The Summer So Far…

Good afternoon and happy new week!  Today I wanted to share some of the things we got up to in the first two weeks of the Summer holidays with the boys.  Hopefully this can help give you some inspiration and ideas for days out and things to do.

Chatham Historical Dockyards

We were incredibly luck to be contacted but the people at Chatham Dockyards and invited for a visit.  They have just opened a new Lego exhibit and had seen we were big fans and asked if we would like to come and have a look around.

Unfortunately earlier that week Ste was admitted to hospital with an infection.  Although he was feeling much better, because he needed a two week course of IV antibiotics he was forced to stay in.  My friend Dan came with me to pick up the boys on the Friday following their last day at school and we headed over to Kent.  The boys did not know about any of what I had planned so were super surprised to see us pull into a hotel rather than heading home!  As Kent is only a half hour drive from Essex, I booked a hotel there for the night rather than driving back to Derby.

The following morning after breakfast we headed over too the Dockyards.  The day out did not disappoint and we had a fantastic time.  The boys Dad used to in the Navy so getting to explore one of the ships was brilliant.

We also booked on to the tour of the Ropery and the submarine which was simple and easy to do when we arrived.  The boys were ‘roped’ in to helping demonstrate how rope used to be made and had lots of fun and a good deal of exercise doing it!  The submarine tour was also brilliant and definitely makes you appreciate our armed forces even more – some sailors spend months on these underwater helping to protect our country!

Unfortunately on the day we visited, the Dockyards had to shut early due to an incident which happened.  The staff handled it really well and were lovely and helpful.  This meant we didn’t get to have a look around the Lego exhibition but we have been invited back which we hope to do.

The on site restaurant was good and offered a selection of lunch options which were reasonably priced.  The gift shop was also lovely and had lots of choice to suit all budgets.

Disabled Access

The site is large so anyone with trouble walking long distances may struggle.  However, there are plenty of places to sit along the way round.  Access to the submarine would not be possible with a wheelchair but the Dockyards informed me that there is a virtual tour that people can take.  Both the submarine and ship have steps to descend/ascend.  The ship is accessed by a ramp so you can explore the deck area, even if you are unable to explore the rest of the ship. The Ropery is on two levels but their is a lift for people unable to manage stairs.  There are good toilet facilities around the site.  The disabled toilets were spacious and clean.

If You Want To Visit

docks

Visit the website

For the Summer school holidays, kids can get in for £1 with every full paying adult – bargain!

Buy tickets online

To see more of our visit to the Dockyards please check out our YouTube video here

Swimming

Swimming with an ostomy can be nerve wracking but I have two water babies so it had to be on our Summer to-do list!

I won’t go into too much detail about the swimming with an ostomy stuff here, as I am writing a post for TalkHealth all about it at the moment, which should be live soon.

Check out my TalkHealth page

We had a great time in the pool and it was brilliant to see how far the boys have come.  They have been having swimming lessons both privately and with school and they are doing fantastically well.

Bounce Revolution

The boys broke up earlier than the schools in Derby which meant that for the first week they were off, places were really quiet!  We took advantage of this as much as we could, including a visit here.  I had two tickets from our previous visit giving us entry for £5.  The boys absolutely love it and had the place to themselves for half an hour, with only one other family joining them for the following hour they were in there!  The staff are friendly and were great wrth the boys.  They were also brilliant when Leo managed to hurt his knee and provided first aid and an ice pack etc.  The boys loved running round, jumping, playing basketball and football and I was able to sit and watch with a cuppa!

To book your visit see the website

Thackray Medical Museum

This museum is on the site of St James Hospital in Leeds.  The entrance fee covers your visits for a whole year so you can return as many times as you wish.

Visit the website here

As Ste was in St James’s we thought instead of him missing out on more Summer holiday fun, we would pay him a visit and have a day out at the same time!

The museum was fantastic.  For the first part you travel back in time to Leeds in the 1800’s.  The boys thought this was brilliant.  The museum was made to look like a real Victorian street with all the sights, sounds and smells of the period!  You are also invited to pick a character at the beginning of the walk through.  You get an information card with some facts about your character and then you follow the route, finding out more information about them, what they had wrong with them and how this was treated back then.

The boys really enjoyed this part and me and Ste both thought it was excellent too.  We loved finding out lots of new things and the interactive element of so much of the displays was great.

