The Day We Caught The Plane

Our first holiday as a family of five was to Tenerife when Moose was 13 months old and I have to admit, I thought we were just slightly insane for even thinking about doing it.

I was wrong. Really wrong!

As much as I love to travel our funds have thus far limited it to the occasional break away since having children. When MrG suggested that we book a holiday abroad, I was apprehensive about how well our youngest child, Moose, would cope with the upheaval (not to mention the heat). However, I knew we needed this time together.

I am not one to shy away from a bit of online searching to get a good deal and this was no exception. MrG and I agreed that the holiday needed to take place during the schools summer break (our eldest is about to sit his exams so really cannot afford to miss any school) and at the time of deciding that we needed to book it was really only a month away so I had to move quickly!

Breakfast at Gatwick airport

We took a vote and it was decided that we wanted to head toward the Canary Islands. We had visited Lanzarote and Tenerife as a couple some years previously (I am not telling you how many, it makes me feel old) but never with the children.

I found a great deal to the hotel Marylanza which looked like it would suit us perfectly. The only thing I was worrying about was the flight duration. 4 hours with a bored toddler is not my idea of fun and I had heard on the grapevine that the Dreamliner we were booked onto provided nada in terms of inflight entertainment. So, a special Moose bag was a must for the flight.

My top 5 items to include when flying with a toddler are;
  1. A sippy cup. This will help with take-off and landing which for us were the worst parts of the journey. You cannot explain to your toddler why their ears are hurting and that kind of sucks!
  2. A mini Aquadraw and a magnetic doodle toy (ideally one with the pen attached so it can’t be lost. Our son basically played with this for most of the flight.
  3. A favourite (preferably lightweight) blanket to increase the chances of them taking a nap. Moose did. He slept for over an hour and it. Was. Glorious!
  4. Spare clothes x2 and spare nappies and nappy bags. You do not want to be caught short mid-flight.
  5. Toddler friendly headphones. The grapevine was a big fat liar because once on board we soon realised that the in-flight entertainment was plentiful and once an adaptor had been purchased Moose loved having his own tv!

Of course your kid is not my kid and you will know what they need to comfort them or get them through dull situations but I found all of the above to be a godsend. The Dreamliner was actually pretty awesome. My 6ft2 tall, plane hating husband agreed. It was pretty roomy in economy and that is not something I have said before – besides, who doesn’t love purple mood lighting?

Waiting for take off

We arrived in Tenerife after a pretty easy flight (thanks in part to my mother in law living within spitting distance from Gatwick airport) and hopped aboard the coach transfer with me volunteering to take Moose while MrG sat with our 2 older children, Col & Bess.

It was around 5 minutes into our relaxing 30 minute transfer that Moose did what I can only describe as the loudest and smelliest poo he has ever EVER done.

People moved away.

Seriously.

There really was nowhere to change my poor (stinky) little man until we arrived at our hotel so as soon as we did I ducked into the baby change and did the necessary,leaving MrG to check us in.

Upon my return I was met with a complimentary cocktail (high five whosever idea that was) and beaming smiles which are not my families resting expressions. I was suspicious.

It became apparent that the reason for their happy demeanour was as it turned out down to a month long email conversation between myself and the hotel manager paying off. We had been given a free upgrade to the best room in the hotel.

The first thing Moose did upon entering our room at The Marylanza.

It was a 2 bedroom duplex overlooking the pool on one side and a golf course and mountains on the other. An excellent start to our holiday. I would highly recommend exchanging pleasantries with the hotel from the get go. It can’t do any harm and it might just improve your entire experience!

Our time in Tenerife passed far too quickly

Never happier than when he was in the water

It soon became apparent that heat did not bother Moose, who was a natural water baby. Of course he was always well shaded and sporting a layer or ten of suntan lotion. He spent his days splashing in the water and playing in the onsite play park with occasional trips to the kids club.

He was too young to be left there obviously but they were more than happy to allow us to come in together to use their facilities and Moose became something of a big deal with the staff!

Night time parking

Our evenings were mostly spent within the confines of the hotel grounds getting the most value out of the all-inclusive (hic)  but I did insist on going for walks too.

