12 articles Tag fun

Keeping the Kids Entertained This Summer

keep the kids entertained this summerEven if you’re going away this summer, there’s a good chance that you’ll have at least a month at home, which you’ll be wanting to fill with activities for the kids, keeping the dreaded cries of “MUUUM, we’re BORED!” at bay for as long as possible! There are loads of things that you can do across a variety of budgets, which will fill their summer nicely, and this is just a few of them:

Pony Camp

If you live near a riding stable and have kids who love animals, find out if they’re doing any sort of pony camp during the summer. Last year, Sausage went to a pony camp one day a week for the entire holidays, and although it wasn’t cheap (we paid about £25 per session), it meant that even during quiet weeks, there are at least one day with guaranteed fun! Our stables bought all of their Horse Nutrition Products from Spillers, so we knew they were well cared for.

Shopping Centres

Take a look at the shopping centres near you; many of them have fun days for kids all the way through the holidays, with various characters like Chase from paw Patrol or Anna and Elsa from Frozen turning up. They’re generally free or very cheap, and give you a chance to pop into town for an afternoon of low-cost fun.

Pick Your Own

The nice weather means that you’ll be wanting to get outside as much as possible, and a PYO farm is a lovely bit of wholesome fun for the whole family. You generally only have to pay for the fruit you actually want to take home with you and the kids get to spend a few hours doing something which is about a million miles away from screen-time.

Fun Classes

Okay, so I’m not suggesting you get them doing school work in the holidays, but there are a few different places you can take them where they’ll get to learn something fun. YO! Sushi do awesome sushi making classes for kids, which we tried last year and the girls ADORED, but you’ll also find stuff at your local library, like coding classes, which your kids might enjoy, and again, they’re usually pretty cheap.

Litter Picking

This summer, Husband, the girls and I have decided that we’re making it our mission to go litter picking at least once a week. We live in a beautiful rural spot which is popular with dog walkers and cyclists, but we see an alarming amount of trash and mylar balloons when we’re out on walks. We figured, if we pick up as much as we can, we might offset some of the damage, doing a good deed and spending time together in nature at the same time. It might not be hugely glamorous, but it’s free and we’ll get a nice warm glow for having dome something for the environment.

Ways to Fill the Summer Holidays When You Aren’t Going Abroad

pony schoolIt’s fair to say that Husband, the kids and I are all homebodies. We love the idea of going abroad on holiday but when we had Chuck is was impossible and Maureen is still a little bit too young for us to leave her for too long, so a jaunt abroad is off the cards for now. We do, however, like to fill the summer holidays with as many days out and activities as possible, so that the kids don’t get bored and do that annoying bickering thing that kids do when they spend too much time at home, with only each other to play with! This is just a few of the things we do each year:

Pony School

We’re lucky enough to live close to a few different riding schools and some of them run pony schools in the holidays where the kids spend one day a week riding, grooming and generally “horsing” about (HA!) with the friendlier ponies at the stables. It’s usually about £25 per session and the kids need over the knee boots from UK footwear specialists Uppersole, but it’s pretty good value when you think about how long they get to spend with the ponies.

Garden Beach

Last year, we bought a massive paddling pool, set up the slide, sun loungers, a Bluetooth speaker and some mocktails and had what we called “The Garden Beach”. It was like a very miniature version of lazing around the pool on holiday, the kids thought it was amazing and I loved the chance to sit in the sun and read my book! This year, we’re planning on elaborating and even having a tent by the pool which we may spend the night in, if the kids are brave enough!

Fruit Picking

One of the things we have planned this year is a bit of Pick Your Own – it’s something I did when I was a kid and I absolutely loved it, and as soon as I told the girls about it, they found the idea really exciting so it’s on the list of things to do this summer.

Get the Bus

The kids are lucky enough to have Mummy’s Taxi Service which means they get ferried everywhere in the comfort of our car, but neither of them has ever really experienced public transport much, so they’ve asked if we can take a trip into town on the bus! This may sound very run-of-the-mill, but when you consider that we live in the countryside with one bus stop a mile away and buses which run quite sporadically, I suspect it may be more of an adventure than your usual bus trip!

Cookery Classes

Our local supermarket has a test kitchen and every year they run kids cookery classes throughout the holidays. They’re about £7 per session and include all of the ingredients they need to make a different dish each week. It’s a really nice way for the kids to spend a morning, plus they learn new skills and have the thrill of bringing home and eating what they’ve made.

