A Review of Ellie’s Inclusive Pamper

We love to review places to give others an opportunity to see if the setting would be inclusive especially if, like Ellie, my daughter, you have a disability such as Down Syndrome.
So let’s have a look at Ellie’s inclsuive pamper with Flawless UK based in Manchester.

How The Inclusive Pamper Began

One of the community groups that we attend regularly was gifted a voucher
http://dswestpennine registered charity 1140539
and one Saturday evening I chose to purchase it for myself and Ellie. We have very little mummy daughter time as she is a daddy’s girl and once purchased I wondered whether she would even enjoy it. However when Ellie turned 10 I realised that she didn’t experience a lot of activities that others her age would and I wanted to rectify that and share how many places are actually inclusive.

The night before we went, I told her we had a surprise adventure happening the next day and in basic terms explained our pamper session. She sounded excited by it all which was a great start. The next morning getting ready, Ellie said, ‘I am nervous mummy’ Bless.

The Inclusive Review

After a stressful morning driving into Manchester and locating a parking spot given half the streets were cordoned off for a police investigation, I suddenly realised Ellie had never been into Manchester (another one to rectify but maybe when it was quiet). Arriving late and apologetically the staff were very welcoming and friendly and actually let me leave Ellie with them for five minutes whilst I returned to the car to park right out side their building (please note it had double yellow lines and I was using our Blue Badge)

We were offered drinks and the morning was explained to us both. Ellie was then given her own make-up artist, Natalie who began to talk to Ellie like she was an individual. Natalie asked Ellie questions, rather than me and whatever Ellie wanted in relation to her make-up and hair, she got. This was one of the main reasons I chose to write this blog and share; Natalie treated Ellie like a young lady that she is and I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the morning as it was a pleasure to see. Many people are not sure how to talk to Ellie and often think she wont answer so ask me questions instead.
They both talked music and films throughout the experience. Whilst pictures should not have been taken inside the studio, I did manage to get this one.

Ellie let Natalie curl her hair even though she gets head sore

What Did the Voucher Consist Of?

The voucher itself consisted of
– Complimentary Drinks
– A Make Over including nail polish
– Your hair styled
– Photo session with 3/4 outfits
– A printed photograph to take home, additional can be purchased

All in it can take about 3 to 4 hours.

The Photography Session

The settings and tools for this part were outstanding from beds, to chairs to feather boa’s and once again the ladies were very flexible. If Ellie didn’t want to do something she was adamant she wouldn’t do it. I personally had no idea what we wanted so I let the professionals lead the way.
As we were heading into the final part, Ellie did begin to have had enough so I called it and asked could we finish.

Conclusion

Over all the morning was fantastic and I would definitely recommend doing something like this with your children to help them experience what other children do. As for the staff, I couldn’t fault them with their friendly, welcoming and inclusive manner.
Speaking of inclusion, the only thing I would adapt would be the stairs going down to the building, maybe have a ramp to help anyone with mobility issues access the studio.
The only downside, if there was one to mention was the cost of the additional photographs; whilst I appreciated their quality it was difficult to say no, once you had seen them as you always want to hold onto memories of a day like that and thus the credit card sneaked out of my purse.

If you would like to purchase a voucher with Flawless UK, here is their link
https://flawlessstudios.net/

The Model

So there you have it, thank you so much for reading. I would love to know have you had an experience like this with your child, please do comment and if you would like to read more reviews from me then do press follow. You can also check out our inclusive review of our summer holiday here
https://t.co/RJ7vcbk31i?amp=1

Until Next Time
Sharon x

A Review of Gouves Water Park Greece

After 10 whole nights and days I felt I had to review our family summer trip to Gouves, giving an honest account of whether it is an inclusive complex for a child with Down Syndrome.

