Christmas Gifts, Take 1

This year my daughter has figured out that Santa doesn’t exist. I think we did pretty well and although there’s some sadness , we can still have magical Christmases in years to come.

I did explain that although a man in a red suit doesn’t come into our home, the spirit of Christmas will always be there to be enjoyed and for us we feel it’s about family and getting together to eat, laugh, play some board games and not have to worry about school, and for the first time, WORK!

This year marks the 1st in 7 that I haven’t worked unsociable hours with the NHS! I handed in my notice and won’t be starting my new job until the New Year. I’m looking forward to getting into the festive spirit and although I’ll be thinking a lot about my colleagues on the front line who will be missing out on Christmas dinner and festivities, I’ll be enjoying the company of those I love dearly..

So what’s different this year apart from the above? Well… I’ve been reading up a lot about minimalism and one thing about minimalism and parenting is something I heard most recently which finally stuck in my mind… “Kids remember their experiences more than they do toys”.

That really struck a chord with me in a major way and although I’ve probably heard that a million times, there was something that made me sit up and take note. Could it be that this year money is more tight, or that perhaps I’m really getting into the minimalist way of life whilst slowly decluttering?

Whatever it is, it has had a very positive effect on me and I like it!

This year for my daughter, I thought her and I could get the sleeper train down to London, go to the museums, the palace, dungeon, or just sit and people watch. I’ve always liked visiting London but I think it would be amazing to have her with me on a girls day out , experience things through her and also learn myself.

Next in the list would be Paris! She recently told me that she’d like to see the Eiffel Tower, and I think she would enjoy the cafes , the old churches and experiencing French culture as her papa was from France and I myself am dual national and gold a French passport. Ultimately, if she really enjoys it, we could look into classes in Glasgow and possibly visit where my Dad grew up as I haven’t been there since I was 10.

The other gift that I know she wants is theatre tickets to see Shen Yun, which will be at the Edinburgh Playhouse in January. It’s a bit steep in price but it’s a cultural show and I don’t mind when both her and I can learn a few things! She is loving all things Chinese, Japanese, Korean due to her love for K-Pop.

Something else that I have done is order a Journal which is based around what she is already taking part in at school , you may have heard of it.. “Growth Mindset” it’s a fantastic concept about changing the way you think and turning negative thoughts into positive ones, determination, self believe, positive thinking and perseverance to name a few. I love this and I love how it can make a difference in young people and how they view the world and interact with it.

Lastly, I thought I’d put a few I.O.U’s into her mix of smaller things such as a cinema trip or shopping, or anything else she might like to do. I’m still looking for ideas on that one but a few trips out for just her and I or even a choice to pick or come up with a family activity… who knows, she may have some really fantastic ideas!

Stay tuned for ideas that I have planned for the rest of my family!

I’ve linked up with bloggers required for this post.

Balmaha Lodges:A Review

We stayed at the lodges last week, here is my trip advisor review… please ignore grammatical mistakes etc but I am seething with rage due to how we were treated by the management.

pic courtesy of tripadvisor

We stayed at the lodges last week and had booked back in July as we wanted a nice place to celebrate our young cousin turning 18. 
Upon arrival, we were met by the manager Lillian and another member of staff. They were unable to find our booking at the start but tracked it down a few minutes later. The booking was made with a family members credit card who would be along later, after work. 

We were told that the balance needed to be paid and that they would “just take it as long as you could sign it on their behalf”. I did this and when the other member of staff was processing the booking, she had absolutely no idea on the price and almost charged us double until I corrected her. 

We were told very sternly that the hot tub required vacating by 10pm and that no glasses were to be taken in which was completely understandable. However, being told this by the manager, I felt that I was in school again and felt she was very condescending bearing in mind that the youngest member of our small party was 11, the oldest in her 50’s and the majority were mother and daughter. 

When we got into the lodge, we were impressed by the cleanliness and would have recommended people to stay here.. that was until after we had checked out and the accusations and lies came through with additional charges for supposed damage.

Before I explain what happened and despite us letting one or two things go, I have to say that there were things which couldnt be ignored.. There wasn’t enough cutlery, glasses, plates, the heating made so much noise throughout the night that it kept everyone awake and there was no one to speak with on check out, and there was a broken window handle with no light on the cooker hob which meant when cooking, we had to use the torch from our phone. Some of the dishes were also dirty and there was a lot of dust. On the welcome email on booking, it stated that there was shower gel and shampoo… unfortunately not in the shower!

We still had a lovely night though as a family despite this and we did vacate the hot tub by 9pm. At this time it was noted that the manager was leaving despite saying that she would be on until 10:30pm but if we had an emergency it would need to be a good one as she stayed 30 mins away!

