Although it does feel like a lifetime ago now, I wanted to write an honest review about travelling via the Eurostar with a disabled child.
It’s hard to believe that on the 18th January 2020, my blog will be a year old! It’s been a rollercoaster of a year both personally and professionally. I wanted to write so much more and plan so much more content but blogging is a bit of a mind field. However, I do feel more prepared for the next year and beyond. This post is Blogging: Looking to 2020 and beyond.
So…I’ve been a bit MIA lately. June and July are always crazy months for us with birthday’s and school things, so I decided it was time to reflect on the first six months of the year. How I feel my blog went and how I would like it to grow over the next six months. There are a few things I’m working on in the background but more about that later.
I need to be more consistent, decide on a strategy and stick to it, take more of my own photographs and grow my email list.
One of my new strategies is a monthly review. All our monthly going’s on including some of my favourite buys, TV shows and a few things I want to shout about.
Let’s start this off with one epic and long-awaited first trip as a family of four to the cinema!
Toy Story 4 – Thomas’ First Trip to the Cinema.
For those of you who don’t know (perhaps you are lucky enough to live in the woods) Toy Story 4, hit the UK at the end of June. Thomas loves Toy Story, in fact, ‘Cowboy’ and ‘Cowgirl’ are two of the words he regularly uses in reference to Woody and Jessie. It would have been a crime had we not attempted to take him to see it.
- We were however prepared for meltdowns, screaming, and just general ‘Thomas’ style attitude. I’d thought long and hard and decided our best option was to attend an Autism Friendly Screening. So thanks to Cineworld Cinemas Chichester. I booked our tickets using our CEA card (never used it before) online for Sunday 7th July at 11 am. Thanks to the nature of these showings, no trailers or adverts, it’s not as dark, not as loud and you can take in your own food. I went in armed with snacks – a large packet of chocolate buttons, a milkshake and a packet of chocolate (I forget which). Apart from a little apprehension, we survived the hour and a half showing. We were all obviously in the same boat, lots of kids running around, adults calling out, clapping, it was nice for Thomas not to feel out of place.
Would I do it again? Yes, if the right film grabbed his attention. With the preparation, it worked, and he was in the right mood. Given a different week, we could have only watched ten minutes. Snacks helped!
I decided against doing a ‘full’ Toy Story 4 review. It’s fantastic, we all know it’s incredible and too many spoilers!
Alana’s Camping Trip
I like to document my children’s achievements and meaningful moments. I’m still a sucker for a photo album! My daughter attended a two-day camping trip to West Sussex; it’s her end of term trip. Team building, BBQ’s, making new friends. We’ve always marked these kinds of occasions with a photo. It goes hand in hand with the first day of the school.
So you can imagine that I wasn’t going to let her get away with the all-important ‘leaving’ photo. The result is below, on record forever to show that my smiley, enthusiastic 12-year-old did not feel the need to document the event.
I am sure as the years go on, there will be more of these photographs. I would give anything to go back to some of the moments I forgot to document. One day, I hope that she will appreciate them more.
Family Fund Blogger
So July was an exciting time for me. You may remember back in May that I wrote a blog post ‘How Family Fund Has Helped Us and How They Could Help You!’ If you didn’t, please check it out by clicking on the link above. Well, the lovely people at Family Fund shared my blog and offered me the opportunity to become a Family Fund Blogger.
In July, I found the courage to write a post about the bedtime struggles we face with Thomas. If you haven’t already read it, please check out my post-Family Fund – Bedtime Bedlam. I really can’t thank Family Fund for the opportunity. I want to offer an insight into our little life and hopefully, help others out there.
Strep B Month
July is Strep B Awareness Month. A cause that is very close to my heart. I often read stories from parents, and it breaks my heart that it is not seen as necessary to test or monitor closer. I wanted to touch on this a little as I’ve written my own post. Have you heard of strep B which you should check out?
