An Emotional Last Walk To Junior School Together

The time has eventually come for my little boy to leave junior school; the school that he has been a pupil at for 8 years. That is a big chunk of our children’s lives. Their junior school is all they know. A place where they made their first friends, where they learnt to read and write, where they were taught discipline and where they grew into the children that they now are.

My son has learnt so much more than I ever thought would be possible.

He has learnt how to overcome difficulties and not see them as a chore but to tackle them head on and come out winning.

He will be leaving year 6 with skills that will guide him on his way into year 7.

He will be leaving with hope and dreams.

He has learnt that with the right mindset that he can go anywhere and be anything that he wants to be. He has learnt that anything is possible with determination and drive; focused on achieving and pushing himself academically to the next level.

He leaves year 6, leaving his nest and soaring into the sky. Reaching for his dreams, following his heart and soul. He is leaving behind his past and spreading his wings and flying to bright future.

On Friday we held hands the whole way to school for the last time. I held onto it tightly. For 20 minutes we held hands and talked.

We talked about our memories of school and how much he has progressed in the last year.

It was emotional knowing that this was our last journey to his school together. There may have been a few tears hidden under my sunglasses.

My little boy is now a big boy. How am I going to cope?

He told me, on our last journey together, that he wasn’t ready to leave, he didn’t want to go to secondary school. This got me choked.

I know he is ready but the fact that he feels he is not is upsetting.

I told him that he has to leave in order to climb that mountain and make his way to greater places.

He takes with him amazing friendships and memories that will stay with him forever.

I savoured every step and I breathed in every moment. I held his hand like it was a piece of me.

His next journey to school will be with his older brother in September. I will not be holding his hand nor will he be receiving a kiss at the gate to his school.

It’s time for him to climb the mountains and soar high into the sky, showing everyone that there is no limit to what he can achieve.

It’s time for him to refuse to be average and disembark on a new adventure, to make new memories and bonds with new friends.

 

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Harry Potter Goblet of Fire at WB Studio Tour

The Warner Bros Studio Tour recently invited us along to witness the new additional special feature to the Making of Harry Potter. The tour has launched behind the scenes secrets to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the special feature is dedicated entirely to the fourth instalment of the film.

The Goblet of Fire has not been in the Great Hall since 2010, when the filming of the magical film finished, it has now returned to it rightful place and will be there for everyone to witness from now until Sunday 23rd September 2018.

Harry Potter has always been a huge thing for me, reading all the books and then watching the films. I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to read the books to my first-born 15 years ago and hopefully share the excitement and love I had for the characters. Harry potter is one of those books that you can read again and again. Both my eldest and middle boy have read all of the books and, along with me, have been drawn into the exciting world Of Harry Potter.

As you first arrive into Warner Brothers tour you will see the Triwizard Cup on display, just as you are queuing up to enter.

 

When you first buy your ticket to the tour you can choose the time to enter. Everyone gathers around the entrance and you are all taken into a room with tvs mounted on the walls all around you. Here you get to watch short clips of how Pottermania began and the history of the making of the films. An interactor – a member of staff who knows a hell of a lot about Harry Potter- gives a short talk about what to expect to see throughout the tour, they also get you all into the mood by asking what house everyone belongs to. Everyone cheers when your house is called. Once this is over, you are all moved along into a cinema screening room where you watch another short clip where the actors share some of their memories of making the films. Once this is finished the screen is pulled up and behind it a big curtain is drawn open and the lights go on to reveal a huge impressive door. People whose birthday it is are shared to open the great big door. As soon as that door opens, everyone’s mouths are agape as this is the start of something special. You enter into the Great Hall, and Great it is! It is amazing and such a dramatic entrance. You quickly realise what magical, truly magnificence you are about to see.

The Great Hall was where the students and teachers dine and congregate is was also the place where the announcement of the Triwizard tournament took place.

Standing at the end of this impressive room was the Goblet of Fire, along with the age line and the twins on the floor.

Here we got see a live Special Effects demonstration on how the Triwizard Champions’ parchments were expelled from the Goblet. We watched as the Goblet spat out Harry’s name on a piece of burning parchment as the fourth champion in the triwizard tournament.

