16/06/2017

Crieff Hydro holiday May 2017

I wasn't planning on doing a post about our holiday to Crieff Hydro again but after receiving such good customer service from them I decided to do one. Plus I love being able to look back at holidays on my blog too!

We have recently returned from our second time there which was booked last year. I did a post about our 2016 holiday here.  We booked within a matter of weeks of returning as we had loved it so much, plus it coincided with my birthday so it was a good excuse for a break!  If you re-book within a certain amount of time, you can request the same room if you want. When I booked over the phone, the room we had stayed in was unavailable but the lady suggested a different, quieter room at the end of the corridor. Due to me taking the mobility scooter I needed a ground floor room and the quieter the better, so it all sounded good.

Fast forward many months and we finally arrived after a stop off in Glasgow to break the journey up.  My chronic illness and travelling do not go well together, so having some rest and a good breakfast helps make the final part of the journey to Crieff more bearable.


I had rung ahead to say we would be arriving earlier than check in time and wondered if there was any chance of the room being ready, so it was great when we got there and they said it was...  until the room wasn't the one we were expecting!! After a bit of a nightmare and a lot of stress (I won't go into details but there were tears. Lots of them. Not just from me), the manager Ashleigh got involved and was absolutely brilliant.  It eventually got sorted out and the room we were put in was the room we had been allocated originally.  It was gorgeous.  Spacious with two huge windows, nice and quiet, huge comfortable beds and lovely Scottish shortbread biscuits!!!

Somehow somewhere there must have been a lack of communication but the way the manager dealt with it was great.  She was so lovely and really made a big difference to the holiday which although had started badly, was really good.  She ensured we were looked after and very kindly gave us some treats which helped with the after effects of the initial upset.  I always think that it's how places deal with problems that shows how good they are and I absolutely 100% can't fault them.  Crieff Hydro is a luxury family hotel and they really showed how they care about their guests.


It's the most relaxing place and we had five nights of sheer loveliness.  The Victorian Spa is the perfect place for some 'me' time.  A friend of mine who lives in Scotland came over for the day so we had a lovely chilled couple of hours there.


Every member of staff we encountered were great during our stay.  As we found last year, everyone is friendly and willing to help if necessary.  Even when there was a power cut on the first night and we were plunged almost into darkness,  the duty manager kept people in good spirits!  It was a good opportunity to get little Miss an early night anyway..

Due to it being term time it wasn't busy with leisure guests.  With my hubby's job we can't pick and choose when to go away as he gets given his leave in advance, but despite it being quiet it was great - straight on the bowling green unlike last year when we never had chance as it was so busy!!


Restaurants were very quiet but we still received excellent service and the food there is so so good.  There are various places to eat and although The Hub wasn't open other than on our first day, the staff in the Winter Garden made me some salads to have at lunchtime when I didn't fancy soup or sandwiches.  The Meikle is the fancier of all the food places and our three course dinner was amazing.  I'm obsessed with cheese and biscuits so of course chose that to finish off my delicious meal!


The activity centre has lots of stuff to do if you fancy.  My hubby took little Miss on the Aloft treetop experience, which turned my stomach just looking at pictures of it, but they loved it! We definitely have an adrenaline junkie on our hands.


As well as the kids' club which is fantastic, there are lots of things to do on site and tennis in the sunshine went down well with my sporty girl.  The tennis courts are really close to the entrance of the hotel and it's so peaceful.


We were also very lucky with the weather and had pretty much 5 days of sunshine which made me happy! There are lots of places to chill at the Hydro and I can't imagine anyone would feel anything other than relaxed after a stay there.  We also met some new friends which was an added bonus.  They live in Amsterdam so a visit is on the cards for sure.


We will definitely go back again.  I really can't recommend it enough.  Thank you to everyone at the Hydro and particularly Ashleigh!






Ali 
xx



12/05/2017

M.E Awareness Day 2017

I would never have imagined my life as it is now.  If you'd told me I'd be unable to work and unable to do anything without it making me wiped out; If you'd said I would need to use mobility aids to get around I'd have laughed and told you "nah mate".  I'd say that I had spent years studying law, I had a job I enjoyed and a great social life, as well as going to the gym 3 times a week so how could that be possible?

I'm the person who used to be so independent, who thought nothing of coming home from a full day's work and going in the gym for another few hours.  The person who used to go shopping on a weekend and spend several hours just wandering round the shops. The person who went out to the pub, to the cinema, to anywhere that involved doing "normal things" without giving it a second thought.  I was enjoying life.

It couldn't be any further from my life now.  Fourteen years later I am still often in disbelief about it and would change it in a heartbeat if I could.

I have talked lots before about what it is like having M.E (myalgic encephalomyelitis) but in a nutshell it's like having THE worse hangover along with flu and your head having been kicked in. All at the same time.  That's what it's like for me anyway.

If you think of a full battery - that's healthy people.  Think of an almost empty one and that's me. Every little thing I do eats into my battery and leaves my already low energy levels almost non existent.  Resting happens a lot, yet it doesn't really top my energy supplies up so I'm pretty much running on empty.  Drained all the time and feeling horrible.  I've not even mentioned the pain and all the other fun (not) symptoms like memory and concentration problems, muscle weakness, sleep problems, post exertional malaise  (PEM) after anything we do. The list goes on and I really wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Do you know what though? I'm not amazing or inspirational or any of the things people tell me I am.  I am just me.  Me who was dealt a shitty card and had to deal with it.  I have to grin and bear it.  I don't have a choice.  I can't even begin to explain how horrendous living with this illness is yet I have to keep going and be as good a mum as I can to my daughter, who gives me purpose and keeps me smiling.

It's M.E Awareness day today so I felt I should do a post and talk a bit about it.  The reason I started my blog was because I often had people ask me what it was like being a mummy with M.E and I was surprised how cathartic I found it when I wrote. I receive messages from people telling me they have learnt a lot from my posts and that I've helped them understand more which means a lot as raising awareness has always been important to me.

I often look "well" when I am out and then I always wonder what people would think if they saw me in the following days when I'm suffering. When I'm hidden away in bed unable to move. I've had friends cry on me before when they've seen me so poorly but it's made them more aware, so silver linings and all that!

I think that's enough from me but if you've read this then thank you and I am always happy to answer questions so feel free to leave a comment or contact me via my email.

Thinking of everyone affected by this evil illness and hugs to everyone who supports me as it really does mean so much.


M.E Awareness ribbons made by me!


Ali 
xx 

07/05/2017

My girl is 8!

I didn't realise it was so long since I had posted, so apologies for that! I've either been having too much fun or my head hasn't been in the game.  I'd like to say it's the former but unfortunately not!!  So here I (finally) am and quite a lot of stuff has happened over the last month so I'll talk about my favourite thing.. my little Miss' 8th birthday!  I say it every year but where on earth does the time go?  I'm so proud of the kind, thoughtful and hilariously funny girl she's turned into.


She had a cupcake decorating party the week before her birthday, which happened to be Mother's day too. It was at our favourite vintage café with our favourite cake lady (thanks Becks!) and they all seemed to enjoy it.


I had forgotten how much noise a group of girls make too!!  They seemed so grown up which I guess, at 8, they are! Little ladies :-)




Her actual birthday was on a school day and she had Brownies that evening too, but we managed to make time for opening presents and cake of course!


It just doesn't seem 8 years since she was born.  She gets funnier all the time.  She always has an answer to everything and has a knack for one liners.  Last week when I told her she needed to sort her bedroom out, her response within about two seconds was "no offence but you need to sort yours out"!!  I just burst out laughing and I really do struggle sometimes to keep a straight face with the stuff she says.

I am one proud mummy and I love her to absolute bits.  She makes me smile, she makes my heart happy and I'm very glad she's mine.



