Finding the Perfect Party Venue

I can’t believe that my son is almost 17, before I know it he’ll be 18 and wanting a party to celebrate becoming an adult!

I still remember my 18th at our local pub which was owned by my friend’s parents at the time. I had a wonderful time, but sadly the pub is no longer there.

Me playing darts at my 18th Birthday Party

Planning an 18th Birthday Party

Nowadays, birthday parties are a big deal. When I was a child, you didn’t get a party bag for attending a birthday party, the food and games were all the gift you got. Nowadays, children not only expect, but I’ve even heard them demand a party bag!

This is even more of an issue when it comes to an 18th birthday party. You suggest to a teenager that he has a few friends round to the house and it won’t go down very well.

I recently saw in a magazine that Gordon Ramsey’s daughter wore a dress worth £2,200 to her 18th birthday bash, not to mention having Ed Sheeran perform live!

Tilly, the birthday girl, with her sisters, Holly and Meghan and mum, Tana

Yet for most of us mere mortals, we can never dream of hosting such an extravagant party, but we still want to give our child the 18th Birthday Party of their dreams… at a more affordable level!

Then there’s the issue of alcohol. Especially if you host the party in your own home. Just because your child is old enough to drink, doesn’t mean that their friends are and you could be at risk of being charged with supplying minors with alcohol!

This is where finding an event to host the party can be handy. Some venues can organise everything for you, from the food to the entertainment as well as providing the alcohol and dealing with the issue of underage drinking. With less responsibility on your shoulders and less to worry about, you can just sit back and relax and enjoy the party.

How Square Meal can help!

Square Meal offers Restaurant Reviews as well as a great site to find lots of different party venues, meeting venues, restaurants, Christmas Parties or wedding venues.

Once you’ve chosen the area you want to hold the party, you have several checkboxes to help you select the ideal party venue!

So now it’s time to get my son involved and find out exactly HOW he wants to celebrate his 18th birthday!

Finding a Venue

Now I’ve decided to give him an 18th birthday party, I have to find somewhere to hold it. My cousin struggled with her daughter’s 18th as so many places wouldn’t cater to an 18th birthday party as they had had so much trouble. Sadly, with no venues willing to allow her to host her daughters 18th birthday party, her party was cancelled.

This is why I’m planning ahead! I have over a year to find the perfect venue and give him the party he deserves. I can then use my experience to help plan my other children’s 18th, which will soon arrive.


Once the venue is chosen you can look at designs or themes. You can see what the venue provides, such as food, entertainment and decorations.

Before you know it, the day of the party will be here and have booked a venue, all you will have to do is celebrate! Leaving the rest in the hands of the venue

ACE for Colours #ACEWinterRefresh #AD

*** This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge, sponsored by ACE for Colours Powder. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper and pick up the range at your nearest Morrison’s store or buy online on Amazon. ***

ACE Winter Refresh

Autumn is fast becoming my favourite season of the year. I love the colours of the trees, the smell of frost in the air, the coolness of the mornings and evening (I don’t cope with hot weather). We used to go on canal boat holidays during October half-term and autumn reminds me of those holidays.

I love the excitement of children as they have Halloween, Bonfire Night and then Christmas to look forward to.

I love watching the magnificent colours of the trees as the leaves change.

But most of all, I love getting my winter wardrobes out of storage. When I can snuggle up under my hoodies whilst walking the dog.

The problem with stored clothes is that when you pull them out of storage, they can feel a little flat. I store a lot of clothes, with four daughters I have piles waiting for my younger two to grow into, and I could never pull them out of storage without washing them first!

Even storing them in vacuum bags I still think they need a wash before you can use them.

ACE Winter Refresh Challenge

With winter coming, it’s a good time to pull clothes out of storage. My warmer winter hoodies as well as the perfect time to sort my youngest daughters clothes out and swap them for the next size up.

This is why I was thrilled to have the chance to try a new washing powder. ACE.