Getting Your Family Ready for Halloween

Summer has settled, school is in swing, and fall has officially begun. Now that October is here, it’s time to start gearing up for Halloween. Planning for holidays can be fun, but it can also be cumbersome. As a busy mom, it’s easy to forget a few details. Here you’ll find an all-encompassing, step-by-step guide to prepare you and your family for Halloween.

Check the Calendar

Halloween falls on October 31st every year, but do you know what day of the week that is? For the record, this year, it’s a Tuesday. How might that change things? Mothers with young children have to consider a late night followed by an early school morning. Will that affect whether or not you let your child go trick-or-treating or attend a party? If so, check to see if there are any local community events over the preceding weekend that your child could experience instead. Great examples include trunk-or-treats in church parking lots or mall-sponsored giveaways. Also glance at the calendar to check for any events related to Halloween that take place within the weeks prior. Is the school having a Harvest Festival, and if so, do you need to set aside time to volunteer? Is there a costume contest you need to be aware of and prepare for in advance? Staying organized with your calendar will prevent last-minute panics. You don’t want to get caught on your heels or in a bind for procrastinating.

Act Early

Just like any holiday, the best practice is to act early. With a hectic schedule, this is much easier said than done. Try to do things little by little so you won’t feel so overwhelmed when you wind up decorating moments before trick-or-treaters start knocking on your door. Get those decorations down sooner than later, and slowly start putting things out as you have time. It’ll help your children get in the spirit and will lighten the burden by spacing it out. Going to the pumpkin patch is one of the best fall events to do as a family. If you wait too long, the best finds might be picked over—and the prices may be dramatically higher. Hold off on actually carving the pumpkins until the week of Halloween to avoid rot and decay, but secure your pieces early. Or, skip all the mess altogether and opt for alternative crafts instead. Be sure to avoid heading to the costume store with only a few days to spare. The selections and sizing are sure to be limited.

Pick Your Costumes

Decide whether you intend to buy new costumes this year, upcycle previous years’, or make something yourself. Setting a budget will make this decision easier. If you do plan to buy, consider using online retailers to save you time and money. Shopping online will allow you to compare prices and browse ideas. Give your child autonomy and let them exercise their own choice instead of choosing something on their behalf. As for yourself, jumpsuits make excellent choices for Halloween costumes for women. These onesies are easy, comfortable, and reusable as pajamas all year long. If you have toddlers or newborns, picking family-themed costumes are a fun way to stand out in the neighborhood. Some examples include the circus – with a ring leader, clown, and lion – or Disney cast members.

Stay Safe

One of the most important things as a mother is to ensure the safety of your family. Halloween time presents new obstacles and hurdles to look out for with increased pedestrian traffic, increasingly darker nights, and spikes in neighborhood vandalism. Take the time to sit down with your children and teach them proper safety tips, such as using sidewalks and always crossing at corners. Before trick-or-treating, consider lining their tote bags with reflective tape, purchasing glow sticks to wear around their neck, or investing in other safety products. Make sure you trust the area and that your child is always with a buddy or under supervision.

Halloween is a lot more involved than it used to be. It’s not just a day, it’s a season. If you take the time at the beginning of the month to plan properly, you and your family will thank you for it later.

Bubble ball suit, Body bubble ball

Bubble ball suit is available in different sizes. You can wear the small bubble ball suits to play Bubble ball game, and the bigger ones can be used to roll down the hill. Bubble ball game is a game which is safe from the real soccer game. It is even more enjoyable than the soccer game. When a person wears it, then he/she will turn into a Body bubble ball. The Bubble ball suit is easy to wear, and it contains strips and handles. When a person wears it, then he/she can have a grip on it through the handles and strips. Some people assume that a person can have breathing problem while wearing bubble ball suits. Well, it is a false thing completely.
There are holes present in these bubble ball suits which are specially designed for the transfer of air. If you are a sports lover or love to spend time with your family, then you can get a couple of bubble ball suits for yourself and family members to play bubble ball game. You can also play bubble ball game at the birthday party of your friends or family or a special occasion or festival. Bubble ball game is an activity which every child or adult would enjoy.
The player can easily put his/her upper body into the plastic orb and would be easy to move his/her legs while playing soccer bubble ball game. Bubble ball suit is very light in weight so you would not face any difficulty while playing the soccer bubble ball game. www.inflatable-zone.com is one of the best online stores from where you can purchase different types of bubble ball suits. You can also give us details about what type of bubble ball suit you need, and we will surely personalize it according to your needs.

