Monday, 18 August 2014

Hike to the Pike

I've had a terrible couple of days with my illness, it really knocks me off my feet when it flares up so when I woke up again with my head pounding and my vision was terrible I decided that I just had to push through it hoping that some lovely clean air might brighten me up a bit.

On our travels around Park Bridge we came across a walking route to Hartshead Pike, a tower that stands at 940 feet above sea level. it has always fascinated me so off I went to go see it up close and personal.

The weather was not in my favour as it blasted me shower after shower but I carried on, half of the route was on paths and bridleways but it soon turned to field and mud.

This field in particular, where the directions said 

"At the top of the hill, cross the stile and bear right along the side of the ditch. On reaching the pond go left over a small bridge"

After a week of rain the pond was a river and the bridge was submerged, I nearly lost my shoe in some particularly deep, cold mud which was mixed with cow pats....yum. But the target was in sight and I wasn't about to give up!

After the field it wanted me to go through more mud soaked grass, I folded the map up put it into my backpack and got out the gps on my phone and followed the driving instructions which took me down some amazing quiet lanes with beautiful houses, the wind was whistling but the rain had stopped, after a swig of water I continued the steady climb which gradually got steeper and steeper.

Finally I got there and oh was it worth it, the sun came out and it was gorgeous.

It was a long walk, 10.69 Miles in total but I felt great afterwards and I absolutely love having this beautiful scenery near my home.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Summer holiday walks

This week has been a week of exploring and walking. We love a good adventure in our family so we decided to do a local trail walk to an old ruin of an iron works. It was a longish walk for the children, a 5 mile circular trek but we enjoyed it and took in the sights and sounds of the local countryside.

We did a bit of wild blackberry picking which I've not done before but we got a great haul of beautiful richly coloured berries.

The scenery is gorgeous and the children loved wandering around looking at the brightly coloured plants, spotting wildlife and dodging plenty of horse manure on the bridleways.

We walked past this purple paradise which was wonderful.

We arrived at our destination, it is called Park Bridge and is a great space for the children to explore and to have a well deserved picnic.

 We successfully walked over 10 miles as a family this week and hopefully will do the same next week, hubs and I are tackling a longer walk on Sunday as the children are off to their grandparents to be spoilt so I will as some more photos of that walk soon.

Hope you all are surviving the summer holidays, have a look at my other post for some more cheap family days out ideas if you need some inspiration. Oh and the wild blackberries turned into a fantastic jam which i will share the recipe for soon.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Vlogchallenge - what's in my bag?

I'm rooting through my bag for this week's Vlogchallenge, there's a mixture of lubrication and wax crayons.........

Monday, 4 August 2014

Cheap summer school holiday ideas

We've survived the first week of the summer holidays, we aren't going away anywhere this summer as we had a couple of breaks earlier on in the year so days out and activities at home that are fun and also budget friendly is what we are aiming for.

I'd thought I'd share a few of the activities that we have done over the past week that are purse friendly and most of all fun! - this is NOT a sponsored post, this is just places we've been and would recommend -

Our favourite place at the moment is a little slice of paradise called Hollingworth Lake. It is so lovely, a beautiful place to watch the boating on the lake, or to bring a selection of loaves and feed the ducks, geese, swans like we love to do. After we've fed the wildlife we have an ice-cream from the food kiosks right next to the lake that aren't expensive and it is delicious ice cream! Parking is cheap also with 90p for 2 hours of parking, we spend lots of time here and on a hot sunny day it is like a beach resort.

My husband and I are originally from Cheshire so we grew up listening to the sounds of the aircraft from Manchester airport, we like to go to the Runway Visitor park for a picnic and watch the planes land and take off just a stones throw away from where we are sitting. This is also a cheap day out as you only pay for the length of time you are there and it is £3 an hour which you pay as you exit. There is outdoor play equipment to entertain the little ones, also large old aircraft you can look at, there is a shop and other food kiosks and toilets - which is a necessity with little ones. We had a great time and will be going again this week.

The next activities that we have loved are crafting, I subscribe to a scheme called Toucan Boxes that deliver arts and craft supplies to your house, they are different every time and are well worth their money. I save them up through term time so when we get to the school holidays we have plenty to do. So far we have made, wind socks, dream catchers, pirate maps, parrots, butterflies and have more things to do this week! Drop me an email if you want to give it a go I have a friend referral and you will get a free box to try!

Last on this list is our local park, Stamford Park, it is a good walk from our house so it's a nice stroll, with plenty of play equipment and our favourite things, the water fountains, we love especially on a hot day.

I hope these ideas give you a bit of inspiration and please feel free to share any ideas or places to visit that are purse friendly.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Extra large extra happy

I've read far too many articles recently about how being overweight is such a sin, we are a drain on the country, drain on society you name it, proberly the next hit of bad weather will be blamed on us.

Weight is my least favourite topic of all, I was bullied as a child and teen, I shrank down to a size 10 at 17 and I was no happier for it. 

11 years on and a few dress sizes up I've grown 5 amazing children, I've gone through some serious stress and I'm still here, just cuddlier.

Would have being thinner made any of my stresses

Would being a size 10 stopped my husband becoming

Would being able to wear bum skimming dresses helped my deaf daughter to

You see happiness is much more than skin deep, strength comes in many forms, weight does not effect this, thin, fat, cuddly, it does not matter, I used to think that being thin would solve all my problems but it didn't and it cannot.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm tired of people thinking that they are worth less because of their size, I read a quote somewhere that said: 

"You have fingernails, you are not fingernails, 

you have fat, you are not fat"

I couldn't care less if someone had a problem with my size, I'm fit, I run around after 5 kids everyday, I'm studying for a degree and I have the love of my family.

