Helensburgh Winter Festival

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As a family of 8 we travelled into our local town to join in with the Winter Festival. The darkness of the few days pervious had lifted , the sun was shining and the town bustling with people.

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Colquhoun Square was full to the brim of activities and stalls alike. The local buffet shop was the place to meet Santa and express your Christmas wishes. Also nearby there was the opportunity to meet Reindeers and small Shetland ponies. The younger half of our tribe were thrilled with a go on the merry go round.

We saw a few fancy cars, which the boys enjoyed, participated in activities and competitions and soaked up the overall community spirit which was so apparent all around. Stall holders were full of festive cheer displaying some beautiful wares.

We chose to sample lunch at the newly opened Logie Baird. It was perfect for us good service, and excellent value food. The kids also came away with some helium balloons from the re opening night. An ideal distraction for our 2 year old who was ‘hangry’. I opted for haggis neaps and tatties all covered in a tasty whiskey sauce.

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After our nourishing meal we made our way to see the display of fireworks. The children were mesmerised. I was doubly delighted as we missed the annual fireworks night recently due to chickenpox. Smiley faces watching starbursts in the sky in wonder.

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As promised after a hearty lunch and the display we went to seek out sweet treats at I love Candy, Helensburgh.

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The children were not disappointed. Although the much sought after candy floss still needed purchased. Luckily as we went through the square stalls were packing up and we got a fabulous deal on the left over bags. Sometimes being a big family has it’s advantages.

We had such a lovely day at a well planned and thought out event. It was exactly what we needed heading into the first day of advent tomorrow. It built excitement up in the children , finally we can embrace Christmas !

What did we buy?

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Chutney, piccalilli, jam and marmalade from Glengarrys kitchen
German handmade gingerbread cookies – a steal at £2 for 12
Festive tea towels from the PDSA stall
Two vintage scarves at £2 each
Handmade ornaments
Lomond Soap bars in whiskey and ginger, patchouli and lavender and geranium and rosehip
Vampire Bite Hot Sauce from lomondchillies.com
Beautiful handmade Merry Christmas bunting £12
I pre ordered a Billy Connolly mug from a talent local artist for a Christmas present Emma £7
And an array of sweeties, fudge chocolate and popping candy.

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Christmas Shopping

At this time of year sometimes the demands of meeting all your children’s Christmas wishes can put a bit of a financial strain on you.

I want to encourage you to pop in to your local charity shops and see what’s available.

Feeling festive and cheerful I popped into town. It just so happened my local Salvation Army charity shop, Helensburgh was also having a special ‘Christmas Extravaganza ‘.

Staff were all dressed up in costumes and the shop looked fabulous.

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Santa was on hand to ask visiting children what they would like for Christmas, whilst also ensuring the festive tunes kept playing throughout the day.

Gifts for all occasions were available. Whether you were looking for a kilt or glamourous dress for a Christmas night out or beautiful stockings to hang on your mantelpiece for St Nicholas to fill on Christmas Eve the shop had so much to offer.

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I spent under £10 and walked away with some fabulous gifts and trinkets. I purchased festive cooker cutters a snip at 99p and a fabulous table cloth to adorn our dining table on Christmas Day.

I shop in charity shops often as my budget does not allow to buy everything brand new and with six children it helps the purse strings.

My next mission is to declutter my house for Christmas. I’ll trawl through the kids toys and clothes as well as my own and see what we can donate locally.

This will enable the children to understand the lovely feeling of ‘giving’. Thinking of others before ourselves. Whether it be time, money or donations charity shops will welcome anything you have to offer.

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I’d like to thank the Helensburgh branch of Salvation Army shop for being so co operative and posing for photos. Lovely bunch of guys x

Marathon for Matilda Mae

http://m.ustream.tv/channel/matilda-mae-live-stream

Click on the link above to watch my inspirational friend Antonia Azoitei who is completing a violin playing marathon in memory of her friends little girl Matilda Mae, who lost her life to SIDS at just 9 months of age.

This event can be sponsored at the just giving page here raising money for the lullaby trust,

https://www.justgiving.com/cocoazoitei/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=cocoazoitei&utm_campaign=pfp-share-mobile

I’ve watched for a while this lovely friendship of support between Antonia and Matilda Mae’s Mum Jennie – just beautiful. It’s everything mothers should be to each other, encouraging, supportive and comforting. As a mother of 6 children I felt a great pain at the loss this brave lady had to endure. But through her own strength supported by friends and family this wonderful lady has increased awareness of safe sleeping, The lullaby trust and the brilliant work it does.

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Colour me Rad Edinburgh 2014

A while back I stumbled across a great wee 5k event. This wasn’t like anything I had heard of before. Everyone starts the race in white t-shirts. Then whilst moving through the race course volunteers throw large amounts of paint sent in your direction. Awesome!

I found a friend willing to take part, the same lovely lady who completed the road block run with me last year. Our sons are in the same class and we thought it was a great opportunity to get the kids involved in something for charity whilst keeping fit.

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Sundays are normal a very slow paced day in our house, preparing for school the following day and enjoying each other’s company. But this Sunday my second eldest son and I were up dressed and out of the house for half past seven.

We could have got a train to the venue in Ingilston, Edinburgh but this would have proved more costly and the train link was a bit far away. My awesome compadre volunteered to drive us over.

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From the side of the road we were able to catch a glimpse of huge tall colourful banners, and lots of people heading that way in the uniform white t- shirts. The two min members of our team were very excited. A registration fault on line had made us unable to pay.

After a length traffic jam we got parked and made our way to the field. I had never been here before but knew it was used for country fairs, live stock shows etc. As we walked in the field we could feel the squelch of mud underfoot.