A quick look around the gift shop afterwards and we couldn’t resist a selfie with the poo heads!  There was a pocket money section as well as more expensive bits so good for all budgets.  The toilets were down a few stairs and I am not sure if there was a lift for those in wheelchairs but assume there would be one somewhere, or an accessible toilet.  There was also a cafe although we did not use that on our visit.

All in all a fab day out which we all enjoyed.  Definitely worth a visit if you are nearby!

Cooking With Kids

You all know I am a big fan of cooking and enjoying sharing my recipes with you.  During the time the boys were here we made one of their favourite teas – pizza!  I bought the simple cheese and tomato pizzas from Aldi and then the boys added on their favourite toppings.  They were able to practise their cutting skills with their own safe,  cutting knife.  They then decorated their pizzas before I popped them in the oven.  They both really enjoyed them and every bit was polished off!

This is great for using up leftovers and for a simple tea which I know they will enjoy.  I love encouraging them to cook and Leo especially, really enjoys it and is becoming so much more independent in the kitchen now.

The Ragley Boat Stop

We went out for lunch with Grandma and decided to drive out to this pub as I haven’t been here in a while.  The food was lovely as always – Riley polished off a big bowl of spag bol and Leo really enjoyed his burger!  We took them down to the canal and they enjoyed having a look at the barges that were alongside.  Riley was desperate to get on one but we explained that they were people’s houses and he wasn’t allowed to get in!  The boys also enjoyed learning about the lavender plant from Grandma.

New Car

The boys were so excited to be here when I went to pick up the new car!  They were really well behaved while I sorted out the paperwork too.  I will be doing some more posts about this soon so keep an eye out!

Buxton International Festival

Me and the boys were lucky enough to be invited along to the festival in Buxton this year.  It ran for two weeks and there were lots of different shows and demonstrations on.  We had hoped to attend the African Drumming Workshop when we visited on the Saturday, but were unable to find the right tent!

Regardless, we spent a fab afternoon at the Buxton Pavilion Gardens where it was held.  The park is stunning and there are lots of fab reasons to visit even without the festival being on!  The boys loved crossing the bridges and the miniature train that we took a ride on.

We had a lovely picnic and the boys enjoyed a play on the park, especially the double seated swing!  My arms weren’t too sure after a while pushing them though!

We also enjoyed hearing the band playing in the beautiful band stand, watching the Morris dancers and having a go on the inflatable slide which were all part of the festival.  Was a really lovely afternoon which we enjoyed greatly!

Manor Heath Park & Jungle Experience

Me and the boys spent a lovely morning over at Manor Heath park in Halifax.  We were over there for 9am and this meant we had a lot of time to ourselves before it got really busy around  lunchtime when we left.

The boys enjoyed some time in the splash pool, followed by a run around of the play park.  We then headed over tot he Jungle Experience which is just £1 each for entry.  The boys loved trying to spot all the butterflies and birds.

Their favourite part by far was the turtles!  Seeing them all lined up on the bridge was fab.  The boys stroked them gently and sat watching them for ages.  We even saw a couple walk off the edge of the bridge and splash into the pool below!

This is a fab park with the playground, large open spaces and the water splash bit too.  The Jungle Experience greenhouses rounded off a fab morning which we all enjoyed!

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the things we got up to in the first couple of weeks of the school holidays.  We definitely made the most of our time together and had a lot of fun!  I hope you will consider visiting some of the places yourselves if nearby, we really have had some fun times!

What have you been up to so far this Summer?  Do you have any places you would recommend a visit to?  Please let me know in the comments below!

nat

Our 2017 In Photos (Video)

Just wanted to wish you all a very happy new year, a wonderful evening spent with your special ones and share with your some of the amazing memories we made in 2017.

I am so grateful for you all reading, following and sharing this blog and making it was it has become.  I wish you all the very best in 2018.

See the video here

and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already, there will be a new video every Sunday!

Stay safe, enjoy and don’t do anything I wouldn’t!!

Top 15 Blogs/Vlogs I’ve Loved in 2017

So to round up 2017 I thought I would do a few ‘Top 15’ posts on different things I have enjoyed from the past year.  It has been a tough one but I have also had some great times, memories and successes.