We was all told to stand around the age line drawn on the floor, obviously there is always one person who tries their luck. Just like the Weasley twins, my Oliver attempted to cross the line but I caught him just in time.

You are in the Great Hall for a short time but this is where you can head of on your own and go at your own speed throughout the rest of the tour. As you leave the Great Hall and head on into the first backlot you can grab a souvenir parchment to keep for yourself.

The first backlot is full of props and costumes from the set. Here we got to see the sculpture from the Yule Ball

along with the iconic taps from the Prefect Bathroom. On the advice from Cedric Diggory, Harry took a trip here in order to complete the first challenge. These taps have 53 spouts, cast in real bronze for strength and durability, they expel a rainbow of coloured water just as they did in the film.

They really are mesmerizing, we stood for a while just watching the water spurt out of the taps.

Every part of this tour is breath-taking, from the golden eggs to the costumes and props from the films.

It’s hard to know what was new for the tour and what was there previously. There are so many things to look at that I am sure we missed so many items. By the time the production of Harry Potter had finished in 2011, five warehouses had been filled with thousands of props that had been used by the actors and as set decoration. Thousands of props were either made specifically for the films or bought in from speciality shops, including 5000 pieces of furniture, 12000 books and 40000 Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products. Most of these can be seen in the tour.

The sets in the tour feel so real, It’s like you have been transported into the film yourself.

Tom Riddles grave is now in the studio tour just before the Forbidden Forest entrance in order for everyone to get a 360 tour of it. The sculpture was created before the details of Voldemort’s lineage were known meaning the dates had to be changed in post production.

One of my favourite places to see was Dumbledores office. Here we got to see Dumbledores fascination with the universe and the skies, tucked away in the upper chamber is his largest telescope.

We also got to see the Memory cabinet and the pensieve in action. Because it carries powerful and complex enchantments only the most advanced wizards can use it. obviously, that includes us!

Before we headed on into the Forbidden Forest we thought it would be best if the boys received some basic wand training. They were taken through step by step by a video of Paul Harris, the choreographer of the battle scenes in the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

They were now ready to face any mystical creature that we come across in the Dark Forest. As we headed through the towering trees we came across Buckbeak and Aragog

I am pleased to announce that we made it through the forest unscathed and ready to jump on to the Hogwarts Express

We had so much fun here. Most of the scenes that took place on Platform 9 3/4 were actually shot on location at Kings Cross Station in London.

We boarded the train and took our seat in one of the carriages ready to embark on a journey

During the making of the films, the windows of the carriages were replaced with moving backdrops and special effects like hopping frogs and flying dementors.

When the glass goes all icy you just know what is going to happen next.

Oh dear! My poor little wizard was very scared!

After all that excitement it was time for a spot of refreshments next to the Backlot. After eating our food the boys were treated to a Butterbear

I must admit this wasn’t very nice. I know many people who have enjoyed this beverage but we found it way too sweet for our taste buds.

The next part of the tour took us past the Knight Bus, Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge and any other buildings and items that were used in the outside scenes of the films.

Only one section of the Hogwarts Bridge was very built; using computer generated effects the rest of the bridge was created.

As we exited the Backlot and entered another studio this is where we came learnt all about the magical creatures, special effects, make up and prosthetics. It was lovely to see how Dobby was created and you even get to control him by moving your own limbs.

Pass through special effects area and you enter Diagon Alley.

The original design of the street was inspired from the streets described in the works of Charles Dickens. Diagon Alley constantly changed throughout the films, moving shops fronts and walls in order to create the perfect setting and was even redressed for use in the village of Hogsmeade.

We even spotted a dementor hiding down one of the alleys ready to jump out on us, lucky for us we had our wands with us and sent them packing.

We were nearing the end of our tour and didn’t think our smiles could get any bigger but as we entered the last room we were completely in awe at the majestic model of Hogwarts Castle. The intricately detailed model was built for the first film, every part of the model was filmed and then enhanced with digital effects to create the realistic views of the school.

This place is amazing! I could just sit and stare all day long at this model, it is a magnificent piece of art work. Detail is second to none, which is what we thought throughout the tour on every singe item we saw.

