel were quite low. We have stayed at the Animal Kingdom hotel in Walt Disney World so I find it very hard to try and not compare! But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised, the hotel was lovely, clearly a lot of thought has gone into making it well themed. Our room had an obstructed view on to the 'Savannah' but we were happy that we could see the giraffes, Zebras and an Ostrich from our room, even more so if we walked out to our floors lobby. The swimming pool was fab, the splash area perfect. There were so many benefits and things to do in the hotel we didn't have time to do nearly as many as I would have liked to. But for this stay, the best thing about the hotel for us was the separate sleeping area for the children. It is such a simple idea and I really wonder why more hotels don't offer this. This has to be the first hotel we have stayed at where the children stayed in their beds and actually went to sleep when we asked them! 

We had two awesome days at Chessington. One of the benefits of being a hotel guest meant that we had a different park entrance and were able to go on some rides before regular guests had even managed to walk round to those areas. This was great because although we didn't feel like we rushed about we certainly managed to go on the rides more than once. 

Chester at the age of 6 is a little thrill seeker, he went on everything he was tall enough for. The vampire ride was his favourite and on the Monday we went on it 5 times in a row! I was in no way surprised that Dragon Falls was a close second for him, as he talks about Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World all the time! 

It turns out that Millie is the opposite of her brother and hates all rides that go remotely over 1mph! The first ride we went on was Scorpian Express (think runaway train) and she hated it! She liked the flying elephants but only if we didn't press the button to make them go higher! So basically Millie spent the two days on The Bubble Works, but she didn't complain once, everything she did like, she really liked. Actually a highlight for Millie was watching the Penguins of Madagascar show, we all enjoyed it. 

What Craig and I love about Chessington is that it's not just about rides (this is a relief for us as I was starting to get a headache from all the fast rides Chester was making me go on!) we also spent lots of time looking at the animals and walking around the sea life centre. We were also lucky enough to be at the front of the que for the walk through monkey enclosure just as they were serving the monkeys lunch. That was an amazing experience, the monkeys were so close to us and we got to learn all about their likes and dislikes! 

Overall we had a fantastic couple of days, it was so nice to be able to give the kids a few more 'yes' moments, I think they were amazed when they asked for a slush drink and I said yes without hesitation!   As a family we will certainly be looking to do things like this more often now,it's been a week on and they are still just as excited when re telling the fun they had! 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Chester's football dreams are coming true!

Over the last year or so, Chester has started liking football in a big way. You will probably remember that over the last season we have take him to a couple of Crystal Palace matches which he has really enjoyed.

But something recently has managed to increase his football enthusiasm even more, finally after being on the waiting list for ages, Chester has been given a place on a local Football team! 

The only position available was goal keeper, and whilst that would not of been his position of choice (he is a great striker) he took on the challenge without hesitation. He has been on the team for 2 maybe 3 months and already his abilities and attitude towards football have grown. I am incredibly proud of what he has learnt so far. The coaches do a great job, and some weeks even give him some one on one goal keeper coaching to help boost his confidence. 

It seems that football has taken over his life (and my weekend) he talks about it every day, and apparently he plays it every lunch time at School! 
A couple of weeks ago was the icing on the cake for Chester though... His team had their annual football presentation day. It was a fun filled day full of football, bouncy castles and BBQs! I took Chester along but warned him that as he was new to the team he probably shouldn't expect any kind of trophy, but to be happy for his team mates who had worked hard all season. Imagine his little face when they called his name up and awarded him a trophy along with the rest of his team! It has totally made his year, the trophy has yet to leave his side! 

I think it's really great that he is so pasionate about a sport, as a football loving Mum I could not be happier! 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A seaside trip for Craig's Birthday!

At the weekend we headed to Hastings for a fun filled family day to celebrate Craig's Birthday. 

Craig is especially hard to buy for, he goes through fads more times than the children! So I tend to get him a couple of little presents then try and do something fun as a family for his main present. 

