Review: Booking Legoland

I finally got husband to agree to a day off from the farm and he wanted to take the children to Legoland Windsor so I started planning our day. From ours it is 2 hours with out traffic, and it’s fair to presume going on the M1 and M25 we are going to hit traffic so we are looking at 5 hours travelling plus getting out the park traffic. My husband is very tired at the moment and we agree an overnight stay would be needed, plan A was to book a nearby hotel 🏩 for the night before and travel home after spending the day there. Then I checked how much the day was going to cost before choosing a hotel, we have tesco points we can use or the cereal boxes, but the first thing I saw on the website was kids go free and second day free in July! (if you use one of their recommended hotels) I was happy to find deals started at around £140 for a family of four in a motel style hotel including breakfast and the 2 days at legoland 😀. The hotels prices varied with legoland itself being the most expensive at over £600 for the dates we could go, now don’t get me wrong the legoland hotel looks amazing, is onsite, fabulously decorated rooms, lego gifts included and the children had their own attached bedroom but for us this was too much to spend and we chose a selection of country hotels nearby, each offered gifts and incentives to choose them. We finally decided on the Savill Court Hotel and Spa 7 miles away on the edge of the Windsor Park, it has a pool and gym available to use, offered a free gift for the children and milk and cookies delivered at bed time which my husband was sold on! This was at a cost of £236 plus £5/day parking (this was disappointing that they charge for parking but I beleive there was a park and ride service as we saw busses there) you could upgrade the parking to priority (£8) but I wouldn’t say the carparks were ridiculously far away anyway.

Final thing on purchasing the over night stay, we were offered at check out to prepay for the parking, offer prices for days to other merlin attractions and also to add a second night at the hotel for £130, we only choose the parking and paid. Whilst at the hotel we looked at booking that extra night and last minute Friday night was over £400, looking at booking in advance it is less but trust me that £130 would have been a bargain and in hindsight I would have booked it, the hotel and area was lovely! All I kept thinking was it was cheaper to pay via legoland and not go to Legoland than to book a night at the hotel independently some say that’s crazy! In 4 days time we would be going away… Actually booked and paid for so hubby was not going to be called into work! The best part was the children didn’t know! My son was desperate to go after seeing pictures of his dad there when he was little, both children are big into lego, my daughter has started collecting the friends sets and fingers crossed they were going to love it!

Next thing I planned in advance was food, for some reason I struggled to find outside of the park food online but there is a Harvester and Toby Carvery in old town Windsor not too far from the park. After paying for the hotel I wanted to keep food costs down, I planned to make a pack out for day ones lunch and take a cool box with lots of freeze blocks with day twos food. The hotels food looked nice on the menu but I have fussy kids and wanted to keep cost low so we opted to eat at legoland, the website had a deal to Prebook for City Walk Family Meal Offer which is pasta and pizza all you can eat (including fizzy drinks) £25.90 (compared to buying on the day meant the kids eat for free). I actually paid for it on the day we went but it took forever for the receipt to come through for printing, it warned it could take an hour, I would recommend doing this not when your packed and waiting to go! 

Well that’s a review of booking the trip to Legoland for what worked best for us! It’s quite long reading it back, I will do the day on a separate post, would love to hear your deals etc! Especially where to eat nearby!

Living with a label

It would be fair to say 4 years ago I had a melt down, my relationship was broken and so was my head. It was the start of a long road which was incredibly bumpy lasting 2 years. I won’t take the full blame for this, my husband definitely played his part in it all. Through it all he has struggled to deal with me and my behaviour. But we have put it all in the past and dwelling on it will solve nothing!

I did decide to go onto antidepressants which was hard as I was still feeding my youngest, she was over 14 months old and I made the decision me getting better was the most important thing so stopped breastfeeding. It didn’t take long to be assigned a councillor but I soon used my 20 session allowance up and things still weren’t right. I struggled to cope with a lot of things and was terrified about not getting hysterical over Christmas. I was given suppressant (I know sounds crazy to give somebody on antidepressants these but they worked, I, slightly zombied out, made it through Christmas day without kicking off and ruining it for everyone) They sent me to see a psychiatrist under the idea I had unipolar (bipolar with out the manic highs) but they weren’t convinced, they believed I was lacking confidence and struggled to deal with my emotions like they’d expect a grown up to be able to do. So along came the next label 🔖 personality disorder and I was sent for group therapy which had a massive waiting list! Nor was it very local to me or easy to fit in around the school runs but I made it to several sessions including a one on one where for the umpteenth time in this journey had to go over all those childhood issues … Seriously I never considered myself to have had a bad childhood, yes it was a broken home and I had no contact with my dad but that wasn’t uncommon where I lived. It was more the emotional side that wasn’t supported, my mum had issues herself and now when I see how my husbands relationship was with his parents I see this was a massive contributing factor into why my emotions are still very child like. My biggest worry is ‘passing’ this onto my children. Being a mum doesn’t come naturally to me, well actually this whole grown up thing doesn’t and as a grown up child this was hard to get my head around. I see it as I skipped some crucial steps growing up, I had to run before I could walk well enough. So my technique is a bit wobbly. Please note Personality Disorder is a large blanket to cover many different issues going on in people’s heads.

