Thankful for being a Mother

Last weekend was Mothering Sunday

A day where children shower there Mummy’s with Love, presents, cards and time

A day where Mums from all over get to have a day off and spend it with their Children.

A day when children tell their Mums how much they love them and how much they are thankful for them being their mummy

I didn’t receive a shop bought card, or any flowers or a gift for that matter. But what I did get was far more rewarding and priceless. A day with my boys.

I don’t need a card to tell me how much they love me

I don’t need flowers or gifts to know that they love me

I receive kisses and cuddles every day from them, so this day was no exception

Instead we walked along hand in hand on a beach.

We talked and laughed at each others jokes

We ate chips on the sea front whilst the sun shone down on us

We watched the waves hit the shore

We enjoyed each others company

I sat and watched my boys play together, kick a football around and play fight with each other

I should be thanking them for making me the person I am today

I wouldn’t be a Mum without them. Without them I wouldn’t be me!

I am thankful on Mothers Day, as of the rest of the days of the year in being their Mum

My day couldn’t have been any better. I wasn’t upset that I didn’t receive gifts, as I’ve got my boys instead. They showered me with cuddles and kisses. They gave me laughter and fun and most of all they gave me memories of a lovely day together.

I celebrate every day the love I have for them and I know that they love me just as much as I do them.

I only have to hold them to feel their loving touch. Look into their eyes to see the love.

I am thankful for being their Mum every day that I breathe and nothing can take that away from me

 

 

 

 

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Our tricks to make children feel better when unwell #VicksTricks

This post is an entry for the #vickstricks campaign

The cold and flu season is well and truly on us. It’s that time of year when the snuffles, aches and pains begin to surface. Not that there is any particular time to catch a cold as it seems my children can come down with the symptoms of a cold any time of the year.

Being a family of five, when one comes down with the sniffles, we all do. It can go round the family faster than Usain Bolt running 100ms. Working in a school myself, I can be sneezed in the face up to 10 times in one day. I understand the importance of keeping our immune systems strong in order to fight any nasty germs that may want to enter our bodies. That is why we make sure that we eat our five a day to keep our immune systems healthy and we always drink lots of water. I have to be extra careful not to catch any nasty bugs going around due to the Cancer treatment that I have received. Radiotherapy can damage many of your organs and cause many problems like lowering your immune system. I make sure that we take multivitamins and cook with fresh ingredients, adding in garlic and turmeric which help with fighting bad bacteria

When our children are feeling poorly, as parents we try every trick in the book to keep them entertained and make them feel better, especially when they need to be back in school so that they don’t miss out on too much class work.

Britmums have set a VicksTricks challenge, they want to know what I do to entertain my children when they are ill and make them feel better, as well as wanting to hear what my parents did to soothe me when I was young and not feeling too good.

I was sent a parcel to help me with this challenge. Inside was a story book, a selection of fun finger puppets and a bottle of first defense.

Firstly as a family we try our best to stop a cold from developing. As soon as I hear a sniffle or a sneeze we do the following

  • Drink as much water as possible. Warm water is best and always place a slice of lemon into it to flavour it up but it also helps strengthen the immune system. Keeping yourself hydrated will help the congestion and keep the nasal passageways clear

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  • Take a tsp of warm honey in the morning. This helps with sore throats and reduces the coughing
  • Up the intake of fresh fruit especially apples, bananas and oranges. Did you know that one apple has an antioxidant effect equivalent to 1500mg vitamin C. Bananas are a good food source for fatigue and help keeps our bones strong. A good way of getting all this goodness into the children is by a smoothie. Blend it all up and drink away. I also find that if the child helps make the smoothie they will be more inclined to drink it especially if it’s a funny colour. This helps support the immune system.
  • Mug cakes are ideal to make with the children. We make one made from bananas, peanut butter, cacao and honey. Not only do they taste good but they keep the children entertained without stimulating them too much, the least sugar the better. They are nice and warm and healthy too.

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  • Place some Vicks Vaporub on the underneath of their pillows and rub a little onto their backs. This helps them breathe a little better, which is always worse at night when they become congested up from laying on their backs and helps them drift into a good nights sleep. It has one of those smells that you remember from your child hood and it is a staple product that is always in our bathroom cabinet

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  • For us adults, at the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat we drink our special home remedy of garlic, ginger, lemon and honey in hot water. Sounds horrible, tastes not as bad as it sounds but works well.

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  • Also plenty of rest helps our bodies fight the infection. We always bring the bedding down to the sofa, turn the tv on and watch a good feel good movie.
  • Lots of love and affection. There is nothing more than a cuddle from your parent when you feel under the weather. Research shows that a kiss and cuddle from a parent can releases oxytocin and endorphins, which are ‘feel good’ neurochemicals. I am 38 yrs old and still to this day yearn for a hug from my Mum, it makes me feel warm and loved.
  • Time together. When snuggled under the blanket, with a hot water bottle and vicks vaporub rubbed onto the back we lay down and read a book. We often fall asleep before we finish it but sleep plays a good part of the healing process. Children do not need anything that will over stimulate them when they are feeling unwell. Company of a loved one is enough. Colouring is always very good too as it relaxes the children and takes their minds off of the sniffles and sneezes

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I remember when I was a child, my Mum used to give us a glass of warm milk before bedtime whilst she read us a story. The one thing i will never forget is the time she spent with my siblings and I when we was ill, she would keep us busy when our strength was back with making crafts or baking cakes.