Trying ACE for Colours

I was sent a sample of Ace for colours washing powder and I put a load in the wash with all the clothes I had just pulled out of storage and my usual washing powder.

I must admit, I had never heard of Ace before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I immediately liked the fact that the box was 100% recyclable. Living by the sea, I see first hand the impact that plastic pollution can have and I keep looking for little ways I can help the environment, so this was a big plus for me.

When I pulled the clothes out of the dryer (we have no garden to hang our clothes) I was impressed with how fresh they felt after being vacum-packed for six months or longer. They helped the clothes keep their colour, which is always a plus to me when I want clothes to be handed down without fading. Plus some of my clothes are older than my children so anything that helps them last is always.

Using ACE for Colours

ACE isn’t a washing powder. It is a stain remover that you add to your wash to help get rid of stains. It can be used as a pre-wash, to treat stains or added to your detergent in the washing machine.

For pre-treatment:

  1. Mix one tablespoon (about 17g) with six tablespoons (about 40g) of warm water (maximum 40°C)
  2. Apply the mix on the stain for a maximum of five minutes and rub the stain as needed.
  3. Wash as usual straight afterwards.

For soaking:

  1. Mix four tablespoons (about 70g) of ACE with four litres of water (maximum 40°C)
  2. Leave for a maximum of one hour for coloured items, and a maximum of six hours for white items
  3. After soaking, rinse thoroughly or wash as usual

In the washing machine:

  1. Add the detergent as usual.
  2. For normal soiling/stains, add two tablespoons (about 35g) of product into main wash dispenser, whilst the water flows at the start of the wash.
  3. For heavy soiling/stains or tough and dried-in stains, double the dosage.

Would I buy ACE for Colours again?

Ace for Colours is available at Morrisons or Amazon and at Morrisons, it currently costs £3 for a 450g box or £2.99 at Amazon. Because it isn’t available in my local shops is a bit of a problem, as I don’t have a Morrisons near me. I could buy it from Amazon, but this would be something I would pick up in my usual shop.

Finding a famous cousin – Who could it be?

finding a famous cousin text with person outline and 6th cousin 1x removed

One thing I always find amazing when researching my family tree, is how many cousins we have!

But then, I also wonder why I’m so surprised. If you go back just 10 generations, to your 8th great grandparents, you have 1024 of them. Even more if you go back further, you have a shocking 2048 9th great grandparents!

image showing how many grandparents you have
parents - 2
Grandparents - 4
great grandparents - 8
2nd  great grandparents - 16
3rd great grandparents - 32
4th great grandparents - 64
5th great grandparents - 128
6th great grandparents - 256
7th great grandparents - 512
8th great grandparents - 1,024
9th great grandparents - 2,048
10th great grandparents - 4,096
Wish I could have a £1 for every great grandparent I have!

In fact, if you go back far enough, you have more grandparents than there are people in the world. Cousins marrying cousins (distant and close) helps explain that. But do you know what that means? It means, if you go back far enough, you will find you are related to every single person on this planet!

This also means, theoretically, that I should have some famous relatives!

But, I never found any. Even with the aid of the, We’re Related App which is no longer used, all my famous relatives were proven to be false.

Until recently, when I found a connection! A surprising connection which would take me from the UK and across the ocean to America.

My Famous Cousin and our Most Recent Common Ancestor

My 6th Great Grandparents were Henry Canham born in London approx 1691 (286 years before me) who married 18-year-old Sarah Philips on the 6th November 1715 in Greenwich, London. They had at least 5 children that I know about, one of whom I’m descended through and the other my famous cousin.

My Line – From our MRCA to My grandparents

Henry and Sarah’s youngest son was my 5th great grandfather. His name was Joseph Canham, and he was born approximately 1729. He married a lady called Mary and they had at least one daughter. Her name was Charlotte Canham and she was born in Woolwich in 1762 and baptised on the 14th April 1761. Charlotte was my 4th great grandmother.

At the age of 23, Charlotte married William Champion on the 6th August 1785 in Woolwich, Kent. Together they had nine children. Their youngest was Sutherland Henry Champion.