The castle has a new addition just for the Goblet of Fire exhibit; a scale version of the Beauxbatons carriage complete with winged horses poised to land on the Hogwarts grounds for the first time ahead of the Triwizard championship.

There are interactive screens around that give you more information on the building of the model.

Exiting the Hogwarts Castle you enter the wand room and gift shop. This is where we saw the triwizard cup.

We had an awesome time and could go back again and again as I do believe there are so many more incredible things to look at. We definitely did pursue an adventure.

We were invited along to a special preview of the Goblet of Fire exhibit. We were provided with tickets, food and had a photo opportunity. No payment has been received.

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My First BIG Concert with the Children

Last year I went along with a friend and her daughter to watch Ed Sheeran at the 02. It was my first real concert; by real I mean big. The first concert I ever went to was when I was 15 years old, my Dad dropped myself and a friend off at Crystal Palace to watch a selection of acts on stage, which included Take That, East 17 and Right Said Fred. I think it was a Capital FM Roadshow at Crystal Palace. I remember the car journey there and being really excited that I was off to watch the bands that I loved to sing along to. I remember screaming along with the rest of the crowd when the acts entered the stage. I remember dancing away to their songs and not being able to sleep for days after with the sheer sense of euphoria.

I wanted my children to have that special memory, I wanted their first concert experience to be a memorable one. I wanted my boys to experience being in an arena filled with thousands of people screaming their heads off while a musician ran around a lit-up stage, belting out hit after hit. But above all, I wanted to be their with them whilst they had this experience.

After watching Ed at the 02 in 2017, I decided that when he next went on tour I would try to get tickets for myself and the boys to go. We all really enjoy listening to his songs, so I thought that it would be a brilliant choice as a first concert to attend for the children. I managed to grab 3 tickets to see him at Wembley, it wasn’t a choice venue as I would have preferred the 02. Not only is the 02 nearer to us but it is also a smaller venue than Wembley, But nevertheless we got tickets and that’s all that matters.

So last week, the boys and I jumped on the train straight from school and headed on over to Wembley Stadium. We were all very excited and the boys couldn’t wait to get into the Stadium. As soon as they saw Wembley Stadium, there mouths dropped agape. It is huge!

We had bought seating tickets as the youngest is only 10 and children have to 12 to be standing in the arena. Unfortunately, our tickets were not amazing ones. We were quite high up but we were to the side of stage so we had a good view. It helped that the stage was massive and Ed and his supporting artists stood at the front which meant you could see them.

We had made our way to our seats and got comfortable ready to see the supporting acts; Jamie Lawson and Anne Marie. I must say they were both great but Anne Marie was brilliant. It helps if you know the songs of the artists to really enjoy the experience. My boys were singing along and really getting into the mood. The artists were warming up the, now very crowded, stadium.

We were having a lovely evening and I wouldn’t have wanted to be there with no one else.

We laughed, we smiled,we danced, we sang, we screamed, we bounced, we held hands and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I had never seen my younger son dance so much, he jumping about to the music and singing at the top of his lungs.

I will never forget the sheer excitement on my boys faces as Ed Sheeran came onto stage, I didn’t think their smiles could get any bigger

I knew that this night would be a night that they wouldn’t forget, etched in their memories, the night that they went to their first concert with their Mum.

We finished the evening with sore throats and tired feet.

We left before Ed finished his set as I knew just looking at the amount of people in that stadium that there was no way we were going to get out of their in a hurry. It was late already and we were getting very tired. We was very lucky, even though the crowds were gathering at the exits, that we managed to get out without any stalling and actually got a seat on the train.

The boys had a little nap on the train as we had many stops to get home. It was a very late night for them but worth it.

We now all have the concert bug and are looking for our next one to attend. Although, I think we will make sure that its at the 02 next time as Wembley is just too huge a little too far for us to go to.

 

 

 

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Damn, I’ve forgotten why I came in here! Chemo Brain

For the past couple of years,I have had problems with short term memory loss and finding it hard to concentrate. It has been particularly bad since I had treatment for Cancer.

Have you ever heard of chemo brain? Very similar to baby brain. It is a common term that is used by cancer survivors to describe thinking and memory problems. It’s not clear what causes the signs and symptoms of memory loss in cancer survivors, it could be the stress of the diagnosis or the effect of the chemicals in the treatment.

