The week started off pretty dire for my son. He had spent the weekend not feeling very well and ended up in bed, missing school on Monday due to throwing up the night before.
He was due to race in the Year 7 Essex Cross Country Championships on the Wednesday; something he been looking forward to doing for a long time. He had spent the last couple of months training hard for it and really wanted to enter. Racing and running has been something that he has got into through his Dad and older brother – both compete at competitive levels.
By Tuesday he was back in school and back at training. The training session was really just to test if his fitness was ok to compete in the race, he seemed to be ok and didn’t complain of feeling ill.
Wednesday came and his Dad picked him up from school at midday to take him off to the cross-country race. He was the only boy who had been entered into the race from his school so it was up to us, his parents, to get him to the event.
He was excited but nervous. He really wanted to do well in this race. Back in November he raced for his school in the borough championships and didn’t do as well as he as expected. In my eyes he done brilliantly, but to him he knew he could have raced a quicker time.
When you look forward to something for so long, the nerves take over, especially when you want to do well.
He lined up on the start line, the only child from his school, ready to move at the sound of the start gun.
Doesn’t he look small at that start line?
Growing up watching and supporting his elder brother competing in races for the borough and County just made him very determined to want to do the same. He had looked forward to following his footsteps and couldn’t wait until he was in Senior school so that he was able to do so.
He ran a superb race, crossing the finish line in 6th place and securing a place to represent the County in the Inter-Counties Cross Country next month.
Safe to say I had a very happy boy. His persistence paid off and he never gave up. He had his sights on something and grabbed at it with all that he had to give.
On Friday he came home from school sporting a new badge on his blazer. He had called me on his way back and I was a little worried as i had missed his call and he wasn’t answering my returned calls. He came straight over to me saying
“Do you notice anything different?”
Of course I did. I noticed it straight away.
A new badge on his lapel. An Achievement Award Badge rewarded from Jack Petchey Foundation.
There was more. He reached into his bag and pulled out a framed certificate and a letter
He had been awarded Outstanding Achiever after being nominated by another child in his year group at school.
Sending your child to a school where they had no friends from their junior school and always wondering if they have made friends or if they have fitted in, is a big worry. So, to read how he was nominated by another child for his running achievements in school but also because he is always engaged and focused in all school activities and school work. His peer also said that he is always willing to help others. This makes me well with such pride.
Just look at his little face in the picture above and see how proud of himself he is!
He has also been rewarded £250 to spend in his school, he needs to choose a department to spend it in. Which, he already knows. Without a doubt it is going to be the P.E department as he wants the school to supply children in athletics a vest to wear instead of wearing their PE shirt.
And if that wasn’t enough of his achievements for the week he topped it all off today by competing for a place in the boroughs team to compete in the London Giving Mini Marathon and securing a place.
My only wish for my boys is to have the very best life, to play hard but equally work as hard to achieve the imaginable. My boys are the greatest thing that ever happened to me, there is nothing more than seeing them smile and hear them laugh. I am super proud of all of them and the young men that they are becoming.
As a family we love to go on caravan holidays in the United Kingdom and we have been to quite a few Haven Holiday Sites in the past but have never stayed at Combe Haven until a few weeks ago when we visited the site for the weekend. As a Haven Ambassador we was invited along to Combe Haven to experience the holiday site and what it had to offer
What makes a holiday for us:
Good evening entertainment
A good selection of play areas that are safe to play in
Excellent tasty, healthy food
A nice size swimming pool
Location and setting of the park
Day time activities
A clean picturesque park
We was booked in for the weekend, arriving on Friday and departing on a Sunday but due to work we would have to leave on Sunday evening!
Combe Haven is roughly 62 miles away from where we live In London and even though we drove down on a Friday (leaving at 5.00) we arrived in good time, only taking us 1 hour and a half to get there. The park was easy to find as we put in the postcode into our satnav, although we did nearly miss the entrance as the site is just off of a residential road. Driving through the gates we were directed to a car park where we could park the car and walk just a short distance to the reception where we would pick up out keys to the caravan. The ladies in the reception were friendly and offered us lots of information, including a welcome pack, an entertainments guide to what was on and a map on which we was shown where our caravan was (lucky for us not too far from all of the action)
The caravan that we was in was a prestige caravan, located in valley view, we couldn’t park outside of our caravan (which is something that we would have liked to do) but the car park was only a short walk away and there are pavements to walk on that take you from the car to your van.