We also enjoyed playing at the park (and relaxing with a drink) late into the night with all of the other families – always remembering to have the pushchair to hand for when Moose decided enough was enough.

Getting our submarine game faces on

We took the children on a submarine ride on the third morning which was fabulous. All 3 of the children absolutely loved it. There was not a single complaint of boredom for the whole week. Any parent of a toddler, tween and teen will tell you that is no mean feat

Finding Nemo

On the last day MrG surprised the older 2 with tickets to a water park (which I hate) and I spent the morning with Moose in the pool before putting him down for his nap and packing our things.

Moose still mentions the holiday months later making reference to the pool and the beach. He loves looking at the photos and I do too. MrG and I have agreed that it was an amazing experience and we need to make it a regular one.

Next time the only reservations I will have will be the ones I make at whichever hotel we choose for our next adventure! What has been your favourite holiday?

Love

Mummy & Moose

totb escape rooms
Thinking Outside The Box

Its Saturday evening and I am on a desert island with my sister Jaymee from The Mum Diaries and 2 of my children.

Our only hope is to work together to solve a series of puzzles and games to get out of the room within 60 minutes. Otherwise we will be STRANDED.

Ok, not really but this is the story behind tonights game at the Thinking Outside The Box Escape Rooms. An interactive and immersive experience like nothing else I have ever experienced. Col who is turning 16 today has been asking to have a go for weeks so is a very happy boy.

Upon entry to the building (located near Peterborough market on Cattlemarket road – us cool kids will know the building from its days as the Stamford Music Shop) we were greeted by an exuberant man who introduced himself as James and introduced us to Jason and Richard.

TOTB is their brainchild and you can really see the hours of work which has been poured into every single bit of the rooms.

After a short briefing and the offer of refreshments we were asked to line up and handed a blindfold each to wear on our walk into the room to add to the experience. We did as asked and off we went.

What followed was surprising from start to finish.

I won’t spoil your trip by giving much away but wear a t shirt (when they say immersive, they mean it. The room is warm) and take a couple of kids or at least grown ups who think like kids!

I had admittedly been awoken by Moose at 4:30 this morning so I wasn’t in the best of shape to be tackling anything like this.

Even if I hadn’t though I could not have competed with Col and Bess’s ability to work together to solve the puzzles set for us. It was lovely to see them take a break from plotting one and others demise even for an hour.

I did my bit (by that I mean I mostly held stuff and shouted out the odd helpful contribution) and Jaymee who has always been a very practical sort of a thinker was absolutely on point! I was very happy with my team.

Inside the room was a variety of puzzles and problems to solve. The minimum number of players is 2 but I think its a case of more the merrier really.

Our ever friendly Gamesmaster was on hand to help us if needed with a clue or 5 without giving us the answer of course!

 

I Wish I Could Tell You More

But to do so would be doing you a disservice. If you haven’t tried an escape room yet then you must. Happily we managed to get out of the room eventually but even if we hadn’t it was just so much fun!

The game is suitable for children aged 8 and up making it a good choice for families.

But the escape rooms would also be a great option for a stag or hen party or just as a great way to spend time with friends or work colleagues on a team building exercise.

You can really see the passion which has gone into creating this live action game even down to the smallest of detail. The staff are quick to make you feel very welcome and just add to the whole experience.

A great addition to Peterborough and we cannot wait to come back to try the Merlin themed room!

TOTB are offering 10% off when you quote THINKBOX10 so go try it, you won’t regret it!

BOOK HERE

team at totb

 

 

Disclosure: We were invited to try TOTB Escape rooms in return for writing a review. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

holding handsRecently Moose and I took a trip into town.

Nothing was particularly needed but for a change of scenery and some fresh air. Somedays Moose is more than happy to play in the lounge and some days. Well. He isn’t.

He did well, we walked around the shopping centre for a while. Admired an art installation. Went for cake. Walked like pigeons… the usual. Then my little man started to walk a little more slowly, he had an occasional rub of the eyes, then a little yawn. It was time to head home. In fact that time had passed and I should have known better. I was well aware of the ticking time bomb I had on my hands and so back to the car we started.

