myrealfairy does….Center Parcs – Longleat Forest

We’d heard alot about Center Parcs through friends but each time we’d had a look it had been just too expensive through the summer holidays. Luckily with the boys school they go back a week later than most and the price had dropped loads so we decided to give it a go.

Day 1: The journey there was pretty quick, only taking us just over an hour. We parked up the car and headed off to get our cycles. I haven’t ridden for years and even when I did have a bike I really didn’t enjoy riding. I had one when I lived abroad and my house was at the top of a hill and it was torturous riding home, it really put me off since. But…and this is the great part….I managed to hire an electric bike at Center Parcs. Omg it’s my new best friend.  I could – not definitely – but could be tempted to looking into one for home. Anyway, for there it was amazing and gave me a chance to explore with the kids, feeling happy and at ease with the bike. So, we got to grips with the bikes and cycled the 20 mins or so to our accommodation which we found without too much trouble. I have a habit , which I don’t know is good or bad but when I go on holiday I sometimes shut off whole aspects of wanting to take charge. I let my OH sort directions and what we are doing as I can’t face being the decision maker while I’m on holiday. I’m pretty much in control within my job and am normally that way at home so I love shutting off and taking a complete step back. The accommodation was great, it doesnt really look it from the outside but it was new, comfy and warm.

Day 2: Saw rabbits jumping around outside the lodge. Full fried brekkie which I’m sure still seems alien to my OH, his normal german breakfast is pretty far removed from mine at the best of times. We then went on a treasure trail as a family activity on the bikes, great fun hunting for the clues which led to different boards with letters on them. The boys were good but kept having little arguments over nothing which got a bit frustrating. They are like moths to a flame the pair of them, they can’t bear to be apart, but when they are together they are constantly bickering. We saw another family that we knew and when I said hi what a great time we were all having it quickly fell into hearing that her kids had been doing exactly the same! It always gives me reassurance that we are not alone when I see it happening with other families who normally look as if they have got it sussed. Swimming was enjoyed by all of us and the water slides rounded off the day. I went down the rapids which were very good, choppy and thrilling, another thing I loved there.


Day 3: And I started to feel the effects of all the biking, exercise and water slides – feeling battered and really tired. We had pottery painting which we had pre booked and had a lovely large table to spread out on and let our creative flair go wild! It was a really relaxing activity, we all settled into a comfortable silence painting away for a good half hour before little G started to get fidgety. As he was painting his train the lady there came across and said that it was the first train in their new range and she would give it to him for free! That was a real bonus as each piece we picked were between £15-£17 each. After that we were starving so we treated ourselves to lunch in the pancake house where we refueled before heading back to the lodge for an hour of den building while the OH went and had a bit of quiet time walking through the Red Woods. Early evening saw us back down at the pool and this time big M was allowed to go down the rapids with the OH and I in turn. He was chuffed to bits as he was desperate to go on them and I’d been a bit nervous about it until I’d done it myself to check it out. He was fine and I loved going down them together with him.

Day 4: saw us having a lazy morning and another big breakfast followed by a bike ride down to the beach area they have on site. We had brought with us a set of Boules which we played in the sun. It got very competitive and in mummy style I fought until I won!  The boys then had a quick play in the park and went back to our lodge to finish off the den. We were all back at the water park later to finish the holiday with more slides and rapids.

All in all a great holiday for us…..glad to get home aswell for the rest:)

Have you tried any of the holiday parks around, did it go well? I’d love to hear about them, you can share some of your best…or worst in the comments.

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The Daddy Tag Challenge #TheDaddyTag

I love completing blogging tags and challenges and feel it can give you such a great insight into other bloggers and different perspectives on lifestyles. When I saw the Frenchie Mummy’s  #TheDaddyTag I couldn’t wait to join in. Well, saying that, actually I was excited about putting forward my OH. Then, when the excitement bubbles started popping I realised that my OH is the most brutally honest person I know and I started to wonder if I should let him loose in the bloggersphere….then I thought…. hell yeah baby, go for it!

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  • Are you a Stay at Home Daddy or a Working Daddy? &
  • Would you have it any other way?

A stay-at-work-daddy. As much as I would like to stay at home at least a few hours more the meager hourly rate of this option makes it a non-option. I always liked the notion of staying at home for and with the children but I also think that if that option ever came up the idealistic view of a happy home would be challenged by my practical and realistic nature that tells me that the childrens’ behaviour can be at least as annoying as the one of colleagues, managers and customers.

  • Do you co-change dirty nappies? Even the very smelly ones?