Vicks believes that traditional love, fun and laughter are the key to comfort your children when they aren’t feeling themselves. That’s why Vicks have developed a series of sharable #VicksTricks magic videos that are simple, easy and great fun to replicate at home! Laughter is good for the soul, just as Katherine Mills explains in this magic video. watch what she does with a banana

Vicks consumer research looks at the most common home remedies with British parents. Here are the findings:

• Over half (52%) of parents said that rest was the most important thing for making children feel better
• This was followed by ‘medicine’, which 40% of parents rely on
• More than a third of parents (36%) believe in the power of TLC
And when it comes to keeping children entertained:
• Three out of four (75%) British parents put on the TV or a DVD
• Over a quarter (27%) read to their children
• 1 in 10 parents get really creative; either telling jokes (8%) or even do magic tricks (2%)
Family Psychologist Corinne Sweet highlights that “one of the most powerful antidotes to sickness developing further, is parental care and concern.”
Corinne advises that “listening to a story or watching a film is a good idea, as it is soothing and promotes laughter (an immune booster). But don’t let them play video games, watch scary films or spend hours on screens. This will keep their minds over-stimulated, when their immune systems need gentler stimulation and rest.”
Laughter and Love is the best medicine needed to gain strength to fight bad bacteria oh with a little help from Vicks Vaporub too 😉
This post is the entry for the #vickstricks campaign. Photos and words are my own. 

 

 

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My 2017 To Do List

I am not calling it a bucket list, as I do not want to tick things off of a list prior to kicking the bucket. This is a list of things that I hope to achieve during the year of 2017. Last year I was diagnosed with an illness that has me realise that you need to live for the day. Do what you want and don’t let others stop you from enjoying life.

There are many things that I have not done in the past due to being worried what I would look like or what would others think. I may sound like a cat having a fight when i sing but this year I plan on letting other shear my beautiful voice and not give a damn on what they think or say behind my back

This year I plan on being a year for firsts. I plan on enjoying myself and gaining more confidence daily.

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Top of my list is to Kick Cancers Ass! I will keep fighting for as long as i breathe for the sake of my boys. It’s important to keep my immune system strong and to live a healthy lifestyle. That’s where taking up jogging and entering races comes into it. I want to think about my fitness as well as eating well.

The holidays abroad and to the UK are already booked. We have a holiday to Malta, that we stay in my brothers apartment and the holiday in the UK is to a Haven site that we like to go to. It’s down on the south coast, near to Hastings, called Combe Haven. The children love this site and the location is beautiful.

I am not very good when it comes to entering the sea. It’s the fish swimming around my body and touching me that freaks me out. The thought of even putting a toe in the sea where there is fish swimming makes me cringe. I just don’t like the feel of it. So I would like to overcome my fear and swim with my boys this summer in the sea and try to forget that there are little slimy critters that will swim by. I also would like to join in on the boys fun and jump into the sea from the rocks in Malta. My boys love doing this and Malta has many beautiful places that offer people the chance to do so.

I have no confidence what so ever when it comes to driving the car, so I aim to spend more time behind the wheel and less time on my feet and riding public transport.

By camping I mean in a tent and not glamping that we did last year. Even if it means putting a tent up in the garden and sleeping under the stars there, then that is what we will do. We can light a fire out there and toast some nice big marshmallows for our evening treat.

I enjoy cycling and love my bicycle. It’s a folding bike so handy for me to get on the tube into London. I’ve never entered a cycling race before and it’s something that I have thought a lot of since the summer. I don’t think I could manage a long distance race but I do rather fancy a the London to southend one. Although that is quite far.

This year will hopefully see us move home to a bigger house. We have sold and bought a new home bit just awaiting all the paperwork to got through. I am looking forward to keeping it minimal and uncluttered, unlike our home is now. If all runs smoothly we shall have 4 bedrooms, a bedroom each for the boys and a bigger garden. We have so many plans for the new home, including building a conservatory, a porch and removing the current garage and replacing it with a new brick building for the boys to have as a playroom. 

What will this year bring you?

So you have a ‘to do list’? 

Thank you for reading. Pop a comment below and say hi 🙂

 

 

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Top Tips for A Smooth School Morning Routine

School mornings can be the most stressful part of the day. Children, especially the younger ones do not understand the concept of time and If anything like my youngest boy, they will deliberately go slow once told to be quick.

