Mama OWL Blog: September 2016

Turning 13 at Thorpe Park - L's Birthday Celebrations

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

L's birthday has been and gone and we have now welcomed (??!!) teenager #3 to the house. His birthday has always posed a dilemma in terms of celebrations with it being smack bang in the middle of the school holidays, and with his additional challenges it hasn't always turned out how we would have liked so instead we opt for family days out in lieu of a party and we always have a great time. This year being Thorpe Park Island Ambassadors has provided us with the perfect venue for his 13th birthday, such a special milestone that he will always remember and a fun family day out.

I think the whole family's favourite ride is King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems in Angry Birds Land, they would happily go around and around on them all day long if they could. They are definitely L's favourite ride and always the first thing he asks to go on. We also love the Rumba Rapids and were lucky enough to manage several turns on the ride right at the end of the day though we were pretty soaked by the time we made our way back to the car (which is why we always take a change of clothes! - top tip).
It was a beautiful sunny day & we managed to get around most of the rides that we wanted to have a go on, though unfortunately the Mister's favourite - Stealth - was not in operation that day and neither was the new attraction, Derren Brown's Ghost Train, which J had been very keen to try out. These things happen though and while it's disappointing, safety is paramount so we are looking forward to riding them on our next visit. The Ghost Train promises 'a revolutionary multi-sensory virtual reality experience, reinvented for the 21st century' so the older kids are chomping at the bit to try it - we're planning another visit very soon so they'll not have to wait long!

Our day was action packed, with rides on Colossus, the Rocky Express, Zodiac, and the Flying Fish to name just a few. We had a great time, and ended our day with a family dinner in the all you can eat Pizza & Pasta Buffet where Annual Pass holders can enjoy a 20% discount. Pizza is L's favourite food and I think we will be eating there at every visit from now on. Back at home we celebrated with an Angry Birds cake, which was store bought and then personalised at home with his name and age. All in all, it was a fantastic day and one we all thoroughly enjoyed - we can't wait until our next trip so we can do it all over again! Although next time sadly won't include birthday cake...

We are Thorpe Park Island Ambassadors 2016. All words and opinions are our own.

Packing for University

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The A-level results are in and I am delighted to share that A achieved the required grades to secure her place at her first choice University studying her chosen degree subjects. No panic, no clearing, no last minute changes. It's in the bag, she has done it, and her Dad and I could not be more proud.
Now the time for her to leave is fast approaching and it has all suddenly become very real. For the past two years throughout her time in the Sixth Form we have discussed Uni and what will happen next, and here we are days away from loading up the car, driving her up there and dropping her off. Her father & I have booked a nearby hotel overnight for her first night there and will head back the next day, leaving her to settle in to her new home. She definitely needs to be independent now and I think living alone so far from home will do her the world of good, it will give her the space and time she needs to find her feet - and learn to stand on them. She has studied and worked since she turned 16 as was our expectation and she has managed well, the trick now will be doing everything else at the same time. I have faith in her ability to juggle it all & while it will be a steep learning curve I think it will be the making of her.
However, with all of that said I did watch her put her shoes on the wrong feet the other day when she was getting ready for work...

We have been busily compiling lists of things that she will need to take, things that we will need to buy to kit out her room in halls, and starting the mammoth task of sorting out all of her belongings - what to pack, what to store, what to throw away. I've been scouring the Uni website and all of Google trying to figure out what she is going to need and to be honest I'm not really any the wiser for my searching but we have a basic list and will add to it as and when needed. Her halls will have a shared kitchen, so we are waiting until moving in day to see what everyone else has brought with them, hopefully avoiding ending up with six toasters, three kettles etc.

Her room is a standard one with single bed, and shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. We need to kit out her whole room and have started off with a Silentnight Complete Bed Set package comprising a 10.5 tog duvet, pillow, and mattress protector (which are all machine washable) from for £28.99, to go with her new duvet set. We opted for a two pack duvet set so that she has one for washing and one for using (in theory...). Also on our list is;
2 pop-up laundry baskets (one dirty, one clean)
Desk lamp
Storage boxes/Tubs
Hair dryer/Straighteners
Toiletries (Shampoo, shower gel etc)
Medical supplies (Paracetamol, plasters etc)
Cleaning supplies (Anti-bac wipes, sponges...)
Comfy cushion & throw (for taking to the common room)
Air freshener (a must for a teenager's room!)
Clothes Airer
Bath towels
Make up mirror
Bathroom cleaning supplies (particularly for a shared bathroom)
Plates/Mugs/Bowls/Glasses (two of each)
Cooking utensils/Measuring jug
Pots/Pans/Oven dishes
Slow Cooker
Grater/Peeler/Masher/Wooden spoon/Whisk
Kitchen knives/Scissors/Chopping boards
Can Opener/Pizza Cutter/Corkscrew/Bottle opener
Tea towels/Oven gloves
Microwave Soup Bowl
Sticky labels
Thumb tacks/Blu tack
Sewing kit
My living room currently looks like her bedroom has exploded in there because she has brought everything downstairs in order to make sure it's packed correctly and that she has everything that she needs, and she is even using her sister's gymnastics chin-up bar as a clothes rail. Chaos is definitely winning in my house today.
Although it is the start of an exciting new chapter for A, it is the end of an era for me. I remember her being placed into my arms and meeting her for the very first time, this beautiful, tiny mewling pink bundle that relied on me for everything... Watching her grow  has been bittersweet, and Saturday will be another of the many times I will have had to stand & watch and simply wave her off as she heads out on her own - from the very beginning when she went to nursery, to starting primary school, and then up to senior school. Now she is moving 3 hours away, and despite the butting heads and disagreements, I will miss her terribly. She might be 18 and she might think she is a grown up now, but she will always, always be my little girl.
A received a complimentary bed set for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own.

Family Fever
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