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Family Life, fitness, Home, Lifestyle

What is the new David Lloyd Blaze workout about?

What is David Lloyd Blaze?

So David Lloyd clubs have been very busy renovating many of their clubs, introducing the new studios for their Blaze classes. For weeks we were given sneak peaks and promised something amazing coming with David Lloyd Blaze.

Blaze is described as a ‘Boutique Group Training Experience’ bringing intense cardio with strength and combat training. A high energy fast-paced workout where you can see just how hard you’ve worked thanks to a unique heart-rate monitoring system. Meaning better results quicker. I was really excited and expecting big things.

David Lloyd Blaze outside studio sign

David Lloyd Blaze Inside studio

The Studio

Finally launch night arrived and I was excited to see the new Blaze Studio.

The Boutique style studio looked amazing. Each area defined clearly. There was a cardio section with high tech treadmills, a strength section with weight bench and your own set of weights and a combat zone with suspended punch bags for mixed martial arts.

Where Blaze slightly differs from your usual high intensity interval training is that you can purchase a belt that tracks how hard your working and displays on large screens around the studio. The trick is to work within your ‘red zone’ to really burn those calories!

The first thing that struck me was how sleek it looked, the lighting was quite dark but the colours gradually changed, almost like a club feel and the music was loud and upbeat. Perfect to get you in the zone.

Treadmills at David Lloyd Blaze

Mixed martial arts at David Lloyd Blaze

Treadmills and screens at David Lloyd Blaze

Weight bags at David Lloyd Blaze

The Blaze Class

So you’re advised to arrive early for your class to get set up with your Myzone belt and boxing gloves. The Myzone heart rate monitor is worn under your clothing just under your breast bone and is surprisingly comfortable. I didn’t notice it whilst working out. You can trial a belt for your first Blaze class but you would need to purchase your own belt if you wanted to continue to use one. It keeps track of your workouts and sends the information to an app on your phone. So if you’re serious about Blaze workouts, it’s a great investment.

After getting set up we could see our names appear on the screen each showing our heart rate. We all started off on blue or green but our target was to work hard enough to change our square on the screen to yellow and even better red! Once in red, that is where you want to stay to really feel the burn!

 

Myzone screen at David Lloyd Blaze

So off we went, we started with a warm up before progressing into our Blaze workout. The music was loud, the light colour changed and the instructor’s energy was high! It was a great feeling. My Myzone square changed quickly to yellow and then red. During the workout I kept checking I was still working hard, if I noticed the percentage dropping slightly I knew I could push myself that little bit harder to keep in my red zone. There is no doubt it really motivated me and I worked harder than ever before. The class was fun and we worked for 3 minutes before changing to the next section, rotating cardio, strength and mixed martial arts. You didn’t get time to get bored in one area.

After the workout

I really enjoyed my first Blaze class and can see why they are proving so popular. I liked the varied workout and I pushed myself like never before with the help of the Myzone belt. In the dimly lit boutique style studio I found it easy to get in the ‘zone’ without feeling self conscious, unlike under the bright lights of a regular gym class. In just a 45 minute Blaze class I almost doubled my regular calorie burn, which is quite incredible.

Blaze definitely has a place in my regular workout routine, a short class that delivers excellent results!

There are 30 minute David Lloyd Blaze taster classes available if you’re feeling nervous about trying a full class for the first time! Give it a shot, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain! Burn it up people!

View of my feet inside the studio at David Lloyd Blaze

Me outside my first blaze session David Lloyd Blaze

Read more about why I love working out at David Lloyd clubs here.

Written in collaboration with David Lloyd but all thoughts, feelings and opinions are completely mine!

Family Life, fitness, Home, Lifestyle

New Year’s Resolution, how to succeed!

New Year, New You!

I think most of us are guilty of setting a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier, maybe lose some weight. Quite often forgotten about within just a few weeks.

After the Christmas celebrations I think most of us are wearing a few extra pounds (or stones!!!). Each year in January, I’m on a mission to lose some of that extra weight… ‘I would just like to lose this extra stone’ (sound familiar?)!

Last January I wanted to lose that extra bit of weight and set myself a super strict low carb diet, not only that I started at the gym too. After just a couple of months of such a restrictive diet I started to cheat more and more. Over the course of the past year, I never lost that extra stone but I did work hard at the gym and tried half heartedly with eating right. My downfall is that I like to eat socially… a lot! I love nothing more than an afternoon tea with my family or a huge yummy roast at the weekend!

Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a plate

My weight

My weight stayed the same over the course of the year, fluctuated by a few pounds but on the whole remained pretty level. What did happen was my body shape completely changed. I developed muscle and toned and shaped my body. With muscle weighing more than fat, there was no surprise there was no change on the scales, so I tried not to get disheartened by the scales and kept going. I actually started to like what I saw in the mirror and stopped giving myself such a hard time.

What I discovered during this time was much more important… I finally realised after all these years, it wasn’t losing that stone that would make me happy… it was about finding my confidence again. No I didn’t weigh what I did when I was 25 but I was working hard at the gym and getting happier and falling back in love with my body. The number on the scales stopped mattering and instead I took photos to see my progress. This time last year I carried more weight around my bottom, waist, upper thighs and back. This year however I weigh the same but I now have a waist, a really strong core, my bottom has lifted and I’ve shed a load of back fat… I also stopped judging myself so harshly and started concentrating on what actually makes me happy.

I’ve come to realise that no one actually cares what you weigh, it’s actually all down to how you see your self. Quite often that pressure comes from you. You have to learn to not only like but love yourself and actually the only opinion that should matter about how you look should be yours, not that of a family member or old school friend! You need to stop judging yourself so harshly and be kinder to yourself.

My feet with gym in the background and kettlebell

Fitness balls and weight bags at david lloyd gym

My New Year’s Resolution

This year I’m continuing with all my hard work at the gym, building my confidence and trying to target those areas I’m still less than happy with… for me it’s my arms. I go to a David Lloyd gym and find there are a huge range of classes which means I can be flexible with my training. I like to challenge myself and try new classes and keep things fresh. I also take my daughter and she absolutely loves going to the DL kids club there. The children’s timetable is brilliant with so much for them to do and keep them active. To read more about why we love training as a family see here.

Mental Health

Over the last year I also discovered that I need to put at lot more effort not into my physical health but also my mental health. People can be so busy with their lives that their own mental health can be way down on their list of priorities. I had a particularly stressful time last year and I neglected my own mental health. The stresses of daily life took their toll. It made me realise just how important it is to look after yourself mentally as well as physically. At the gym I now book classes that are just as great for your mind as they are your body. David Lloyd recognise this and offer so many great holistic classes. I always look forward to relaxing on a matt at the end of a Body Balance class, lying in the dimly lit studio concentrating on my breathing and forgetting about whether I’ve loaded the dishwasher or if Eden has clean uniform for the following day. I’ve really found classes like that are helping me to deal with my stress and anxiety.

 

Setting up for Pilates class with ball, matt and water bottle

Declutter

As part of my New Year’s resolution for 2018 I need to tackle my clutter! I think it’s important to break down big tasks into more manageable chunks to avoid being overwhelmed. My desk at home is almost always a mess and I constantly mean to go through and declutter my wardrobe… each time I look at them my heart sinks as it seems such a huge task. I’ve now started to take the pressure off and set myself a target of 30 mins a day. I set myself a timer and tackle a bit at a time instead of spending a whole day doing it. This gives me peace of mind, I feel like I can ‘cope’ and don’t feel so overwhelmed by it all. I really wish (and so does my husband) that I were a ‘super tidy neat freak’ and that it came more naturally to me… but sadly not!

This year… I will succeed!

So this year, I’m not setting myself an unrealistic challenge of losing a stone in a month. I’m eating healthy but if I want a cake at the weekend or ice cream at the cinema I’m going to allow myself that treat. I’m concentrating on working hard on the inside as well as the outside. I want to be strong and healthy not skinny. This year I’m going to do what makes me happy and going to the gym really does (I never ever thought I would say that!!!). I’m going to tackle my house and declutter where I need to and I’m going to make time for me! Most importantly I am going to continue making happy memories with what is most important to me… my family.

Look after yourselves… get healthy but in a safe way, make good food swaps, don’t deny yourself something you truly love, forget unrealistic goals, ditch the fad diets, try out a new class and learn to love yourself in 2018!!!

A girl smiling, me, flexing her muscle jokingly

 

Thank you for reading ‘New Year’s Resolution, how to succeed!’

