Thursday, 19 July 2018

Starting Secondary School with Blacks #BacktoSchool

child modelling joules raincoat

If you have school aged children and I say to you 'back to school', I bet you start thinking about shopping and getting the kids kitted out with all their new uniform and essential supplies. The obvious places to shop are the supermarkets (for cheap and cheerful tops and socks) or the high street department stores for the slightly more expensive pieces that you want to last a while, but have you thought about shopping at an outdoor retailer like Blacks?

As well as the actual uniform I expect you need a waterproof or winter coat, trainers, school bag, gym bag and water bottle. Blacks have all these things and because they are a retailer of items for outdoor activities, we are talking really high quality items. They cater for both children at primary school and also bigger kids like mine that have moved into adult sizes and are heading to secondary school, or even college.

My 11 year old twin girls move up to secondary school this year and that means I have a massive task ahead getting them kitted out. Their uniform will include a blazer and therefore any coat I get needs to be a bit larger to go over it and as they have about a mile walk to the bus and back each day they will need a good waterproof to keep them looking smart and feeling comfortable.

Miss E already has a waterproof jacket, as being a size smaller than her twin she gets the hand-me-downs but Miss M was definitely in need. So we had a browse of the women’s waterproof jackets on the Blacks site and I kept pointing her to nice jackets that were perhaps plain black or navy to go with her uniform, but no I totally forgot who I was dealing with. This is my vivacious and vibrant daughter, who likes to be colourful and to express herself, so here is what she choose, a beautiful coat by Joules. How can it be that my 11 year old has a piece of Joules clothing before I do?

Remembering that Life is too Short! #R2BC

Hey friends, I seriously thought about not doing an #R2BC post this week as it just felt a bit contrite and disrespectful. I've been floored by the news that my lovely blogger friend Kate Sutton (or you may know her as Wit Wit Woo) died on Monday from a stroke. She was only 48 years old, it is too young and I just can't make sense of it. Facebook has been a very sad place this week as I see status after status of all the people who are gutted, devastated and missing Kate. Of course the ones suffering will be her lovely sons Dexter and Ben and I'm keeping them tightly in my prayers.

I'm only doing this post as Kate was so full of life. She was all about going out there and grabbing it by the balls and making the most of it. I think Kate's untimely death has really shaken me and made me aware that I have to stop living in limbo and I need to enjoy every day more and be less complacent for all the wonderful things in my life. So today this #R2BC post is about 'back to basics' gratitude.

I'm thankful for -
  1. My life, that I am still here and able to kiss my kids goodnight
  2. That my body still works, despite the ailments I have, I can walk, I can drive, I can do the things I need to
  3. I am mentally well, I can make the decisions I need to, to live well and improve my life
  4. That I know Jesus, being a Christian and having a deep faith makes the most immense difference to my life
  5. I have a husband who is a good, God-loving man
  6. I have three amazing children, each unique and beautiful in their own way. They each light up my life and make it that little bit better
  7. I do both paid and voluntary work that I enjoy and is flexible around my family
  8. I get to live in the most amazing place that is filled with God's presence and so naturally beautiful
I could list so much more here, there has been lots going on but I'll leave all these little things for next week when I am feeling less sad.

Kate's eldest son Ben has set up a Go Fund Me page to help with the costs of Kate's funeral and I'm so pleased to see it is at over £10K at the moment. If you can please donate a little and this weekend many bloggers are stepping out of our comfort zone to do something a little scary in memory of Kate, we're using the hashtag #BeMoreWitWitWoo. Do what you feel comfortable with, some are doing swimwear shoots, others planting bright flowers or wearing red lippy.

Come and Join In!

I'd love to read your Reasons to be Cheerful and it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to join in -

1. Link up a post about something that is making you super happy/ grateful. It can be in this style or it can be anything you like - a recipe, a tutorial, a from the heart, a list - it's your blog, you choose

2. Add the #R2BC badge onto your post or blog so that people can easily find the linky and join in too if they fancy

3.  Share the love. This is the really important bit. Please don't just link and run, comment on at least a couple of posts and why not share with #R2BC too?

I'll stop by all linked up posts to comment and I'll share on twitter too

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

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Monday, 16 July 2018

The Juvenile Arthritis Research (JAR) Project - Did you know Children can have Arthritis too?

Richard and his daughter Trinity, who suffers from JIA

I’m so pleased today to be able to feature a guest post on my blog. I’m not sure how many years it is that I’ve known Rebecca from The Beesley Buzz blog, but it is a quite a number, and she is one of those women who never fails to inspire and have an encouraging word for everyone. Back in 2015 she discovered that her young daughter had Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and it has been harrowing to see what Trinity must go through to be able to live a (more) normal and pain reduced life.

I was so excited to hear from Rebecca back in January this year that her husband was taking an exciting (and of course scary) step by starting the Juvenile Arthritis Research project. Richard is doing something incredible to make a difference to the lives of children who suffer from JIA and I’m delighted to have him share with you here today. Really, did you even know that children could suffer from arthritis? I certainly didn’t.

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (or JIA)?
JIA is diagnosed in children and young people under the age of 16 and is a different disease to adult-onset rheumatoid arthritis, and entirely different from age-related osteoarthritis. The term ‘idiopathic’ means that, despite a number of theories, the exact cause of JIA is currently unknown.

Many people are not even aware that children can get arthritis. Yet JIA affects around 15,000 children under the age of 16 in the UK. At present, there is no cure.

