Friday, April 24, 2020

I did write a post three weeks ago about the COVID-19 situation and didn't get round to posting it THANK GOODNESS because everything I wrote has since gone out of the window!!

I had grand plans of doing Joe Wicks PE every day and scheduling time to sit down with Martin to draw and write. Even thought I'd do a spot of decorating!!!

He lasted 3 minutes with Joe Wicks

I've been a single Mam for over a year now and I've exhausted myself trying to make sure Martin has the best possible life. I've scrimped and saved to take him to Centerparcs, planned outings to fun places around the North East. When December rolled around I had a Christmas activity booked every week!
One of our many Santa Visits.

You see, we see all these places on Facebook and Instagram and see everybody having a wonderful time and feel under pressure to go and do the same. I don't want Martin to miss out on anything just because I'm a single parent so I push myself to take him places even when they make me anxious.

But here's the thing...

One morning last week Martin turned round to and said "Mammy I had the best day yesterday".

We'd been for a walk up Hill 60, blown bubbles in the garden and watched a Disney film on the afternoon. 

Giant Bubbles

All simple activities, all of them free! And he said he just likes being with Mammy all the time. 

So there's lots of things I intend to do differently post-lockdown such as shopping at my local butchers and greengrocers etc. but I'm also going to put much less pressure on myself to find new and exciting things for Martin to do. We've started a list of places he wants to go when we're allowed and so far it's...

1. Pizza Hut (more for the ice cream machine than the pizza!)
2. The Tea Junction (for cake)
3. Have a pancake party at home (he must have enjoyed pancake day!)
4. Centerparcs 

Pancake Day 2020

So with the exception of Centerparcs these are all quite simple things! We have definitely had more screen time than I would have liked during this time but we've also had a walk in the fresh air every single day which wouldn't normally happen so I figure it's all about balance.

What will you do different post-lockdown? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, March 23, 2020

New Adventurelands

I decided to go ahead and write this blog because local businesses will need our support more than ever when this shit storm blows over!

Martin and I went to New Adventurelands after seeing their Superhero and princess day advertised by the lovely Sam at North East Family Fun.

I don't often have Martin on a Sunday so I thought it would be a nice change for us (and he loves superheroes!)

New Adventurelands is a good sized soft play, there is ample seating for the adults and a good amount of space but you can mostly see your kids at all times which is a big plus for us.

Amazingly there was no extra charge for the special event so I paid just £4.95 for Martin (I believe it is £5.95 for 5+)

Very clean and tidy areas.

First of all let me tell you I had a cappuccino and it's the best coffee I've ever had at any soft play. If thats not reason to go then I don't know what is!

The first visitor of the day was Spiderman! The characters were brilliant as they didn't make a fleeting appearance and vanish, they actually played with the kids. Martin chased Spiderman around until he was beetroot red and they played party games as well as having free turns on the basketball machine. There was also an Elsa and a Belle whilst we were there.

High Five from Spiderman
Martin got a kids meal included with his entry which was a really decent size and I ordered a salad which I really really enjoyed! They do two sizes of kids meals which is great as all kids have different appetities. The staff are so helpful too, I messaged to ask about the salad dressing so I could look it up on my WW app and they oven offered to sell me a bottle if I liked it as it wasn't available in the shops! 

I highly recommend the chicken salad! 

Now the bit I really can't get over is the value we got from this place! £4.95 got us entry into the place, party games (with sweets and prizes) a free kids meal, a colouring in board and a party bag?! Absolutely amazing and I can't wait to return when normality does! 

Impressive party favours!

**Update** since leaving I discovered we had in fact been charged for the kids meal, so I'd advise you all to check before you pay!! *******

Friday, February 21, 2020

Diggerland as a Single Mam

Diggerland is a unique theme park based in Durham. It's been on our list for a while as Martin loves diggers so I got an amazing black Friday deal on our tickets and paid just £12.95 per ticket. You do have to choose a specific date though.

Standard admission is £23.95 (£19.95 if you pre-book) but Diggerland always seem to have deals off for off-peak seasons which is worth checking out.

I've seen a lot of complaining about the price (it is quite a small place) but when you look at the cost of the equipment they have to maintain it's completely understandable.

We had booked for a particularly baltic day in February so we didn't last the whole day but there is definitely a days worth of entertainment to be had. I didn't mind spending half a day there as our tickets were so cheap.

I was really really anxious about taking Martin to such a male-orientated place on my own but the admission staff were so friendly and welcoming and explained everything to me. There is also a safety video to watch (although I found this difficult to listen to as I am not great with background noise).

The first ride we went on was the Diggerland train, I was able to go on with Martin which was ideal and a great start to the day. 

He then wanted to try the Dumper trucks, time for Mammy to drive! I was very nervous about this but they do go very slow and again the staff were so helpful.

So proud of myself for driving this!

Martin's absolute favourite was the Mini landrovers, he went on these twice. I was amazed he managed to steer them ok (ok he crashed twice but was rescued very promptly).

Loving life.

Martin didn't like the look of the bigger rides but older kids would certainly have a ball on the likes of Spindizzy and Sky shuttle (in the background of the above pic)
We did have a go at skittles which I found immensely difficult, I just cant get the hang of the digger controls! 

After getting a big chilly we headed inside for a warm up, there is a small soft play area and a little tikes play area that Martin enjoyed and some games that you pay for. (I had come equipped with pound coins as this is always the case where ever you go) We had a game of air hockey and a go on the small diggers. I did resent paying £1 for this one as the ones outside were free but I figured it was worth it to stay warm for a bit longer!

