Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My Memorable Mother's Day Wish with Johnson's Baby

Johnson's Baby, Mothers Day, Memorable, Wish, Mum, Mummy, 2014,

What would your Memorable Mother's Day Wish be??

Mine isn't quite your average mummy thing to want for this special day is it?! I know football isn't quite your average mothers day tradition but this year it falls on the same day as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley and this is a big deal to some friends of mine as they work for one of the teams playing, Peterborough Utd (or The Posh if you like). I am really excited for them and as Kyd has quite a soft spot for them now (thanks for that Phil) he is excited for them too. We are going to put a bet on for them to Win... if they don't I'll invoice Phil for the price of the bet... No pressure boys!
Johnson's Baby, Mothers Day, Memorable, Wish, Mum, Mummy, 2014, Kyd, my life my son my way,
Football is a big thing in all of our families lives. Kyd has become a huge footy fan and it gives us some 'Us Time' away from tornado Rocky and Hoff when we go together, which is really important to us as mother and son. We have had some great and some horrible memories at Wembley and we would like to go along and be (semi) neutral and just enjoy the football.
Johnson's Baby, Mothers Day, Memorable, Wish, Mum, Mummy, 2014, Kyd, my life my son my way,
It was just Kyd and Me for so long and now we have a whole rabble of family surrounding us and sometimes I think that he just needs some time for us to regroup and relive the peace and quiet of our early years. It is important for him to know that we are still the same Kyd + Mummy duo that we were back then and football was always OUR thing... so football is where I'd like to go for our me time this year.
Johnson's Baby, Mothers Day, Memorable, Wish, Mum, Mummy, 2014, Rocky, my life my son my way,
I haven't dismissed that it is important to spend time with Rocky too but we spend all day everyday together and so if he wrote his own voucher it would probably say 'spend some Rocky + Daddy time in the garden' because time apart is equally as important as time together... especially when they're as boisterous as Rocky. We will have our own special Mother's Day moment and that will no doubt involve food, as we all love food in this house.

Memorable Mother's Day Wishes with Johnson's Baby...

The makers of JOHNSON’S® Baby are asking mums to share their ‘Memorable Mother’s Day Wishes’ on their  Facebook page, and are offering them the chance to download a special note that they can share with their family ahead of the big day. The JOHNSON’S® Baby brand knows that mums cherish special moments with their children, and the ‘Memorable Mother’s Day Wish’ will help them to create a new memory they will remember for years to come. 
The new survey, which has been commissioned by the brand to help make ‘Memorable Mother’s Day Wishes’ come true, has produced a list of the top 10 things that will make mums happy this Mother’s Day.
What Mums usually get
Their Memorable Mother’s Day Wishes
1. A Bunch of flowers
1. Having lunch together as a family
2. A hug from their children
2. A hug from the children
3. A box of chocolates
3. More time together as a family
4. Having lunch together as a family
4. A bunch of flowers
5. A handmade card
5. A handmade card
6.More time together as a family
6. Voucher for my favourite shop
7.Relaxing bath products
7. A bottle of my favourite perfume
8. A bottle of my favourite perfume
8. Making me breakfast in bed
9. A book
9. Homemade gift
10. Making me Breakfast in bed
10. A book
As the leading baby skincare brand, the makers of JOHNSON’S® Baby knows that precious moments with your children are the best part in any parent’s life. They’re fun, they’re special and they’re worth sharing. The JOHNSON’S® Baby brand encourages all mums to celebrate and enjoy the Big Little Moments which make being a mum special – from their first smile to playing during bath time.
Mums who would also prefer family time over chocolates this year can download and share their own ‘Memorable Mother’s Day Wish’ by visiting the JOHNSON’S® Baby Facebook page.

I was not paid for this post but I did receive a 'Me Time' hamper from Johnson's Baby for sharing their campaign.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

That Loud Naughty Toddler... Is Mine *sigh*

I never thought I'd have to write a post like this.
My children were always going to be angels and all sweetness and light in my head.
Kyd, Rocky, brothers, down syndrome, my life my son my way, cute, school photo,

I've always prided myself on the fact that being strict with Kyd over the years has made him the well behaved child he is today.

