Sea Life Trafford….a review

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A NEW Sea Life Centre has recently opened at Barton Square in the Trafford Centre and, after hearing good reviews, we decided to head over with the children to see for ourselves.

 

Arriving at around lunch time on Saturday there was a long queue but it moved quickly and we only waited about 10 minutes, even my impatient kids didn’t have time to get bored.

 

The tour began with a short yet informative talk about turtles, incorporating some great visual effects and lots of interactivity. We took our youngest two boys, aged seven and ten, they were both transfixed as the baby turtles ‘hatched’ before our eyes and scurried towards the ‘sea’.

 

The Centre is packed with amazing displays throughout as well as lots of tunnels and viewing hidey-holes, which the boys really enjoyed. There are interactive touch screens next to every tank providing facts about the various fish on display, for those that can stand still long enough to read them.

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Finding a soft play area about half way round the boys were delighted and shot off, leaving me to catch my breath after the excited sprint around the tanks they had insisted on.

This would have been the perfect time to sit down and have a cup of tea, unfortunately there were no chairs and I had to stand around as they played, my only complaint of the day to be fair.

 

When they ran out of steam the boys reappeared and we went to look around the rest of the aquarium, my youngest insisting we head back to see the jellyfish again. They were in a huge tank with a dramatic changing light display and we spent quite a while watching them.

 

On the way out we passed the clown fish, where I explained to the boys that all clown fish are born male with the biggest and strongest turning female…..I found this interesting fact, along with others in the guide book I bought on the way in;)

 

We ended our time at Sea Life in the gift shop where the boys chose something each to remember our fun day out. There was plenty of choice and it was good to see some pocket money toys too.

 

I was really impressed with how child friendly the attraction was and we had a fantastic day. The boys were still talking about it long after we returned home.

 

I would recommend a trip to Sea Life, in fact we upgraded our tickets to annual passes on the way out and are planning our next visit already.

 

Tickets are £16.20 per adult whilst a family is charged at £14.10 per family member. Children under 3 enter for free. Annual passes are also available as well as combination tickets for Lego Land that offer discounts.

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Stressed parenting…

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Are you a stressed out parent?

Remember the days before you had children?

The time of late nights for social reasons, lazy mornings for sleep catch up purposes, and being able to go to a party/holiday/shopping trip on a total whim – often catching a last minute bargain?

This was the period of your life otherwise known as B.C….Before Children.

If, however, like me, you have entered the ‘other’ realm of existence known as W.C…..With Children (no pun intended), life is probably rather different:

The dark times of late nights due to baby/child/teenager being sick, demanding an extra bedtime story or needing a lift home.

Early mornings every morning as the kids seem to work on a time zone similar to that of Narnia and need very little sleep at all.

Never being able to go anywhere on a whim. Ever. This is closely linked with supermarket meltdowns, toddler tantrums and getting totally fleeced for ‘term friendly holidays’.

I have four children aged between seven and seventeen and, due to incredibly poor planning on my behalf this meant that as one little cherub went off to nursery another soon arrived to take their place.

Having a baby at home creates stress unlike any other, especially when you add siblings into the mix.

On more than one occasion the older kids have taken advantage of me being ‘debilitated’ with the baby, especially when I was fresh out of hospital and nursing my youngest, Zain.

Being the resourceful mum that I am, I soon devised a way to wear a baby sling in such a manner that I could still retain order whilst feeding the baby. On a good day I could even bake a cake at the same time, the ingenuity of a mum on the brink is never to be under estimated.

As the children have grown older and are now all in school the challenges have become different. It can seem much more straight forward when you have a baby, after all most problems can be solved with a change of nappy, some playtime or a hug – sometimes a combination of all three.

These days they are more likely to need help with homework or advice on a situation they’re not sure about. This is where it gets tricky – Google is good for homework but not so good when your teenage daughter is broken hearted after being dumped.

All in all parenting is a minefield, full of potential danger and requiring a good sense of direction. The good news is that they will grow up and, if you are lucky, you may just see them run ragged by their own kids one day. Grandma position is far more flexi time than motherhood and you get to hand them back at the end of the day.

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Until that time here are some situations

that I am sure fellow W.C survivors will relate to, some more than others….

1. You know the name of every single *Skylander ever created but can’t remember where you put your door keys…again.

*the craze will change yearly and often comes round again, like fashion. I have personally lived through three Pokemon ‘resurrections’.

2. You try to pay for your shopping at the corner market only to find 3 buttons, 1 stone, a fluffy sweet and an elastic band in the pocket where your money used to be.

3. The only similarity your life has with that of a rock star is the flock of whining ‘groupies’ that follow you everywhere you go chanting your name and hanging off your body…

4. Your social life starts to resemble that of a very old nun. A very old, anti-social nun who has taken a vow of silence. In fact you begin to suspect that said nun actually has a better social life.

5. On more than one occasion you have climbed into bed after a successful days parenting (no fatalities and everyone accounted for), only to find that one of your little darlings has beaten you to it, done a wee and then got back in their clean, dry bed…..true story.