We almost made it. As we came to around 5minutes from the safety of my car IT happened. Moose just stopped dead. I did what I could, I swear. I came down to his level, I sympathised that he must be tired but just a few more steps and he could relax. Not good enough. Not even close. He went for it.

Crying, shouting, thrashing. There was no way I could carry him, by then my hands were already full. I cursed myself for not bringing a backpack and then told Moose that as soon as he was ready we could get going. He kept thrashing. I was getting ‘the look’ from passers by. He kept thrashing. I attempted to keep my cool. I am not usually too bothered by this sort of thing and I wasn’t pressed for time so I stood and waited for him to finish.

Then the other IT happened. Someone got involved. A stranger. He was a broad, tall man in his older years with a shock of silvery hair and a beard to match. An imposing figure even to me and he came striding straight for us at speed before stopping abruptly as though he was about to walk over Moose. I had no idea what to say. He addressed me and said “hello, I hope this is ok” before crouching down to my 2 year old rageball and he said in a booming voice “Young man. I think we have had quite enough of this. Lets walk together with Mummy” and he took his hand. Moose looked at me. I looked at Moose. We were both caught completely off guard.

It was working so I went with it. I took Moose’s other hand and we walked. The man spoke with fondness about his own Grandchildren and made jokes with us before wishing us well and going on his way as quickly as he had arrived with a thank you from a now composed Mummy. The entire encounter lasted 5 minutes at most and I was left wondering what the correct response should have been. I have certainly never allowed a stranger to take my child’s hand before but there really was no time to think so I went with my instinct!

On reflection I wish I had asked his name. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to thank him properly. I have had strangers get involved in tantrums before but never in a positive way. Plenty of tuts, or stern instruction to “sort my kid out”. Nobody helped though. It lasted 5 minutes and it was sort of nothing but I will think about that stranger for a long time I am sure. Having someone lend a hand just because he could in a world where we hear a lot in the media about why we should fear strangers, it was lovely. Thank you. Whoever you are.

Love

Mummy & Moose

 

 

Yesterday was the International Day Of Happiness and it was a Monday. So I am late as usual but I refuse to be constrained by the calendar, surely the point of happiness is that we take an active role every day anyway.. Yesterday was a day for thinking about what I value in my little world so as Real Mum Review did, I would like to begin this post by throwing out there a quote I like..

 

happy quote

 

Here are the 10 things I have in my world which make me happy (in no particular order)

My children are weirdos. Just like me. All of the best people are weirdos. They make me happy in some way every single day of their lives – admittedly some days the way they make me happy is by going elsewhere but still. Happy. All three are growing up incredibly fast and all three make me proud in their own way. My children make me happ

Music is and always has been something I love. I mean REALLY love. Not just 1 band or a particular genre (though alt grunge rock will always hold a special place in my heart) but any music. I am in awe of anyone who can produce it and there is nothing I like more than to discover something or someone I haven’t heard before. Given the choice I would pick Music over Tv any day of the week. Music makes me happy.

My Husband is not what I thought my Husband would be when I used to imagine life as an adult. Not least because I decided from around the age of 11 that marriage was not my cuppa. He is the single most infuriating person I have ever met. He can be selfish, he can be arrogant and he rarely says he is sorry. Just like me. When we met (cough) 15 years ago though, something clicked inside of me. I hadn’t felt about anybody the way I felt and still feel about him. I can’t even say for sure what that is or why but to paraphrase a much loved blue fish. When I look at him, I’m home. My husband makes me happy.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to stay at home with our children AND do something I enjoy to make a little bit of money. For those of you who don’t know, I make clay cake toppers for a living. It’s something which started out as a hobby when I started playing with clay as a child and has grown into something else since becoming a Mum. I adore (most of) my clients and after years of working in customer service handling complaints it’s so lovely to deal with people in a happy period of their lives! My “work” makes me happy.

 

I have some wonderful people in my life right now. Some are close by and I have met through my children, 1 I have known forever, and a lot live far away. To have people in the world who understand you and your sensibilities (and stick around anyway) is not a thing I have always had. I worry about and miss my best friend every single day but I am glad that we seem to have weathered the distance between us. My friends make me happy.

