A Great new initiative sees some of our favourite redcoats donning some lovely green leisure coats and the cutest green converse trainers.
The green coats are in charge of taking families out onto the local beaches to explore the seaside and find out more about the wildlife that inhabits its shores. The redcoats chosen worked with their local wildlife trust to learn about the local wildlife and create some great beach activities for all the family. As a huge fan of Butlins I think that this is a great idea so I asked for the opportunity to interview one of the newly trained green coats.
I met up with the lovely Ellen, one of Bognors Green coats to ask her a few questions as I joined her and Greencoat Charlotte on the nature walk. Ellen is a redcoat that we have come to know over the last two years and it was great seeing her in her new role. She was so interested in what she talking about that you really felt the enthusiasm and you can see that enthusiasm spread through the group. With over 30 guests joining us, the two Greencoats handed out buckets and leaflets and took us to the beach to hunt for shells, interesting rocks and creatures.
Ellen loved working with the Local wildlife trust who was amazed at the many different varieties of seaweed seen Bognors beach. We had a great time walking the beach looking at rocks spotting cockles, whelks and limpets as well as finding lots of Cuttlefish, shells and seaweed. It was so nice to see so many children enjoying this activity and when we all came together at the end to share our finds it was amazing to see what people had found including a fossil.
Ellen said herself that she never thought there was much life on Bognor beach so she was very surprised after her wildlife trust training when she realised just how much life is hiding away waiting to be found. The Internet here is not great so when I get back to somewhere with a decent connection I will load some more lovely photos but in the mean time why not download the great beach guide so you can have a look for yourself.
As most of you are aware we headed down to Butlin's in Bognor for a midweek break for Elizabeth’s birthday. What we didn’t expect was the huge downpour of rain that fell on the south of England. Getting down to Portsmouth was not a problem but the 40 minute journey from there turned into a 4 hour nightmare culminating in us driving through what basically looked like a lake and was up to the passenger door window when we were in the middle.
Through this whole journey I have had Butlin's Customer services helping me out with traffic advice, informing me of road closures and trying to help me in any way they could. By the time we got within 3 miles of the resort we had made up our minds that if it came to it we would dump the car and walk in but luckily it didn’t come to that.
Once on resort we checked in easily enough but I am aware that other families were not so lucky but more on that in a minute. Some of the entertainment schedule for the evening had to change as Lazytown were due to perform but they are an outside entertainment company so they couldn’t get through to the resort but it was all done very smoothly and all the staff were calm and smiling. Certain facilities were closed like the gift shop and some of the restaurants but Butlin's extended the opening hours of other restaurants to cope with the demand.
As I mentioned above some guests had trouble checking in and that was due to one area of the resort flooding so some of the ground floor apartments were unusable and the upper floors were inaccessible. Butlin's staff have worked tirelessly over the day to rectify this with water being pumped out and areas being made safe.
Guests who were leaving today were being given maps on the gates to show the only road out of Bognor that was open but the communications from the local police was contradictory at times with open roads actually being closed and closed roads actually being opened. People were being sent back to the resort and obviously the Butlin's staff have tried to find alternative accommodation for them too which includes local hotels and b&b's to cope with the demand.
As I took a walk around resort at 10 o’clock in the evening you can still see staff cleaning up the damage, talking to guests and generally trying to do anything they can to make life easier but all the while they have had a smile on their face. I feel a lot for the staff here today who have worked longer hours than normal due to staff shortages and they have had to put up with a lot of guests who were less than polite.
I popped into guest services just before coming back to my room and I saw staff still hard at work allocating every room as it became available. See those two men in the middle? One of those is the Resort Hospitality manager and the other, well I am pretty sure he was his boss. In times of great adversity it is all hands on deck and today at Butlin's is no exception.
So I just want to say well done because today was a really bad day for everyone but your perseverance and resilience have made today better when it could have made it worse.
Well that was Elizabeth's sentiments at the end of the day and I didn't have the heart to tell her it is not actually her birthday yet.