 

Working in collaboration with David Lloyd Gyms. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

Eating Out, Family Life, My Sunday Photo

My Sunday Photo – 14/01/18

My Sunday Photo

This week my Sunday Photo is my crazy happy daughter… she is always so joyful and enthusiastic! Here she is laughing her head off yesterday.

We checked out one of the preview showings of Disney’s brand new movie ‘Coco’. It was absolutely brilliant. Set in Mexico, was such a lovely story and really touching too but with plenty of laughs and fun thrown in too. My mum really enjoyed it too. Really different from anything Disney have done before. We watched it in the Cineworld 4DX screen where all the seats move and air blows on you, along with scents, water and even bubbles… definitely brought the film to life and was so much fun.

After the cinema we headed to Frankie & Benny’s as the children’s menu is such great value and Eden loves it. This photo is Eden with her ‘Freakshake’ for dessert… I was trying to be ‘good’ so was a little envious! We had a truly lovely day today!

My Sunday Photo Eden with her freakshake milkshake with a mini donut on topMy Sunday Photo, Eden laughing whilst eating her freakshakeEden posing with the Coco board at the cinemaEden with her ice cream at the cinema

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Books, Crafts, Family Life, Food, Home, My weekly round up

My little loves December

My Little Loves for December

So it’s mid December and things are about to get crazy! It’s time to reflect on all my favourite parts of the month so far!

Read

We were kindly send a copy of Binx the Jinx to review. A rhyming story about Binx, an incredibly cute black cat looking for friendship! At first Binx struggles to make new friends and gets bullied by the other cats because he is different. Then he meets Gin who proves that Binx isn’t a Jinx at all but in fact the luckiest cat around! The book is written and illustrated by Michelle Hird, it is beautiful, bright and colourful. Eden really enjoyed the pictures and it was enjoyable to read. We have loved reading this book and have read it several times already!

My little loves December Binx the Jinx

Binx the Jinx by michelle Hird

Watched

We have watched just about every Christmas film this month. Our favourite Christmas films have to be:

Elf, The Polar Express, The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Elf Story & Arthur Christmas.

Heard

Eden told me the sweetest thing, she told me ‘Mummy do you know you’re my best friend? You are my BFF’.

Sometimes that girl is just too cute for words!

Made

This week I finally made time to make my Christmas rag wreath! Using a wire wreath frame and lots of torn pieces of fabric (about 1 inch x 5 inch in size). You simply tie each piece on to the frame. It didn’t take very long, was very simple to make and I think you’ll agree looks very festive.

My little loves Christmas rag wreath handmade

Wore

Well this week we got lots of snow! This was Eden’s first proper snow that she can remember. The last time we had heavy snowfall was back in 2012 and Eden was just a few months old. So we wore… lots of layers! Unfortunately all of the gloves I’ve bought Eden are knitted and woolly, she doesn’t actually own a waterproof pair. I improvised, popping in one pair of gloves, a plastic bag to stop her hands getting wet and another pair of gloves on top! Sadly they slipped off her hand every time she threw a snowball so a bit of epic fail, lol!My little loves December Eden in the snowjEden making snow angels in the snowEden and I in the snowEden hugging her first ever snowman

Ate

This week, I discovered a delightful little tea room in Brentwood Essex called Merrymeade Tea Room situated in Merrymeade House. We enjoyed a scrumptious afternoon tea and because we’re in December it had featured some yummy festive treats. It was brilliant value at £11.99 a head and Eden even had a kids one all to herself. One of my favourite parts of an afternoon tea has to be the sandwiches. The bread was so soft and fresh and had a good selection of fillings. The carrot cake and mini brownie Christmas puddings really were delicious. We can’t wait to visit again soon, we definitely recommend!

Visit their Facebook page for further details here.

My little loves December Merrymeade Tea RoomAfternoon tea at Merrymeade Tea RoomsMerrymeade Tea Rooms picture from outside

And lastly

I have been busy every day coming up with new elf on the shelf ideas. I’ve been trying to use new ideas as Eden would remember if I repeated many of them from last year so the pressure has been on. Here are some of my favourites I’ve used for 2017 so far. They certainly are cheeky elves, Eden is so excited each morning to see what they have been up too!

