Back to School with House of Fraser

So we are well into the school term now already, and boy has it been an interesting few weeks.  With Molly going into Year 1 and Alfie heading off to pre-school it has been all change here once again.

The summer went by in a flash and before I knew it I was back to buying uniform and  ticking everything off my to ‘Back to School Check list’

Buying two lots of uniform is costly, getting 2 of everything, coats, shoes, uniform, bags,  lunch boxes, the prices soon mount up, next year I will be more prepared for that! But if you shop around there are some great deals out there.

We were sent a voucher to review the House of Fraser Back to School range and I was very impressed.  I was able to get both children a new winter school coat for £50 with free delivery!

The Back to School Range has everything you need to kit your kids out for the new term and the range is amazing.

I chose 2 coats from the range so both of the children are set for winter which is fast approaching us now. I thought the price was excellent value at £24.99 both coats are fully quilted and come with a detachable hood as well which is perfect for the changeable weather we can get in winter time.

They come in great range of colours too! Click here to see the full range.

coat2

coat molly

Ordering online with House of Fraser was super easy and the coats were delivered within 3 days on a standard (Free) delivery. Very impressive.

They both came in a range of colours and sizes and are perfect for the new school term!

Molly and Alfie are all set for winter but there is no sign of that just yet – the weather is glorious!

How has the start of the new term been for you?

 

We were sent a £50 voucher from House of Fraser to complete this review.  This is my own work and honest opinion of the products/services provided and you are not permitted to copy any of the content within this post without my permission.

The Gallery

When I saw the theme ‘The Great Outdoors’ for this week, I knew I had several shots that would be perfect for this.  Having just returned from our family holiday in Brittany France, we were lucky enough to experience the great outdoors in one of my favourite places, the seaside!
Growing up I used to go all the time to the seaside with my Grandparents, I have so many fond memories of time by the sea, sticks of rock and amusements, followed by fish and chips on the bench watching the tide come in or go out.  Beautiful memories.
France was totally different, there was no fish and chips or amusements, in fact at many of the beaches we visited there was very little there, just the sea and the sand.  But what more do you need?
We spent hours in the sand with the little ones on our holiday, paddling in the sea (well until we spotted the jellyfish and I had a complete breakdown and demanded everyone left the water IMMEDIATELY!).  We visited some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and created some of my most beautiful memories with my gorgeous family.
brittany, france, holiday, family
Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Managing Anxiety – getting back on track

For the past 18 months I have rarely been able to blog, there has been no room in my mind to write, read or do much of the things I have previously enjoyed.  For a long time I just got on with it, we have had so much going on over the past few years, job losses, a house move that then didn’t happen, starting school and then my Dad passing away and this is just to mention a few things.  It has felt like a never-ending roller coaster, one that much of the time I have been screaming from within to get off.  The trouble is, you don’t realise the effect that stress has on you till it’s too late – well I didn’t anyway.  I kept going and going and going, every day reality slipping away from me a little more. Looking back now I can see I was a wreck, totally out of control of my emotions, not sleeping or eating properly, constantly loosing my temper with the kids but at the same time piling more and more onto myself to do to keep my mind busy so I didn’t have to actually think about everything else that was going on.

Last September I broke, I say broke as it is just how I felt, I was broken.  I didn’t know how or if I could be fixed but I knew something was wrong with me.  I spent most of my days feeling totally paralysed, I couldn’t get my breath, my face tingled, my legs shaking and I would feel hot, cold, and sweaty all at once, I would shake like a leaf and be unable to stop and along with constant nausea I felt like I was falling apart – and all for seemingly no reason.  I was constantly on edge, never able to sit still or relax.

After weeks and weeks of feeling totally out of control I went to my GP, sitting in the waiting room I very nearly walked out, I was sure that I was actually insane and didn’t need or want to hear it from the Doctor, I hid myself away in the corner hoping no one would notice me and my name wouldn’t be called.  But it was, and off I went, my shaking legs carried me into the room, and as soon as I sat down I burst into tears.  I have no idea where it all came from but so much just came flooding out of me, how I felt, how I was unable to cope day to day, it just came tumbling out from nowhere.  Thankfully the GP told me I was not insane, but clearly very anxious and struggling, she recommend some time off work (which I declined – work was the only thing that was actually going well for me at the time – strip that away and I didn’t think I could have coped at all).  The GP was lovely, I had major concerns about having any medication so after a long chat through the pro’s and con’s she decided it would be best for me to be seen by the Wellbeing Team and go from there.

