I am Stop Measuring Your Time on Someone Else’s Clock Mum

It’s August; which if you believe the Interweb and the Instafluencers, means it’s practically January already.

So apparently it’s time for Happy New Year already?

Eh. No.

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I did laugh at this. It’s funny coz it’s true…sort of.

Ok, I will agree that once the 1st of August arrives, I get a bellyflip of panic.  It means the long (and for once glorious!) summer is almost over.   It means it’s high time I was sorting Mini-Me for Back to School.  It means that I now only have 3 weeks to get through the mile long to-do in the summer list I wrote on the first day of her holidays.  It means everyone trying to cram all the things on the Summer lists into 3 weekends.

But it also means return to routine, which if your house is anything like mine, is something that I can not deny missing.

And then begins September; a month of sunshine and still long evenings where the dust settles on the chaos of the summer months and where Fridays take on a whole new meaning.

Then comes October, with the crisp coolness and warm colours and the excitement and build up to Halloween.

And then we have November, the month which will last 498 days and drive us all to stews and hot whiskeys and panics about how it’s nearly time for Santa Season and we haven’t even “started yet”…

And then it’s December and there’s a whole month of glitter and Christmas and Grinches and never-ending darkness and fires and heating blasting and cold and ice…

And we have ALL of that to do before we even think about next year.

So while YES, once August arrives, the end of the year does suddenly seem right around the corner, in reality, we still have 5 whole months until then.  5 whole months of birthdays and new beginnings and fighting and eating and laughing and growing and sniffling and working and parenting and everything else that our lives entail.

So take it easy on allowing memes and such online images to make you feel like you’re losing time.  You’re not.

You didn’t make it to every waterfall or family day out you’d planned.  Your kids didn’t get to go on nature walks every day.  You didn’t get that catch up with your cousin that you’ve been promising each other all year.  You didn’t actually get that night out with your besties that you’ve been putting off until summer since January.  You didn’t get your children to the top of a mountain. You didn’t make it to the beach and the fancy picnic basket remains unused since last year…

So what?

Who says these things have to be done in summer?  What’s wrong with getting that family trip in September if it suits your work better?  Why can’t you go to Glenveagh or to the beach in October? Who says that all of these things have to be done within school holidays?

So while these images and memes are quirky and cute and we find ourselves laughing or nodding in inst-agreement, they’re just another example of how we’re letting strangers online affect our own perceptions of our own lives.  Instead of thinking “sure the year’s nearly over”, ask yourself what you can still do and fit in and enjoy in the 5 months that are left…until next year, where guess what? We start all over again!

Scrap the summer bucket list and make up a new one for yourself and your family that doesn’t have a deadline.

Because yes, summer is limited, but thankfully, there are 3 other seasons and no one is measuring you, except yourself.

 

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I am Sun & Fun in Salou Mum

Well we ventured abroad for a week with the girls, and despite my fears and worries, it was fantastic. (So fantastic in fact that we are probably going to book the exact same hotel again for next summer!)

The girls in Atlantic Travel in Letterkenny were brilliant when I went in. I wanted short flights, short transfer, central location and good food. Within a few minutes, I was looking at Family Life Avenida Suites in Costa Dorada in Salou.

Atlantic were able to recommend it, having visited it and from customer reviews, so we booked it, trusting their recommendation.

And it was everything they said it would be.

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We flew from Belfast which is only 80 minutes from our home. Flights were 2.5 hours and transfer was only 20 minutes. We were the first stop for the bus and everything was so easy.

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Arriving at the hotel at 10am meant that rooms were not quite ready for most of the families in front of us. There was no problem with this as they were simply invited to leave cases and the hotel phoned them once their rooms were available. Now, here is where Atlantic Travel impressed me most. When I went to check in, at the end of the queue, our room was ready! Emma had requested “early check-in” on our booking. Ingrid at reception was so lovely and we were delighted to get in to our suite. We were at the poolside by 11am.