2 years into trying to get well and without even starting group therapy properly I decided to stop the professional help. I knew why I was like I was and waiting months for appointments was leaving me hanging waiting to get better when actually I felt I just needed to get on with life, the door is left open if I can’t do this and knowing this helps massively. Life was on hold and by this point antidepressants were making me not be myself enough to enjoy life. Every day will always be a battle to not let it take over but everyday it’s a smaller thing to deal with especially when I am busy, have time for myself and understand things go wrong but it will still be ok.

It’s a bit of a rambling post but that’s what life in my head is like, I start to cry at the smallest thing,  if I think of things that could happen, no matter how unlikely, I actually feel like it is happening. The same happens watching television and films! I am constantly unnecessarily dealing emotionally with so many things.

That’s all behind the scenes, I don’t let that invade into my life as much as I can. What people see is hopefully a happy dedicated mother and wife not the label. I would like to add that I am by no means ashamed of my label or think it makes me any less of a person than anyone else, without understanding it I couldn’t deal with it.

To all MIL’s to be/ Grandparents to be

I understand, what they are doing seems totally ridiculous, you’ve done it all and well unfortunately you can’t put wise heads on young shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong they want support but probably only when asked for, still offer but learn to step back if they don’t bite your hand off to accept your help!

They live in a different world to you and what worked for you probably isn’t going to work for them and hey they have a lot on so if they aren’t bothered about something don’t stress yourself or them about it! (ok there are exceptions to all of this, I am talking generally not when the law or debt or violence or substance abuse etc is involved…. Just to make that clear)

What I am trying to say is…. IF HE DOESNT CARE HIS SOCKS HAVE A HOLE IN THEM LET IT GO!

Never say the following things in a sentence or do any of the following: (change female to male and male to female if you are thinking about a son in law)

  • Well I would have never
  • You can’t do it like that / you should do it like this
  • Clean as you go
  • When he lived with me
  • My children never/always
  • What are you making for tea (as a dig that it’s time for my kids/hubby to eat)
  • I saw the children’s socks were looking shabby so I went and bought them new ones
  • (after hearing some gobbledygook off my child) I am concerned about..
  • Write a letter to my child’s teacher
  • Put anything other than the books name and your name in the diaries
  • Rearrange any of my cupboards.. Including the childrens sock draw
  • Turn up uninvited
  • Invite other people to events I have invited you to
  • Go in my bedroom uninvited , even if it’s too put the kids dirty washing in the wash basket
  • Not get the response you wanted from me so ask hubby instead
  • Ask my children to be in a picture with the whole family but not me
  • Ask the children/ agree to a party/sleepover/for dinner before asking me

This isn’t an exhausted list but if you avoid these and any that my followers leave in the comments you are off to a good start I would say. Unless you don’t like your in-law and want to wind her up.. In that case here is a list of ways to wind them up! I will leave you with firstly this quote:

It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings’.  –Ann Landers

So it’s now time to see what you’ve done!

And if you are at your whits end with your mother in law … Although this isn’t relevant as it’s on about relying on your parents too much to get you through life, I take strength from hearing it, because this is our time, our world and in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger – ‘ignore the naysayers’

If you’re waiting on your mother, or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking, that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done.’ – by either Eric Thomas, Les Brown or Ray Lewis (I couldn’t find clarification on who said what part) 

And finally to all of you that get on with your in laws, well done! It’s a wonderful gift!

Modern Dad Pages

Thoughts of a parent as… You tidy playdough

You’ve not tidied your playdough up, in fact the mess you’ve made is so excessive for the time you’ve had. I have asked you to tidy up but you’ve run off into the back garden. I have asked you again and gotten you to repeat it back to me. You still haven’t come in so now I am annoyed!