During the night, my 11 year old was unwell and had vomited but it was cleaned, with windows left open over night and when clearing the lodge out. This was going to come back and haunt us apparently…

We had checked out, went home and then came together again on Saturday evening where I received an email saying that they had charged us for cleaning and a broken drawer. We responded with shock as no one broke anything and the vomit was cleaned from the bathroom.

I was told that “The document that was signed by the guest who checked in on your arrival clearly states that any damages occurred during your stay will be deducted from the card”. 

No, this was most certainly not the case. I was not told that this was a disclaimer but I that I was signing for check in. I was signing for another persons card… I asked on many occasions for proof of this drawer being broken and was never provided with it. My picture of that drawer is included. We also asked for the bill of repairs as it was stated the £50 for cleaning the odour of vomit and repair to the drawer.

This was another response to a query in relation to signing on behalf of the card owner, “The reason you signed the check in document was that the original person that made the booking was not present yet. We usually take full payment on arrival before guests can check into there lodge and it was the guest that signed the check in document called the guest that made the original booking and told us to go ahead and take payment so we could check 
you in.” I did not make any call to the card holder as stated, and this can be proven via mobile phone records. 

Another inconsistency is referring to the cost of repairs..”Dear Angeline, The £50 that was deducted from the guests account that booked the lodge does not cover the damage that has been done to the lodge or the extra cleaning that was needed done.” Sorry, what? But you said this: “Due to the damage to the kitchen drawer and also extra cleaning charges for sickness in Lodge 7, we have deducted a further £50.00 charge due to this“, I’m quite confused about this email and her contradiction.

Here is the kitchen drawer in question

Once Lillian decided that I had proof of everything that was lied about, she then decided that she would no longer converse with me. This is pretty poor customer service Lillian. I asked again for proof of damage, the bill and also for info so that we could discuss this with the owner. All of this was ignored. I also note from a previous guest that this isn’t the first time that she has lied, and the proof was recorded via his mobile phone.

A few days later, I called the lodge and I was able to speak with the owners wife who really was lovely. She listened and said that she had heard bits and pieces and that she couldn’t comment until speaking with the manager which I felt was fair, as there are two sides and she hadn’t seen the emails exchanged. She said that she would take my number and have her husband call me that evening. 4 days later, I’m still waiting. 

Whilst we understand that running a business is time consuming, I think 4 days is more than adequate to contact a paying customer.

As no one will return calls or emails, we have decided as a family to take things further. We explained that we would do so and made no attempt to add reviews, and gave them the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately we are too kind and we now have no choice but to warn folk against booking in what is lovely accommodation. 

As an aside, I noticed damage to the hot tub cover from lodge 7 and saw in a previous review that another guest was charged £150 and accused of causing that damage. It’s still broken… so theypaid for nothing..I was told by the owners wife that they decided not to repair the covers anymore due to the hassle. It also states in other reviews from other guests about the poorly stocked kitchen which they haven’t obviously taken note of and when asking Lillian about this in another email, she stated that the kitchens are fully equipped… There aren’t even any tea towels to dry dishes with! 

Anyway, I realise that this is war and peace but I don’t want anyone else being party to such horrible treatment. The money we paid could have had us be elsewhere and hassle free. Thanks for ruining the memories of what should have been a memorable ocassion. It could still be a lovely place if you could employ a manager that doesn’t lie.

18 for 2018 – Inspired by Gretchen Rubino

I have a few books written by Gretchen Reuben, 1 was purchased on my kindle and the other in Toronto Airport when we were awaiting our flight back to Glasgow after being home. I love what she does and says, her Podcasts are so inspiring but the main thing is that they are easy to understand and incorporate into your life without really thinking about it too much but that the results are really life changing.

I’m not so much into New Year resolutions because I think that if you want to make change, it should be an ongoing process and not waiting for the 1st of January to do it. If you really have something in life that you want to do, if you can put all of your effort into it, I do believe that it is well within your reach. If you set your mind to something whether it be small to someone but of major significance to you, the end result will be empowering and with empowerment comes achievement, yes?

So what is this thing that I am banging on about? Its Gretchin’s 18 for 2018 and its all about achieving 18 things throughout the year that mean something to you and has a positive impact on your life. The 18 things can be anything and it an take as long as it takes, but within the next 12 months… I don’t think that 18 thing are really hat difficult and it may mean writing another list but I’ll concentrate on my first and see how I get on.

When thinking about this, I wanted to make small achievable goals because this isn’t about adding more stress to an already stressful existence! Its something that I can do and think or write about whenever and wherever… Something to be proud of and something that will impact me and possibly others around me. So where do I start? Well….