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The main foyer

This resort is beautiful. It’s clean, it’s well organised and it’s fully geared towards families. The suites are incredible. A double bed, kitchenette, wardrobe spaces and shelves. (Not one square inch is wasted…shelves everywhere!).

Then a huge bathroom with bath and shower and massive mirror area AND a separate twin bedroom for the girls. We had a double balcony and were on the first floor. Room service made beds and did a quick clean of bathroom each day and on 2 mornings, they changed full beds for us where a nappy incident had occurred. No problem at all.

Now, our room was directly above the bar and while it was noisy at night, the suites are quite well soundproofed. My girls sleep through anything, however if your kids are light sleepers, it might be an idea to request a quieter room, but you might lose the pool view. For us, it was perfect. And everything was quiet by midnight anyway.

Family Life Avenida has everything you could imagine for the kids. There are 2 kids’ clubs, a creche facility, just inside the pool door there was a huge baby changing room, a room with chairs for feeding and cots for napping babies with chairs next to each for parents. Mini-Me joined the @611 club which ran from 10-12 and from 2-4pm each day. She went for 3 of our 7 days and LOVED it.

The resort is exclusive to English and Irish families, and while I missed the lilt of different accents around me, it did mean that Mini-Me and Princess had no problem making friends. There is a huge pool area with a separate baby pool, a bar, a cafe terrace and loads of play areas for the kids. It was only a 5 minute walk from the centre of Salou, where the pier and the fountain are a must see.

The food was exceptional; The breakfast buffet was so impressive, fresh and varied each day. Fruit, breads, cereals, full fry-up, porridge… anything you wanted. (Even bubbles for Buck’s Fizz for Mammy!)

The dinner buffet was also impressive. Again, unlike some resorts I’ve stayed in where Tuesday night’s dinner was a mash up of Monday’s left overs, the spread here was brilliant. So fresh and very tasty. We had the option of booking the a la carte restaurant for one of our nights, but the food was so good in the buffet and the girls were so happy that we didn’t bother. There was a little mini hot plate area for children to get their own food, which the girls just loved.

We were half board so we bought lunch each day. 2 pizzas, 2 chips and some drinks and beers was usually around €32. Ice-creams and drinks were all we had to buy, but with a pint and a wine costing less than €5, we weren’t too badly hit. All inclusive however, would be cost effective if your kids are a bit older. Then, the soft drinks and icecreams are unlimited.

What really makes this hotel however, is the staff.

From the room maintenance, to the front desk, to the restaurant staff, they were second to none. A special mention must go to Ana, the lady who met us at the desk morning and night. She was an absolute lady and gave the girls a coloured straw every time we entered, Might sound silly, but it was one of the little touches which made our girls feel special.

But the TUI staff themselves, what can I say?

Those guys work, work, work, but at no point did we see any one of them without a smile. They remembered names. They high-fived. They stopped to have conversations and their energy was contagious. And their talent? Now, I am not easily starstruck. My ‘theatre’ background means I am critical enough of “talent”, but these guys were phenomenal.

Our first night was a Magic of the Musicals night. We could have been sitting in the West End for some of the scenes. Francis in particular was exceptional. This guy could transform from clown, to chimney sweep to Jean Valjean in the blink of an eye. His voice, his acting and his dancing were superb. Izzy and Taylor were equally as talented. They did the Musicals show, a cabaret show of all TUI staff, and a Disney night which was fantastic.

The schedule of entertainment was varied and fun. At 7.20pm, a few episodes of Paw Patrol are shown on the screen. (Cue every parent sighing as they sup on a glass and breath!) Then the team entertainment starts with ‘Download’, a virtual interactive gameshow where the kids and parents get competitive. Other various pieces were mixed up throughout the week, with outside acts coming in on alternate nights; acrobats, Michael Jackson tributes etc.