He may kick off for me at home but take him out of the house or give him to someone else for the day and he really is perfectly behaved, I have never had to worry about that because he knows with just one look that he needs to stop. I was proud of him, and me, for that.

As for Rocky...
Rocky, toddler, cute, my life my son my way,
Oh, Rocky, Rocky, Rocky...

I don't know what to do with him anymore.

He's not even 21 months yet and he seems to have me and everybody around us stumped with his behaviour as it is slowly getting worse.
He's not naughty as such, loud and curious and a bit hyper maybe but when you put all those together at once it can come off as naughty.

He has always been louder than you'd expect from something so small but that is gradually getting louder as he grows and it doesn't look like it will stop any time soon.

At three months he began to do this high pitched squeal, I can't quite put into words how high pitched it really is but it has been described of as 'Out of this world'.

He'd sit in his jumperoo at that young age and break our ears with glee whilst bouncing but because he was happy we were fine with that.

'I'd rather that than screaming in pain' I said
'But I hope he doesn't do it all the time, it is ear piercing' I said

'Ignore it and he'll stop' they said
'He'll stop doing it soon if you don't make a big deal out of it' they said
'It's a phase they all go through it'll pass' they said
Puppy, Dog, Toddler, Cute, walkies, my life my son my way,

I Think I've Cracked...

Today he started a small toddler football class in our local area, a whole year and a half since starting the 'squealing phase'.

All the other children, all his age so I couldn't blame it on that, sat nicely with their parents on the floor as they were told to by the coach... Rocky had other ideas.

He doesn't do sitting.

He doesn't do still.

He doesn't do quiet either.

Rocky, however, DOES, do loud and mischief quite well!

As he walked in he screamed at a pitch that only dogs should be able to hear but it's so loud that everybody in the room and local area winced and grabbed their ears in shock and pain. All this whilst struggling, kicking and throwing himself around to escape out of the arms of Hoff who was sitting on the floor looking mortified, it being the first time he'd taken him to a group and all he wasn't used to it.

This happened every few minutes for the entire 45 minute class.

Even when they were doing the running around games he did THAT noise out of glee rather than distress.

THAT noise that you as a parent can deal with for a few times but after the third or forth you begin to lose your hearing as the noise and the feeling of helplessness and parental failure is left ringing in your ears.

You can feel the other parents start to stare as you sit there desperately trying to reduce the noise with your hand softly over their mouth, awkwardly grinning and apologising for them.

You know inside what they're thinking though as you have done the same yourself.

'If that was my child I'd....'

You know that the first few times are forgiven and brushed off as part of toddlerness but after that it is just seen as bad parenting and not being able to control your child.

But I've tried.
We ARE trying.
So please don't look at me like that when he screams, I really can't help it!

We are taking note of all the expert advice we're given, when asked or in passing, we are doing what they say...
Today I felt like I cracked, it might have been the hangover but whilst sat there watching I broke down inside and a tear rolled down my face.
Why can't he sit still like the other girls and boys?

Kyd, Rocky, Brothers, Walk, Beach, Winter, my life my son my way

The Honest Bit...

I feel like burying my head in my pillow and staying there. Not just because in there I can't hear him as much but also because I have come to the point that I can't cope with the fact I'm now one of THOSE mums that I and everybody else, used to automatically judge without meaning to judge.
I try so hard to keep him happy in public to protect the hearing of those around us that I have started just letting him do the things I would never let him do at home... therefore making a rod for my own back in a freaked out attempt to save other people's sanity and ability to hear.
There is an element of selfishness in my actions too.
Without the noise and the bad behaviour, the people around me won't stare at me like I'm a bad parent and I won't go home and cry.
I cry at home on a daily basis at the moment as I feel so useless. I really am trying to fix him and his habit of being so god awfully loud and I really am trying to not make it worse by trying to fix it temporarily whilst out.
I have gotten to the point where I am giving up inside and I hate that!
I would rather just not take him out into public places which is something I have always gotten so annoyed at when other parents said similar.
To take them out and teach them how to behave in different situations is the best practice for adult life...
 I used to say
Rocky, Robin, Batman, pasta, eating, Shed Cafe, my life my son my way, 
I've lost the will to believe that though, somewhere between having Rocky and losing my hearing, I've lost my ability to parent my child successfully enough to practice what I preach.