I have never been in the situation to do so (long story) but I wouldn’t mind anything that needs to be done. My life experience has provided me with many opportunities to feel disgust at smells and via other senses but some things just need doing and I am known for doing them. Yes mam.

  • A little fairy gives you the possibility of breastfeeding? Are you going for it or do you run away?
One of the few things that seen from the perspective of someone who never has and never will have the option to do, I envy women for. This kind of intimate relationship and bond would be lovely to have but then it can be exhausting and painful as well … so I have been told.
  • What is the one must-have item for a daddy?
Patience. It comes in different package sizes and I bought a lot when it was cheap but man I use up a lot right now. Need to stock up!
  • How many kids do you plan on having?

I intended to have lots of children simply because it will be easier for them to pay the retirement home fees if they can share them. So, about 12.

  • Lads’ nights? How often do you have them?
I am afraid I am too far away from any friend to have a night like that. Despite being odd (according to Mainy) I would not think that I am nerdy, I also don’t drink and don’t fancy pubs … all that makes things worse. Hence, pubs are a ‘zero’ from me I have to say. I do other things.
  • Your children’s favourite achievement?

They both love success in the sports field, especially if it comes with a medal. But I think there are other achievements worth aiming for aswell. While I am not sure it would be their favourite achievement I wish for it to be: M would love himself just as he is and G would be able to heal the world with the same energy he sometimes uses to wreck it. It is all my job in life is to patiently help them onto the path to find out how to do this.

  • What is your best memory with your kid(s)?

We are constantly creating really nice memories (despite the space I sometimes need before I can appreciate them). I think the best ones are the moments of true kind emotion only children can give e.g. when M recently said “who wouldn’t want you as a dad?” during a discussion and G says “I love you” and gives me a kiss on the cheek.

  • Name one thing you miss since being a daddy?

… the feeling that what I say and do has no effect. It is frightening to see how quickly children copy the good but more so the bad.

  • Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now? And we mean YOU DADDY, not the mummy!

I constantly seem to gain weight just by passing unhealthy stuff but I don’t think that counts. There is a fight going on in our house around sugary stuff and while I believe to fight for the boys health it is as well a fight for my own health really. Eating habits are hard to overcome and I am weak while pretending to be strong.

  • Dream holiday with your kids?

As long as the children are this young I think I find holidays with them a bit stressful and hardly a dream. However, once older I think we will do a lot of more sporty holidays (with a no-sports place provided for Mainy). But then there is the idea to show them India, a country I spent 2 years discovering. A place that can teach them a lot about the struggles of life, spirituality but more so the joy of living. India taught me humility but then I am not sure if this is important for children to learn. For adults it is.

  • Dream holiday without your kids or even without the other half? (You’re allowed to dream)

Right now I am planning a cycle holiday without the family in New Zealand. I love exploring nature and I enjoy meeting like minded and sometimes even not-like minded people. I used to travel via hospitalityclub, couchsurfing etc but now would consider Airbnb. Mainy is supportive and understands my desire but I know it is hard for her to let me leave for a while … and it is hard for me to leave but I don’t want to regret not having done this while I was able to.

  • How has your life changed since having kids?

Massively … to the better. While I don’t want to say children are the purpose of life I do believe they can give life purpose and meaning. It might be the only ‘valuable’ impression we leave behind if things work out well.

  • Finish the sentence “It makes my heart melt when…”

… when I see them helping each other lovingly.

  • Favourite beers brands and football team?
Being a German from Bavaria I have a liking for wheat beer. As I do not care too much about alcohol I really enjoy the Erdinger Alcohol free beer.
Football, hmm, well … Bayern Munich is the team I choose on Fifa16 but actually I consider myself a football fan of a more literal, true nature: I like the team to win who play better. However, being a German in England comes with a lot of football related remarks and Mainy owns the web domain ‘england66’ … I usually just smile, knowing my nations supremacy in this arena doesn’t necessitate a reply 🙂
  • Huggies or Pampers?
Never had to buy any. But then I am a ‘Which’ reader so would go for Mamia and Aldi … did I mention I’m German? 🙂
  • Have you always wanted kids?
Like too many people I did without knowing what it is like. To be fair: had anyone told me I might have not believed it but then this absence of knowledge and realism are the exact elements that allows us to have children. And then there is the love we feel for our parents and the love we felt they had for us … and I think it is this love, this boundless, unlimited love that we want to re-create.
  • Best part of being a dad?
… watching them growing up and at the same time being seen as a superhero.
We both hope you enjoyed the responses and I would like to nominate 3 of my readers who really fancy giving this a go, its great fun, just let me know in the comments and I will nominate:)

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HappyCalc Maths Puzzle Review and Giveaway!

