Borrowing a Samsung Galaxy S8+ with Three

For the last month we’ve borrowed a Samsung Galaxy S8+ with the Three network. I’m with Three anyway, though my phone is only a Samsung Galaxy 5 – and well overdue an upgrade. I had a good play with it, trying out the various phone settings. Here’s how I got on.

Three need no introductions in this house – both Shaun and I are customers. They came in very handy recently with our sudden trip to Australia and their Feel at Home deal they do. Your UK minutes and data can be used abroad. Our bills that month were pretty good!

The loan of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ phone was so I could try out the photography. I knew we would be visiting a minimum of three football grounds for various reasons. As well as this there are those moments when you take a photo and it actually turns out to be really quite good – and taken on a mobile phone of all things!

So firstly I’d like to share the panorama photos I got from the football grounds.

Wembley – The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final

Wembley Panorama

Wembley – The Buildbase FA Trophy

York City at Wembley panorama

Sutton United – taken from the club next to it, but check out these photos of Absolute Bowie!

Absolute Bowie Ziggy Stardust era, Three, Samsung Galaxy S8+

Absolute Bowie - Lets Dance era

Charlton Athletic – Tottenham Ladies v Blackburn Rovers Women

Charlton Athletic Panorama

The Hive – Arsenal Ladies v Reading Ladies

The Hive Panorama

Pretty good quality, huh?

Here’s my favourite photos that I took without spending too much time setting up a shot and just going with what the S8+ could do when I did a simple point and shoot. Unfortunately I messed up – I added my Samsung account to my phone and saved my photos to the cloud. When I reset the phone it removed the photos, but fortunately the best ones I have taken are on Instagram.

Bee! Loving the camera on this S8+ for shots like this. #bee #nature #samsungs8 #s8plus

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Hasn’t that come up brilliantly?

I like this photo, although wished for better weather. We had to make a trip to Swansea as my godfather died, so Shaun and I went to the funeral. We took the Second Severn Crossing and I liked how the two central parts of the bridge lined up to make two H’s.

A post shared by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

H and I also had fun playing around with the filters on the phone, adding ears to ourselves because let’s face it, when you get the latest phone you want to do exactly that, right? I eventually downloaded Snapchat and can now see why it’s one of those apps you can distract a child with when they need distracting.

samsung silly filters, three

In May and June the photos here on Mum Friendly are all taken on the S8+. Would you have guessed? The quality is impressive. The only downside is zoom, but that would be the same with most cameras. Close up the pictures are fantastic.

Aside from the photos, how is Three as a network? We’ve been with several networks in the past, and are quite happy with Three. We get the same reception as previous networks and at a better price!

Samsung Galaxy S8+

This morning the S8+ was collected from work, and I’m sad to see it go. My old Galaxy 5 is good – but it’s not this good. I now have serious phone envy of myself which is really confusing.

I’m saving my money to try and get one – I’m on a SIM-only contract with Three so . It’s a big phone, and indeed was too big for most of my pockets – if you want smaller then the S8 might be better – that’s working on the assumption it has the same camera as the one we borrowed.

We received a Samsung Galaxy S8+ phone with Three, complete with a SIM for 30 days with 12GB data, 3000 texts and 300 minutes. All opinions are our own. Shaun was particularly jealous ūüôā

SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football with Crystal Palace FC

SSE Wildcats Girls Football Club

Football is for everyone. Over the course of this summer SSE and the FA have created training sessions in conjunction with several football clubs around the country. These are sessions exclusively for girls, SSE Wildcats clubs. As part of our FA Project with Britmums we signed up with the group at Crystal Palace.

Have fun, make friends, play football is their slogan and so far H is doing all three!

SSE Wildcats are hour-long sessions run by various football clubs around the country. We visited the Crystal Palace group who are about 20 minutes drive away. Sutton United also run classes nearby.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats

We went along for one session, and have decided to continue – and it’s because they’re brilliant.

H is still convinced she wants to be a goalkeeper… in her second session she had that chance and felt proud to get praise from her coaches for some of the saves she did (and there were some good ones – I’m not biased!).

An SSE Wildcats session tends to start with some fun stuff, kicking the ball around and warming up.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats

Games like ‘Stuck in the Mud’ and ‘Foxes and Farmers’ are played to get the girls running around.

