Monday, 28 December 2015

It's been a while...

Well it's been a while since I last posted, apologises. 

I hope you have all had a great Christmas and that Father Christmas brought both you and your children everything wished for. We certainly did and have been very spoilt too! 

Ok so let's back track a little to October. In October I joined Maisie with her dance school in Rimini, Italy for the IDO World Championships. Maisie competed with her team Ino8 who were placed 12th out of 39 in the world. Maisie also competed in  Battle Crews. This was a first for her dance school and they did amazingly, coming 3rd place. It ended with it being a England podium as Uk took all three positions! Maisie's crew Switch came 13th also. What a trip it was. This was the last time that the crew Switch all danced with their original dancers before saying a sad Fairwell to one of their sisters, friend & dancers, and what a high to finish off! 
Ok so November, this was filled with birthdays for both Amelia and Abbie. It was Abbie's 21st birthday and what a mix of emotions it was too. Abbie's present was a holiday to Sharm, however with all the terrorist attacks it was cancelled, leaving her feeling disappointed but safe! In stead we have sorted a spa day for both me and her. 

We then had to organise Christmas so the shopping began!! None of the children knew what they wanted making it extremely hard for us to buy for them. We started the morning off at home then travelled to London to spend the rest of the day with my parents in my childhood home.

Alfie wants to go travelling next year so asked for items he can take with him on his journey or items that he needs for working whilst away. 

Abbie didn't know at all what she wanted so when she saw things she would post them to us on the Whatsapp group she had set up with some of our family members! However was pleasantly surprised when she received a few surprises, such as her Pandora jewerelly. 

Maisie was happy to have the compete contents of Adidas for Christmas and that was it, however we saw a huge speaker that she can use in the garage which will soon become her dance studio! She was a very happy girl and couldn't believe we had surprised her with such a good gift! 

Amelia, 6 years old and only things she asked for were Don't take Busters bones game and the Vintage Silver Cross dolls pram. Well I am in love with her pram totally!!! It is amazing. Built to high standards as silver cross do but this item can also now stay in the family for many years! 

As for Dave and I we just sat back Christmas morning watching the kids open their presents and watching their faces of excitement was enough for us. We were also spoilt with jewerelly, clothing, toiletries and a weekend away! 

This was the last Christmas there as my parents have sold their house to move into Kent. It's going to be a sad day what with the house being filled with all my brothers and my childhood memories, but new memories to be made in their new home! 

Our Boxing Day was spent around my inlaws, we arrived before my brother in law and his partner so we began with a couple of old traditional games. Once Ian and Becca arrived tea was served. Traditional cold meats, pickles and Bubble and Squeak!! 

Well we all Wish you a very Happy New Year and will be back again soon with another Blog 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Gruffalo Experience

Last Sunday (06/09/15), I had to go to Bluewater to exchange Maisie's school bag as it had become faulty. Amelia and I arrived a little early so had a walk around and stumbled across The Gruffalo Experience shop. Amelia asked to go in (the gruffalo is her favourite book and Julia Donaldson is her favourite author) and have a look. I thought it would be a lovely last minute treat for us both to do before going back to school the next day, so booked tickets for the 12.30 show. Ticket prices were £11.50 per person. Amelia was extreamly excited. 

We had to arrive a little early, so made our way round about 12.10. On booking in, we were both given mouse ears, and the children had gruffalo colouring sheets, a large game of connect 4 which had the gruffalo characters on each disc for them to play with.  

Our guide was a lovely young lady who asked the children what the gruffalo looked like as well as asking them to make sure he wasn't in our waiting area. The young lady reminded the children of the story and then lead us through the deep dark woods. We sat down in the woods and came across the fox, the owl and the snake, who were all very good quality puppets. The guide gave the children facts on each of these animals as well as going through the story with help from the children. Next we moved round deeper into the woods and here we recapped the story and watched a video of when the mouse said he was the scariest creature and how the gruffalo was impressed. It was here that the gruffalo also made an appearance!!! Amelia was glued to the show all the way through. 