Sutherland was my 3rd great grandfather and he was born on the 6th November 1801 in Woolwich, Kent. On the 18th January, he married Elizabeth Turney in Saint Mary, Newington, Surrey. Sadly, in 1831 Elizabeth passed away leaving Sutherland a widower with two young sons. On the 12th March 1832 in Lee, Kent, Sutherland married Ann Lydia Smith Riches.

Sutherland and Ann were my 3rd great grandparents. Together they had 10 children plus Sutherland’s two children from a previous marriage making it twelve.

Sutherland and Ann were blessed with a set of twins in 1839, but sadly the girl twin passed away shortly after her birth and her brother aged 4. After this set of twins, Ann conceived another set just two years later. Two boys, Josiah Riches Champion and Titus Riches Champion. Luckily both boys survived to adulthood and had families of their own. Josiah lived to the age of 50 and Titus aged 57. Two more children were born after Titus and Josiah.

Titus and Josiah were born on the 10th August 1841 and Titus is my 2nd great grandfather. In 1869, Titus married Eliza Lavinia Barber in Lewisham, London. Together they had five children, including a daughter who died at birth. Sadly, in 1880 Eliza died, leaving Titus a widower with four young children, the oldest aged just 7 and the youngest two. What happened next I can only speculate, but I think, to help him look after the children, Eliza’s niece arrived.

On the 2nd of January 1881, Titus married his second wife, Eliza’s niece, Emma Woodgate at Mile End Old Town, London. Together they had nine children. Titus died on the 24th February 1899 in Bromley, Kent.

One of my favourite pictures is this one of Emma and her children/step-children and their partners. To help identify them I added numbers using paint.

a group of adults with their mother and spouses
1 – Ernest George Champion 2 – Herbert Cook (Husband of Lillian Maud Champion) 3 – Charles Lettington (Husband of Olive Henrietta Champion) 4 – Olive Henrietta Champion 5 – Charles Clare (Husband of Gladys Florence.Champion) 6 – Gladys Florence Eva Champion 7 – Joseph Greenaway (Husband of Lynda Beatrice Champion) 8 – Lynda Beatrice Emily Champion 9 – Burley Titus Riches Champion 10 – Gwendolene Bessie Powell (Wife of Burley Titus Riches Champion) 11 – Frederick W Wood (Husband of Helen Agnes Champion) 12 – Annie Ousley (wife of Ernest George Champion) 13 – Lillian Maud Mary Champion 14 – James Sutherland Champion 15 – Emma Woodgate 16 – Thomas Henry Champion 17 – Emily E Waterton (Wife of Thomas Henry Champion) 18 – Helen Agnes Champion 19 – Lillian Aspinell

Titus and Emma’s first child was James Sutherland Champion born in 1881. James was my great grandfather. He is number 14 on the picture above with his wife number 19.

On the 21st May 1904 at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Bromley, Kent James married Lillian Elizabeth Aspinell and together they had four children, the youngest is my nana.

My Cousin’s Line

Shooting back to Henry and Sarah Canham, my 6th great grandparents, we follow another line. The line of Henry Canham who was born on the 2nd of July 1721. My 6th great uncle.

On the 11th March 1759 at St Mary Magdalene Church in Woolwich, Henry married Freelove Cross. Together they had eight children. Their 7th born child, George Canham. George married Elizabeth White and they had two daughters, Elizabeth Ann and Nancy Ann.

Nancy Ann was born on the 12th December 1805 in Blackheath, Greenwich. She then had a son with George Osmond III (she didn’t marry him) and named her son George Osmond IV.

Any idea yet as to who my cousin is???

George Osmond IV, my 3rd cousin 4 times removed, was born on the 23rd May 1836 in Hackney, London. He then emigrated to America where he married Mary Georgina Huckvale in St Louis, Missouri. Together they had ten children. George then married Christiana Lovina Amelia Jacobsen and had another six children.