The girls are paired up to work on skills. Tackling to get the ball from their opponent, things like that. The two female coaches are always checking and let them know if there are things that could change.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats

Finally the girls end up having five or six a side games which depend on how many girls turn up. That’s when the fun starts – and some swapping around if one team dominates too much. At the end both sides shake hands, and their coach gets a picture of them with the SSE Wildcats sign.

It’s great fun – and H loves it. She loves football anyway, and this is another reason to get her going again.

future england player

We used to train with Crystal Palace and Carshalton Athletic a few years ago and she was often the only girl. Often the boys wouldn’t pass the ball to her and she’d run around not too fed up but we could see. With it being all-girls you don’t get any of that.

Right now it’s about getting her confidence up again.

I have to add her lack of confidence isn’t due to previous classes, we need to get her skills back!

The SSE Wildcats sessions run throughout the summer and there’s a possibility they could continue. If this funding doesn’t continue then Crystal Palace are likely to keep it going. That’s brilliant news as there will still be opportunities for girls. They’re a friendly little group and H is making new friends.

future tottenham player

Crystal Palace SSE Wildcats currently have 29 girls registered. Their target is 30 and the space they have can accommodate more than that. My gut feeling is that after the UEFA European Championships even more girls will want to sign up and play. I’m hoping England do well and am considering trying to get to a game. After our last World Cup success coming third, wouldn’t it be amazing if our England Lionesses won?

To find out your local session head here. Our session costs £1 per week Рprices vary, but are low. This may change once the initial SSE Wildcats period is over. All clubs run on a weekly basis and are on different nights of the week. Crystal Palace are on Saturday mornings.

We attended the Crystal Palace SSE Wildcats session with thanks to the FA and Britmums. We have received a fee for our time, this does not change our opinion of these sessions. Please note Рall photos of the girls have had their faces removed to protect their privacy. 

Please see our other posts that are part of the FA Project – when we went to the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final for the third year running and when we watched an FA WSL Spring Series game.

Here are the other bloggers taking part – Chelle took Fizz to see Brighton play

North East Family Fun caught Sunderland

Baby Budgeting at Wembley

 

Making an Easy Harry Potter T Shirt

As a Brownie Leader in Training I like to try out things at home before we do them at a meeting. Last week I dug out our fabric pens so we could complete the Craft Badge. At home I had a plain t-shirt and we had fabric pens. H and I decided to make a Harry Potter t shirt.

Harry Potter t shirt ideas are all over the place. You can find quite a wide range at Primark, but we decided we’d like to make our own. It wasn’t too difficult.

harry potter t shirt things you need

All you need is a plain t-shirt, some fabric pens and an idea of what you’d like your t-shirt to be.

Back when H had a Harry Potter party last year, I downloaded the font that goes with the films. This came in handy as I could then make the wording we wanted in PicMonkey and make it as large as we needed it to be.

We decided on ‘I solemnly swear I am up to no good’ for her Harry Potter t shirt. I created a blank document in PicMonkey, printed it out and placed it in a central position inside¬†the t shirt.

harry potter t shirt tracing

I traced the letters with a pencil as I wanted to make sure the paper underneath didn’t move. Mainly so it would stay aligned. After that it wouldn’t matter as the paper would stop the ink from soaking¬†through.

harry potter t shirt i solemnly swear

The Ikea Loppstarr pens are great Рideal for decorating t shirts too and a bargain at £2 for six different colours.

ikea loppstarr fabric pens

We coloured in the letters using careful strokes in one direction, making sure to stay within the lines. H isn’t the most patient child and tends to rush things. I made sure she slowed down – after all we want this t shirt to last a few years!

Once we had finished, this was the end result. Our own home made Harry Potter t shirt which was pretty easy and quick to do!

harry potter t shirt i solemnly swear i am up to no good

FA WSL Spring Series – Arsenal Ladies v Reading Women

The Hive Panorama
The FA WSL Spring Series is about to end, a group of games which bridged the gap between the end of the last WSL1 season and the start of the new one in September. We visited The Hive in North London to watch Arsenal Ladies play Reading Women – our first WSL game.

The FA WSL Spring Series is a set of games running from April to June 2017. It features all the teams from the WSL1 apart from Notts County who folded on the eve of the competition, bringing it down to just nine teams.