After the final part of the show, there was the opportunity to have your picture done with the Gruffalo. Amelia was first in line for this and have him the biggest squeeze she possibly could. 

The show in total was 50 mins, just right for younger children as they wasn't expected to sit still, and the guide got the children up to act out the story also. This was a day that Amelia describes as 'the best day of the holidays so far'. As much as I enjoyed the event, I do feel that a consession few would of been more acceptable for parents. However good quality time spent with my princes is priceless. 

This show runs Saturday 8th August - Sunday 13th September. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Final week of our holiday in USA

So out time had come to leave Harrahs and move to Los Angeles for the final stage of our holiday. This was the part of the holiday that Maisie was able to enjoy as she had no worries about dance. 

Monday 10th August, we packed the car (just) and headed off. On route we were going to visit the outlet centre in Carlsbad. The weather was still hot so to be honest we were grateful of the car ride and air con. We stopped at Carlsbad and to say that I felt I was on cloud 9 was an understatement, Michael Kors, CK, Converse, Vans and many more. Apparently according to the hubster, I was in MK for nearly 2 hrs! I'm not sure on that one so won't argue it lol. Fantastic bargins and amazing Christmas presents were in fact purchased on this day!!

We found our hotel which was basic but comfortable which we were going to need after planning on doing all the theme parks. We grabbed a meal at the resturant next door (burger theory). 100% Beef burgers, cooked to your preference with a constant refil of drinks and great service. 

Tuesday 11th August was the first day of our theme parks and we had chosen Universal Studios. This was a park that I wasn't expecting much from but considering we had us adults, teenagers and a 6 year old we all had fun. Again not may rides were done but we watched as many shows as we could which have a great insight to a few things and answered a few questions you get from the kids whilst watching films. 

The kids met many of the characters and had their pictures done. We did the Simpsons ride which was a simulator and  didn't go down very well with Amelia as scared her a little bit. It sure was different. We were expecting a roller coaster. 

We were at the studios till around 6pm then set off to find the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign. It was getting dark and we were all tired, but we kept going and drove to the Hollywood sign first. 

After taking a few pictures, we drove to the walk of fame. On our arrival of it we were all very disappointed. It wasn't anything like you see on tv. The streets were not very clean and there were no lights to be able to clearly see the stars. There wasn't much parking and not knowing the area, we decided to keep on driving and if we had time to go back later in the week,during the day we would. So we headed go back to the hotel and get some sleep. 

Wednesday 12th August. I opened the curtains to be greeted with bright hot sunshine which was great as I was still trying to top my tan whilst doing the parks! Today was Disneyland. We walked to Disney as it was only a 30 min walk along the palm tree footpaths. This was a day that we were all looking forward too. Never too old for Disney! 
We saw some princesses, mickey, Goofey, the transformers and many more. It sure was a hot day, and there didn't seem to be much in the way of shade but we did find some to take a short break and drink a frozen fruit juice. Today was another day that the rides had ques over an hours wait and in the heat wasn't a good idea so both Alfie and Maisie decided not to do the rides but just the sights and characters. 

We were exchusted from the heat but kept going. There were lots of people sat on the sides of the road which went through the park and we gathered it was for the Disney parade so joined the crowded and waited. Wow!!! What a parade!' Disney really know how to put on a show. No expenses were spared. I was like a five year old in total aura of the whole Disney parade. 
What I did find with the street dancers was that they had so much time for kids and those with additional needs. One performer stopped playing his drum and gave his sticks to a lad who loved banging on the drum. His whole face lit up! If Amelia or Maisie were taking any pictures and the dancers saw them, they would stop, pose and either wave or high five them. It truely was magical. 

Whilst sat waiting for the parade we got talking to a couple of local teenage girls, who were telling us about the night time parade and how it was a show not to be missed, as well as the fireworks!! After the parade we went off to do more of the park in Mickeys land where we met Mickey and walked around his house. 