I am no expert in parenting nor am I saying I know more than any other parent, But I am hoping that my tips can help someone who is struggling with the morning routine running smoothly. Having three children and one of them being a stubborn morning person, I have been the Mum that screams the house down in the morning. I have been the parent that has sat on the bottom step of the stairs, head in hands and cried. I have been stressed to the max when the youngest just wouldn’t budge and just moved like a sloth to the front door without wearing his coat or shoes. We had months of where we left late every morning for school and I felt like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, looking at my watch every 2 seconds, screaming out that we’re late, we’re late! School morning routines can be stressful but they don’t have to be if you just try to organise your time and prepare.

It’s all about preparing the night before. If you can get as much as possible all set up the night before then there won’t be as much as a rush in the morning.

  • If your child has pack lunch for school, most of it can be prepared the night before. I put in packets, juices, fruits and bars into their boxes and leave the yoghurt and any fresh food for the morning. It’s best to out the lunch box together before the children wake up, then you won’t be listening to the moans of them not wanting what you put in. I like to make the sandwiches fresh in the morning but to save time you can make them the night before and store them in the fridge.
  • Wake up at least 45 minute before anyone else in the household. This way you get to relax before the tornado hits. Grab a cuppa and a biscuit and chill for 5 minutes. I also like to get dressed before they wake up. Fewer people fighting over the bathroom.
  • Place all bags and coats near to the front door. Easy to grab before you leave the house and also means that nothing gets left behind. Line up their school shoes next to the front door too.
  • Keep all winter clothes, like scarves and gloves inside he sleeve of the children’s coats. That way there will be no searching for them in the morning.
  • Make sure the children’s book bags are looked through as soon as they come home from school. All homework taken out and placed on the table to do straight away. All letters read and signed to be placed back into the book bags ready to be handed in the next day
  • Fold up your child’s school uniform, along with underwear and socks ready for the next day, in a pile. I leave ours in the living room, so after they have had their breakfast and had a quick wash they can get dressed in front of me downstairs, then I know there will be no distractions for them in their bedroom.
  • A bath/shower is better, for time wise, to have the night before. Just freshen up in the morning with a strip wash from the sink.
  • I always put the toothpaste on their toothbrushes as soon as I can. Once I am dressed and ready I prepare their toothbrushes and leave them on the side of the sink. That way I know there won’t be snail trails of bright blue gunk all over the white bathroom suite and I always know if they have brushed their teeth. Children have a tendency to lie about brushing their teeth. I touch the brush head to see if it is wet too. It saves time too as It takes me seconds but leave it to the children and they can be in there for hours
  • NO TV. do not have the television on whilst the children are around. They will sit and stare at adverts about incontinence and women’s period rather than get dressed and ready for school. It’s like auto pilot, there not taking anything in of what there watching they just watch for the sake of it.
  • Hide all tablets, laptops, console remotes and phones the night before, then there will be no distractions in the morning when a child wants to play on a game or watch something on YouTube.
  • Make a note of anything special happening in school on your phone diary or family organiser. I have a calendar up in the kitchen where everyone can see it. On I mark down school trips, class assembly’s, teacher meetings, parents evenings, PE and swimming days and any other special events. I always check the night before and I set the alarm on my phone for a second reminder.
  • As soon as the children have woken up and are downstairs they choose their breakfast and sit at the table to eat it. They then have a wash and get dressed. We sometime have a little game on who can get dressed first (makes them go faster), they love a little competition.
  • Make up a ‘I Can DO’ chart I had one that had ‘made my bed’ ‘brushed my teeth’ ‘got dressed’ and ‘ate breakfast’ The child can put a star next to the chore that they have finished. You can reward them with a sticker, children love stickers!

The last tip is to always keep your front door keys and phone in your handbag, coat pocket or on the window sill near to the front door. You don’t want to get the children all organised for you to go hunting through the house, just as you are about to exit through the front door. This I have done many times before as I was too occupied in getting the children ready, I have even shut the door without my keys in my pocket. Check, Check, Check! That is my last advice.

Let me know if there is anything that you do for an easy, smooth running morning that I do differently. I am always up for new ideas to help

Thank you for reading

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Staying Positive Is The Only Way

Since my diagnosis I have had many people tell me to stay positive.

Thinking back to May, on that horrific day that we was given the news that I had a cancerous tumour in my Rectum, I have no idea how I managed. I didn’t cry at first, In fact I felt nothing. I remember the surgeon talking and us asking questions. I remember hearing and feeling my breaths. I remember thinking that I need to be strong and hold it together for the sake of my family and my children. Positive never really came into my thoughts.

The next few days were like a whirl wind. It felt like I was having an outer body experience. Like it wasn’t happening to me. Like I was watching it all unfold in front of me, but there was nothing I could do stop it from happening.

After the initial shock, the tears came. They flooded out and nothing was going to stop them. Yes I had my bad thoughts. Every time I looked at my children, watched them playing, listened to them giggling I felt my heart being ripped from me. I couldn’t breath and I had a pain in my chest. I know now what it feels like to have a broken heart. It ached so much.

Two weeks after the diagnosis treatment began. It was harsh. It was tiring. I wasn’t entirely happy with receiving this type of treatment as there is more of a chance that the cancer can come back and It causes more damage to the body, But I needed to do anything to keep me here longer with my family.

