Sweden, Blogfest and Deafness

Sweden Stockholm

Its been a mad old week, that’s for sure. You may have noticed that things have been quiet around the blog – Life just simply took over.

We started the week with a trip to Stockholm for Millie’s first ever International competition. I’ve known for a few months that we were going to Sweden but it just didn’t really sink in that we were actually going to get there. The competition went brilliantly with a silver medal finding its way home in the Costello suitcase – All the team did really well and Millie’s scores were fantastic. Great preparation as we head to the big competition of the year in a fortnight – the dreaded Age Group Championships!

Stockholm Synchronised Swimming competition

Sweden Medal Presentation

I wasn’t expecting to see much of Stockholm. Any sporting parent will tell you that you rarely get to explore but surprisingly we had quite a bit of free time after the comp finished. Monday was spent pottering around Stockholm – You know when you are getting old when you prefer to see the old town and leave your daughter and her mates shopping in H&M. In all seriousness though, I though Stockholm was lovely – The palace is smack in the middle of the city and you can walk right up to the front door.

Stockholm City Stockholm City

The little trinket shops are wonderful for doing souvenir shopping and the cafes have the most divine selection of cakes. I may have indulged!

The flight home definitely didn’t help my deafness that I’ve had intermittently since July so Tuesday was a bit of a write off. Turns out that its just congestion rather than ear wax – contrary to my stupidly sexist doctor telling me deafness is caused by the same thing that makes you go blind. He also said the fact that it is affecting my driving is because I’m a woman driver -Time to look for a new doctor I’m thinking! Its awful how lethargic and isolated being semi deaf can make you feel though – The kids have had a great laugh at me and planned all sorts of tricks when I couldn’t hear them.

No sooner had I unpacked then it was time to hop off again. This time to London for a really fascinating day with World Vision UK looking at tracing the steps of a Syrian child (More to follow soon).

Georgian House Hotel

A super night in the Georgian House Hotel in the smallest room known to man and up early to my first appearance to Mumsnet Blogfest conference. It was great to be accompanied by the lovely Emma from Me, The Man And The Kids too. I had heard that Blogfest was much more content led than other blog conferences but was really impressed. The speakers (including Sandy Toksvig, David Baddiel & Val McDermid) were high quality and super interesting to listen to.

Blogfest Speakers 2015

I even booked in to a blog clinic to try to fix my blog look – Many thanks to the lovely Jax Blunt for her time.

I loved the photography session with Hayley Willis and thought the final session chaired by Fi Glover, talking about sharing our private lives in public was like watching a brilliant tv show. I could have listening for hours.

A whirlwind visit to the after show party then home for just one night – I’m spending every Sunday and Monday in Leeds at the moment for Millie’s training. She’s doing so well but I’m knackered!

A Bit Of Everything

Entering into this week’s Happy Diaries Linky


Life as a Synchro Mum

synchronised swimming juniors

About to swim her solo at National Age Group comp 2013

2 years ago we set out on a journey that we had no idea would take over ours and Millie’s life. 2 years ago last week, Millie attended her first ever synchronised swimming lesson in Manchester. God knows why we thought it was a good idea to all troop off to Sale on a Saturday teatime, but off we went. M was soooo nervous but no word of a lie, within 10 minutes those eyes looked up at us on the viewers balcony, and we knew. We were going to be spending a LOT of time poolside!

Even then we didn’t have any concept of how life would change. I’ve mentioned Millie’s swimming on here several times but haven’t really wanted to go into it too much. I do all the proud mum stuff, but its her story really, not mine.

Within months, M was training between 5-7 times per week – sometimes we enforce a day off out of the water but you can bet your life there’s always some element of stretching, splits or dancing going on in her room.

10 months after starting synchro, M passed trials to be accepted onto the England Talent Squad which just blew our mind. She is also on the Development Squad for 2014 which makes us massively proud and makes her hugely happy.

This past weekend she went down to Sheffield to swim in the display at the #swim4Leukaemia fundraising event.

swim4leukaemia becky adlington

The Day Rebecca Adlington was lucky enough to meet the girls from Trafford synchro #swim4leukaemia

Here’s some of the stats of what 2 years in synchro has involved:

  • 74 Nose Pegs (with 20 more on order)
  • Approx 15 boxes of gelatine
  • 21 nights in Premier Inns
  • 250+ miles per week to training – This isn’t including the various trips to Leeds, Crystal Palace, Glasgow, Gloucester, Sheffield
  • 312 cups of coffee whilst spectating
  • 256 washed towels (ish)
  • 12 pairs of goggles
  • 9 Swimming Caps
  • 6 Sports Water Bottles
  • 17 Swimming Costumes
  • Millions of sequins
  • Even more tears (mostly mine)
  • milliearms

And its all been worth it! To see our nervous 9 year old turn into a confident, happy and ambitious 11 year old is fabulous. She works incredibly hard but also applies that to her school work. She gets digs from jealous girls who cannot deal with something ‘different’. She tells no-one in school what she is up to. She gets up at the crack of dawn to go training at weekends. She spends endless hours deciding on what music she would like to swim to next. She watches programmes whilst sat in the middle of the living room in split positions. She loves the girls she swims with – it doesn’t matter whether they are 10 or 18, they are all lovely.

Yes, its all been worth it – even today.

Today being the day that every synchronised swimmer gasped as they heard that Olympic funding for Team GB has been completely stopped.

Today the day that those young girls had their dreams and ambitions crushed.

Today being the day, that M went to bed asking what would all their hard work be for.

Today being the day, that the athletes that they are, decided to work even harder to get that funding back.

My Millie is one of those kids that we all talked about when we discussed the Legacy of 2012 – We can’t give up on those kids can we?

NB: Many Thanks to Martyn Bowes for permission to use the above swimming photos.

What would be your synchronised swimming song?

Anyone that knows my family knows that we go swimming. A LOT! Its 5 days a week at the moment and some days there are up to 4 hours of swimming. I like washing towels 😉

Recently, Millie (9) has discovered a new love and one that she seems rather good at – Synchronised Swimming. I used to be a synchronised swimmer when I was younger and loved it and thought Millie would too. So we went along for a trial. She’d only been in the pool 15 minutes when I saw the look on her face that told me she loved it and I was going to be spending even more time by the side of a pool.

Well, there’s great excitement in our house this weekend. Millie is now moving on from practising figures and is starting routines. And with routines, comes music. Argh. Last night, Millie & Derm were asked to bring 2 pieces of music that she likes that would be suitable for a routine lasting 2 minutes (I have no idea how to crop music but that’s a conversation for another day).

So where do we start? There’s so much at stake here – we don’t know these people that well yet and any credibility we have got can be ruined by the wrong choice of song. I’m not exactly known for my cool music taste (and if I’m honest, neither is Mil). It has to be one that Mil knows and likes and is fast enough to be interesting.

If it was down to me, she’d have a mix of the Frog Chorus and Bat out of Hell but so far we have come up with Olly Murs – Dance with me Tonight and Toy Story’s You’ve Got a Friend in Me.

My question to you tonight is what song would you choose as your synchronised swimming tune? Bear in mind that you might have to listen to it hundreds of times a week for the next few months so choose carefully!