Our journey into a dragon’s butt and other adventures…Visit Wales.


Visit Wales asked me to go and see what our family could learn there in a weekend. Our trip came in the midst of a chaotic few weeks in March, I had just returned from Tanzania, Mr A was about to go to San Francisco for a week, did we really want to go away again? I think the photo above says it all!

I spent many happy years on family holidays in Harlech. Wales has the perfect mix of everything a child needs for a happy holiday – long sandy beaches, castles full of adventure, beautiful countryside to run wild in and myths and legends galore to fuel those adventures.

Turns out it is amazing what you can learn in Wales in a weekend, and how utterly refreshing a weekend of exploring can be. Fancy a journey into a dragon’s butt? Continue reading

Not your average Mother’s Day post


Burning witch flower by Forest Wander, on Flickr

Apparently, when they are very small, kids cope with their mothers by believing they are two people, their mother and a witch. Or so my mother told me. I believe her, it wasn’t some kind of terrible bed time story, she was studying for a psychology degree at the time.

Years later as I sit here shell shocked by a scenario with my kids that escalated beyond belief, and feeling like a complete witch, that knowledge brings me some comfort.

If I am a mother and a witch, my son right now, is Jekyll and Hyde. Earlier he covered the entire house in tiny pieces of coloured sand and gravel from a craft kit we were sent, he also covered me. He’s in reception, he puts every ounce of energy into behaving beautifully at school. Gravel bombing me and the house was some kind of cathartic release from that, I am sure of it now.

As I raged and shouted at him, ordered him to his room, packed his toys into a bin bag until he agreed to tidy up, I couldn’t see that, I could only see more mess.

I remember my own mother, who was incredible I might add, letting the ‘witch’ out on a couple of occasions. Once she was chasing me up the stairs, I remember he fingers like talons grabbing me by the ankle, her whole body contorted, just like a raging witch. When I look back there are no feelings of being hard done by, all I feel is ‘yes, I deserved that, I was being a complete idiot’.

I remember being aware of her glaring eyes, like some kind of cartoon bad woman with lasers for eyes, burning into me as I completely embarrassed her with sheer lunacy in public. Once or twice I remember her walking out of the house, soap opera matriarch style, shouting how fed up with us she was and slamming the door, leaving us stunned for a few seconds, before the wailing at Dad to make her come back started.

Although I can’t call my mum these days on those dark days and ask her what on earth to do, I can look back in the memory bank and feel a sense of relief at those moments when mum totally lost it too. As I grew up it taught me she was a person, and not just my mum.

By tea time the conversation had returned to whispers and giggles between Mr A and the kids about what to get me for Mother’s Day, the witch was forgotten. I don’t think we’ll be seeing her again for a very long time.

If you are one of my Australian readers looking to spoil your mum or leave a hint to your offspring, Fresh Flowers have a gorgeous Mothers Day bouquet range, with same day delivery if you order by 1pm.

It’s been emotional #teamhonkrelay

Just one last bit of the relay to go. I’ve cycled 50k, walked 20k and even endured David Cameron for 5 minutes, I’ve been to Tanzania, I’ve visited a food bank in Nottingham.

This week has been a incredibly emotional week. It wasn’t meant to be. I expected to feel relief that this 10 week project is over. I won’t lie, #teamhonkrelay has hugely disrupted my personal, work and family life on a daily basis. It became a lot bigger than we thought it would be, but I couldn’t not give it my all. And I hate not doing things properly, and I’ve had to accept it can’t be perfect, which makes me cross. So I’m tired.

But I feel more fire than ever in my belly. I want to see the end to world poverty. I want to see the wealth shared. I’ve found my soap box.

£25,000 is utterly incredible, it will make a huge difference and I want to thank everyone who has donated, you are incredible.

In my heart I know there is more money out there and that I can’t stop there.