The caravan had a picnic bench just outside near the door, on a patio, which was perfect to sit down and enjoy a spot to eat and drink and look out to the views across the valley.
The caravan was wide and luxurious (i do believe that it was a new version) it was very spacious and stylish with lots of lovely interior fixtures and fittings. At the front of the caravan there were two big wide doors that opened up, which was lovely to have open on the last day when the sun was shining.
All of the rooms were light and airy and the furnishings were modern. The caravan was fully equipped with everything that you would need to make your holiday comfortable, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, gas fire in the lounge, central heating through out, TV and DVD player, bed lined and pillows are provided with the beds already made upon arrival, microwave and a lovely big fridge freezer. The caravan really was special and definitely home from home.
Once we were unpacked and the boys had a game of hide and seek in the caravan, something that they always do when we first arrive on a holiday, we sat down and had a look at the entertainments guide. Dad and Jak were very happy to see that Karaoke was on Friday and Saturday evening so we all got changed and walked the short walk down to the entertainment complex.
We walked past an outdoor multi-sports court, a lovely little play area set within sand and the outdoor pool, which may i add that the bowl slide looked amazing.
We were a bit hungry so we sat down in the Mash and Barrel and ordered a family combo to share and an extra plate of chips, we had to wait 15 minutes for our order so i took the boys next door into the live lounge where they showed off their dance moves until it was time to go back for some food.
Family Sharing Combo Tower £13.35
Prawn and filo twists, barbecue chicken wings, lightly
dusted calamari, crispy whitebait, potato wedges with
melted mozzarella, rustic garlic bread and tortilla chips;
served with sour cream, sweet chilli and barbecue sauce
We had a mini feast and it was enough to fill our bellies up. You don’t have to eat at the Mash and Barrel as there are other places to eat like Papa Johns Pizza, Burger King and a Spar shop that is open daily, stocked with lots of food at generous prices.
We made our way down to the Saxon Bar where the karaoke was, this is also the place where the indoor soft play area is and the bowling alley. While dad and Jak enjoyed a good sing song I sat down and watched the younger two boys playing in the soft play. It is advised that the area is for under 6 only but on a few occasions it was missed by the arcade attendant that some of the older children had got into it, once informed by other parents he was soon over throwing them out of the area. The soft play is quite small but ideal for the younger ones.
We love the idea of a Karaoke, sometimes we have visited other parks and although it was on the entertainments guide they never had it, Dad and Jak love to sing so it kept them busy for a while. It was a late night for us and we all attired back to the comfort of our caravan for a peaceful night sleep. Oliver had been provided with a bed guard (which can be hired from the site for a price) he chose to sleep in a bedroom with Joseph, Jak had his own room and Dad and I had the luxurious double bed at the back of the caravan which had an ensuite toilet.
After a very comfortable nights sleep (even Oliver slept through) we woke all fresh ready for the day ahead. We had a sport and splash activity pass which we could book onto 6 activities with, there is a full list of activities that you can book here With a selection of fun sports to choose from like roller blading, archery, fencing, pool party and Aqua gliders, it wasn’t easy for the boys to choose what to try out.
They eventually opted for aqua gliders, rollerblading (which is 2 for 1) aqua jets, turbo paddlers and fencing
Joseph really enjoyed the Aqua gliders
Jak having a go at fencing
Going under water with the aquajets
Lots of falling over at the roller disco
The boys loved the easy gliders
One very cold boy in the turbo paddlers
Their favourite fun and games activity by far was the rollerblading disco, it was their first time at it and yes we did have lots of tumbles but it was all fun. All i could hear was the boys giggling away at each other when the other fell over. The rollerblading along with the fencing, archery and easy gliders are all set in an indoor multi sportsdrome, which brought back memories for Paul as he been here as a child and he remembered the rollerblading with his friends. With the music pumping and the lights flashing, the roller disco was a hit with all ages, it certainly was a very memorable 45 minutes. The boys came away with a few bumps and bruises and a fabulous memory that they won’t be forgetting (maybe just like their dad, they will return when they are older to sample the roller disco again)
Jak really enjoyed the aquajets and Joseph liked the aqua gliders, each activity lasted for 30 minutes and they were something that they had never done before, so it was great seeing them sample new things. Joseph did two activities in a row in the water and the only problem was after having lots of fun on the aqua glider and then going on the turbo paddlers, he found it a little boring as they didn’t go as fast as the gliders and you had to move the handle to turn the wheels, the faster you pedal the further you go in the water. He was quite cold from being splashed by the lifeguards with water and i think that he maybe lost some of his energy as he decided to get out of the pool early.
