Mayfield Lavender – Our Local Place of Calm

Mayfield Lavender

Lavender has wonderful, calming properties; I wish our local fields, Mayfield Lavender, were open all year. If only our climate allowed it! It’s sunny right now, and the perfect weather for a wander in the fields.

Mayfield Lavender is pretty easy to find. It is several acres of fields with several varieties of lavender. The fields are full of tourists taking selfies or movies, though fortunately there’s still room for everyone – even the casual local daytrippers like us.

Mayfield Lavender collecting rosemary beetles

Our other favourite thing to do at Mayfield Lavender is to check the creatures you will find. Often it’s the rosemary beetles on the lavender (we always bring a jam jar from home to collect them and hand in to the main shop), but today for example, we found some grasshoppers!

You will find many bees too, including ones which look pretty sick. Fortunately if you pick them up carefully and place them onto the lavender they seem to come back to life.

Mayfield Lavender bees

It’s scary to think something so important is suffering right next to an important food source. We rescued five bees today alone.

As well as the acres of lavender, Mayfield Lavender also offers a cafe, shop and food area. You can also find random things like a phone box in the middle of the field (we’ve still not worked out why) as well as a couple of shelters you can hire out for parties.

The food is reasonably priced and is all the usual standard stuff, with many lavender-related treats thrown in. Such is my rediscovered love of cider, that to find a Lavender Cider was a delight!

Mayfield Lavender fields 1

If you want an afternoon out in a field of lavender, then Mayfield Lavender is the place. It costs £1 per adult, children go free, and once you’ve paid parking is free inside (and there’s a lot more parking in there these days with more available up the road).

We tend to park over the road at The Oaks. There’s a pedestrian crossing which gets you safely to the fields.

Mayfield Lavender Fields

Check their website to find out when they’re open, plus they now also have a store in Epsom which I’ll be visiting after payday!

Holidaying in Cornwall – This is what we did!

We’ve just completed our third Cornwall holiday – and I thought it was worth doing a brief round up, if only to show this little blog some love!

Cornwall is a beautiful part of the country, and one we enjoy visiting. It’s quite a trek from London – on a good day it could be four and a half hours, and on a bad… well, let’s not think about that!

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We stayed at Coombe Mill. H had a wonderful time making new friends and doing the feed run every morning. Shaun and I also had a fab time, everyone was so friendly and it was a really lovely place to stay. None of us parents knew each others’ names, but we chatted every day! I’d highly recommend Coombe Mill as a family-friendly holiday place. There’s plenty to do there. I’ll write more about that in a while…

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We visited Padstow again, any excuse for me to visit the Seasalt shop (oh how I love Seasalt clothes), as well as buying a pasty from the Chough Bakery. I made exactly the same error as last year, getting a veggie pasty whose content leaked everywhere. Next year I will do better! Shaun and H both had Cornish pasties – when in Cornwall….

We parked over in Rock – we found a sidestreet and got free parking which saved a bit. We then took the ferry over to Padstow from there. You buy return tickets then come back at a time which suits you. The ferry runs approximately every 10 minutes and depending on the tide takes certain routes.

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After Rock we drove up the coast and discovered Daymer Bay, thanks to a recommendation from Jo and family. It’s a lovely long beach with good sand – H got to paddle and we got to build her a sand lamborghini!

We also revisited Polzeath with The Boy and Me gang. H and the boy both had a brilliant time together, sworn best friends for life (I think!). They’re very close in age, and it was nice to have H have a friend while on holiday who did several things with us. She’s never had that before. I’m grateful we kitted H out in Decathlon before leaving as she had grown out of all her bodyboarding wear!

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We revisited Hidden Valley Discovery Park which wasn’t as magical the second time (for me). H loved it again and this year I took a step back and let her find and solve more clues which she loved. We finished all three trails too.

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The main difference to last year was the outdoor parts have new clues. Inside is the same, though still as hard. Although we did use our phones a lot to remember things (especially on Moriarty’s Missions). It meant we got through it all way too quickly. It’s still a fun day out, but I think to visit there again there would need to be changes inside the house too.

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We drove along the coast a bit to Perranporth which is a huge beach with golden sand. It was nice to travel out a bit further and discover new places. I feel like we’ve somewhere we’d like to stay next year if we can get a good price.

We seemed to luck out with the weather too when we visited the beach, apart from on Wednesday when it poured down. Somehow we ended up lost on Dartmoor and eventually gave up on everything we tried (some caves, Bodmin Jail, as they were full and we were turned away), and headed for the Bodmin & Wenford Railway which was fun. We had a whole compartment to ourselves so pretended we were on our way to Hogwarts!

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Our week flew by, and by the time Saturday came we felt like we could spend another week in Cornwall. Next year we want to drive around several parts of it if we can get organised enough! We definitely want to head back to Lizard. We stayed there three years ago as there are lots of places around there we haven’t visited yet.

