It seems strange to be writing about things which are Easter related as the actual Easter bank holiday weekend seems so far ago now. I can hardly believe that we are racing towards the end of April and then towards our summer…although whether that will actually be sunny I have no idea. As I write this rain is hammering down on the window and the weather and overall temperature wouldn’t look out of place in February! It seems to take me about a week after the school holidays to recover and catch up on all my work and outstanding emails; this holiday has been no different and the blog has suffered a little bit so I’ll be playing catch up for a while yet I’m afraid. There’s just always so much to do which I’m sure everyone finds now and then. But onto our Easter holidays. The weather was typically British and very mixed; we had days when we were outside all day bathing in and soaking up the gorgeous sunshine (and I have the tan lines to prove it) and then days when we could only look longingly out of the window as the rain pelted down. We managed to squeeze quite a lot into our holidays though. We spent the first couple of days down in London for a special event at Wembley Stadium; the rest of that week was spent enjoying the sunshine and making the most of our newly fixed up garden (thanks to James for all his hard work in the run up to the holidays!)…both Meg and Eli are getting so good on their bikes now and Meg is nearly always racing up and down on her rollerskates so they had plenty of fresh air. I think that skills such as roller-skating and bike riding as such great ones for kids to learn. Or anything outdoors really, I can remember hours spent outside as a kid in the lane playing on my Pogo stick or batting a tennis ball against the side of the house with a racket. I know Eli is quite keen to get his own pair of skates too; I think I might be sticking these proline skates on his birthday wish list!
There was also lots of time for relaxing and chilling out however; I love that both Meg and Eli are little bookworms. It’s definitely something they get from me.
I think my two favourite days however were the following week when we managed to get in a trip to the beach and a trip to the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester. Thanks to the fact that our school’s Easter holiday is so randomly placed we actually had the Discovery Centre pretty much to ourselves and I’ll be doing a more dedicated post about that next week. It was a really lovely day though and the kids were totally worn out which is always a winner in my book.
The beach was basically deserted, despite the gorgeous weather and we managed a great couple of hours. The kids were even brave enough to venture out into the sea for a little paddle as well. It didn’t last long though before they were shivering their way back up the beach to dry off and carry on with their sandcastle creations. The last couple of days of the holiday were spent gearing up for the BBQ we were holding for James’ 30th birthday. We had 30 people all crammed into our garden and house (depending on whether it was choosing to rain or not at various points of the day) and it was such a lovely time. I was totally worn out by the end though and I think that has contributed to my slow pace this week. At least that’s what I’m going with! Overall we had a wonderful couple of weeks and I’m actually really pleased that this school term is so short; just 5 weeks at school and then another two off. I’m really hoping for nice weather the whole of those two weeks so we can really get outside and enjoy beach days and trips exploring. That’s what the holidays are for after all.
Although it probably sounds terribly stereotypical, until we had Eli we hadn’t ever really explored the idea of superheroes with Meg. It wasn’t something that she was interested in until Eli decided that he liked everything superhero related! It was only then that we began to realise that when it came to female superheroes, there weren’t that many around. I was thrilled therefore when I was recently contacted about the new DC Super Hero Girls YouTube channel which has just been launched in the UK. DC Entertainment have created an animated series which is all about action-packed girl power; you can follow them as they discover their special powers and abilities as well as uncovering life lessons such as friendship too. Straight away Meg (and Eli!) were intrigued and we loved the variety of characters and how dynamic they were. The episodes are quite bite-size and the DC Super Hero Girls YouTube channel makes it easy for kids to watch their favourite characters on demand and from any smart device.
The fun doesn’t just stop with the YouTube channel however, as the DC Super Hero website allows kids to play games, download free printable activities and more. If you fancy winning 1 of 3 £100 Visa Card with DC Super Hero Girls then just complete the rafflecopter below. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
Last week we were lucky enough to be invited down to London for an event being hosted by the the FA in connection with Girls’ Football Week which takes place the week beginning 25th April. The aim of FA Girl’s Football Week is to help raise awareness of the opportunities for girls to play football locally, to drive participation by girls in the sport and to encourage changes in perception by both parents and the children themselves. Last year the FA launched a campaign known as #WeCanPlay to help challenge perceptions and demonstrate that girls can play football just as much as boys can.
I was quite sporty all through school and played on every single school team right up until I left in Year 11, including football, so I was quite surprised to see statistics (from girls surveyed by the FA) which suggested that just over half of them felt football was a game they could be involved with, unlike netball and tennis. I find this such a disheartening piece of information and think that both girls and boys should be encouraged to take part in as many different sports and activities as possible. Primarily it was Meg who received the invitation to the FA event, but we all tagged along for the experience (because who would say no?!). We were treated to a tour of Wembley Stadium, given the opportunity to meet with ex-England and current Arsenal player, Kelly Smith as well as having fun with some football coaches at the end.