All of the activities need to be booked in advanced from the swimming pool reception, some activities have an age restriction on them but are available from the age of 4 upwards. A level 1 activity pass costs £40 for 6 activities and a level 2 pass costs £75 for 12.
Oliver is only 2 so he couldn’t join in on any of the activities so we took him to Rory’s adventure playground, this play area is amazing and the children could spend all day in there without getting bored, with so much to do and play on.
Oliver loves to swing
For the younger children
Pretending to be train driver
Wow! look at that!
About to balance over the rope bridge
Did i dare to go down?
There was also many activities planned by the funstars throughout the day and into the early evening, like Z-stomp, Puppet show, imagine with Anxious, but as we only there for two nights and one full day we didn’t have time to experience them, although the boys did participate in an arts and craft session where the children got to make a hat from the materials provided by the funstars and once done they were all invited to stand up on stage to show them off to the adults.
There was some very creative hats (which i’m sure the parents did), 3 winners were picked for creativity and colour and of course it had to be a Frozen hat that won lol, who doesn’t like Frozen! My boys enjoyed getting messy with glitter and glue and Oliver learnt how to use a pair of scissors correctly (he just cut everything up)
In the evening we had dinner in the Mash and Barrel, we chose to eat from the Curry buffet that was on special that evening
The food was lovely but not spicy enough for me, although perfect for the boys.
To sum our weekend away in this post has been hard as we did so many things and there was so much more that we didn’t get to explore on the park and participate in, like pitch and putt, nature trails, outdoor multi-sports court
We will definitely be returning to this site in the future, especially in the summer so we can get to sample that brilliant outdoor space bowl, the park is clean and the staff are friendly and helpful.
We came away from our mini holiday with some special memories, want to know more about this holiday park or other Haven sites? Take a look at www.haven.com
The price of our 3 night break costs £254.50 which was in May Prices will vary throughout the year and you will be looking at paying roughly between £750-£1100 for a weeks holiday depending on the standard of accommodation during the Summer holidays.
We was supplied with a weekend away, including the activity pass and £4o vouchers to spend in the restaurant for the purpose of this review. We was invited along as we are Haven Ambassadors. All pictures and opinions are of our own.
Today Jak had Badminton lessons, no one else turned up so Jak had a one to one lesson with the coach! Daddy turned up for the last 15 minutes so he got to play with Jak and teach him a few of his own moves.
Jak really enjoys all types of sport and always takes pleasure in learning a new sport.
I found a brilliant photo app called Beautiful Mess on the IPhone, you can add text, doodles, frames and edit the photo!
SportsShoes.com is an on line shop that sell a selection of running shoes, trainers, football boots and clothing. With over 4000 products from some of the top leading brands for adults and children there is something for everyone, all at really great prices.
SportsShoes.com are passionate about sport, they have over 30 years experience in the sports industry and are committed to providing their customers with the widest range of products at the best possible value. They are always on hand with expert advice to help you choose the right gear for yourself.
We were given the opportunity to review a pair of running trainers from their website. Myself not being a very sporty person so i offered it over to Daddy to pick out a pair of trainers for him to review. Daddy has been a keen runner since he was a little boy, participating in the Marathon, local races on the road and in the country and lately triathlon’s. In fact i don’t think that there isn’t a sport that Paul hasn’t put his heart and soul into. When he is training for an event he will spend every day out in the local parks running for hours, he loves the feeling of the adrenaline running through his blood, it gives him a feel good factor.
Paul chose the Asics Lady Gel-Kayano 18 in a size 6, He has small feet which are not very wide either and finds it hard to get a pair in his size in the mens range.
The new GEL-KAYANO 18 stays true to its successful reputation between runners, improving upon its famous ride with technically advanced features that consist of a new faster, lighter upper construction, ideal for the serious runner and newly designed Dynamic DuoMax for improved platform comfort and pronation support. Soft Top DuoMax increases comfort by putting in gender specific densities in the midsoles men and women place weight in different areas when running, as on average men typically weigh more than women.
The shoe has a lacing system that follows the natural curve of the foot to ensure a perfect fit and less friction, it also has a Secure heel fitting providing improved support and heel fitting environment for serious runners
It didn’t take him long from browsing through the website to find the pair that he would like to test out. We placed the order and within 2 days the parcel had arrived! Super fast delivery, just like his running!