Craig really likes aquariums and because we hadn't been to the Hastings Sea Life (Blue Reef Aquarium) for a few years I thought it was about time we paid it a visit! 

Craig's Parents came with us too, which was really nice. Everyone really enjoyed the aquarium, there was lots to see. 

We also visited the fishermans museum and I wondered why we had never thought to visit before, it was a lovely find. Of course, the children spotted the shark poo and found it hilarious! 

We sat and ate fish and chips by the sea, and Chester and Millie each had a go on a ride. My little thrill seeker Chester went on the caterpillar roller coaster and my more cautious Millie went bobbing up and down on the hot air balloons! We tried our luck in the arcades and played in the play area too. 

We had enough time to go around the aquarium again before heading down to the beach one last time to look for crabs in the rock pools. It was a good job we did this at the end of the day because Chester and Millie took it upon themselves to splash each other with water! Needless to say they were both soaked, it was a good job I took spare clothes for them! 

It really was a lovely family day, the kind I really look forward to now that I am working full time. Craig had a great Birthday and really enjoyed the day out that I planned for him.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

We are going through a big change here!


You may have noticed that I am not updating my blog as much as I normally do at the moment. There is a very good reason for this, I have got a new job! I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago, but I have been enjoying the new routine so much I simply have not had time to finish it! 

Recently, I have felt more and more that I need to be back at work full time. Selfishly, for my own sanity more than anything. 

Dont get me wrong, I absolutely loved being at home with my children, and I know that I am very lucky to have been able to be at home with them for so long. But I think after almost 7 years, the time is right for me to go back to work full time. 

Before I had the children I was a secretary, a job I was very happy with. So when an opportunity came up a few weeks ago for an admin position I decided to grab it with both hands! It meant that I had to find childcare for the children for the couple of hours after School and Nursery, plus extend Millie's Nursery hours. I have to admit that I was very nervous about this. Not the fact that they would need to be left with childminders, as they are very confident Children, but how they would cope with a longer day. But 4 weeks into my new job and I can see that I had nothing to worry about. Millie adores her childminder and Chester is having such a fantastic time at his after school club! They are taking it all in their stride, and seem to be coping with the slightly extended days. 

I am really enjoying my time at work. Everyone I work with is so lovely and have helped me settle in really well. I feel more motivated over the last month than I have over the last year. It has become very clear to me just how much I needed this new challenge for myself! 

Everything seems to have slotted together so well. All of our moods have improved and the quality time we do spend together is exactly that, quality. I am appreciating the time I have with the children more. 

Surprisingly I am not feeling as tired as I was, and I feel like I have gained back some of my identity. Don't get me wrong, I will ALWAYS be a Mother first. But now feel I am able to be a 30 year old adult alongside that. My new work colleagues don't know me as a Mother, they just know me as Sammie, and getting that part of me back has been something that I have needed to do for a while. It's lovely to have adult conversation that doesn't include Peppa Pig or Homework! 

Going back to work full time will give us as a family a much better quality of life. We will be able to enjoy more family days out and even start looking into moving house or possibly extending the one we have. I am really looking forward to what the future holds for us, of course high up on my list will be treating us to a trip back to Walt Disney World ( I just can't help myself can I?!) but for once I am OK with the fact that it's not right at the top of the priority list! 

As the saying goes 'everything happens for a reason' and I totally believe that is what has happened here. So I am going to grab it with both hands and embrace the change! 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Mcdonald's Football Mum of the Year Award!

Last weekend we were invited to the grounds of Petts Wood FC to attend a McDonalds Football Mum of the Year event with Casey Stoney. For those of you that do not know, Casey Stoney plays for England and Arsenal Ladies teams. She has recently become a mum of twins herself, so knows only to well how hard it is to juggle life as a Mum!