Around 7pm we debated about leaving the park as we were all tired and had, had enough heat and to be honest, just wanted our bed so we headed towards the entrance of the park. We got to the entrance and spoke about just chilling on the path for the next 45 mins for the night parade. It was while we waited for the parade that we saw Goofey. 

We are all so glad we waited, as the whole experience was just was amazing!! 

It was safe to say after two busy days we were begining to flag and even the kids were asking for a day by the pool just chilling. However we had just one more park planned, which was for the next day in Disney Adventure Land. 

Thursday 13th August we all woke between 9am and 10am so didn't rush to get down to the park. We just chilled and took another casual walk once we were all ready. Disney Adventure reminded me of an old time pier. It had a big wheel and rollercoaster over the far side of the lake and generally have the old fashioned impression. We enjoyed it as it wasn't as crowed, the ques for the rides weren't too long (20 mins), it was a little cooler and plenty of shade. We did the Little Mermaid ride. The little mermaid appears to be one of Amelia's new favourite princesses. Then Maisie took Amelia on a ride which went up above the park. Apparently it was nice a cool up in the air!! We got a frozen juice drink and continued our walk round. Going on the toy story shooting ride. We all became very competitive on this ride! However the hubster won! Amelia loved it. 

The parade was about to start so we headed back round the other side of the lake to find a place to sit and wait for it. We didn't wait long before the parade came by. 

After the parade we headed towards Cars Land and continued to do the parts we hadn't. What we did find in these parks was that there were many photo opportunities for us which obviously we up took meaning we have so many fantastic memories to print! 

Well after a full action packed day we headed back to the hotel stopping off in Subway for a snack and got ready for a chilled day by the pool the following day. 

Thursday 14th August, was another hot day which I was pleased about as I wanted to top my tan up before heading back to the wet uk! 
The kids got up, washed, brushed their teeth and went straight down to the pool for lots of fun together. 

  I wasn't planning on moving from this spot! 

                   The kids playing

             Time for a game of ball

  Very rare opportunity, getting a picture of the hubster hehe 

After we had all showered, changed and packed the cases, we headed back to the restuarant next door to the hotel for our last meal in California! 

We can officially say that this was a fantastic family holiday just a shame our Abbie wasn't able to join us!! 

Have you had a holiday of a lifetime?? Where was your most favourite holiday? 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Harrah's Resort

So we arrived 3rd August, at Harrah's Resort, set in the middle of mountains in Rincon all ready for the Hip Hop International Competition. The first impressions of the hotel were in fact rather impressive, however it was very much a party hotel with a casino, events hall and lazy river! 

At check in we had to wait in the que whilst the Diamond customers were given priority and seen to first regardless. Anyway we were given our room on the 7th floor. Off we went with our bags to our room to find that the room only accommodated 3 people which obviously wasn't helpful when we had 5 people. I went back to check in, ques and explained my position to be told, that's all we have as we are sold out. Well you can imagine my response! I went to look for one of the organisers of the group booking by the pool, I explained all and was told that Maisie had a bed in a room with a couple of friends and then Alfie would have a roller bed which we sneaked down the hall from a friends room hehe. Well that was that stress sorted. Apparently thou, we wasn't the only ones to receive such a cold customer service from Harrah's. 

That evening we decided to eat in one of the hotels Restaurants called 'Buffet' it provided many different foods from Chinese, Indian, English and Italian. Then the dessert section was just to die for, with chocolate strawberries, cakes, I've-cream and much more!! The price for this meal wasn't too bad. 

The following morning Maisie and her squad were called for training!! To be honest we hardly saw anything of her for the time we were there, so shows just how much time, effort and hard work each of them kids put in to their training to get the results they wanted. Wednesday 5th was the start of the competition with the Junior Crews starting first. ShakeThat Legion were on 17th, they totally smashed their routine which proved so when they got ranked in the top 13th and qualified for the semi finals.  

