My ideal outfit for Cheltenham Races #colourmemarch

Written by Emma. Posted in fashion, Gloucestershire, Uncategorized

I have grown up with Cheltenham’s iconic racecourse as my backdrop. As a child we would stand in the field and watch the Gold Cup and listen to the roar of the crowd.  Long before I even went to the races I would get swept up in the magic of the Gold Cup Festival.  Cheltenham would bask in the energy of it’s visitors and town would be buzzing in the clubs and pubs as a result.  Racing is quite simply synonymous with Cheltenham and the town embraces this.

The last few years I have been to the races enjoying each year more than the one before.  I seem to have spoilt myself and made it a day to remember each time.  I now (along with my best friend) class it as our treat day.  We go for a posh breakfast in The Montpellier Chapter House (we even drink prossecco at 10.30 am) before catching the bus to the iconic course.

Once there we place our bets so that we can enjoy every moment of the day.  We share our winnings and so far we have done ok, no huge winnings (we don’t bet enough for that) but last year we won our champagne money back!

Last year we treated ourselves to club tickets and that means we can’t go back to Tattersalls!  We liked the champagne bar too much for that.  As I said this is our yearly treat day.

Once the last race has finished, we along many thousands head back into town for food and more drinks.  The friendliness of Cheltenham is like no other and I am proud to live in such a welcoming and beautiful part of the country.

This outfit I have put together would be my dream outfit.  It is a chance to dress up – basically anything goes. Now my hair is a bit longer I would love to wear a hat.  A coat is a must, the track can get cold as it is so open,  I have tried before to wear just a blazer and that was a mistake.  Now I stick with a long coat and that would be the advice I would give to all women!  It is March remember and it is cold outside all day!

Races outfit
The dress is from Ted Baker and a flared skirt suits my pear shape.  My waist is quite small so this shows it off.  I adore these ankle boots and love the orange.  My teen told me orange suits me and I agree.  It is a colour I wore for my blog images and I love them!
My second outfit is one I already have and I would wear this if I get to go for two days this year.  This one I have styled myself and I am wearing a Reiss dress in bright blue.  I went for another splash of colour and teamed it with a scarf that reminds me of summer.  The scarf is from Jack Wills and IO bought it in the sale for about £12 a few years ago.  I wear it so much and never get bored of its pretty print.
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 Cheltenham Races, #ColourMeMarch, Ladies Day 11th March

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Acupuncture – my first ever experience.

Written by Emma. Posted in health

When we have a headache many of us pop a pill and hope it masks the pain.  How often though do you sit and think why you have a headache or any other ailment?  Do you mask the pain or look for a cause?  I ‘treat’ myself to a sports massage every month, I swapped relaxing pampering massages when Erin was in spica for a sports massage.  Yes it can hurt a bit and I’ve never fallen into a peaceful doze like I did in a pampering treatment but the results are longer lasting and make me feel good.

In the past I have also tried reflexology and Dylan even had kinesology as a toddler when his skin and allergies were more severe. They worked for us.  Lee is more sceptical being a pure science specialist but even he couldn’t deny Dylan’s skin improving.  Therefore when an invite dropped into my inbox asking me if I wanted to try acupuncture in the run up to  acupuncture awareness week (2nd – 8th March) which is supported by the British Acupuncture Council I couldn’t resist.  I went along to my session with no specific ailment, I explained I ache a bit, feel sluggish in the afternoons and get some joint pain especially in my left knee now I am running again.  I know my muscles ache and I have quite abit of tightness in my lower back and shoulders.

After asking me a number of lifestyle and health questions I had a number of needles placed into my back, it wasn’t painful and although I felt a sensation I wouldn’t have called it pain.  I then sat with these needles in place whilst we chatted.  I found it very therapeutic and actually shared some pretty intense stuff that has affected me now as an adult.  That was a bit of a revelation as I hadn’t expected that.  I don’t know if that was because my acupuncturist was especially charismatic but I chatted honestly and freely and it was good.

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After a while the needles were removed and I laid on the bed on my back and had needles placed deeper into pressure points on my legs.  The pressure points were marked out after a series of measurements taken.  This was more noticeable  and I thought it was amazing that some of the pressure points he gently touched were actually very sensitive prior to the needle.  On this application I did feel a mixture between stinging, tingling and a short stab.  I didn’t dislike it.

As he worked I thought I had needles in me and it wasn’t until the therapist told me I didn’t that I realised this.  I had wanted to grab a picture of me with pins in as proof! Once this part of the treatment was over I felt very calm.

I left and whilst it was an interesting experience I realise that one treatment is not going to make a huge difference to my well being.  One really interesting thing I found out is that in traditional Chinese acupuncture you pay for treatments whilst you are well.  If you become unwell that is when treatment is free because the assumption is that you do what you can to look after your body and when it fails you is because acupuncture has not worked on the right area and you then pay again once balance (health and vitality) has been restored.

If you are local I cannot recommend Ed Mander enough – for a total newbie to acupuncture he was brilliant and I loved that he didn’t have business cards or wasn’t even sure of his website address as his business comes from word of mouth and recommendations of those he has been treating the past 20 years.  This speaks volumes to me, he doesn’t need fancy marketing or social media but I know he would welcome new clients if you want to try it out.  For those not local To find out more about traditional acupuncture visit wwwintroducingacupuncture.co.uk.

It was a great to try acupuncture and I look forward to seeing how I feel over the coming days.