Is this really a phase?

It's a long bloody phase if it is. I am praying he grows out of it though as I may have to gag him soon (I joke obviously).

I love him so much, his smile will never stop breaking my bad days and making them good. I waited so long for him to be here and I am so grateful for him being here
This is something I would change about him at the drop of a hat!
Has anyone got any helpful advice that isn't 'He'll grow out of it, bear with him'? Because I would bite your hand off for some 'it was the same for me' stories right now just so I don't feel like a mentalist when I sit and cry into my Dr Pepper.

signiture, my life my son my way, alice 

Friday, 21 March 2014

World Down Syndrome Day 2014 - Health and Wellbeing #lotsofsocks

down syndrome, epic, World down syndrome day, my life my son my way, #lotsofsocks, #TeamT21,

Today (21/03/14) is World Down Syndrome Day.

This year's theme is

Health and Wellbeing. 

Children with Down Syndrome have more health issues than your average child, that is well documented, but it isn't set in stone as to what they have and when. They can have completely different timescales for their health issues, milestones, education, puberty or adulthood journeys.

There are some common traits of children with Down Syndrome and being more prone to health issues is one of them. It doesn't mean they will get everything that others with Downs have had in the past but it can be a similar pattern of life events... in the same way we have similar life event patterns to others in this world, it really is no different. 

They do like to keep people on their toes though and make you think in a different way to your average parent, or person in general for that matter. They make us think about what is important in our own lives and what really matters... but all they really want is for people to accept that different isn't necessarily a bad thing and that they can do whatever you can given the chance and sometimes a little extra helping hand.

Children with Down Syndrome are as individual as you and me. 
This is a fact of life.
No two children are the same, not even identical twins...
Not even two children with Down Syndrome!
Down Syndrome, World Down Syndrome Day, Text Sock77, 70070, donate, DSA, Down Syndrome Association, my life my son my way, #WDSD14, #lotsofsocks,
You'll probably see an influx of pictures of odd socks on your timelines via all social media  outlets today, this is a campaign for World Down Syndrome Day 2014, this is to show the individuality, diversity and to represent the extra chromosome present in people who have Down Syndrome.
Get involved and send us your socksie pics using the
#WDSD14 and #lotsofsocks
You can also help us raise money for the Down Syndrome Association by joining our Text Campaign set up by the lovely DownSideUp and check out her linky where fellow bloggers are linking up to share their stories there are some great reads!

Myths and Misconceptions about life of a child with Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome, Make a wish, take a chance, Make a change, break away, my life my son my way, Sometimes I hear things in passing that I think 'actually you're wrong' but I feel like I can't correct it and find myself biting my lip to be polite because they 'mean well'...
This is mainly through misconceptions and ignorance (not nasty ignorance just general ignorance) and so until someone does say 'WELL ACTUALLY...' they will never learn and this will go round in circles.
I'm not on my own with this, parents across the country and even around the world have the same problem with the misconceptions of the general public.

 I would like to just set a few things straight today... 
In a polite way that you can read at your own pace...
That doesn't make things awkward for any of us, mainly because I can't see you or your awkward facial expressions and you can't see my ongoing frustration...
So here goes, these are some of the common misconceptions of Down Syndrome we've come across in the past 11 years...

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome have heart defects...

In fact a large number of children with Down Syndrome have completely healthy hearts and live their life to the full and until old age with no heart issues at all... Kyd included *touch wood*.

My Life My Son My Way, Kyd, Tiger, hearing aid, my life my son my way, Not ALL children with Down Syndrome progress at the same time...

They take their time to roll, sit, walk, talk or learn but once they get it, you can't stop them! This is usually because of poor muscle tone and joint flexibility which can be connected to Downs but they'll get there when they want to, they all do it eventually and when they do it is the greatest feeling in the world.
Patience is the key.

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome have hearing problems...

