O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Visiting Surrey with the family - 6 great days out

Until the age of 18 I lived in Surrey and 23 years later my parents still live there so I'm a frequent visitor. It is probably the county I feel fondest about, all my firsts happened there - steps, words, tooth, school, kiss and I even bought my first house with dh there.

Nowadays when I go back to see my family I am a visitor because we do not have a base there and my parents home is not big enough to house us all so I am always on the look out for a good quality hotel that does not cost the earth and can accommodate three or four of us in the same room, within a short travelling distance of Woking.

We tend to leave one or two of the children with my parents (and they think this is a wonderful treat) and the other comes with us to the hotel. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that we could get a room at the Holiday Inn, Farnborough for four of us to stay after Christmas for just £78 for the night. That kind of price is comparable to what we would pay for a budget hotel but this is no budget hotel, you only need to look at the photos on the site to see how luxurious the hotel it. I was highly impressed with the indoor pool, air conditioning in every bedroom and the kids stay and eat for free promise, we will definitely be checking in to the Holiday Inn, Farnborough in the near future,  it is only about a 15 minute drive from my parents front door.

But if we do stay in Farnborough where would I recommend to visit?

First off the word Farnborough conjures up one event for anyone who lives locally and that is the Farnborough air show. Whether you have an interest in aircraft's or not you will love this family day out in July - the kids tickets are free, there are loads of funfair rides, food stalls and activities. This is arguably the best air show in the UK.

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If you like an action packed family day then Surrey really is the perfect place as it is home to Thorpe Park, Chessington and Legoland. All are just a short drive away and each of these theme parks is fabulous for children. Our family have been to each of them many times over but our personal favourite is probably Legoland and that is because JJ is a major Lego fan and the rides there are such good fun. Chessington is super for variety as not only do you have the rides you also have the animals to visit and Thorpe Park is definitely aimed at the older children and young adults with all the thrill seeker rides on offer.

Our days out are not always about spending a lot of money and having thrills though, my kids are just as happy exploring a National Trust property and getting involved with some living history. In Surrey there are some amazing NT properties and I know my parents have been enjoying seeing them all with the membership I bought them earlier this year. So far on my list of sites I want to visit with the kids are Polesden Lacey, Clandon Park, Hatchlands Park and Leith Hill. There is always something going on or something to see with the NT and my children love joining in with the quizzes and organised walks.

If you appreciate being outside and like to enjoy a bit of colour then I cannot recommend RHS Wisley Gardens highly enough, it is like a photographers paradise with opportunities around every corner. I've always enjoyed the cream teas there as well and the kids just love the space and a chance to be able to run and hide amongst the trees.

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I bet you didn't know that Surrey has its own beach, even though it is inland?  Not many people are aware of this but Frensham Great Pond has a wonderful sandy beach leading down to the pond and on a warm day it is beautiful to relax and swim here. If the weather is not so great then it makes an amazing spot for a long family walk or bike ride and there are loads of different routes you can take. It is a lot of fun.

Then the last place I want to recommend for you to visit is the Alice Holt Forest Woodland Park. I know my blogger friend Emma is a regular visitor over there and it always looks as if there is something wonderful going on from lantern trails to Graffalo walks. The varied play activities look as if they will en thrall even the most lively child and if they don't well there is also Go Ape so you can always sign them up for a high wire experience!

So there you have it, six super places to visit in Surrey and some of them are even free, you can't say no to that! If you know the area, where would you recommend we visit locally?

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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Our perfect family holiday in the sun

When Mark Warner asked me what the perfect holiday was for my family I really had to apply some thought. We are all quite different and holidays can be interesting (to say the least) as we try to find good compromises to ensure that everyone gets to do something they fancy.

First off you have my eldest son and he is all about the water. He announced to me the other day 'Mum, you know those holidays my friends go on where their parents just sit by a pool all day and the kids play in the water and I always said they were so boring? Well I think I am ready for one now'. So at the grand age of 11 years I can confirm that JJ is ready to go abroad, he wants to swim, play water volleyball, hang out with mates his own age and have a good time.