HappyCalc by FunComet is a puzzle that teaches kids maths skills in a fun and playful way.

happycalc-www-myrealfairy-com

We were lucky enough to be sent the HappyCalc Elementary Maths Space Themed Puzzle to review and also the great folks at HappyCalc are providing one for our giveaway. I was really pleased to be involved with this review as it’s great to have an extra resource in helping my boys to learn.

HappyCalc Elementary Maths is a maths puzzle game, teaching numbers from 1 to 10 like something you’ve never seen before! The idea came out of the need for children to enjoy maths. The owner of the company saw that his kids were struggling with rote learning of their numbers and that they found it boring. He wanted to make maths more fun and help kids engage with it more, so that they could build a foundation of enjoying maths and grasp the concepts more solidly.

This maths game encourages children to design and solve maths puzzles while having fun. I tried out this great game with little G who is 7 and probably at the top of the age range for this game as it is suitable for children from four years old and upwards.

The first thing we noticed when unboxing it was that there are so many pieces! 138 in total and they are all of a good handling size for children.

One of the many things which sets it aside from other puzzles is that it can be made different every time, depending on the maths puzzles you wish to make, it’s up to you!

 

The space theme is super cool and there are rockets, aliens and space ships jumping out in fun and cute ways. Little G was making lots of wow noises so I know that it was really having an impact on him and getting his attention. It’s great to see him so engrossed in something and practicing his maths at the same time…that’s really something as G generally struggles with sitting down for too long with. Well with most things around learning actually, which is not that uncommon with boys his age, but he is lively!

Enter below for your chance to win – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Eliminating rote learning, the puzzle allows kids to explore and build mathematical equations while they are putting the puzzle together without even realising that they are learning!

HappyCalc can be purchased at https://www.happycalc.info/ for $39.00 you can also enter our fabulous giveaway to win one which will be delivered straight to you!

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Disclosure: I was sent a HappyCalc Elementary Maths Space Themed Puzzle to review. All thoughts within this review are my own. The giveaway policy can be found on my contacts page.

Our River Stour Walk

During the summer holidays and during one of my days of work, my eldest big ‘M’ and I decided to go for a river walk down to the River Stour which is just behind where we live. He had one of his friends round and it was good to get out and about to stretch our legs. The river is so pretty, it’s also known as the Dorset Stour so that it doesn’t get confused with other ones around the country with the same name. The river here is brilliant because it’s got a really good footpath so it’s safe for the kids, even though I always keep them in sight around any sort of water. Apparently the footpath covers most of the 60 miles length of the river. I know in my area there are voluntary groups who help to keep the pathways clean and it always looks beautiful and well kept.

The River Stour – Dorset

‘M’ wanted to take some pictures for the blog so all of the pictures here are taken by him. The boys had so much fun because they both had a phone to use and really got into the spirit of being amatuer photographers. If you read my previous post about my blogging habits you would see that I don’t have a separate camera or any editing suites apart from a couple of filters which the phone offers up. I haven’t got into the photography side of things, we all enjoy pointing the phone and snapping away at all the things which we like ourselves. We saw these lovely swans below. The babies were slightly hidden in the reeds while one of the parents patrolled!

The swan family….
and their guard!

 

 

When I was a child we used to call these white flowers above ‘granny pop out the beds’ we would push them out at the base when they were ready and they would pop out. Has anyone else heard of that saying?

Below are three pictures of some of the other plants we spotted along the way. The next step for us is to try and identify some of them and find out a bit more about the types of plant they are. Any points in the right direction would be appreciated!:)

Any ideas?….
This looks familiar!

 

 

Have you been getting out and about during the summer? Where are your favourite places?

New App Review – Club Hub UK

This post has been updated to reflect the great news that the app has now been launched!

There’s a new app on the scene! Club Hub UK. This has really caught my attention! I heard recently from Tessa Robinson, the creator who quite rightly, had worked really hard around the launch date with getting the news of her app out there to let us all know that we could make use of it.

The app is designed to make finding activities easier…Ok that’s good enough for me already!:)

clubhubuk phone www.myrealfairy.com

But let me tell you more….

The app is designed to locate children’s clubs and activities around the U.K. It caters for children from newborns up to 18 years old.

Tessas background is in acting and she started a children’s musical theatre group. She started teaching children after school, and enjoyed sharing her knowledge in everything she could in terms of acting, singing and dancing.