George and Christiana son Rulon “Roland” Osmond was born on the 17th August 1893 in Lincoln, Wyoming. He married Agnes La Verna Van Noy on the 8th October 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah and they had four children but sadly he died as a young father, just four years later. A month after the birth of his youngest child, George Virl Osmond.

Any idea yet? Have you noticed a pattern???

George Virl Osmond, my 5th cousin twice removed, married Olive May Davis in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had nine children. Nine very famous children.

My 6th cousins once removed, or 6th cousins as I say for ease are:

  • Alan
  • Wayne
  • Merril
  • Jay
  • Tom
  • Virl
  • Donny
  • Jimmy
  • Marie

Also known as The Osmonds!!!

my famous cousins, the famous Osmonds and their parents
The Osmonds with their parents

Rootstech London, 24-26th October 2019

Even more exciting is that Donny is appearing at Rootstech next month in London as, just like me, he has a long-held interest in genealogy. I’m hoping I can go as I would love to go up to him and say “Hi Cuz!”

Donny Osmond picture with text saying Donny Osmond, Entertainer, 26th October at 11am

The Kindness Co-op Ghost T-Shirt Supporting Young Minds

Young Minds is a charity that is close to my heart. Several of my children have suffered with their mental health and anxiety. Which is why, as soon as I saw that the Kindness Co-Op was launching a limited edition Ghost t-shirt in support of the mental health charity Young Minds, I knew I had to support it.


This awesome ghost t-shirt is an exclusive limited-edition design for Halloween. The shirt is made with 100% organic cotton and the unisex design makes it suitable for every child.

The design features a cute little ghost with The Kindness Co-op’s signature eyes as part of the word BOO!

Also, every purchase of this t-shirt with come with a free matching button badge. As well as a free and exclusive illustrated activity booklet and sticker sheet. Your child also has the knowledge that they have become a “kindness ambassador”

The limited-edition t-shirts cost £14 and come in sizes 3-14 years and for every t-shirt sold a portion of the profits will be donated to YoungMinds

The t-shirt is available exclusively from

Young Minds

YoungMinds is a charity whose sole mission is to make sure all young minds get the best mental health support available. They are leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges.

The crisis in children and young people’s mental health is real and it is urgent. I have first-hand experience of this. and have the resilience to overcome life’s challenges. Shockingly, 3 children in every classroom have a mental health problem and YoungMinds are there to help.

More children and young people than ever before are crying out for help with their mental health and parents are struggling to support them. This is why YoungMinds are fighting for young people’s mental health and that’s why it is so important to me.

About the Kindness Co-op

The Kindness Co-op was launched by two friends, Lucie and Charlie, with the purpose of promoting kindness towards others, especially amongst children, ourselves and the environment. Being mums, they have always tried to teach their children about looking after the planet that they are going to inherit and looking after each other. Seeing their children demonstrate unprompted acts of kindness filled them with pride and they decided they wanted to create a brand to encourage this ethos through inspirational clothing and accessories.

In 2018, The Kindness Co-op launched as a socially responsible brand offering organic clothing for children and adults featuring inspirational designs. Since then, the brand has grown and now offers a range of accessories including tote bags, notebooks and badges.

It was important to Lucie and Charlie to have a philanthropic element to the brand so with every item sold they donate a portion of the profit to the wonderful charity YoungMinds.

*** To support The Kindness Co-op and YoungMinds I have waived my usual fee for a sponsored post as this is something close to my heart ***

Three Mobile Network, Three Live, Three App & Three Store Now

Three Mobile Network

For many years now I’ve been a Three mobile phone customer. I wanted a provider who had great coverage, great prices and great customer service and with Three mobile, you get all three!

We live in quite a rural area and we have a strong 4g signal, we do lose it whilst driving, but we soon pick it up again. The black spots where we don’t have a signal, are black spots to all providers, not just Three mobile.

I love Three mobile so much that my whole family uses this network and I recommend it to my friends.