Porta loos were a must after a lengthy drive, then to check our registration.A registration fault in line had made us unable to pay online. Settling on the day set us back an extra £14 – not what we had expected. Children aged 7 and under were free to enter with a paying adult.

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Upon registration you received a race number, a snazzy fluorescent pair of mirrored glasses and a RAD tattoo. You were also given a t-shirt for participating. (I think it would have been better to get presented this upon finishing.)

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As a wee team we joined the queue to start. There was a massive buzz of excitement surrounding us. Some entrants opting for a colourful tutu or full fancy dress. We travelled on the course steadily doing a walk/ run variation with the two boys. They were full of beans and could have sprinted through the whole course.

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Approaching the first stop, where we would receive our first pelting of colour, pink clouds of smoke filled the air with shrieks of glee. My son was unsure at first but I showed him it was ok, nothing to worry about. It was like being on the receiving end of a powdered paint snow ball. Terrific!

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The next stations were yellow, orange, green and purple. The green was a wet paint so no photos I am afraid. The boys realised if they asked nicely they were allowed their own hand fulls of paint to throw all over their Mums and each other.

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It was so lovely seeing the boys running free and enjoying themselves….. until. We had a wee accident, my son tripped grazing his knee. But the wonderful first aiders were in hand to help him.

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Overhead we saw aeroplanes taking off for tropical destinations and the sun shone down from start to finish.

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We made it, crossed the finish line all in one piece, all multicoloured. We were presented with our own pack of colourful paint, which we of course threw all over each other. Entrants partied on down to upbeat music celebrating the day and their achievements.

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It was nice to take part in something different with such an amazing atmosphere. There was a buzz of happiness and positivity surrounding everyone, just what you want whilst raising money for such a worthwhile cause – make a wish foundation.

Haworth 1940’s weekend

I’ve always been fond of period dramas and inquisitive about the past, I adored the film ‘Land Girls ‘ starring Anna Friel. When my sister suggested a 1940’s weekend to celebrate her hen weekend I jumped at the chance to be involved.

Fore-mostly, a weekend away with the girls would provide a great sense of escapism from my usual position of stay at home mother of 6. Swapping dirty nappies, squabbling children and housework for pearls, tea dresses, red lipstick and a trip into the past seemed like a great idea.

The run up to the weekend has been fun tracking down suitable clothes to wear in keeping with the specific period, scouring second hand/ charity shops and eBay for the ultimate accessories to compliment our 1940’s outfits. I’m lucky enough to have inherited pieces from the era belonging my husbands late Great Aunt. I think she would be pleased to know that I will be wearing them with pride that weekend.

Fun and frivolities aside we will also be gaining a deeper understanding of the sense of history of the time, seeing first hand vehicles ,and displays. Developing an appreciation for our country’s Military services of the past and present and the sacrifices all who serve make for us. The weekend will also generate money and awareness of the Uk’s oldest tri service Military Service SSAFA.

Cottage booked, transport organised and dance classes booked, I’m so excited to take part in. Haworth, Yorkshire , a village steeped in history and far removed from my Scottish hometown. I will be able to see first hand the confectionary delights of ‘Miss Beightons’ sweet shop, perhaps learn more about the Bronte sisters and take a cream tea or two with friends creating memories and having fun.

Weekend bags and vanity cases packed full of fancy forties frocks, fake furs, and glamorous accessories and make up at the ready, I cannot wait for the weekend to arrive. It certainly will be one to remember.

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Race for Life

Yesterday we got up at the crack of dawn to take part in the Glasgow based event, Glagow Green. I’ve taken part in this annual event every year, apart from one when I had terrible hips during pregnancy, since losing my Dad to Cancer in 2008.

My little girls nearly 18m and 8 years were tired little bunnies. All bleary eyed they dressed in their matching pink tu tu dresses ready for the days excitement. My wonderful Mum also joined us. We treat this day as a girls day out whilst generating money for charity.

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Living in the West of Scotland we struggle with rainy days but we certainly were not going to let that spoil our day. This years events were brought forward due to the Commonwealth Games being based in the city during the Summer.

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It’s just a short train journey to Glasgow from Helensburgh. We used this time to have a quick breakfast on the move and fill in our messages that you wear saying who you race for life for. The train carriages steadily filled up with people dressed in an array of pink, wigs, and fancy dress. Lots of people all doing their bit for charity.

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After departing the train and making our way to the park in a sea of excited pinkness we arrived at the Green. Many had gone to a lot of trouble with costumes of all kinds, groups all co-ordinating with each other. I think my favourite this year was a bridal party. Full wedding dress and bridesmaids – just brilliant.

The event is really well organised by the brilliant volunteers and charity workers alike. It is hard to describe just how amazing the atmosphere of the day is. Many people all touched by cancer, survivors, loved ones all together gearing up to help create much needed money for cancer research. You are surrounded by people’s personal messages- many carrying pictures of their loved ones. It reminds you just how important your ‘taking part’ actually is.

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As thousands of participants ebbed forward to the starting line bag pipes were playing and you felt extreme pride in what you are doing. I remember from previous years each km is marked by a piper. I loved this, exactly the uplifting encouragement you needed to carry on.

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Whilst travelling through the central streets of Glasgow you see the most wonderful architecture and the odd tourist spot.

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In no time at all we were heading towards the end of the celebratory 5km. Just before the finish there was a foam machine spurting foam- it would have been rude not to have joined in.

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Crossing the finish line with my brilliant Mum and fantastic girls gave me an incredible feeling of pride. We were each given a token medal, a refreshing drink of water and a brioche roll. Nothing tasted so good.

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We had a wee look around the stalls and then made our way for our celebratory lunch out. What a great day, can’t wait to do it all again next year.

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