We really enjoy attending the Women’s games. It’s a different atmosphere to the men’s, and somewhere I’m happy taking H to. Even the players don’t have potty mouths!

please refrain

We arrived at The Hive in Barnet. The Jubilee Line runs alongside the ground, it’s probably a ten minute walk from there. As Tottenham supporters we’ve been to Arsenal games and seen¬†how intense it is (I would never take H to one) – is¬†the ladies game different?

Arsenal v Reading FA WSL Spring Series The Hive

It was – their supporters were noisy too. This was probably our first women’s game where we heard constant singing. Tottenham need to up their game now! It was good noisy though, lots of supportive ones and none about their opposition or their North London neighbours (although that’s questionable as both teams don’t play at the same place as the men).

With pitchside seats and an attendance was 870 it was a good turnout for this FA WSL Spring Series game. When you put your rival differences aside it was a great game of football. Arsenal always looked like they were going to score but never seemed to quite do it until just on the 40th minute.

It’s worth pointing out that often the women’s game doesn’t seem to carry the differences the men’s does. It’s people going to watch a great game of football and support their team. You don’t get derogatory terms and you don’t get swearing either. It’s the kind of setting I enjoy taking H to because we can watch football without me getting annoyed.

Jordan Nobbs FA WSL Spring Series

Two¬†England players who have been named in our England Lionesses Euro squad this summer were on the pitch. Jordan Nobbs and Fara Williams both featured in the Arsenal side; ¬†we’ve watched Fara play¬†several times over the last couple of years on television and we’re looking forward to the Euro’s! After England did so well in the World Cup in 2015 I’m really hoping we can build on that and go even further, plus the games are on at a far more sociable hour.

The FA WSL launched in 2011 and has grown in size from season to season. Ten clubs now compete in both leagues, with Tottenham being the newest club to gain promotion to WSL2. The games used to run over the summer months, but will now start in September from 2017, running at the same time as the men’s game.

FA WSL Spring Series Arsenal v Reading 2

We¬†love taking H to watch football – and she enjoys watching. I grew up watching York City every week in my teens and Tottenham once I moved to London. I want H to enjoy all aspects of football. It’s great¬†that her favourite players range from Harry Kane to Fran Kirby.

She has watched games for a good couple of years now. I love that there are so many opportunities for girls thank to the FA’s For All purpose. The FA wants to make football available for everyone, and it is certainly getting easier season by season. They want to double girls’ participation in the sport by 2020 which is brilliant.

FA WSL Spring Series Arsenal v Reading

 

There are so many football opportunities available at the moment for girls like H. Check out the SSE Wildcats FC’s¬†around the country that are girls-only football clubs. We’re going to be heading to Crystal Palace SSE Wildcats FC soon.¬†H had lessons with Crystal Palace when she was five, so we’re looking forward to trying the girls-only session out.

To find a FA WSL Spring Series game near you, or for details on the new season which starts in September, visit www.fawsl.com.

This is part of the Britmums/FA Project we’re taking part in. We’re being paid a fee for our time, though this doesn’t change our opinion of the game.¬†

Tottenham Ladies v Blackburn Rovers Ladies

Charlton Athletic Panorama
On to our third football match this month, Tottenham Ladies vs Blackburn Rovers Ladies in the FA Women’s Premier League Play Off. Tottenham had won the FA Women’s Premier League South, and Blackburn won the FA Women’s Premier League North.

Here’s where things get interesting. Only one team can get to the Women’s Super League 2 – so there’s a play off final between the two Premier League winners.

This doesn’t guarantee they’ll get into the WSL2 as there’s still further¬†criteria they need to fulfil, but generally the teams in that position have all that in place already.

Tottenham Ladies must have gone in being favourites as they had already completed the treble (League plus two cups) – and this game is the biggest in their history. Blackburn had gone through this season unbeaten, so weren’t an easy opponent.

I suggested to some of my old pals who used to come to Tottenham games with me that we should all attend. Bring our kids (if we had them), and it’d be a fun way to spend a Bank Holiday Sunday. It’s cheap, and if we’re lucky it’d be sunny too. Plus the football would be pretty good and it’s OUR team.

H at Tottenham Ladies

On entering The Valley there were Tottenham volunteers handing out flags and pictures of the Ladies, as well as some blue and white face paint. I love it when things like this happen. We’ve had it at the Women’s FA Cup Final and at an England Men’s Friendly before now. You really feel a part of it! Our flags were ready and our faces striped up in time for kick off.