Contacting Three

Three have several ways for you to contact them without having to go into the store or calling their customer service line. These include the Three App, Three Live and Three Store Now. These are really helpful, especially if you don’t like calling or don’t live near a store when you have a question or want to know more about a new phone.

Three Live

Three Live is available on their website where you can find 30-minute sessions with their experts sharing demos of the latest phones and tablets. They feature all the features and functions and you can ask for stuff you’d really like to see or know. All you need to do is click the Three Live link on the store page. If you have a question for customer services, you can live chat via their “Live chat with us now” option or email via the “Get customer service support

Three Store Now

Three Store Now is ideal if you want a new phone but can’t make it to their store. If you’re buying online and want some advice, simply press “Live chat with us now” on any product page and select “Find the right deal for me”. This will put you in touch with a real sales assistant in a store who will be able to take you through your questions.

Three App

Three App is available on iOS and Android and offers you complete control of your account. Allowing you to check your balance and allowance, view your bills, find support, look for upgrades, talk to us via Live Chat and many many more. Another thing I like about Three is their app. It’s really easy to use and to see the information at a glance.

screenshot of the three mobile app dashboard giving you information on your allowance, how much youve used and how much you have left
the three mobile app dashboard saying your allowance and how much allowance you have left and when your allowance reset. As well as an option to get more allowance and to keep track of your next bill

As you can see, the dashboard gives you a quick breakdown of how much allowance you have left and clicking on the tabs, gives you the ability to check your bill date and amount.

The last tab, entitled More… gives you even more choice, including the ability to Live Chat with a Three representative.

A screenshot of the More tab on the Three mobile app. You can then choose which option you want 
my profile - edit personal details, top up a friend, activate new sim, switch to three, move to three pay as you go, leave three, user permissions
Shop - shop for accessories, exclusive customer offers, order your free pay as you go sim
Support - Live chat, network coverage, report a network issue, set up wifi calling, setup wifi on London underground, using your phone abroad, adult content, app diagnostics
Charges - check a call cost, about calls and call charges, calling and texting abroad from the UK
About - about the app, visit the three web site, hub for news, tech and fun, find your nearest store, discovery sessions, play the game, contact us

There’s even a game you can play under More…

three mobile game where you have to get rid of all the coloured balls
The object of the game is to remove all the balls by matching 2 or more of the same colour

Using Three Live Chat & Customer Services

One of my favourite things is how easy it is to contact Three. I often use the Live Chat option on my Three App. I hate talking on the phone, if I can email, text or live chat then I will! So whenever I have a problem with Three I always use Live Chat.

an image of a live chat session using the three app

Take a problem I had recently where my daughter had decided to buy data add-ons during the summer. I would turn the internet off at night to encourage them to sleep, but she wanted to stay up all night chatting to her friends. For her, buying an add-on was easy. She has an iPhone so uses iOS but even on iOS she could easily access the Three App and buy add-ons. So without my knowledge, she spent nearly £50 on data add-ons. As you can imagine, when her bill came this was a HUGE shock!

At first, we weren’t sure whose bill was £50 as all our mobiles are on Three and the direct debits are due the same day. So I spent the morning marching around and demanding to check their Three Live app. Finally, I found the correct phone. Becky, my 14-year-old daughter!

I then contacted Three to discuss her bill and to see how we could resolve this. Especially as I was under the impression that having her contract capped meant she couldn’t run up such a big bill but sadly it doesn’t cap add-ons. Normally, this would mean a phone call but being someone who suffers from social anxiety and a bit of a wallflower, having the opportunity to use Live Chat was a needed lifeline.

As usual, the Three representative was really helpful and knowledgeable. They apologised for the misunderstanding about the add-ons not being covered by the price cap, but as a gesture of goodwill were willing to credit the account £20 as they could see how annoying and frustrating this could be.

Suggested Improvements

Of course, Three if you’re reading this. There are a few things you could do to help prevent this from happening. Like a PIN – such as the last 4 digits of the bank account from where the direct debit is paid or card, could prevent children from buying add-ons without their parents’ consent!

*** This is a Sponsored Post ***