The hotel was full of young families, with most kids seemingly under 12. We travelled at the end of June. The hotel was comfortably busy for the first 4 days, but it did become very busy on our last 2 days. The pool and restaurants were much more crowded by the end of the week with the UK hoildays beginning, and there was suddenly a queue for loungers at 8am, which hadn’t been the case on our first days. This is not a complaint by any means, but an observation which has convinced us to travel earlier next year if we can.

We spent most of the holiday in the resort, visiting the main town and promenade a few times, venturing to the beach once, and going to PortAventura World on the Tuesday. This was great, but expensive and tiring for our little kids. They’ll enjoy it more as they get older, but it’s a great day out.

And then, it was suddenly time to start packing up to come home.

Our journey home was as easy as our journey there. Bus pick-up was at 8am for our 10.30am flight. Check in at Ruess airport was incredibly slow and we were worried we’d be late for the flight, but with very little to do and limited seating in the airport, it was fine. Again TUI staff were on hand to assist.

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We’ll be back

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable week of amazing family time. Our fear of sun holidays with the kids has been dispelled forever and I’m going to book our return trip to Avenida Suites as soon as I can.

5 stars from Mammy… a great spot for young families

The S-Mum is an Irish Mammy Blogger and writer. No compensation was received for this review. I write it simply because I was impressed by the Family Life Avenida Suites and the whole TUI experience. These are my own thoughts and I am obliged to nobody.

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I am Seaside Mum

Well Feck-it-up FriYay was indeed splendiferous.
TODAY S-Mum was a very clever Mammy.

I collected the minions, and joyfully announced “Shall we go to the seaside my precious Darlings?”
“Yay!” Screamed Mini-Me.

“Woohoooooo!” Echoed Princess out the side of her dodee, not really knowing what was happening, but delighted to join in nonetheless.

Clever Mammy had sneaked home at lunchtime, packed towels, snacks and spare clothes for them and langered on some suncream on myself. (Well, most of myself.  The big patch I missed on my back is currently screaming “STUPID WOMAN!” at me. 😥)
Off we went to the seaside.
Yay! #Mammywin.
You see, unlike my sofa and floors, the seaside LIKES splashes of suncream.

And you see, when Princess decides to run, there’s really nowhere she can go, especially when the tide is so far out that the beach looks like a sad, empty wineglass.

And so you see, Mammy got to sit on her Stepford Mammy bum and to watch on lovingly as she waddled around after her big sister, gathering srones and eating sand.
It.

Was.

Joyful.
And then I realised No.1 of my Feck-it-ups…
We went splishing and splashing in the sea. In my sneaky quick change before I collected the girls, I’d shaved my legs quickly as although dogs are permitted on the beach, I’m sure people might frown at a wooly mammoth turning up to shed all over the lovely seaside. And I remembered, just as I entered the lovely salty water that salty water and newly shaved legs ARE NOT A GOOD COMBINATION. 😅😅
HOLY SWEET JESUS AND THE WEE DONKEY…
Anyway, I convinced myself that SOMEWHERE in the world, I’d pay a fortune to walk my raw legs into a salty ocean…
And so, I let them run into the sea fully clothed, smug in the knowledge that I was superorganised with spare clothes and towels for them.
Mini-Me almost selfcombusted with excitement when I told her she could “Splash away Sweetie.”  And Princess went at that water like baby Moana at the start of the movie. It was fun.
And then Princess fell flat on her fudgy little arse and ended up flat on her back in the water.  Oh how funny! Oh how she screamed! Oh how Mini-Me laughed…and laughed…and laughed.  She enjoyed it quite a little too much actually. 😈😂😈😂
As I lifted her up out of the water and started the 3 mile trek back to our blankets, I was chuffed with my Mammyself for being so relaxed and spontaneous. 😂
And then, as Princess’s soaking clothes permeated through mine, I realised my Feck-it-up for today…
I had clothes for the two drenched wee dollies, but none for myself.
What a Twat.
I had to dry and change them, absolutely SOAKED and then drive home with soppy shorts and a wet teeshirt clinging to my fried eggs…  Turns out, wee light shorts from Penneysbest are ACTUALLY quite heavy when wet. 👇👇👇
Glammy Mammy my arse.
But hey, the girls had an absolute blast, I enjoyed it all up until the drive home and they’re both out cold after their bath now. 💜💜