Ali 
xx

29/03/2017

Social media and why can't people just be themselves!

I recently watched an episode of the show Black Mirror on Netflix for the second time. It's called Nosedive and it takes place in the future, where people can vote each other's popularity out of 5 stars.  The higher people's ranking, the more things they have available to them even including friends or acquaintances.  It's actually a really sad episode and it made me think lots about how there's so much emphasis on social media these days being like an online popularity contest and how many likes people can get for stuff.  I find it really quite sad and it actually makes me worry about my daughter's future.

I grew up with a phone that was connected by a wire to the wall and a TV that you had to walk over to when you wanted to change channels! Social media wasn't a thing back then (I'm not that ancient either!) and I really worry about (young) people today when I see what sort of stuff they post and also how on so many pictures you see, people aren't smiling.  They are more often than no doing the (duck!) pout and the peace sign thing or sticking their tongues out. I mean why can't people just smile and look natural? It seems to have become the norm to do it; but why? That's without all the filters available at the push of a button which make people almost unrecognisable.  What happened to natural beauty and when did these ridiculous poses become the in thing?  I much prefer seeing photos of people smiling, fresh faced and not in the slightest bit staged. I prefer those sort of pictures of myself too but I seem to find it hard to do a natural smile and always seem to do a really fake one if someone shoves a camera in my face, but at least I've tried!

I see so many pictures of (often young) people looking quite frankly ridiculous if you think about it. Girls seem to be a lot worse too.  If I want to take a photo of my daughter and she does a silly pose, I cringe.  I am not sure she understands why I ask her not to do it but I really don't like it.  She knows I hate it and sometimes will do it to wind me up and will laugh at my reaction before smiling! She's not even 8 yet and I want her to look like a little girl.  I'm not saying children don't look like children on such photos but I think it does spoil it a bit when they automatically do it.  Surely if someone points a camera at you, you should smile? I love looking back at photos from over the years and I wouldn't want them all to be like that. They obviously can't be smiling on every photo and I love nothing more than taking one when she doesn't know I have done, but I just find it so frustrating that every time I put the internet on, it's full of people looking the same! This is just my opinion though and I know not everyone will agree!!

Social media is such a funny one.  You can paint a picture of the perfect life when the reality is often nothing like that.  Think of someone you know and the life they portray themselves as having compared to the life you know they actually have.  An illusion of perfection is often far from the reality,  yet people can't help it.  Some people also seem to thrive on comments from others telling them they look amazing or they are "goals" which I absolutely hate!!  Goals is one of those cringeworthy things like when people say "bae". Judder!

The photos I share on Instagram are like an online album of memories for me and I love looking back at them. I like to take a nice photo and will try to make sure I have nothing in the background that I would prefer not to be seen (I mean no-one wants to see a random bra or a dirty plate lurking!) but I never post stuff that isn't real and if I've not been well enough to do something, I won't pretend I have.  I know some people feel they have to post amazing photos all the time which must have taken ages setting up to look just right, when actually behind the scenes it's nothing like the caption may suggest. I don't understand why someone would go to the effort of doing it.  If I don't have anything to post, I don't put pressure on myself to post.  I certainly don't waste energy I don't have setting up a photo for the sake of social media. It really shouldn't matter what people think but it does matter to so many.  Some people feel they have to post stuff to look good, to get a certain number of likes.  Who actually cares though? I also know of young people who feel they have to fit in with what their friends or peers are doing despite not actually wanting to and if they don't do it they will be alienated. It really makes me sad.  Does it really matter? It 100% shouldn't but today's society is a scary place to be growing up in.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I just wish people would be themselves and not feel they have to comply with what they think is expected of them or to please other people.  The episode of Black Mirror I mentioned is very thought provoking. In fact, the majority of episodes are and I definitely recommend watching if you can.

Would love to hear what other people think about this!





Ali
xx

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