6. Having a shower becomes a family event with the kids in and out wanting a ‘number two’ help with a shoe lace or other urgent ‘problem’ that needs immediate action. A soak in the bath becomes nothing more than a distant memory.

7. Helping the kids with their homework consists of opening multiple Internet search windows and bribery on a massive scale.

This can also be bad for your health, the pressure of trying to complete mathematic equations meant for your seven year old really brings home how much you didn’t learn in school.

8. Holiday priorities change from ‘great beach and stunning vista’ to ‘kids clubs and babysitting facilities’ as well as easily accessible.

We took the children to Dubai when they were younger and, whilst the time we were there was amazing, the trip was anything but. Spending seven hours on a plane with small children was something else. By the time we landed I was a stressed out ball of anxiety, the hubby and I had resorted to bickering and the kids were bouncing off the walls, full of pent up energy.

This year we will go camping in the UK….

9. You start to sound more like your mum than she ever did…

10. You arrive at work in your slippers, very scary hair and last night’s bolognaise on your shirt…and it’s only Monday.

If you have yet to experience the joy of parenthood, please don’t let me put you off.

You may just be one of the lucky ones that gives birth to a text book child both well behaved and polite…If on the other hand you are already blessed with children and know the odds of actually being blessed with text book kid are less than 0.01 percent then I salute you. Hang on in there, bedtime is in sight, they do have to sleep at some point…don’t they?

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Caring youngsters walk 35km for charity

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WHILST most of us were relaxing this Sunday, a team of four Sale children completed an incredible challenge to raise money for The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.

They joined together at the beginning of the summer holidays to begin fundraising and have already surpassed their own target of £200 with plans to raise even more in a variety of innovative fundraising events.

The four youngsters, three of which live on Exmouth Road, completed 250 laps of the cul-de-sac – an amazing 21.1 miles or 35km.

The walk took 8 hours, 47 minutes and 42 seconds.

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Determined to complete the whole distance they completed the challenge despite some minor injuries along the way.

Best friends, Molly Nugent and Emily Marshall, both 10-years-old, decided to raise money for the charity as Emily’s mum, Nicki was diagnosed with the painful disease twenty years ago and the girls wanted to help others in the same situation.

During a sleep-over Molly and Emily discussed ways in which they could raise money and awareness for RA and decided to support the great work offered by NRAS.

Emily said: ” We don’t like to see anyone in pain, especially my Mum. No-one should suffer with the pain caused by this disease and we want to raise money to help people with RA, and to find a cure.”

They were joined by Emily’s cousin, Dani Heywood, 12 and neighbour, Luke Weader, 10-years-old, to become a determined team of four.

Dad even helped out and manned the refreshment table, as well as marking off laps on a very large tally chart.

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As a team they organised and hosted a table top sale, selling home-made lemonade, cake and biscuits at a bargain price of 20p each.

Ingenious Emily even began to charge people to enter the house and between them they raised just over £14.

Next up was the sponsored walk, Molly had suggested they do 500 laps of Exmouth Road originally but fortunately their parents thought this sounded rather a lot and it was agreed they would do 250 laps.

This turned out to be a good decision as when Graham, Emily’s Dad, measured the distance of a lap it transpired that 250 would actually total over 20 miles and would obviously take quite some time…

Around the 18 mile point the girls began to struggle, Molly had pulled a muscle and Emily’s feet were swollen. Asked if they wanted to stop the walk Emily replied: “People with RA suffer pain everyday, they can’t just walk away from it. I am going to finish this walk for Mum and others like her.”

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Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic, progressive and disabling auto-immune disease, affecting 690,000 adults in the UK. It is a systemic disease, which means it can affect the whole body and internal organs. RA is more common than both multiple sclerosis and leukaemia although it often is misunderstood as they do not get much publicity.There is currently no known cure.

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Nicki, 39, said: “Support from the community was overwhelming. Most of the cul-de-sac were out cheering the children on and I am so proud of all four of them.”

Diagnosed at 19, Nicki has struggled with the pain of RA for many years. Through lack of publicity there are many misconceptions about this disease.

Nicki has agreed to the following pictures to be shared for the first time, in a bid to raise awareness of the reality of living with RA and to dispel the ignorance that sadly surrounds this misunderstood disease that could affect any of us at any time…..

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The team are now busy planning a fundraising tea party, to be held during the last week of the summer holidays.

The tea party will be held on Exmouth Road and there will be refreshments and delicious home-made cakes for sale.

Tickets for the event are priced at £3.00 for adults and £1.50 for children, numbers are limited and early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

For tickets or to offer a donation to the tea party, please contact: michellekiami@aol.com

Donations can be given direct to the teams chosen charity, NRAS, via justgiving.com/EmilyMollyDani

For more information on Rheumatoid Arthritis see The NRAS website.

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New name for Altrincham Foodbank

 

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FROM the first of September 2013 the Altrincham foodbank will be renamed ‘Trafford South Foodbank’. This is to reflect the area they now cover, along with their new relationship with ‘The Churches Together in Sale’.

Since first opening in November 2012 the foodbank has fed over 780 people to date.