The first time I even knew about Strep B, was the day the Doctor confirmed that Thomas was sick. Then four months later, during a routine checkup, I was sat in a health centre waiting room, and right in front of me was a poster ‘How Much Do You Know About Strep B’. I will always remember that feeling of ‘why isn’t this on every doctor surgeries wall? Why didn’t I get a leaflet in my maternity pack from my midwife? Why am I only seeing this poster now? To make matters worse, the Doctor I saw was rude, arrogant and had no idea the post-traumatic stress I was dealing with not only from having a sick baby but the birth itself. He told me to take paracetamol for my bad back and eat lots of vegetables.
I wonder how many of us with traumatic births, premature deliveries or sick babies were left without the proper support because ‘we’ ticked all the boxes. The boxes that were ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because budget restraints meant that we were signed off from the community midwife. I never even attended one community weigh in with Thomas. No one ever checked, no one ever called to ask why. He was weighed when he had his follow up appointments with his consultants.
To this day (it’s been nearly nine years), I’m reminded how little support or advice I received. It’s thanks to charities like Group B Strep Support and their fundraising that other parents won’t struggle when their baby doesn’t hit their milestones, or they consider having another child. Please let me know if you received a leaflet in your maternity pack? I’d be interested to see if much has changed.
This month especially we have appreciated the Firefly GoTo Seat trolley which we have found in Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and recently Iceland. Thomas was always a little apprehensive (there’s that word again) when it came to the disabled wheelchairs.
However, he’s recently been seeking out the specially adapted trolley’s, and in all honesty, it has to go on my fave list.
Alana’s 12th Birthday
The last year of the tweenager years before she becomes a teenager. Although we are well on our way to the teenage tantrum years, in my day it was called Kevin and Perry years (remember them). I think YouTube has a lot to answer for.
I always make a conscious effort for their birthdays. Balloons, banners and seeing their faces as they walked down the stairs in the morning, is the very reason I do what I do. Birthday’s are important in our house. Both of them can expect more balloons, streamers and banners for years to come!
End of Term
July wouldn’t be July without the end of the school term. That all-important angst as we await the new class list for September. The planning of the six weeks of hell. It needed an honourary mention.
That’s it for my July Review. Just a little piece of our world. How was your July? What do you have planned for the following months? If you like what you read, please stick around and check out some of my other posts. I write about being a parent, working life and general lifestyle things.
- Disneyland Paris Planning
- Disneyland Paris Packing
- Summer Fun
- Wet room
For those of you who don’t know, Perran Sands is a Holiday Park owned and managed by Haven Holidays (Bourne Leisure). For total transparency, this is an independent review; I have not been gifted or paid in any way. We were given a voucher towards our holiday from the Family Fund. We are a family of four, and this was our seventh year staying at Perran Sands, but the first time visiting in May Half-Term and the first time trying an adapted caravan. This is usually our annual summertime holiday in July, but this year we had squeezed in an overdue trip to Disneyland Paris! This is our Perran Sands Review.
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About Perran Sands
Perran Sands is an average size holiday park in North Cornwall, in a small seaside town named Perranporth, it’s pretty much the surfing capital of Cornwall! It has its private beach which is accessible from the park, but please be advised due to the stairs it isn’t suitable for wheelchair users or those with mobility issues! Believe me after a day at the beach, its a killer!
Check-In & Finding Our Way Around
Check is always smooth. Like last year, check-in was inside the Dune’s Bar. An enthusiastic and friendly team member greeted us. He confirmed our accommodation and pointed us in the right direction of where our caravan would be. The good thing about Perran Sands is that it’s straightforward to find your way around, the signposting is very obvious. If you do find yourself lost, staff members are often on hand to point you in the right direction.
As a side note: This year, we booked an adapted caravan for the first time; however, our son, who has special needs was not impressed. This is not reflected against Haven and their standard of accommodation, it was neat, tidy and had direct access to the park but unfortunately, he likes his routine, and he didn’t settle. So I spoke to reception to see if there was any possibility we could move. Thankfully we were moved to a three-bedroom prestige caravan, with a partial sea view for four nights (we had to cut our trip short). Our caravan was located at the top of the park in an area called ‘Pentreath View’ and ironically right next door to the caravan we stayed in the year before. I have included a few photographs of the standard below.
