Evaluate

Through the fog
Searching for light
Just a glimmer of hope
So we can see with fresh eyes
Our worth.

Looking for the need
To keep moving
To free ourselves
From the merry-go-round
Following the light.

Finding the urge
To take stock, review, evaluate
Find our will
Redefine our significance
To carry on
Putting space between there and here.

 

mumturnedmom

Having a nosy at Macdonald Kilhey Court

I love a good nosy inside buildings and houses, when I’m feeling particularly bored I’ll pop onto estate agents websites to peek at the prestige homes. You know, the ones I’ll never be able to afford, just to nosy at what they’re like inside. So when I was invited to go and have a first look at the extensive refurbishment at Macdonald Kilhey Court hotel by attending a little garden party they were holding I couldn’t really say no. Plus, it was our wedding anniversary so it got us out of the house sans kids for a couple of hours and there was an offer of a glass of Pimms in the sunshine.

We popped up after work and luckily the sun had come out to play so it was lovely and warm. I’ve been to a couple of weddings at Kilhey Court so already knew that the setting and the gardens are absolutely beautiful. We were met by the General Manager, Martin and then the assistant manager Maria showed us down into the garden where we sat with a Pimms. It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. There was a band and garden games you could play, although Mr C and I avoided them as we are really competitive and I’m not sure scrapping on the lawns would have given off the best impression!

Pimms at Kilhey Court

Pimms in the Sunshine

After a while of basking in the sunshine and chatting to Maria, who we couldn’t help tell all about Sam and then to Holly the Sales Manager about blogging and all sorts of other things (I even sounded like I knew what I was talking about) Holly took us on a tour of the hotel so we could see the refurbishment. I’ve got to say, I was really impressed. The rooms we saw were a good size and the decor is modern but still manages to fit in with the overall setting of the manor house. There are classic rooms, twin rooms, family rooms and Family suites available in the new part of the building. I think these are fantastic for families, there are rooms with sofa beds and some of the rooms can be adjoined for families with older children too.

Refurbished rooms at Kilhey Court

Fancy refurbished rooms

I was also interested to find out that they have rooms that allow dogs, there’s a lounge area in the new part of the building where people with dogs can sit and order drinks and food. You can really tell a lot of thought has gone into transforming these rooms to make them stylish and practical for people who are looking for somewhere to stay.

Refurbished Rooms at Macdonald Kilhey Court

Little Extras

In the Manor House, there are executive rooms and Feature Suites which are just beautiful. You can really imagine a bride & groom stopping there or if you were looking to sneak off for a romantic night away. I have been dropping lots of hints to Mr C.

Feature Suite at Macdonald Kilhey Court

Stunning Feature Suite

We live in Wigan which is where Kilhey Court is, so apart from weddings (the majority of our friends our now wed) there would be no real reason for us to stay over (although I’m desperately trying to think of one) and I’d always only thought of Kilhey Court as a place for events and weddings, I was of course wrong.

Spa facilities at Kilhey Court

Spa & Pool

I was excited to find out that I could visit and use the facilities even if I wasn’t staying at the hotel. There’s a Spa which offers spa days or one-off treatments, a gym, dance studio, water babies swimming lessons, a bar you can use, the hotel does afternoon tea and they are have recently launched a Sunday Lunch menu which was really reasonably priced and sounded delicious.

Restaurant at Kilhey Court

Restaurant

After our tour we went to have a little look around the garden and down to the lake, which you can have a walk round, then it was time to head home and pick the kiddiewinkles up. We were made to feel very welcome by the team and we had a lovely couple of hours. Now that I know the full extent of what Kilhey Court has to offer I will definitely be visiting again, we’re always looking for nice places for Sunday lunch and you don’t get a much more beautiful setting than here and who doesn’t love a spa day!

Macdonald Kilhey Court Gardens

Gardens

Laughter

It starts in your toes
It builds to your knees
Then into your tummy to tickle like bees

It’s all in your body
It’s shaking your arms
Your fingers are tingly right into your palms

It’s all in your face
Scrunching your nose and your eyes
A great noise from your mouth, Oh! what a surprise

Whatever the reason
It’s so good to see
You laughing out loud, so happy and free

 

 

mumturnedmom

 

Almost Famous & Charity Challenges for St Mary’s

We’re famous!!

Ok, we’re not. Not even a little bit but its a strange feeling when you see your baby’s story, your story, your family’s story out there for the world to read. I don’t just mean here on this blog where my general ramblings are sent into cyber space for the odd person to stumble upon, (thanks for dropping in, by the way) but for actual strangers to read. (regular readers, you are not strangers in my eyes)

Last year when we were in hospital, before the froglet had even been warmed up, we decided that we would do whatever we could to say thank you to the NICU at St Marys. It was then we decided that if Sam made it, at this stage we still weren’t sure, instead of gifts at his Christening we would ask for donations to the NICU, which we did raising £1100. We are one of the lucky families, we were able to bring our baby home and so far he’s not really affected by his HIE diagnosis, this doesn’t stop us feeling forever grateful to St Mary’s and the NICU, we know how different our lives could be. We decided that over the next few years if we could do events and fundraising to raise enough money to total the cost of a cooling machine we would have gone a little way to repay what they did for us, although no money really could ever be enough.

