Why I hope I’m raising ‘Brownlee Brothers’

Have you seen the incredible video that is sweeping the internet of the Brownlee Brothers?

Here it is.. just it case it has escaped you:

At the weekend, in Mexico, the world Triathlon Series was taking place. Temperatures soared to 33c, after a 1.5km swim and a 40km cycle under their belt, the 10km run was nearly over. But with just 1.5km to go Jonny Brownlee fell victim to the unbearable conditions, and was seeing his chances of pole position slip away.

In an act of heroic sportsmanship Alister Brownlee, is seen coming to the rescue of his younger brother, Jonny in a way that has led the likes of Gordon Ramsey to tweet that ‘it was a truly inspirational act of sportsmanship’. And it was.

Alistair, already a 2 time triathlete champion saw his brother struggling, looking disorientated and ready to duck out of the race. Instead of speeding past him, he takes his brothers weight and runs part carrying, part dragging him the 1.5km to the end. So just to clarify, he did this after 20km of swim / cycle / run. Is he super human?! He then stops just short of the finish line before pushing Jonny in front of him, to finish in a triumphant silver medal position. What a total hero! what a sacrifice! Brotherly love at it’s peak.

Who is this Muma that has raised siblings to not only achieve incredible levels of athletic ability but also instil the Family-First values at the same time? I want to shake her by the hand. Muma – I salute you.

It got me wondering, how do we ensure that our children would ‘do a Brownlee’ if the situation should ever present itself? How do we ensure that our own children grow together with a sense of impenetrable comradeship?! They shared a womb, but that doesn’t mean will automatically like or respect each other.

It’s a point I haven’t really given much thought too since becoming a Muma. I seem to be far too wrapped up in our girls as individuals rather than encouraging them as a team. The 2 year old likes to bite the 5 year old. The 5 year old doesn’t want to play with the 2 year old because her ‘play’ is more like ‘steal all precious items’. I think its an age thing, but The Brownlee Brothers have most definitely got me thinking about togetherness.

Here’s to sibling love, and here’s to Muma Brownlee.

Run Jump Scrap!

 

 

 

Burkini, Bikini. Potato, potarto.

I’m sorry, have I missed something here…?

How on earth is wearing a Burikini a threat to national security?!

I have just been frankly stunned to read that French police in Cannes ordered a woman who was asleep on the Promanade des Anglais beach, wearing a Burkini, to strip down or risk being pepper sprayed. Has the world gone mad?

If you haven’t ever seen anyone wearing a Burkini in the real let me explain – it is basically a wet suit with a mid thigh length over dress which also covers their head.

Have you ever felt threatened by someone wearing leggings and a tunic with a hat on whilst standing in the Tesco queue? Me neither… so why on earth as soon as the sand and sea is involved everyone starts freaking out over this level of cover up?

Woman must strip to wear bikinis on the beach? p*ss off.

It has baffled me, and left me feeling pretty bloody sad actually.

The French are saying that the Burkini causes offence, so boobs and g-strings are totally fine on the beach, but my god if someone should dare cover themselves up in the name of their religion they shall be prosecuted. More like persecuted.

This summer we went to a very crowded indoor swimming pool complete with slides, waves, verruca’s. You know the sort of place. There were maybe 20 girls and women wearing Burkinis. We were all in very close proximity (think packed lift) so I got a really good look at the ensembles. Did I feel threatened by these woman playing with their children whilst covered up? NO. Did I at any time feel offended that they chose to cover up their bodies? NO. Was I slightly envious that they didn’t have their wobbly bits on show like I did? YES!

So are the French simply penalising these woman to make a stand against the Muslim communities in the wake of the terrible Bastille terrorist attack earlier this summer? Woman who are on a beach minding their own business with their families, but have just choosen not to show their bits off and cover their heads? Shall we also ban sarongs and hats too then?