Elf on the shelf ideas wrapped in Christmas paperElf on the shelf ideas mini gingerbread house Elf’s knitting Elves playing snowball target practiceThe elves leaving the elf story movie to watch

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Family Life, Home, Lifestyle

Family Gym Time – 3 months on at David Lloyd

Family gym time

Three months ago our family set out on a new and exciting journey. We became members of our local David Lloyd club with a ‘family membership’. You can read about the start of our family gym time journey here.

Before joining the David Lloyd club, myself and my husband attended two different local gyms without any kids clubs facilities. This meant that my husband and I never trained together and all of our workouts needed to be during the week whilst Eden was at school or one of us had to look after Eden whilst the other one went to the gym. This was the complete opposite of spending family time together.

Training together

Since starting our membership, it has allowed us family gym time. We can all visit the gym together. Eden is always so excited to head off into kids club, whether it’s ‘Get active’ or a ‘Make and Create’ class. The options for kids don’t stop there. Eden regularly enjoyed Ballet, Tap and street dance classes all included within the membership. David Lloyd also runs other classes, swimming, tennis and yoga along with a monthly Friday club night with a children’s entertainer, movie nights, special event night. There are so many options to entertain the kids.

Whilst Eden was off enjoying a class meant that my husband and I were able to go off and train in the gym together. It became a regular family event, enjoying every Sunday morning at the gym together. Afterwards treating ourselves to a family brunch. It definitely brought us together as a family, spending much more time together during the week. It also meant that with so many kids classes on offer I didn’t have to cram my workout into the day but I could take Eden after school.

 

Family Gym Time - David Lloyd get make and create class

Family Gym Time - David Lloyd eden waiting for class

Classes

The classes available at David Lloyd far super cede those available at my previous gym. I really enjoyed trying lots of new classes and each week changing up my training plan. I was able to mix up my weight training with my husband, with brilliant HIIT classes, Fight Klub, Pilates, Core and Legs, Bums & Tums. I have definitely benefited from training at David Lloyd both physically and mentally, I have proof that my body is improving by using the Boditrax system. It measures not just your weight but fat, water and muscle, along with other things. After tracking my progress each month, my muscle mass is growing and fat decreasing, I’ve even manage to improve my metabolic age by 5 years!

I think it’s so important to look after ourselves both physically and mentally and by having family gym time we are setting a good example to Eden from early age. We are showing her just how important it is to keep fit, stay active, eat healthy and to look after yourself.

I believe David Lloyd clubs are not ‘just a gym’, they are so much more than that, it is a way of life.

They are so family focused, the food menu is healthy and delicious, they offer brilliant classes for all ages and abilities, and if you don’t fancy any of that you can chill and some ‘me time’ in the lounge area or have a swim and steam. We have truly enjoyed our time at David Lloyd and look forward to our time ahead.

To find out more information about your local David Lloyd, visit their website.

Family Gym Time - David Lloyd fight klub

Family Gym Time - David Lloyd Squash

Family Gym Time - David Lloyd in the gym

Family Gym Time - David Lloyd. Hubby and I

Family Gym Time - David Lloyd our family

Thank you for reading ‘keeping fit as a family – 3 months on at David Lloyd’.

Written in collaboration with David Lloyd Clubs but all opinions and views are my own.

Crafts, Home, Lifestyle, Memories

Tips for an awesome Trolls Party

trolls party

Trolls Party

So it seems that we have all fallen in love with those gorgeous, bright, colourful characters from Trolls. In particular Poppy has found her way into many of our children’s hearts (even the adults)! This year we took Eden to see a Trolls in the cinema and she was instantly hooked. All the singing, dancing, bright colours and glitter made it an infectious mix. So I wasn’t surprised she opted for Trolls party for her 5th birthday this year.

 

Trolls Party Eden and Poppy

 

Here’s how we made our party Trolltastic:

 

The Entertainer

We had Poppy the Troll come and visit us from Fizz & Giggle Parties. Poppy was so much fun, she sung and danced and played so many games with the children. The kids were up and dancing the whole time both girls and boys. They played with a parachute, did the limbo, pass the parcel and musical statues. The kids all had a truly amazing time! Poppy even did glitter tattoos whilst the children ate their lunch.