We of course jumped at the chance to attend this event, Chester and I are big football fans, if you read my blog, you will know that we are Crystal Palace supporters and Chester has been to his first two home matches this season! Millie loves very much to copy her brother, and she is just as active. So even though she does not quite understand Football yet, she does understand how to kick and throw a ball!

During the event the children had a training session with Casey, there was a real mix of ages with the children and I think Casey did a great job at making it fun and challenging for each child. Whilst Casey was teaching the children, she also gave us Mums some tips and tricks that we could do at home with the children. Simple things such as throwing the ball in the air and catching, then perhaps something a little more challenging for Chester, throwing the ball in the air, clapping and then catching.

Can you spot my little Eagles in this video?!

Its fair to say that all 3 of us came away with something from the experience. I was reminded just how easy it is to get outside and play with the children, rather than just watching them!

Since the event Chester has taken on board the skills and he now spends most evenings practicing them in our garden, whether its kicking and controlling the ball against our garage wall, or bouncing on the trampoline whilst throwing the ball in the air, clapping and catching it, he has so much fun! Like Casey explained to us, in these early years the most valuable thing you can teach your children about football is ball control and coordination.

The event was to promote a rather special award. The McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year Award. Which will recognise mums who put in countless unpaid hours of hard work, so that their children and their friends can enjoy playing football.

From time consuming tasks such as running kids to training and matches that can be hours away, to managing their team kits and helping run their child’s local team. Or even starting a local team simply so their children and their friends can play; the awards are an opportunity to acknowledge their selflessness.

Personally I do think that Mums are the unsung heros when it comes to organizing their children's football timetable. Chester has only just started training and playing football with a club on a Sunday. I am the one who makes sure he has everything he needs and I am the one who is there cheering him on from the sidelines at 8.30am on a Sunday morning! I am also the one who cheers him up when he is sulking that something didn't go quite right for him and then I am the one who washed the grass stained kit and cleans the mud off of his Football boots!

Do you know a Mum worthy of the title Mcdonalds Football Mum of the year?!

Nominations for the McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year Award are now open and will close on 19th June 2015. To nominate a mum you know go to

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Housework. Who's job is it?

As I am typing this I am filled with rage. It seems that my husband believes that he is exempt from helping with some of the house work.

I know that his first defence will be that he helps 'do the dishwasher' but really I think he needs to get into the 21st century. 

I have been watching the clean washing pile move from our bed to the floor for a few weeks now. You might think that is a little odd, I mean why not simply put it away? Well. My reasoning is this. I spent a long time (again, this happens every few months) tidying our room and making sure it is clutter free. I do the washing, fold it neatly and place it on our bed. Then I got distracted, probably picking the kids up from School. When my husband finds it later on rather then simply putting it away he picks it up and dumps it on the floor. 

I am fed up with this little routine he has, so rather than put it away I decide to see how long it takes for him to put it away. It is, after all, just a little bit of washing.

Well today, I couldn't take it anymore and I snapped. When I questioned him about it, his reply was simply 'well they are not my clothes (he is wrong about that by the way) so why should I put them away'.

Now please correct me if I am wrong, but we are not living in Victorian Britain are we? Surely it would be nice if he simply helped by putting the clothes away. Especially as most of the clothes belong to our children! 

We have lived together for almost 10 years and he will help with some of the house work (read that as empty the dishwasher and occasionally the washing). But for some reason he seems to have these old fashioned ideas that the woman should do the house work and his day off should be exactly that. A day to do nothing. That may well have been the case when he lived at his parents but it sure as hell isn't the way here. In the modern day.

Now, I love my husband and I don't usually write this type of post, but I think the final straw has snapped for me. I am certainly no housework queen, in fact some days I would say I am pretty awful. But for Christ sake, what the hell is wrong with helping each other out and working together? 

I have no sympathy for Craig, especially when he comes out with the classic 'I have been at work all day'. Try being a mother Craig, I don't think you would cope. 

Anyone else have this problem?