Kindness and love is what should matter. Not dress sizes or what is on the scales. And I for one will not feel ashamed for being larger than the average bear. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Vlog Challenge Mad about the boy and Bridget

So I decided to have a go at the #Vlogchallenge hosted by Kate and Nickie this week, well actually this is last weeks topic but I've still been in and out of hospital and it's about books so I've given it a go jope you all enjoy! it's about me catching up with the rest of the world by finally reading the new Bridget Jones book.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Under pressure - part 2

So I was called into the hospital yesterday to have a lumbar puncture as they want to see how high the pressure of my cerebral fluid is and also to confirm my diagnosis of intercranial hypertention.

The first attempt to do the LP failed and it made me feel as sick as a dog, it wasn't pleasant at all and it hurt quite a lot, my heart sank when they said they would be keeping me to try again tomorrow.

It was a very long noisy night in hospital and every time I fell asleep I was woken up either to have my obs done, or to move me to a different part of the ward. Finally I fell asleep but I did not feel refreshed, hospital must be the only place where you go to rest and get better but it's not physically possible.

Here I am writing in my hospital bed after another 2 failed LP attempts and my back is so very very sore, I got upset after the third failed attempt and cried like a baby, a weeks worth of worry, stress and pain came out in big hearty sobs.

The new plan of action is that I'm starting my meds tonight to reduce the pressure in my fluid, staying in while they monitor me and in the morning I'm back to eye hospital to check my eyes for any damage due to my swollen optical disks and then I can go home!!!!!

But I'm being referred to another hospital that deals with neurology so I can have the dreaded LP again.......I've told them they will need to knock me out because I'm not going through that pain ever again.

Onwards and upwards and hoping I will get better soon and I'm out of any danger of damaging my sight. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Canvas Holidays Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Rivière Review

Having a large family and taking a holiday is always a tricky process. Booking at hotels can be difficult, you either need to get two separate rooms to hold you all in, or if that isn't possible you try to find a hotel that has larger rooms but it might not be where you wanted it. Self catering for my family has always been the easiest option with a villa or a caravan so when I was able to go and see what Canvas Holidays had to offer for a larger family I was very interested.

I travelled down with four other lovely bloggers Kate, Nadine, Mark and Amanda we had a fantastic time.

The Journey

We went to the Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Rivière resort which is a short journey from Paris, we travelled from St Pancreas station with South Eastern railway to Dover which was a pleasant,very fast journey and then we boarded a DFDS Seaways ferry to Dunkirk. The weather for the crossing was glorious and it is certainly a very relaxing way to start a holiday.

The Accommodation

I stayed in one of Canvas Holidays deluxe lodges that are exclusive to this site. The lodges range from 3 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms. I was in the 4 bedroom lodge which can hold up to 10 people.

There is a master bedroom which has the very nice balcony, another double bedroom, a twin bedroom and a room with bunk beds. The stairs have a baby gate at the top and bottom for added safety when staying with younger children, I loved this feature and got a big thumbs up from me.
The kitchen was spacious with an open plan lounge and dining room, a lovely private deck with a large picnic table overlooking a large private garden with plenty of parking space. This is a fantastic size for a large family of 7 like mine, the kitchen equipment was copious with all mod cons, even a dishwasher!

I had the lake side view deluxe lodge which when I woke up every morning I got to look at the site's beautiful grounds.

On site activities and facilities

There is plenty to do here with various children's clubs, hiring pedalos on the lake, trampolines, swimming and many many more activities. There are plenty of free activities and the pools are open until 7pm, there are other costs for some of the activities but I know most children would spend their time splashing the hours away.

Food and Drink

There are three restaurants on site, a beach bar, bistro and a takeaway type where you can get food to take back to your lodge. There is a BBQ provided with the lodge so I would be spending my evening cooking on that and probably have the last night at the beach bar where the children could play in water and the sand whilst we enjoyed dinner. The Bistro has set menus ranging from 18 to 26 Euros a head, the drinks are around 4 euros a pint so it could easily add up to quite an expense if you went there every night. There is a lovely village not far from the site that has a bakery and a small supermarket that is very reasonable so my top tip would be to buy from there and stock up the lodge.


The shop and bakery on-site is reasonable and produces the most mouth wateringly delicious pastries you will ever taste, our breakfasts consisted of pastry which is the thing to do in France yum!

Day trips

We went to Disneyland Paris for the day, the site offers a minibus service to the park so you can unleash your inner child and embrace the wonder of Disney. We braved the Tower of was super scary but amazing!!!!

Conclusion and Prices

The Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Rivière site is glorious, it is a busy site but with the deluxe lodge I felt like you would have sufficient privacy to enjoy your holiday. My only negative of the site was the occasional waft of drains near the pool areas, this is common problem whilst abroad and I know I've experienced that in other places. The Deluxe lodge with a Lakeside view will set you back around £800 in term time and up to £1100 in peak times for a week, if you go as a group or with another family the price divided by each member is not a lot for the quality of the accommodation you will have. Ferry crossings are from £24 each way and we hired a minibus for the transfer.

Would I recommend this place?

Yes I would, it is fantastic for large families. lots to do, plenty of facilities and is close to other places to visit, the food is excellent and I am looking to go with my family and my parents next year.