We love Butlins and we have many fantastic memories of being there lots of which have already been captured on my blog previously but I thought I would share with you some of our favourite moments from our recent trip.
Making granddad sick on the rides
spring farm piglets
being photobombed by Sprout
playing golf as a family
having a water fight with Dick n Dom
spending quality time together
We love making memories like these, what memories did you make this Easter?
Butlins Bognor Regis was looking all shiny and new when we headed down there last week and with it being our first trip of the year I thought I would tell you about some of the changes I noticed whilst there.
Over near the Shoreline hotel there have been some major landscaping changes with steps removed, floors leveled and extra entrances to Billys playground which really makes the whole place more accessible.
There is a new American diner being built next to Papa Johns and we hope it will be open when we next visit as a family in June. We also saw a fabulous bus bar but we never got round to trying it out although it looked perfect for the weather we were enjoying.
One of the biggest changes was the opening of the new Scoop ice cream parlour next to the Beachcomber inn. With Little scoop also having a redesign next to the spar shop. Scoop was decorated in a fantastic way with pink cow splodges, old fashioned ice cream carts to sit in, seats that look like ice creams and cows everywhere! It was fantastic and we may have spent quite a while in there over the course of our holiday sampling the milkshakes and ice creams they had on offer. Between us we managed to try 9 of the flavours available which included chocolate infusion, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry milkshake, orea, coffee, creme brulee, toffee dulce leche, rocher and peanutella. Only another 10 or so to go! Every single one of them was delicious but Peanutella and Rocher were my favourites with coffee not far behind.
As with every other year we have been to Butlins the Panto has changed for 2014 and the new one at Bognor Regis is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was a great panto with silly characters, good characters and the baddies too. Lots of audience participation, lots of boos and generally a good time had by all!
One of our favourite things about Butlins is the Skyline Gang so we were very much looking forward to meeting Misty the new Skyline gang member. Misty is the opposite of Candi, she is mischievous, naughty and can be very rude but the rest of the gang try to keep her in line and always make her say sorry. Watching Misty cause all sorts of problems was very fun and the girls enjoyed seeing one of the gang being a bit naughty, after all kids are not sugar and spice all of the time! We also really enjoyed the additional technical items used in the new shows. The LED screen that has been added to the stage gives a brilliant backdrop and really adds to the shows giving a whole new dimension to the Skyline gang.
We loved our time experiencing all the new things that Butlins Bognor Regis has to offer and couldnt resist taking a photo of Alison on this moped especially when dressed in her brand new Dude Onesie! Look out in the shop for the new onesies and pin badges showing some of the gangs new logos.
We went on this trip free of charge as part of the Butlins Ambassadors scheme but all opinions are my own.
Marc Brington has a passion for interior design. He also writes about home renovation and how to add that personal touch to your home
Crikey, it’s tiring being a mum, isn’t it? You’ve got to spin the plates of looking after your kids, cooking their meals, getting them ready for school, going to work and, somehow, finding time for yourself.
It’s that you time that sometimes counts most, because it’s just as important to let those plates spin for themselves for a while and simply relax.
In fact, without a bit of relaxation you could face major health problems. American website Working Mom’s Break conducted a survey of its users and found that 88 per cent of them claimed to have suffered some form of stress-related health issue since becoming a working parent.
So, what can you do to lie back and gain the glow of relaxation before you’re forced to return to the plate-spinning world of reality?
Get some rays of sunshine in your life
A spot of sunbathing can be just the ticket when it comes to feeling relaxed and regaining your glow.
While you’re all probably aware of the potential health defects that overexposure to the sun can cause – skin cancer and burning being two main concerns – catching some rays in moderation and with the appropriate application of sunscreen will give you an extra injection of vitamin D, which can boost your immunity to disease.
The easiest way to gain such sunlight in your home is to invest in a conservatory. Conservatories will allow you to simply step into the back room and revel in a suntrap of your own creation, meaning you won’t have to go through the hassle of pulling out the deckchair every time you want a sun snooze.
Have a night to yourself
If you’ve got parents willing to look after the grandkids for an evening, get your little ‘uns out of the way for a relaxed night out with your partner.