Up until this point I wouldn’t have told you off, I can see for 30 mins I was distracted with my own thing and it’s partly my fault for not keeping you focused but I can’t tell you this because now you are in big trouble, I have warned you that you will lose a star from your reward chart and you still ignore me. Now I am feeling rubbish, why won’t you listen, the star gets taken off and I warn you that you will lose another if I have to ask again. You shoot back into the house and start the chore of tidying the playdough. I have something for us to do together but I can’t until the table is cleared. I am preparing the next activity and you are taking for ever!  I could do it in seconds but it’s not my place, ok I will help, no don’t stop because I’ve started 😞

You conveniently need the loo, ok off you go. The true extent to your mess is reveling itself. .. Why so many tiny bits all over the floor, thank goodness I have hard floors! Child, can you get the brush.. Child? Oh where are you now! I can work out you are in your room. I go to your room and you are sat playing! Argh! Down stairs! Your response, I need a wee. Hurry, now..

Finally it is tidy and it is time to do the next activity but do I want to make more mess? I am feeling a bit stressed and a bit grumpy, I am not really in the mood now. But I do, there is tension between us, you don’t want to be doing it either, grr we shouldnt have started another activity. We should have gone out for a walk and cleared the air. Ok let’s just do that now.

Modern Dad Pages

Our Saviour Pudding in 5 mins

1433413197910-1613698886I must apologise I have not got the link to where I originally found this post but I have made it that many times it is just plugged in (with my own adjustments)

So here is the situation, the children always have a pudding, it’s law! Even if it’s just a yogurt or cheese string, and my extremely fit, with out any fat on him no matter what he eats 😥 (not that I am jealous at all) has a massive sweet tooth and hollow legs so even after eating dinner he likes a pudding.

Second part to this is my daughter likes me to bake cakes etc with me but my husband borrowed my kitchen Scales for the farm and I don’t know anything off by heart! So I turned to my kitchen life support, Google!

  1. Recipes with out scales – cups! I don’t have measuring cups
  2. cups converted – up comes a conversion to ml in a jug .. Saved! Victoria sandwich here we come!

Ok so two searches solved that issue… But wait I haven’t self raising flour! search again

  1. Plain flour cake mixtures – and here something amazing came up…. Microwave Mug Cakes!

My life has been changed for ever! I have done plain cakes, chocolate cakes, chocolate fudge cakes, treacle puddings, jam steam puddings and the final one I will mention, the saviour to my too ripe bananas is the beauty, the amazing,  In a mug banana pudding!  Here is my take on it:

  • Take a microwavable bowl (I use a tupperwear or recycled Chinese tub
  • Take a real table spoon (the ones in the sets aren’t big enough
  • 3 table spoons on plain flower
  • 3 table spoons of brown sugar ( I use light
  • 1 table spoon of milk
  • 1 table spoon of stork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 or 2 mashed bananas (I don’t always mash
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Whisk till fully mixed
  • Put in the microwave for 2 1/2 mins (750w)
  • Top with a mahoosive scoop of vanilla ice-cream
  • Eat eat eat!

I Remember the original recipe saying it’s meant to be gooey still in the middle.. But this is up to you! You might want to stir before a minute has passed as it can cook on the outside quickly or lower the heat and keep putting it back in in 30 seconds burst till you know how long your microwave will take. It’s so quick, uses one tub, a whisk, a table spoon and a teaspoon (I use a normal spoon as I know how much half a teaspoon is then use that to eat it with ) and keeps my hubby very happy! Soak before washing the tub.

Please let me know if you try this, it’s not fancy but does a grand job of curing a sweettooth!

Linking this recipe up to #foodpornthursday

Modern Dad Pages

Heartbroken – a letter to Emma

Just how I feel, sometimes the feeling is too much to face they grow up so quickly

The Acting Mamma

Dear daughter,

You have broken my heart. I know you didn’t mean to and it’s ok.

The day you came into our world you broke my heart. You made me feel so inadequate and helpless when I knew you needed me to be strong and able.

Every time you cry you break my heart a little more. Whether it’s because you’re hungry, tired or you fell while trying to climb the sofa – you break my heart nonetheless.

When you can’t sleep because you’re ill or teething, I bravely try all the things I can think of to make you better while my heart breaks a little more.

When you bum shuffle across a room full of strangers without even a glance to see that I’m right behind you, I pretend to be proud of your independence even though my heart breaks because you don’t need me.