I was told that the side effects from the treatment would take up to 6 months to get out the bodies system, although it doesn’t seem to be the case with me.

I would like to think that I am not losing my memory and that I am just letting go of my past. But, it’s short term that I am struggling with. Those simple tasks that we take for granted.

I find myself walking into a room and forgetting what I went in there for. I can stand there for a while trying to remember what It is that I am meant to be doing, but it doesn’t help.

I find that words don’t flow from my mouth anymore and I get struck for the choice of words I am looking for. I get tongue-tied, I know what I want to say but it doesn’t come.

I write myself notes and set the calendar on my phone to remind myself of what I am doing. But it is mostly those moments where you decide to do something at that moment; those on the spur moments, that I forget. Like going upstairs to grab a top but coming back downstairs with nothing as I couldn’t remember what it was that I wanted. Or, whilst cooking the dinner, I may look in the cupboard for an ingredient and forget what it is I am looking for.

I sometimes find myself confused and feeling of mental fogginess. I used to love to read a book but I find it hard to concentrate on the words, they seem to be covered in a fog within my head and I forget what I have read.

Those moments do come back to me, But I have to trace back to the moment I thought of something for it to come back.

Last year, I started a college course and I am normally organised with work loads. But, I have been finding it hard to learn the new skills. I forget what I am writing half way through the sentence. The course is taking longer to get through but I am managing it, essays are taking double the time and I have to re-read every sentence a few time for it to make sense.

Maybe I am just getting old, maybe it has nothing to do with the treatment. I think I would like to think the latter.

 

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I Am Not a Survivor But I Am Thankful: Life after Cancer

It’s been two years since I received the news that I had Cancer. The past two years have been a roller-coaster journey with emotions and life.

The first year was hard, I didn’t know what the outcome of my treatment would be. I lived for the day, scared to make plans for my future. Scared for every appointment I had with my surgeon and oncologist.

It was hard to take it all at first, I had so many thoughts and feelings. Shock, anger, sadness, guilt, fear, anxiety and alone. My emotions caused confusion and mood swings. These emotions were all a part of me coming to terms with my illness and how I was going to cope. In that first week, I experienced every emotion possible that someone can go through.

You hear so many sad stories about Cancer that is it hard to stay positive. But I tried for the sake of my family and my own sanity.

Having Cancer can quickly take over your life and I didn’t want that the happen. There were days where I cried from morning to night, days where I didn’t talk and days where that’s all I wanted to do. I was afraid that I had not control over my body and what i wanted it to do. At first it was hard to talk about, I was ashamed of myself, my mind was trying to process what was happening and I just couldn’t get my head around it. My mind was telling me that I was going to die but my heart was saying something else. As the shock wore off it became easier and I became stronger with my emotions.

Everyday I woke to another day I was grateful and thankful.

For the first 6 months the treatment and illness quickly took over my life. I spent weeks having tests prior to 6 weeks of daily chemo/radiotherapy. The hospital became my second home. I was admitted three times into hospital, totalling 9 weeks in a hospital bed, one being a planned admission for surgery. I remember visiting a friend 2 months after I was discharged and bumping into a member of staff in the corridor. She gave me a friendly smile and said nice to see you back. I smiled back at her and she said ‘you used to work here didn’t you?’ I laughed.

As time has gone on it’s got easier to deal with but that doesn’t mean that I still have my moments. I still cry. I am still anxious about it returning. It is easier to talk about now, but I am still shameful. I still blame myself.

Anxiety is hard to deal with. Those moments are particularly harder when it comes to oncology appointments and scans. I receive 4 scans a year; 1 full body scan and 3 MRI. The week running up to the appointment is worrying and the weeks following the scan can be an anxious time. All you want to hear is that the Cancer has not returned. Sitting there in the patients chair in the oncologists room, looking, scanning over your oncologists face for any sign that you can read before the words come from their mouth. Looking into their eyes for sign of good news. And the emotion of a sudden relief when it comes back as positive news.

It was two years since my diagnosis last week and I received news from a recent scan that I am still in the clear of any return of tumours or any inflamed lymph nodes. RELIEF. I can suddenly breathe normally again and allow all those negative thoughts and feelings out into the air. Until next time…

Again I am grateful and thankful to be here surrounded by loved ones; family and friends.

