Three Cheers for Satellite Navigation – Getting home from Virginia Water / Savill Garden

This is my first official Three Cheers Blog Hop post. If it wasn’t for my Sat Nav I quite possibly could still be lost. Even with my Sat Nav I still experienced that moment of panic – would I make it back in time for the school run?

You have to understand that I am a clear contender for the most navigationally challenged person that has ever lived. Geeky Hubby asks me for directions and then goes in the opposite direction.

But back to my story. I arranged to meet a couple of mummy friends at Virginia Water. It really is a stunning place to visit and I highly recommend it – though at the time of writing this post it is a disappointing geocaching location.

I have been before. I know where to park. But as I’ve only been a few times I still needed the Sat Nav.

However, right at the last minute it was suggested that we park at Savill Garden instead. The reason being that it has free parking for the first 90 minutes, a cafe with toilets and a play park. Where we normally park for Virginia Water in contrast doesn’t have a proper cafe, toilets are at the far end of the car park in a pub, there is no playground for the kids and no free 90 minute parking.

Savill Garden is still Virginia Water, just a little further up (from our direction). This was my first time and I was rather nervous about finding the right place. We were running a little late and I didn’t have time to properly research our new destination, but it was clearly signposted and I managed to get there without too many problems. OK, in truth, I did pull over and double check exactly where to park, but for me that is as close to perfection for travelling somewhere new as I will ever get.

I have to say we had a completely fantastic morning. We didn’t go into Savill Garden as you have to pay extra, but a very short walk takes you to the playground. The kids played in the sandpit, went down the slide, ran around lots and fed the ducks. We finished off with a second mortgage style over priced lunch/snack in the cafe – except for the hot chocolate which was worth every penny. Best of all the toilets were immaculate.

Catching up with friends was obviously priceless.

So far so good.

After a much longer stay than planned it was time to leave. This is where my Sat Nav stars. I had absolutely no idea how to get home. You have to exit using a different route. Then I got distracted, ignored my Sat Nav and suddenly realised I had no idea where I was or how to get home.

I put my faith in electronic hands, concentrated and after a few twists, turns and a drive through a lovely village, we made it to a set of traffic lights with a signpost clearly stating that we were about to turn onto the A30 – the road home. Hurrah. The relief was immense.

Once home I listened to the voicemail on my mobile. It was an ‘I’m lost, no idea where I am, hope you have your Sat Nav with you’ message from one of the other mum’s. Don’t worry, she texted me later to confirm that she too had managed to find her way home.

I don’t like driving new places as I have no sense of direction. Sat Nav enables me to be a little bit daring. To visit somewhere new. So Three Cheers to whoever invented Sat Nav – you have saved my bacon on many an occasion, including today, and make my life much easier every time I use it – which is at least weekly.

I would though like to know if anyone has any recommendations as to the best way to use an Android phone as a Sat Nav. I used Navigation that comes with the phone. I worry that if I don’t have a good 3G signal I will lose the maps. Is this a valid concern? Is there a better app? I love that it integrates with my Google contacts but currently keep my Garmin on hand just in case.



Added your Three Cheers Blog Hop post? Please give some comment love and add this linky to your blog post – full instructions provided.

As this is a WordPress.com blog it means the linky appears on a separate page. So I will manually add all links to the bottom of this post.

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Three Cheers Blog Hop – Thanks for inventing

There are some people that have yet to be convinced as to why they should have a mobile phone, use Twitter, Facebook a slow cooker etc. Three Cheers Blog Hop is here for you to link up your blog posts which say ‘thank you‘ to the inventor and to everyone else ‘you really should have one of these‘.

Rules

I reserve the right to change the rules as I go along but basically I will set up the blog hop every Saturday morning starting Staurday 2nd July 2011 – providing this generates enough interest.

Just add your blog post to the linky.

As I am wordpress.com and can’t display the linky on the blog post, I will add all links that have been submitted to the bottom of my post – so you will have your link on the linky and on my blog post.

Please either add the linky code to the bottom of your post (instructions will be available) or add a link back to that week’s Three Cheers Blog Hop post.

Sponsored posts are fine so long as they have genuinely gotten you out of a hole (not literally) or prevented a disaster and are written from that angle and not just as a review of the product.

I’ll use the hash tag #tcbh short for Three Cheers Blog Hop. It’s short, hopefully easy to remember and isn’t at time of writing this already being used.

Hopefully after a few weeks you’ll get the idea. I have a previous blog post that I wrote on this idea, but without the blog hop, titled – Social Media Success – Facebook status update reveals show buying secret.

Let me know what you think. If you have any questions or tips on running a weekly blog hop please let me know.

Social Media Success – Facebook status update reveals shoe buying secret

The summer holidays are rapidly drawing to end. With only two weeks left, parents up and down the country are breathing a mixed bag of emotions from ‘can’t come soon enough’ to ‘where did the time go’. However one thing unites all parents of school age children – the dreaded shoe shopping.

This without doubt has to be the busiest time of the year for shoe shops. Parents waiting as late as possible to ensure that their child doesn’t grow out of their shoes before term starts, but not wanting to leave it too last minute just in case shoes have to be sourced elsewhere.

Busy is bad news for parents as busy = queues = waiting = bored child + fractious baby = stressed mummy

We have a number of local buying options including an excellent independent store and the usual chains.

Checking my Facebook newsfeed, one of my mummy friends posted that she was at said independent store and after three quarters of an hour was seriously considering giving up. And so competitive ‘we waited the longest ever’ battle ensued mixed in with the occasional smug ‘I turned up and was in and out within 5 mins’.

However, one hero of a mummy revealed what I can only describe as the most crazy best kept secret. Crazy because it is simply brilliant yet why, as a mummy, did I not know this important stress and time saving gem of information?

Clarks allow you to book appointments! You then just turn up and get seen straight away.

no queues = no stress = happy mummy

The person that revealed this little known secret was not a friend, but is a friend of a friend. This is a great example of how social media and specifically Facebook has saved me time and stress.

Three cheers for Facebook!