Naturally, you’ll have to budget wisely for regular nights out, so look for restaurants with discounts, theatre nights with concessions or Orange Wednesdays, which allow you a free extra ticket every Wednesday at your local multiplex if you sign up to the mobile phone provider.
No matter what you choose, make sure you enjoy the quiet before your little terrors return!
Find something you AND your kids love
You’d be a bit of a strange parent if you didn’t actually enjoy spending time with your kids, but it’s understandable that you might not be overjoyed at another viewing of their favourite – but in your eyes, abominable – children’s film or a listen to the latest squealing child-oriented pop star.
But there are things that you and your kids can enjoy. Whether it’s a quick game of football or a trip to your favourite fast food joint, find somewhere that you both like and you and your kid will be able to relax together.
It is a scary yet exciting feeling to see children grow from bawling babies to tottering toddlers, and, finally, adults. The first few years involve teaching them how to hold a spoon and fork, how to tie their shoelaces, how to comb their own hair, and how to hold the handlebars of a children’s bicycle. Teaching them how to ride the bicycle is another story altogether. Training wheels have to be installed. Riding is limited to the garage or the garden, biking on the street strictly prohibited. But sooner or later your child will be riding on the street in front of the house, arms raised, yelling “Mum! Look no hands!”
I bet every mother who has seen her kid do that ran out of the front door, yelling for the kid to stop and to take care. Father surely chuckled, concern etched in his face. Parents cannot help but worry and be protective of their children. In their minds, they are wondering how long it will be till their children ask to learn how to drive a car, how to ask a girl out, or how to get over their first heartbreak. Matters of the heart are often more complicated than learning how to drive a car. And driving a car can solve matters of the heart. Asking a girl out is easier when he can pick her up at her house and bring her back home after the date. And what heartbreak cannot be solved by a road trip in the countryside.
However, driving a car and driving it safely are two very different things. Research suggests that teenage drivers are at a higher risk of getting involved in a car accident. Brake, a road safety charity organisation in the United Kingdom, reports that young male drivers are seven times more likely to crash than all male drivers, more so between the hours of 2am and 5am. Young drivers are also more likely to seek thrills, drive under the influence or drive recklessly. Furthermore, young drivers are less likely to use a seatbelt at all times. Given these statistics, it is understandable that parents are hesitant to allow their kids to drive or get a driver’s licence. However, the ability to drive is an important step into adulthood. The best that parents can do is to steer their children in a direction where they can learn it from the best. One such provider of updated and comprehensive DSA-type tests to prepare any learner driver is Top Tests.
Driving a car is just a preliminary step, though. Next, they will graduate from college, get a job, get married, buy a house, and form their own families. It is important for parents to support their children while growing up to prepare them better for more difficult decisions when they become adults. This includes praising and rewarding them for their efforts so as to build their self-esteem. Children with high self-esteem grow up to be responsible and confident adults. Protection can easily lead to overprotection, which can have counterproductive results. Some experts advise to let children experience dangerous things so they learn how to recognise and overcome the kind of obstacles they will encounter as adults. These experiences will benefit them in the long run and shape them into fully adapted adults.
When I was working with Post-It on National Stationary week all about writing notes to each other they asked me to write a note to someone so that they could analyse my handwriting. Now I never knew you could tell so much about a persons personality based on the way they write so I was slightly skeptical. This was the note I wrote for Hubby when I took the kids away for the night.
Innocent enough really. Here is what they had to say.
“When you start a new job or task, there may be a little hesitancy, but as you move into it you are increasingly happy to get involved. You have an interesting character with intuitive insights but such thoughts are not your final conclusion because you check by thinking things through logically. On occasions you are sensitive and but most of the time your zeal is clearly apparent.”
Adam Brand, Post-it® Graphologist
Well that certainly had me surprised! You see when i was asked to write the note I was really hesitant, I dont do thinks like leave love notes for hubby. However after the first line or so it became easy and i soon finished it. The fact that they can tell that I am intuitive yet don't allow my intuition to get in the way of thinking things through fully is amazing and so very true. I am occasionally sensitive, occasionally being the right word but I completely agree that I am obviously very zealous about most things in my life throwing myself into what i do with passion and energy.
