My Ultimate Wish

To be totally free my soul requires travel. I was born with wanderlust and the traits of a vagabond.  My ultimate goal in life is to travel as much as possible, and help in communities where they need support.

My visit real travel experience where I have felt truly connected to the place and its people is Siem Reap in Cambodia (Home of the stunning and magical Angkor Wat.

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Image property of Blogizing – Angkor Wat sunrise

I left Siem Reap with a deep attachment to the actual place and its people, and it is of no surprise to me really as I have always been ‘drawn’ there, but for what reason, I did not know. The poverty is so apparent for you to see, there is corruption and exploitation, but through it all the people are so happy. Leaving Siem Reap for me what not the end, but actually just the beginning.

If you wish to help some children of Siem Reap please consider donating to this wonderful cause

If you wish to contact us you can do so at blogizing@gmail.com

 

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My Grandma: The biggest impact

I walked into the room, heart pounding and mouth dry.  The bright lights hurting my eyes as I walked down the corridor.  I turned right down another long hallway.  Each step becoming harder than the one before.  My legs felt like jelly.  My head was buzzing and I felt dizzy and sick.  Eventually I saw Ward 9, I turned right and pulled open the heavy wooden door.  I squirted on some antibacterial hand gel and rubbed it into my hands whilst walking towards the nurses desk.  I cleared my throat and asked her where she was.  I was directed down towards the end of the ward into the last room.  There she lay in the bed, looking so tiny.  Much smaller than usual.  Her curly grey hair still looking perfect.  She knew someone was there but she did nt know who it was as her eyes were severely affected by cataracts. I walked over to the bed, took her hand and said “Hello Grandma”.  “Hello love” she managed. She knew who I was.  My grandma and I had a close relationship.  I sat next to her and stroked her hair.  I tried to speak to her without letting her know how upset I was.  The nurse came in and I asked her how she had been over night.  “She has been quite stable” she said.  “She looks much better today” I said, trying to be optimistic.  The nurse smiled at me but said nothing, and then carried about her business.  I kissed my grandma on the cheek and said “I will see you later grandma, I will be back later, I promise.”  “OK” she croaked whilst managing a smile and nodding slowly.

I walked out of the ward with the intention of going to the canteen for a cup of coffee.  I was tired.  I had not had much sleep as I had been worried about my grandma.  I reached a chair in one of the corridors and decided to sit down. I began thinking of all the things we had done together.  The holidays we had been on. The time in Ibiza when she sat on a wall with white trousers on and when she stood up they were red, she was covered in ants!

As a child I often stayed with her on a weekend.  I loved going. I loved walking her dog, Snowy, up and down the cobbled back street. The same street my uncle, (only 9 years older than me, he was the youngest of her children), had taught me to ride a bike on an adult full sized BMX when aged only 8 years old.  I could not even touch the floor and had to balance the bike against the wall to climb on!  In school holidays I remember being looked after by my grandma with my siblings and cousins.  My Grandma’s cooking was the best, macaroni cheese and homemade chips was my favourite.

I used to sit on the sofa in her living room and watch TV, all snuggled up with her woolen Scottish tartan blanket. One time I was laid on the floor in front of the hot fire watching my favourite TV program after school, my grandma downstairs cooking tea.  All of a sudden a little white mouse ran across the front of me from behind her glass cabinet which stored all her trinkets and ornaments bought for her over the years by her children and grandchildren. I remember thinking it was cute, but I screamed anyway. I remember grandma telling me not to be scared and to think how scared the poor little mouse was seeing me on the floor, as I was a lot bigger than the mouse! That made me laugh.

Every Christmas day was spent at grandma’s with all my aunts, uncles and cousins.  One year all 11 grandchildren lined up and we sang “Grandma we love you”.

A more recent memory of 5 or 6 years before floated back, when grandma has made me a royal blue and bottle green tartan pinafore dress.  I remember being stood in her front room whilst trying on my new dress.  Her laughing at me when I said I had ‘boobies’ telling me they were like ‘fried eggs’.  I was only 12, and my grandma was a 40DD bra size.  I can see now why she found it so funny.

She was how grandmas are supposed to be.  She made and repaired things, clothes etc, she cooked and she cleaned, she treated us to presents and fed us lots of biscuits and cakes.  My grandma was from Scotland but she was far from the stereotype of being stingy with money,  she was the exact opposite, and in fact the most generous person I knew.

