Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to visit Hopefield Animal Sanctuary for an Influencer event that they were hosting .I took my Son along with me as I knew he would enjoy meeting the animals.

We were given a guided tour of the sanctuary and an informative talk telling us all about the necessary work that they do at Hopefield. After our tour we were then treated to a delicious vegan afternoon tea served up in their on site tearoom.

The sanctuary is located in Brentwood, not far from where I live in Essex. I had driven past it on many occasions as the paddocks back onto the A12, a road that I use regularly, but I had never actually visited. My view from the A12 gave the impression that Hopefield is a small horse sanctuary, which of course it is, however it is actually so much more.

The Sanctuary was founded In 1983 by Paula and Ernie Clark, after seeing the plight of the increasing number of abandoned ponies and cobs being left abandoned on Rainham Marshes. Today the Sanctuary is home to over 450 rescued animals, not just horses. They range from unwanted pet rabbits and cats, horses and cattle to the more exotic including tortoises, snakes, raccoons, alpaca and reindeer,

One of Hopefield’s first residents was Hope a 35 year old horse. Hope was rescued at just 6 months old from the meat market where she had been separated from her mother and was found hiding in a corner scared and alone.

Hope is a lovely horse and thanks to the care she has received is now quite used to human contact.

Hope suffers from a foot condition so cannot walk in mud. This is why her paddock is floored with concrete. It allows her to enjoy being outdoors even in wet conditions. This is just one example of how Hopefield will adapt its facilities to match an individual animals needs.

Hopefield operates with a no kill policy meaning that they will never put a healthy animal down. Some of the animals have been rescued from terrible conditions, injured, malnourished and with complex physiological issues. The team will do their best to provide the specialist care and treatment required.

Some of animals have found their way to Hopefield as they have been considered to no longer have any value for their previous owners. These male dairy cows for example would usually be destroyed at birth considered worthless.

Other residents have found themselves at Hopefield due to being purchased as unsuitable pets. These Racoon dogs might  look very cute but do not make good pets. They found their way into the UK pet market from China. They are a wild animal though and cannot be domesticated. Luckily they were able to find a home at the sanctuary. Often unwanted animals are just dumped by their previous owners.

Hopefield do such fantastic work rescuing animals that would otherwise live a life that is full of suffering. They can only do this through fundraising and with the help of volunteers.

If you want to help you can do so by making a donation via their website. There is also an animal adoption scheme. We plan on adopting Slow Coach, the tortoise on the left in the picture below. He has scarring on his shell as he was kept in too small an enclosure. The heat lamps where so low they burnt his shell. This shell damage is permanent and will not grow back. It doesn’t slow him down though he was actually quite fast for a tortoise!

My Son instantly fell in love with Slow coach. He loves tortoises and wants one as a pet. We have had to tell him no though as it would be irresponsible of us to even entertain the idea. It is just not possible for us to provide the required home for one. My Son is excited to adopt Slow Coach though and will be able to visit him at Hopefield.

If you wanted to visit the Sanctuary and meet the animals for yourself it is open to the public. Opening times are  Fridays through to Monday, between 11 and 4pm.

Entry fees are very reasonable at just £16 for a family ticket. (2 adults, 2 children).

A visit makes for a lovely afternoon out, not only to you get to see a wide variety of different animals but it is very educational and helps to support their ongoing work. The tea room is also a great place to grab refreshments whilst you are there. We really enjoyed our afternoon tea!

If you could adopt an animal what kind of animal would you adopt? Let me know in the comments.

#MummyMonday | Pokemon Go the bane off my life??

Unless you’ve been under a rock somewhere remote you can’t fail to have noticed the latest craze that is Pokemon Go. My two boys are obsessed, and to be quite frank they are driving me up the wall.

Honestly If I had a pound for everytime I heard “Mum, Mum, MUM!! Can we go look for Pokemon?” I’d be rich. It’s fair to say that at times its doing my head in. 

Now as weird as it may sound after that little moan, I actually think that the Pokemon Go app is a good thing. Let me tell you why. 

Just before the school summer holidays I wrote a blog post talking about how difficult I found it to keep the boys Screen time down to an acceptable limit. Pokemon Go does require a smartphone, which I class as screen time, but here’s the difference, it is actually encouraging the boys to not want to sit on their bottoms and get out and about more. 

If the boys have a Pokemon egg they want to hatch then they are desperate to go out for a walk as walking a certain distance is the only way to hatch Pokemon eggs. This is great as it means they are much more active and getting some fresh air. See here’s one they hatched earlier. I couldn’t tell you what Pokemon it is though.

It’s not just the kids that are benefiting from this as we have made a habit of going for a family post dinner walk now. I’m getting out for regular walks as well. 