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Visiting the capital with a touch of class our Royal Garden Hotel Review.

Written by Emma. Posted in Travel

Half term in a teachers household means one thing – time to up sticks and have some family fun.  February half term is always one of my favorites as we try to go away, even if only for a night.  It maybe cold but it is getting lighter and we all benefit from getting out of the house.  We have visited London a few times in February as we love doing the touristy things that London has to offer.  This February though we had great plans.  We were living just a little like VIP’s.  We have Merlin passes and the children had asked if they could do Madame Tussauds and get some photo’s with their favourite idols.  This fitted in perfectly with staying at the five star Royal Garden Hotel where we were their guests for a night.

A few months back I wrote a post about how being a family of five made staying at hotels tricky. Not so, for the Royal Garden Hotel, who simply gave us connecting rooms that meant the older two had a twin room with their own sofa area and bathroom.

Everything about the Royal Garden is perfectly kitted out for families. As we checked in the younger two were given back packs with colouring, a water bottle and snack in. Erin delved right in there and did not want to leave the room!

Royal garden hotel twin rooms

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Once settled we headed back out and over to Southbank where I knew there was activities on for the children and places to eat.  We had a great evening out and enjoyed a family at Zizzi’s (I used vouchercodes to save 25% off all food too).

The following morning after such a heavenly sleep in our queen size bed I needed an alarm to wake us all.  My children thankfully like to sleep and we finally opened our bleary eyes at 9am.  Erin had to be convinced to get out of her bed even then!

sofa beds for little guests at Royal Garden hotel

Breakfast was a grand affair and I loved that the children were very much welcomed and treated as a guest rather than an add on.  They were offered hot chocolate at breakfast which was served in a teapot much like dad’s tea and mum’s coffee.  Breakfast is always there favourite meal when we go away and they were not disappointed.  From being asked how they wanted their eggs with their Full English to being offered pancakes afterwards.  The mini little pastries are always a hit with Dylan and Erin whilst Chloe stocks up on fresh fruit (that is her idea of a heavenly brekkie).

After a leisurely breakfast we decided to walk it off by heading out into the Royal Park which the hotel overlooks.  Some rooms have the park as their view although I was pleased to  have the high street as I love looking out over the London skyline. Another fab feature that illustrates just how much the hotel caters for families is that they have scooters available to borrow and use in the park (they also have board games if you are staying in your room).  The hotel really has thought of what makes a family stay enjoyable.  We also had an interesting conversation about the cost of staying in the hotel.  Where many guests are in the hotel on business the hotel actually drops it’s room rates in the holidays.  There are less business customers at this time and therefore it becomes more affordable for families to stay in luxury at competitive prices.  London has much to offer for families in the holidays with museums being free and events put on, like the one we visited at The Southbank.  Tube travel is also free for under 11’s when travelling with paying adults.  we had day riders which gave us the freedom of the city.

Madame Tussauds was great fun and the children enjoyed posing with their idols.  Erin even had a blessing from the pope whilst I had words with David Cameron – I had a lot to say to him as you can imagine!!

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The trip to London was great and gave us that much needed family time and obviously we had to have a family selfie!

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You can see our vlog of the trip too.

Disclosure: We would like to thank The Royal Garden Hotel for having us to stay as their guests for the night.

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Being part of a community – a call to action.

Written by Emma. Posted in Education

When I left teaching I knew that I would volunteer to help at Erin and Dylan’s primary school.  Call it a busman’s holiday but I wanted to help Erin settle at school and I wanted to be part of her education. I wasn’t able to help before because I had Erin at home and it left no opportunity to help at Dylan’s class.  However Lee had been a governor for a number of years before his role at his school meant he no longer had the time needed.

I now help a couple of mornings a week, I change books, I listen to children read and I do their word packs with them.  I also help out on the odd school trip.  This volunteer role has a number of advantages

1. I can see how settled Erin is, which is something I worried about.

2. I have a good understanding of how she is learning and what their topic is.

3. I know her friends

4. I’m giving something back to a school that has served my children well.

Giving something back has always been important to me.  I was a volunteer youth worker for many years which I did through my church, this then led me to becoming a trustee of a charity helping disadvantaged and often excluded teenagers.  My giving something back to the community started young, I was about 13 when I started leading Sunday School for the pre-schoolers.

It makes me feel good to be doing things for others. I am a people person and everyone knows that I am passionate about education and even more so about young people – tomorrows future.

However I am surprised that there are not more helping at the school.  I know working parents and those with younger children would find it really difficult and they may not have any free time to volunteer.  However there are also many that could help but don’t.  Many local schools are desperate.  Funding cuts mean that there are less Teaching Assistants available to read with children.  All parents want their children to be successful – yet therefore it is surprising that more don’t offer.  It maybe because of CRB checks and people think it is a hassle but it really isn’t.  It is a very quick form and the school will sort the rest.

I hear parents at the school gates that are quick to criticise and moan but I want to turn that on it’s head and ask what can YOU do to help?  As I said those with little ones or that work I realise you can’t help just now but to those others ???

See this post as a call to action – what do you do for your community?

People moan that they don’t know their neighbours and that there is no community spirit anymore.  There is but maybe you are not looking in the right places and maybe you are not thinking about what you have to offer.

I also want to publically thank those in my local community that do give back.  To the scout leaders, the football coaches, the classroom helpers and the many like you.  Thank you.

 

 

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