Thursday was competition day for IMD Phoenix (girl varsity), IMD Legacy (boys varsity) both of these crews made it through to the semi finals. IMD Megacrew opened the mega crew category which isn't an easy position but they did it by setting the bar high for the others to follow. It was a tough category and they did extremely well, however unfortunately didn't make it to the semi finals! 

                     IMD Phoenix

                       IMD Legacy

                    IMD Megacrew

Each and everyone of these kids went back in to training where changes were made and they just got on with it and worked their back sides off to make sure it was done and to the best of their ability!!  Semi finals day arrived and all 3 crews danced, performed their set with pure aggression. They were blinking amazing. The juniors had many of us parents and their teachers in years with pride and others were left with goose bumps however they didn't make the finals and were ranked 14th in the world!!! Totally amazing result!!! 

Phoenix and Legacy also performed their set and did amazing and again unfortunately didn't make the finals. This ment that all uk dancers were now out of the finals. 

So it was now down time for these kids after a soils 5 weeks of training and hard training of that, however do not be fooled as these kids have learnt alot and are ready to come back next year twice as fierce and take both the stage and title!

Harrahs have a lazy river which sounds lovely, well it is but this is the only pool area that the kids could use. It wasn't great for small babies or young children as the shallowest part of the river was 3ft deep. The other 2 pools, one is a swim up bar were for only 21s only and many of the sun bed areas around these pools were also 21s and over meaning that our kids were not allowed to stop in these areas, so meant that parents had to get sun beds a in the busy area of the pool. 

Sunday was the last full day at this hotel before moving on to another in Los Angeles, and no one under 21years of age was allowed to use the pool as it was a all day pool party!! I found this bery bad organisation due to the fact that most of the hotel was booked out due to it hosting the Hi Hop International Competition which meant most of the customers were children who obviously are under 21years of age. Those who were old enough and staying in the hotel were then faced with paying another $35 to be able to go into the pool party. Those that wanted to go back to their room and re entre the pool party were told that they would have to pay again. This is disgusting I feel considering that we had already paid to be in the hotel and use it's facilities!! 

Well it was Monday morning, which meant it was the last 5 days of our holiday and we as a family were going to go to Los Angeles and do Disneyland, Disney California, Hollywood and universal studios before heading home to our eldest princess who we have missed immensely whilst being on this holiday!! 

Our story contines soon .....

Have you ever been to Southern California? What were your experiences??

Sea world

Monday 3rd August, we moved from our first hotel and headed out towards Harrahs Resort. As we were passing Sea World we had previously decided that we would go along and see what it is all about. 

Know I have mixed views on Sea World, but coming all this way to America, I felt it was something we had to do. The kids loved it and yes it did make me think a little more and realise a few more things also. 

On arrival we had a family picture, the staff were really helpful, friendly and so happy to help take a pic on your mobile or camera also. 

We made our way around to the left, going along to the touch pools where they had fish which nibbled the dead skin on your hands. Maisie loved the feeling, Alfie was amazed and Amelia, well she wasn't going anywhere near haha.

We next walked to the killer whales where they were being fed and the trainers were giving out information about them. 
Then there was a show, so we headed towards the arena and found a seat. Without the hubster being aware I sat us in the 'soak zone' hehe I am mean at times. The sun was burning down so I made sure that we all had cream on so not to burn as it was hot!! The show was amazing. These animals were very clever and defiantly kept the crowd entertained. The kids were in total amazement and love the parts where the whales soaked everyone! 
We continued to walk around the park then found a ride called Shipwreck Rapids. I thought I was being clever by bringing our waterproof jackets, but even they didn't keep us dry. We were soaked to the skin!!! Fun ride thou. We continued to walk around the park, seeing the stingrays, baby dolphins, penguins etc. we did go into the shark aquarium and walked through a tube, seeing the sharks swimming above you was great too. 