I make the time to go out with the kids as having heard a few horror stories about people being the victims of muggings or more bizarrely managing to walk off cliffs (how??)  whislt playing Pokemon go I am reassured that they are safe. 

Even when I’m with the boys I am constantly having to remind them about road safety. 

This may also sound like an over reaction but if I see a group of what I consider to be undesirables ahead of us I make the kids put the phone away till we have passed them. Okay I’m judging people by appearance and body language but it’s important for the kids to understand that there are people out there that would be more than happy to steal their phone given half the chance. So why advertise the fact you have one on you? 

One thing I’m not so keen on when it comes to Pokemon Go, well…that’s the cartoon itself. Yup it’s available for viewing on Netflix, and Oh My God it’s annoying! I’m definitely not up for cuddles on the sofa watching that. 

So yes the constant “Mum Mum MUM! Can I check Pokemon Go ?” is blooming annoying, but it has found a positive place in our lives. 

#MummyMonday | That damn Xbox!

One of the most difficult things I find about being a parent in 2016 is controlling the level of screen time my kids partake of. If they had their own way they could happily spend a day divided between playing on the Xbox, watching YouTube, Netflix or playing Angry Birds on a hand held device. 

It’s not even done quietly now, as thanks to Xbox live and those darn gaming headsets they are shrieking their heads off in the living room with their virtual mates. It feels like my living room is being invaded by a bunch of rautious 12 year olds. 

Oh and before you say ‘But you let them have them, stop moaning’ The Xbox is actually their fathers (who never gets a look in now, ha ha) and a well meaning grandparent supplied the headset. Thanks!! You don’t have to listen to it! 

I’m fairly strict about the rules surrounding levels of usage, however my kids are crafty little buggers and always try and bend said rules. I’d be lying if I said they hadn’t got one past me on more than one occasion. 

My two boys are both early birds, so a favourite trick is to creep downstairs  and play on it whilst Mummy and Daddy are still asleep.  

We’ve tried unplugging all the devices but no, they are more technologically savvy than we are and so have figured out how to connect it all up again. Without fail they will be happily playing on the Xbox when our morning alarm goes off. For how long?? Your guess is a good as mine. Yes, I know, that makes me sound like a terrible parent. 

My answer at the moment is to lay down a ‘to do list’ before they are allowed to go near the Xbox. At least it then limits some of their available time. 

  • Tidy room
  • Homework done 
  • Ready for school
  • Practise guitar 

If I find out they have skipped on anything then nasty mummy will ban them from any further screen usage until the next day. 

I won’t lie I find that option a complete pain in the bum as then I’m constantly getting ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I don’t know what to do’. 

When did kids lose their imagination? 

The summer holidays are coming up and I’m determined that it won’t be spent in front of a screen. Their lack of imagination though is going to mean mummy coming up with activities that they won’t turn their noses up at. Help??

I reckon I’m going to be exhausted by September. 

If you have any suggestions, that don’t involve robbing a bank, send them my way please. 

So far I’m thinking of visiting a local maize maze, den building, and heaven forbid the rain stops visiting the beach. 

Learning To Allow My Child To Take The Lead With his Diabetes Management 

When you have a child with a serious medical condition it can become very easy to fall into the trap of doing everything for them. Whilst this is fine when they are young, and in some cases necessary,  as your child develops into a teen and then an adult this can actually be detrimental to the long term management of their condition.

It’s a given that as your child grows their need for freedom and independence increases, consequently as a parent you are not going to be there to hold their hand through every step of their journey through life. This is why from an early age they need to be learning about their medical condition and how to take ownership of it.
What does that actually mean though? Let me fill you in a little bit about our experience so far with our son.

Harrison has Type 1 Diabetes, his diagnosis was at the age of 6 and he is now 12 years old and has just started at secondary school.

We were very worried about the move from primary to secondary school as it meant he would no longer have one to one supervision provided for his medical care. He also would have to get the bus to school with his elder sister, which meant another snack time and possible injections unsupervised.

The change to his care was inevitable so we had to prepare him for this. Although I have to admit I was very reluctant to, this resulted in us the parent taking a step back from leading his diabetes care.

I can not begin to tell you how difficult this was, any parents natural instinct is to do their utmost to help their child however possible. Handing over responsibility to Harrison for his own care has actually been a huge challenge on a personal level.

Now before we go any further I just want to say that we haven’t washed our hands completely of any  responsibility for managing his Diabetes. That would be irresponsible. Rather we have allowed him to lead the way in decision making such as working out when  insulin injections are required and the dosage required.