JIA is an autoimmune disorder where the body starts to attack the joints, causing inflammation, pain, discomfort and reduced mobility. Left unchecked, JIA can lead to other health conditions as the immune system attacks other organs, as well as permanent disability and long-term health implications. Many children with JIA suffer from uveitis, where the immune system attacks the eyes; if not stopped this can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness. Some forms of JIA lead to systemic inflammatory damage, where other organs are damaged and, in the most severe forms, this can be fatal.

I founded Juvenile Arthritis Research (JAR) to find a cure for Juvenile Arthritis. With the support and endorsement of leading academic researchers, the JAR project works collaboratively yet independently to analyse data and information from a wide range of different scientific disciplines and research fields. By bringing together the disparate sources of information, we believe that we will be able to piece together the clues necessary to fully understand the disorder and develop a cure.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Visiting Paris with the Paris Pass - Was it Worth it?

arc di triomphe header

At the beginning of July I travelled to Paris with my Mum and brother for my Mums 70th birthday treat. We only had two full days in the city with travelling time on the two days surrounding them and having now returned home I wish we’d had three clear days for exploring, as Paris is just so vast and there is a crazy amount of things to do, especially included with your Paris Pass.

What is a Paris Pass you might be wondering? 
Well as the name suggests it is a pass that gives you access to most every attraction in Paris as well as a Paris Visite travel card for use on the metro, rail, tram and bus. I say most every attraction as there are a couple of exceptions, like the Eiffel Tower and the catacombs but it is very comprehensive and there are also a load of special shopping and restaurant discounts that you can take advantage of too. 

You can buy a Paris Pass for 2,3,4 or 6 days and there are differing prices for children (4-11 years), teens (12-17 years) and adults (age 18 plus).

The Adult price ranges from €131 for a 2 day pass to €244 for a 6 day pass
Teens - €81 - €135
Children - €44 - €75
So, as you can see the price per day gets better when you buy a longer pass but of course it depends how many days you'll be in Paris for.

Paris Pass

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful - Paris, Transition and the Circus

It's been another busy week for me and it doesn't look as if the next few weeks are going to be any different. There seems to be so much to fit in at the moment, which is a bit frustrating as I'd quite like to chill and take some time before the kids break up for six weeks, but c'est la vie, what will be, will be!

Viva La France
Last Thursday morning I headed off to London to meat my Mum and brother so we could catch the Eurostar over to Paris for a few days. It was incredibly hot and we had issues with seats, queues and delays on the Eurostar but in general we managed to have a great few days celebrating my Mums 70th birthday.  We packed loads in our days and I particularity loved going up the Eiffel Tower, taking a river cruise, riding the open top bus and seeing some awesome works of art at the Musee d'Orsay. Our apartment in Bercy Village was stunning too.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Bracing Your Family For An International Move

Image thanks to Pexel

They say moving is stressful. Why do they say this? Well, because it’s resoundingly, absolutely and completely true. If you have moved home before you're most likely nodding in agreement and if moving does not stress you in the least, then you would probably enjoy a very lucrative and successful career as a special forces operative, because it seems almost nothing could phase you.

Not only is moving house a monumental organisational task, but you must also emotionally calibrate yourself to your new surroundings, and attempt to stay positive throughout the whole affair. It’s uprooting the anchor of your life to move on to another place entirely, sailing the seas over uncharted territory until you can place your anchor in a sturdy place once more.

If moving within the bounds of your current understanding is somewhat difficult, then consider moving across national or international borders. Even if you have a great degree of familiarity with the new culture, moving to a new country entirely can sometimes lead to culture shock. The flow of life is different from place to place, and so sometimes it can take a little while to adapt.

For some tips to both brace your family for an international move and then execute the process effectively, consider the following:

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful - Family, Holidays and Friends #R2BC

Happy Thursday friends. I’m sorry I’ve been so lapse on the reasons to be cheerful front, it’s not that I’ve been miserable, I’ve just been super busy.

So much has been happening and much of it is good, I did have a couple of weeks where I felt really low and I wasn't even sure why but I seem to have worked through that and come out the other side. Praise the Lord.

I feel like a could write a number of posts as there is so much to be thankful for but I’ll go with a nice long list to keep it simple and easy to read. Here’s five weeks of gratitude for you -
  • We had an ace family holiday in the South of France over May half-term. I’d definitely go back to Eurocamp at Club Farret again.
  • My Mum and Dad came to stay at the cottage in the grounds of our home for a week and it was lovely spending time with them and we went out for lots of yummy food too.
  • The girls had an inset day and I went to a local farm attraction with them and loads of people from our community and it was a fabulous day out.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Discovering the Local Area from Eurocamp Club Farret, Vias, South of France

Beziers by Eric Valenne Geostory, thanks to Shutterstock

Back in May we flew into Beziers and took the short drive to the coastal town of Vias Plage, there we stayed with Eurocamp at Club Farret campsite. We had a wonderful time and you can read all about the parc in my review blog post and if you're an artist or crafter then check out my post about their outstanding (and free) art facilities too.

As we flew to the South of France we didn't have a car but if we were to visit again we would definitely hire one while we were there and not bother paying for hefty airport transfer charges. There is so much you can access easily and cheaply with a car but without it was much more difficult.

On Foot - Vias Plage
If you want to walk out from Camping Club Farret the nearest place to go (just 5 minutes away) is the resort of Vias Plage. This is very much a seaside town and has a 'strip' with plenty of restaurants, bars take-aways, tourist shops, convenience stores and great gelato shops. We popped into town every day to buy fresh pastries, have some dinner or to get ice creams to eat on the beach.

The beach itself is a lovely sandy one, with good clear waters and some very nice (if expensive) restaurants on the beach itself.

Children eating ice cream on the beach