Children with Down Syndrome are prone to hearing issues like Glue Ear and hearing loss, just like hundreds of thousands of other children in the world without Down Syndrome. It doesn't mean they ALL have issues, they just have smaller ear canals and so their treatment is slightly more complicated to others for some things. Hearing problems can play a role in anybody's life, at any stage, just like people who have Downs, it isn't exclusive to them you know.

Basketball, Down Syndrome, cool, Kyd, my life my son my wayNot ALL children with Down Syndrome have speech issues for their entire life...

OK so most of them struggle with speech and language at some point in their childhood, that is well documented but most will catch up eventually and some don't even need any help at all... in fact some don't ever shut up, its just natter, natter, natter... just like other kids!

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome are over weight...

It is a fact that many people with Down Syndrome gain weight faster due to some metabolism changes as they hit puberty and it is, as you can imagine, difficult to lose. This isn't something that effects 100% of people with Down Syndrome though and is something mums of children, like me, get really scared of as they begin to leave childhood for their teens.
I have been working on fitness and health with Kyd throughout his childhood and hopefully he will remain at a healthy weight but if he doesn't we will try our hardest to help him be as healthy as he can be.
Please be aware of this before you say 'they gain weight really fast don't they' to a parent, they know this, they will do their best to control it... sometimes they can't though and it hurts them inside to hear people say their children are going to be fat and so those comments don't help... #JustSaying

Kyd, School, Mainstream, Down Syndrome, Marvel Bag, my life my son my way,Not ALL children with Down Syndrome wear glasses...

Some do, some don't.
My Dad does, I don't... same thing.
There are connections to more serious eye conditions but again that is a lottery, they may have the issues, they may not!
(Are you getting the theme here yet??)

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome attend Special Needs Schools...

In fact many children start at a mainstream school and stay in a mainstream school throughout their education. It can depend on both the child and the school. Kyd has just moved to a SEN school but mainly for medical needs. He loved his mainstream school but he equally loves his SEN school. Sometimes kids can do half a week at both too by the way, that is called 'duel placement' and is at the discretion of the local council.

Kyd, Rocky, iPad, Technology, siblings, learning, Down Syndrome, my life my son my wayNot ALL children with Down Syndrome struggle with their education...

In fact I read more and more stories everyday about teens with Down Syndrome passing their GCSE's and graduating high school or even College and University. They have their own pace for doing things and it may take them a little longer sometimes but actually they can achieve as much as we can.
Don't underestimate them!

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome don't understand instructions...

They understand a lot more than you think. They are more intelligent than you give them credit for. In fact, they often play on the fact that you think they don't understand you. Some children struggle a little more than others and their ability to understand instructions can take longer to tackle but actually if you make those instructions simple and clear they'll get it eventually, even if you have to show them a few times. Kyd is a little monkey, if he doesn't want to do something or is with someone new, he'll play on the fact that they don't think he understands it. He will play dumb, so to speak. He's hilarious with it but I'm very wise to his antics now!

Kyd, air guitar, Reading Festival, Festival, Down Syndrome, age 4, cool, kid, my life my son my way,Not ALL children with Down Syndrome are stubborn...

All children are pretty stubborn when they want to be, aren't they, lets face it, so when people say to me 'they can be so stubborn can't they' it doesn't half grate on me, I just reply with 'can't we all' and smile but inside I'm like 'you wanna see stubborn...' hahaha.

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome have bad dress sense...

This is an odd one isn't it, but I often get told in a shocked voice that Kyd has amazing dress sense for a child with Down Syndrome... why wouldn't he want to wear what he looks good in?... I get it though, as a kid I thought all people with disabilities wore hand knitted jumpers and joggers, I soon learnt they don't as I grew and that it was just an 80's thing. I did however over compensate for this and have created a mini Gok Wan/Fashion Monster.

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome like Mr Tumble...

Hahahaha I had to add this in. Kyd loves him but I know that it is a misconception that he is a must have accessory in the Down Syndrome world. He's not. However he did teach me everything I know about Makaton and so I thank him for that.

Kyd, Hospital, Ace Tube, Surgery, happy, Down Syndrome, my life my son my way,Not ALL children with Down Syndrome have bladder & bowel issues...

Although common, due to muscle tone issues, shockingly they actually wee and poo as much as we do, amazing huh?!
Some, including Kyd, have issues tied to Downs but are actually issues any one of us could get too. They tend to take longer to toilet train but that again is due to muscle tone and understanding of the feeling of needing to... but again some do it quicker than others.
Kyd has an ACE tube due to his chronic lazy bowel. This was 11 years in the making and is something that has changed his life for the better after just a few short months.
Kyd, Cafe, independance, Shed, Reading, Down Syndrome, Customer, my life my son my way,

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome will need help with everyday life as an adult...

In fact, more and more adults with learning disabilities are living independently in the big wide world and they cope incredibly well... better than most first time uni students or adults in general for that matter!

Not ALL children with Down Syndrome are 'So loving and good natured'...

No I'm serious... they really AREN'T!
Look, I am not being funny but yes they may like to smile sweetly and make you think they are all sweetness and light but you try and get Kyd to give you a 'Oh so loving' cuddle or kiss and he will shake his head and run away just like any other 11 year old boy. He can be a brat when he wants to be and he can also be mean, just like any other kid in the playground.
He is as loving as any other child of his age, this is standard across the board and if anybody tells you otherwise they are not a parent of an older child with Down Syndrome, we as parents to older children know otherwise... they'll soon learn.
He is loving, he is cute sometimes, he takes things to heart sometimes, he is quite a calm soul really, he may even kiss you... but only if he wants something!
He has the same feelings, emotions and ways of expressing them as any other child, he is no more loving than the average child... in fact Rocky is way more cuddly than Kyd ever was.
As I am writing this he is giving me daggers because he lost his PlayStation rights whilst being naughty on Tuesday morning... see just like life with any other child.

Kyd, happy, Down Syndrome, thumbs up, my life my son my way,Most importantly... and annoyingly...

Children with Down Syndrome ARE NOT ALWAYS HAPPY!!...

Seriously, the most frustrating thing for me is when people say
'ahhh they are always happy aren't they!'
no, no, no, No, NO!
You live in my house for a week and then say that without your nose growing.
They are not always happy, they have the exact same feelings as anyone else and are prone to frustration and tantrums just as much, if not more, than any other child or adult, especially when you accuse them of always being happy.
Kyd is happy when he wants to be happy,
Sad when he wants to be sad,
Angry when he chooses to be angry,
Excited when he chooses to be excited...
Just like us!


Now you have the true facts about living with a child with Down Syndrome.

Sorry if any of that has shocked you, worried you or patronised you in any way, but I tell you what it was great to get that out there and be completely honest, so thanks for reading. I know many will be nodding at all this, some may not, but all in all I hope you realise that you can't put all the currents in the same plain bun, they can go with so many other cakes too you know and are pretty versatile.
Life is a lottery of health losses and wins...
Even when you have an extra chromosome added to the mix. 

Down Syndrome, World Down Syndrome Day, 2014, Epic, positivity, parenting,
Happy World Down Syndrome Day!
If you want to read more about Kyd and our journey with Down Syndrome please visit the page in the menu above named Down Syndrome  for all the relevant links.
Alice, signiture, pocket watch, bird, my life my son my way,

Monday, 17 March 2014

#MarkWarnerMum - CHALLENGE 1: #WIN 1of2 £200 Kiddicare Vouchers

Challenge 1:
Win 1 of 2 £200 Kiddicare vouchers

We have some exciting ideas and partnerships up our sleeve for our 2014 quarterly challenges and remember those parent bloggers who enter all our challenges will be automatically entered into a draw to win one of three Mark Warner summer family holidays. Find out more info HERE

First things first

Challenge 1
let’s kick off with a right royal angle...
Family Holidays Fit For A Little Prince...
As Prince George looks forward to his trip to Australia and New Zealand, Mark Warner Holidays and Kiddicare take a look at some top tips for travelling with babies.
While not many babies go abroad with a dedicated nanny like the future heir to the throne, there are lots of ways in which to take the hard work out of travelling with a very young child. From travelling outside peak season’s hot months, being armed with a bottle at take-off to relieve pressure in little ears to having the right travel kit and packing for all eventualities.