It is amazing that in one little note to my hubby a person who i have never met, never spoken to and have never even emailed can pull out so much of my personality.
It has made me look at writing notes in a whole new way and as I have so many different shaped of super sticky notes to try I might have to start leaving notes all over the house!
If you love Post-it® Super Sticky Notes as much as we do, click Like on the Post-it UK Facebook page
As a parent it becomes your responsibility to teach your child to swim. As well as many health benefits for a growing child, the ability to swim is extremely important for our safety (and also the safety of others) as we get older.
It is also a great way to bond with your young child, assisting them in completing primitive strokes and becoming independent in the pool. As they grow older, enrolling them in swimming classes is a great way for them to stay active and meet new friends. Being able to swim also opens social avenues when we're adults.
If you're looking to begin teaching your child and are unsure about where to start, here are a few ways to get going. For first timers, it can be best to introduce your child into a structured swimming programme under the supervision of qualified and accredited swimming teachers.
Familiarise them with the Water The first step is to accustom your child with the water, letting them dangle their legs in the pool to begin with. Then introduce them slowly into the shallow end where they can stand up and move around in the water. Let them submerge their head to show that there is nothing to be scared of when going underwater. Allowing them to see you swimming in the pool feeling relaxed will also give them more confidence.
Introduce Equipment A way to both enhance safety and the enjoyment factor is to introduce floatation equipment to the session. Armbands are an obvious choice, which attach around the arms and keeps your child afloat, allowing them to practice their stroke action with more ease, but in recent years there have been all kinds of developments in float suits which are designed just like traditional swimming costumes with the buoyancy of armbands built in to make swimming feel much more natural. You shouldn't allow your child to use them for too long however as they may become reliant on their buoyancy when removed.
Allow them Freedom It may be tempting to hold your child up in the water but this can restrict their progression. Instead, allow them to splash about and become used to moving their limbs to stay afloat. Also demonstrate how they will float by lying on your back or lifting your legs up. This will give your child the confidence to try out new techniques in the knowledge they won't sink.
Begin Teaching Strokes When your child begins to feel confident in the pool and appears totally relaxed being in and under the water, you can begin to teach them basic swimming strokes. Ask them which style they feel most comfortable with, be it front crawl or breast stroke for example. Show them basic tips on how to move their arms and legs, as well as breathing techniques. Break the process down into different stages so they progress at a fair rate.
Your Responsibility As the guardian of the child, you must keep an eye on them at all times without being too domineering at the same time however. Keep a relaxed manner yourself but also informative and direct when explaining important instructions. It is also important to sustain your trips to these swimming lessons, even if it seems you aren't getting anywhere in the first few weeks.
Are your children morphing into young adults? It’s amazing how quickly they shoot up and mature. Don’t miss the opportunity to create a sturdy relationship between you and your children. It’s easy to let good intentions backfire. Sustain love and respect with these tips:
Create a routine of always sitting down at dinnertime. This tradition is evaporating, but it does wonders for family bonding. It’s a great opportunity to have a chat and make the cook something special. Compromise by allowing the whole family to do as they wish afterwards, so they don’t feel forced into your company.
Your kids are going to want to spend their time with their friends, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your major role as a rock and parent. Teenagers are struggling to find themselves and discover their own autonomy. Being a too overbearing parent can really smother them, but you do have to strike a balance between trusting them and guiding them. The best you can do is become a shoulder to cry on and be there when your children need you.
Share Your Feelings
Humanise yourself. Share your thoughts and feelings with your children – it’s a two-way process. They’ll feel closer to you and that they can come to you with uncomfortable issues. Of course, don’t overburden your child, but it’s best to be open.
Respect Their Privacy
It can be tempting, when kids are unresponsive, to pry into their business; especially when you suspect that something is wrong. Trust that they will talk to you about their problems and ask if you’re concerned. If they discover you’ve invaded their privacy, it will feel like a betrayal. Imagine if someone did that to you.
Ask For Their Opinions
Knowing that their ideas and opinions are valued is important in building up your children’s confidence and making them feel like an integral part of the family. Don’t involve yourself in all of their choices. Let them make their own minds up and make their own mistakes. Even if you have deeply-held views, ask your children whether they agree or if they think they’re fair.
