dad in a polo shirt

This weekend saw us return to Thanet to our family caravan, to open it up and get her ready for 2017.

Birchington Vale, previously known as Two Chimneys, was bought by Park Holidays UK and when we saw their plans for a new clubhouse and expansion of the park, we couldn’t resist investing in a static caravan of our own. Here’s our latest pic of how they are getting on.

Birchington Vale clubhouse progress

Our caravan has been closed since November as we knew we wouldn’t have time to visit, so you can imagine our excitement this weekend returning after such a long time?

I had a list as long as my arm of things to prepare and take with us; bedding, towels, items for the kitchen that I had taken home and some fun games for us to do together.

With the car packed to the hilt we set off and arrived for lunch.

Birchington Vale zipwire

There has been lots of progress on the clubhouse and we peeked through the bushes at the brand new play area with zip wire! The girls can’t wait to have a go on that!

Sunday was an early start as we were all excited to be there! The one day we can all sleep in, there were four of us in our bed by 7am!

We decided to go for a walk on the Ramsgate side of Thanet and parked after the town towards Dumpton Gap. It was a mild morning and we took a long walk along the prom stretching along the bottom of the cliffs. Bessie has brought her bouncy ball with her and if I had a pound for every time I said, ‘Don’t bounce it you’ll lose it.’ I’d be a rich woman today.

Thanet coastline

She did of course, lose it. They were throwing it against a cliff and it landed on top of a shelter, so dad climbed up (he hates heights) and retrieved the ball for her.

I know many wouldn’t have bothered but it was the ball from her latest Baebox and she was devastated at the thought of losing it, so up dad went.

dad rescuing the ball

‘Now, hold on to it and be careful!’ I said. Do you think she listened to me? Of course she didn’t it.

They were trying to see who could throw it as high up the cliff as possible and on the last try, it pinged off the cliff at an angle where no one was waiting to catch it and bounced, bounced, bounced off the prom and into the sea.

It is March.

The water is freezing.

But dad, unable to see Bessie cry, striped down to his underpants and braved the water much to the shock of a couple of cyclists who had stopped for a breather.

The water was a bit deeper than he thought it was going to be but he managed to fish the ball out of the bobbing waves.

dad rescuing the ball from the sea

That’s our dad that is, a superdad. He’s even got the red polo shirt to prove it!

 

Disclosure: Dad was asked to look at the polo shirts for men on Jacamo, a fabulous website with lots of great stuff for men.

Alice Weekes donating hair for wigs

A couple of weeks ago Alice wanted to have her hair cut short. Having heard about people donating hair for wigs coupled with the news her cousin Megan has been diagnosed with leukaemia and would lose her hair during the chemotherapy, she decided she wanted to donate her hair for a wig too.

She sent off her cut hair to the Little Princess Trust and to make the most of the moment we also decided to ask our family and friends to support her decision with donations to the charity. We had discovered that a single wig can cost from £350 – £500.

We set our target of £500, to cover the wig that Megan would be given, and we were totally overwhelmed to have smashed it making a grand total of £660.00. One of my favourite memories will be Alice asking me to check how much we were up to during the first few days.

donating hair for wigs

Donating hair for wigs

Bessie has been watching all the fuss quietly from the sidelines, she still doesn’t want to cut her hair off just yet but she has mentioned that one day, she would like to do the same.

The Little Princess Trust got in touch with us this week as they are organising a very fun event with Shrek’s Adventure! in London. They are looking to find a real-life Rapunzel and have asked us to help spread the word.

The #RealLifeRapunzel campaign is all about looking for the longest hair donations, do you know somebody who fits this bill?

For this competition, hair donations must exceed 12″/30cm and Shrek’s Adventure! in London will be offering the winner and four finalists fantastic prizes.

The finalists, together with three guests each will be invited to a VIP experience on the 29th April as part of ‘National Princess Week’. What will this include?

  • The VIP day will kick off with breakfast at Starbucks,
  • a VIP tour of the attraction,
  • free haircuts in Shrek’s ‘Throne Room’,
  • a makeover
  • goodie bags to take home.

There will be more surprises on the day too.

Weekes twins

Monica Glass, Little Princess Trust Charity Manager said, “The charity is looking for especially long hair donations at the moment and so the search is on!  Whilst we help boys as well as girls across the whole of the UK and Ireland, at the moment there is a need for particularly long hair donations.  It takes a number of donations to make a single wig and of course the longer the hair donation, the longer the wig.”

Steve Blackburn, General Manager of Shrek’s Adventure! added, “Shrek’s Adventure! London is home to lots of princesses and we are really proud to be working with the Little Princess Trust, spreading awareness of the incredible work they do and encouraging those with long hair to donate it for the benefit of children suffering from hair loss.”