I don’t see myself as a survivor as Cancer will remain with me for the rest fo my life, I have to live with the anxiety of it possibly returning. I have to live with the change that it has caused to my emotional well-being. I am constantly reminded of my Cancer journey with the disfigurement it has left on my body, with the aches and pains that the treatment has caused and with the scars that surgery has left behind. I have to live with having a permanent colostomy which has caused problems with my confidence. And I have to live with seeing the pain in my loved ones eyes when they remember what we have all been through. Cancer didn’t just affect me but to all those around me.

I am not a survivor but I am thankful.

 

 

 

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BBC ANNOUNCE MORE TOP NAMES FOR ITS FIRST EVER FAMILY FESTIVAL

Taking place on August 3 to 5 at Croxteth Country Park in Liverpool, CBBC Summer Social is the biggest ever kids event, and the only festival to give 6-12year old’s and their families a unique lineup of CBBC favourites, alongside a host of international music acts including Union J, Johnny Orlando, Matt Terry and Mackenzie Ziegler.

CBBC Summer Social is being organised in partnership with Liverpool City Council and forms part of Liverpool 2018 – a year of projects marking a decade since Liverpool was European Capital of Culture.

Max and Harvey, Sophia Grace, KIDZ BOP and more were recently added to the line up.  Having previously announced a range of international music acts including Union J, Johnny Orlando, Mackenzie Ziegler and Matt Terry alongside CBBC favourites Mr Tumble, Swashbuckle’s Cook and Line, Andy Day, and Sam and Mark, to name a few, brand new festival CBBC Summer Social has added a second wave of incredible artists to an already jam-packed line-up.

Needing no introduction, teen music sensations Max and Harvey, who’s refreshingly fun and authentic sound has connected with listeners across the globe racking up over four million followers on social media, have been announced for the festival. Having previously been nominated for “Muser of the Year” at the 2017 Shorty Awards which garnered over 6million total views, the singer songwriter duo’s performance is guaranteed to be a festival highlight.

Speaking about their appearance at the event, Max and Harvey said: “We are so excited to announce we’ll be heading to Liverpool this summer with CBBC!! The line-up this year is crazy; Johnny Orlando, Sophia Grace, plus so many more, and we can’t wait to see our fans. It’s going to be a legendary weekend!”

Other acts announced include online star, Sophia Grace who has three million followers on YouTube, kids’ music phenomena, KIDZ BOP, and popular Britain’s Got Talent dance act, Merseygirls, who’s energetic stage show will certainly not be one to miss.

Also joining the bill is the world famous BBC Philharmonic who will be bringing a full orchestra to the event, introducing a young audience to classical pieces in a family friendly setting.

West End and Broadway hit, Shrek the Musical, has also been added to the bill.  The theatre adaption with a feisty Princess, a lovestruck Dragon and all the charm of an Ogre. Preformances are sure to bring the magic of the big screen.

Set against the historic backdrop of the Grade II listed Croxteth Country Park, revelers can expect the very best of CBBC programming including immersive activity zones, theatre shows, interactive and inspiring art workshops, top class musical experiences, cool outdoor and sporting activates, junior discos, themed treasure hunts, gaming areas, character walkabouts, vlogger meet and greets, live appearances from the most popular children’s authors and much, much more.

Early Bird Tickets are on sale priced from £28*. To purchase tickets and for more information visit bbc.co.uk/cbbcsummersocial

*Please note, all ticket prices are per day. Booking & Transaction fees apply.

Line-up

Friday 3rd August

Featuring: Andy Day, Art Ninja, Bars & Melody, BBC Music Introducing in BBC Merseyside, Ben Shires, Clangers, Everton in the Community, Go Jetters Disco, Got What It Takes, Hacker T Dog, Johnny Orlando, Liverpool Football Club Foundation, Liverpool LIMF, Mackenzie Ziegler, Mr Tumble, Naomi Wilkinson, Opera North, The Pets Factor, Sam & Mark, Saturday Mash-Up!, The Next Step, Worst Witch. Yolanda Brown and more to be announced.