I felt better having told someone how I felt.  I was scared that it would never go away, I still am now if I am totally honest.  Following an initial assessment from the Wellbeing team I was referred back to the GP and it was recommended that I was put on some medication to help control my anxiety, which I started on shortly after.  The side effects can be tough but they do ease after a while and now the main thing I notice is tiredness, however I now take my medication at night which seems to have helped this a little.

It has taken me 18 months to get the courage to blog about this, I hate the fact that I feel like such a failure all the time. I hate feeling on edge constantly and I keep saying over and again, I wish I could turn my brain off, it’s only now I realise that turning it off won’t fix me, it won’t make anything any better and it certainly won’t go away.  Anxiety grips onto you like nothing I have ever known, making you scared of everything.  It impacts on everything in my life, where we go, what we do, who we see.  There are certain situations now that I just know I can’t mange very well so I avoid them where ever possible.  This impacts not only me but the children as well.

Now is the time for me to challenge my anxiety head on and try to get to grips with it.  I am starting to do some CBT which is going to help with things on a day to day basis, and I am also trying out some Mindfulness to help me wind down a bit and attempt to chill out.  I don’t want to be on medication for ever, and I certainly don’t want to continue feeling like I do, don’t get me wrong I have more good days than bad since taking my medication, but I can’t help but wonder what life would be like with just the good days??

Maybe one day I will find out………

 

Meal Planning Monday

We are now a week post holiday and after a week of muddling along with our meals, it is time to get back on track with meal planning.  It just makes life so much easier. The end of term is fast approaching and I have a million and one things to remember to get too, so hopefully this will all be a bit easier if I know what I am cooking in the kitchen on a day-to-day basis.

So here is this weeks meal plan –

Monday – Vegetable risotto

Tuesday – Cheese and potato pie

Wednesday – Pasta Bake

Thursday – Jacket potato with Tuna and sweetcorn

Friday – Burgers, new potatoes and salad

Check out the other awesome meal plans over with Mrs B’s, take a look for some great inspiration and ideas for your own Meal Plans.

Our Family Holiday with Siblu Holidays – Review

We were very lucky to be invited by The Baby Website, to check out Siblu Villages Domaine de Kerlann in Brittany.  Having never taken the children abroad before (in fact we haven’t actually had a family holiday for 2 years) we had no idea what to expect but we were very excited at the prospect of escaping for a week and getting some much needed family time.

The journey over to France was much easier than we anticipated, hats off to Brittany Ferries, the crossing was so much easier than I ever imagined it would be, we had a clean and comfortable cabin for the children and they loved being on the boat. Once we arrived in France my husband soon got to grips with the driving and actually really enjoyed it.

We arrived on site at lunch time and our accommodation wasn’t ready for us  (check in is not until 4pm on site), but we were all happy to have a wander around and check out the facilities whilst we waited.  We went and had some lunch in the restaurant which was clean with a good menu and the food was lovely. Whilst we were eating we had a call to say our that the accommodation was ready so we headed back to reception after lunch with two excited children desperate to see their new home for the week.

The accommodation was AMAZING, it was very spacious and the kids had a room each.  We had towels and linen included and I really would recommend this as it is so much easier when packing not to have to include these items as they are bulky and take up room that could be used for other things.

We also had a lovely welcome pack with toilet rolls, some disinfectant, milk, juice and crepes with a selection of Jams to go with them, this was most impressive, Alfie loved the Crepes they are his new favourite food!

The accommodation was spotless and beautifully presented. We also had an amazing built-in Brick Barbecue – this impressed my Husband a lot! We were based on a really large plot with lots of space outside as well as a beautiful decking area to sit on, plenty of room for the kids to play and we were not overlooked at all.  It felt very private and out of the way even though we were in the middle of a massive site.

accommodation, holiday, family, Siblu

Unfortunately the travelling really didn’t agree with Alfie and he was quite poorly the day we arrived, so we decided to head to the shop and get some supplies and let the children have an early night, we were all tired from the journey and Alfie was really struggling. The shop on site has good opening hours to cover times when other local supermarkets might not be open which was great for us, but unfortunately when we got there we were quite disappointed, the chiller cabinets were quite empty and the fresh fruit on offer was not fresh at all – in fact some of it was mouldy.  We managed to get some bits to see us through till the next day and headed back and put the children to bed – Alfie slept from 5.30pm, till 10am the next day – he was definitely exhausted bless him!!