 

Trolls Party Eden and Poppy the entertainer

The Decor

I think with Trolls definitely ‘more is more’. So plenty of colour, lots of detail and making it very busy. The cake table with rainbow tissue paper flower backdrop makes a great photo background for taking pictures on the day. The table was layered with a tutu skirt to the front and coloured foam flowers scattered on the top. You can buy tissue paper flowers quite cheaply and they make such a pretty and bright decoration. You can buy similar tissue paper flowers here. I also made a rainbow balloon tower with Poppy sprouting out the top. I’d never made one before and watched a video on YouTube. It wasn’t too bad to make but it involved ‘a lot’ of balloon tying!!!

Finally we bought some rainbow bunting from a local pound shop and hung it around the hall and some cheap personalised banners from eBay, around £4 for 2.

The food, cake table and backdrop was set up by The Party Kitchen. They did such an amazing job and we were thrilled with how it all looked.

 

Trolls Party cake display table

Trolls Party cake display table

 

The Cake

So the cake had 4 different colour sponges inside and was covered in multicoloured buttercream that I blended to make a kind of marble effect. Trolls is set in the forest with wonderful flowers and mushrooms so I added lots of brightly coloured flowers and mushrooms to my cake. I made them all different colours, I tried it keep it quite random. I rolled long strips of coloured sugar paste to create a rainbow and white balls for clouds. Green grass was piped around the bottom of the cake. To finished it off and I bought Poppy rather than struggle to make my own. I think she looked great on top of there.

 

Trolls Party Poppy princess cakeTrolls Party rainbow cake layers

 

The Food

There are so many options to make your food bright and colourful. Fruit platters always make a wonderful bright display.

We had flower shaped sandwiches, brightly coloured cupcakes and chocolate dipped biscuits with sprinkles at our Trolls party.

 

Trolls Party food flower sandwiches

 

The Party Favours

I knew I wanted to include a Trolls Pez in the party favours. Eden absolutely loves Pez and collects the different characters. I bought a mixture of 3 characters, Poppy, Branch & Glitter Guy. I made wands by filling skinny cello bags with skittles as they are such wonderful bright colours. I topped the skinny cello bags with multicoloured stars with a personalised sticker to match in with the rainbow theme. You can buy the skinny bags and toppers on The Candy Bag Shop’s Facebook page.

I found these rainbow popcorn style boxes and instantly knew they would be perfect as our favours.

I also popped in some bubble wands I found in a local pound shop, a Trolls keyring I bought on eBay and some chewy sweets. The kids were thrilled with them.

 

Trolls Party Party favour trolls pez and rainbow boxTrolls Party Rainbow party favour boxesTrolls Party sweet wands

 

The Outfit

I found this brilliant unicorn costume online which was brightly coloured with sequin lined skirt and rainbow arm and leg warmers! So much fun. Although Eden didn’t wear the unicorn headband. We opted for a rainbow colour bow instead.

 

Trolls Party Edens unicorn outfit

 

Thank you for reading ‘Tips for an awesome Trolls Party’

 

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Trolls Party

Memories, My Sunday Photo

My Sunday Photo – Trolls Party

My Sunday Photo

Well it’s been an action packed few weeks during the school holidays and whoops I seem to have missed a few of ‘My Sunday Photos’!

So one of the reasons things have been so chaotic is getting ready for my daughters 5th birthday. Not just her birthday but the birthday party that goes with it! This year Eden opted for a Trolls themed party!

Trolls Themed Party

I absolutely loved planning this one, everything bright and colourful, it was so much fun! What wasn’t fun was making the balloon tower. I stupidly watched a YouTube video, thought it looked easy. Some 2 hours later I was regretting the decision! Actually constructing the balloon tower was fine. It was tying up all those balloons and then tying them together that took off about 4 layers of skin on my fingers! Ouch!

Anyway I soldiered on and completely the bulgey, misshapen wonky thing! I also made a note to myself to not make that mistake again! Until the next time no doubt!

So ‘My Sunday Photo’ this week had to be one from the party (or maybe two). I took so many!

So this is Edens trolltastic birthday party!

Thank you for reading ‘My Sunday Photo – Trolls Party’.

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Family Life, Lifestyle

Getting some Mum Me Time with David Lloyd Clubs

Mum me time with David Lloyd

I had two main concerns when approaching the school summer holidays:
1. How will I get a ‘break’ during the school holidays?
And
2. How am I going to get to the gym regularly?