I couldn’t imagine life without my 2 sisters and 2 brothers. We all live relatively close to one another and we all have children AND at the moment we are all on speaking terms. Miracle! I love that my children are growing up alongside their cousins and I adore all of them like they are my own. I am immensely proud of my siblings and I count them all as very close friends. My siblings make me happy.

When we moved back to Cambridgeshire we bought this house because it had potential. in the 9 years we have lived here we have worked on it – building a downstairs shower room, adding a kitchen diner and some outside work. There is still masses to do though. Sometimes it feels as though we will never finish but I really like living here. We have masses of outside space, it’s just a shame I am so bad at gardening. My home makes me happy.

I have always had a bit of an odd relationship with food. In the past I have blamed it for my weight and for my unhappiness. Even my depression. But I was directing the blame in the wrong way. It wasn’t food, it was me. If I eat the right food it makes me happy. Food makes me happy.

I like to leave. I love travelling with my family and I wish we could do so much more of it. Some of my earliest memories were of exploring the channel islands with my Grandad. Leaving my home town still gives me the biggest butterflies. In the best way possible! Hopefully I am passing this hunger to see places onto my children. I cannot think of anything better than exploring outside of what you know. I hope in the years to come that I will be visiting my children wherever in the world they might be and that they go and see what they can before they feel tied to one place. Travel makes me happy.

tenerife view from compostela

I spent a lot of time over the years concentrating on the negative things about myself. There is something about being around certain people which opens your eyes a little bit at least to how the world sees you. I think being over 30 helps. I certainly wasn’t my biggest fan in my teens or my twenties. Turning 30 made me take a second look and I realised that how I felt was a result of either being grossly unfair to myself or giving too much credence to how others might think about me. I couldn’t care less anymore. Those who know me, know my heart. Nobody else’s opinion matters too much. I am stronger than I thought I was and although I do have things I would like to change about myself I know I can do it. Accepting myself makes me happy.

I think we all could do with a bit more positivity so I am tagging a few of my fellow bloggers to get involved and share 10 things which make them happy. You too, reader! Comment below with something that makes you happy.

Love 

Mummy & Moose 

x

Lauren @Belle Du Brighton

Kirsty @Life With Boys

Sarah @Toby Goes Bananas

Lauren @Mummy Is A Gadget Geek

Sarah @Boo Roo and Tigger Too

Jaymee @The Mum Diaries

Lyndsey @Me Him The Dog & A Baby

Beth @Life As Mum

This week I am taking part in #LittleLoves with Coffee Work Sleep Repeat, its a great series and I enjoy reading the other posts so thought I might get involved!

Read

Not a great start. Aside from Bess’ awesome report from her teacher on parents evening I haven’t managed to sit down and read anything… Oops!

Watched

LOGAN! In an actual cinema with my Husband and no kids. It is a very rare occurrence for us to go anywhere as a couple so this was kind of a big deal.

There has just been a major overhaul at our local cinema. Gone are the sticky floors and now we have leather electric recliners with cup holders.

Popcorn

The film was great (if not a little bit depressing to be honest), I had popcorn and a bucket of sprite and a good time was had by all – I only got marginally cross with the foot tapping packet rustler seated nearby.

Heard

I am a little bit obsessed with Screaming Females at the moment and this is my favourite.

Made

We made a planter! Admittedly as with most of our endeavours as Husband and Wife, I had the idea and MrG brought it to fruition but ideas are hard so I feel like really the workload was 70/30?

Plantet

The plan is to sort some of the garden out this year. Sadly I cannot see a holiday in our near future so we will have plenty of time to devote to the cause hopefully. Only trouble is that I am really, really bad at gardening. Really bad.

Wore

My Garbage tour t shirt from last year. I have loved them since I was a teenager (which actually wasn’t even that long ago so there!) and I am still head over heels for them. 2016 garbage tour t shirt

Garbage’s music was the first thing MrG and I bonded over so they might even be counted as being partially responsible for our marriage.

and lastly…

We have enjoyed some lovely sunny days and our last week with MrG before he starts his new job on Monday.

Bubbles

I will be kind of sad to not have him grumbling about the place all day but I am looking forward to having some kind of normality back!

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat