Keeping The Kids Busy This Summer With David Lloyd

For some of us the long school summer holidays are already upon us or they are only a few days away and I’m sure that many of you are the same as me and having mixed feelings about it.

I absolutely adore having mine at home with me but it can also be a real struggle to keep them entertained and also work around them when all they want to do is have your attention.

This is where David Lloyd Health Clubs are an absolute godsend and offer anything from a fulfilled day with all the family, a few hours in a club or two to keep them occupied, full days of childcare and so much more.

With Oscar set to start school this September and Frankie needing a little extra extra push with swimming we are booking onto the intense course to really make sure they get their water wings ready!

It is not only swimming that All Stars at David Lloyd offer. They can learn skills in tennis and gymnastics too with the clubs expert coaches who make learning lots of fun!

As well as keeping fit as a family by swimming together, have a game of tennis or taking part in one of the family friendly circuit or spin classes the children can join in one of the many clubs that DL Kids offer. If sport isn’t their thing then there are plenty of other ways to keep them entertained such as film club, arts and crafts or Nintendo Wii sessions.

These clubs are a great way to keep them entertained and make new friends while you can take part in a class, head to the gym or even enjoy a treatment in the spa.

The holidays can be a really tricky time for working parents and finding childcare that the children will enjoy can be a real challenge. At David Lloyd you have the option of half or full days in their very resonantly priced holiday camps where the children can enjoy all the fun of DL Kids plus a yummy lunch…what could they possibly not enjoy about this!

My younger ones are pretty easy to please and are happy to give anything a go. My eldest son however is pretty hard to drag away from the Xbox but by some kind of miracle David Lloyd has managed to do that! He has loved coming to win as a family and of course fill his belly in the DLicious Cafe which is always a hit with us all for its deliiocs coffees, creamy smoothies and vast choice of healthy hot and cold meals. All of which can be enjoyed in the cafe itself or in the dedicated children’s area where the kids can left of steam in the soft play or spend some time on the built-in iPads.

Some thing he is yet to try is are the special 11+ gym, swimming and tennis sessions which he has his sights set on the summer.

With this wonderful weather we are having at the moment we also want to spend as much time as we can outside and David Lloyd has a large number of clubs with outdoor pools which we are itching to try out. Outdoor swimming in the UK is pretty limited these days so this really is a fantastic addition.

I’m sure there are things that I haven’t covered as the fun at David Lloyd is so expense you really need to see it to belive it. Why not nip along to your local club and see for yourself what a membership could offer you and your family this summer.

*collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Six

I seem to be getting later and later with these posts each week but I am determined to keep them up as I know they will be such a lovely reminder to look back on in years to come.

Last week was full of school runs, clubs and work but we still managed to share a few special moments along the way.

Water Babies: Swimming is by far one of the activities I avoid like the plaque! the sheer logistics of getting in and out of the pool bring me out in a cold sweat as getting in and out of our swimwear seems to take longer than the actual swimming itself.
However I had a real pang of guilt at my reluctance to go when I saw how much they all enjoy it and how well they were all swimming.
So from now on no matter how much I don’t want to immerse myself into the cold pool or struggle with sticky bodies and wet clothes I will get those little ones in the pool at least once a week.

The Perfect Nursery: Choosing schools for our children is always a nerve wrecking choice and I don’t think their is a parent out there that doesn’t worry they have made the right choice.
I’ve been both happy and unhappy with decisions on schooling I have made over the years but one place I couldn’t be more certain on is the nursery I choose for my youngest two.
It doesn’t have all the mod cons or a swanky building but it is full of love and care for each and every child and after picking up a poorly Oscar on Friday who was being cuddled and comforted I know there is no place I would rather enlist my children’s care to.

Woodland Walks: We can all get a little complacent with the things we have and I know that since writing these posts it has made me feel grateful for all the things I have that I would normally take for granted.
Walking Frankie to school in the morning is something I don’t often have time for as I’m busy trying to fit everything into my day; but when I do it is wonderful to be able to take a shortcut through the woods, turn off from everything else that is buzzing through my mind and connect with him and the beautiful surroundings.

Getting 2018 Off To A Swimming Start

Oh yes in only a few weeks all the jollities of Christmas will be over and it will be time to start thinking about the brand new year ahead of us.

After weeks of gorging on mince pies and mulled wine, spending hours in front of the television dipping into the christmas chocolates and feasting on three course meals with the family the first thing on my mind is going to be how to shift all of that winter weight gain!

If I’m completely honest it isn’t just Christmas that is to blame for my expanding waistline it has slowly been creeping on over the past two years and I’m finding it increasingly hard to give off that ‘I’m happy with my body at any size’ vibe!

Over my adult life I have struggled terribly with body image and still harbour a very unhealthy relationship with food that over the years has left me very poorly from under eating and over training to bringing out huge insecurities though talking things to the other end of the scale where I massively over eat and lead a very sedentary lifestyle.

Its not just what I look like on the outside that is an issue, I know I’m currently in a place when I’m not feeding my body as I should and this is leading to me feeling constantly lethargic and lacking in motivation.

My mental health is also bearing a lot of strain as my confidnce has taken a huge battering and I am finding myself avoiding social situations where I might feel intimidated by other women and am making myself feel very isolated at times.

Sitting here writing this has really brought this issue to light for me and although I’m really not a lover of setting New Years resolutions I am going to go into the New Year with a positive mind about getting myself fit and healthy so that I am happy within myself and not letting this have a detrimental effect on my family.

Through a combination of over training in my younger days, being overweight and the general effects of getting older my joints are really feeling the strain these days and I think the best way to get things back on track again is to ease myself into exercise with swimming.

Im not the strongest of swimmers but with even an easy swim burning off up too 500 calories it is certainly a great way to kick start exercise again.

The thought of donning a swimsuit however is filling me with dread but there are some great plus size swimwear options out there to ease the pain.

Once in the pool its not only calories that will be burned; it will also help to boost my metabolism and all the while keeping my joints safe.

Water is also a massive 800 times denser than air so with each push, pull and kick it will give your body a great resistance workout too.

So this new year will hopefully see me facing my fears, changing my way of life and fingers crossed getting some great results!

*collaberated post

Baby Annabel Learns To Swim Doll Giveaway

I have always seen swimming as one of the most important skills for children to learn, it is a life skill as well as being great for exercise and obviously lots of fun.

This said taking those first steps into the pool can be a pretty daunting time and I know that for two of mine it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get them happy and relaxed with the water.

This is where the new Baby Annabel Learns To Swim Doll can come into play to help ease the transition from dry land to water.

Baby Annabel have teamed up with Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington to create this brilliant doll that splashes, moves her arms and legs in water and floats on her back.

Here are a few of Rebecca’s top tips on how to get your little ones confident in the water:

Rebecca Adlington says: “Learning to swim is an important milestone, helping to instil confidence from an early age as well as being a really fun bonding experience between a parent and child. If your little one is nervous it can be a challenging process – expect plenty of tears and tantrums, however initial fears can be overcome by slowly building confidence and trust.”

Whether your child is an anxious swimmer or an excited water baby, Rebecca Adlington’s top tips will help turn your child into a little Olympian in no time –

• Children can be initially nervous of the water, baby steps and lots of praise will help them overcome a lack of confidence. Try taking them alone to just watch for the first time, then toes in next time and so on, along with lots of positive praise to help encourage them to take that first dip.

• Toys are a brilliant tool, they are such a good distraction for anyone who doesn’t normally like putting their face in the water or splashing. Toys such as the new Baby Annabell Learns to Swim doll are a great way to give children (and parents!) the courage to take those first steps towards swimming.

• Swimming is huge bonding experience. The learning process is a lot to do with trust and really builds a closer relationship between and parent and child. For this reason, try not to use your phone during lessons to avoid distractions.

• The younger you start swimming lessons the better. I took Summer from 3 weeks old. It is all about building confidence and awareness of the water from a young age. Swimming also helps with a child’s muscular development and is fantastic for understanding their physical abilities.

• Make good use of the equipment that’s there. Whether it’s armbands, noodles, or vests, use whatever your child is more comfortable with. I tend to do five minutes with floatation equipment and five without, this helps when they’re really young and still building confidence.

• Mix up who takes the child swimming. Whether its Mum, Dad, Grandparents etc. It’s good to go with someone they trust whilst getting used to swimming with different people.

If this sounds something your little ones would like them simply tell me in the comments below when Rebecca first took her daughter Summer swimming for your chance to WIN a doll of your very own.

Competition T’s and C’s –

The winner will be announced on 5th November 2017.

The prize is non refundable and is no cash alternative.

Free Swimming For Under 16’s


The school holidays are upon us and I’m sure as I I’m, your trying to think what you will fill the next 6 weeks with to keep the kids entertained.
It can be a real strain to fill everyday and a major pull on the bank balance.

If you could get out of the house, keep the kids entertained and get them some exercise for free I’m sure you would all jump at the chance!

Well until the 4th September Purley, Waddon, South Norwood, Thornton Heath and New Addington swimming pools are all offering free swimming for under 16’s.

All you need to do is fill out an application form and take along proof of name and address.  The only cost is £2 for the membership card.

I have already signed number two up in a bid to get him of the Xbox and doing some exercise with his friends.

Center Parcs:The Perfect Family Holiday

I first visited Center Parcs twenty one years ago when Longleat was opened and have been there nearly every year since.

It is the kind of place you simply can’t tire of and had something to offer if you are 1 or 101!!

If you were to ask any of my children what their favourite hoilday is they will always pick Center Parcs as the top of their list, well baring Disney (sorry)!

Over the years we had had trips where we have taken part in lots of activities and others where we have relaxed more and made use of exploring the wonderful surroundings Longleat is set in.

  
We always hire bikes when we go as it is the easiest way to travel from place to place, and much more fun than walking.  It’s a great place to practice your cycling as the roads are car free once everyone has checked in and there is not the worry that you would get riding a bike at home.  If cycling is not your your thing then there is a land train that you can hop onboard.

We always get a trailer for the youngest ones which doubles up perfectly as a shopping cart!

 
  
We usually grab our bikes and head off to our favourite resturant, The Pancake House.  This year was made extra special by an allergy free pancake being put on the menu so number four was not left out.

   

  

  

  

Tummies now full we made our way to our lodge to get settled in.  This year we were greeted with the usual open plan, cosy lodge nestled in the woodland with all the things you need from any self catering accommodation.  To our delight our lodge was set right onto a beautiful large pond which was perfect for on tap duck feeding.

   
     

     

The children were now champing at the bit to get to the pool which is a favourite for everyone.  They have a well set out area for babies and toddlers, a large pool area that has a wave machine on the hour that leads into a great lazy river, several water slides, jacuzzis to relax in; but our firm favourite is the Rapids.  It is an outdoor slide adventure that I love more than the children!

  
This year the children picked one activity each and we filled the rest of our time with bike riding, swimming, playing on the beach and making use of all the playgrounds on offer.

   
  

         

Number four had his first outdoor activity this year which was the Mini Trek.  He had a fantastic time and thought he was on ‘Ninja Warrior’.

   
    

 

‘Super Grandad’, hubby, number two and number three all took part in the High Ropes Challange.  This was a two hour activity and they loved every minute of it.

   
       

Last of the activities was the Arieal Adventure. This has changed slightly this year but was still the firm favourite.

   
       

As far as eating goes at Center Parcs we have always found the restaurants really good value for money and there is plenty of choice.

   

We usually eat in a lot as it is easier with a large family with young children and ours love to make use of the barbecue area at the lodge.  There is a supermarket on site with mini trollies which are always a highlight.  The supermarket has everything you could want but is very pricy so I would suggest bringing your own good if you were trying to save money by making use of the self catering.

   
 

   
 

We always have tears when we have to end of trip and I can hand on heart say that Center Parcs can’t be faulted.  It is the perfect family holiday and the fact we have visisted for over twenty years should just show you what a truly fabulous place it is. 

           
  

  

  

Hunting For Dinosaurs At Dinosaur Island

  
The sun finally came out for us today and my husband had some unusual time off, so we decided to venture out a little bit and take a drive to Horsham in West Sussex to visit Dinosaur Island.

We were super exited to follow the dinosaur footprints all the way down to the fabulous play area that had everything you could ask for.

   
      
There was a great sandpit with buckets to fill with sand and pull up and down, fabulous things to climb on and explore, along with brilliant swings and slides.

   
        
After we had worn ourselves out it in the playground we grabbed an ice cream and made our way down to the lake in the country park.

There was plenty of open space to set ourselves up to paddle in the lovely warm lake.

   
     

I could have sat here watching the kids paddle all day.  They were more than happy splashing around and throwing pebbles for a good few hours.

We were a little unorganised today before we set out and only got a few hours over here.

Next time we will defiantly be packing a big picnic and making a whole day of it.