We grabbed some lunch from the cafe (you can bring a picnic for outside in warmer weather) I had a tuna toastie and Martin had a sandwich box. However the man in front of me ordered chicken burgers and they looked amazing! (next time!)
Kids lunchbox £4.50
After venturing back outside we went on the JCB (I was terrified that I might have to drive it but the operator said he would do it for us no problem and Martin's face was a picture all the way round).

My favourite was the Safari ride, where you're driven round in a SUV spotting animals in the forest. The driver really made this experience great and even wiped Martins lunch box on his jumper for me what I dropped it in the mud! 

Martin enjoyed the go karts too and we got a few pictures before the rain really started to set in.

All in all we had a great time but the staff really made the experience special and I was so grateful to them. The gift shop is very well priced, even if you are on the skint side you can get a Diggerland medal for just 99p and the staff will give you a certificate, colouring book and stickers on exit which I thought was a great touch.
I thought the PJ's were a great souvenir at £6.99
I would definitely visit again, especially off-peak as there were virtually no queues. Although I am tempted to come in the nicer weather too. All in all a great day out!!

A great touch.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Smoke and Mirrors...

There is so much pressure these days to look good on Social Media (and I should know, I do it for a living!)

Getting that perfect picture and filtering it just right, sometimes overshadows the moment. 

We live in a world where people watch live music through the screen of their phone and show up at an event just "for the 'Gram".

We aren't unaware of the effect this has on our mental health, we just choose to ignore it! 

I've always suffered of a case of the green eyed monster, always watched other social media accounts enviously and I know it does me no good.

I've always felt a lot of pressure to give Martin a "perfect Christmas" but this year even more so because it's my first as a single Mam. 

So for this reason, I'm coming off Facebook for the whole of December. 

Not only will it save all my friends and family a month of Elf of the Shelf pictures but it will stop me comparing our Christmas to everyone elses. 

Because ours will be pretty damn great!

Katy x

Perfect representation of Real Life V Instagram!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Haven Point

This will be the first time I’ve devoted an entire blog to a particular place but you know what this place is so good it deserves it!

Since having Martin four years ago every time a fellow Mammy asks about where to go swimming on Facebook the answer is always “Haven Point”

Being all the way over in South Shields I hadn’t ventured there before but on Martin’s birthday we found most places were shut so I decided to give it a try.

It’s really not difficult to get to, there is a pay and display car park outside and as it was a weekday there was plenty of space (and also the facility to pay via your phone which is handy!)

As I have anxiety I can get very nervous about going to new places but the staff behind the reception desk sharp made me feel comfortable straight away. The lovely lady clocked Martin’s birthday badge and wished him a happy birthday. She explained where everything was, the slides we could use and then came out from the desk to walk us to the door to show us where we were going.

It was also a bargainous £6.50 for the two of us!

The changing rooms were spotless, lovely and warm and the lockers were much bigger than what we were used to.
Martin always has a snack while I get ready!

Haven point has three pools, one standard pool for adults, one teaching pool and then the leisure pool which is where we were. The leisure pool is amazing and so warm! There’s also a bubble pool and two larger slides (but Martin wasn’t brave enough for that!)

It was much nicer getting changed afterwards in a warm facility (lets face it, it is the worst part!) and then we went for well deserved fish and chips and a gander at the amusements.

A 4th Birthday well spent!

Birthday Slush

Monday, September 23, 2019

Why I buy gifts for my ex-husband...

Today my ex-husband turns 41. By this time last year I had spent months secretly squirreling money away, organising a surprise birthday bash and spent both time and effort on gifts.

Here's the thing... I will always get him a gift. Even on fathers day when the break up was quite fresh I made sure he had a gift. 

I haven't even had so much as a 29p Card Factory Card for Mothers Day or my Birthday but I will still make sure there is something there to wrap up. And I always will.

Because it's not from me, it's from our Son.

My parents divorced when I was little and buying my Dad and Step Mum gifts was always a struggle. My sister and I used to save our dinner money to club together and get them a little gift but obviously that's not ideal. And it's not something I ever want Martin to worry about. 

When he's old enough I will ensure he has some money to choose things himself but until that day I will ensure that every Fathers day, Birthday and Christmas he will have something to give his Dad. Not because I want Peter to have a gift to unwrap but because I know Martin, kind loving boy that he is, will want something to give.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

An Open Letter to My Ex-Husband

So today is the day I've received my Decree Absolute. I'm officially divorced and not sure how to feel.
 I know lots of women celebrate the event, go out on the drink and have a "divorce party" to mark the return of their single life but honestly, I don't think being divorced at 33 is something to celebrate. So I've decided to write this letter to my Ex even though he may never read it.

Dear Peter,

I told you before we got married that I actually didn't believe in Divorce. It was no lie. I wanted the family unit of Mammy and Daddy and children and I wanted it for life. 

I want you to know that I didn't make this decision lightly. I know it might seem like I did. The truth is I had to act quickly if I was to find the strength to go through with it this time as leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 

I can never ever regret being married to you because of course you gave me Martin, the most wonderful gift I could ever receive. He brings me joy every single day and I am so proud of him and know that you are too.

I'm also proud of the steps we're making in co-parenting our child. I am determined to never let this affect Martin and you will never find me anything less than amicable and communicative when we talk about our gorgeous boy. 

And most importantly, I forgive you.
For each and every heartbreak I forgive you.

I also hope that someday, you can forgive me.

Your ex wife,

Katy x

I did write a post three weeks ago about the COVID-19 situation and didn't get round to posting it THANK GOODNESS because everything I ...