I read something on social media this week which was quite powerful and made me think a lot about certain situations that I have found myself in very recently.

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So this is one of the things that I want to really concentrate on in 2018.. I am very hot headed and I generally react by shouting and getting angry. In order for me to stop reacting in an angry matter, I need to step back, think about all aspects , who is involved, impact of my anger and breathe.

Breathing is the key to all life.

A lot of this first goal is about my daughter and some stuff that she is going through. She lost her Nanna very suddenly and she is currently going through the “anger” part of the grieving process but through this we also think that there may be something a bit more underlying.When she gets angry, I react in the same way, we say things that we regret , the tears flow and there is a constant atmosphere which is affecting everyone here and even the dog. So I must learn to breathe first and react second. It’s very hard.

2. Walking at least 5 miles a day. This was something that I was achieving before Christmas but after having a small operation 3 weeks ago, that stopped and I can see how much it has impacted my moods and my eating habits. The dog is also suffering because she was really enjoying her long walks and now she is only getting out to the park across the street and smaller walks. That’s not fair. I also want to get my daughter into this with me so I guess there is two parts to this goal! I think it will help improve her moods and her fitness.

3. I want to use my gym membership more and go to at least 2 early morning classes a week. I love getting up before everyone, getting my workout done and be back in time to get the kids off to nursery and school and then the dog walked. I feel I get much more done on these days and although I am all for self care and looking after yourself, my own mental health is better when I am organized.

4. Concentrate on growing my business. I love what I do and I have a good client base but I feel like I need to be more organised and reign in a lot of things as my head is a scatty mess. I need to re design leaflets, find out exactly which therapies out of all of the ones that I do, are my favorite ones and just do them. I know that aromatherapy is one at the top of my list as is pregnancy and when I do these, I get lost in them. I am also dabbling with making stuff with the oils but that can come at a later date.

5. Making time for friends. This can be done in different ways as we all have such different lifestyles, work schedules, and demands. I am going to diarise dates with those who are able to do so and make an effort to even catch up with others via skype or facetime – this is generally for friends an family on the other side of the world.

6. Paying off at least 2 of my credit cards by the summer. This is achievable because I can do overtime when the kids are sleeping or by using my other income as a Complementary Therapist. I would like to say that I am lucky to have these two outlets but to be fair, I trained and studied and all of that was achieved via hard wor. The over time think is lucky but again, I am qualified enough to have a job where over time is available and that’s down to my own skills that I learned and invested in. The other skill that I have is blogging and although I have only just picked it up gain after a long break, I know that I can be consistent and pick up the ol sponsored post if I want to. I can also make some money via selling things on eBay and I started just before Christmas, the money went towards a credit card and in one week with combining all the above apart from massage, I put £65 towards a card. How good is that?

7. Entering Competitions .. its become a new hobby that I picked up on my quest to save money and become debt free. I was also inspired by a film that I watched which was a true story. Now, please note that I am under no illusion hat I will win very much and that’s ok. Like I say, its a hobby 🙂 Its simply a hobby and its something that is distracting for me after the kids have gone to bed.

8. Not accepting the negative behaviors of others , this kind of ties in with number 1 . Something happened over the Christmas holidays and it was quite hurtful to me although those involved probably didn’t even know that it had such an impact.. I don’t want to go into it and I have made adjustments to how interaction will be from now on. There was one other situation where I felt that someone in my life was always contacting me when they needed to vent. At first I was angry as I wasn’t being asked what was going on with me and my family but then I thought , well maybe I am a source of comfort and advice? This is quite empowering that I can help in a situation which is upsetting for another person and that they trust me enough to confide in? Yes! this is it! ( To ther person that this is about, you know I’m not attacking you with sharing this and no names are mentioned. I am here for you always).

9. Being more present, accountable, be there more to listen to my husband, this kids, friends.. I don’t know that this makes sense or does and that I have no reason to explain?

10. Using my summerhouse more for meditation, relation, yoga, mindfulness for both me and my daughter and maybe redesign it and make it even more welcoming. A sanctuary of light and love? I remember before I ordered it that I wanted it to feel as though it wasn’t just in my back garden but I could transport myself into that secluded forest somewhere far away.. a place of complete relaxation…

11. Stop and count my blessings.. stop thinking “if only I had more money, I could do this”  or “I wish we had a bigger house” etc etc. stop making it about “stuff” maybe reading more bout minimalism? I have much goodness in my life… and I mean things like fantastic friends, a good paying job, a roof over my head, fantastic family, we don’t go hungry and have food available. I have self…. an awareness. It’s the “stuff” that gets in the way. I know I said that I was comping but it’s just a fun thing and a hobby. I don’t care if I win or don’t win. Its all a bonus.