My usual gym routine consists of dropping Eden at school and heading straight to the gym for my workout. This works perfectly for me and I’ve worried about what I’m going to do during the summer holidays. My current gym doesn’t offer kids clubs that would allow me to train 4-5 times a week.

I think as a mum it’s really important to not only have family time together but actually schedule in some ‘me time’. I think I need it for my sanity. Constantly juggling working, parenting and home life takes its toll. Sometimes my brain feels like it can’t switch off so I think it’s so important to give yourself a break from it. For me, the gym is my ‘mum me time’ so it’s vital that I fit it in.

I was invited to go along to my local David Lloyd Club for some Mum Me Time so I jumped at the chance. It also meant that I got to take Eden along and take advantage of the kids club. Eden was super excited about this, going off making new friends and trying out new activities.

David Lloyd Club

On arrival at our local David Lloyd Club I was immediately impressed, such a friendly family environment. In the cafe and lounge area, there is a soft play area for kids to use along with computers and tablets. Allowing the kids to play within sight and the adults to relax. I could already imagine chilling in a comfy chair with a coffee whilst Eden played in the soft play area.
Mum me time with David Lloyd CafeMum me time with David Lloyd Soft play

I handed over a super excited Eden to kids club and went on a tour of the club. The facilities are amazing, a lovely gym split into clearly defined areas for training with brand new equipment. Large studios for classes, spin studio, indoor pool with children’s pool, heated outdoor pool, badminton, squash and tennis courts. Another nice touch is the not just male and female changing rooms but a family changing room too! Makes the awkward changing situation so much easier as a family.

I took part in a Synergy HIIT workout which was brilliant, really pushed my limits and followed it with a relaxing ‘Wellbeing’ stretch class. The instructors were both friendly and really knew their stuff. I can often feel self conscious in gyms and especially in classes but I felt totally comfortable and at ease at the David Lloyd.
Mum me time with David Lloyd gym

Mum me time with David Lloyd GymMum me time with David Lloyd Synrgy circuitMum me time with David Lloyd Studio

Mum me time with David Lloyd tennis courts
Mum me time with David Lloyd Me after workout

Lunch

Feeling refreshed after my workout I collected a very happy Eden from kids club. She excitedly told me about her morning playing football, doing crafts and colouring. We had a lovely lunch together, the food was of a really high standard with brilliant healthy food choices on the menu. Eden finished before me and got to enjoy the soft play whilst I finished my lunch in peace!
Mum me time with David Lloyd Food

After lunch we got changed and I took Eden for a swim in both the indoor and outdoor pools, we spent hours happily splashing around. Eden had a whale of a time and I’m looking forward to increasing her confidence during the summer months. Although she loves the water she will not put her face in the water without having a melt down so this is something I’m going to try to improve over the next couple of months.

Mum me time with David Lloyd Eden swimmingMum me time with David Lloyd outdoor pool

The months ahead

I can’t tell you how excited I am about making the most of the facilities at our local David Lloyd Club over the next few months. The facilities and schedule of kids clubs is brilliant. There is something for all ages at a range of times, meaning I can train all summer whilst Eden is being entertained. Even better the kids clubs are included in the membership, you can’t ask for better than that.

With a family membership it also means I can train with my husband. We are currently members at different gyms which means we never get to train together. I’m really excited about this, we will actually get some time together and they do say after all that ‘Couples that train together, stay together!’. I’m looking forward to going to the gym as a family, getting my ‘mum me time’, training with my husband and Eden having lots of fun.

Check out your local David Lloyd Club, they have over 100 clubs up and down the country.

mum me time with david lloyd

Thank you for reading ‘Mum me time with David Lloyd’
Written in collaboration with David Lloyd Clubs but all opinions and views are my own.

Castles/Houses, Memories, Unusual

My Sunday Photo – Lullingstone Castle

For My Sunday Photo this week I have a photo of Lullingstone Castle. 

We visited Lullingstone Castle in Kent on their Fire engines event day. They had fire engines from all eras, showcase of fire-fighting history with over 20 fire engines and carts. They even had demonstrations of the engines in action. We had a lovely family day for my dad’s birthday. 

The Castle has the gorgeous World Gardens to walk around, with flowers and plants from across the world. The Moroccon blue room was my particular favourite. 