After Walking around for a while looking at all the attractions we had lunch and visited a few other aquariums then headed towards the dolphin display. This display was fantastic. It was a story being told including the dolphins, parrots, people and a black eagle. Using music they all put on an amazing show. 

We had by now been in the park for 7 hrs, with the blistering heat and we all had, had enough. The only two places left to go had huge ques so we all decided that we would leave them for today. 

Overall I found the park to be great. Plenty of places to eat, plenty of clean toilets, all staff were more than happy to help and generally have it's customers a great day out! 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Comfort inn, San Diego

We landed 1st August 2015 a little ahead of Maisie's Hip Hop International competition. The first appearance of the hotel was that, it was ok! 

Reception staff were very polite and helpful. Ensuring that everything was ok and nothing was a problem for them. We went up to our room and found that we had a bedroom with two double beds in and a sitting room with a sofa/pull out bed. Both rooms had a 28 inch tv, there were tea/coffe facilities, a fridge and a microwave. The bathroom had both a mini bath and a shower, hairdryer, mini bottles of shower gel, shampoo/conditioner and soap. There was also an iron and ironing board which if you are very OCD like me with ironing then you will understand my excitement! 

We went to bed as we had  all been up 24 hrs and were totally shattered. On getting up the next morning we went to the breakfast room which was incredibly small in comparison to the hotel. There were ques for everything and no matter where you stood, you was in someone's way, so we grabbed our food and went back to our room. After breakfast we went to collect our hire car (issues with that are another story!!! Will sort that out when we get back to the UK) then we went back to the hotel to enjoy the pool. The kids loved it. It was very basic but that didn't matter. 

That night we thought we would go along the road to the steak house and see what that was like. On our arrival we were greeted by very friendly and helpful staff however the smell was really off putting. It was a smell that was coming from the male restrooms but once out of the lobby area the smell went. Thankfully!! Alfie, Maisie and I all ordered steak while Dave ordered baby BBQ ribs and Amelia ordered chicken tenders. All was lovely, a little different but lovely. Dave wasn't too impressed with his rack of ribs. We didn't stay for desserts as we were going off to have a family day the following morning at Sea World on route to Harrahs hotel for the competition. 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Street Dance XXL, Wembley Arena

Our day started at 6am when the alarm begain screaming in my ear to get up and wake Maisie who was getting ready to leave for Wembley Arena. 

I dropped Maisie off with her friends for them all to travel into London. As soon as they arrived, rehursals begain. These kids work extremely hard all day and performed hard too. This was proved when they received the first standing ovation of the day, and they were last on!! 

The results were announced and IMD came 1st in their category, Over18s and then were pronounced overall winners of the Street Dance XXL competition for the 2nd year running. Retaining their title. We are so proud of our Maisie's progress with IMD, and thank them for giving and sharing these opportunities with her. 

Lil sister was so proud of her bigger sister!!! 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015


On Sunday, we were up and out mega early again. Why? Well because it was competition day of course!!

Maisie and her dance friends all competited at the competition in Grays, Essex. 

The running order was solos, crew, duo and teams. The comp was ment to start at 9.30, but they never seem to do. There is just so much organising to do before hand. So Maisie and her friends were up and prasticing their routines and listening to the music ready for solos. 

The comp actually kicked off at 10. Maisie went into the under 14s advanced and freestyled her dance. Maisie got through to the next round, and then did a spot light section. Again Maisie danced her socks off and was in her teachers words "sick" and took 1st Place. Proud we are!! 

Next up was crews, now our lil crew were amazing but the judges were not on our side this week, obviously looking for different dance to what they delivered!

Duo. This was a hard section as it went straight to a final but the girls have it there all even thou they had done their duo for weeks and were placed 3rd in Under14s Advanced. 

Next up were the teams. I love watching this section of the comp. The team danced and to be honest were the strongest team in their category Under 16s Advanced. This was proved by the team coming 1st place!!! Overall a fantastic day with everyone and some astonishing results. 

We have some more news to tell soon but it's all a secret for now.  Eeeek!