12. More family time. I need to make sure that we have more quality time from watching a film together , walks, cycling, museum. Something that is focused on us spending time without arguing! I have worked weekends for a while now as well as Christmas and new year , all holidays due to the nature of my job. Because of that,we ind it hard to spend time as a family without arguing because we have different parenting skills. This causes confusion for the kids and it all erupts like a volcano which isn’t good for any of us.

13. Home.. I want to go home this year… Home is Canada and with me paying off credit cards, it can’t be the top of my priority list as it defeats the purpose! So comping it is! If I could win a trip home, it would be a bonus but if I don’t, there is always next year.

So that’s it for now.. I will update my list on my next blog post.. the next 5 are going to be ones that I really want to think about.. maybe something like “read a book” or catch up on my pinterest board, see that film i have been meaning to for  months.. ?

Are you writing an 18 for 2018 list ? If so, please do share as its inspiring to read how other people are living their lives, their motivations and what they hope to achieve. Thanks for reading.

Pallets and Pinterest:Creating for the creatively challenged

Ok, so its no secret amongst my friends and family that I am a pinterest fail despite trying hard and pinning so much that I think my head will explode and burst. I love the idea of trying to create these projects and often when I think i’ve nailed it, I just get a look of sympathy , a shake of the head or just someone laughing out loud at what I have “achieved”…

Until recently… until the day that I discovered what one can do with Pallets.. cue song, ” I love pallets , any kind of pallets , as long as their wooden .. my mind and hands are a groovin’! ” Ok, I’m taking this maybe a wee bit too far but I am so impressed with my first pallet project and subsequent ones that it has led to new ideas a new hobby and even my husband bringing home gifts such as a power drill, new claw hammer and some nails. What more could a girl want?

This is a picture of what I made a few weeks back but due to the recent weather, I haven’t had a chance to paint it- it will be white and I think I might change the cushions to blue if I can find any suitable ones.. I think I might try Ikea and I want to add tables and possibly a footrest before I ccomplete and I need to close the gaps at the front.

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I haven’t got a lot of time to do much before we leave for Canada next month but a bar and pergola would be ideal to complete this summer project.

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Maybe next year we can think about building a deck but as the garden is so uneven, it will take a bit of time to complete and my husband will need to help me. In building this I have gained a lot of confidence adn I would love to do a wood working course in the future as I enjoy working with my hands to create adn my kids also love helping out.

Have you built anything out of old pallets?

 

Summertime Memories

I have been a busy bee! After getting my holidays finalised,I  booked flights with Canadian Affair , to Toronto! I’m going home for 3 weeks with my daughter and I couldn’t be more excited. I have been pretty homesick of late and although we were all supposed to go home for a holiday as a family, the flights increased and well, we just couldnt afford it so my husband will be staying back with my two year old.
 
I haven’t been home to experience a proper Canadian summer in years and I cannot wait until my daughter is able to do this with me. I have many fond memories of my summers growing up and to be able to show my daughter some of those things, is in my mind a blessing.  From the usual smells of freshly cut grass, the fireflies with their glowing bellies , campfires with their usual smoky odours and sitting by the beach with a cup of coffee in hand the excitement is almost too much and I feel like a kid again myself, about to burst. … I just really can’t wait to experience all that my home town and neighbouring towns, have to offer but this time with my own child who will be making her own memories.
 
I have known most of the people that I will be visiting, for practically all my life and now its their kids and mine who will be forging strong bonds and relationships whilst us adults reminice by the fire.Also, one of the lovliest things is that M will be spending time with her aunty, uncle,grannie and her cousins!  We will be doing things like taking the kids Camping,going to Canada’s Wonderland  , Niagra Falls to visit Great Wolf Lodge and various water parks, going for Ice Cream at Lorna Doons which I used to go to and spending quality time enjoying everyones company.
 
There is talk about going to Algonquin Park with a canoe and doing a trek, paddling through the water looking for the local wildlife, hoping not to encounter any bears at a close distance, but catching sight of them if possible a long with moose etc. I don’t know what we will see but whatever we do, chances are it will be a first for my daughter.  We haven’t had these types of “firsts” since she was a brand new baby just brought home.
 
I’m hoping that before we go, I can purchase a new camera to catch these moments, which I will blog and maybe even vlog about because the trip will be jam packed and I want her to be able to have something to look back on in print and pictures.
 
Are you going anywhere this summer? Have you ever taken your kids back home to experience what you did as a child?
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