Month: September 2015

Coffee time!

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It happens every year: August is a burn out, in more ways than one, and then BOOM! The weather changes and we’re straight back on the Mallorca merry go round of charity events and get togethers. I’ve got to admit, I do love our island for that. This Friday I am helping to organise “Mallorca’s Biggest Coffee Morning” which will be at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes and in aid of the cancer organisations on the island. It’s only 5€ per person which gives you a cup of coffee, a slice of cake, and a nice warm glow. You can bring friends, or make some when you get there as it’s normally quite busy. Doors open at 11am and then at 1pm there will be a menu special offer (call Mood for info as you have to book by Thursday afternoon, 971 676 456). Izzy Newman will be singing and being her lovely self, there will be cake competitions (thankfully for my waistline I am not a judge) which you can enter if you would like to. The categories will be Best: chocolate, sponge, fruit, cupcake or decorated, and you need to bring your creation to the venue between 10 and 10.30am on the day.

We’ve also got an fine offering of prizes for the best cakes, and some excellent raffle prizes as well. I have all of these in my hot little hands, I’m trying to figure out which ones I am going to “lose” and keep for myself, heh heh heh! So, if you are at the event on Friday you might win:  a painting by Vivian Borsani , a voucher for a pair of TopAs shoes, a 25€ voucher for Gaia Bathtime in Palma, a voucher from Salon Bling for a Shellac manicure, a voucher for a photography session with Aimee K Photography, a voucher for a facial from Bodhana Wellness in Portals, a voucher for a massage from Bodhana Wellness in Portals, four sessions with the Mallorca Tutoring Academy, a session of yoga with Saskia Griffiths, a makeup session with Laura Gisbert, a crystal ball from Angela Pryce, a book voucher from Kay Halley at Universal Bookshop, a voucher from Clare Jury at Nice Price, a voucher for a Jessica Geleration – gel polish treatment  from Lauren Watson at Studio 1, a voucher for a nutritional consultation from Suzanne Garaty, a voucher for a microdermabrasion facial from the HSJ Clinic and Doctor Huw Jones, and handmade jewellery from Confetti and Julia Ball. Not a bad list eh? And there’s more! So please make sure you come along on Friday and support the event.

Climb every mountain

Sa Foradada

“I’m not going. I’m NOT!” My daughter, La Gidg, has determinedly set out her stall over the last weeks  after we announced our plan to go for a walk en famille to the “hole in the rock restaurant” at Sa Foradada in Deia. Completely understandable really: last time she went on a big walk involving a steep hill climb and descent (January 2015, Sa Trapa) she slipped and fell, slicing her leg open. We ended up in hospital having her knee stitched up to the tune of fifteen external and god knows how many (official statistics were hard to come by) internal stitches. This incident was then followed by several weeks of outpatient appointments to the paediatric department and a as yet pending plastic surgery operation for this winter coming. She could get away with saying that a shark attacked her the scar is that big and scary. Accompanying the scar came a fear of repeating the incident and hurting herself again. She was extraordinarily brave when we made our way down after she fell, keeping going through extreme pain and in very difficult circumstances, but her courage seemed to have given way to what some might say was a sensible approach, but my husband and I thought was overly cautious to the point of avoidance. We’re not the most “outward bound” type of family, although we do try, so her new approach to going for a walk on a Sunday didn’t really go down that well. We tried a variety of arguments to get her to change her mind: rationalising that it was a fluke accident that was unlikely to repeat, playing it cool and waiting for her to change her mind through the sheer amount of time that had passed, and most recently, blackmail. That good old fashioned parenting tool which has to be got out of the box now and again. Really we needed to get her “back on the horse” and back on the trail as we knew that the fear could be overcome, and we knew that the fear had to be overcome. So, last Sunday, following a couple of quite difficult ultimatums, we finally got on the track. My husband went ahead of us and we were left to make our way down on our own, just as we had when we descended from Sa Trapa in January. Walking slowly down to the sea, and to lunch, my daughter and I had the time of our lives. We gossiped about boys, we talked about funny things that she had done when she was a baby, and we spoke about the future. We looked after each other going down the steep path, and then back up it again, and don’t be mistaken, it’s a tough hot, breathless climb back up. But that’s to be expected isn’t it, and facing your fears, whatever they are, has to be done, whatever age you are.  www.familymattersmallorca.com

Back to School!

 

Blog Photo - Back to School.

As our children’s long holidays come to an end and summer winds down, it’s time to get ready for a new school year. Hooray!

As with any new or potentially unsettling situation — like starting school for the first time or entering a new year or new school — allow kids time to adjust. Remind them that everyone feels a little nervous about the first day of school and that it will all become an everyday routine in no time.

Emphasize the positive things about going back to school, such as playing with old friends, meeting new classmates, buying cool school supplies, and getting involved in sports and other activities.

It’s also important to talk to kids about what worries them and offer reassurance: Are they afraid they won’t make new friends or get along with their teachers? Is the thought of schoolwork stressing them out? Are they worried about the bully from last year?

