What Happened In August

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Back in July, I posted ‘What Happened in July‘. It’s something that I feel I want to continue with for the few months. I do have plans to grow it into more of an email newsletter type thing. So watch this space…

So let’s get on with August…

The summer holidays, Disneyland Paris, family time and blogging.

The Blog

I can’t believe that my little blog is seven months old (the new version anyway) and I am the sort of person to celebrate the little things. The first 20 likes of my blog, the 1,085 followers on my twitter and when TK Maxx commented on my tweet! I like so many others do this for fun, not to make money but for the love of writing or an extension of something else but I still take it seriously and I am wanting to grow my blog over the next 18 months. I’m still working on the strategy but I used August for a month of blog reflection. I never get much time to myself in the summer holidays. Dance Mum might be on break but the list doesn’t end!

My current blog goals are:

  1. Blog more consistently. Aiming for at least once a week! I say aiming with all the will in the world, time just seems to run away with me.
  2. Track my social media to help me work towards my strategy. I’ve been tracking but I need to analyse which posts gain the most likes, comments and followers.
  3. Plan plan plan. I write a to-do list and something will usually come up so I can’t post at the right time or the photo I forgot to take earlier on in the day is now destroyed by the loss of light. I need to look at my monthly blogging plans and plan towards meeting that goal.

If anyone has any hints and tips, perhaps you blog about this stuff, please drop me an email or a message!

Summer Holidays

Stansted Park & Light Railway

A day in the park at Stansted Park

A day in the park at Stansted Park

Stansted House is an 18th century Edwardian home on the Hampshire/West Sussex border. It’s open to the public Sunday to Wednesday in the afternoons usually during the summer months.

There is so much more to enjoy though perhaps you’d prefer a spot of afternoon tea in the Pavillon Tea Room, buying some local produce from the farmers shop or if you want somewhere to take the kids on a Sunday afternoon maybe check out the Stansted Park Railway, it’s run by volunteers and is a cute half-mile track between woodland. On our visit this summer, we had two rides on the train at prices starting at £1.50 for children/concessions and £2.00 for adults, it’s just lovely doing something so simple followed by a slice of cake at the garden centre cafe. Not forgetting if you have time a run around the walled garden play area or maybe you fancy yourself getting lost in the maze. It’s very much a place to spend with family over a bite to eat or a walk around the Victorian Walled Gardens.

Emsworth

Emsworth by the South Coast

A lovely walk around the Emsworth estuary

Emsworth is a small town nestled between the South Downs and the sea. Is has a strong fishing, sailing and boat building heritage.

We had a stroll around town, down the hill and towards the water. If our interested in harbour walks, please check out Emsworth Walks. The site explains walks in and around the Emsworth area.

Never one to miss out on lunch we stopped for a quick lunch at the Greenhouse Cafe. It is a really quaint little place, with it’s own little courtyard. I was particularly impressed with orders being taken at the table. Everything was freshly made and I highly recommend giving it a try if you are in the area.

Southsea

Fish and Chips by the sea on Southsea Pier

The Deep Blue Restaurant, Southsea pier

It had been a while since we had a family walk in Southsea. When our daughter was born 12 years ago, she would wake for a feed at 6am and then quickly drift off for a few hours, leaving us wide awake so we’d head on down to Southsea (sometimes grabbing a McDonald’s Brekkie on the way down) and we’d have a walk while she slept for a couple more hours.

We never really got out of the habit and even years later when her brother was born we’d occasionally bundle them into the car and have a walk on a Sunday morning.

So as I was saying, it had been a while and it was the first day we’d had in a while without Thomas. We made the most of it and walked from Clarence Pier to Southsea Parade Pier. We had no plans but on seeing The Deep Blue Restaurant on the Southsea Parade pier, we wanted to check it out.

It was lovely. The decorations, the atmosphere, the food. We ordered fish and chips with bread and butter, mushy peas and a cup of tea. A typical British lunch if there ever was one. I couldn’t fault the service, the staff were attentive and helpful, the food was amazing and we all left with full tummies! If you are ever in the Southsea area, I would check them out! I can’t wait to go again!