I’m a Mum and Mums are meant to be here for their children. Aren’t they?!

I tried to stay positive through the 5 and a half weeks of treatment but it was so hard. It’s not as easy as you think. Along with positivity comes negativity, and yes I had many negative days (and still do). As hard as I try, it’s not easy to push those bad thoughts out of my mind.

Everyone tells you to stay positive, to stay strong, to fight. But there are times when you are weak, or when you see a status on social media, or you watch something on television that makes you sad and then you begin to think of the circumstance that you are in. The disease that you have growing in your body. You begin to think about it mestastasising, moving around your body and the cells multiplying.

Every time you feel a new lump, a new pain or ache that wasn’t there before, feel sick or tired. Every time something new is happening to your body the negative thoughts automatically appear in your head.It’s not easy to get them back out of your head.

With so many bad things happening in this world, with so many bad reports I have heard about the treatment, with losing so many loved ones close to myself and the family to this horrible disease. It is so hard to stay positive. But I do because it is the only way.

Once my treatment was over and over the next couple of weeks, the skin where the radiotherapy was being aimed began to heal and I began to become stronger. The weight began to go back on and I was feeling good. So good that I returned to work on the first day of Term, which was on a Thursday. I managed one day before I was calling in sick the next day, feeling aches and pains and suffering from sweats. I had reflexology the day before and thought that what I was feeling was the toxins being released from my muscles. By that evening I was feeling much better. The next day was a different matter, I began to feel sharp pains in my abdomen. By the end of the weekend I was up A&E feeling terrible. After a few hours waiting around I was sent home and told to take some lacultose as they said I was constipated. I was told that my bloods were normal and that I just needed to try to go to the toilet.

The next couple of days the pains got worse and I couldn’t go to the toilet. I had lost all feeling to go. Instantly my positiveness disappeared. How could I stay positive with these pains. Even more my diagnosis, I didn’t experience pain like this. Sunday night, I was admitted in to hospital. This time they did all the tests as soon as they could not missing out anything. I spent the next 8 days in hospital suffering from internal inflammation, an infection and an absyss. The conclusion from all the tests were that i was suffering from the effects of post radiation. Hearing that It hadn’t spread was such a relief. Even though I had been told what the reason was why I was in such pain, it was so hard to be positive laying in a hospital bed.

Once at home, it was time for me to get my mind into the positive state that it needs to be to carry on. I had lost so much weight that the first thing was to gain some pounds and become stronger. I couldn’t manage to move around too much as I quickly became tired. My muscles and bones ached. They hadn’t been used in a while because of all the rest I have had, so using them now results in me aching in the evening.

Every day I feel stronger

Every day I become that little more positive

Every day is a struggle with my mind and body

The next thing for me is surgery. I have my operation date all set, so I now need to get into the right mindset for it. I will be losing my sphincter muscle therefore I will be fitted with a colostomy bag, which for me will be permanent. I am feeling quite positive about the surgery. I just want to begin to feel normal again, enjoy life without the worries at the back of my mind.

I have to stay positive because it is the only way to carry on, because I have to.

 

 

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An Epic Day At Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder

Are you looking for something to get your children out of the house and away from technology?

Let the children loose ready for an adventure on the ultimate obstacle course

Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder is a 1 mile obstacle fun mud run especially designed for children aged between 7 and 12. Mini Mudder gives children a chance to work as a team, get muddy, experience the thrill of adventure and explore their adventurous side. Each Mudder course features 8-10 obstacles that will encourage children to work and support each other.

What makes a Mini Mudder

  • Not scared of getting wet and covered in mud
  • Tough and Strong as some of those obstacles are hard work
  • Working together and helping others
  • Up for an Adventure. Mini Mudder promises to be epic
  • Agility is needed on some of the obstacles
  • Not be a whinger as only babies whine
  • Speed – running between the obstacles
  • Adventurous and ready to explore
  • Challenging – Looking at how to attempt the obstacles
  • Up for anything – Not afraid of getting stuck in

The Mini Mudder course consists of 8-10 obstacles along with lots of mud and water

  • Get tangled in Tumble Weed
  • Sprint up Mini Everest
  • Scale Mount Mud
  • Brave the Tunnel of Terror
  • Teamwork at Got Your Back
  • Conquer the Crazy Climb
  • Plunge into Mud Miles deep pit of thick sludge
  • Let the monkey in you come alive at Hangin’ On, Hangin’ Out
  • Slip through the cracks at Secret Agent Squeeze

Each Mini Mudder event is held alongside Tough Mudder. Each challenge starts on the hour every hour from 9 – 4. We was lucky enough to be invited along to the South London event held at Holmbush Estate.

Dad and the eldest boy have participated in local mud events in previous years so they were looking forward to seeing if lived up to its name sake and if it really was as tough as it offered to be. The youngest two have only ever looked on in awe from the sidelines at such events.

When I told the boys about the Mini Mudder challenge they were ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the adventure to begin. My boys are very competitive, so they found it hard to understand that the event wasn’t a race and that it was just for fun.