Just then my mobile rang. It was my uncle asking me to go back to the ward as the doctor wanted to speak with me. When I arrived, I was lead into a side room and I sat down on one of the chairs.  My uncle was there, he looked at me and instead of talking he began to cry.  I had never seen my uncle cry before.  It was hard to see, a 6 ft 4 inch stocky man, eyes red from the tears, looking heart broken.  I looked at the floor and said “has she gone?” “No, but she is not well”. Managed my uncle, at that point he broke down again.  “We have tried to give her another blood transfusion but nothing is working for her any more.  I am sorry but it is only a matter of time now.”  I stared at the doctor as the words fell out of his mouth, like lead to the floor.  Each word washing over me, but it did not really sink in. All I could think was ‘that’s it, she is going.’  I dropped to my knees and I cried, harder than I had ever cried before. Even when my mum and dad divorced, I do not remember crying so hard. heart ached, I felt like my world was falling apart around me.  My grandma was like a second mum to me.  In fact I told my grandma things I could not speak to my mum about.  My grandma had looked after my first child, which I had when I was only 17.  My grandma never judged me, she did nothing but support me.  She took me and my son on trips with her Pensioners Club to the seaside.  My son adored her, he used to help her do the gardening and loved hanging the washing out on the line with her, she made it fun. She even played football with him in the garden, despite her having a double hip replacement only a couple of years previously.  She was one person that my son would do absolutely anything for.

I stopped crying and wiped away the tears. “I want to see her.” I said as I walked out of the side room and into hers.  My grandma was laid in bed asleep.  “Hi grandma” I said.  “Hello dear” she managed quietly.  A tear ran down my cheek.  “Are you ok?” I said.  She nodded and smiled.  I sat next to her, perched on the bed and held her hand. “I love you grandma” I said.  “I love you too.” She replied.  I stroked her hair and kissed her forehead and said “I’ll see you again soon grandma.” She looked in my direction, but I know she would nt have been able to see my face because of her cataracts, but she stared in my direction, smiled at me and said “yes”.  The doctor had n’t said anything to her, but I knew she could tell that this was the last time we were to see each other, in this life time.  I hugged her tight and kissed her again on the cheek and with that I let go of her hand, I turned and began to walk away.  Tears streaming down my face I turned to look at her one last time. She had closed her eyes and looked peaceful with a smile on her face.  I smiled back and whispered “love you grandma, I will see you again.” At that moment I thought in my head ‘Please angels take good care of her, she is so precious.’

I turned and walked down the corridor.  As I reached the door I heard the nurses rushing, I turned around and saw them heading towards the end room. I knew that was it, she was gone.  I walked out of the hospital and sat in my car. I held between my palms the little reindeer broach my grandma had given to me, just before she had gone into hospital. That was 6 years ago.  I still speak to her on a daily basis and keep that reindeer close.  To anyone else that reindeer is nt worth anything else, it is nt made from gold or any other precious metal, but it was my grandmother’s. I had bought it for her one Christmas when I was 11 years old with my pocket money from the local market.  She had kept it all those years, until I was 27.  That meant so much to me.  I will always have a bond with my grandma and even though physically she is not here, I know she is around.

My final tribute to grandma was the song I chose for her funeral. “Grandma we love you” by St Winifred’s Choir. That seemed like the only choice for me.

“One day grandma I will see you again, that day will be when the angels are also looking after me. But until then I will keep close to me the only thing I have left, our memories.”

Stuck in Second Gear

Some days she finds it so hard to motivate herself….it can be past eleven before she can drag herself out of bed.  She has little in her life which seems to inspire her but when she gets a sudden wave she knows she has to run with it, because it never lasts long.  There is not much that seems to keep her interested.  She is just floating along, in second gear, no up no downs, no excitement….almost feels like nothing…

It has not always been this way, she remembers the days when she felt a tingle of excitement at daily things which happened in her life, everything was colourful.  She was happy and despite difficulties she always got through it.  Sometimes she actually enjoyed the obstacles.  She cannot pinpoint the day where she became stuck in second gear.  She does not feel bad enough to be in first gear…crawling along at 10 mph, or worst still at a complete stop.  But second gear, lets face it she is coasting.  Coasting through life.

What happened to the girl that always flew through life at 60 miles per hour, living life in the fast lane.  Full of ambition, knowing that what she wanted in life she would get….