Saturday 4th August

Featuring: Andy Day, Art Ninja, Bars & Melody, BBC Music Introducing in BBC Merseyside, Ben Shires, Clangers, Everton in the Community, Go Jetters Disco, Got What It Takes, Hacker T Dog, Johnny Orlando, Liverpool Football Club Foundation, Liverpool LIMF, Mackenzie Ziegler, Mr Tumble, Naomi Wilkinson, Opera North, The Pets Factor, Royal Albert Hall, Sam & Mark, Saturday Mash-Up!, Swashbuckle, The Next Step, Union J, Worst Witch, Yolanda Brown and more to be announced.

Sunday 5th August

Featuring: Andy Day, Art Ninja, Bars & Melody, BBC Music Introducing in BBC Merseyside, Ben Shires, Clangers, Everton in the Community, Go Jetters Disco, Got What It Takes, Hacker T Dog, Johnny Orlando, Liverpool Football Club Foundation, Liverpool LIMF, Mackenzie Ziegler, Matt Terry, Mr Tumble, Naomi Wilkinson, Opera North, The Pets Factor, Sam & Mark, Saturday Mash-Up!, Swashbuckle, The Next Step, Worst Witch, Yolanda Brown and more to be ann

 

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Morning Banana Cacao Oat Cakes-No Added Sugar

These oaty muffins are an ideal choice for a nutricious breakfast option for the whole family.

While most muffins heavily rely on sugar for their sweetness, these get it from the bananas and peanut butter. They are perfect for breakfast, snack time or to grab to eat on the go. They are full of goodness, providing iron, fibre, potassium and protein.

This recipe is very versatile, it can be adapted to your liking. We have made many other versions; strawberry, blueberries, berries, walnuts and plain without the cacao powder.

Sugar-free banana, cacao and oaty muffins

Muffins full of goodness. Made from bananas, peanut butter and eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Organic Whole Oats
  • 2 Eggs ( beaten)
  • 2 Bananas (Squashed)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsp Meridian Peanut Butter
  • 2 tbsp Raw Cacao Powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200.  

  2. Stir together, oats, baking powder and cacao powder in a bowl

  3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas very well, then add in the peanut butter and combine

  4. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. At this point you can add in any other extra ingredient

  5. Pour the mixture evenly into the 12 muffin cups and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overbake, they are nice a littel goeey.

Recipe Notes

We use Meridian Peanut Butter as this has no added sugar and no use of palm oil

We like to make up batches of these muffins at the beginning of the week. They are left on the kitchen side for the children to grab in the morning before leaving for school. They also are perfect to add into lunch boxes and to eat after school club inbetween clubs.

They are so easy and quick to make.

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Motivating Test Treat Bags for Children

I don’t know about you but my son has spent the last 9 months being anxious in taking his year 6 SATs. It doesnt matter how many times I had sat down with him and tried to reassure him about the tests he still felt inadequate and kept saying that he just wasnt ready for them. We expressed this worry to his teacher, back in September, at the start of him starting year 6. His teacher was lovely and reassured him that there really wasn’t anything to worry about and that he would do fine.

Over the past few months he had become more confident in himself. With the help from his teacher and support staff, his school levels improved and he began to feel happier about taking the tests.

But this didn’t stop him from having a few moments prior to the test starting, where he began to question himself and his abilities.

His teacher was always there giving him encouragement , motivating him and instaling a sense of self belief in him.

I know, from talking to other parents and his teacher, that he was not the only one who feeling anxious about sitting the tests. Children, of such young age, shouldn’t be feeling the pressure of tests and stress. They should just be children and enjoy their time at being young and care free. They have plenty to face when they are older.

I wanted to do something for my son and all of his class friends. So I made them little treat bags with an inspirational quote attached to the back. They didn’t cost much, mostly it was time more than money.

  1. I gathered together some coloured card and small cellophane treat bags.
  2. Found an inspiration sweet quote on line. Wrote it up on word
  3. Printed off some inspirational quotes from relaxkids and laminated them
  4. Bought 6 treat bags of Starbursts
  5. Stuck on the sweet quotes onto the card and cut them out 
  6. Shared out the sweets equally and then placed them into the treat bags, folded over the edge and then stapled the card on the top
  7. Lastly, I placed the laminated quote on the back 

We handed them out to the children on the first day of their SATs. The children kept the little quote cards in their pockets and in their pencil case for the rest of the week.