Bubble Soccer Ball – inflatable-zone.com

5 Tips to Minimise Christmas Stress

Stress-Free ChristmasNow that it’s November and Bonfire Night is over, people’s thoughts are firmly turning to the next big holiday: CHRISTMAS! If you’re anything like me, the run up to Christmas is a combination of shopping, planning, getting in the mood (but not too early!) and generally trying to facilitate the whole family’s enjoyment of the big day. One thing which is really important for me is finding the balance between readiness and stress-management – getting to the big day with high blood pressure and the need to sleep for a week is not good for your own enjoyment, so I thought I’d share some tips for minimising your Christmas stress.

Plan Ahead

I appreciate that telling you to plan ahead in November is a little bit like locking the stable door after the reindeer have bolted, but do yourself a favour for NEXT year and do some forward planning! Buy decorations in the January sales when they’re dirt cheap and put them away, start a savings account and put a little in each week and do as much as you can throughout the year so it isn’t a mad rush this time next year.

Take a Break

Taking yourself off to spa might seem a little lavish when you’ve got a lot of expense coming up, but treating yourself to a detoxing winter spa day at The Moroccan Spa Urban Retreat in Harrods is the PERFECT way to relax your mind and body, leaving you feeling tip-top for all the Christmas parties you’ll be going to and is the perfect way to reward yourself for all the hard work you put into making Christmas special for your family. You could even ask for vouchers for Christmas so you can do the same thing next year!

Lower Your Expectations

There seems to be this pressure on everyone to have EVERY Christmas experience possible and between the Santa visits, the pantos, the Christmas Eve boxes as well as hundreds of pounds worth of gifts, the matching jumpers and festive pyjamas..it’s exhausting both mentally AND financially. Choose just a couple of things to do…there’s always next year if you want to try something new but cramming it all into one festive season will just drive you crackers!

Set Limits

It’s basically the law for kids to hand you a Christmas list as long as your arm and although it would be nice to buy them every single gift, it’s just not always possible. Set yourself a limit on how much you’re going to spend on food, presents, decorations and extras and DO NOT GO ABOVE THOSE LIMITS. That way, instead of stressing about how you’re going to afford one last stocking filler you can tell yourself “Nope, it’s just not in the budget”.

Have Fun!

So often, us grown ups spend so much time making Christmas magical for the kids that we simply forget to have fun. Take some time for yourself, have a sherry, blast some WHAM! and let your hair down. Kids love presents, sure, but they also love relaxed, fun-loving parents who know how to have a good time as a family. Christmas won’t be fun for anyone if Mum or Dad are a sobbing wreck in the corner, wondering if 150 miles is too far to drive for that last Hatchimal in a random toy shop!

Have a BERRY Good Day!

The Berry CompanyDid you know, that according to The Berry Company, the average person knows if they’re going to have a good day by 8.12am? The girls and I try to leave the house by 8am every day, in order to get Sausage to school on time (and to ensure I can park somewhere within a 2 mile radius of the school as the parking around there is HORRENDOUS!) and the be honest, 8.12am is pretty much the exact time that we know if we’re going to hit traffic or not, so I totally agree with this statement!

They made a video of their newly-appointed CMO (that’s Chief Mood Officer to you and I!) who made it his business to spend a morning in London seeing if he could improve people’s days…watch the video to see if he was successful:

I’m not going to lie, I might be a little bit weirded out if someone randomly offered me a hug, but I’d be thrilled if someone paid a tenner towards my taxi fare, although I’m wondering if that makes me a terrible person?! I’m a sucker for a high five though so that would definitely give me a chuckle, especially if I was having a stressful morning.

The Berry Company has decided to take its mission even further and is running a competition to help people win a good start to the day, with one of the prizes being a lift to and from work in a supercar with Le Mans Driver Oliver Jarvis! All you have to do is head over to The Berry Company website to nominate someone who you think deserves to win. It’s as simple as that! Runners up can also win a hair and make up session before work or a bunch of flowers delivered to their desk, both of which would be a really welcome pick-me-up.

If you’d like to nominate someone, or find out more about The Berry Company’s range of fruit juices, simply head over to their site.

We hope you’re having a BERRY good day!