I can’t start the post other than by saying it was an amazing day. From the gorgeous weather right through to Kelly’s inspirational talk explaining how much she had to overcome in order to be taken seriously as a girl playing football, it was an all round fantastic day.
The tour itself was a huge highlight, particularly for James who is a massive football fan although I was excited to spot a Rugby World Cup 2015 All Blacks shirt in the changing rooms…I think I may have been the only person taking a selfie with it though…
Eli recently joined a local football team but it isn’t something that we had particularly thought about for Meg. Partly because we didn’t think she would be interested but also because she is into gymnastics and swimming and seems to be very good at those two things. Watching her train with the coaches at the end was something of an eye-opener and we were really pleased to watch her getting involved even if she fell over a few too many times!
Talking about it with her afterwards, she was really spurred on to get involved and have a go; I wasn’t sure whether Eli’s team was a mixed team although I know it is something they have talked about so I used the Play Football search engine on the FA’s website so look for local mixed teams. I was actually really pleasantly surprised to see that there are so many and so if Eli’s team don’t offer opportunities for Meg then we have other options to explore. To be honest, it wasn’t something I was expecting given the remote area we live in so I was glad there are the chances out there if girls want them!
Overall we had such an amazing day; not just because we were given the chance to tour Wembley and meet Kelly Smith but also because it a real eye-opener in terms of needing support for Women’s Football and the importance of raising awareness. A huge thank you to everyone involved with organising and running the day. We had a great time.
I posted just last week about how this month seems to have gone so quickly and yet we haven’t really done anything at all and I had to do a double check when I had the reminder to sort out my siblings post. I think perhaps for us it is more to do with barrelling towards the Easter holidays; everyone else seems to have had their holidays and be back at school and we are only just enjoying the first week of ours.
The holidays are always a funny time for Meg and Eli. I know from reliable sources that they play together on the school playground so they are used to still spending a good portion of their time together and yet there are so many more silly squabbles and fights when the holidays begin. I think it takes them a few days to adjust to being around each other all day; by next week they will be completely inseparable. So there isn’t much to share about my two siblings this month. We have rushed from pillar to post, from school to after school class and then to bed and tried to make the most of the sun when it deigned to shine.
I am hoping for many more lazy days when the warmer weather arrives; days spent sat out in the garden listening to Meg and Eli discovering and playing and enjoying themselves rather than sitting with their noses pressed against the window wondering when it is going to stop raining. The curse of living in a seaside town in the North West I think!
Prior to having the children, getting fit wasn’t something I ever really thought about. I suppose it was somewhere at the back of my mind but having been quite sporty in school and then walking to work for a good few years, I always thought I’d got the ‘being fit’ thing covered. Cue two pregnancies and a couple of years later and I began to realise just how unfit I had actually allowed myself to become. I probably began to notice it around the time I became unwell. I had dabbled in a few bits and pieces here and there; yoga, pilates, the 30 Day Shred…but nothing had really ‘stuck’. Both Meg and Eli are very active and I began to find it harder and harder to keep up with them. I love playing sport and there is nothing worse than finding yourself out of breath after just 10 minutes! When a close friend decided to take up spinning class and invited me along I was dubious. I had heard no good things about spinning and I dodged the invitation for a couple of weeks before I thought…why not?! Although perhaps if I’d known ahead of time how it would feel that first week I would never have signed up to go along! I enjoyed the pace and the feeling of getting lost in the music but clearly there were muscles in my legs and arms which hadn’t seen use in far too long. I spent the entire following week not being able to get up and down the stairs without tears stinging my eyes and sitting and standing was an adventure in itself! I don’t think it had helped that I hadn’t had the right kit; my trainers were yoga trainers and not properly padded so as well as my aching legs and my bruised arms, I had sore feet to contend with! But you know what? I stuck with it. I equipped myself with the right exercise gear and I kept pushing myself to go each week. The rumours are entirely true; I don’t think it ever gets easier and some weeks I feel like I might actually topple sideways off my bike but I am certainly beginning to notice a difference. My recovery rate is much better and I recently signed up to a local gym which I have been going to a couple of times a week. There must be something going on too as I recently treated myself to some new running leggings over a new summer top. I can’t think of when that would even have been something I’d thought about! Some weeks I have to really push myself to go but as much as the stories about how hard spinning class is, so are the stories about how great you feel about yourself once you start exercising. I feel happier within myself, I have more energy, more get-go and last week I ran headfirst down a steep dune without a second thought and I wasn’t even slightly out of breath.
I did share this picture the other week after we went to the gym with another friend and she really put us through our paces…who knew a plank could hurt so much?! I can’t deny that it doesn’t still hurt but it always, always feels great once I come home and can sit down with a cup of tea knowing that I went to the gym and earned it! I’m so pleased I decided to start getting fit and I hope that I can keep up the momentum!