A day or two after the froglets first birthday Mr C, like me feeling a little emotional about the memories the day conjured, contacted St Marys Hospital Charity to see if there were any events coming up that he could take part in to raise money for them. The very same day he was signed up to do the Great Manchester Cycle, a 52 mile bike ride in Manchester on 28th June and then the Great Manchester Swim, a mile swim Dock to Dock in Salford Quays on the 4th July. St Mary’s Hospital Charity asked if they could use our story, basically to show a personal side as to why people are taking part in the events. This is the reason our story is out there!

I was pleasantly surprised when someone tagged me in our story that appeared on the Central Manchester Hospital Trust website and Facebook page. It really made me smile. Then it appeared on the Great Cycle website and just this week our faces were large as life taking up a page in our local paper! (Need to thank my friend Lisa for the very flattering picture of my face, no double chins or anything!)

 

Charity Challenges to raise money for St Marys Hospital Manchester NICU

We’re in the local paper!

Mr C finds the whole thing rather strange, he doesn’t like any type of limelight. His aim is to do whatever he can to raise as much money as he can but he knows that the only way we can do this is by telling our story.

So we’re out there and we feel a little famous, even though we’re not! Hopefully Mr C will raise lots of money for this truly fantastic cause. Me and the kiddiewinkles will be cheering daddy on this Sunday and on the 4th of July and with whatever else he decides to do!

Read the write-up on the Central Manchester Hospital Trust Website:

http://cmft.nhs.uk/media-centre/latest-news/chris-cycles-to-say-thank-you-to-hospital-which-saved-his-family

If you would like to support Mr C by sponsoring him, no matter how much we know there’s not a lot of cash about, please visit his just giving page. We really do appreciate any donations, messages and words of support you can give.

https://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Cowley1/

Celebrating Sams 1st Birthday

It wasn’t easy this year for me to think about organising anything for the froglets 1st birthday. The date and the lead up to the date stirred a lot of emotions I really wasn’t expecting. Flashbacks of waking up and him being missing, of him shaking with cold or drugs or both, his swollen little body, not being able to hold or cuddle him, guilt for dreading the date, guilt for feeling like I didn’t do enough in hospital, guilt for even having those feelings when we are one of the lucky ones. I couldn’t get my head around planning to celebrate the worst day of our lives. Sams arrival into this world was not a joyous occasion, it’s a date that quite honestly I wanted to forget.

I knew though, that to ignore the day completely, even though every fibre of my being was telling me I should, would be unfair to my little super star and as my very good friend pointed out, we should celebrate him and how far he’s come, how far he will go. Celebrate the year he’s had not just the day he was born.

I still didn’t want a large, noisy party like we had for the munchkin. I knew I wouldn’t be in the mood to be host, we had a big wonderful party for his christening and I spent most of that crying.

We all had work and school on his actual birthday which fell on a Wednesday. We decorated the living room with banners and balloons for him to wake up to. His new SmartTrike built and ready with the biggest circus coloured bow (thanks to his lovely godmother, Caroline) In the morning the munchkin was super excited, as she is for any birthday. Her mood definitely rubbed off on her baby brother who laughed and chuckled and wouldn’t leave his new bike or the balloons alone.

Banners and Balloons for a 1st Birthday. SmartTrike

Balloons, Banners & SmartTrike

1st Birthday present SmartTrike

Loving his new SmartTrike

After work and a mini nightmare buying a cake with a photo on it in a well known supermarket (15 minute job took nearly 60, broken memory card, machine not compatible with iPhones, the printing at the complete opposite end of the shop & scanning of a photo 100s of times cause it kept cropping off the letters) we were all home together. Our wonderful friends popped round to see him, his fake but much loved Aunties and Uncles. He was so excited to open his presents, nothing like his sister who just rips everything open in one go, he wanted everything opening so he could play (chew it) straight away.

baby excited about his 1st birthday presents

Excited Birthday Present Face

Gran and then Nana & granddad popped round for cuddles just before bedtime. We sang happy birthday and of course had the nightmare cake. He had no idea what was going on at this point & just kept watching all the faces singing at him. I’d bought some candles which were supposed to sparkle but just didn’t, which was a bit pants!

Before we knew it, it was bed time and I had survived the day I had been dreading.

blowing out candles on a first birthday cake

Blowing out the candles

 

asda photo cake for a first birththday

add a picture they said, it’ll be really easy

 

We decided last minute that we would go to the park at the weekend as a birthday day out. Spend the day together. The day we chose fell on the anniversary of when Sam was warmed up, a much nicer date to remember. It’s the anniversary of the first time I got to hold him, when we could see light at the end of a tunnel, when we knew he was going to live.

We didn’t want to travel too far, Walton Gardens in Warrington was the perfect place. I grew up in Warrington and spent many a day there and have since having children. There’s plenty of places for you to pitch up for the day with a picnic, which we did, and a football. There’s a large children’s play area and a petting zoo and lots of other things to do. We wanted something that would be relaxed and cheap.

Our friends and their kiddies joined us again, the kids spent ages on the playground, or on their scooters and playing football. There was lots of laughter and smiles. It was a simple celebration which of course included more of the nightmare birthday cake. We had a really good day out, it was exactly the type of day we wanted to have. Even though we really celebrated him turning 1 on his unbirthday.

Thanks to my good friends Lisa for some of the pics in the park & to Caroline for the cake and present pic