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Trafford residents in crisis are referred to the food bank by various social care agencies across the borough. They are given a voucher which cwn then be exchanged for three days worth of food, with a maximum of three vouchers per crisis.

Anyone needing to use the foodbank is advised to visit one of Trafford’s Citizens Advice Bureaux to discuss their situation.

The foodbank is encouraging all Trafford GP surgeries and other agencies interested in holding vouchers to contact them via email to info@altrincham.foodbank.org.uk

There are now three foodbank distribution centres, the most recent opening in Sale West in June 2012. Other centres are open at St Albans, Broadheath on Wednesdays and Timperley Methodist Church, Stockport Road on Fridays. There is a further distribution centre planned for St Francis Church, Budworth Road, set to open in September.

For details of how to get involved or for further information please visit http://www.altrincham.foodbank.org.uk

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Polycystic Kidney Disease…Fundraising and Awareness

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PROUD parents James and Jo Gray are holding a fundraising raffle to raise money for research into Polycystic kidney disease after their son, Isaac was diagnosed with the illness at three-months-old.

Following concerns during pregnancy Isaac spent the first week of his life in intensive care before his condition was identified and the couple were told that it was a hereditary illness, meaning there was a fifty percent chance any future children would be affected too.

baby Isaac             Isaac Gray

Polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is characterised by numerous fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys and often the liver and pancreas. Over time, the cysts grow and multiply, replacing normal healthy tissue and causing the kidneys to lose their function. Kidneys can enlarge to 3 to 4 times their normal size.

PKD is at present incurable. There is no treatment that will stop the cysts developing and growing. The primary focus is on managing the symptoms. However, a number of drugs are currently being trialled around the world aimed at slowing the decline of kidney function, giving future hope of an improved quality of life for those affected and their children.

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Mum Jo, 27 has set up a just giving page for donations, as well as a Facebook page with details of the charity raffle taking place at Ashton on Mersey Golf Club, which is close to the family home.

Talking of her fundraising plans, Jo said, ” Raising money and awareness turns a situation that could be negative into something more hopeful. The more money raised, the more research that can be done and the bigger the chance that a cure or treatment will be found.”

Tickets for the event are selling out fast and donations for the raffle are welcome.

Local businesses to offer prizes so far include Natural Beauty, Treehouse Crafts, Daly’s Restaurant, Silverblades, Hair by Danielle, Bean and Brush, Agape Bride, Manchester Made, Nail and Beauty Clinic, RAN personal training, Ithaca Hair and Ashton On Mersey Golf club.

James and Jo would also like to thank Wedding Day Photography for the use of a photo-booth as well as The Window Company for their generous donation towards the buffet.

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Sale West Credit Union…The smart way to save

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SAVING money can be difficult, especially when you are on a tight budget or have a young family. Sale West Credit Union offers help and support, as well as an affordable way to save and borrow money, for anyone living in the M33 area.

Management Board members and retired postmasters, Avtar and Gladys Diggwa both volunteer at Sale West Credit Union, Newbury Avenue, which has been established for almost 20 years.

The scheme works by offering a savings plan where money can be safely invested then, after 12 weeks, a loan can be taken out for twice the amount saved and paid back in low interest manageable payments.

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They currently have almost 800 members and are keen to offer their service to more. Avtar, 68 said: “We encourage both thrift and saving and are happy to offer advice to anyone finding their finances a struggle.

“There has been an increase in demand for our services recently and we are hoping to open more branches as well as offer a crisis fund for those in severe need, in a bid to combat the pay day lender.”

The Sale West branch is open twice a week, Monday between 9.30 – 11.30am and again on Thursday evenings, from 7 until 8.30pm. There is also a collection office in Sale Moor and, with both planning for longer opening hours, more volunteers and investors are being sought.

For more information on saving with the Credit Union, or to volunteer please contact Avtar on 07802876318 or avtar.diggwa@ntlworld.com

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Mission not-so Impossible for Sale Trio

 

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THRILL seeking sisters Bella Forster and Sarah Bogart are back from their European Crumball Rally adventure, winning third place over-all and raising almost seven hundred pound for charity.

The girls were joined their mum, Chris Bogart, who stepped in when friend Kelly Johnson fell ill at the last minute.

The trio – from the Sale West estate took part in Crumball Rally, a three-day annual event driving from France to Prague in a customized Peugeot 206.

Raising money for three charities, the girls took part in the race called Mission Impossible, covering 1,500 miles and passing through four countries whilst completing a series of challenges.

Bella, 34, who lives on Chepstow Avenue, Sale said: “ One of the funniest challenges was when we drove through Switzerland dressed as Smurfs.”

Whilst in fancy dress the team had to navigate across The Stelvio Pass, which boasts the highest stretch of road in the Eastern Alps, it was here that they came across a fellow driver that had broke down.

Stopping to offer sandwiches and water, as well as replacing a faulty fuse, the girl’s kindness was rewarded when they finished the race and were declared overall third, for both best car design and team spirit.

Chris Bogart, 52 and grandmother of 19 said:  “It was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, and I loved every minute of it.”

The girls are planning on returning to Crumball next year, in a bid to raise more money for their chosen charities.

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