During this time her idea was forming which has now become ‘Club Hub UK’. Tessa thought that there should be a way that she could promote her after school club to all the parents in her local area. She then thought about creating an app where people could locate all the children’s clubs in their area too – a simple app where parents could input their child’s age and interests, and the search results would list local clubs and their details.

Tessa really pushed her idea forward and came second with Club Hub UK in the #InSport competition with Ideas Britain. An app where people are able to show their ideas to the world. That too is very much worth checking out if you need coaches to assist in your app ideas.

Ella Harding is the graphic designer and I really love the drawings she has created for the site.

The app and website is free and listings are free too! You couldn’t want more as a resource. If you are looking for a club to promote your activity, check out the club owner section.

I think this is an app that is well worth keeping an eye out for, it could be one of those that you start seeing everywhere and it comes to be a go-to app at the weekend! Well done Tessa!

Here are all the contact details below:

Website: www.clubhubuk.co.uk

E-mail: tessarobinson@club-hub-app.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/clubhubuk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clubhubapp/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/clubhubuk

What do you think, is this an app that you’d think of downloading?

I am one of the supporters for this app because I really believe in the great idea and the hard work behind it.

I’d love you to subscribe to my blog so that you’ll be updated on each new post. You can do so here:

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How do you say goodnight?….

I love to hear different languages and different expressions to that of my own.  Heres a few to throw into the mix when saying good night.

                                    Goodnight                                   
  Buenas Noches
 dobrú no
                                     
Dobranoc      
Gute Nacht  
おやすみ
buona notte   
jó éjszakát
 晚安
Can you help me out with some more good nights? What do you say in your house?

 

 
 

The Big Garden Camp Out

Where a drop of rain turns into a torrential downpour….where a little gust of wind turns into a tornado threatening to blow you away and where a rustling in the bushes turns into Shere Khan approaching……Those are the imaginative thoughts of a very excited 10 and 7 year old about to camp out…

My other half arrived home with a tent the other day which he had borrowed from a work colleague. The boys had never camped outside in a tent and he decided that now was the time to change that…..

Each year since the boys were little we have always had an annual holiday in a caravan or static mobile home at a camping village. Even though we have done this the boys have never actually camped outside in a tent. I wasn’t aware of this but it had obviously been going through my other halfs head and this is what resulted in him returning home from the office with a two-man tent under his arm and a grin on his face!

When I asked my other half what he was thinking, he said  that he was honoured to introduce the boys to the excitement of back garden camping!
I could almost hear the beating of fists on chest as he said it!

The scene at my house – fact!

The boys were beside themselves with excitement and it was one of those moments you want to bottle so that you never forget the scent of those great family moments. They kinda help when you have those days when you’re left pulling your hair out and exhausted when it hasn’t all gone as planned!

The preparations are underway for the big night.


img_1171
Big M looks happy with the result!

So off they went into the garden around 9pm and I didn’t see them until Big M came into my room in the morning around 8am buzzing about the night outside, he was so chuffed. It was wonderful! The night went without a hitch. I’m amazed that they slept at all considering the ground is beaten down to hard earth where the boys play football, there’s hardly a blade of grass to be seen.

The next night it was pouring with rain so Little G couldn’t go and do the same but had to contain his excitement for a further 24hrs which isn’t particularly easy for him, but he managed brilliantly. The night came round for him to make his leap into camping firsts and just before he goes outside….his wobbly tooth comes out – talk about timing!! We decided to put the tooth under his pillow in his room as we agreed that the tooth fairy might get confused if it wasn’t there and not know where he was!

img_1186
Little G ready for the challenge!!

Once again off they trotted and this time I was more concerned that he might want to come back in or that at some point the dark might spook him. There was nothing to worry about, the boys are growing up and my other half is guiding them in ways that are helping them to become rounded individuals. Little G, like his brother, came running into me in the morning, bouncing on the bed raving about his night out.

The biggest excitement was being allowed to wee in a bucket in the middle of the night…even though the house is only 20 steps away!! Men!! I can’t wait until that little gem comes out in the middle of the supermarket!

 

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We are one

I’m so thankful for the life that I have got. I can sit here on my computer enjoying writing on my blog knowing that my boys are tucked up in bed, my OH is downstairs relaxing and watching a movie. I have a lovely life and I’m so pleased. There was a time when it was a little more bumpy, I was on my own and things were tough. This poem shows the journey I took from then until now……

It’s hard to bear these nights alone

I chat and play, tapping my phone

For far too long this inner fight

to stay awake, to shorten the night.