Everything You Need To Know About Having A Fabulous Family Holiday In Lanzarote

When it comes to a family holiday it’s vital you make the right choices. If it’s not the perfect place that’s suitable for your family unit, then it can potentially ruin your whole holiday. A family holiday gives you the perfect chance to forget about your work commitments. A chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones and children. So it’s essential you pick the perfect place. Lanzarote just might be the perfect place. Here’s why.

Lanzarote

Source

Great weather

Lanzarote is known for being a destination that offers all year sunshine. The summer months can be quite hot but if you decided to get some winter sun, you wouldn’t be disappointed. It is known to be fairly windy. But this can be a huge plus point for families. A nice breeze can make warmer weather much more manageable. Although it is advisable that for this same reason it’s vital to make sure you and the family are protected with sun lotion as there are multiple dangers of prolonged sun exposure, one of the main being the high risk of skin cancer – so make sure you are fully protected and if you do become concerned with any changes to your skin assure that you seek the correct medical advice on skin cancer treatment and get an accurate diagnosis.

A short plane ride away

Offering a plane journey of approximately four hours. Less on some days. It means that you can be in the sun enjoying your holiday by lunchtime. A short plane journey makes it a little more bearable for travelling with young children. We all know how difficult that can be when you are confined to a plane seat.

Great value for money

Lanzarote holidays don’t have to be expensive. Even if you do have no choice but to travel during the school holidays. It’s why it is a holiday destination chosen by many year in year out. But the saving doesn’t stop there. Once you arrive you also received excellent value for money. Food and drinks are cheap and the standard and quality are fantastic. It would be difficult not to enjoy your time there. The saving also gives us mums a chance to indulge in the duty-free. Always a bonus.

Lanzarote

Source

Plenty to see and do

There are plenty of things to do in Lanzarote. Of course, there are the beaches. The black sand and also the man-made beaches are all great for children to enjoy. If you are staying in a hotel, you may also have some great pool facilities to take advantage of. Lanzarote also has a water peak that is suitable for all ages and could be a great day. If you are looking for something a little different, then the volcanic region of Timanfaya is always worth a visit. Allowing you to listen to the history and marvel and the landscape. You could also experience some food cooked on the volcanic heat. Touring the island is easy, and hiring a car and seeing all the wonderful places is easily achievable during your family holiday.

Lot’s of accommodation options to suit everyone

There are places to stay that are suitable for everyone. Whether you decide that a hotel complex is a perfect place or a self-catering villa for some privacy. There are plenty of options to choose from in all the major resorts.

So why don’t you book a holiday to Lanzarote this year?

Junior Disco and a Whole New Challenge

disco ballAh, Sausage. My lovely little disco queen. Not a single school disco has come along that she hasn’t wanted to go to and we have kind of a pact whereby I help out at all of the discos that she goes to, so this Friday evening will be spent supervising a couple of hundred kids while they eat their body weight in e-numbers and jump up and down on the spot to Bruno Mars and Katy Perry. Despite the fact that Sausage will be at the disco with the same kids that she always goes with, it feels different this year somehow, given the fact that it’s her first disco in the Juniors. Infants discos are structured and have a 20 minute slot where they go to a separate room for a snack and a drink, whereas in the Juniors, they take ‘tuck money’ and can buy glow sticks and other tat.

The issue of what to wear loomed large too; luckily Sausage got bought a dress for her birthday, a little black and white number which is very trendy and quite grown-up, which she’s worn only once so that will do for her top half. In terms of shoes, we still had some money left on a voucher for Clarks so we’re going to surprise her with something new and spangly!

Helping out at the discos is always great fun – it’s absolute chaos most of the time, but I absolutely love watching the kids have fun and letting off steam. There’s a moment when certain songs come on when they all surge towards the front of the hall which can be a little intimidating…they may be under 4ft tall, but when there’s 200 of them doing Gangnam Style at you in a really intense fashion, the fact that they’re kids doesn’t lessen the fear factor!

One thing which is a slight mystery is just how much tuck money we should be giving to Sausage. The things that will be on sale, we’ve been told, will be “pocket money prices”, but in my experience what kids get as pocket money these days vary wildly. I don’t want to be over-extravagant and give her a fistful of cash, but I also don’t want her to be the only one of her mates who doesn’t have enough to spend. How much would you give? If you’ve been through all of this with older kids already, any wisdom would be much appreciated!