When I took him aside and showed him the Mark Warner site he said that Kidz Club (ages 10-13 years) sounded just like his kind of thing, 'It will be just like scouts Mum, we do kayaking there too!'.

So it appears Mark Warner can tick the boxes for JJ but what about Miss M? This 7 year old is my mini hurricane and whilst she loves to swim too, she is not good at doing any one activity for too long. This little lady likes adventure, variety and lots of mates to play with. Thankfully I think a Mark Warner holiday might actually be the answer to my prayers for Miss M. The kids activities are all included in the price and I'll be deemed the best Mum ever when I don't have to say no to her. She can head off to her Junior Club (6-9 years) and get involved with beach volleyball, wind sailing, rip tag or any other number of fun activities.

If we are lucky enough to be chosen to be ambassadors I sincerely can not wait to see the look on Miss M's face when she hears there is a movie every night for kids her age and she might even be able to stay up until 11pm with the older kids, this will make her year and mine too as it means I get to have a quiet glass of vino with my husband!

Miss E is my more subdued child, she loves to get outdoors as much as the next kid but she also likes to spend time one-on-one with me and I think it will be just perfect on the odd day to send the other two (eagerly) off to their clubs and to let her stay with me for our girlie time. It can be as simple as a swim together or maybe she will draw whilst I read my book but to her it will be a special day as time is definitely her love language.

I'm pretty sure Miss E will enjoy the Junior Club too when she goes with her twin but I suspect the sand based activities will be the ones that appeal to her most and if I know Miss E at all she will make herself useful and set herself up as an able assistant to the professionals running the club.

What about my husband and I? What do we want from a holiday? You might assume it would be the same sort of thing, we have been together for 20 years after all. But, you would be wrong. For me an abroad holiday is about enjoying the climate and chilling out. I love to take a suitcase full of books and find a favoured sun lounger. I can happily spend my day between the pool and the lounger, add in the odd fruity cocktail and a spa treatment and I really am in heaven. It will be just like my holidays of years gone by but even better as I also get to go and watch the kids enjoy themselves trying out new activities that would normally be beyond our means and of course we can dine every day together as a family to reconnect and share our special moments.

My husband does not like to sit still for too long, exploring is his thing and taking in the local culture and scenery. Just this week he is away and if I know him there have been a few 15 mile walks enjoying Gods great creation. He also loves cycling, so I can imagine him and JJ taking off for a good long ride and seeing where they end up and as long as it involves ice cream and being with Daddy JJ won't mind at all. I suspect if I mention to dh that he gets me to himself for a few nights a week that won't go down too badly either!

This picture was taken in the Dominican Republic in 2004, the last time dh and I had an abroad holiday together,
I think it is about time we recaptured that sun kissed youthful look again!
So there you have it, our ideal holiday for this family of five. It appears that Mark Warner can hit the spot for us and now we just hope that we can match what Mark Warner are looking for from their ambassador family, we sure did have fun joining in with their #MWactive challenge back in October 2013.

Have a fabulous weekend, Mich x
If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, 7 December 2014

In His Time

By the time this post publishes I'll have delivered a short session tonight on this very subject. As I sat and wrote the material I realised I probably ought to capture the essence of my talk here on the blog as it is always good to look back and see where God is working.

In the age we live in, the general expectation is that we can have what we want, when we want it and predominantly people want things NOW.

It is an age of instant gratification and there is no need to wait for anything.
  • You want food – go ahead and eat it, it is not rationed.
  • You want a car - buy it, even if you don’t have the money, there are loans readily available.
  • You want an intimate relationship with someone – then just have a one night stand, everyone is doing it after all, what's the issue?

But life is different for us, as Christians we are proud to rely on God’s word and His instructions for our lives and he very clearly tells us to ‘be in this world but not to be of it’. But what does that mean?

