Tag Archives: Holidays

Lollibop 2013 – Set To Be Better Than Ever

31 May

LOLLIBOP SET TO ROCK QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK THIS SUMMER

Today I’m here share mine and children’s excitement in becoming an official lollibop family and give you a little taster on what Lollibop has in store this year.

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LolliBop, The Big Bash for Little People, is returning for 2013 to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, with an incredible line-up designed to delight mini festivalgoers.

Joining some of the hottest names in kids’ entertainment, as well as hundreds of activities, workshops and interactive demos, are the Mr. Men and Little Miss Village Green Event and Shaun the Sheep’s Championsheeps LIVE!

The ever-popular Mr. Men will be hosting a fun maypole activity area and favourite characters, such as Mr. Bump, Mr. Tickle and Little Miss Sunshine, will be meeting and greeting fans at the Mr. Men and Little Miss reading hubs.

Shaun the Sheep will be personally on hand at the Championsheeps with sheepy shenanigans, including Shirley’s Pie-athalon, the Naughty Pig’s Sack Race and Get Fit with the Flock. Kids and parents are ‘wool-come’ to get involved!

Other big names confirmed so far, include:

– LolliBop favourites Dick and Dom return with their special mix of madcap games, songs, jokes and a foam pie or two…

– Peppa Pig will be at the festival all weekend, meeting and greeting all her little fans

– Sid Sloane and Andy Day will be hosting their very own Big Birthday Bash and everyone is invited! Expect lots of energetic songs and silliness and plenty of audience participation

– Watch and learn how to ‘Copy Poppy’ with Poppy Cat on the Lolli Live stage

– Straight from Nickelodeon to the Lolli Live Stage, The Go! Go! Go! Show are bringing brand new pop songs, catchy, easy-to-learn dance moves and loads of laughs

– Sing and dance along with the adorable Cloudbabies mini show

– Older LolliBoppers will love The Diary of a Wimpy Kid activity, which include exclusive clips of the author Jeff Kinney talking about the books and a master class showing how he draws the characters. There’s also a Wimp Wars quiz

– Experience the life-size Transformer Optimus Prime Truck, along with the Transformers Station; showcasing the new Beast Hunters toys, viewings of the cartoon series Transformers Prime and free green screen pictures

– Witness the amazing wildlife showcase with National Geographic Kids Animal Man

– Laugh along with hilarious antics from the amazing 8ft Titan the Robot

Returning LolliBoppers will also see old favourites mixed with new attractions for 2013, including:

LolliBop Live – Popular CBeebies presenter Alex Winters is comparing the live stage which plays host to some of the biggest names in kids entertainment, with live music and performances from stars of stage and screen.

Lollipalladiam – is a live theatre tent showcasing performances from pioneering and internationally renowned companies and artists. This year it features Spooked, the critically acclaimed Broken Rose Performing Arts first show for children – a hilarious and spectacular blend of dance, theatre and spoken word featuring skeletons Molly, Jinny and Charlie.

Science Zone – Make a rocket, hold a dry ice cube, or get messy with gooey slime in the LolliBop lab – brimming with exploding experiments for pint sized guests to try! London’s Science Museum will also be attending with live demonstrations and interactive activities.

Run wild and have fun in the LolliSports area. With activities including retro favourites like swingball, hula-hoop and frisbee to football tournaments and sports day style races.

3ft and under is also making a comeback but this time is it within the brand new Itsy Bitsy Zone. Activities for babies and toddlers will include soft play, baby massage, storytelling, mini discos and much more

The Lolli Promenade – Situated on the River Lea! We’re very lucky to have a real river running through our new home, so why not relax and enjoy an ice lolly at the Lolli Promenade which also features beach hut crafts and bandstands.

Discovery Zone – will host a number of educational, interactive and hands on activities where kids can learn a new skill like beatboxing in one of the many workshops.

Lolli Stops – Enjoy crafts from puppet making, and customised fashion workshops, to balloon modelling, and graffiti painting, there is a something to make and do around every corner.

The Meadows – A perfect spot to chill out, enjoy your lunch and watch our special street performers.

There is also a wide selection of food and drink stalls at LolliBop. Extensive covered buggy parks, baby changing and breast-feeding areas are also available.

For more tickets and more information: http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk

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Money Saving And Financial Support Resources For Those Parenting A Child With A Disability

22 Oct

We all know that parenting children with disabilities or SEN is more costly for whatever reason!

That’s why I wanted to share some great resources designed to help such families save money and lessen the burden.

Help with the everyday cost of living

If your child is entitled to any benefits such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) be sure to claim them as your child’s appropriate adult.

Filling out DLA forms can seem a daunting process but there is help out there. Many online sites have developed detailed guides to help you fill in the form to the best of your ability.

