Back To School With Claire’s

Even though it only seems like yesterday since we were celebrating school being out for Summer, the reality is there are only two weeks left of the current school holiday and then the kids will be back to school again. If the uniform is sorted, you may now be at the stage of sorting all the other paraphernalia associated with ‘Back to School’, from school bags, stationary, water bottles and general accessories. If this is you, then Claire’s is a great place to visit.

Claire’s has always been a great place to look for pretty and fun accessories which work at any time of the year, but their back to school collection is pretty impressive too, with a great range of stylish and roomy school bags, hair accessories that range from neat and sensible (scrunchies are back folks), to the fun Jo Jo bows that may well suit little princesses who want to add a bit of personality to their uniform. They also have stationary that is great fun as well as practical, check out the pineapple erasers and furry notebooks which are just fabulous.

The Minions have once again been a big story this summer with the release of Despicable Me 3, and a Minions print water bottle is the perfect way to make sure your little ones keep hydrated through the school day. Many schools now have water coolers or fountains and encourage the drinking of water, even in lessons, so these are a perfect way to ensure your child has a drink.

Claire’s has some great offers on too where you can get discounts, 3 for 2 and even a whopping £10 off backpacks. See below for all the current offers.

 

Offers

Offer – Extra 15% Off Back To School*
Duration – 2nd Aug – 16th Aug

Code – CLASS15
Exclusions – *Whilst stocks last. Applies to products on the Back To School landing page.

Offer – £10 Off Backpacks*
Duration – 17th Aug- 13th Sep

Code – BACKPACK
Exclusions – *Whilst stocks last. Applies to backpacks on the Back To School landing page. Can not be used in conjunction with any other offer

Offer – 20% Off Back To School Hair*
Duration – 31st Aug – 13th Sep

Code – HAIR20
Exclusions – *Whilst stocks last. Applies to hair on the Back To School landing page.

Warwick Castle And The Knight’s Village

If you are looking to visit a castle this Summer, then you really need to take a trip to Warwick. Without doubt, Warwick Castle is one of the finest examples of an habitable castle in Britain, with beautiful state rooms, rising towers and battlements that you can climb and enjoy, and expansive grounds which, this summer, are housing a War of the Roses jousting arena and  a Horrible History play. Warwick Castle is a magical, mystical place that has over a 1000 years of history attached, and is a wonder for adults and children alike. And, what is even more exciting is that you can now stay in the Knight’s Village and expand your castle experience into an overnight stay.

The Knight’s Village

The Knight’s Village is set in the grounds of Warwick on the bank’s of the river Avon. The village is made up of Knight’s Lodges and glamping tents, and has it’s own car parking area and reception. The village also has a banqueting hall where you eat breakfast, and can also book in for dinner if you decide you want to eat onsite, although Warwick town is only a short walk away (around 10 minutes) and the helpful staff will recommend places to eat in the town.

The whole Village is wonderfully landscaped, with lodges all clearly numbered and easy to get to. Each lodge is warm and cosy, with central heating for days when the weather is not so good. We stayed in lodge 127, which had a double bedroom and a room with bunk beds, plus an extra pull out bed for the children. The lodges also have a bathroom/wetroom with a shower. Toiletries from Elemis are provided, as well as plenty of soft clean towels. The feel of the lodges is that they have been built to a high spec, and feel luxurious. There are tea and coffee making facilities in each room, as well as gorgeous ginger and chocolate cookies and shortbread – a really lovely touch.

What I really loved about the lodge was the little touches that added to the medieval experience. Above the double bed was a shield and ornamental swords that just fascinated the children. In the children’s bedroom was a Bayeaux style tapestry that virtually covered one wall. There were also objects of Hunter’s regalia and coats of arms in the room, giving the lodge an authentic feel.

In addition to the decor of the lodge, the grounds are just so idyllic and beautiful, with acres of grass giving a safe place for children to play games. Each lodge also has a terrace area where you can sit and relax, watching the sun going down on the River Avon.

But it is not all about peace and quiet. Each evening there are displays and entertainment along the banks of the river. Knight’s fighting duels with swords and axes, Princess school where you can learn about deportment and curtseying, and old fashioned toys and games to practice. There are archery lessons and lots of photo opportunities with the dashing knight’s. It is old fashioned fun and we loved it.

To find out more about a stay at the Knight’s Village, click here.

Warwick Castle Summer Fun

There is just so much to do with Warwick Castle. The inside of the castle is full of history and stories of the famous owners and inhabitants, from Warwick the KIngmakes, Fulke Greville and Henry the VIII. The Great Hall is truly magnificent, with suits of armour that delight young children. The Time Tower is a great way to learn about the history of the castle, from it’s early beginnings as a Fort belonging to Ethelfleda, the Lady of the Mercians, to modern times under the ownership of the Tussauds group.  For younger children, the Princess Tower lets children solve a puzzle, this is perfect for the under 8s.

