York City v Macclesfield Town – the FA Trophy Final

Buildbase FA Trophy
Another week, another trip to Wembley. Actually, May has become our month of football. This time it was for my home team York City, who despite being relegated two seasons in a row, made it to the FA Trophy Final.

The FA Trophy Final is held at Wembley every year, a cup for the lower league clubs. All the lower leagues get to compete in the FA Cup (remember Sutton United’s great run this season just gone?) but this is their cup.

We headed back to Wembley to cheer on York. This time tickets were again very reasonable – and cheaper than the Women’s FA Cup Final. Only just though – my friend from York booked us in as a group booking (he bought about 50 tickets for friends). For the three of us it came in at around £18.

Buildbase Game Face

Watching the men’s game again it made me realise how different it is atmosphere-wise to the women’s game. There are differences… singing songs goading or taunting the opposition (especially if they used to play for you). None so much about our actual opposition though from what I could hear.

More swearing. A lot more swearing. Most of it went way over H’s head! (thankfully)

Buildbase FA Trophy Final York v Macclesfield

But it has made me think. The Women’s FA Cup Final got 3,000 more supporters than the games on Sunday. That’s games (plural) as prior to York’s game there was another trophy for the lower leagues. So I think it’s quite impressive the women’s attendance was higher.

Sure, you could say that people have to travel – but then the women’s game had teams from Nottingham and Manchester…

Wembley

It was an interesting parallel anyway.

York did me proud. It was an exciting game. We played well, we were the first team to score with Macclesfield equalising each time. Just as the 90 minutes was coming up and I was dreading the idea of extra time and H having a late night on a day before school we got the crucial third goal. Ohh it was great.

By the time the final whistle came, everyone cheered and the York players came running to our end yelling “f***ing YESSSS!” which again is a massive contrast to the women’s game. We were still delighted and I was glad H hasn’t developed any lipreading skills!

York City win the FA Trophy

Ultimately I was proud of my team because we were the underdogs. You could tell who was sticking around and who loved York (hello Jon Parkin) and who was playing their final game. We haven’t had the best season, but it finished in a good way and a good start to the next.

There weren’t any Mexican waves this time! H didn’t notice too much, she was too busy getting into the game and loving all the goals. We all had a good time, and it was fun being right behind the goal too.

Seeing as all of York’s games next season will be up north, it’s likely that we won’t see any unless we go back. But at least now H has seen York at Wembley – the last time they played there she was in my tummy!

Wembley way

The FA Trophy Final was a fun afternoon and it was good to be a part of it. It was much louder atmosphere-wise too.

Our next game is on Sunday 28th May at The Valley, watching Tottenham Ladies try to gain promotion to the WSL2!

SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017 – Manchester City v Birmingham City

Yesterday was the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017, the third time we’ve been and the third time it has been played at Wembley. If you want an afternoon of affordable football then a trip to the home of football is what you need.

Wembley FA Cup display

The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017 happened yesterday, Manchester City Women v Birmingham City Ladies. We go every year, as I’ve found it’s a really affordable way to watch football at Wembley. Plus there is a great atmosphere!

This year the FA ran the Kids go Free promotion again, so we were able to buy tickets for the three of us for £20.00. One adult, one student and one child.

What a day it was! Last week we found out we will be working with the FA to help promote Women’s football and football for girls. If you’ve followed our footballing journey you may remember H was playing every Saturday at Carshalton Athletic (who let girls play for free). We stopped around the time we had our gas leak and we got out of the habit of going. Well, we’re starting again.. and there’ll be more on that in the future.

SSE Women's FA Cup Final 2017 tickets, FA Cup Final 2017

Back to Wembley and the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017. We received hospitality tickets for the Bobby Moore Suite. The posh part of Wembley – and we were right next to the Man City Women bench. We were also right next to the steps the players ascend to be presented with the FA Cup and medals.

Comfy Wembley seats

The seats were AMAZING. Funnily enough, the ones we had bought were on the next block along, a row behind! But those were plastic seats, not padded comfort ones.

Manchester City Women are on a roll at the moment. In the Women’s Super League you have a lot of teams who don’t seem to get the support from their Men’s team and you can tell. This isn’t the case for Man City Women, who dominated the game. I’m happy that Birmingham City Ladies also got a goal as they deserved it.

H loved seeing England players Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Toni Duggan and Isabel Christansen play. It was great seeing Carli Lloyd play too – she’s playing for Man City Women until the end of the current FA WSL Spring Series. She’s one serious US Women’s footballer and the FIFA World Player of the Year.