We arrived at about 11 and was surprised to see how bloody busy the place was, hundreds and hundreds of mud searching, adrenaline pumping adults all around gearing themselves up for the Tough Mudder Run. The atmosphere was great, everyone was in good spirits including the boys.

After a quick look around we made our way to the mini mudder arena, which wasn’t far from the finishing line to Tough Mudder. Whilst the younger ones were getting ready for their little adventure, Dad and older brother were making their way to the Tough Mudder start line.

Each Mini Mudder wave starts on the hour just after a little fun warm up with the mudder organisers. They are all then walked towards the start line and then let loose on the course.

The boys along with all the other children that took part were quick to get as muddy as they could. I mean who wouldn’t! Children allowed to get in as much mess as they can with their adults consent, that doesn’t happen that often.

It was lovely to see my boys helping each other over the obstacles and giving each other a helping hand when needed. They normally fight and squabble, but for one hour in that day they actually got along. I even witnessed them holding hands at one point. For once there was no sibling rivalry only support and friendship. There was no stopping them, they whizzed around the course in record time, taking on the obstacles like a giant in a playground. They showed determination and took on the challenges set with ease.

 

A fun day was had by all at Tough and Mini Mudder, Mummy was a little tired watching her boys get very muddy but it was worth it seeing the smiles of achievement on their faces. Each adult and child that competed the course received a headband as a keepsake. The children were rewarded with a Fruit Shoot drink at the end, it was much needed as well.

There were showers to clean yourself up and wash away as much mud as possible but we heard that they were quite cold so decided on changing in one of the toilets into clean clothes and just wiping away the mud with some baby wipes.

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They truly did conquer and all that was left to do was wash all of the mud out of their clothes (which took a good soaking in the bath for a couple of days)

If taking part I would advice you to take along spare clothes and shoes, baby wipes, black bag to place dirty clothes in, a towel in case you use the showers and cover you car seats with plastic.

To find out when the next Mini Mudder is available check out their website

We was invited along to participate in the event for the purpose of this post.

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Our mystical short break to Lee Valley

We found a little haven within the suburbs of London, a new favourite place for the boys and I to visit.  Lee Valley Regional Park is a 10,000-acre, 26 miles long park, much of it green spaces, running through the northeast of Greater London, Essex and Hertfordshire. It is made up of a diverse mix of countryside areas, urban green spaces, heritage sites, country parks, nature reserves and lakes and riverside trails, as well as leading sports centres and camping sites.

We have visited Lee valley before but I never knew it was as beautiful as it is. We fell in love with the pure nature of it, the river lea runs through the whole length of the Valley. Starting at Stratford, heading north through Enfield, Waltham Abbey and up towards Stanstead Abbotts. There is a heavy emphasis of wildlife and natural habitats. We loved cycling along the river watching out for otters and birds.

The park has beautiful scenery and is so peaceful.

Not only does the regional park have rivers, lakes, green spaces and 2012  sporting venues but it is also home to a few camp sites.

We booked into the Lee Valley Campsite based in Ponders End. We wasn’t sure what to expect as you couldn’t get more urban than Enfield. As we arrived we looked around and listened. It was hard to believe that this little campsite was on the edge of the A10, North Circular and within a short distance of the M25. It was quiet. It was beautiful. The site has a shower and wc block, outdoor play area, and lots of pitches for caravans and tents. Next door is a cinema and an athletics centre. We had booked to stay in one of the campsites wooden cabins.

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How beautiful and mystical is the cabin? We felt like we had walked into a Lord of the Rings/ Harry Potter film set.

The cabin came equipped with a fridge, electric, a couple of chairs, table, beds, kettle and even some tea and coffee to refresh you after your journey. There is also wifi throughout the campsite.

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The shower and toilet blocks need a code to get in so only holiday makers can enter, it gives you that little piece of mind that if your children go off to the toilet and they will be safe inside from random passers by. The wood cabins are ideal for a family of 4, there is double bunk red and a small camp bed. They are situated under trees at the back of the campsite and just behind the trees is a golf course.

As soon as had arrived the boys were off exploring the site, playing in the park and running around on the grass, exploring the edge of the golf course (looking for pokemon) and just generally enjoying the little freedom that they get when on holiday. They loved going off to the tap to collect water and didn’t even grumble when asked to take the rubbish over to the bins. One thing that was missing was a little BBQ. As we travelled by bicycle, we had limited space to carry one. It would have been nice to sit on the veranda cooking up a few veggie burgers and some vegetable kebabs in the early evening, watching the children run around. The site is clean and the staff are very helpful.

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The River Lea was about 10 minute walk away. We decided to take a walk and look around.

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The boys helping out on the locks
The boys helping out on the locks

After an early evening walk we took to our camp beds and chatted away, enjoying each others company.

The next morning we was up and ready for a fun day by the river. With our back packs on, full of food and water we was ready to go off and explore the area. The boys were looking forward to cycling along the river.

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The river bank is wide enough for two bicycles to be alongside each other but when others passed by we had to go into single file. I told the younger boys to cycle as close as they can to the bushes so that they was not near the river. DSC_5210-opt

There were plenty of places along the river that you can sit down and enjoy the peace and nature around you. We found a cute little park near Enfield Lock where we sat down and had a snack.