Romans 12: 2 (NLT) says "Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Sharing my top tips on managing my household budget

My current beautiful home

My husband and I bought our first house back in 1997 and I have to be honest and say that he taught me everything I know about managing a tight household budget. I was always a 'live now and forget tomorrow' kind of spender and whilst that was lots of fun it often led me back to my parents and getting bailed out whilst I was at University. Of course once you are in that spending mentality it is pretty hard to break it and it was only because my husband said we would not combine our finances until I showed him I could be trusted with money that I started to work hard to change my ways.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Christmas - get the kids involved!

Christmas can be a really busy time and for some it all becomes too much and the burden of jobs and money takes its toll. I'm firmly in the camp that says if you can't afford it, do not do it. No Christmas is worth having to pay off credit cards for months afterwards. Nor is it worth making yourself ill with stress.

Christmas is supposed to be a time when we celebrate the best gift of all, the birth of Jesus Christ and ultimately the sacrifice He made for us, so it is important for me and my family to spend time during Advent where we focus on Jesus and not ourselves. That is not the easiest of tasks with three kids as ultimately they would like to just take, take, take but they need a grounding and an understanding that Christmas is bigger than them.

I don't think Christmas is just the responsibility of parents, they should not have to plan it alone and do all the organisation, the kids need to be involved too. My kids may have groaned the first few times I asked them to set the table, empty the dishwasher or do the recycling but now they do it as standard and know they are part of a team and are making a difference to family life and you know what? I think they even enjoy it too, it gives them a sense of achievement and they thrive on the responsibility.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Permission for leave granted

Hey blog,

It is Mich here, did I tell you I put in a request for a few weeks leave? I'm feeling a bit weathered and there is lots on my mind, so I'm going to take some time to set my priorities in order, to rest in God's loving care, be with my family, go to the gym and to have some fun.

I explained here that I need to remember who I am and to find out what it is I'm scared of.  Those chains I mentioned that needed breaking, Yep I'm gonna have a go at that as well.  It takes quite a lot of energy so I've given myself permission to be absent from the blog for a while, probably around the same time as Advent, which is perfect as it means I will focus on what should be the number one priority in my life and that is my relationship with God. I've been sad to realise this has been siding down my to-do list recently.

You know me, I find it hard to keep away, so the odd post might pop up as I'll of course fulfil all obligations that I had committed to, but in the main there will just be some silence over here or maybe some pretty pictures, we'll see how this pans out.

I'll miss you, but I know I'll get over it (in the nicest way), I always do when I have a bloggy break. Then I come back raring to go and full of beans ready to capture the world!

Love, Mich xx

You see this picture of the sea, I'm right at the foot of the picture at the moment, just pondering how I will navigate my way across that first stretch of water to reach the land you can see beyond. When I reach that land I'll be back and ready for the next chapter and diving into the big deep blue sea beyond. I'm not feeling scared, God is with me.

If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Jersey War Tunnels - Fabulous Family Fun #CountryKids

It's been way too long since I have joined up with Fiona over at Coombe Mill for her #CountryKids linky so today I am rectifying that.  At the end of October we took a family holiday to Jersey and it is a wonderful place. I'd be happy to recommend it as somewhere to take the kids and get outside and explore. The island is beautiful and the beaches just divine.

One day we took a short drive from our hotel in the capital St Helier and headed to the Jersey War Tunnels. You might not be aware that during WW11 Jersey was occupied by the Nazi's and the whole island had to bow down to their power. One of the things they did during their time on Jersey was to build a complex web of tunnels into the hillside. These tunnels were used as a hospital and were a safe haven from overhead attack.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Win your own design Christmas wrapping paper - yes please!

I spent a really enjoyable hour tonight sitting with my 7 year old twin girls at the kitchen table. We were all sat there together creating designs for Christmas wrapping paper and it was so nice to share our ideas and encourage each other. Miss M would not call herself a natural artist and she never really sits down and applies herself so it was particularly fulfilling for me to be able to reassure her that she has talent too, it is not just her twin who is the arty one.

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