Manchester City Women and the FA Cup, FA Cup Final 2017

The atmosphere in the ground made the game for me. We had mexican waves (of course) and noise. Teams weren’t too segregated, so you could watch as a neutral or for one of the teams and enjoy yourself. It’s a brilliant place to play and when the game ended you could see how much winning the FA Cup meant to Man City Women – it was their first time. They really deserved it.

For me, seeing the game gain in popularity can only be a good thing. Women’s football has always felt like it’s at the level of lower league football which is fine – but now things seem to be moving in a very positive way. In an interview I read recently Casey Stoney said, the opportunities are now there – you might not get to play for England but you get to play. Players like Casey and the teams we watched yesterday are making this happen for future generations of girls.

I find myself mellowing towards teams that I would never in a billion years follow the men’s version of. That has to be a positive thing!

It’s a really exciting time to follow Women’s football. We’ll be watching Tottenham against Blackburn Rovers in a couple of weeks. Tottenham recently completed the treble in their league, though are still an amateur side. We’re keeping everything crossed that they gain promotion to the Women’s Super League and become a dominant football team. So much of that is down to the support of the main club.

H at Wembley, FA Cup Final 2017

With a record attendance yesterday of 35,271 and them opening the upper levels of Wembley, Women’s football is so affordable, accessible and brilliant. Trust me when I say this, buy a ticket for the 2018 final when they go on sale around September-October time. You will not regret it.

Women’s football has been around for years. There’s a lot of information over at The FA’s site. Birmingham Ladies were formed in 1969.

We bought tickets and also received tickets for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017 from BritMums as part of the FA Project. This does not affect our opinion in any way. We will receive a fee for our work. Thank you to Britmums and the FA for yesterday, we had a wonderful day. 

The SSE Women's FA Cup Final 2017, FA Cup Final 2017

Our previous trips to Wembley for the Women’s FA Cup Final in 2015 and 2016.

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat

As a child I loved reading the Owl and the Pussycat. It had a charm to it that gave me such vivid pictures in my head as I read. Coral Rumble has created a new version of the story – The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat.

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat cover

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat starts with them going to sea “In a box on the living room floor, They sailed away for a year and a day, And these are the things that they saw…

Two children play ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ in their front room and this is their imagination. They’re playing in a cardboard box and whatever toys they have handy are part of this game – and it’s wonderful.

It reminds me a lot of when H was little and we made a boat from a large box. We kept it for a good couple of years – at one point it turned into a car, then a spaceship until finally it was recycled. I loved that it had so much play, and most of that was thanks to H’s imagination.

cardboard car and boat

If I was able to write a book for young children, this is the kind of book I wish I could have created.

It’s a beautifully illustrated book by Charlotte Cooke (who is in fact, Coral Rumble’s daughter). The story rhymes which is ideal for primary school aged children discovering poetry.

Coral Rumble and Charlotte Cooke

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat is based on the Edward Lear poem, but has its own direction.

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat was originally published by Parragon Books, and is now published by Wacky Bee books. You can order it from Amazon as well as all good booksellers.

We’re part of a blog tour – check out all the other bloggers taking part!

 

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat blog tour

We were sent a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own. 

Check out The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat on Goodreads too!

Loseley Park – Our First Visit

We have Historic Houses Association membership which opens up a new world of places to visit. This weekend it was Loseley Park near Guildford.
Loseley Park

Loseley Park has a lot of history. Once visited by many Kings and Queens (including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn off the top of my head), it is a property owned by the More-Molyneux family.

Loseley Park flowers

The house itself is fascinating. Built in the 1500s it’s a very sturdy building with the majority surviving. Only the West Wing is no longer there. The More-Molyneux family live in one half with the other half open as part of a guided tour. The property has fields around it, as well as the Botanical Gardens to the right of the house.

Loseley Park wisteria

Loseley Park has enough to keep you busy for an afternoon. We started with our customary game of hide and seek (which H loves in new gardens). A glorious, sunny day, we hid and laughed, breathing in the fragrant wisteria which grows over the walls as you enter the gardens.

Loseley Park sculptures

We stopped for a quick sandwich at the Wisteria Tea Rooms. It was a quick service and yummy food. A little bit more expensive than National Trust places but filling nonetheless.

Loseley Park moat

H had space to run around and made the most of it. There’s a moat with a small tunnel from the gardens to reach it. We wandered around there hoping for a sighting of a kingfisher – but it wasn’t to be.

Loseley Park foot sculpture

The tour of Loseley Park takes 45 minutes. H had a clipboard with questions on to answer. Our guide told us about all the rooms, the family and where a lot of the things on show there originate. When H returned her clipboard she won a Loseley Park pencil which I was happy about. It’s nice they win sweets at these kind of things, getting something practical is so much better.