Spend Time Together
Don’t just spend all your time together at home. When everyone has a spare day, go for a trip out somewhere like Knowsley Safari Park or a local festival. Building memories will bring the family closer.
Prioritise Yourself Sometimes
The world doesn’t revolve around your children. If you always put them first, prepare for huge egos. Be kind and help them out, but know that sometimes it’s important to put yourself first. You can’t be a doormat for your children.
Acknowledge that their time is different to what it was like at your age. Work with these differences and don’t assume that you know what it’s like to be a teenager – you faced different social and economic challenges.
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The day arrived and we all headed to Manchester Arena to watch Cbeebies Live! The Big Band Easter tour. The stage set up was fantastic with the big screen panels being able to be moved around and utilised during the show.
With lots of singing and dancing the Cbeebies stars went on the hunt for a Big Band to help President Wensleydale to host a celebration.
The show was fantastic and there was lots of audience participation with singing, dancing and generally having fun. Thanks to all of our preparation we didn't spend any money whilst in the Arena apart from our parking which was fantastic.
With lots of Cbeebies stars opening the show we were please to see Mister Maker use magic to transport himself from Rio to Manchester. He didn't do any making on the tour but he certainly had lots of energy.
It was great to see the Zingzillas join the tour and with it being a Big Band it was very fitting. The Zingzillas brought loads of energy to the stage and the girls loved seeing them.
We absolutely loved watching the Cbeebies Live tour and would definitely recommend it. You can still catch the Cbeebies Live tour at the below venues, my personal favourite has to be the LG Arena in Birmingham! Why not make a weekend of it and visit the Bull Ring and catch one of the exhibitions on at the NEC that weekend like the Toy Collectors Fair? If you are staying over I would definitely recommend the Crowne Plaza Birmingham as a great local family friendly hotel.
MON 14 Apr CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena 1.30pm & 4.45pm
TUE 15 Apr CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena 11am & 2pm
THU 17 Apr LIVERPOOL Echo Arena 1.30pm & 4.45pm
FRI 18 Apr BIRMINGHAM LG Arena 1.30pm & 4.45pm
SAT 19 Apr SHEFFIELD Motorpoint Arena 1.30pm & 4.45pm
Easter Sunday dinner is not the same without a great bit of Lamb and New Zealand Lamb never fails to impress. I was given £40 worth of vouchers for waitrose to help us to enjoy the perfect Easter dinner using a fabulous recipe for a roast leg of lamb with anchovies, garlic and rosemary.
We made a few changes to the recipe and cooked baby new potatoes separately along with carrots and kale. The girls can be quite fussy so we kept these separate so the flavours were not mixed.
The lamb however was cooked following the instructions with anchovies, garlic and rosemary pressed into slits in the meat. I loved the fact that I got to use the fresh rosemary that I have growing in the garden.
We love lamb but it is one of those things that we don't eat very often and when we do I normally just cook it with rosemary and olive oil but the addition of garlic and anchovies intrigued me and I have to say it was an amazing taste. The saltiness of the anchovies mixed with the garlic, rosemary and the succulent lamb was fabulous and Gaming Daddy of Two and I really enjoyed it. Thankfully it is not something the girls wanted to try but that just meant more for me.
In future I will definitely be doing this again and adding an extra dimension to the lamb that I cook. I urge you to try it as even though i love all the ingredients separately I could never believe that it tasted so good!
Scooby Doo The mystery of the pyramid is currently touring around the country and whilst it is in Manchester this weekend we couldn't resist the opportunity to go along and see what it is all about.
Both of my girls absolutely love watching shows at the theatre and they love watching Scooby Doo so it seemed like a perfect show.
Scooby Doo and the rest of Mystery Inc head to Egypt where they need to solve the Mystery of Pharoah Hatchepsout’s Pyramid with lots of laughs, great songs and audience participation we had so much fun watching this show.
Elizabeth loved the show and was laughing, joining in and having fun. With so many fabulous songs to sing along too and comedy that is suitable for the kids as well as adults we all really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it for the whole family.
Scooby Doo The Mystery of the Pyramid is at the Lowry until Sunday 13th before moving on and touring the country.
Check out this video and then grab yourself some tickets to a fabulous family friendly show.