That girl has not disappeared she is still here, and she is desperately trying to shift back up in gears.  She is assessing her life and re-focusing her energies on what she wants.  She will be back achieving what she wants in life, it may just take some time.

I WILL NOT GIVE UP

Review: Alternative Father’s Day Gifts….no more socks!

With just over two weeks to go until Father’s Day, we have decided to put together some of the best and most unusual gifts we have found from one of our favourite sites notonthehighstreet.com  because let’s face it, not only is your father sick of receiving socks every year, but you are tired of buying them 😉 My dad is a keen gardener and he also loves to cook, so when I saw this gift I was rather excited.  I really do think he will love it and it is on order as we speak.  Everything you need to grow five funky vegetables in one kit box.

A fantastic gift for any keen or intrigued gardener and/or cook, they will be able to grow purple carrots, red brussel sprouts, stripy tomatoes, yellow courgettes and multi coloured swiss chard.  At £13.50 I think this is a great and affordable gift.  I’m just looking forward to my invite for tea!

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With the Tour de France passing through parts of the UK what better year than 2014 to purchase some silver ‘cylist’ cufflinks, they are a little bit more pricey but this is only likely to happen once in your life time, so give your father something to remember-he will certainly be able to recall the year you bought him these! £90

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Looking for something a little more useful?  Check out these fab alarm clocks.  Just click your fingers, clap your hands or gently tap your bedside table and the time, date & temperature will alternately appear for you in red LED colour. It automatically switches off when the room is quiet, lighting up again when the alarm goes off or as a response to your clicked fingers or clapped hands. The numbers seem to float on the lovely wooden block, but that’s just half the magic of this cubiod with a conscience.  At £28.50 we think these are a bargain.

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We all know how our dad’s love to be the King of the BBQ, so with Summer just around the corner, keep him happy with this stylish BBQ, at £34.95 we think it is a steal.

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  Okay…we apologise now….we could not help ourselves, and had to sly some socks in somewhere.  But here is the difference, they are Dad and child matching socks, at £11 for the two pairs, we think they are pretty awesome

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Fancy a splurge or you ve just won the lottery…We have three gifts just for you: 1.  Our favourite of the three.  A Heinsberg Retro Suitcase £390

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Rare! Not to be messed with, as brutal as it is beautiful, the Heisenberg Retro Suitcase Speaker!  One of the original members of the trunkie family that has it all; the looks, the sound and the attitude. Incredibly lightweight for its size, this speaker packs a real punch.

Complete with two port holes for extra bass reflex.

Audio specifications: 2 x 6 inch pioneer woofer, 1 x 4 inch pioneer midrange, 2 x 2 inch pioneer tweeter, 6 hours battery life, 200 watt built in amplifier, 3.5mm aux lead

2.  We love this tent that looks just like a book, perfect for any book worm father, and what’s more, it will be perfect for those family camping trips or festivals. £395

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3.  Finally, a very stylish champagne or wine cooler, though if you are willing to spend £2650 (yes that is the price) then you may as well fill it with champagne have n’t you! We just love the natural look, hand raised and finished with a hammer texture this sterling silver cooler will last forever.  By far the piece we love the most….we just wish we could afford it!

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Happy shopping and do not forget…..Father’s Day 15th June 2014

Related Articles: Mother’s Day (blogizing.wordpress.com) Valentine’s Day (blogizing.wordpress.com)

Review: Boomerang Scam? Festival Goers Feeling Ripped Off

Being offered the opportunity to review a Family Festival in Leeds I jumped at the chance.  I set off in the morning of Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May 2014 with my three children in tow….Typical Teenager (It’s not fair) Boy aged 15 1/2 years, Total Tom Boy, Girl aged 7 3/4 years and Princess, Girl 6 1/4 years.  You can call me The Reviewer (or mother or mum, if you must), aged 33 years young. The festival: Boomerang Jam, claimed to have something for all the family, so we were all looking forward to a lovely, fun-packed day out.  Even the weather appeared to be on our side.

Child Friendly Leeds?

Child Friendly Leeds?