Loseley Park gardens

After that we grabbed a Loseley Park ice cream. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the site any more these days, but was still delicious. We wandered around the lake which isn’t too big and definitely walkable, before heading to the play area. The play area is pretty basic but it was enough for H and she had a fun play for 45 minutes or so.

Loseley Park lake

Loseley Park is somewhere we’ll definitely go back to, especially with the change of the seasons. For more information they’re over here.
Loseley Park is also now part of the Gardener’s World 2 for 1 deal if you bought a copy of the magazine this month.

Loseley Park field of dandelion clocks

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault! by Jackie Marchant

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault! Is by Jackie Marchant. Previously published as Dougal Trump, it finds a new home with Wacky Bee books, as well as a new name.

Dougal Daley - It's Not My Fault coverDougal Daley - It's Not My Fault cover

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault! originally published back in 2012 under a slightly different title. Newly named and newly published, Dougal Daley is back!

I, Dougal Daley, am dead! Ok I’m not actually dead. But if I’m not careful I soon will be.

In the first book, Dougal finds himself at risk of death from the mysterious creature in his shed. Chances are he isn’t at risk of death at all, but he sounds like a typical seven year old (much like one I know pretty well…) who over exaggerates things that little bit!

Nobody believes Dougal, so he writes his will in case anything happens. Obviously when you write your will and you’re young you make sure the people who do nice things get the good stuff. If you get on Dougal Daley’s bad side you get disinherited!

Dougal loves football. His last will and testament may well involve football-related things… in fact, a lot of the book has sections where Dougal is planning his football related funeral. There are also tributes to him and his football skills from friends and team mates. H found this hilarious – she loves football and could relate to some of it.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of time for football and things in his everyday life, although Dougal finds himself in all kinds of trouble. Obviously, none of it is his fault..!

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault is published by Wacky Bee books and is out now. The age range for this book is 7+.

Jackie Marchant

Writer Jackie Marchant says the book was inspired by a messy bedroom and her son asking a question about writing a will.

H says “if you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid you will like Dougal Daley – I want to read more adventures of his now!”

Dougal Daley is illustrated by Loretta Schauer, the prize-winning illustrator.

We’re part of a blog book tour – we’re up first, check out all these other bloggers as the tour progresses! Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault gets a thumbs up from H. She loves reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books so this is ideal.

Dougal Daley Blog Tour

We were sent the book for the purpose of review. The review contains an Amazon Affiliate link.

Matilda the Musical Tour Around the UK

Roald Dahl wrote the book Matilda which was adapted into a film by Danny DeVito. However, it is the musical which is proving to be the most popular version. Tim Minchin wrote the songs, and Dennis Kelly adapted the book. In 2018 you don’t need to live in London to see it, as there is going to be a Matilda the Musical Tour!

Matilda the Musical, Matilda the Musical tour

Matilda the Musical tour takes in a handful of venues, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more.

ATG Theatre Card and Groups members can buy advance tickets now. Tickets are released to the general public today on the 26th April.

Matilda is based on Roald Dahl’s much loved book, adapted by Dennis Kelly and with original songs by Tim Minchin. Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Winner of over 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, Matilda the Musical continues to delight audiences in London, Australia and on tour around the USA.

‘BELIEVE THE HYPE’
New York Post

‘EASILY THE STANDOUT MUSICAL OF THE DECADE’
Sunday Times

The Matilda the Musical Tour will visit the following venues :

Sunderland Empire
8 May – 2 June 2018

Milton Keynes Theatre
5 June – 30 June 2018

Manchester Palace Theatre
18 September – 24 November 2018

Follow this link to book tickets! (Affiliate link)
For more information head here to find out more about the Matilda the Musical Tour.
We still haven’t seen Matilda, it has been on our to-do list for a long time. The musical is still running in the West End and is popular. I’ve found that tickets sell way up-front for the good seats – you’re often looking to book at least six months in advance! Nonetheless, we will be going to see it at some point.
This post contains an affiliate link. 

Then there’s the jetlag.

Jetlag, welcome, old friend. Jetlag sucks. Your body is somewhere in the middle of somewhere else and you just want to do what you need to do. But you can’t because right when you’d happily sit up chatting with others your body is telling you it needs to sleep.

jetlag eye mask

Jetlag. It’s unavoidable, if someone has a miracle cure which works for me then please tell me it. So we’re seven hours ahead of the UK. I’m also a bad sleeper. I picked up some Boots Herbal Sleeping tablets in the hope it might help and I think it has a bit – it gets me to sleep, but doesn’t keep me asleep.

