A night on a tiny island!

I’m not really a camper. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love being outdoors but I like to go home to my bed in the evening.

I have only been camping once as a girl guide. This experience ended with me waking up in the morning to find myself outside the tent in the middle of a very wet field. Unfortunately, I was sleeping by the tent door, there were six girls in the tent and when one rolled over we all rolled and I fell out! Quite funny when I look back now but at the time I told my Mum I would never ever go camping again! (dramatic, I know!)

And I haven’t been camping again..until this weekend. You can imagine my Mum’s amusement when my boys told her we were off camping on Brownsea Island!

Brownsea Island has been on my list of places to visit for quite a while now. The island is largely owned by the National Trust. As National Trust members, I’m often looking at their website to plan our next adventure. Brownsea Island promises beauty, peace and fun. The island is small, about two-thirds of a mile by 1 and half miles. There are no cars or shops on the island apart from the National Trust shop and cafe, which both close at 5pm.

With no plans for the Summer Bank Holiday, I thought I’d check out Brownsea Island. Whilst browsing the website I spotted an advert inviting families to camp on the island- tent and cooking facilities provided! So only sleeping bags, clothes and crockery needed! Sounds simple enough? Hmm, a night on an island…sounded like an opportunity not to be missed, so we signed up!

With everybody loaded up with a bag full of stuff, we headed off on our adventure! As soon as we set foot on the island I was immediately struck by its beauty.  As we walked from the ferry port to the campsite on the other side of the island (without the bags, the lovely National Trust staff transported them to the campsite for us!)  it became apparent that this was indeed a very special island. An island steeped in history, bursting with beauty and an amazing amount of different wildlife. We spotted the famous Brownsea red squirrels, deer and peacocks. There were lots of other birds too but my boys make far too much noise and move far too quickly for us to be in with a chance of spotting any!

We arrived at the campsite, erected our tent and got out the burgers!! There’s something magical about being on the island after it closes. Although I have to admit I was slightly nervous about being on an island with no way of being able to get off apart from a very chilly swim!

It was a lovely warm evening so we  took the boys to the beach while we sipped on a glass of wine and watched the sun go down and the stars begin to sparkle! A perfect,relaxing evening!

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Thank you, National Trust for giving us access to this beautiful island and for helping our family to have a truly memorable time!

Oh and the night in the tent, well it was ok – I don’t think I’ll become a seasoned camper but I would do the odd night here and there!

What nobody tells you about going on holiday with kids!

  1. Your house will look like widow twankies washing parlour prior to departure! It really is a military operation packing for the family holiday!
  2. Romantic quiet dinners are a thing of the past (well for now, note to self, must return to these at a later stage in life) Movies/games on electronic devices as well as a supply of activity books are essentials for those evening meals.
  3. You’ll be secretly thinking how pleased you’ll be when you don’t have to pin the kids to the floor to get sun cream on them every few hours!
  4. If you are not quite bikini body ready prior to departure and let’s face it, who really is?! Don’t worry you can rely on your off spring to remind you that maybe your bottom isn’t quite as small as the lady’s bottom on the beach over there….yep, that lady’s Mum!
  5. Being plagued by sand! There’s no getting away from it……it gets everywhere. There really is no place to hide! If anybody is heading off to Fuerteventura I apologise for the lack of sand, we brought most of it home with us!Happy holidays one and all!

Super powers…

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend a week on holiday with my boys and enjoyed some proper family time. Away from the laptop, household chores and the general routine of life.

Whilst on holiday I was really struck by the boundless amount of energy Bam has. I know he has always had lots of energy but after spending a week with him it’s clear that boy is actually a Duracell bunny!

I watched him effortlessly climb large sand dunes in hot temperatures whilst the rest of us plod up the dunes, resting along the way!

I have watched him climb a small mountain in minutes. We’re still at the bottom while he’s nearing the top.

I have watched him run over and over into the waves, jumping each one enthusiastically.

And, whilst the rest of us have taken advantage of a lay in, he’s up pottering around eager to start his day.

I’m in awe of the energy that he has and I hope in the future he uses it wisely. It’s a super power that if used well could be a platform to a successful future.

Mind ‘crammed’ fulness

I’m dragging myself and my boys through the last few days of term. I think dragging is a good term because that’s what it feels like. I don’t want to get up to do another school run, they don’t want to get up either, everyone’s tired and everyone’s fed up!

Nobody prepares parents for the end of school mayhem, the pure exhaustion and the daily occurrence of tantrums and tears (mine and theirs) that can push even the most calm parent to their limits!

My mind is so crammed full I’ve found myself in some amusing situations this week. Yesterday I diligently made packed lunches for my children the night before they required them, only to find the next morning the lovingly made sandwiches were not in the fridge. No, they were in the pan drawer, all sweaty and horrible! Why on earth I put them in there I do not know! I have no recollection of doing it!