We made our way through a country park towards Waltham Abbey. What a beautiful town. Here we explored the Abbey Gardens and the White Water Centre

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We had been out for a good few hours and was beginning to get a little tired so we headed back towards the campsite along the River Lea Navigation. But not before stopping for a little cool down by the river eating an ice cream

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We had booked for two nights. So another night under the stars in our little cabin. The boys were full of excitement and had so much fun sleeping in the cabin. It was hard to get them to sleep as they were full of energy, even after there long cycle ride that day.

The boys were up early ready for another day by the river. First though, they wanted to try out the athletics track. For just £3 children under 16 can enjoy the indoor and outdoor track all day long. My eldest was in his element. The boys love to run and being so close to this activity was amazing. They spent about an hour and a half running around the track and getting agood training session in before they were ready to get back onto their bikes and explore the regional park again.

This time we went a little further than the day before, heading past the white water centre, pass Cheshunt and onto the Lee Valley Farms. Even though it was a very active day it was ever so relaxing. With so much peaceful water around it was hard not to feel relaxed.

We cycled, we looked, we listened, we rested, we enjoyed the surroundings and each others company.

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We found a perfect place to sit and rest, whilst the children played. Just near to Cheshunt station is a little park called Pindar. A place where children can explore the natural play area. The boys enjoyed climbing the natural wooden areas and playing football in the wide open space. There is even a dog agility course nearby so our four little legged family members don’t miss out on the fun.

We had so much fun. I thought that it would be hard to cycle through the park alongside the river with the boys but it was perfect. I made sure that I run through the dangers of the river first and dropped some cycling rules too. The boys listened and behaved well.

We managed to cycle about 30 miles over a couple of days. We laughed, we rested, we enjoyed.

We even managed to find two geocaches and we would have found more if I had a back up charger for the phone. There are tons of geo caches hidden along the river and surrounding areas, mostly at the locks.

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Found at Ponders End Lock
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Found at Valley Farms

We have definitely found our little favourite place in London. We have even gone back for a day out after we came back. This time we went in the car and drove to Broxbourne to take to the water this time. We hired out a motor boat for the hour and steered our way along the river, the sun was shining , it was perfect.

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Without a doubt we would absolutley recomend a visit to the River Lee Regional Park but also beyond any doubt a stay in the camp site. We have made some magical memories as a family.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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A Cancer Diagnosis

The house phone rang, I didn’t want to answer it, but I did . You see, I was expecting a call from the hospital. I had been waiting for my results from a biopsy that I had two weeks previously. I had also had a MRI and CT scan, within the two weeks.

I had found a lump and although my doctor had treated the lump as hemorrhoids, the lump hadn’t gone in fact I think it had actually grown.

I was a little worried and I had done the googling my symptoms, as you do, I wasn’t sure what I was thinking but as the words popped up onto my screen and I read over them, I knew. I knew deep down that I had cancer.

The big C word.

The word that scares the shit out of everyone.

The Nurse on the other end of the phone asked me to come in to the hospital the following day. She asked me if I was going to be accompanied by anyone. I took that as a negative. I didn’t sleep that night, too many things going over in my head.

The next day I went into work as normal and left at lunch time to get to the hospital. As I waited with my Mum, Sister and partner, I tried to clear my head, to be positive. We were all called into a room. Three chairs were laid out in a row facing one other chair. The doctor sat down with a file in his hand. He explained the biopsy procedure and then the words came out “The tumour is cancer”

No tears came.

I remember holding onto my Mum’s hand and squeezing it. I just kept thinking what is going through my Mum’s head, how hard it must be for her to listen to a doctor telling her daughter that she has cancer.

Still, No tears came.

We asked questions, like how big the tumour is and what the next step was.

I was told that i would need 6 weeks of radiotherapy followed by a short burst of chemotherapy and then a bowel removal surgery. Having my bowel removed doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I just want the lump to be deceased from my body as soon as possible.

No tears came.

I felt numb. I remember feeling like it was happening to someone else, it wasn’t me he was talking to. I remember hearing my voice and thinking “Why am I answering”

We drove home in silence. We couldn’t talk much at home as the boys had just got in from school. They played in the garden whilst we tried to come to turns with what had just been thrown into our life.

I remember a sharp pain in my chest, not being able to breathe. It felt like I was having a outerbody experience, like I was watching this happen to someone else. My throat was dry but I still couldn’t cry.

The tears came the next day. I tried so hard not to let the boys see me upset.

I had two weeks to wait before treatment started, within those two weeks I had a colonoscopy and a CT scan on my glands in my groin. Each result came back negative, no more tumours.

The waiting was the worse. I cried. I sobbed. I didn’t sleep. I googled everything. I cried more. I was angry. I was fuming. I hated my body. I hated everyone around me living a normal healthy life. I couldn’t understand why my life had become a standstill and everyone else was getting on with theirs.