All in all, I’m just glad that the school and PTA arrange for these discos to happen. School can create a real pressure-cooker environment at times and allowing the kids to socialise together in a fun and safe environment is really important…even if they do scare the bejeez out of me at times!

Holiday Learning – Code Breaking

codebreaking

I know it’s only the first week of the holidays, but Husband and I are really keen to continue some form of learning with Sausage over the next six weeks. She worked so hard in her first year at school and we’d hate for all of that learning to ebb away over the course of the holidays, so I’ve made it my mission to come up with some fun ways for her to keep up the good work without her really knowing that she’s learning while we do it!

Yesterday, Sausage was playing a game and I heard her mention something about a secret code, which gave me an idea. When you were a kid, did you do that thing where you wrote the alphabet out and then assigned a different letter of the alphabet to each one? My friends and I would make up some really elaborate codes when we were kids, but I figured this would be the easiest way to do things with Sausage as she’s still only young.

CODE

We started by writing our names in the code and Sausage picked up the idea of code breaking really quickly, writing her name, Mummy, Daddy and Chuck with ease. Using the code means she has to think about how words are spelled whilst working out the corresponding letter, which really gets the grey matter working.

The next challenge was writing words in the code and asking her to decode them into the correct words. She loved working backwards and even started to remember which letters were which in the code, so she could decode things without even looking at the key.

This is a pretty simple task, but it encouraged Sausage to use lateral thinking to solve puzzles, whilst remaining fun (never underestimate the James Bond/spy angle!) and you can increase the difficulty level by adjusting the code. Shuffle the alphabet around rather than using forwards and backwards, or you could even assign a simple shape to each letter.

The picture of code above should be printable, if you right click on it and ‘save image as’, which should save you the effort of writing it out by hand.

OVG FH PMLD SLD BLF TVG LM!

Are Our Kids Lonelier Than We Were?

kids playing in streetWhen I was a child, playing in the street was a normal occurrence. My Nan lived in a ‘walk’, which was a pedestrian-only road with no cars anywhere near where we played, and she happened to live next door to a family with a daughter of the same age as me, so I spent countless summers playing Barbies and cartwheeling on my Grandparents lawn with Sara, who was my best friend. Eventually, my parents moved nearer to my Nan and we lived in a cul-de-sac with a huge green in the middle, on which all of the kids who lived in the cul-de-sac played. We were a mixed bunch but we got on well and there was always someone to hang around with.

As I got older, I was allowed to go to the park with my friends. I grew up on an estate in Basildon, a new town that was built to accommodate the overspill from London in the late 1950’s, which meant that my grandparents were, and still are in fact, the only people to ever live in their house. The entire estate was populated by first and second generation Basildonians and us third generationers were blessed with a level of freedom because of the perceived sense of safety that comes from living in an area where everyone knew everyone else. In those days, it meant that misbehaviour was also fairly low, because no sooner had you thought about doing something naughty than a well-meaning onlooker had told your parents!

With Sausage at the beginning of her first ever summer holiday from school, I’ve been thinking a lot about things we can do to keep her occupied. She’s an only child, like I was until the age of almost 9, which means that she doesn’t have any ready-made playmates in the form of siblings. As much as I’d love for her have a playdate every day, that’s simply not possible, so it’s down to us to arrange other things for her to do, like the weekly pony lessons that she’ll be starting on Wednesday. But, I can’t help but wonder; are our kids lonelier than we were?

She’ll probably never be in a position where we’d let her play in the street, not least of all because people drive down our road like utter twonks, but mostly because the world is not the shiny, happy place it once was. I wrote this post a year ago about how shocked I was to see someone leave their child in the car while they went into the shop and had many comments suggesting that I was over-reacting and judgmental. I revisited the post after April Jones disappeared and wasn’t at all surprised to know that many people now agreed with me about how much freedom children are able to have in modern times.

Sausage will never have the level of freedom that Husband and I did and as such will never know what it’s like to ‘knock for’ someone, play in the street, ride her bike up and down until she’s called in for dinner, do cartwheels on a front lawn, knock on the door and ask for a pound when the ice cream man turns up, or be best friends with the kids next door. And I have to admit, that makes me really sad.

However, as sad as it makes me, it’s not something on which I’d ever compromise as her safety is the most important thing. So, what do you think? Are your kids lonelier than you were as a child? Should we do more to make sure they have someone to play with everyday? Or is that just not possible in modern times?

Leave me a comment below.