For more tips and advice visit
Mark Warner’s blog and Kiddicare’s Blog

We want to hear from you!
Tell us about your experiences of travelling with your little ones for the first time or any precious family holiday memories. Plus any top tips to pass on, packing essentials, how not to do it and of course cute holiday snaps are most definitely encouraged.
Once you have completed your blog please tweet a link to your post tagging
@MWHolidays and @kiddicare using the hashtag #markwarnermum
by 6pm GMT Monday 7th April to complete your entry.
You could be here soon...

Challenge 1 - Family Holidays Fit For A Little Prince
(1of2 £200 Kiddicare Vouchers) e: 07/04/2014

Challenge 2 - *Coming June 2014*
Challenge 3 - *Coming September 2014*
Challenge 4 - *Coming November 2014*

Quarterly Challenge 1 Judging
Mark Warner and Kiddicare will select the 2 winning bloggers on the quality and creativity of the blog post.
The winners will be announced, Wednesday 9th April 2014 via Twitter by 6pm GMT.

Terms & Conditions – Challenge 1
1. This challenge is open to UK based parent bloggers, aged over 18, excluding employees of Mark Warner and Kiddicare and their families and agents. Mark Warner and Kiddicare reserve the right to verify the eligibility of all entrants. 7. By entering the application process the entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions and confirm that they have the legal capacity to enter into the challenge (ie. the entrant is of sufficient age and mental capacity and is entitled to be legally bound in contract). 8. No purchase is necessary. Multiple entries will not be counted. 9.  The winner will be notified on Wednesday 9th April 2014 by telephone, twitter and/or email. 10. Mark Warner reserves the right to amend these rules or withdraw the prize draw at any time without notice. 11. In the event of any dispute regarding these terms and conditions or the prize draw, the decision of Mark Warner shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into. 12. 13. Mark Warner reserves the right to disqualify any entrant if it has reasonable grounds to believe the entrant has breached any of these terms and conditions.

For the T&C's of the over all Holiday competition please click HERE

#ParentBloggers... Want to Win one of three Mark Warner Family Holidays? *Stupid Question*

Introducing Mark Warner’s Quarterly Blogger Challenges
To Win one of three Mark Warner Family Holidays!

A little message from the lovely folks at Mark Warner...
This year we wanted to see if we can create some fun and interesting content with the blogging community (that’s you by the way) with the help of our six lovely mummy blogger ambassadors (that's me) through our quarterly challenges.
In March, June, September and November we will be setting you a challenge, getting you to do what you do best … blog! With some AMAZING prizes up for grabs each round you would be a fool to miss out on this one. Especially when you have THIS as a grand prize...
Every blogger who takes part in each of the quarterly challenges will then be entered into a random draw to win 1 of 3 Mark Warner family holidays (families of up to 6 members) to one of our European Beach Resorts in summer 2015.
*Does a little excited dance*

See full terms and conditions and grown up bits and bobs below - any questions just shout.

Happy Blogging
Polly and Emilia
(Mark Warner representatives who are overly excited about this)
Picking the Winners
Mark Warner will randomly (through a randomizer software tool) pick three bloggers who completed each quarterly challenge and tweet through their blog posts to @mwholidays adhering to each challenge deadline. Winners will be announced on Monday 15th December 2014 via Twitter by 6pm GMT. Families can be made up of, up to 6 people.

I'm not being funny but what is there not to like about this?? I would love it if one of my readers won one of the holidays let alone the AMAZING prizes involved in each round.
Keep an eye out tomorrow for the first challenge, it involves a prince and an airplane...  