So the times of your flights come into it as well. Usually when we fly to Australia I’ll book tickets for the evening, which means we arrive very early morning in Australia (like 2am) or late in the evening (10pm). Neither really works as I can’t sleep at that point – it’s still only early evening in my body.

Add a seven year old into that mix and it’s fun… no, not really.

This time we flew at 9am in the morning, doing the longest leg from around 1pm to 10pm. So by the time we had landed in Singapore H hadn’t slept, none of us had. She was shattered but had watched several movies in the process.

Fortunately in Singapore there are plenty of seats you can crash out in near your connecting departure gate, so we did just that. Even an hour’s sleep can help.

By the time we boarded our flight to Australia it was 9am in Singapore, but midnight our time. So now the trick is to sleep but not for long as by the time you end up in Perth (same timezone as Singapore) it’s going to be 2pm. You don’t really want to be sleeping in the afternoon, it’ll mess up your sleeping pattern. Quick naps should be okay though…

Apart from if your child is sick, then you’re a walking zombiefield traveller. Jetlag was rubbing its hands with glee by then.

Getting out of Perth Airport at 2pm in the afternoon took us 20 minutes. It was so fast! Probably helped by the fact Shaun and H have Australian passports.

When we got to Toodyay H crashed – no food, just sleep. It had been a hard, long journey. But she slept, and hasn’t woken in the night since (three nights in, so far so good). I think she might have adjusted. Doing the daytime flight seems to be a better option than the others.

When they introduce non-stop flights to Perth later this year I’m definitely considering it. A daytime flight with no stops… could be one of the best flights we have!

As for Shaun and I, we keep waking up, but now on Sunday we slept through from 10pm to 7am which is a better sleep than I’d get a home. The Boots herbal sleeping tablets are working, getting me properly off to sleep. I’m getting more Vitamin D out here which might be helping my dodgy sleep patterns too.

While I don’t think the jetlag has completely gone, it is definitely the best it has ever been travelling here. We’re only seven hours ahead (rather than Sydney or Melbourne who are 11 hours), but it’s still enough it takes some adjustment.

How to Deal with a Sick Child on a Flight

Obviously if you’re on a flight this isn’t going to be much help unless it’s one with Wifi on board (these things do exist. Something like $15 for 3 hours. Considering what we pay each month this felt quite reasonable) But anyway, the last thing you’ll do while on a flight is to go to the internet to find out how to deal with a sick child on a flight. So…

How to deal with a sick child on a flight. You don’t run to the toilets, barging past the queues, a la “make way, make way, lady with a baby” scene in Grease. Mainly because a lot of people in the queue might not speak English so just think you’re a bit rude.

Besides, once said child is in one of those tiny toilet compartments, there’s barely room for you as well. It just does not work.

However, said tiny toilet compartments do have a plentiful supply of sick bags in them. You just need know where to look. I did as I’m nosey. I always open all available drawers to find out what’s in there for my first visit on the flight. So do that, then you’ll know.

So I grabbed a load of bags and ushered H back to her seat. She felt a bit odd sitting waiting to be sick, but then it’s a far more pleasant experience than sitting over a toilet on a plane. Trust me on this.

With the sick bag positioned right under her chin to catch drips, we were left waiting. And waiting. And a bit longer than that.

Suddenly….

“uuurrgh I’m going to be sick” she said as she then promptly almost filled an entire bag. It’s important to know that each bag has a tear-off strip on it which needs doing before it can be used. Everything was well contained, none of the projectile variety.

It’s at this point it’s handy if there are two of you travelling with your child who is vomiting into the aforementioned bag. That way, the other parent can help with the switch. Unless he’s asleep, that is.

I found that hitting him in an urgent manner on the arm and saying “WAKE UP SHE IS BEING SICK” works well. Shaun jumped into responsible parent mode and got the next bag ready, which again H filled.

At this point an airline steward came along and realised what was up. I asked how to deal with a sick child on a flight, and what he would recommend (while holding two sealed sickbags, my seatbelt fortunately not fastened as that could have been awkward). He offered to make H a ginger tea – which is exactly the right thing. She needed fluids and ginger is a good thing. So he went off and did that while I headed back to the toilets clutching two paper bags full of sick.

“MAKE WAY I HAVE SICK” I said pretty clearly while holding the two bags in front of me the same way I would have with a dirty nappy. This worked. They live in the toilet bins. So fold them up well at the ends because.. well, urgh if you don’t.