August 2019, our summer trip back to Gouves which we know is quiet but that’s what we love, as a family we don’t do hustle and bustle but this holiday was going to be slightly different to what we were used to. Why? Usually we book a small family villa with one pool so we can get to know the other the staff and other families. This year as we had left it a little late to book we had a water park…..would we enjoy it, would it be inclusive? Read on to here my review.

Arriving very late we were greeted by a porter who helped us with our luggage and advised by reception that there was a cold buffet awaiting for us. The bar was open and we could purchase drinks as the all inclusive finished at 11. I thought this was very courteous after a long day travelling and immediately could tell the difference between a 3 and 4 star accomodation.

Reviewing The Hotel

The next morning we were greeted with sunshine and right outside our 2 bedroomed appartment (much needed as Ellie, my daughter who has Down Syndrome, needed here a bedtime routine) was our view.

Mini Pool

On the first day we had a good look around, isn’t that what most families do, ‘find their feet’. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the hotel was huge, with different areas and was immediately concerned about how Ellie would cope. In fact we didn’t even find two of the bars advertised or one of the restaurants and thought it was a shame that a mini map wasn’t issued at arrival.

On the second day we found a part of the water park, which I thought the kids would love but they never wanted to go back after one afternoon 🙁 I’m guessing a few scrapes and burns from the slides didn’t help but it was small enough for Ellie to access the steps independently and we had eyes on at all times.

Gouves Splash Park

The larger slides were a hit with my son Billy but Ellie wasn’t that keen after the first go. Maybe it was the waiting in turn that put her off as normally she is a water baby. However I did find the lifeguards and the queuing system a reassurance.

The food was incredible and I have to say one of the best we’ve ever tasted, different themes and often cooked whilst you waited. My only concern during August was how busy it was. Some days you felt like you were packed like a tin of sardines and often was left waiting to get items or banging into people. To give the hotel credit it did say what times were quieter for those that needed it. However I couldn’t trust Ellie to get her food by herself.

Reviewing The Staff

Once we had settled into holiday life it was nice to begin to get to know the staff and the animation team. The kids club which was open every day (am & pm), and whilst at first I was worried at leaving Ellie, the team were amazing and got to know her and what she enjoyed. Billy, her younger brother really enjoyed the club especially learning his new card game Uno and wanted to visit most days. This is a great facility when you want some shade for your children or just some me time. The entertainment was provided daily in the main pool, which we didn’t join in (we preferred it quieter) and having several pools helped. The mini disco at night, again was too hustle and bustle for Ellie and I have to point out though that on our last night, one of the ladies actually stood with Ellie so she could have a dance without being jostled proving just how much the staff wanted everyone to join in; inclusion.

Conclusion of the Review

Apart from the hustle and bustle at dining and some of the rude people we encountered I would definitely recommend this hotel. Overall the staff were helpful, the hotel was kept clean with regular maid service. However I wish I had known beforehand that two of the restaurants you actually had to pay for drinks (Smile on the beach and the Asian A La Carte ). The shop was fully equipped and there was plenty to spend your money on (yes I know it was AI) including arcade games, additional drinks, and extra’s for the kids such as slush and named ice-creams.
All in all it was worth the money, it deserves it’s four stars and if you like water parks this is a hotel for you and for me and Ellie it was a thumbs up on inclusion.

We booked with Jet 2, here’s the link
https://www.jet2holidays.com/
or you can book direct with the hotel here if you would like to visit
https://www.gouvespark.gr/

Thanks for reading this review and I hope it has helped you to make a decision about this holiday. Please feel free to ask me any further questions in the comments and keep tuned for more reviews coming. If you are looking for a carvan holiday in the UK, check this review out
https://t21hub.com/2019/08/14/a-trip-to-wild-rose-caravan-park-with-ellie/

Until Next Time
Sharon x

A Trip to Wild Rose Caravan park with Ellie

I thought what a better way to continue to write about inclusion was to begin sharing our trips, good or bad as they may be able to help other parents that have children with Down Syndrome. So here is our first blog in the series…. A trip to Wild Rose Caravan Park in Appleby-in-Westmorland.