Wet room

Before Wetroom

Before Wetroom

For those of you who don’t know. Local councils have money to help disabled or vulnerable people add adaptions or modifications to their homes, so wider doorways, a downstairs bedroom or bathroom. It is called a DFG (Disabled Facilities Grant), you can get these in social housing or privately owned homes.  However there are upper limits they can offer. Usually £30k but ours came in at £38k so our housing association contributed. But this is due to be increased to £40k due to inflation. It’s quite a long process, ours was roughly a year from first application to completion as we needed the confirmation from an Occupational Therapist.

During Wetroom

During Wetroom

Back in March, work started on our house to add a much needed wet room for Thomas. It wasn’t ideal for us having to change him on the dining room floor and we wanted a safe place to shower him. It felt like an eternity watching tradesmen come and go, things being knocked down and walls added. We had options to purchase more expensive tiles etc but we opted for basic white tiles. We had a few issues along the way, so it delayed it by a few weeks due to drainage etc.

After Wetroom

After Wetroom

At times it felt like it was never going to be finished and we’d spend most of the year with no use of the garden and wondering if tradespeople were going to suddenly show up.

It did eventually get finished in June and although it looks like a white room, we asked for bright lime green and orange on the walls so it’s bright and child friendly.

We wanted something that wasn’t going to feel like a clinical room or a room that Thomas would be afraid of. It still has a little way to go with us adding storage units, shelving and accessories but we are getting there. The changing table is more of an asset than we realised.

For anyone who doesn’t like to ask for things, or feels that they’ve asked for too much please just do it! We waited two years before we asked for a safe place to change Thomas as we like so any other families with feel its okay to make ‘do’ or we don’t like making a fuss. But put in that application or make that call!

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris at sunset

A Family Photo beside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

If you’ve been following my blog (big love to you, if you have) then you will know that we recently had a trip to Disneyland Paris. I didn’t want to fill this post up with too much Disney but if you haven’t already please check out my Travel Day/Day 1 Trip Report and my review of the Hotel Cheyenne. More posts are coming this month so please pop back and check them out.

We always have an amazing time at Disneyland Paris, the staff are amazing, we struggle with the food like most people but having stayed half board this time, we actually felt that there was something we all liked. I wished we’d had longer to enjoy breakfast, it always felt rushed so we could get to the parks but it was great with plenty for everyone.

It was our first trip that we actually came back planning our next trip, which is exciting. I’d love to do Halloween or Christmas as we’ve done Spring twice and now summer. So watch this space for our next trip!

August Faves

I wanted to do a separate August Faves but felt there probably wasn’t enough so I’m summarising it here.

Television

  • Season 9/10 Supernatural – I have been binge-watching for months but who can resist the Winchesters!
  • How I Met Your Mother – I was a little slow on the uptake of this one. Originally, it was a little before my time but after a heavy episode of New Amsterdam (can’t wait for season 2) a few months ago I needed something funny and upbeat and I have been hooked and even a little bit obsessed. I’ve always adored Neil Patrick Harris!

Listening to

  • Aladdin soundtrack – My favourite Disney film is Aladdin I was eight or nine when it came out and it was my Frozen. I even named my daughter Alana Jasmine after my favourite princess (true fact) so when they announced a new live-action film you can imagine my excitement. It took my breath away like the first time and this time Jasmine was a song! So the soundtrack has been playing on the Amazon Echo a fair bit this last few months.
  • McFly  (All Albums)– If you aren’t into your music you probably won’t have seen that McFly are back ‘officially’ after a nine-year break (McBusted years don’t count) and our house was full of McFly tunes, that and screaming from an excited 12-year-old. Now I was lucky enough to see McBusted at the O2 in 2015. It was one of the best concerts I have ever been to (I’ve been to a few) and we sat four seats away from Emma Willis and Stephen Mulhearn (true fact).

So that’s August and suddenly it’s now September, the kids are back at school, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting darker and the countdown to Christmas has begun!

Coming September

  • Back to school
  • Organising
  • Autumn plans
  • Peppa Pig World
  • Thomas’ 9th birthday

If you like what you read, please hang around, maybe click on the follow button, maybe sign up as a subscriber. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while, know that I write about a variety of topics although I try to stay in my nice little box of lifestyle and parenting with a pinch of Disney.

Thank you for reading

Gem x

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