Challenge 1 - Family Holidays Fit For A Little Prince 
(1of5 £200 Kiddicare Vouchers) e: 07/04/2014

Challenge 2 - *Coming June 2014*
Challenge 3 - *Coming September 2014*
Challenge 4 - *Coming November 2014*
Terms & Conditions – Three Mark Warner Holidays
1.  The holiday must be taken before the end of 2015. 2. Max family size of 6 people. 3. The prize is not transferable; no cash alternative is available and is subject to availability. The prize cannot be modified. 4. Bloggers must be the lead guest and be present on arrival. 5. Bloggers are responsible for all travel arrangements and costs to and from the UK airport. 6. This prize draw is open to UK based parent bloggers, aged over 18, excluding employees of Mark Warner and their families and agents. Mark Warner reserves the right to verify the eligibility of all entrants. 7. By entering the application process the entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions and confirm that they have the legal capacity to enter into this prize draw (ie. the entrant is of sufficient age and mental capacity and is entitled to be legally bound in contract) and the entrant confirms that they have a valid passport. 8. No purchase is necessary. Multiple entries will not be counted. 9.  The winner will be notified on Monday 15th December 2014 by telephone and/or email. 10. The chosen bloggers must confirm acceptance on Monday 15th December 2014, otherwise another blogger will be selected. 11. Mark Warner reserves the right to amend these rules or withdraw the prize draw at any time without notice. 12. In the event of any dispute regarding these terms and conditions or the prize draw, the decision of Mark Warner shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into. 13. Mark Warner reserves the right to disqualify any entrant if it has reasonable grounds to believe the entrant has breached any of these terms and conditions. 14. Mark Warner does not accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant as a result of acceptance or non-acceptance of this prize draw. 15. Mark Warner’s booking terms and conditions apply. 16. This application and these terms and conditions will be governed by English Law and any disputes shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales. 

#FLAwards 2014 - Judging the Family Club Of The Year Award

Last night I got my glad rags on and went to meet with the hierarchy of the Football League for their annual awards ceremony.

The Football League Awards founded in 2006, celebrate the excellence on and off the pitch, amongst the 72 clubs in the Football League. The event itself attracts players, managers and staff as well as lucky competition winners, sponsors and partners.

The FLAwards is the first major football awards of the season and has a clear point of difference to the other awards which focus only on the mangers and players. Categories include Supporter of the year, Family Club of the year, Community Club of the year and new for 2014 Best Digital and Audience Growth. The categories are judged by panels of industry experts and media professionals.

This year I was asked to judge the Family Club of the year category alongside 4 other judges and I was both honoured and excited by being given the opportunity. The judges for each category got together in January at the Football League offices in London and had the hard job of trying to pick not only an over all winner of the award but divisional winners too.

I have done this once before when I was pregnant with Robin in 2012 and I have to say, the job was a lot harder with much stronger competition this year than in 2012, the clubs really are doing a fantastic job in making football more family friendly at their home grounds.

Watch this Video... you may recognise a face or two
*cough* MINE! *cough*

I really enjoyed the awards this year, there were so many worthy winners and I was completely honoured to be asked back to judge for a second time. As a season ticket holder (Kyd too) at Reading FC for 7 years now, I have drummed up a lot of ideas and understanding about how clubs could attract a new generation of supporters. Reading FC have some great schemes which we see ourselves week in week out but whilst judging the awards I got to read up on what other clubs are doing to attract new (and old) families and it fascinated me with every page I read as to just how much work goes into this behind the scenes all across the country in every league. From pocket money pop up shops in the concourse to reduced price ticket offers throughout the year, they really are beginning to cover all grounds in making the beautiful game special for all ages.

This year we had a very worthy winner of the Family Club of the Year Award, a club who have found themselves in financial hardship over the years, yet have really pulled together to make their club the best it can possibly be for their fans and for as little cost as possible. It just shows how much the passion of the staff and current supporters of a club can really achieve when it is put to work.
Here is a short video of why we chose
 Middlesbrough FC
as the over all winner of
Family Club of the Year Award 2014.

If you can believe it, all the entrants for the award this year were of similar high standards to Middlesbrough FC and having to choose was a nightmare for us judges but it was a job we had to do. Here are the over all divisional winners...
League 1 - Wolverhampton Wanderers
League 2 - Plymouth Argyle
A huge congratulations to ALL the winners across the categories, each and every one was well deserved and a big Thank You to all of those involved in the Football League Awards for asking me to be involved...
I am available next year if you need me #JustSaying... *winks*

If you want to watch the Awards Ceremony and see all the winners receiving their awards you can catch it all here on the Football League YouTube channel.