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Family Life, Lifestyle

Top tips for starting school -the reception year!

When you’re little one is starting school its a daunting stage. Here are some of my top tips for starting school – the reception year:

Top tips for starting school

Uniform

Try not to leave buying school uniform too late, by mid August you may struggle to find uniform in your little ones size. Supermarkets are perfect for picking up school uniform. They are super reasonably priced. I also wouldn’t go mad on buying lots of items with a logo. They are really expensive, so I’d just a buy a couple of bits and the rest plain. You can always add extras later if need be. Oh and look out for the ‘easy iron’ uniform, after all every little helps!

School shoes

Try avoiding buying their school shoes too early. You don’t want your little one growing out of them by the time they are due to start.

I would recommend making sure you let your little one wear their shoes in before sending them into school for a full day. Bad mum alert, I didn’t do this! Poor Eden was limping after her first day in school and had blisters on both feet. I felt truly awful, she spent the next two days in her plimsolls!! Oops!

Label clothing

Name all clothing even the socks! I’m not one for ironing on labels or worse… sewing them on! I don’t have time for that! What mum does? I used Petit Fernand when Eden started school. You can stick their labels directly onto the clothing labels, into shoes, on pack lunch boxes, all sorts! They are such a time saver! I’ve got loads left over for her dance uniform too!

I also bought a ‘clothing name stamp’ from eBay, it was brilliant for stamping Eden’s name on her socks and on fabric wash labels. It washed well and remained after several washes, plus it was super quick.

Top tips for starting school -the reception year. Labelling clothing
Reading with your child

If you don’t already, starting reception is a great time to start regularly reading with your child. I know everyone is busy but if you can build 5 minutes into their bedtime routine it will do them the world of good. You’ll quickly notice that after just weeks at school your little one will start to read. I actually couldn’t believe how quickly Eden started reading. I expected it to take most of her first school year but in just weeks she was taking her first steps into reading!

Try not to compare

Try not to worry about how fast your child is picking things up. It’s not a competition and every child learns at their own pace. It can be quite intimidating when ‘Jonny’ already knows all his phonics and is moving on to new things, but as long as your child is progressing then that’s fine. They will all learn at their own speed.

School Emails

Remember to sign up to receive your school letters by email (if your school offers this service). You’ll be kept up to date with all the school appointments and won’t have to worry too much about searching through the book bag on the hunt for lost letters.

Practise being independent

Practice being independent with your little one. I know it’s often easier and quicker to cut up their sausages for them or do up their buttons but they really need to be practising these things as much as possible before starting school.

Practice getting dressed and undressed for PE, zipping up their own coats, cutting up their food and going to the toilet and washing their hands by themselves. These will all really help your little one once they start school.

Keep relaxed

If you are nervous on the day try not to show it, some kids will go in without a backward glance and others more apprehensive. I actually wore sunglasses on Eden’s first day so she couldn’t see me cry. I know that if she did it would have unsettled her! Seeing you relaxed will definitely put your little one more at ease. Try to keep the goodbye short and sweet, let them know you’ll be back to pick them up later. Maybe avoid telling them you’ll miss them as could be upsetting for them.

Top tips for starting school -the reception year eden in the playground

Top tips for starting school -the reception year In the playground
After school

Try not to ask too many questions after they come out of school. I initially asked Eden lots of questions. I was dying to know how school was, did she make friends, how was lunch, what did she do! I never got anything back from her. I soon realised she was wasn’t mentally exhausted  from the day. The drive home was down time for her. I found leaving her alone worked much better. Once ready she would quite often open up to me about her day at school. Telling me things she was enjoying or even things that had worries her that day. For us I found giving her some space, meant once Eden had relaxed I heard more about her day!

After school snack

I found Eden was ravenous coming out of school so I took a snack with me for when I collected her. I wouldn’t dare turn up without one now! It’s definitely part of our routine. Some days she even asks for a second. I have to keep spares in my bag now just incase!

The big day

You’re all ready! Don’t forget the camera and the tissues for that first day! Afterwards rather than worry about it, go off and treat yourself! I rewarded myself to a coffee and a spot of childless shopping on Eden’s first day! Heaven!

Top tips for starting school -the reception year Edens first day
Top tips for starting school -the reception year cards
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Top tips for starting school