This week I’ve dealt with the inevitable wave of grief that hits you when you do something new and incredible but can’t share it with someone important. I say inevitable, once again I didn’t see it coming and it knocked me sideways. But I’ve blogged about that over on my new site littlelegacy.co.uk, I thought those posts deserved their own home. I found a way to come to terms with it.

It’s been a big week.

Now to put on those trainers and join in the Sainsburys Sport Relief Official Games on Sunday. Six miles in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It’s amazing to be part of something really big and I can’t wait.

My goal is to run it all, no matter how long it takes. Any cheering on in the form of sponsorship would be amazing.

Get your kit ON, with Cycle Centre

Cycling gear

Cycle Centre very kindly agreed to sponsor my kit for Nottingham’s leg of the #teamhonkrelay. I might have looked like a complete amateur on the day, but underneath that Robin hood costume from Joke I was fully equipped and prepared for anything. It was a good job really as we suffered 8 punctures on the day, so lots of waiting about in the freezing cold. Continue reading

Rate the Date – Mr A’s take on Direct Line Icy Roads

A few weeks ago I was invited to take on the skid pan in Kettering with Direct Line. As it was a night away from the kids and the sort of thing Mr A would love I asked if I could bring him too, Direct Line kindly said yes and that he could probably get a quick lap of the skid pan. On the day another blogger dropped out so Mr A was lucky enough to get the full experience.

The end of the clip says it all really, don’t you think?

My account is over on my other blog parentshaped.co.uk, but I’m handing over A residence to Mr A today: Continue reading

Trunkis Long Haul Flight Tested, plus bags for grown ups.

DSC00235The kids moaned lots about not having a Trunki when we did out Med cruise, so when we were offered two to review we were keen to give them a whirl. Miss L has Moshi Monsters Katsuma and Mr G has a Trunkisaurus.

We travelled from London to Miami ready for our cruise with Carnival Cruises. Here is how we got on. Continue reading

Spotlight on SSE, a Sport Relief Official Partner

sport-relief-why-were-involved_2Official Partners like SSE play an essential role in helping to raise both awareness and funds for this year’s Sport Relief. The more I get involved in Comic Relief, the more I want to know about how this all works!

Sport Relief began in 2002 and is held every two years as part of Comic Relief. In 2012 it raised a record-breaking £67.9 million — bringing the total so far to an incredible £195 million.

This month, Sport Relief 2014 will be bringing the nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives. I madly decided doing #teamhonkrelay wasn’t enough and that I would also join in the Sainsburys Sport Relief Games. So I will also be running 6 miles in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for Sport Relief.

I’ve been blogging lots about raising money through sport, but did you know there are other ways to raise money?  I am going to share three very simple ways to trigger SSE donatiing £2, £4 or maybe £6 to Sport Relief. You don’t have to be a SSE customer either.

Sport Relief Official Partner SSE are major supplier of gas, electricity, phone, broadband and heating and the largest generator of renewable energy in the UK.

As an Official Partner, we’re proud to pledge our support to a fantastic charity which helps transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the UK and around the world.

The good news from SSE is that you can still take part and make a difference without getting sweaty. SSE is offering you the chance to support Sport Relief 2014 with a few simple steps that you can complete in minutes from your phone, laptop or tablet.

This year, SSE will donate £2 for every customer who signs up for Direct Debit. SSE will also donate £2 if you switch to paperless bills. Support Sport Relief, the environment and save yourself money – huge win!

It doesn’t matter if you are not an SSE customer though.

You can still take SSE’s quick energy efficiency survey to find out how you can reduce your bills…raising a further £2 for Sport Relief 2014, donated by SSE.

SSE will also be donating £2 for each registration to SSE Reward, which will not only give you access to exclusive benefits and rewards, but you’ll also have the opportunity to win tickets to some of the best UK sport and entertainment events.

Be quick though, you only have until Monday 24th March 2014 to do this.

You can do all these things on SSE’s Sport Relief page

Disclosure – post is sponsored by SSE