Our caravan included: Microwave, dishwasher, hob, cooker and hood with fan, fridge with small freezer, digital TV with DVD player, Bluetooth sound system, ensuite toilet, TV in the bedroom, plenty of storage, radiators (believe me it was cold for May) and plenty of space for a large family to spread out.
Let’s talk about food: Like most holiday parks, there are some excellent facilities on site including The Surf Bay Restaurant, Cooks Fish & Chip Shop, Papa Johns Pizza, mini supermarket and laundrette. There is a large entertainment complex including an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and the new addition of an outside lazy river. Two bars ‘The Dunes bar’ which was closed during our recent trip and the ‘Live Lounge’ where the primary entertainment is and just the spot to unwind late into the evening.
We have eaten on previous visits at the Surf Bay, and it’s a cross between a Harvester and a Beefeater. Good quality food, with a bar located outside. You are unable to pre-book so you can expect a wait during busy times, but if you are lucky, you get to eat in the ‘camper’. Great atmosphere but busy! Always busy.
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There are two takeaways onsite ‘Cooks’ Fish & Chips and Papa Johns. Both can be busy at times, but convenient. Papa Johns, even deliver to your caravan! Both of which offer a decent meal, right-size portions and not hugely expensive compared to nearby Perranporth.
Keeping the little ones and big ones entertained: The advantage of a holiday park is that they offer an array of things for young and old to get involved with. Haven do offer activity bundle passes 12 activities for £50 and 24 activities for £100. We’ve personally never used them, so I can’t comment, but they appear popular with other visitors and include archery and aqua gliders.
*Notes* Update for 2020. I have it on excellent authority that Perran Sands no longer offer the activity bundles. It is now all booked on a first-come basis through their new app.
The swimming pools are open to everyone from 9.30 am, and I would suggest arriving early as we queued for over 45 minutes to enter due to the sheer volume of people in the pools. There is one large indoor pool, a separate slide, a smaller toddler pool and a large outdoor pool with lazy river. It was too cold to venture outside this year, but the lazy river is extremely popular and worth investigating.
Aside from the central park, there are surf lessons, football pitches and plenty of parks dotted around and if you are more for arcades and pool tables, the Live Lounge area has that as well. During our visit, there were large extended families, with lots of younger children.
If like us you prefer to venture further afield, Perran Sands places you at a great location as a base. You are an 8-minute drive away from Perranporth where you will find shops, bars, food outlets, ice cream and quaint gift shops. Newquay is only a 15 – 20-minute drive away where you can find a large town, restaurants, bars, supermarkets. Truro is by far the largest town at just 25 minutes away, with its beautiful cathedral, cobbled streets and Primark (sorry, I’m a sucker for a bit of shopping). There are also some excellent coastal drives with the most amazing beaches, Porth, Mawgan Porth, Watergate Bay and Crantock, to name a few.
As a family who like the home from home feel, Perran Sands offers us the option of eating in or eating out while not feeling obligated to eat on site. There are so many options from camping to beach houses, from glamping to chalets. Over our previous visits, we have stayed in various types of caravan class, so there is a budget for everyone from standard to platinum with decking.
- Booking early can save you ££££. We often book nine months in advance and save 25%. Sometimes up to 50% depending on the offers available.
- In peak season months (July/August) you will often queue for everything from getting into the Live Lounge to accessing the launderette. So it’s best to get there early to avoid disappointment as Summer 2017 we couldn’t even get into the main Live Lounge to get seats at 6.15 pm!
- If you are interested in activities, book in advance, you will be surprised how quick everything fills up.
- There is so much to see and do in the local area, from zoos and waterparks to railways and theme parks (Flambards is A…mazing!)
- Get up and out early, in peak summer you can imagine how busy places get. We’ve struggled to park in Newquay in August due to the people.
So there you have it, next time you are considering a ‘staycation’ maybe Perran Sands is worth a look. Perhaps, you’ve previously been? Perhaps you are staying this year? Let me know if you have your comments to add.
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