Once your child’s DLA application has been approved, fill out a Carers Allowance form (better still do it at the same time as the DLA form) This isn’t a great deal of money but does help to lessen the burden especially if you are caring full time and are not in the position to work.

Save Money On Days Out

Most major theme parks and attractions do offer special rates for those with a disability and their carer. I would suggest visiting your planed attraction online. All will need to have easy access to their policies relating to disability, access and pricing. Most of the large parks also provide special access passes so those who find it difficult to queue can use the rides exist. Note… Each park has its own policies but most will require you to bring a certain amount of identification as well as proof of disability.

Financial Support Towards Days Out & Holiday’s

The Happy Days Charity funds and organises holidays, residential trips, days out and theatre trips for children and young people aged 3 to 17 years with learning difficulties, physical or mental disabilities.

Individuals can apply for help with the cost of days out and theatre trips, while families can apply for funding towards a one week UK family holiday (though a supporting letter from a professional is needed).

Another charity that can provide assistance to families in need of a break are the “Family Holiday Association” who helps disadvantaged children and their families with family UK breaks. Applications must be made by a welfare agent exp… Social worker etc.

Below is a charity who have helped us fund days out to their attractions, such as Lego Land and Chessington. They have done this by providing us with complementary family tickets. Note… there was some talk last year of pending changes to the way the charity processed applications form families of autistic children so you should refer to their website for full details….

Merlin’s Magic Wand is a worldwide charity for children, aiming to provide magical experiences for those who are seriously ill, disabled or disadvantaged.

The charity has been created by the Merlin Entertainments Group, Merlin’s Magic Wand is a UK charitable trust, run by a Board of Trustees. The board manages the funds and makes awards to good causes in the countries in which Merlin operates. Find out who is eligible and how to apply by visiting their website.

Its also worth noting that Scope have a special inclusion service designed to help children and young people with disabilities access leisure activities and facilities within their own communities.

Save Money On Travel Costs.

Earlier in the week I spoke about the disabled persons railcard which enables the card holder and carer upto 30% each of their travel. There is a yearly fee of around £20 but its worth it as you can save a fortune. I also highlighted how those claiming DLA who receive the high care rate and live in london can normally apply for a disabled persons pass (which enables the card holder free travel in london) You should check with the local authority or DWP about accessing this service. Those who receive the mobility part at the higher rate are also entitled to a blue badge which could make parking at hospitals etc a whole lot cheaper and easier. If the person in receipt of the benefit is a minor the child’s carer is able to use the badge on the family car.

Those in receipt of mobility may also be given the option of a car provided for their use by a car dealer on behalf of the DLA. This means a brand new car is provided to the family but the cost is taken from the mobility part of their DLA and they will receive no or very little cash payment (but will have the car for as long as they are in receipt of the benefit with the option of upgrades).

Financial assistance for home improvements and mobility aids.

That Act Foundation gives grants to individuals and charities based in the UK. These grants are designed to enhance the quality of life specifically for those with physical and/or learning disabilities.

Grants can be provided for building (modifications to the home)
Equipment (mobility aids etc…)
Financial assistance towards respite registered breaks.

The local authority/council can provide help and assistance in way of a disabled facilities grant. This is designed to provide financial assistance to enable families to make adaptions to the home as to allow the child with a disability to continue living there. Note: for those under the age of 19 years this is not means tested.

The Variety Club is a really great charity who provide grants and assistance to provide families with vital daily items that often go unconsidered yet cost thousands of pounds every year. These include things like bath mats, toilet seats, car seats and more.

Family Fund Is another fabulous charity that provide families of disabled children grants and vouchers for essential items such as appliances and more. They can even supply families with vouchers towards holidays within the UK and aboard, as well as some of the cost towards driving lessons to make live that little bit more easier.

There are some fantastic charities out there, set up to provide families parenting a child with a disability advice and in some cases financial support. Its just finding them that seems to be the problem for some. Those listed above are just a handful, there are many others available to help and you may be able to find the right service for you by visiting the one of these online directories…
Funder Finder
Living Made Easy For Children

Save Your Pennies This Half Term

28 Sep

Can you believe it? The next school half term is already upon us!

Its my experience that half term can lead to expense, the type we parents just cannot afford. This post offers some inexpensive ideas designed to help you keep the kids happy this coming Half Term.

Firstly, be creative! Creativity cost nothing, yet it comes in endless supply. Think up some fun and engaging activities for inside the home. Get the children making Halloween decorations then together decorate the house in your spooky creations. You can bake cupcakes, even the none baking parent can pick up a packet of cheap cake mix at their local supermarket. There are endless things you can do to keep the kids happy without leaving the house. Board games and craft projects are just a handful.

If the thought of staying indoors drives you mad, head to your local park to collect acorns, pine cones and conkers. All can be found on the ground this time of the year and each will provide hours of crafty fun. Why not keep yourself and the kids active with a game of football or for those with dogs, take a nice stroll along the green chain walk. Bike & scooter rides in the woods have always been a favourite with my children.