Domaine de Kerlann is situated within about a 10-15 minute drive from the beach, and what a treat the French beaches were.  We loved the fact we could just hop in the car and drive to several different beaches, all of which were stunning.  A real treat for us considering at home our nearest beach is over 2 hours away.  The kids loved being able to play in the sand – I am not a lover of the sand at all but it was so serene even I could have sat all day watching the waves whilst the kids played. This meant we were able to do lots of exploring of the local area, we found it really easy to navigate around and we loved getting out and about to different beaches during our stay.

France, beaches, Brittany

Despite being so close to the beach the children’s favourite holiday activity by far was swimming! With 3 pools on site and a fantastic Splash Zone they were not disappointed either.

All of the swimming pools were brilliant and exceptionally clean, which was such a welcome relief to other sites we have stayed on before, the only downside was the opening times of the smaller pool. The large outdoor pool was very deep for younger children, at 1.6 metres I couldn’t even touch the floor making it hard work with two little ones.  The indoor pool was open all day and had a children’s area that they could play in, but the weather was beautiful and the children wanted to be outside. The smaller pool was closed due to it being out of season when we visited. It is open at the weekends but in the week they didn’t have the staff to cover it.  We were disappointed with this as it was the perfect pool for the little ones to be in, however following some comments from us and other residents on site the little pool was opened each day between 4pm and 5pm (sometimes later depending on staff). The children definitely made the most of this and loved the time they had in there.  Both of them have grown so much confidence in the water whilst we were away.  All of the pools on site are very well attended and the staff were all lovely, the decision to have the smaller pool closed was one of safety due to staff numbers, but as soon as they realised that there was a need for it to be open due to the amount of younger children on site they did there very best to accommodate us which was greatly appreciated.

Kerlann-pool-complex1

holiday, Siblu, France

As well as the amazing pools on site there are also several play areas scattered around the park, Crazy Golf, Table Tennis, Pool and a Multi Sports Pitch for ball games, you can also hire bikes to get around as well.  There is no shortage of things to do on site.  Alfie particularly loved the indoor play centre which we used whilst Molly was at Pirates Club. I was again very surprised at how clean it was, it was immaculate and Alfie loved it, he had great fun climbing and running around whilst waiting for his sister.

indoor play

All of the staff on site are friendly and helpful, there is always English speaking staff in each department to support those whose English is not so strong. We never had a problem with a language barrier during the time we were there and my GCSE in French was very useful I must say!

Entertainment on site for the children was brilliant, there are three children’s clubs that are free to use, Bubbles (ages 1-4), Pirates (ages 5-9) and Barracuda’s (ages 10-14). I was worried at first about separating Molly and Alfie as they usually do everything together, but I think it turned out to be a good thing that they both had some space to do their own thing.  Bubbles members have to be accompanied by an adult at all times but Molly was more than happy to head off with the Pirates for a couple of hours of fun on her own, she loved the activities on offer and had a blast! Alfie enjoyed playing in Bubbles too, although I think he was a little overwhelmed, he has not yet started Nursery so is not used to being with lots of other children. But he did enjoy his time with the group.

holiday, siblu holidays, bubbles club,

The evening entertainment was brilliant, the kids loved it and we were able to sit and relax watching the children dance the night away with the Pirates, they also had a ‘Crystal Fiesta Party’ that was put on just for the children, they had music, dancing, lots of prizes and then a feast of pizza, crisps, juice and some fruit for pudding, both molly and Alfie loved the party night and their Crystal Fiesta crowns had to be placed very safely in the suitcase coming home so they didn’t get squashed!

entertainment

On our last night the children both took part in a Talent Show – it was AMAZING! How the staff put it together with 1 day to prepare it all and taking into account that all of the children spoke different languages I will never know. It was excellent and a lovely way to end our holiday.  Molly loved getting dressed up and having her Face Painted and Alfie surprised us totally by getting up on stage and joining in the dancing with all the other Bubble’s – I really didn’t think he would, but he was a little superstar and loved every minute, I have to admit my heart melted more than just a little when he stopped in the middle of the stage and waved at me with a huge grin on his face – totally adorable!

holiday, Siblu Holidays

Our Holiday with Siblu was brilliant, from someone who has always been too nervous to travel abroad with the children this was a massive step for me.  Would I do it again – YES I would and without any hesitation! It was an amazing family holiday and Siblu gets a 10/10 from us!  An ideal family holiday – FANTASTIC!

I have not received any financial reward for writing this post but we were given a 7 night break at Siblu Domaine de Kerlann and Ferry tickets from Brittany Ferries to complete this review. This is my own work and honest opinion of the products/services provided and you are not permitted to copy any of the content within this post without my permission.