How to enter the competition

  • Visit The Little Princess Trust competition page
  • Upload a clear photo of your hair, detailing what length you are willing to donate
  • Write, in no more than 350 words, why you think it is important to donate your hair

Closing date 31st March. finalists will be notified by the 7th April

There’s more, if you would like to donate your hair to The Little Princess Trust then you can have your haircut and styled on the 29th April, free of charge too. Terms and conditions apply, for more information please visit the website on the above link.

The Little Princess Trust are the charity who make wigs for boys and girls suffering from hair loss. To date they have given away nearly 5,000 real hair wigs to young people suffering with cancer and other medical conditions and they are constantly on the look out for people having their hair cut to donate it to them ( a minimum of 7″/17cms is required).

Donating hair

It’s been a very busy month, the full time position is full on and every moment is precious these days, hence not so much going on in Mari’s World blog. We have also had bad news in the family, my cousin’s 16 year old daughter has been diagnosed with leukaemia mid January. This was a huge blow to her, in the midst of studying for her GCSEs and plans to go on a be a journalist. It has shocked everyone around her and once the shock starts to fade, then your thoughts turn to what can I do?

Fundraising is the biggest and easiest task to take on and Alice declared she wanted to cut her hair to donate it to the Little Princess Trust so they could make a wig for a child suffering from hair loss thanks to chemotherapy.

We booked up the appointment and watched the YouTube video on how to be prepared.

 

What do you need to know if you want to donate your hair

Before hair cut

  • Your hair must be washed and completely dried.
  • Separate your hair into smaller plaits as they are easier to cut
  • Tie with a rubber band at the top of the plait
  • Plait and hold with another rubber band at the bottom
  • Cut hair and place in clean plastic bag
  • Post to The Little Princess Trust – Little Princess Trust, Aderans UK, Unit B4, Dolphin Way, Shoreham-By-Sea, BN43 6NZ, (UK)

Why Alice decided to donate her hair

Just Giving fundraising page

Our first step was to set up a Just Giving fundraising page and luckily we were able to create it so every penny went directly into The Little Princess Trust pot, that saved us from having to collect money from sponsors and pass it on which can get confusing if you are not organised. You can see Alice’s Just Giving page here.

Alice Weekes donating hair

The hair cut

Preparing for hair donation

Your hairdresser may well have done this before but it’s always best to go prepared with some rubber bands and a plastic bag anyway. Alice enjoyed the process as much as the final haircut and I made sure I took photos of her so we could use them on our Just Giving page.

The fundraising

cutting the hair

Once we got home and had eaten we took some more After photos and set about fundraising. Facebook was our first port of call as it is where I have most of my conversations and am most well connected with friends, family and acquaintances. Alice was very excited to see the funds come in and was constantly asking me throughout the day how much we had reached.

How much to raise

hair cut

We set our sights high – £500.

We discovered it costs the Little Princess Trust between £350 – 500 to make one wig and they are donated free to all children who have lost their hair through cancer treatment. It was a huge ask of our family and friends but we hoped with Alice’s kind gesture people would take heart.

They did and by the end of Saturday we had reached £420.00!

We put a reminder up on Sunday morning and reached £490.00 by lunch time.

By 3pm on Sunday we had reached her goal and now, because we are a competitive lot, we want to see if we can get anywhere near sponsoring a second wig?

Can you help?

donating hair

 

Before I sign off I wanted to share some facts that I found on the Clic Sargent website that are a reminder of how it can happen to anyone at any time and how we need to keep raising awareness.

Clic Sargent Young Lives VS Cancer

When cancer strikes young lives, CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. We provide expert support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally, so that they can focus on the important things, like getting well.

  • Today, 11 more children and young people will hear the devastating news they have cancer.
  • Every year in the UK around 3,600 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer. Around 2,000 are aged 16 to 24-years-old
  • Although eight in 10 will survive cancer, it is still the leading cause of death from a single disease among children and young people in the UK
  • It is estimated there are 10,000 survivors of childhood cancer aged 24 and under living in the UK. Around 30% of survivors have a chronic health condition and a further 30% have another ongoing health-related problem.
  • The type of cancer and its treatment varies for each child or young person, but treatment normally starts straightaway and can last up to three years
  • CLIC Sargent research has found that children and young people with cancer travel an average of 60 miles, up to five times a week, for hospital treatment (A long way from home, 2010, research focused on 0 to 18- year-olds)
  • Two in three parents surveyed by CLIC Sargent said they had built up debt to make ends meet as a result of their child’s cancer. More than one in four had borrowed over £2,000. Two in three parents surveyed experienced a loss of earnings and three in five parents said they had to reduce the number of hours they worked. (Counting the costs of cancer, 2011)
  • CLIC Sargent research shows that two-thirds of 16 to 18-year-olds fall behind with their education as a result of cancer and its treatment (More than my illness, 2010)
  • Half of young people surveyed by CLIC Sargent said they had to borrow money as a result of their cancer with more than 17% borrowing over £1,000 and 6% borrowing over £2,000. (Counting the costs of cancer, 2011)
  • Parent’s spent an average of £600 a month in additional expenses during their child’s treatment (Cancer Costs, 2016)
  • Over half of young people (52%) and almost half of parents (49%) visited their GP at least three times before their cancer was diagnosed (Best chance from the start, 2016

Alice Weekes hair cut

sing film review

The twins are super excited as this weekend they have been invited to a birthday outing where a group of friends are going to the cinema to see Sing and then on to eat together to celebrate the momentous occasion of turning 9 years old.