When I think of you…

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By saving money are we making ourselves poor?

FB_IMG_1434169965977Now I am all for cutting bills, as a stay at home mum I spend hours doing this. Comparing everything we buy. I do love a bargain, but at what cost? Or more accurately at what cost to who? For this post I will look at two contributing parts to this.

First, briefly, people being greedy, charging too much for products and services we really do need, for example interests rates on mortgages/ rent, and the house hold bills (utilities), creating a need for us to save money in other areas to pay for these. Secondly in looking for the bargain have we helped damaged our own economy and maybe even created a snowball effect (or maybe it should be a melting snowball) and that is the main focus of my post (rant)

The cycle, for want of a better word, I am trying to refer to is this:

  • I wanted to save money so bought a cheaper item, possibly imported,
  • for other local company’s to sell this item, sellers needed to reduce their prices to be competitive
  • they weren’t making so much money anymore as their mark ups are lower
  • they couldn’t employ as many staff/ could only afford to pay a lower wage to employees
  • staff that were affected by this didn’t have as much income as before/ they would have had
  • they needed to look for cheaper alternatives because they now have a tighter budget
  • they bought a cheaper item to save money.. return to the first bullet point (with a little bit less money in the system)

another example, slightly closer to home is:
Take the dairy farmer, the cost of a lot of his expenses have gone up (possible examples: interest rates/rent/ electricity/ oil) but the milk prices were good so this balanced this out for a while. Some farmers decided to up their herd size to make the most of the prices, but he wasn’t in such a position as he was not a big business, the demand for milk has gone down so this along with the supermarkets wanting to sell 4 pints under £1 the price he gets for his milk has gone down. He either become the person above who has a reduced income so need to tighten my budget or it could be enough to make him make a loss and call it a day with the farm. So He sells up, setting a farm up is an expensive thing, not many people can afford to do this in which case his farm will no longer be a dairy farm, maybe a housing developer will buy my land and not only will he and his staff loose their income but no one will be replacing the vacancies they have left either. One day the housing developer might get permission to build so there could be employment possibilities eventually for a short while, but from that piece of land it will only be for a short time that it earns somebody money. There will be less money in the local economy, so they will not be able to spend as much.

The same applies for the greengrocer you avoided, the local florist, local hardware store, the butcher and the baker. We chose to buy cheaper at the supermarket/online, they hold the monopoly, and pay the manufacture /farmer what they want or source it overseas, so by avoiding them we also turned our back on our farmers and manufactures therefore helping create a lack of local jobs, we helped increase unemployment, we helped make ourselves poorer. This in my opinion is a massive factor why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, being really down about it we could say we will end up like in Poldark times with a massive separation in classes if it was to continue as it is.

So what do we do now, well even if I have convinced you, the majority will still be looking out for number one and feed the system to continue its path of self destruction. What makes me sure of this..

I, as a volunteer, run a local community group on Facebook, set up to help local business and community groups spread the word about their greatness! But local support is very low (even by the businesses themselves), interaction on the pages in minimal… yet the items for free page is booming with activity, in fact to the point where the admin on that page are having to step in on posts. Too many people asking for things appose to offering things (which is what is meant to happen) but get this they aren’t in total despair that they really could do with that particular item.. Oh no! they are being selective, even requesting they will only want people to DONATE items to them if it’s a certain colour! So even the poor are being greedy by wanting more for less, is this as bad as the first paragraph where I said about businesses wanting more money for the product/ service they provide? Is it to an extent the same thing?

If you have made it this far, please understand, I understand if you haven’t got the the money you can’t pay for more expensive things, I have own brands in my cupboards, I can’t afford to shop posh either! We are a product of many generations decisions but we can make sure our purchases have a fair history in getting to you, we can look for local options to compare with. My local butchers sausages are almost as cheep as the supermarkets (as a returning customer I do get an as good price sometimes) and they have better quality meat in them, lets face it your paying for a lump of lard with a few specks of poor quality meat in some of them (did you see that program about saving money on channel 1 where they showed you how much fat was in some of them!)

This is only my rant on the issue, it is not intended to make people feel bad that they can’t afford things, I just wanted to open the thoughts of double checking what we buy is a fair product to everyone involved in getting it to you.

A fair system is where we only earn what we need, not hiding billions in overseas accounts, where savings are passed on to customers but also where savings don’t put local people out of business!

DSC_0065Thank you if you made it to the end

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