I was measured up for radiotherapy, received my tattoo for life, my little present from cancer. Three little dots were placed around my pelvis area, one on either hip and one above my pelvis. I was given a start date. My first session was to be half way through half term. At last i felt like something was happening, something to help me beat this.

I was told that I would not be able to have any more children as the treatment would bring on an early menopause. I was offered to store some of my eggs but how could I possibly have another child with this horrible disease hanging over my head.

I didn’t know what to expect from my radiotherapy sessions nor from the chemo tablets that i was to take. I just took every day as it came. I was told that I may become sick, tired, fatigued, suffer from blisters in the mouth, sore throat and that my skin would become sore.

I tried to carry on as normal. Shopping. School. Housework. Children.

The first week went by with no side effects. The radiotherapy sessions seemed to take forever. I had to drink 500ml of water 45 minutes prior to going in the machine. I’ve always thought that I had a strong bladder but I haven’t. I struggled every day to hold it in for so long. As a pelvis patient you are advised to drink 2-3 litres of water a day. I only drank mineral water of a ph level above 7.

The second week was pretty much the same, although I was becoming a little tired.

The third week, we had been booked onto competing in a mile race around St Pauls Cathedral, The City Mile. I wasn’t going to let the C stop me from running alongside my boys. It was a lovely day out and the sun was shining. The third week was also when some of the side effects came. I suffered from diarrhea and fatigue. My skin was becoming a little sore.

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The fourth week we had a weekend booked in Wales so that we could go up Mount Snowdon. I had booked it before the diagnosis and the boys were looking forward to hiking up the mountain. I managed to walk a quarter of the way and had to come back down as I was getting tired. The rest of the family carried on without me, I waited in the car for them to come back down. By now the skin was really sore and beginning to peel.

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I used to talk to the machine as It went around my pelvis zapping my body. The screen looked like it was a monster. I used to tell it not to miss anything.

The fifth week saw my skin that sore that I couldn’t sit down on my bottom, I had to sit with my legs to one side. I became very tired. I was a pretty awful mother as i couldn’t take care of my boys, I couldn’t get out of bed. It was too sore to stand and walk. I was given some cream to apply to the skin. I was told to expect it to get worse.

By the time my treatment had finished, the skin was cracking, bleeding and weeped. I couldn’t even pass urine without crying in pain. I lost weight and became weak.

I spent the week after my treatment finished in my bed, only getting up to go to the toilet.

My eldest son was my rock. He had grown into a gentleman within the last couple of months. Looking after his brothers. Cooking dinners. Cleaning. He didn’t argue he just did it. I ordered Gousto boxes for him to use. He followed the recipes and cooked up meals that you would pay good money for. He looked after me, making sure that I was comfortable, bringing me water to drink and food to eat. He sat on my bed and talked to me about his day at school or about his swimming. He is a true gent. He knows what is happening but he doesn’t talk to me about it. It’s hard for the children to understand what is happening, although I have tried to explain so that they will understand what is going to happen. But they see that Mummy is at home and don’t see the seriousness of it all. They know that I will be having an operation

I am now 1 month after my last chemo and radio session and I am much stronger. The skin has heeled, although I still feel sore inside. I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve changed my diet, juicing daily and cutting out red meat and dairy products. We were already cutting out sugar as a family before the diagnosis but now we check the sugar content on packaged food. I eat fresh vegetables and fruit and only drink water.

It’s hard staying positive when all I’m doing is waiting around. It feels like nothing is happening. Like I’ve been left to deal with it by myself. I have no idea if the cancer has gone. I have no idea if the tumour is shrinking, not until my next scan which is in 5 months time. I’m feeling strong, I am not ill, never was! I just have a pesky lump that wants my body but I WILL NOT allow it to take over.

#thisgirlwill

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My Unconditional Love

When I found out I was pregnant with all three of my boys, I never had that instant feeling of love for them. It sounds wrong doesn’t it? It wasn’t until I felt that first little flutter in my tummy (that could have easily been passed for wind) that I wanted to protect them. As the boys grew and my tummy started to expand I began to feel and see their little feet and hands pushing against my skin, I knew then that the love I had for them was unconditional. I knew that no-one would come even close to the love I had for them. A parents love and need for their children is strong.

The first time I held my boys and looked into there eyes, I only felt love. I didn’t want to let them go, put them down or leave them with anyone. I wanted to cherish as much of them as possible. I was selfish in a way, as I didn’t want anyone else to be with them. They were mine, all mine. I breathed in their sweet sweaty smell of their skin, I stroked their cute little wrinkled face, I watched as they wrapped their tiny little fingers around mine, I felt their tiny heart beat against my skin and I held them tight. As tight as I could. Motherly love instantly kicking in. No time for tiredness just time for them.

Since giving birth to my first son some 13 years ago, I havent really left them with anyone. My life changed. I became a stay at home Mum and spent my days hugging and holding my boys. It’s not that I don’t trust anyone with them but I need to be near them, I need to be close to them. I am their protector, their guide through life. We do everything together, obviously they do their own things with friends but when they are at home we are always together.