And then there was misplacing my car. So I drove to school, got side tracked and walked home. Only to arrive home to an empty driveway – ooops, I left the car at school! At least I didn’t leave the child at home!

It’s very clear that my mind is full of who needs to be where when, who has an end of year party, who is in a school play as well as making sure every teacher that has supported my boys over the past year is presented with a gorgeous thoughtful gift!

While my mind is full, Mops is an emotional wreck! His first year of school is over, he’s exhausted. In fact every time I speak to him he cries. At night he cries because he loves his teacher so much he doesn’t want to be taught by somebody else next year.

Bam on the other hand is bursting, literally bursting with energy. ADHD and end of the school year are not the best combination! He’s bouncing around thrilled that the school holidays will soon be here and he wants to share with the world how happy he is!!

So to all the other parents out there that are experiencing end of term ‘mind crammed fullness’, we’re nearly there! Just a couple more days to drag the family through then no more school runs, school uniform, homework and after school clubs for a whole 6 weeks! That’s got to be something to look forward to!

 

 

 

 

 

Roll out the red carpet

I was very honoured and thankful to receive an invite to the Young Epilepsy awards.Young Epilepsy very kindly invited Bam and I along to the evening of celebration at the Globe theatre in London. It was a perfect setting for such a special event.

Each of the nominees shared their reasons behind their nominations via a video clip. Every story was filled with love, bravery and lots more love. Every one of the nominated individuals were an inspiration,  I found myself welling up at every video clip that was played.

What really struck me was the amount of times I heard people say ‘I can’t believe I’ve been nominated for an award…I’m just doing my job or I’m just being a husband, dad, mum etc’

But they’re not, they’re doing so much more than that, they’re changing and improving lives for young people with epilepsy.

Bam also found the event extremely inspiring. The next day he went to school and arranged an assembly on epilepsy. Thanks to this event, he feels empowered to share details of his condition, to continue to raise awareness.

I’m really proud to guest blog for such a fantastic charity, a charity that we have already lent on a few times and one that I know Bam will feel very comfortable to contact in the future. Well done guys xxx

Going away..

When Bam asked if he could go on the school residential the response in my head was ‘no way are you ever leaving Mum, ever’ What I actually said was ‘well, let’s look into it’ So that’s what we did. We spoke to the school about whether they would be happy to manage Bam’s epilepsy and ADHD while he was away, they were, so we booked him in.

This was several months ago, lots of time for me to get used to the idea…but I never really got used to the idea. Three days of somebody else caring for him, making sure he is safe and happy and making sure that he has taken his medication. Eeek! Before I knew it I was squashing clothes in his case ready to go away!

On the morning of departure, I found myself standing in the school hall, suitcase left outside for loading on to the coach and my boy excitedly chatting to all of his mates in the hall with not so much as a glance in my direction. Me full of worry and apprehension but trying to keep it well hidden!

When the time came to say goodbye, he ran over and gave me a hug and just said ‘bye’. ‘Bye’ yes that was it! I was then thrown into the dilemma of whether to wait to see him off on the coach. Other Mums were gathering outside to wave them off. After my simple ‘bye’ I didn’t think he would be too bothered whether I stayed or not but I just had to! I needed that one last opportunity to say ‘bye’. He came out to get on the coach and gave me a passing glance. Ooops, maybe I shouldn’t have stayed. Oh well. I’m here now.

I’m scanning the coach for his face, nope, nowhere to be seen – he must be the other side of the coach. I hastily make my way to the pedestrian crossing, the coach engine starts…ah, come on green man, give Mum a break. I quickly cross the road and find him on the other side. So I start waving. He waves enthusiastically back. He’s mouthing ‘I love you’ through the window and blowing kisses. Ok, sunglasses are firmly on as tears are on their way! Glad I stayed, glad I captured those kisses blown from my boy! Have fun darling boy, I’m so proud that you are confident and happy to go away on your own but I’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know. Friday please come quickly!

Oh and just for the record Mops said ‘I think it’s ok to have a brother sometimes’ That’s his way of saying he misses you too xxx

What the headlines don’t say..

This week Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has hit the headlines. Articles raising the question if ADHD is real or whether it is indeed just immaturity have popped up all over the world. The question has been raised as a result of some research that has been conducted in Taiwan.

Sadly this news story isn’t at all helpful to parents of children that have the condition or adults that have the condition. There’s already so much controversy over the condition – a global news story claiming ADHD could just be immaturity further adds fuel to the argument that ADHD isn’t real…

But, it is real. There are families living with this condition day in day out. Waking up each day dealing with everything that ADHD throws at them. Being unable to focus at home or at school, being unable to sit still, being impulsive to the point that it can place them in danger and being unable to take turns therefore find it difficult to be part of a team. All of this means they can find themselves in trouble a lot, find it difficult to make friends, leaving them with very low self esteem…And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

This is what the headlines haven’t covered, the reality of living with ADHD and the impact it can have on people’s lives.