Seriously, this has gone too far now. Drawing a line in the sand like this is surely going to push Muslim communities away, making more of a divide, sending the message to anyone not able to question the ridiculousness of this ruling, that Muslims are not welcome. Way to go France.

Do you know what’s even sadder than a woman being fined for wearing a long sleeved top and a head scarf? Not one person came to this lady’s aid on the beach. The pictures just show open mouthed on lookers, no one came to her defence. She was a middle aged woman on her own surrounded by 4 police officers, being humiliated and striped in public.

I’m off to the beach today, I’ll be wearing a hat and maybe even a long sleeved top as I burnt my arms yesterday (oh balmy blighty!) I’m not expecting anyone to site me a terror threat, or for the police to approach me and ask me to strip.

There’s got to be a better way to patrol your beaches France, come on. Think outside the box a bit. Making laws that are both racist and sexist is never going to end well. Stop dividing your country and targeting these Mumas. You are embarrassing yourselves.

Viva Las Blackpool: an unguidey guide.

Blackpool: A bit like Vegas, there’s a casino, a roller coaster or 2, loads of hotels, and a tower. Totally the same place.

Viva Las Blackpool.

I’m pretty vocal when it comes to the subject of holidays and kids. Our eldest is now 5, and toddlerMonster is smack in the middle of her twos. We have never, until this week, been away just as a family of 4. I’ll be honest: To me moving your family to a temporary alien location, kissing goodbye to normality, and undertaking this alone was a step too far. We have always gone on holiday with my parents and siblings – a bit like the Khardashians, but with Easyjet not the Learjet. In my book, this is by far the best way for everyone (except probably my parents and siblings…so just me then) to have a holiday.

Anyway, without banging on too much about the dear god merits of cross generational holidaying, I’ll get back on my Blackpool bandwagon:

We did it, we took the plunge, and scarpered to Blackpool as a family of 4, for 2 whole nights, and 3 whole days, amounting to a total of 12 hours of car time. I think I may have had a little too much Isla Negra the evening we booked.

Here’s a little summery of the trip, including our top tips, in case you fancy hot footing it up to January. Blackpool.

The Big Blue Hotel

It is literally big and blue. So it was pretty easy to spot. That and the fact that it backs onto the Pleasure Beach theme park, so has 3 sodding great rollercoasters for a back yard.

I couldn’t recommend this hotel enough, the location is great and has its own entrance to The Pleasure beach which is open between 10am-11.30am everyday. The hotel offers discounted tickets, AND more importantly 50% discount on speedy boarding. I’ll get onto this point later, but suffice to say it’s an essential add on if you value your marriage.

We opted for a family room (because we are mad) which consisted of bunk beds (aka climbing frame) which were tucked away by the door and buffered by the bathroom before reaching the main bedroom. Anyway, bla bla it had a bed, it had a bath. It was comfy… and clean. Big tick. Oh and room for our travel cot (which the 5 year old slept in. Don’t ask). The 2 year old slept in our bed and so actually it was a total waste of money paying for a family room after all. We may as well have opted for a sardine can.

The girls LOVED the hotel, although there taste is a little warped – they also loved being taken to PoundLand to spend their holiday money…

The Hotel’s Restaurant was a thumbs up – and another tinkle on the high chair. I fear this may be becoming somewhat of a signature move for ToddlerMonster, perhaps tablecloths make her nervous.The Kids were really well catered for, a really impressive full menu just for them. Most guests were staying with children, so I shrugged the Peepee incident off, as did I the red wine going all over the table and carpet; they just replenished my almost gone glass with a full one. FOR FREE. They totally get The Issue of Kid.

The Pleasure Beach

If you have really young children then this theme park is ideal. There are 19 rides which are considered ‘family friendly’ and as long as the Dinky is on board with an adult then there is no height restriction. We did have to purchase a speedy boarding pass pronto after waiting an hour for a truly shite racing car ride though. This was purely a move to save our marriage from the cursing pit of horrors into which it was falling after that queue.