Here is what Paul says about the trainers:
“I Found the shoe to be very lightweight for such a stable running shoe also comfortable with a lovely soft interior.
Running in the shoes for my first trial run at my athletics club I was a little apprehensive to learn that the route for the session was an 8.5 mile road route. However the blisters that I was worrying about didn’t appear at all. My feet stayed nice cool and comfortable throughout. Looking forward for the triathlon season to restart and expect that I will be able to use these shoes for racing without the usual pain of blistering.
Feel quietly confident about these shoes and am looking to many endure free miles.
I would recommend the website and the trainers to any sports person.
To find out more about other sport products from SportShoes.com visit there website www.sportshoes.com
I was sent a pair of trainers for review purposes only and have received no payment for this post.
Last week We were invited along to a superb children’s sporting event run by Judy Murray which was to be held at London Zoo. The boys were really excited that they had been asked to go along and couldn’t wait unfortunately in the end we couldn’t attend so we organised it for a friend of ours to go along in our spot. She jumped at the chance as her daughter who is only 6 and very sporty and also pretty good at tennis and wanted to meet Judy.
Set4Sport was created in a garden, Judy Murray’s garden to be exact. Judy comes from a sporty family so it was the inevitable for her to play games with her boys Jamie and Andy which she did as soon as they could walk. Not only was playing games with her boys fun but it also helped them to develop skills that would allow them to play any sport competently later in life and that they did as they both went on to become brilliant tennis players, Jamie also has a handicap of 3 at golf and Andy once trialled with Glasgow Rangers.
The Set4Sport programme provides accessible ways for parents to play with their children, all of the activities can be tailored and easily created at home with inexpensive items lying around the home. It’s all about having fun in the family environment covering the ABCs agility, balance and co-ordination – Developing these skills at an early age can also improve confidence, self-esteem and the ability to set goals and challenge themselves.
The day started at with 10.30 Judy Murray giving a little talk to the bloggers about the day, what it was going to be all about and a little back ground to Set4Sport.
There were 4 stations around the room all showcasing a game – Judy and her 4 coaches showed how each of the games worked and then played them with the children and the familes. Mums and Dads involvement was very important as the event was all about getting the family together and then for us to start to create our owns games. Rokoslana enjoyed playing all the games which were all new and exciting to her, obviously her favourite was the DIY Tennis game but she has been carrying on playing the games at home with her parents. Rokoslana couldn’t wait to sho her daddy what games she had learnt, she had lots of fun and even got to have a little wander around the Zoo after for a spot of animal watching
The Games that we played were-
Jump the river:
Use 2 pieces of rope to create the river. Start with them quite close together and gradually move them apart after each jump. Dream up a theme to make it more exciting. ‘Shark-infested waters usually worked for Jamie and Andy!’ – says Judy
We play this in school in our nursery and the children love it! There are many giggles and lots of laughter but most of all energetic and healthy and doesn’t cost the earth to do. This activity also helps with their imagination as well.
Start off facing each other about 1 step apart and with one play ball each. Say 1,2,3 GO and both throw or kick at same time to each other. As soon as you have both caught (or trapped) the ball, say 1,2,3 GO and send the ball again. As soon as this becomes easy, start taking a small step backwards to increase the distance.
Tidy your room:
The purpose of the game was to make tidying up more fun while at the same time exercising and developing their co-ordination. We like to sing songs as we do this too 🙂
Race and chase:
Roll or kick the ball in a straight line towards a target. Child is alongside you as you roll/kick and starts to race the ball to the target. The aim is to get there ahead of the ball, turn round, stop the ball (with hand, foot or bat depending on the skill of the child) and send it back in a straight line to parent. The boys always loved to knock things down or score goals – such a boy thing…so this game became more appealing if the target was a “goal” (think football) or a stacks of cereal boxes.
DIY tennis – Judy and the coaches played tennis with the children and created their own tennis court (bamboo sticks to corner it off and chairs to act like the net)
A game that we have made up at home and one that is popular at children’s parties and holiday camps is Limbo, two adults and a broom is all that is needed! You could also change it the other way and use it as a high jump!
We’d love to hear about any games you make-up at home on the Set4Sport Facebook page, you can share images and videos on the‘Wall of Play’ – Why dont you have a go! Judy really likes to see how you adapt the games and create new ones yourself!
Read more about Set4Sport here on Their website www.set4sport.com