I am hoping that they took that a little bit of their concern away just for a moment and showed that we care about them and beleive in them.

 

 

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Beeleigh Falls- Essex Walks

Beeleigh falls is one of the best kept secrets of Essex. A series of platforms, falls and locks, where the river Chelmer and Blackwater meet.

It’s no Niagara but it is definitely a little bit of paradise in Essex.

Last weekend, the family and I went along to explore the area. Nanny lives very close and although we have heard of the place we have never actually been there.

The sun was shining and we wanted to take the boys out for a long walk, so we headed on over to The Blackwater Rail Trail. A route that takes you along the old disused Witham to Maldon Railway Track. After walking along through the trees for about 20 minutes, we noticed on the map that we was close to Beeleigh Falls. Having no idea what it was that we were heading towards but the boys wanted to explore, we decided to make a detour.

We followed the path through Elms Farm Park, alongside the lake, where we saw the cutest dogs cooling down from the heat of the sun swimming in the lake.

We soon saw a sign for Beeleigh Locks pointing over a very old bridge.

The bridge crossed over the Chelmer and Bridgewater Navigation. The views down the river were beautiful. It was so green and peaceful.

Walking alongside the Golf Course we soon came to the first lock

Walking along the river brought back memories of when I was a child and walking along the canals where we used to live in Yorkshire.

Our afternoon leisurely stroll was turning out to be a perfect day out.

Just past the first lock and we could soon hear the gushing noise coming from the falls/weir.

We was greeted by the such beauty. Who would have thought that this natural delight was hiding behind the busy roads of Maldon, roads that we use all the time.

The water glistened as the sun shone down onto it. Reflections of trees and wild shrubs looked back at us as the gentle breeze rustled in the trees. There was every shade of green on the spectrum. It was calm and peaceful.

A perfect end to a countryside walk.

We have definitely found a new favourite place to visit in the future.

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These Wrinkles Tell a Story

At some point in our lives we all age; as we get older our skin wrinkles, creases and lines appear. When we are young our skin is springy but as we age our skin loses its flexibility.

Wrinkles are not just a sign of old age but also appear when our skin has been exposed to too much ultra violet light, through sunbathing or spending too much time outdoors.

They say that your skin tells a story.

Your skin is trying to tell you something. It’s telling a story about your health, habits and history.

My face is like a character map that defines my life. Fine lines on my forehead, represent my life: My story.

Up until 2 years ago I always thought that my skin was ageing quite well. That was until I received the biggest blow that I had the big C. Since my treatment I seem to have aged ten-fold. Lines appeared along my forehead, creases around my mouth and my hands have aged.

My youthful skin gone; instead replaced with worn out, saggy skin.

I used to fear getting old, now I embrace it. As the proverb says “Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life”. Grey hair and wrinkles are a sign of a life that has been lived.

These lines across my face tell a story of where I have been and what I have gone through. Just like a scar they are a reminder that life still exists.

Wrinkles around my eyes indicate where laughter and smiles once were. Memories of watching my children, laughing at their antics.

The puffy dry, sunken eyes from all of the tears that have fallen on to the cheeks below.

They show the sheer exhaustion that comes with parenting, the years of sleepless nights and early mornings.

The deep lines show the fear of receiving another diagnosis.

Creases of joy of having a wonderful family and friendship.

Memories of my youth.

They show the loneliness of what Cancer can do to you.

And they show jubilation of bringing up three amazing boys.

But most of all, each and every wrinkle, crease, crow foot and age spot shows thankfulness. Thankful that I live another day, week, month and year to carry on mapping my life.

Every Wrinkle. Every crease. Every flaw. Every age spot. Every detail maps the life that I have lived. A journey that has brought tears, worry, laughter, memories, happiness and sadness.

A journey of life.

A journey that, I hope, I will continue on. Adding on more wrinkles and lines in years to come. Adding on to my story.

These lines on my face are not wrinkles, they are survival lines. Each telling its own story of happiness and sadness.

 

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