As I said if you stay at the big blue then the speedy boarding, beat the queue, walk into the exits (feeling a bit of a tit for doing so) and ride with no wait, is half the price. Of course we only found the half price voucher AFTER we arrived back at the hotel. Law of the sod at work once more.

With an hours wait on most rides we would have only got a few in, with the passes we managed to ride everything. Every. Signle.one.

Yeh yeh I was getting my money’s worth and refused to leave before it closed, frog marching the fam from one Kiddie coaster to the next.

It’s raining its pouring, it’s actually January.

So what I thought to have been iffy weather the previous day was in actual fact the height of the Balckpool summer. Normality reigned for the rest of our stay in KissMeQuickLand, but actually that was ok because there is a tonne of stuff to do which is on the inside.

We bought a Blackpool Tower ticket which allows you access to all of the attractions which are inside the Tower building. I had no idea all of this was there – I assumed the tower was just that.

Anyway, this ticket got us access to the Blackpool Tower Experience which is a 4D film of Blackpool which strangely is all done to a background of sunshine and blue skies. Perhaps the makers were having an ironic moment. We also got to go and stand on the glass floor hundreds of feet up which totally freaked both girls out – and Dan. I don’t mind heights , just queues. It was alright, but let’s be honest, the view was just a grey town, with a sea.

Blackpool Tower Circus was also on this ticket and was one of the highlights of the trip – it was Darcie’s No.1. Set in a really ornate area at the base of the tower, it even had a sinking floor which flooded for the final act. I was impressed. ToddlerMonster slept through most of it. Bonus.

If you venture to Blackpool I really recommend this!

Blackpool Tower Ballroom was also included on our pass. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I certainly hadn’t been expecting to step into THE BALLROOM, The Strictly final ballroom. It was stop-in-your-tracks stunning. You are allowed to just rock up and take to the floor, lots of oldies were being persuaded around the shit-you-might-slip shiny dance floor. It was a hard sight to process. I just stared on hoping there wasn’t about to be a hip op situation. Darcie did cartwheels, ToddlerMonster got YouTube out, Dan bought coffee.

Soft Play at the Tower who sanctioned this? I thought we would escape the foam rollers and contagious ball pits for a few days, but no. Some bright spark decided to put a fat soft play IN the Tower. Christ… it was included, so in we went. I cannot recommend a soft play, it’s against my beliefs. (kid’s loved it).

The Blackpool Dungeons – obviously we didn’t take our girls into the attraction which has a severed head on the poster. That would be asking for trouble. So I can’t comment – I’m  just letting you know that if you want to take your kids into a living nightmare, then you can. It’s included!

The finale

Sandcastle Waterpark

We did this on the morning before we came home – the beach plan flopped due to January invading. That’s ok, we thought. We’ll go to that waterpark, the largest indoor waterpark in the UK.

So did EVERYBODY else in Blackpool. The queue was out of the door to go in. If you venture here then arrive for when it opens at 9am, and book on line, 24 hrs ahead. You’ll also get a 10% discount. Obviously we didn’t do any of those sensible for-sights.

Again, the kids loved it. I felt like I was taking part in a capsized boat epic and we were all the extras. Hundreds of bodies, all bobbing about, water cannons going off, buckets filled with the wet stuff coming down on you, a lazy river which was actually quite the opposite, squatting whist a 5 yr old tags on for dear life (even though they can touch the bottom).

It’s worth a visit – just be prepared for The Masses.

 

Blackpool was brilliant, I honestly do mean that, equally it was great to hang out as a 4.  It’s totally geared for kids which is half of the battle when taking the fam away for a few days. I don’t want to see another chip for a while, but then, that’s not exactly a bad thing. If you are wondering about a few days away somewhere then there is plenty to keep a family occupied in Blackpool, come rain or rain.

Viva Las Blackpool!

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