I started my blog in February and it has really made me happy.  I have decided to make my first list about those bloggers who have inspired me, that I have enjoyed reading and that I have discovered during my first year of blogging.  I have included people from across all different forms of social media and hope you enjoy checking them out.

blogger

Colitis To Ostomy

My beautiful and very special friend, Stephie runs this blog.  This was one of the blogs I read before I started blogging and she was a definite inspiration for me to start.  She is extremely knowledgeable and writes so honestly.  She has introduced me to so much this year and I will be eternally helpful for the help she has given me and also for being a wonderful friend.

Rocking2Stomas

Rachel is another blogger who I am now lucky enough to call a friend.  We met when we were both asked to participate in The IBD & Ostomy Support Show and her continued support has been immensely helpful this year.  Rachel is a ‘double bagger’ as she has both an ileostomy and a urostomy.  I have learnt so much from reading her posts.  She has some fantastic ideas and a real drive and commitment to raising awareness which is so inspiring to me.

CrohnsFighting

I was so honoured to be invited to be part of The IBD & Ostomy Support Show by Louise.  Her idea was brilliant and unique, and doing the show has been a passion and a driving force for me this year.  Her blog is honest, informative and witty.  She has a lot of experience due to the things she has been through which are very helpful to people.  I am so thankful to have met Louise and that she has supported and stuck by me this year with everything I have had going on.

Holzie Loves

This is a blog I have pretty recently come across.  I love the conversational style of her posts, like you are talking to a friend.  She is also very caring and likes to check up on people across social media which is lovely.

Jenna Farmer

Jenna runs two blogs. She also has Crohns disease but her tips and information about running a blog have been amazing help to me this year. Jenna is super knowledgeable and extremely kind for sharing all her experiences and advice to help others succeed.

Visit her Facebook group for bloggers here

Vegan Ostomy

A pretty big name in the ostomy blogging world, Vegan Ostomy is definitely someone I look up to as a blogger.  He gives great advice and is a fountain of knowledge.  His posts are always well written, informative and respected and I hope that my blog can be as well received one day.

Burnished Chaos

I came across this blog on  Twitter and am so glad I did. I love her posts and her monthly bucket list posts inspired me to start setting myself monthly goals and be accountable for them which will be a great addition to my blog (and life) this year. She also helps run a linky post which has been a great help, connecting me with some other amazing bloggers.

Mamas Scrapbook

This lady has been one of my favourite ‘finds’ of the year. Her Instagram stories keep me amused every day and her posts about mental health are honest, helpful and inspiring.  I love her writing style and she comes across as friendly and approachable.  I was excited to receive my Christmas present to myself – Blom Cards – which she created so will be filling you all in on how I find them in the New Year.

Mrs Meldrum

This is a great channel I have found on YouTube.  Mrs Meldrum is a mum of three adorable girls and the whole family vlog on The Meldrums channel which I follow too.  I love her posts about all things mum and the whole family just seem really lovely!

You can check out The Meldrums channel too

This Mama Life

Sarah is another inspirational find of the year.  I follow her YouTube channel and her Instagram.  She is extremely honest about the highs and lows of parenting and I love her posts.  Any working mums will find a great deal of comfort and solidarity with her as she posts often about the work/life balance and her little ones are adorable.

Check out This Mama Life on Instagram here

Kalyn Nicholson

I have followed Kalyn for a while on YouTube but it was her Vlogtober posts that really got me super interested.  She seems super lovely and I love her organisation and routine posts which inspire me to be more organised myself.  I also love the quotes she put up at the start of her videos.

Lisa Kate Ostomate

Lisa is a fellow ostomate and one person I really looked up to when getting my ostomy.  She had hers a little longer than me and her positivity about it all was brilliant to see.  She now runs an Instagram account which is all about what she wears with her ostomy bag, tips and tricks to keep it covered up and shows you can still wear what you want.

Stoma Stella

Amy runs this blog but I also wanted to mention the amazing Osto-Colledge which she launched this year.  It is a great service for new ostomates, offering support and lots of help with different products and things to try.  Each Osto-bag is personal to the recipient and Amy sends a lovely letter along with offering continued support to the ostomate which is fantastic.

Guts, Giggles and More

This is a relatively new blog launched by my friend Surak.  It has so much potential as she has a lot of different experiences under her belt and is a great writer.  I am sure it will go places in 2018!

Me, Being Mummy

This blog is all about the journey to becoming and being a mummy, by the lovely Lucy.  She also runs a fab Twitter linky post every week which is always great to join and get to see so many more posts from other great blogs.