I would be fibbing if I told you that mistakes have’nt been made. I would say Harrison is very cautious about taking extra correction doses and will leave himself occasionally running a little high at school. We have to remind him that he should be aiming for his target range of 4-6.5 mmol and to trust his smart meter. In time though with greater confidence I’m sure we can achieve this.

Harrison has also been very resistant to injecting in certain areas of his body. He has tried injecting in his abdomin but he has little body fat here and hates injecting there as he says this area hurts more. Harrison no longer injects in his tummy for this reason and that has been his decision.

Doctors have also brought up with him about switching to using an Insulin pump instead of Injections. At the moment he doesn’t want to, but he may change his mind in the future. It’s his body and his condition so ultimately the decision will be his. Our role will be to help him with finding out the information about how an insulin pump would work and to weigh up the pros and cons.

Harrison has always been very responsible about the management of his Diabetes and his Hba1c blood tests are good. If his condition was unstable then we would have to step in and guide him back in the right direction.

I anticipate a few challenges as we progress through his teenage years. I would be very naive if I wasn’t prepared for this. Rapid growth spurts, hormones and general teenage rebellion will all have an effect on his condition.

For now it is up to us the parent to provide the education about his condition and possible side effects of poor diabetes management. It is a sound knowledge about his condition that will help him live life managing his condition rather than the condition managing his life.

Yes he’s always going to be a little bit different but we wouldn’t hold him back from doing what he wants with his life. University? travel? The world is his oyster! I can only hope that his attitude to good Diabetes management continues into adulthood. It’s our role as responsible parents to prepare him for this and if that means taking a step back from leading his care then that is something I am going to have to find peace with. Processed with Moldiv

Mummy Monday – What my kid’s really think Part 2

Hi guys,

I have come to the conclusion that my blog can be a little bit confusing at times. It doesn’t always communicate who I am as person. Maybe that is because it is primarily a beauty blog? My kid’s though are a  huge part of who I am, so I have decided to dedicate Monday’s to sharing blog posts relating to my life as a mummy. So if this is the type of post that interests you then remember to look out for them on a Monday morning, they will have the accompanying #MummyMonday.

This week I decided to continue with a previous Q&A I did with my kids. You can check out the first instalment with my daughter Molly here. This week is the turn of Harrison, ‘the middle child’.  He is 11 and going up to senior school in September.


So what does Harrison really think of his Mum?

1. What is something Mummy always says to you?

(Giggling) I can’t think of anything.

2. What makes Mummy Happy?


3. What makes Mummy Sad?


4. How does Mummy make you laugh?

When she makes funny jokes.

5.What was Mummy like as a child?

How am I supposed to know that? (he has a fair point)

6. How old is Mummy?

32 (yes!! another one that thinks I’m younger than I am).

7. How tall is Mummy?

uhh? I don’t have a clue.

8. What is Mummy’s favourite thing to do?

Spending time with the Family.

spending time with the family on star wars day

9. What does Mummy do when you are not here?

Sewing, (um I promise I do more than sitting around sewing all day).

10. If Mummy becomes famous what will it be for?

Blogging. (ha ha I love this response, watch this space you heard it from Harrison first!)

11. What is Mummy really good at?


12. What is Mummy not very good at?

uhh, I don’t know? (I’m taking that as he just thinks I’m good at everything ha ha, if only he new)

13. What is Mummy’s Job?

He shrugs his shoulders.

14. What makes you proud of Mummy?

Long pause and a very blank expression

15. What is Mummy’s favourite food?

Chocolate (I do like my chocolate, that and cake)

16. What do you and Mummy do together?

Talk (ha ha this kid is so literal)

17. How are you and Mummy the same?

Long Long pause. (In his eyes we are so not)

18. If your Mummy was a cartoon character who would she be?

(Long Pause) I’m thinking mum, (another pause) no can’t think of anyone.

19. How are you and Mummy different?

I like gaming, and you are rubbish at it. (excuse me he has never seen me play sonic on a Sega Mega-drive).

20. How do you know Mummy loves you?

Because you care for us (such simple words but wow, mummy feels blessed)

21. What does Mummy like best about Daddy?

(laughing) I don’t know!

22. Where is Mummy’s favourite place to go?

I don’t know, that’s not something I’ve thought about before.

23. How old was Mummy when she had you?

21  (I could see he was clearly doing the maths in his head )

So Harrison being a young man of 11, clearly is a man of few words. Typical boy maybe? Still as far as I can tell he thinks his mum cooks well, sews all day, is great at most things apart from playing computer games. I must be giving off some kind of 1950’s gender specific vibe,  Awks!

As far as he’s concerned I’m a happy sole as long as you feed me tea and chocolate. Ha ha he’s not far off!

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