The journey there took us just under one hour, it was relatively easy to locate and it was well sign posted once you were in the right part of the city.  I was under the impression that parking would be free, as when I had asked I was told there was ample parking at the location.  Imagine my disappointment when it was going to cost me £6 for the day.  With a family ticket for 2 adults, 2 children costing £40, the total tally for a family day out would already be racking up. I returned back to my car to display the car park ticket and a passer by was complaining about what a ‘rip off’ the festival was.  I listened, but at the same time decided I would make my own mind up, afterall….some people do just like to complain! And, I am not one to follow the crowd so to speak.  I approached the ticket office and collected my family ticket left for me.  The staff did not seem jolly in the slightest, I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt as the weather was pretty grim.  I proceeded through the gate with my three children in tow…’The Typical Teenager’, 15; ‘The Tom-Boy’, 7; and ‘I’m a Little Princess’, 6.  The steward on the gate was the happiest member of staff I saw throughout the whole of our stay.  She guided us towards the entrance where you were met by a row of portaloos to the left, large metal fencing and the Mini Farm to the right.  “Don’t forget to the see the animals” She said, “There is a donkey and some rabbits and things.” All the time still smiling.  That woman deserves a medal.  She knew the feedback of the Festival was negative, it was written all over her face, but she still remained friendly and professional throughout. We went to the Mini Farm, very aptly named as it consisted of two donkeys, two alpacas, two sheep, two goats, one large lazy pig, one calf who needed its bum washing, two goats, three guinea pigs, four rabbits and one humongous sized rabbit.  Oh and four chickens and a couple of pigeons! Within five minutes maximum ‘I’m a Little Princess’ declares “I’m bored!”, ‘Typical Teenager is still displaying the look of ‘Where the hell are we mother’ whilst ‘Tom-Boy’ is still in hysterics at how huge the rabbit was.  Saying that, we certainly did not have to prise her away from the area.

Boomerang Jam Festival 2014 Mini Farm

Boomerang Jam Festival 2014 Mini Farm

We returned to the entrance of the festival.  As I looked around the area, I actually felt a little shocked that this event had been allowed to take place.  It was set up in an unfinished car park.  A fence in front of me cordoned off some large concrete blocks and very little had been done to cover up what they were.

View of Festival from Entrance

View of Festival from Entrance

Fenced off Concrete Blocks...building site!

Fenced off Concrete Blocks…building site!

There were a few food vans dotted about, a display from the Army, a couple of small marquees/tents and some fairground rides and games. We walked over to the small cup and saucers.  I admit I expected the rides to be free, unfortunately this was the not the case.  Of the small selection of fair rides and activities available there were a handful of things free, namely a climbing wall for older children, a large inflatable bouncy castle slide, cupcake decorating, hook a duck and face painting.  Pretty much everything else carried a price tag.  Unfortunately, many of the things advertised we not there.

marquee activities overwrite

What’s in here? Not much!

Advertised on the website before the event was:

Half Pipe and Pro Performers  Main Stage  Arena  Dance Tent Food Demonstrations  Mini Farm  Rock  Climbing Inflatables  Fair Ground  Graffiti Artists  Arts and Crafts Stalls ● Competitions ● Breakdancing ● Beat Boxing performances  and much much more.

Unfortunately, there was not much, much more, nor were all of the advertised acts and activities present.  I am not sure as to what the arena was supposed to be, unless they were referring to the poorly kept car park/building site, there was no dance tent, no food demonstrations, there were no arts and crafts, no competitions, no beat box performances…. The entertainment on the main stage consisted of a loop of Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Bob The Builder, and local dance troups.  We stayed for a maximum of one hour and a half and I do believe we pretty much saw the whole of the entertainment.

One of the four acts...

One of the four acts…

Not only was the event poorly organised but unfortunately many of the workers, who appeared to be there independently (so I am unsure as to where the entrance fee money was going) were very unprofessional and simply did not seem to care about the very families who had paid to attend the event.

Quite possibly the best free activity

Quite possibly the best free activity

‘Tom Boy’ and ‘I’m a Little Princess’ wanted to go on the trampolines.  As the large inflatable bouncy castle had been free, I assumed that the trampolines would be too….. How incorrect could I have been!  The damage…£4 each for 5 minutes.  The 5 minutes included the time it took the children to take off and put back on their shoes, so around £1 a minute for jumping on a trampoline.  In fact the worker started attaching another child into the harness whilst Tom Boy was trying to put her shoes back on.  There was no area for them to take their shoes off or put them on so the only place was to sit on the side of the trampoline to do it.  More alarmingly, whilst I was there, an organiser came over and asked one of the workers if he has been smoking whilst putting a child on the trampoline as they had just received a complaint. Within the small marquee, there were a couple of free things for the children to do.  There was free face painting, you could have a model balloon made or you do do some cupcake decorating.  Oh…and not forgetting you could milk a large plastic cow, supplied by Arla Foods, which in actual fact ‘I’m a Little Princess’ actually enjoyed for a shortwhile.