Always check your local papers for events taking place in your local area. Most Local authorities lay on free or cheap family activities during school breaks.

Those living in the city can visit one of the many city farms. These are usually really inexpensive and in many cases completely free to visit. They also offer numerous activities specially programmed for the holidays.

Lastly, entertain the kids and have a good old sort out at the same time? Get the kids sorting out all the things they no longer need, clothes, toys etc… With the Incentive that they can sell the items at a local bootfair. My kids love doing bootfairs, especially when selling their own things as they get to earn some money. Most bootfairs run all year round and only charge a small fee to sell. So, not only are you entertaining the kids in an inexpensive way, but you may also earn a little cash too… Bonus!

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Holidays, festivals and Aspergers

14 Aug

As some may have noticed, this blogger has been a tad quiet these past few weeks. This I can only put down to the 6 week holidays.

The children have done well at keeping me on my toes since breaking up from school, there’s been all sorts of crazy family ups and downs (luckily nothing to explosive has happened)!

Little man struggles to get the most out of his holidays, what with the lack of a more structured routine, things can often get on top of him. However, this year his doing pretty well and I’m super impressed at how little man is adjusting himself and as a result his enjoying an easier, less stressful school break.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if family life paints the picture that portrays that perfect family the “Walton’s” or even that of the “Little House on the Prairie”. There has been meltdowns, sibling rivalry, tears and of course a little cursing. But thankfully on the whole, it’s been OK and could have easily been worse!

I don’t think I ever imagined that I’d write something like that of the above, especially not during past school holidays which have seen me wondering around in a zombie induced state or that of a women sitting in a corner with her head in her hands, questioning out loud her ability to be a parent! I’ve now come to learn that its a combination of careful planning, self confidence & consistency that makes holidays relatively pleasurable for the whole family (especially for that of the parent and child on the spectrum)!

Little man may scream & curse when I’m requesting a new rule is followed but these rules actually make his holiday and every other day more predicable. He has a clear message surrounding my expectations towards him.

This is the same when applying new activities to a timetable/schedule, as by doing so he is aware of what we’re doing and where we’re doing it. The only problems with this are that of having to reschedule a planed activity or trip, cancellations are by far the worse! Little man like most children diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, doesn’t really grasp the whole unavoidable circumstances explanation and things can therefore become extremely heated and long winded.

This year we haven’t really been on any huge trips and certainly not holidays. Yes, we’ve done some days out to the zoo, park and that of the beach but not as many as I would have liked! Nonetheless, little man seems happy as he engages himself in his special interests or spreading time in the garden where he jumps on the trampoline for hours at a time.

Yet, like his siblings and any other child for that matter, Little man does get bored. Sadly his one true friend who happens to live next door, is off on his holidays where he’ll spend a long sunny 3 weeks in Florida. It’s apparent how much the Little man is missing the friendship and as a result I’m often finding myself having to contend with a snappy, moody 11year year old.

The above has left me needing to think outside the box. There’s been a need to create fun on a budget in-order to keep the little mans mind healthy and stimulated therefore reducing the chances of him getting over absorbed in his interest or annoyed, over stimulated or bored.

Garden sensory play, board games and back yard camping have all played a huge part of our life these last few weeks.

Other then being a parent to three children there has been other things keeping me busy (thankfully I wouldn’t call these chores)! Their are a few new projects I’ve embarked on and some awesome brands I’ve started working with. Actually if I’m honest, I’ve had some lovely surprises since the kids broke up! Discovering I had been chosen to become one of the new Butlins Ambassadors, was one of those surprises, one that caused big cheesy smiles from fellow members of the household.

Becoming a Butlins Ambassador means I can book a holiday with the children between now and next August, and then share my views on the resort by written review and video.

Most importantly, I can report on the little things that matter to those families who have children on the autism spectrum, those with SEN and other types of disability. A holiday camp such as Butlins, runs scheduled activities & events throughout the day which is most appealing to the child who needs structure and routine to feel safe and comfortable.

As well as the review, I’ll be able to share all the need to know Butlins news which includes anything from fantastic competitions to fabulous savings.

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If the above wasn’t enough for me to get all excited about, I’ve also met with Acer who invited me to check out their latest Tech releases while celebrating the Olympics 2012 games and its worldwide partnership, by sitting down for a spectacular 3 course lunch at the stunning Spencer House in London (blog post & images coming soon).

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Last week was the week I got myself a little ‘Me’ time. I’ve just returned from a the “Wilderness Festival” in Oxfordshire. I spent the entire weekend with a friend discovering what Wilderness had on offer for its second year… and it was bigger and better than its first year ( review coming soon).

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So now I’m home and enjoying being mum. Yes, it gets tough sometimes but there is no place I’d rather be.

Silent Sunday

18 Dec

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