And if my only Feck-it-up, Fecked-it-up for only me, well sure, that’s fine. 😍😍😍
Anyone know a good truckhire company to return the 3 tonne of sand we magically transported from the beach? 😂😂
How was YOUR Friday dahlings?

Any Feck-it-ups to share with me?

I am Sunshine and Suncream Mum

Oh it is sunshiny and fablis. 😎😎
Oh how wonderful.😎
Let us drive home with Stepford Mammy notions of pottering in the garden, topping up our Vitamin D, naming flowers and passing on our memories of nature walks and such. Let us have a light, sunnyful,  salady dinner and let the children run free while we watch and adore them from the poofy lounger. And then, let them be so exhausted from their frolicking and pottering, that they snuggle down for a long sleep, full of the joys of summer and sunkissed and freckled, smelling of the great outdoors…
Good Mammy.
Now let us be realistic. 😅
Yes, we may drive home full of these notions, but notions they are, and only notions.
In reality, let’s collect the minions, tired and cranky from the heat at play/school, let us put them in a car of approximately 31° even with the windows down, for them to get MORE cranky and sweaty on the way home. Let us have a complete fecking meltdown when you offer icecream but end up with ice-POPS because the cone machine has had fecking heart attack at its sudden overuse. Let us try to get the homework done, because Clever Mammy knows that whatever chance we have of getting it done NOW, there is precisely feck all chance of it being done once the pottering commences.
Let us wrestle more suncream onto the two wrigglers, before having a quiet and peaceful 😂😂standoff with the Mini-Me about putting ON her hat,  while the Princess insists on removing HER hat to EAT IT at 3 minute intervals.
 Let is not even think about sitting one’s Stepford Mummy posterier on a lounger, poofy or not, because “Pottering” with a wobbler ACTUALLY means following the little turdler, 3 steps behind, lifting her away from the dog’s bowl and racing her to the gate 16 times in 6 minutes, wondering how her fat little legs are so fast?  😥
Then, let us realise that unless you have a fecking COOK residing in your home, having a light summery etc dinner, STILL requires Mammy to go inside to COOK IT. And going for pizza would require gettinto the car again… nope! 😭
And so begins the END of the “pottering”, and the beginning of ARMAGETTIN…which is where you forcibly remove the suncream clad, slippery, sun stricken, cranky, exhausted and very fecking happy wobbler from the sunshine, by grabbing her in your ARMS and (trying to) GET IN!  

Armagettin. 😅😅
Let us then rejoice in the fact that Iggle Piggle is working his blue bottomed magic in the corner and let us spend the next hour feeding the kids who are two fecking HOT to eat anyway and looking longingly at the sunshine that you can’t get out to, and watching the clock, wishing it to be bedtime so that we can steal the last 30 minutes of sunshine for ourselves.
Let us love this weather, but let is not fool ourselves.  

Stepford Mammies we are not.
It’s not all pottering and gleefully finding bugs in the “gawden Dahling”.  Sometimes it’s a suncreamy, slippery, cranky sesspit of overheated mayhem, that will ultimately lead to 2 sticky, smelly and happily knackered minions CRASHING from a combination of sunshine and heat, and the need for all the bedsheets to be washed in the morning. 

(Trust me, THAT is easier than trying to bath these two tonight! 

Feral I tell you…😍😍😂😂)
And THEN, let us sup on cold grapes and enjoy the not so sunshiny, but still quite lovely evening, in the suncream free company of my boychild. 👇👇👇

Have a good one Lovelies. 😂😂😂