cow

Cow milking supplied by Arla Foods

stir krazy

Stir Krazy Kids Activity

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Cupcake Decorating with Stir Krazy

As a parent, the most highlighting part of the event for me was speaking with one of the owners of Stir Krazy, a children’s cookery club.  It was lovely to see the passion she had for her business and hear about the reasons she decided to set up the club.  Cathie went on to tell me about the holiday clubs and children’s parties they run in Leeds and surrounding areas and how they are a new business.  I wish Cathie and her partner Sarah all the best, as their concept is a lovely idea for children and a great alternative to conventional childcare.

The misery of the majority of the rest of the staff and stall holders could not be contained, and was perhaps most apparent on the face of the balloon modeler who, not only looked uninterested….but also appeared to do a runner half way through the day.  One little girl asked the man if he would make her a flower, he obviously was not listening or could not be bothered as he handed her an orange looking dog.  A man asked for a giraffe and the balloon man told him he did not have time to make a giraffe.  I could not believe my ears.  There was no interaction with the children at all.  When it came to ‘I’m a Little Princess’ wanting her balloon, ‘Typical Teenager’ had also heard everything going on, and so for his entertained told her to ask for a zebra.  At the same time I made a comment that all the balloons looked the same and he looked like he needed to be elsewhere.  He must have heard me, as amazingly ‘Princess’ ended up with something resembling a zebra.

balloon man

Not interested?

zebra balloon

zebra

Oops where has he gone?

Oops where has he gone?

The ‘Festival’ claimed it was part of the Food and Drink Festival, however there was nothing at this festival to suggest such a thing.  The only food available were in the form of the usual burger vans, there was one creperie van.  No evidence of any cooking demonstrations and there was one small beer tent, which was hardly used, probably because most parents did not appear to want to stay that long. All in all, it was a disappointment.  I am not sure what went wrong, whether there were lots of booked acts that did not turn up or whether it was just very poorly organised.

Unorganised....

Disappointing….

I have waited a couple of days to write this review, in the hope the organisers may have issued some sort of explanation but to date nothing has been released.  Quite honestly, if I was the owner of the venue (http://thetetley.org/) I would not have allowed the event to go ahead. It is such a shame, the organisers had a good concept here, but there simply was not enough organisation, enough things to keep people entertained, and the ticket pricing was just all wrong.  There was nothing to keep a 15 year old entertained, which I know is difficult at the best of times, but I had hoped that the dance tent would do that.  My two daughters aged 7 and 6 were bored within an hour and a half. After searching the internet I have found many other complaints from families simply feeling that the festival was a scam and a rip off.  We can only hope that the organisers are able to compensate the families in some way by providing such a sub standard event, at an extortionate price and wasting valuable family time. You can read other reviews here and here

ben ten  peppa pig meet n greet

SUMMARY Event: Boomerang Jam Family Festival, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Date Attended: 26th May 2014 Value for Money?: No Toilet Facilities: Plenty of portaloos, the ones I visited had plenty of toilet roll and hand sanitiser.  Baby facilities were located within the Tetley Building, meaning parents having to leave the festival area. Recommend to Other Families?: No Would you attend again: Yes.  I would love to see the event organisers put on the event that they advertised and this time do it justice, and get the pricing right!  I would like to come back next time and be able to give a postive review. Overall Rating: 1/10 Reason for Rating:  My children did enjoy the large inflatable bouncy castle slide and meeting Peppa Pig and Ben 10.  The event was over priced, unorganised.  Not enough activities to keep families entertained.

WHAT MY CHILDREN HAD TO SAY:

Children's Reviews...

Children’s Reviews…

If you need to contact Boomerang Jam here, you can do this here: http://boomerangjam.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/boomerangjam?fref=ts Related Articles: Booming Bank Holiday Entertainment for all the Family (Blogizing.wordpress.com) Reviews of Boomerang Jam (Mumsnet.com) Boomerang Jam on Facebook If you attended the event and left feeling disappointed with your experience please feel free to leave a review in our comments, or a link if you have posted a review elsewhere. Acknowledgements: Blogizing would like to thank the organisers of Boomerang Jam Festival for providing a Family Ticket to allow us to come and review the event for you.  Although we were disappointed this time around, we hope you can learn and grow 🙂 B signoff