On our way out of Cornwall we popped back to Tintagel. It’s really close to Coombe Mill, the weather was good, and the views even better. There’s a lot to do there, so we went back to a part we missed last year. I think that only leaves the beach area we haven’t explored yet… I’ll save that for next year!

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We’re Cheering England in the Football!

Are you watching the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals? We are – all the games are on Eurosport so we’ve been watching a LOT of football.

scoring a goal in football

England are on a roll – we won all the matches in the group stage (which was pretty tense at times) setting up a Quarter Final with France.

Women’s Football is still a funny old game though.

This last week The FA launched a campaign with Disney, asking the England Women’s players which Disney Princess they identified with the most. Alas, they didn’t also ask the England Men which character they identified with too…

We recently bought an Amazon Echo which has been brilliant for a lot of things. We’ve been asking Alexa what the football scores are (when a game has been too good and we don’t want to flick between channels in case we miss a goal) and she hasn’t been able to answer. I flagged this, and received this as a reply from Amazon.

Hello,

I understand that Alexa is providing the sports update for men’s football but not for the women’s football scores.

I’ve checked our records and I’d like to let you know that, Currently Alexa doesn’t support women’s football sports update as this feature is not available on Alexa.

As this is a newly launched device in UK, there are few features which need to be added. However, we are constantly working to add more features to the device at the earliest possible. I’ve forwarded your message to our Amazon Echo development team for consideration as we make further improvements.

I’m sure that they’ll carefully look into this and take necessary actions in the nearest future. I’d like to thank you for bringing this into our notice and please be assured that we’ll try to bring this option to the earliest.

Let’s hope so, eh?

Friday night @paniniukofficial sticker time #weuro2017 #paninistickers

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Meanwhile, in the neverending quest to fill H’s Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book, shops are running out of stickers. This must mean they’ve been really popular – I’ve seen the starter kits at our local WH Smiths, they don’t stock the refills though. So far I’ve seen them in WH Smiths and Sainsburys, and that’s all. Things are getting better. Slowly.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an England Football Lottie doll? H has several, including the football kit – Brownie Lottie and Football Lottie watched the match together, apparently.

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H now has a subscription to She Kicks magazine – she’ll get a copy every month, and we’re loving the current Euro 2017 edition. If you want information about the Women’s game, then She Kicks is the place to go. In fact, it’s the only place to go – and it’s a great place to go.

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I had a conversation with one of our football-mad Brownies a couple of weeks ago. “Are you looking forward to the Women’s Euros?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t follow Women’s Football” she replied. I pointed out she was such a good footballer what if she ended up being a future Lioness… I think this is the problem with the women’s game. The funding of things like the SSE Wildcats groups needs to continue. Keep making football affordable and fun. Awareness is getting out there, make more clubs available for girls to attend.

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Accept that girls will like the men’s game as much as the women’s game, and make sure information about the women’s game is available. Get England Women playing at Wembley again. I realise this is difficult due to Tottenham playing there this season, but in the last three years they’ve played there once – opting for games in stadiums around the country for friendlies instead.

McDonalds sponsor a lot of Grassroots football. When England do well, get players on adverts on tv – you know, like they do with other sportsmen and women. Let’s have players getting equal billing alongside the men so people stop saying “who’s that?” and know exactly who they’re watching.

Things are getting better – having Little Mix do their Euro 2017 Salute campaign was brilliant! Even if half the girls at Wildcats weren’t keen on Little Mix they were happy to do a salute for England!

H doing her #salute for England’s #lionesses #weuro2017 #wecanplay

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Most SSE Wildcats sessions are coming to an end now, and we’ve found out Crystal Palace will continue. Our sessions have moved up in price from £1 a week to £3 which is still affordable. As well as this you can select which weeks you want to go.  We’ve decided to stick with Wildcats as despite our local club offering free sessions for girls, I feel like H is progressing better alongside other girls right now. That may change in the future but for now it’s what works best for us and we’re lucky to have the choice.

Assuming that England qualify for the 2019 World Cup in France, we’re definitely going. Definitely.

Just yesterday it was announced that Arsenal Ladies were going to be known as just Arsenal. The only time their gender will come into it is when it needs to. This is awesome news and I hope more clubs follow.

Of course, it also goes without saying, boys like women’s football too. Don’t shut them out while trying to encourage girls to play….

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations

future tottenham player, FA Girls' Football Week

Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations are happening NOW!

Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations are happening at the same time as the UEFA Women’s European Finals this year. England’s Lionesses are one of the favourites to win the UEFA Women’s European finals too. We beat Scotland the other night 6-0, and tomorrow night face Spain.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations happen this year from the 16th July to the 6th August 2017. It is a national campaign to raise the profile of female football and double the number of girls playing by 2020.