After that H was much better. We think it was probably a mixture of not sleeping and the bumpy ride across to Australia. Let’s face it, you have your own tv which has Harry Potter, The Trolls, Moana, Sing and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – you’re not going to want to sleep. Oh, and the fact Singapore Airlines feed you a LOT of food.

Once we landed she had colour back in her cheeks, although was ready to sleep and pretty much did. The following day she was fine again.

So let that be a vague lesson in how to deal with a sick child on a flight. It involves queue barging, paper bags, sealing the bags securely, talking to the airline staff and helping your child not be too distressed. It also helps a lot to have some wipes in your hand luggage. Never assume the days of wet wipes are gone once your child reaches a certain age.

Singapore Airlines also had some mouthwash in each toilet which you dispense into a cup for a good swish. I recommend it after you’ve finished the ginger tea, mind. It’s a bit of a taste clash otherwise.

view from the plane, How to Deal with a Sick Child on a Flight

Seven Year Olds and Long Haul Flights

Seven year olds and long haul flights are a much easier thing to deal with than say, a one and a half year old. Or a five year old. We have this happening this week, so I thought it worthy of a blog post.

YUUtuu Spluush Bag, Seven Year Olds and Long Haul FlightsSeven year olds and long haul flights involve careful planning. We have a bag – the Yuutuu bag we reviewed back in 2014. We used it last year when we went to the Netherlands too.

It has a lot of room and it’s very sturdy. It is also cabin bag sized.

So what’s inside?

These days H is more likely to stay awake for as long as possible. I think she might make it to Singapore without any sleep as most of our flight is through the day. This means she’ll be watching films.

However, the first leg of the journey is to Germany. I doubt we’ll have any televisions on the back of our seats, so we need to keep her occupied (if there’s time). So we have one of the Parragon Art Therapy Disney colouring books handy which fits perfectly into the Yuutuu bag. Add some pencils and bingo.

Disney Art Therapy Colouring Books, Seven Year Olds and Long Haul Flights

As well as this she may want to play a game. While I love in-flight entertainment and the wide variety on offer, it’s nice to have other things to do. Thanks to being so small Dobble is coming with us. It has proved to be a hit and one of the games we play a lot. Because it comes in just a tin it packs down small enough to take up very little space.

dobble tin, Seven Year Olds and Long Haul Flights

Finally, H will need something to read. I suggested she starts ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ by Judith Kerr which she got for Christmas. It has plenty of text so isn’t the easiest of reads (nor is the subject matter really). I thought it might give her something to read which she hasn’t really covered yet.

Add to this her neck pillow which squeezes into her backpack, and I think we’re ready…. seven year olds and long haul flights seem quite easy to deal with actually!

Easter Egg Hunts – Where to Go?

It’s almost that time of the year again, Easter. Every year without fail we find ourselves at a National Trust Easter Egg hunt which are all brilliant, and well organised. This year we fancied a change. But where to go?

Easter Egg hunts are starting around now, the start of April. Most run for a few weeks, but please check the links provided for more information.

National Trust and Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts logo

The National Trust Easter Egg hunt are great. They work with Cadbury’s, and usually have some kind of trail around the place you’re visiting. I’ve spotted easy ones for younger children and slightly more complicated ones for the slightly cockier over 7’s (read : H). They’re suitable for all and perfect for glorious sunny days. The eggs are pretty good too!

You can find more information here. There is usually a cost involved on top of your National Trust membership.

[We pay for National Trust membership every year]

hampton court magic garden h on dragon

Historic Royal Palaces have some trails on as well. We’re probably going to do Hampton Court Palace this year, who are doing their trail in conjunction with Lindt. I’m actually wondering if adults can do it too… It is Hampton Court’s first ever Easter trail. I love Hampton Court, and the Magic Garden has reopened for the season as of yesterday (1st April). I can’t think of a better reason to go! The Easter Egg trail is included in your admission price.

[We get free entry to Hampton Court as it is part of the CSSC scheme]

hever castle

Hever Castle has an easter egg hunt, another Lindt one. I don’t think we’ll have time to do this one this year, but having had a day at Hever recently, it would be a wonderful place to wander around in the sun, especially knowing there is Lindt chocolate involved at the end. The Lindt Gold Bunny hunt is free, and they have additional activities available at a cost. Worth looking into anyway!

[We have Historic Houses Association Membership so can enter Hever Castle for free]

Our Summer - Tintagel

English Heritage also have some Easter Activities on – with all sorts of activities. They look pretty awesome, and don’t mention chocolate… Not all English Heritage places are doing it, so please check this link for more information. They also fall around the Easter weekend, rather than the start of April.

[We are English Heritage members via CSSC and the above link is an affiliate link]