I hope one day the path will clear

I’ll rid myself of the doubt, the fear

The rising sun will warm this heart

Give my ‘self’ the will to start.

It’s all within reach but it won’t be pushed

It surges down that stream, it won’t be shushed

It’s bashed me about, it’s taken its toll

Fate, life, the predefined goal.

And then came the light…..

my two young seeds

My partner in crime

They are all I need.

I  nurture them now

Show them ‘what’ and ‘how’

Take them forth in their youth

Let them seek the truth.

With my man by my side

I think it can be done

We are a family

We are one

Little G’s Olympic runner…..

…runner bean that is!

Little G has been in the garden again to have a good look at how his runner beans have come along. We’ve managed to do this while watching as much of the olympics as we can see, it’s such an exciting time!

He also wanted to get a good look inside to see what the seeds looked like close up and to harvest them for next year. Our little greenhouse and packets of seeds have produced lots of plants and we have enjoyed our evenings looking at how they have come on.

Little G is inquisitive and loves to get to the bottom of things so wanted to get a good look at what was inside the little green pockets. You can see him in his latest ‘vlog for his mummy’s blog’ below, covered in black AstroTurf from his day at football school. Boys will be boys!

I think his little friend managed a speedy getaway to the finish line of the edge of the lawn while we were looking at the video playback….lucky for him!

Have you any little plants sprouting and of course, have you been enjoying the olympics?

You can also see Little G’s first vlog here to see the start of his green fingered career!

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Behind The Scenes Blogging Tag

I love a chance to get to know my fellow bloggers better and have been thinking about how to offer some insights into my own blogging journey. When I saw the lovely frenchiemummy post, I put myself forward and was tagged into the ‘Behind the Scenes Blogging Tag’.  This is a great tag to be able to share some of those little known facts about ourselves.

So here goes, a little soul bearing from me…..Mainy x

Where do you blog?

I do the majority of my writing sat on my sofa in the conservatory if I get any time during the day, or in my lovely comfy cosy bed once the kids are asleep.

Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?

Alot of my posts have come from my experiences throughout a normal day and have just poured from me at the time. The best example of this was ode to him which was written on scrap of paper from my bag while being scared stiff on a plane.

How long does it take you to write your blog posts?

It depends if it’s a post like the one mentioned above or it’s a research based post such a my seahorse one which took a couple of weeks. It’s the editing which gets me. I tend to overthink it once it’s finished and I am working on myself to lighten up a bit and press ‘publish’ a bit easier!

Do you plan your blog posts? How?

I plan the structure of my posts as much as possible and I try to post once a week. More than that is normally just too much for me to co-ordinate and still remain able to see to everything else.

What kind of camera do you use?  What editing programme?

I only use the camera on my iphone. I haven’t got a specific photo editing programme…maybe I should!

Do you use a notebook to track your ideas?

When I first started I did but now I put thoughts straight down in a draft post page through my phone as I’ve usually got that with me. Sometimes they sit in the draft section for a while but it’s lovely to have the seeds of posts there waiting for the right time to develop them a bit more.

How do you take your pictures?

Point, shoot and take about 3 times as many photos of a single thing that I actually need. I’m like most normal mums, I have a million pictures of my kids and a few selfies on my phone.

What’s your favourite type of blog post to write?

The ones I don’t have to think about too much because the words are spilling out of me. I never thought that I would be able to say that or that it even happened to people. It’s a pretty good feeling.

Who knows about your blog?

I love this question because the more I immerse myself in the blogging world, the more I realise that there are alot of people like me who don’t publicise the fact they have a blog with people in some areas of their life. I have told my immediate family and close friends but have kept it back from all areas of my work and business. I see blogging as a relaxation part of me, the last thing I would want to see within my space is anything that takes me into work mode.

Are you an organised or messy blogger?

When I post a piece, then at that moment I’m organised and focused. I know how, when or if I want to publicise it……then I see the twitter messages of all the great linkies that I love and I go into scatty mode – reacting to all the great opportunities out there to have people see what I’ve written. It’s crazy, fun and exhilarating…I love it!

Biggest blogging pet peeve?

I can honestly say that at the moment I don’t have one. I have only been blogging a relatively short time – since feb 2016 – and as I’m learning so much and virtually meeting so many great people, the shine hasn’t worn off and things which may annoy me in a years time haven’t presented themselves as yet:)

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little insight, it was great to share.

If you would like to be part of this tag then please just tag in. If you would like to tweet me or comment and I’ll tag you in then that works too, whatever suits you, it’s an open tag.

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday