THE PURE JOY OF HAVING A SON – MY MAX

THE PURE JOY OF HAVING A SON – MY MAX

My beautiful boy Max came into the world 2 weeks late by a very stressful emergency cesarean. We thought we’d lost him & then Tony thought he’d lost me too & if it wasn’t for the amazing medical team at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary that could have happened. Isabelle had been a textbook natural birth with absolutely no problems & everyone told me your second birth was easier but that certainly wasn’t the case with my second birth. With this stressful start to his life Max & I had to stay in hospital for 4 days which ended up being wonderful. Not the stay in hospital particularly, I was desperate to get home to Tony, Isabelle & the comforts of my own home, but it was amazing to have those 4 days of Me & Max and I think I just stared at my beautiful boy constantly. As I had done with Isabelle, I fell in love with him instantly and he really was, and still is, the apple of my eye. 

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He wasn’t the easiest baby in the first few weeks as he had colic and screamed just between 5-6pm every night. This only lasted about 3 weeks in all but it seems like forever at the time. But then it just stopped and one morning at only 3 weeks old I peered into his Moses basket and he beamed at me. That’s when I called him my sunshine boy & still do (although as a 11 year old boy this does not always apply these days!!!!!!😂).

After the explosion of pink and girlyness that came with Isabelle which I adored it was also then lovely to have a little boy who brought a completely different energy to our lives. Max is more complex than Isabelle and can be very stubborn at times. He has his own mind completely which I love about him, if he doesn’t like something or want to do something he won’t!!!! This can be tricky at times and he will have to learn to compromise a bit as he gets older but I love that he’s not a follower. 

He’s a typical 11 year old boy in many ways who loves his Xbox, karate, his mates, fancies the girls, would rather not go to school most days and can be moody at times but then he can be the most loving, caring, funny boy who’s great to be around. 

He’s much cleverer and far more talented than he gives himself credit for and I really want to help him build up his confidence as he can get a little anxious about things at times. He does very well at school and Karate and is an excellent swimmer. 

I love my boy, my Max with all my heart and want the very very best life for him. I want to give him the best childhood and show him as many life experiences and give him as many life skills as I possibly can before he flies the nest. At the moment he wants to be a Vet or something to do with computer games which is fantastic but he’s only young and could change his mind ten times yet. Whatever he does decide he wants to do Tony & I will be behind him all the way and endeavour to give him the very best we can. 

But the most important thing in the world is that he knows I love and adore him with all my heart. 

Having a son is a true gift and I’m loving watching him grow and develop into the kind & caring person he is. I want to help him develop skills for life and instil the best values in him as he matures. I miss him when he was little but I’m enjoying seeing who he’s becoming, however to me he’ll always be my baby boy, My Max XX 💗

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A GIRLY WEEKEND IN MADRID

A GIRLY WEEKEND IN MADRID

For Christmas this year my husband Tony and my friends husband excelled themselves by organising a girly weekend away in Madrid for myself and one of my best friends. With a very busy week schedule a few days away in June was a lovely thought and we were both looking forward  to weekend away from anything work related. I had never visited Madrid before & I was really looking forward to exploring a new city. 

So, on a very wet & miserable Friday morning in June we flew direct to Spain’s capital Madrid. After the smoothest journey imaginable, especially being out of the peak season, we arrived in central Madrid at our hotel by lunchtime ready to explore this exciting and beautiful city. 

The lovely Hotel Paseo Del Arte was extremely well situated in walking distance of most attractions and it is an immaculate hotel. The check in was as smooth as could be with very efficient and friendly staff. We checked in to out lovely room quickly and easily, freshened up and decided to have a quick drink in the hotel bar to look at our information and plan our time. This is where I got my first surprise as the Gin measures are HUGE and I certainly knew I’d had it!!!! We already had a good idea of what we wanted to see before we arrived so we just decided which day we wanted to do what and off we went. That day we just wanted to wander around and get a feel for the city and its the most perfect place for this. Wherever you go and whatever street you turn down you fall upon fabulous squares full of eating places, lovely tavernas and bars. The city is buzzing and alive with a fantastic atmosphere and everywhere you look there’s a lovely hustle and bustle of local life going on around you. I love nothing more when I’m in a new city than to sit in an outdoor cafe or bar and watch the culture, traditions & life going by.

In every restaurant and taverna you really do sample local life and it is a very authentically Spanish city. There is an amazing choice of wonderful tapas dishes every where you go and every other cafe/shop is filled with every kind of meats, cheeses, breads and wonderful charcuterie platters. I love to sample local cuisine when I am abroad and the authentic tapas and paella was a real treat in Madrid. When in Spain a big jug or two of Sangria is a must and we really enjoyed this refreshing (& quite strong!!!) local drink. What is better IMG_8617than sat in a beautiful Spanish city, in the sunshine, drinking Sangria?! 

After an afternoon and evening exploring the lovely streets and plazas we went back to the hotel (stopping in a gorgeous Spanish taverna or three on the way) to get some sleep.

We woke reasonably early on the Saturday to enjoy the hotel breakfast before heading out & what a treat. It really was one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had with everything imaginable to choose from. 

I always find a good way to see a new city is on a bus tour on the first day, that way if you’re not there for long you get a good taste of the city and if you are there for a while you can decide on places you want to go back to.

So we got on the Madrid City bus and enjoyed a couple of hours just relaxing and soaking in the sights of this beautiful city.

Madrid is the largest city in Spain and it oozes style, creativity and Spanish traditions. It’s the perfect destination for couples and groups who want to explore the areas rich history of art, music and architecture. It’s full of magnificent gardens and cosmopolitan nightlife so there really is something for everyone. 

Having travelled extensively one of my traditions has been to visit the Hard Rock Cafe in every city I’ve ever been to for a drink or a meal and get my obligatory photograph so we hopped off and had a quick drink in Madrid’s Hard Rock Cafe along the way. IMG_8541

It’s such a pretty city and the architecture is stunning. With all the bad weather we’ve had in the UK recently this glorious sunshine was just heaven. Everywhere looks & feels so much better when the sun is shining. 

After a lovely morning through to lunchtime on the bus tour we went back to our hotel to shower and change so we could go out for late afternoon into the evening. 

Whereas Friday had been quite busy but you could still easily get a table anywhere you wanted, Saturday was just unbelievably busy. One thing I would recommend to anyone going out to Madrid is to book a restaurant ahead of time if you are there on a Saturday. We did eventually find somewhere to eat and enjoyed some different tapas dishes which were delicious. After our meal we walked along to the famous Plaza Mayor which reminded me very much of Venice’s St Marks Square with lots of bars and restaurants around the sides and stalls and street performers in the centre. We fancied trying one of the scooters you can pick up along the way if you download the app but the streets were so busy we feared for people’s lives if we were driving scooters after a few Sangrias!!!!!! 

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Some fabulous dancers and street entertainers along the way made it another wonderful evening. I just love the authenticity of Madrid. All the locals were so friendly and polite and the city has such a lovely vibe about it. 

We woke up in good time on the Sunday and enjoyed another superb breakfast which really set us up for the day right through until our evening meal. We had decided we wanted to have a cultured day and a visit to the Prado Museum was the order of the morning. What a stunning building this is. Sadly we didn’t get to see the outside in its full glory as some of it was boarded up for maintenance work but it didn’t spoil our visit. After waiting in a short queue which moved very quickly (you can also buy tickets on line) we bought our tickets at €18 per adult and went in. 

With famous works and masterpieces by artists such as Velazquez, Antonella da Messina, Francisco Goya & Hieronymus Bosch, it really is an awe inspiring museum and we spent 2 or 3 hours in there admiring the work and this stunning building. 

Back out into the glorious sunshine we enjoyed a lovely walk back into the centre and it was interesting to see that a couple of roads closed on a Sunday so pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy the freedom of walking and cycling on the roads at their leisure. On a break away, one of the nicest things is to just wander and stop for a drink and snack wherever you fancy which we certainly took advantage of. We walked right across to the other side of the city to see the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Cathedral de la Almudena which were again stunning buildings. 

Traditional Paella was in order for dinner that evening which was delicious and tasted of traditional Spanish cuisine. It was a delight later on to see some ladies and gentlemen dressed in tradition Spanish National Dress performing some dances in the streets and to see everyone having a wonderful time.

Sadly as we were leaving very early the next morning our time in Madrid had come to an end but what a fantastic weekend we’d had. I can’t recommend the Hotel highly enough and the check out was as easy and pleasant as check in. 

Madrid is a city of rich culture and traditions coupled with the modern shops, bars and restaurants and has a fantastic vibe and buzz around it. We did quite a lot of walking to see as much as we could but we just did it all in our own time and enjoyed drinks and a look in the many shops along the way. I will definitely go back to this delightful place and would recommend it to anyone thinking of spending a long weekend there. 

LIFE SKILLS I WANT MY CHILDREN TO MASTER BEFORE THEY LEAVE HOME

LIFE SKILLS I WANT MY CHILDREN TO MASTER BEFORE THEY LEAVE HOME

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Money Management, Budgeting & Paying BillsIMG_8329

Putting money into a savings account

Basic DIY

Be able to cook a small repertoire of basic meals (or more if they have a flair for cooking)

Learning to Drive & Navigational Skills 

Be able to do basic household tasks – Managing a home 

 Know how to deal with a car breaking down

Social Skills, Good manners, Empathy with others, 

How to get themselves places on public transport such as mastering the subway/tube in big cities 

Basic health care, mental health care & self care IMG_8331

Good grooming and personal maintenance 

How to ask for what they want be it something small such as in a shop or restaurant or something bigger for their career 

Basic Time management & Organisation, Getting up in morning being on time etc 

Communicating with others face to face not via just technology

Looking after their own personal environment. Spare key, cleanliness, tidy house and workspace 

Setting healthy boundaries with others & taking care with people taking advantage both in friendship, work and romantic relationships 

Using protection both in bed and in the sun 

The dangers of drugs & smoking

Drinking responsibly and being careful on nights out. Never leave a friend, have money for taxi home, stay with group. My dad always said its not you I don’t trust its other people 

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Skills to stay safe

Be able to hold conversations, order in restaurants and make bookings both in person and online 

Problem solving & decision making skills 

Goal setting and knowing how to prioritise 

How to prepare for an interview in advance and how to handle an interview on the day 

How to study/revise 

Be able to hold conversation with people from all walks of life and take an interest in them. 

Dressing appropriately for the occasion & having the right equipment for all kinds of events such as dinner parties, summer holiday, a camping trip, a charity ball. Also having the correct equipment and utensils at home for dinner parties, a birthday gathering, parties, Summer Christmas & Easter entertaining etc 

Basic 1st Aid

How to do laundry IMG_8330

How to say ‘No’

Basic car maintenance 

How to send a professional e mail

Work hard always in everything you do

Treat others how you would like to be treated 

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HELLO JUNE 2019

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Summer is nearly upon us and I have everything crossed we have the glorious sunshine of last year. Everyone is happier and smiles more when the sun is shining and everywhere just looks better somehow.

FABULOUS THINGS THAT HAPPENED LAST MONTH

  1. I choreographed a production of ‘Cats’ the musical and we had sell out audiences every night
  2. A lovely few days away in Northumberland
  3. I wrote a lot more of my book and I’m loving it. It’s a big ambition of mine to finish it and get it published. Dream big!!!! IMG_8258
  4. A lovely spa morning and breakfast at 315 Spa in Lepton, Huddersfield with my lovely mum
  5. A rare date night with my husband at Volaire Tapas Bar in Skelmanthorpe, Huddersfield

 

LIFESTYLE, LEISURE, PLACES & HOME

Volaire Tapas Bar Skelmanthorpe, Huddersfield

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Just 10 minutes up the road from where I live is the small village of Skelmanthorpe which was recently put on the map by the first lady Doctor Who, Jody Whittaker who hails from there and famously called it ‘Shat’ on the Graham Norton show!

Skelmanthorpe (or Shat) is a small but pretty little village on the outskirts of Huddersfield and its main high street now boast a few lovely independent shops and restaurants.

Tony & I had heard some good reviews about Volaire and it always looked very inviting so, on a rare kid free Saturday night we decided to pay it a visit.

We certainly weren’t disappointed, the staff were all very welcoming and attentive.

The small restaurant has a lovely authentic Spanish feel to it & I really did feel transported to Southern Spain.

Our waitress couldn’t have been nicer & explained how their tapas menu worked. There was also a large choice of pastas dishes and pizzas but, being in a Spanish tapas bar we went with the extensive list of delicious sounding tapas dishes.

Wow! Is all I can say, every dish was absolutely delicious and it is some of the best Tapas I’ve had in this country. We went with the recommended 7 dishes between 2 which was more than enough. A huge selection of dips, breads, fish dishes, meat dishes, cheese dishes is available and we went for a good variety in our choices. Everything was so flavoursome and cooked to perfection. We were too full to sample the desert menu but I’m sure it was just as delicious.

Who knew such a fabulous restaurant serving such delicious food was on my doorstep? I can highly highly recommend it if you happen to be in the area. We will definitely be back without a shadow of a doubt.

BEAUTY, HEALTH & STYLE

Fitting back into my summer wardrobe

I’ve been getting quite frustrated with myself lately as, although I’m not over weight I’m a bit bigger than I usually am and I desperately want to lose a few pounds before the summer. All of the clothes in my wardrobe still fit but it all feels a bit snug so I keep wearing the same few outfits that I feel comfortable in. I have a wardrobe full of lovely summer clothes that I’m determined to be wearing again soon as they no way I’m going IMG_8260up a dress size.

I’m on a mission now and I’ve been eating much more healthily and, as always I immediately feel better for it. ‘You are what you eat’ is such a true phrase and I really do feel more energised and my skin is so much better. The summer holidays are 6 or 7 weeks away and I know once I start losing a couple of pounds I’ll be motivated to carry on. Healthy eating coupled with exercising more has begun in earnest so wish me luck!

COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

                           Woo WooIMG_8261

This cocktail is a blast from my days dancing on cruise ships when these were a regular on the cocktail menu!!

                                      Ingredients & Method

Mix vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and fresh lime to make this perfect party cocktail and garnish with ice & a lime wedge.

This cocktail can be served in a high ball glass or as a shot.

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Confidence: The Secret – Katie Piper

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I’m a big fan of Katie Piper and in awe of her attitude to life. I’ve read all her books and as someone who has quietly struggled with confidence in the past I wanted to read this book. As always with Katie’s books I found it an inspiring read and it shows how true confidence is far more than skin deep. It is warm, funny, touching and down to earth. Well worth a read!

 

 

FILM OF THE MONTH

Aladdin 

I love anything Disney and I’ve been really looking forward to this re make of Aladdin. I was concerned nothing could ever live up to Robin Williams as the Genie & Will Smith was taking on a huge task with this. He most certainly didn’t disappoint and is just wonderful in the role.

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But Wow! The films cinematography is simply stunning in every way and my mum, Isabelle, Max and myself all loved every minute of it. It’s aesthetically beautiful and perfectly cast all round. Brilliantly directed by Guy Ritchie with a very clever screenplay makes this a wonderful film in every way. I was looking forward to it but it completely exceeded all my expectations.

 

THIS MONTH I’M LOVING

Walking Dora in nicer weather & when it’s lighter in the evening!

THIS MONTH I’M NOT LOVING

Seeing a close family friend suffer 😞

 

THIS MONTHS FAVOURITES

  1. The addition of Retinol to my skin care routine IMG_8264
  2. My new Michael Kors handbag
  3. Jo Malone Peony & Blush suede luxury candle
  4. Neom Real luxury bath & shower drops
  5. TIGI Catwalk dry shampoo
  6. Gentleman Jack on with the fabulous Suranne Jones plus some of it was filmed in my home town and neighbouring ares which was lovely to see

 

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THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH 

 

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