The rain poured but the kids didn't care, the bouncy castle had a cover over it and with the gazebo stretching from the door to the bouncy castle the kids got to bounce all day long.
The seaside theme went down really well and the cake was better than I ever expected. Elizabeth's Butlins Party was a brilliant success thanks to this cake.
So tomorrow we begin our journey down south for our next Butlins holiday, expect lots of tweets and blog posts as I get free wifi in the Shoreline hotel. I am really looking forward to the new shows and cant wait for Beths Birthday Lunch with Billy Bear on Wednesday.
Fro now i need a glass of wine and my bed because this has been a long day.
It is still pissing it down and it shows no sign of letting up which means my outdoor seaside themed party has now had to become an indoor seaside party and I have no idea how I am going to fit so many people into my house.
I have hung the bunting, prepped the rooms and cute more bear shaped jam sandwiches than I wish to discuss.
So now I wait, fingers crossed the sun might decide to appear just long enough for the kids to play on the bouncy castle.
Wish me luck and please keep your fingers crossed that the sun shines on Manchester.
When I dragged the kids around Asda earlier today grabbing a few bits of shopping ready for our return from holiday I spotted some great bargains on the shelves. There was loads of cooking sauces such as Ragu, Chicken Tonight and some of Asdas own all reduced to around 50p. This was great I thought and I bought a good selection. Perfect sauces for the slow cooker for my first week of childminding, or so I thought.
On my return home as I was placing the items into our cupboards I saw a date out of the corner of my eye.
As I emptied my cupboards again I found products that went out of date in February, March and May this year. Ok so not as bad as November 2011 but still. As a childminder I could have got in serious trouble for serving this to the children I mind but who checks the dates on products you have only just bought!
In total I found 9 products that were all out of date.
I phoned up Customer services who took the details of all the products including their barcodes and best before dates before informing me that I would have to take all the products back to the store for a refund or exchange. So he just wasted 15 minutes of my time (whilst the kids are running round the house like lunatics) before telling me that he cant actually help. Well thank you very much for nothing and no i really don't want to go back to that store EVER! Why would I go back somewhere where I now feel I will have to check the date on ever product I want to buy. Why would I want to drive the 7 mile round trip just to return the sauces when really you should have apologised for the inconvenience and compensated me appropriately. Instead you really annoyed me with you could not care attitude and the fact that you only took the details of the products so that you could let the store in question know so that they could remove the offending items from the shelves. Well what about all the products I didn't buy, are you going to check those? or are you just going to leave it to chance that they "might" be in date? I can tell you that when 20% of my shopping is out of date I would say that there is a good chance that there might be more products out there as out of date as mine, if not worse!
So I won't be going back into that store or any other Asda store until I receive an appropriate response from someone who can give me the confidence that when I am choosing items of the shelf that I wont need to check ever single date because believe me I just do not have time to do that.
I am so glad I saw that date because I dread to think how bad it could have been if I had fed that stuff to the kids.
What do you think they should do? Do you shop at Asda?
With only a few more days until THE party of the year I am beginning to get twitchy.
Is the weather going to be good?
How many people are going to arrive?
Do I have enough party bags?
Do I have enough food?
and can I really be arsed to tidy the house to the extent that I really want it tidied to?
With the kids off school its not even as though I can start tidying now because they will only trash the house again before Saturday.
Why do I do this to myself? It's not as though Elizabeth asked for such a big party.
We are having a seaside themed party with pick and mix, hotdogs, candyfloss and popcorn. With some animals visiting as well as a bouncy castle and face paints it will definitely be the biggest party I have pulled off at my house yet. To top it off a friend of mine is making Elizabeths Birthday cake and it sounds as though it will be amazing. I wont give any more away because i cant wait to post the pictures so you can see it.
Oh yeah I had also better get packing too as on Sunday we start our journey down to Butlins Bognor Regis where I will be tweeting and blogging about my holiday there next week.