My boys are certainly Mummy boys. Where ever I go they go too. I can’t even go to the toilet without them waiting outside of the door for me. It’s me who they confide in when having troubles at school or with friends. It’s me who they come to when they are upset. It’s me who they cry for when they are hurt. It’s me who kisses all their hurt away. It’s me who they sit and watch TV with and cuddle up to on the sofa. Dad is around but it has always been Mummy. My fault entirely for being over protective of them. But I wouldn’t change it. They are independent boys, they don’t need me for anything but I am always near by if and when they need me.

From the first moment I held my boys to now my love has not faltered. I have the same fluttery feeling, my heart aches and I get a lump in my throat.

As I have said before, my boys are my life. They are the reason why I fight every day. They are the reason why I am so strong. They are the reason why I have hope.

Recently with the bad news that I received, my heart ripped in two. I know it sounds weird but I felt it. My heart ached. It pained. It was hard to breathe. My throat was dry. My boys showed me that Love will conquer. Love is strong. My heart is nothing without them. The love I receive from them is full on, mighty and energetic.

We are a team.

My love may be unconditional for them but It certainly isn’t blinded by their behaviour. My boys are no saints. They fight, shout, scream, their lazy and messy. They can push me to the limit and I may shout at them but we all know that this is part of growing up, they know that I love them and I only want the best for them.

I love how my eldest has a strong passion for running and swimming. He is caring and thoughtful. He is very clever, being a member of mensa at the age of 11. His brain is like a sponge and when he talks its like he has swallowed a dictionary/thesaurus.

I love the middle ones sensitivity. He is very caring and loving. He loves his lego and has a creative imagination. He loves to spend time with family and be close to them. He is witty and charming.

I love the shear strength of the youngest. He is strong willed and very determined. I can see him being very clever when he is older but hopefully not get side tracked by peers. He is loving and bubbly. He is shy but also determined.

All three of them put their heart into everything and always want to achieve at their utmost.

All three are my unconditional love.

 

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Our little break at Combe Haven

Holidays in a caravan are not for everyone, especially ones that are on all action camp sites, but our family love them. There is always something to keep everyone entertained from early in the morning or until late at night.

During the Easter holidays we travelled down to Combe Haven, St Leonards on Sea and spent 4 days in a caravan. It wasn’t a luxury van but was adequate for us and our needs. It was spotless, cleaned to a high standard and situated in a great part of the park.

Combe Haven holiday site is set on a hill, a very steep hill at that. The entertainment complex is at the top of the hill and our caravan was at the bottom, perfect for the boys to play around on their scooters and very close to an open space park for us to explore. There is a Nature reserve and access to the river reed bed, which is lovely to walk along and spot any wildlife. If you want all action, there is an indoor and outdoor pool, indoor climbing wall, golf course, roller skating rink, adventure park and activities all day long that is run by the Haven Mates. Plus lots of evening entertainment and shows to watch.

We are more of an outdoor family than an indoor one, so we don’t spend too much time out of an evening. We did pop into the Live Lounge one evening for the boys to meet the Haven Characters and have a little dance, but we mostly sat in our caravan playing games. The boys most of their time outside playing on their scooter or kicking a ball to each other. It was just nice to see them all get along and enjoy each others company.

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Our van was a standard superior, which we found to be clean and tidy and very comfortable. We had heating in all bedrooms and bathroom. There was plenty of storage spaces and good size wardrobes in the bedrooms.

The first thing the boys did when we arrived was play Caravan hide and seek. With them being small they can get away with hiding in the smallest of places. I’m surprised at how many places they can find, they played for about an hour. Giggling away and having lots of fun.

A favourite place of the boys at this site is the outdoor play area, I just sat back in the sunshine and watched them play, using their imagination and being creative. Chasing each other around and defending their forts.

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They could play in this park all day.

Although we love the park, there are a few things that we dislike (not to day that others would like it) We are not gamblers and do not like that you have to go past the amusements to get into the live lounge, this just encourages adults and children to spend more money. The live lounge opens at 5pm for bingo sales with eyes down at 5.30 followed by Go Tots and entertainment for the younger ones at 6pm. There is also another bingo session later on in the evening for the family. Thats 1 hour for the little ones to dance and have fun. I personally think that the early evening should be dedicated to the younger ones and then parents (if wanted to) could get them to bed at a decent time.

We do however love that it is situated on a hill and that there is lots of nature around for the children to explore. We have always found the park to be clean and picturesque

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The boys also love the disco roller blading, this is an extra cost but so much fun. The session lasts for 45 minutes and is fun for all ages. It is a particular favourite of our eldest boy, I mean who wouldn’t enjoy skating around a hall to some tunes?

Combe Haven holiday site is about 2.5 miles away from Hastings. You could drive which takes about 10 minutes, but we walked along the seafront and it took us 45 minutes. Once you cross over the railway, there is a pathway that is safe for the chidlren to ride a bike along or just run along and be free next to the beach.

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It’s our 4th visit to the park and I am sure we will be back again next Easter.

Take a look at our short video clip

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