Consider adjusting your own schedule to make the transition smoother. If possible, it’s especially beneficial for parents to be home at the end of the school day for the first week. But many working parents just don’t have that flexibility. Instead, try to arrange your evenings so you can give kids as much time as they need, especially during those first few days.

To help ease back-to-school butterflies, try to transition kids into a consistent school-night routine a few weeks before school starts. Also make sure that they: get enough sleep (establish a reasonable bedtime so that they’ll be well-rested and ready to learn in the morning) eat a healthy breakfast (they’re more alert and do better in school if they eat a good breakfast every day) have them organize and set out what they need the night before (homework and books should be put intheir backpacks by the door and clothes should be laid out in their bedrooms)

 

Here’s some more ideas to make a smooth transition back into the school timetable and get you and your children ready for the new school  year. 

Happy School Children

  1. Take your kids shopping with you. Your kids will be more excited to use their back-to-school supplies if they picked them out. Doing so will help them feel prepared and will also provide an opportunity to talk about how the new supplies might be used in the coming year.
  1. Re-Establish School Routines

Use the last couple of weeks of summer to get into a school-day rhythm. Have your child practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time every morning.  Start eating breakfast, lunch, and snacks around the times your child will eat when school is in session.

It’s also important to get your child used to leaving the house in the morning, so plan morning activities outside the house in the week or two before school. When the school rush comes, hustling your child out the door will be less painful if she has broken summer habits like relaxing in her PJ’s after breakfast.Light Bulb 2.png

  1. Nurture Independence

Once the classroom door shuts, your child will need to manage a lot of things on his own. Get him ready for independence by talking ahead of time about responsibilities he’s old enough to shoulder. This might include organising his school materials, writing down assignments, and bringing home homework.

Even if your child is young, you can instill skills that will build confidence and independence at school. Have your young child practice writing her name and tying her own shoes. The transition to school will be easier for everyone if your child can manage basic needs without relying on an adult.

  1. backpack-309936_960_720Create a Launch Pad

At home, you can designate a spot where school things like backpacks and lunch boxes always go to avoid last-minute scrambles in the morning. You might also have your child make a list of things to bring to school and post it by the front door.

5. Set Up a Time and Place for Homework

Head off daily battles by making homework part of your child’s everyday routine. Establish a time and a place for studying at home. As much as possible, plan to make yourself available during homework time, especially with younger kids. You might be reading the paper or cooking dinner, but be around to check in on your child’s progress.

  1. Pay a visit before school restarts

Try to pass by with your child a few days before school starts to pick up books, check timetables, meet the teachers.

  1. Make it a Family Affair

Together, you and your child can plan for success in school. For instance, sit down with your child to create a routine chart. Ask your child what she wants to do first when she first gets home from school: play outside or do homework? Her answers go on the chart. The more kids have ownership in creating a routine for themselves and setting expectations, the more likely they are to follow it.

  1. Talk early and often. It’s never too early to start talking with and listening to your children about the first day of school. Ask them what they think school will be like and see if they have any specific concerns so that you’ll have time to address it over the next couple of weeks. It’s totally normal to have first day jitters.

Blog Photo - Back to School2

Of course, for many parents it’s also a time of celebration as the school routines herald the return of some structured time in the day, but try not to celebrate TOO loudly! Happy days! 

 

Stand up for James.

James, ready to rock

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find myself amazed and grateful for the life I am living. One of the great things I get to do is to meet interesting people doing unique things, and so this week I met 18 year old James Fitzsimmons. James has been living in Mallorca since he was a toddler. He lives in Andratx with his mum Sharon. One day, when James was eleven his friend rang him up and asked him if he wanted to go kayaking, James said yes, and literally the rest is history. He found a sport which suited him and he it, and very soon he was out on the water as often as he possibly could be. He started to compete and rose through the ranks of his peers to start winning Open Water Kayak races as a junior. And now as an adult, in the Under 23 category he is already winning competitions against older and more experienced “paddlers”.

James now has the opportunity to go to Tahiti and compete in the World Championships (or “World Champs” as he endearingly calls it). His training schedule is relentless and his dedication is impressive, but when you hear that he is doing it with very little organised or formal coaching or support then you begin to be really, really impressed with him. Since turning eighteen and becoming legally an adult, he doesn’t get the same sort of help as he would have done when he was seventeen and younger. Which is an incredible shame. So James’s mum Sharon is fighting to raise the funds to get her son to the South Pacific to compete. If you want to show your support you can join in at Sa Vinya in Es Capdella, Calvia on Sunday September 20th from 16.00 to 20.00 where there will be a fun fundraising event for James (they are planning to put his kayaks in the swimming pool and invite people to try to get into them, it’s much harder than it looks, so there could be a few splashes!). Sponsors for logos on his boat are also being sought to help him raise the 4000€ he needs to get to the competition. When you look around and see so many disillusioned young people it’s wonderful to see one so driven and quietly determined to succeed. Please support or sponsor James and wish him luck in his big World Champ. You can do this by contacting Sharon Grange (jamessurfski@gmail.com 639385874) or Izzy Newman (639693922) or by visiting the Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/Surfski18