After a scrappy first 20 minutes with some quite brutal challenges on both sides, the game settled. It was hard to believe that due to Tottenham’s lower league status, most of the players have jobs and do this in their spare time.

Eventually the goals came – and Tottenham sealed their historic quadruple, gaining promotion to the WSL2 for the first time.

Tottenham Ladies win!

As this was the first time we’ve watched Tottenham Ladies play, we needed time to get to know the players. Bianca Baptiste is outstanding – and when you find out that she currently works in a gym you can only hope that the Ladies will turn professional now (I’m not sure if it is a requirement) and Bianca could become one of our star players.¬†She scored the first two goals, and was also Player of the Match.

Wendy Martin’s goal in the 90th minute was fantastic!

Tickets for Tottenham v Blackburn Rovers were cheap. Adults were ¬£5, over 10’s ¬£2.50 and under 10’s ¬£1. We went to¬†Charlton Athletic’s ground, The Valley. The total attendance was 826.

Tottenham Ladies v Blackburn Rovers Ladies

I enjoyed that a few people started singing some songs, even though it didn’t really pick up like at the men’s game. I really try not to compare the two, and I was desperate to start a “Karen Hills blue and white army!” chant but was too cowardly.

The afternoon was fun, there are several new converts to the world of women’s football and I’m now tempted to buy extra tickets for games to encourage¬†more people to come along.

Tottenham Ladies did us all proud. We all made it onto a video at the very end too which was quite amusing!

Tottenham Ladies play their games at Cheshunt FC. They have also played a game at White Hart Lane last season. I’m glad to see that they’re included when it comes to teams representing the Tottenham name.

Tottenham Ladies are definitely our Women’s team. They were always going to be.

Tottenham Ladies

Now Tottenham Ladies are a WSL2 side, they are eligible to apply for a place in WSL1, as Notts County folded earlier this year. All WSL2 clubs can do this as there is a space, but they have to fulfil various licence criteria.

In the WSL each league has¬†ten teams. Clubs play each other twice, home and away, same as usual. From September the WSL will run alongside the men’s, starting at the same time for the first time ever.

We’re part of the BritMums/FA Ambassador group where we’re attending women’s games. We couldn’t attend Chelsea v Liverpool because of this game (which ended up¬†7-0 to Chelsea). Instead we’re going to see Arsenal Ladies v Reading. Given our Tottenham-supporting status, it’s going to be interesting watching our rivals. It’ll probably be a lot nicer than the men’s game too which can get quite nasty at times.

That’s another thing about the women’s game I like. There’s none of the nastiness there like you can get in the men’s game. Sometimes it can be so intense. The women’s game is a breath of fresh air. It’s the sort of place you want to take your children.

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.

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.

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!

ForTheGirl – Girlguiding’s New Campaign

Girlguiding recently launched the campaign ForTheGirl.

ForTheGirl is on YouTube and was shown in cinemas at the Girlguiding Screening of Beauty and the Beast recently.

If you have never been a part of Girlguiding you might not know what it’s all about.

If you were a part of Girlguiding years ago you might think it’s all about loving God and worshipping the Queen.

Things have changed.

Girlguiding has changed.

We still sing the same song at the start (it did change a few years ago) but Girlguiding is different.

Which is where Forthegirl comes in.

Girlguiding to me is recognising each girl is different. Each girl has strengths that others don’t. It’s about inspiring girls to do good things, to be the best they can be. To have fun. To work through their Brownie Adventures and have them come to me telling me they have done some badges on their own.

I want to inspire the girls we work with, and for them to make me proud because they’ve done it on their own. Every time a girl comes to me and says they’ve done a badge I’m delighted.

Which I’d say is the message in ForTheGirl. There’s so much more though.

I want each girl to do their best and have a brilliant time.

Having said that, getting 30 girls aged 7, 8 and 9 to listen can be difficult. But then it’s also challenging fun for the majority of the time too. I come out of a meeting buzzing with ideas for the next one.¬†Hearing their voices and ideas is inspiring and gives us ideas in return.

I want to work with 30 confident girls who can turn around and say “this girl can”.

Because that’s it. We’re ForTheGirl. Each girl deserves a voice and to be heard.

I like to think Girlguiding is doing that.

Later this year Girlguiding is going to be doing a campaign to take on more volunteers as leaders. I made the step up last year after helping at Rainbows for two years. We all make a difference.

Read more at Girlguiding.