The girls got the chance to see a screening in Leicester Square back in December and they absolutely adored the film. In fact I sent Tommy and Oana up with the grandkids too and the first thing I want to make clear is that this film is suitable for all ages, from Sophie who is 3 to my son Tommy who is 29.

It’s a creation from the same guys who made Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets. Fantastic illustrations, the perfect music choices to run alongside and an amusing storyline to go with it.

Sing – the story

sing the film review

We all know of a community theatre that has fallen on hard times and needs a bit of tlc to bring it back to life, Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides on such a theatre that, in it’s heyday was the best theatre for miles around. Dapper loves his theatre and wants to save it and comes up with one final idea to try and restore the theatre back to its former glory – Producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Now everyone loves to sing and dreams of hitting the big time, it is no different in Sing, five contestants emerge from the trials, a timid elephant, a mouse, a pig, a gorilla and a punk-rock porcupine and we follow their individual stories as the film develops.

There is an excellent soundtrack to the film including some of my favourite songs, ‘Oh my god, will you look at her but.’ has become a favourite between me and the girls too.

Universal Studios

Sing film review

Written and directed for Universal Studios by Garth Jennings with a fabulous line up of actors including Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and Scarlett Johansson. The story, animated by animals will keep everyone’s attention throughout, lighthearted with some excellent storylines running through it and some great focus on morals and for pushing yourself to follow the dream.

This film gives viewers 1 hour 48 minutes of fun entertainment and you will come out with a great feel good factor.

Officially in cinemas as of Friday 27th January, keep an eye out for it.

Disclosure: We were given tickets to see the film for the purpose of this post.

Sing film review

stranger things

On set of Stranger Things at the Netflix Christmas event.

Now that Christmas and New Year has been well and truly celebrated and is all packed up and put away we can start turning our eye to the new year, new goals and what to watch on the telebox of an evening whilst the evenings are cold, dark and miserable.

Luckily Netflix has it covered with a huge selection to choose from and some very exciting stuff coming up.

Whats on Netflix for kids

A Series of Unfortunate Events

a series of unfortunate events

Firstly, just before Christmas Netflix sent us through a book to read, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – The Bad Beginning. I passed it to Alice who was between novel 3 and 4 of the Harry Potter series and she devoured it in a couple of sittings. She loved it and when I told her that Netflix were showing the series in January she was very excited. In fact we all are and it’s going to be one we all watch together.

Look out for A Series of Unfortunate Events on 13th January.

Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 2

If you have a fan of Voltron at home then they will be delighted to hear that a second series is coming up on Netflix, watch out for the next 13 episodes as of January 20th.

Trollhunters

trollhunters

From 23/12 there are 13 hours to watch. Here’s the lowdown –

From the master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes a tale of two worlds set to collide in the epic saga DreamWorks Trollhunters. When ordinary teenager Jim Lake Jr. stumbles upon a mystical amulet on his way to school one morning, he inadvertently discovers an extraordinary secret civilization of mighty trolls beneath his small town of Arcadia. Strong-willed and seeking adventure but wholly unprepared for the responsibilities thrust upon him, Jim is forced to take on the exalted mantle of Trollhunter, sworn to protect the good trolls from powerful enemies bent on revenge. The first human ever to hold the honor, Jim abruptly goes from fighting his way through the daily mayhem of high school to joining a war that has raged for centuries, a conflict that now threatens all of mankind and troll-kind alike. Accompanied by his closest human friends and a few key troll allies, the courageous fifteen-year-old must plunge headlong into a fantastical world of astonishing creatures, glorious cities, and fierce enemies desperate to destroy him. Suddenly destined to play a crucial role in an ancient battle of good and evil with stakes that couldn’t be higher, Jim is determined to save the world — right after gym class.

Whats on Netflix for adults

January is the perfect month for cosying up on the sofa with a mug of tea and a some good films. Netflix have some great movies and series to watch out for including:-

Coin Heist
Out on 06/01/17. An exciting film about four teens that hatch a daring plan to raise $10,000,000 when a crisis threatens to destroy their high school. Their first step is to break into the US Mint. 

Clinical

13/01/17 – A pretty female psychiatrist who, when treating a patient who has been horribly disfigured in an accident, is plagued by her own flashbacks to a terrifying attack

Have a great January

We are members of the Netflix Stream Team and receive free Netflix programming for the purposes of sharing reviews with our readers.