Last year more than 130,000 girls took part in sessions. This was in schools, universities, colleges, clubs, community groups and other organisations country-wide.  Activities include playing, training or just learning more about football.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats, FA Girls' Football Week 

Organisations can register their regular activities on the site, or start something new. It’s loads of fun and longer than a week this year too. It is a great chance to showcase female football from grassroots to England at the Euro’s, and to help inspire new players and volunteers.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations happen once a year every year – we’ve written about it before (2015 and 2016). We’ve always been lucky that there are football events near us, though a couple of years ago the word hadn’t really spread. As time has progressed everyone knows about it. Add to this the launch of a new website, For Girls.

For Girls is the FA’s website which is for women’s football – there are profiles for all our England players, with plenty of facts and information. There are news articles and loads of things which are relevant to the women’s game.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if England won the Euro’s? It was so close in the World Cup two years ago. Watching two years ago I felt a different sense of pride towards the game. It really meant something when I’d fallen out of love with the England men’s game. It was like we were the underdogs of our own country. Nobody expected us to do as well as we did. But we were brilliant! We came away so proud of the Lionesses achievement finishing third.

So now Girls’ Football Week is celebrating the Euro’s with the Lionesses and loads of activities for girls all tied in.

SSE Wildcats Girls Football Club, FA Girls' Football Week

We’ve been going to the SSE Wildcats at Crystal Palace weekly since our first session which H LOVES attending. I’m seeing a whole new side to her since we started, with far more confidence. She wants to be the goalkeeper or a defender and is bossing the rest of her team from the back and knows where her other players should be. Our Wildcats sessions are over (we can’t make the last two sessions) and are going to start again in September, going up to December – and I’m delighted. You can book here, sessions are based in Caterham and are £3 a time.

Girls' Football Week Euro Celebrations
Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations with Coach Charlotte. H got a Lionesses sports headband (which is perfect for her) and a new water bottle – as well as player pictures, a wallchart and an SSE Wildcats certificate.

Today we had a Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations session, with games featuring the England players and goodies for the girls afterwards – Lionesses ones too! Right now H feels like she’s a part of it, and that’s brilliant. It helps the support and even if she isn’t the best football player out there, she’s playing and having fun. That’s what it’s all about – taking part.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations has a website – head over here for more information to find out what is planned where you live. Our group did their Salute for England (which is not yet online) – have yours yet?

This is part of the FA Project we have been participating in. We have received a fee for our time. 

Women’s Football, A Bit of Opinion

scoring a goal in football
I’ve loved football for as long as I can remember. I was never taken to a game by my parents – I took them to theirs. The only reason for that was my younger sister being a ball girl. My teams are Tottenham and York City, my main and home team.

I have suitably brainwashed H, so they are also her teams – and it took minimal effort too. As time has progressed we’ve found ourselves watching a lot of women’s football.

Women’s football is so different these days. It’s much easier to play against other girls for a start. We’ve been attending the SSE FA Wildcats sessions at Crystal Palace, and have watched the FA Cup Final at Wembley three years in a row.

H at Wembley

Things are improving outside of our family too. Just today Lewes, a lower league team has announced they will pay the women’s team the same wages as they do the men’s. They have launched Equality FC and I think it’s brilliant!

When you look at the structure of the women’s football league, this diagram helps you see how much things are growing.

Tottenham won the Women’s Premier League Southern Division, whereas Blackburn won the Northern one. The two teams met in a play off with Tottenham gaining promotion to FA WSL Division Two.

Womens football pyramid

England women (aka the Lionesses) are in The Netherlands getting ready for the UEFA European Championships which start very soon. We joined in a Twitter chat on Monday with Casey Stoney who we interviewed a couple of years ago.

Magazines like She Kicks are growing too – a fantastic place to read about women’s football. I’ve bought H a year’s subscription as part of her birthday present. After all, she’s loving collecting the stickers in her Women’s UEFA European Championships album – why not back that up with a magazine too?

It all feels like we’re on the brink of something big happening. Exciting news came this week that Little Mix have launched a campaign with the FA to get everyone to Salute the Lionesses. Check out this video and share your salute too!

What a fab fun campaign. There are plans for H and her Wildcats friends to do a big salute for England this weekend coming which is awesome! I can’t help thinking how brilliant I would have found it if there had been an equivalent when I watched my first World Cup that England featured in (1982 – I just bought the records instead). While this isn’t H’s first tournament, it’s the first one she feels a part of.

The FA recently launched their new site, For Girls over here. I love it. It’s a great site for girls of H’s age to learn about women’s football players.

Girls Football Week is on the horizon too – stay tuned for more news about that very soon! We’ll be supporting it again for the third year in a row.

So yes, I can’t help thinking that right now it’s great being female and a follower and participant of the women’s game. Things really are growing and getting better and it’s a really exciting time!

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.

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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 🙂

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 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 and improving their spatial awareness.

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. H likes going in goal and bossing her team around, encouraging them to run up front so she can pass the ball to her. Do we have a future Karen Bardsley here?

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 frequently 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 – prices 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 – all 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 – ideal 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.