Horrible History

One of the most popular areas with children is the Horrible History maze. You collect a book in order to collect the stamps at each different section of history. Each area has a reminder of horrible history, from a Viking ship, to Tudor stocks, right up to the trenches of World War one. Once you have collected the stamps you can then collect your reward from the Courtyard Shop.

The Horrible History theme continues with the Horrible History show, an hilarious look at the life and times of Warwick with appearances from Louis Walsh and Keith Lemon, along with rap, dance and very funny sketches.

The War of the Roses Jousting

A definite highlight this Summer is the War of the Roses joust which takes place in a specially built arena. You chose your side, from the Yorkists and Lancastrians, and then learn all about the key battles and characters of the Wars, from Richard III to Margaret of Anjou, from Henry Tudor to Elizabeth of York, all the time watching the exhilarating jousts which feature real feats of bravery, from flaming jousts, to riders who hang from their horses just attached by their stirrups. The joust is amazing entertainment, and a glorious history lesson all in one.

Food

The grounds are perfect if the day is sunny and you want to take a picnic, but if not the pizza and pasta restaurant is great. Set within the castle itself, the restaurant is self service buffet style, and hot and soft drinks are also included in the price. The staff are friendly and helpful, and were more than happy to provide plain pasta for my niece when we requested this.

Warwick Castle is the perfect family fun day out, with so much to do and learn. Definitely a one to visit this Summer.

To find out about admissions, opening times and events at Warwick Castle this summer, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving The Care You Need Both Before And After The Birth Of Your Baby

According to research undertaken by Your Legal Friend, having a baby is the most common reason for a hospital admission in the UK, with 1.3 births every minute. Yet for some, the time that should be the most happiest and exciting as they finally meet their new son or daughter, can actually be a time of pain, stress and fear. It is no surprise that when it comes to the NHS compensation budget, 41% of it is being used in claims relating to obstetrics. I have experience of poor care both before and after the birth of my son Joe that illustrates that there are real issues in this area.

My maternity and delivery were not easy, they were fraught with problems from the beginning, I have type two diabetes and suffer with high blood pressure, both of which made me a higher risk pregnancy. I also lived on a border between two authorities. This meant I had to have two midwives. This sounds like double the care, but in actual fact was just double the stress. My main midwife was the one I saw at my surgery. She did not fill in my book properly, leaving major gaps in the records, she did not inform me about the risks of my pregnancy, the real chance it wouldn’t go to term, or the fact it would probably be a caesarean section. In short, she was severely lacking in all areas and left me very uninformed about my pregnancy and my risks. My second midwife was so much better, and was left to fill in these gaps during home visits, but because I saw her so much less, this really added to my worries. What was I not being told when I visited my surgery midwife?

 

As I got nearer to my time more things happened to fill me with dread of the birth. What should have been a routine blood test saw me pass out after six nurses had tried, unsuccessfully, for more than 20 minutes to get a blood sample in a tiny, hot room. I had informed them I was hard to bleed (I know this well from frequent diabetes fasting tests) and that they would be better to transfer me to the Path lab for the test, but they persisted in trying to get the sample, making me ill.

Two weeks before Joe was delivered (at 7 and a half months) I was admitted with suspected preeclampsia. I was also feeling unwell due to a sore and watery eye. I mentioned this in my examination, but it was dismissed as unimportant – it wasn’t even looked at. Within an hour, the whole of the left side of my face had sunk and stopped moving. I was told I’d had a stroke by the doctor examining me. It turned out to be Bells Palsy, but the fear I’d had a stroke and that the paralysis was permanent was devastating for both me and my family.

Even finally being admitted proved to be a nightmare. I had not eaten since lunchtime, and with diabetes, need to eat at regular intervals. I kept mentioning this, but was still not fed. When I was finally taken to my room I was told the kitchen was closed, but that they might be able to find a sandwich from somewhere. I was advised by my nurse to take a whirlpool bath to ‘relax’. I decided against it as I was so tired, which was lucky, as a nurse nearly battered the bathroom door down telling me not to take a bath as it was used to induce labour, not something you want to do at 7 months pregnant.

After the birth of Joe two weeks later, I struggled to get pain relief when needed, particularly when I was not sleeping at night due to stress headaches that were actually reducing me to tears. I eventually signed myself out of hospital in the early hours of Christmas Eve – I just wanted to get home and away from that place.

I suffered terrible post natal depression in the months after Joe’s birth, I think that my treatment and experiences during my maternity and in my care after it certainly contributed to my mental condition. I did not pursue a claim, but I truly wish that I had, sometimes the only thing that brings real change is the threat of litigation, and if it stops other people from receiving poor care and treatment, then that can only be a good thing. Companies like Your Legal Friend can offer free advice if you think you may have a case for a claim, you were entitled to good levels of care, if you didn’t receive it, you should act.