The change is almost over night; one day you have an adoring young child who would do anything for you to make you happy and the next BAM! You’re faced with a moody, angry teen who slouches around the house and argues back at you when you ask them to do a chore.
Now, I am quite lucky that most of these signs I only had when my son went into secondary school and, to be fair, they didn’t last for long (maybe a year or so). I think it took me falling ill for him to shake his butt and get a grip with his emotions and feelings. Some of the signs are still happening and, well, I could be talking about the significant lazy other half too! (but that’s another blog post lol)
We all have our own experiences with our teens – some good, some bad. Here are some that I have experienced with my sons:
They no longer feel the cold and go out without wearing a coat in the Winter. Wearing a coat is to uncool!
Teenagers know everything! There is no need to use the internet anymore, just ask your teen. Oh, and they have an answer to everything too (that’s if you can hear them talking through their mumbling)
There is no need for a cloak cupboard anymore, teens will leave their coat and bags at the front door as soon as they enter. They say it’s easier for them to grab the next day
They have a better social life than you. As soon as they turn 13 they will be attending anyone and everyone’s party.
They live in their bedrooms. You will never see them unless there is food on the table and it’s time to eat
They begin to mumble in a low voice when they are talking to you. You will never make out what they are saying
You will never get to use your own charger anymore as it will be claimed by them to charge their tablets or phones
They want every item of clothing to be designer and are no longer happy with Primark or high street clothing
Their friends are allowed to do EVERYTHING that are not allowed to do and you will constantly hear about a friend who can do what they want
If they DO pick up their dirty dishes and cutlery and take it to the kitchen, it will not make it into the sink but instead it will be left next to the sink ready for the cleaning fairy to wash them
You will find dirty, stinky socks all over the house. Say goodbye to pairing them up, you will have odd socks everywhere
They constantly have their phone next to them, headphones plugged in. Now, I’m pretty sure that they are not even listening to anything it’s just a way for you to not talk to them
Sleep. They can sleep all day long. It may be because they don’t got to sleep until the early hours as they have spent most of the night on social media
There is never any food in the house even though you just filled up the cupboards and fridge with food. Either they have just eaten it all or they mean that there are no snacks for them to grab and eat straight away
Say goodbye to that expensive hair shampoo or body lotion that you save for special occasions as it will get used almost immediately. Oh, and your bathroom will have a cloud of smoke in their from all of the deodorant that was sprayed.
Don’t worry, the teen years don’t last for long, You will soon have that loving little child who once ran from their classroom door straight into your arms because they were thrilled to see you. They no longer fit onto your lap for a cuddle and you may have to stand on a stool to hold them in your arms again but their loving and caring side soon comes back.
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.
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.
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.
Flying is a sensation that very few people, especially young children, get to experience. Indoor skydiving gives you a unique feeling of flying. With the use of a vertical wind tunnel you get to make your dream of flying become a reality. It is a safe and fun experience with a highly qualified instructor that teaches you to fly,step by step.
We was very lucky to have been given Family tickets for a flight experience with iFly, which has a centre at Milton Keynes.
Our flight was booked at 12pm but they require you to check in an hour before. We filled out the necessary forms in preparation for the flights, but you if you get to iFly in plenty of time you can fill them out before you fly at the centre.
Everyone in the group was introduced to the flight instructor who gives you 1-1 help in the tunnel. Our instructor was very informative and friendly. We was all briefed about what to expect inside the tunnel, watched an instructional video and then shown the hand signals that would be used for communication inside. We was all then issued our flight jumpsuits, goggles and helmet.
The younger boys got to choose a helmet that had little teddy bears sticking out of the top. They looked so cute when they were in the tunnel and the little teddy was bobbing about in the wind.
Once all suited up they were ready to fly
We made our way to the flight tunnel, which had viewing all around. The vertical wind tunnel can produce 165mph wind speeds. All of the flyers lined up one by one to wait their turn to go into the tunnel and take flight with the instructor.
Before you enter the tunnel, you have to stand at the entrance with your arms stretched above your head and when the instructor gives you a thumbs up you have to lean forward towards him. The instructor then grabs your arms and leads you into the air tunnel safely so that your legs don’t catch on the entrance. Once in the middle, the instructor holds onto you until you get your balance and then he let’s go of you so that you can drift off. Once you have mastered the key flying skills you are able to try more advanced manoeuvres (but this comes with more lessons) You get to experience freefall as you float on a smooth cushion of air.
The aim is to relax and have fun. Stretch out your arms and legs and in Superman Style…Fly!
The whole experience lasts for an hour, with about 5 minutes flying in the tunnel.
We chose to have a High Flight, which was the best part of the experience. With the instructor guidance and support, they boys were flown 3-6 feet up the tunnel. They flew in a rise and fall pattern whilst turning. The High Flight happened for the last 15-20 seconds of their second flight
With no parachute, no jumping and nothing attached to them. I watched my boys fly. They were a little nervous, especially the little one, but that soon disappeared when the adrenaline kicked in.
Their faces say it all. They said that the feeling was unforgettable, they felt light and free.
The whole experience was definitely one to remember. The instructor was patient, professional and encouraging. My boys didn’t stop smiling for days (and that’s not because the wind in the tunnel had such force that it made it that way). At the end of the experience they were rewarded with a certificate which showed what flying skills they had mastered.
My son won this experience after I entered him into a competition that was run by Coca Cola and blogger Emmys Mummy and Harry Too to uncover an unsung hero. I nominated my son as he was my rock whilst I was having treatment for Cancer and is always putting others first. He is a very determined young boy and deserved a treat. He was my hero and still is.
Thank you for choosing us 🙂