This is our second trip to the park, the first was subsidised by a local support group DS West Peninne back in May 2019. I won’t deny I was a caravan snob until I began this trip, but the comfort and luxury of these caravans were brilliant and therefore we returned in July 2019.

 

What Amenities Does The Park Have?

Amenities are important to us because even though we have a car, our family holidays are for rest and quality family time and this park had the lot.
A shop
A restaurant and pub in one
An arcade
A park
Grass verge to play other sports i.e. football and
An outdoor swimming pool

They even have regular entertainment come in however I’m not sure if this is all year round.

Why Do We Recommend?

For me I can pretty much hack most things if the staff are polite and inviting and the other members of the public are polite as Ellie is frightened of dogs and there are many here. See previous post
https://t21hub.com/2019/06/25/dog-free-zones/

This site has both, the staff were so friendly with the kids and even helped with a birthday surprise for Ellie. They made us feel welcome and everything was no bother for them.

The other guests were friendly and whilst the first time we did go with other families with Down Syndrome it was great to see many families there with children with additional needs on both occasions; suggesting that others also feel this is an ideal family get away

What Is Near By?

There are not many local places and a car is definitely needed but we did visit this castle on our first trip which was amazingly beautiful and you could spend all day there. 

The shop and reception have leaflets of nearby attractions.

Appleby Castle

So there you have it, our first trip and events blog that Ellie recommends. Have you visited the site, please do let me know and if you recommend any caravan sites and/or have written a review I would love to see them in the comments. Stay tuned as many more will be on there way and we will definitely go back to this site.

As always thanks for reading
Sharon x

Inclusion in the High Street, does it exist?

Inclusion in the High Street,  does it exist?
In years gone by where many people with Down Syndrome have not been recognised for their attributes, their personality or their uniqueness; certainly not on social media and most definitely not on the high street with their advertising, pah!
But times are changing, albeit slowly, but they are changing. The high street are now starting to see individuals for who they are, individuals. They are beginning to be more inclusive as they ignore the label, the stigma of having a model with a difference and giving children and adults alike to be seen, to take centre stage just like their peers.

Why, Not Back Then?
As I was growing up, I do not recall ever meeting a person with a disability. I certainly did not know what Down Syndrome was. Had I led a sheltered life, I don’t believe so but maybe my eyes were closed? Why did the high street not use models with Down Syndrome to showcase their clothes and products? I don’t know the answer, there could have been a policy that discriminated against disability. Yet it seems more likely there were several other reasons as to why people with Down Syndrome were not considered, from the logistics, the unknown, to the fact that there not many models with Down Syndrome actually on any modelling agencies? Who knows?

Why Is It Important Today?
Quite simply, times really are changing, many are tired of seeing the same type of specific model advertise, you know the one, and the public have spoken, ‘We are not all the same shape and size and if you want to continue to get our money then we want to see more people like us – unique and individual’ (They might actually be my words but you get the drift). The high street listened and some started to offer advertising to a variety of models of size, shape, ethnicity and gender. The public started to see models just like themselves. This is so important for our future generations to understand that we are all different yet we all all can inspire others.

Here are some High Street Names & Businesses that are inclusive and have models with Down Syndrome on their portfolio

  • Very UK
  • Welshblood.org.uk
  •  M&S
  • Spanish Boutique
  • Little Betty’s Boutique
  • F&F
  • Rebecca Leigh Photography
  • Peekaboo
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Primark
  • Zebedee Management

Can you name anymore?
Inclusion in the high street does it exist, yes it’s getting there but as always more needs to be done. Thank you as always for reading and a huge thank you to the parents of the group  #wouldntchangeathing
(https://www.facebook.com/groups/801281006738525/)
for sharing these pictures below.

Until Next Time
Sharon x

Here is supermodel number 1
Here is supermodel number 2
Many supermodels