I may have mentioned once or twice (ahem) that we are going to DisneyWorld in September… There are now only 48 days to go (not counting) and it is summer sale time which means I am ferreting or all of the holiday stuff we need – from a few pairs of shorts for Reuben to new holiday clothes for me after my diet attempts have failed with what can only be described as an epic magnitude! I planned that we would really take much, no really, just 2-4 tops and pairs of shorts for the each of the boys, a more dressy shirt or two and a few romper and fancy dresses for Edie. Same for me, in fact, I think we will find Daddy to be the biggest packer in our suitcases, because I intend to take it real easy in order to bring back enough Disney stuff to sink a ship. Another thing I cut back on a lot is the make up and toiletries we need. I just find, while I religiously wear make up at home, I tend not to bother when we’re on holiday, partly because I can’t be bothered during the day and partly because I know my face will melt like a candle… So what to take, well here is what I will be packing in my beauty holiday essentials kit:
The Body Shop honey bronze drops of sun – this is a tiny that you simply add to your current foundation and blend in to give you a slightly more tanned look… Means I won’t have a Casper face on the evening when I choose to wear some slap. Win.
Vaseline Lip balm – Reuben and Toby both get dry lips, so in order to avoid the whole chapped and sore effect that comes with said dryness, I will be taking some Vaseline lip balm with me. I also recommend going for UV protect too.
Benefit Rosy Lip/cheek tint – I love this. Love love love! It is so easy to just dab on and smear across your face like war paint! As its a stain as well, it lasts so well!
Facial moisturiser – I use Green People facial moisturiser, I love it. When on holiday I tend to ditch the foundation during the day and just slap this one first thing in the morning!
Water proof mascara – this is another must have for me, you can’t possibly be expected to go in the pool without waterproof mascara – obviously a bit of logic could be applied and you could just *not* wear mascara at all but I rarely do that and I don’t want to be the wally at the poolside with her facial wipes, so waterproof helps.
Sun cream – I am such a devil for sun cream, I just don’t wear it as I should and the most I ever wear is low factor… Bad I know, though there is scientific evidence that suggests you really don’t need to wear high factors to get protection, just reapply, reapply, reapply. I do, however, slather it on the kids (and Adam who not only melts in the sun but burns like a forgotten rotisserie chicken) and I usually use whichever brand is on offer at Boots at the time, probably Soltan.
Razor – I am a big Venus lover, and I don’t wax. I want to, but I’m essentially a coward. So I shave, and you can’t forget your razor on holi-bobs. I also recommend using something like Veet, but make sure you don’t react to it before you take it to somewhere you’re going to be in your skimpies.
Sanitary towels and tampons – even if you aren’t due your period, I always think it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can, of course, buy stuff out there but if you don’t know where you’re going it’s easier to just have something right?
What are your holiday beauty essentials?
Nope, you’re definitely allergic Toby, you can’t have your face done again my love.
Face paint. Ugh.
I’m not a big face painting fan as it is, it smears, it rubs off on clothes and it is a bigger to get off your skin, but since discovering that Toby has a reaction to it on his face, I’ve come to loath it.
We had our first allergic reaction to face paint after Reuben’s first summer school party last year, just before he started school. We went because he was a part of pre-reception and both boys had their faces painted, and Toby (true to form) fell asleep in the car I the way home. So we left him in the face paint, no big deal, it would wipe off the next morning and it wouldn’t be an issue right?
Wrong. He woke up the next morning and his whole face was burning hot, swollen and totally red. Nothing we did seemed to take out the sting, and we came to the conclusion that this was entirely our fault for leaving him in it over night. Bad parents. Epic fail.
This year, when the summer party came Reuben immediately wanted his face painted, which means, as it standard,Toby wanted it done too. We told them no red, and they could have their faces painted but it must come off before home time, which would only be an hour. Still, as the paint came off, Toby’s face (fortunately not sore or swollen this time) was BRIGHT RED. Hot and bright red. So there is now no doubt in our minds that his face will almost certainly react to the paint, which is big frustrating for us and for him. I’ve heard a lot of talk about different trying out brands and paint colours. Every one of them can have a different reaction, however I honestly think if you have a reaction (like Toby) to something like Snazaroo then you need to accept reactions are imminent. Sorry, but it is better to just suck it up and be safe
So what alternatives to face painting are there?
1.Try arms and legs!
Tobes has had a stencil design done on his arms before with absolutely no reaction at all. Winner winner! This means that while everyone is getting their mushes slathered in face paint, Toby can still (sort of) join in. It takes the edge off his pleas for face painting.
2. Head to the pantry.
You can still paint that face!! If your little one hasn’t had a reaction to cornflour or powered sugar you can use that with things like strawberry to dye it red, turmeric for yellow, chocolate sauce for brown…. Ok, it’s not as bright and awesome but at least they can join in.
3. Use organic make up
Organic eye shadows are perfect – silver, blue, green… Is there a colour limit? It might be a little on the costly side to bash out a full spider man face, but there is something to be said for small and delicate face paints like a spider on its web, the silver eyeshadow for the web. Boom.
Never had a reaction? You can use the smallest amount of food colouring to get your colour, and bobs your uncle, face paint a la tush cream.
Do you have any other tips for what to use to help your little ones who can’t use face paint?
As a mother of three children, I often feel like I’m using the phrase “Just a minute, let me deal with *insert child’s name*” and I hate it. I find it so hard when I sit back at the end of the day and realise that I have been on a constant cycle of trying to give each child the right amount of attention while stopping them from killing each other or breaking too much stuff. Sometimes I wonder if they will look back and think I did a rather impressive job, and other times I wonder if they will feel like I let them down, ignored them too much and just didn’t really do what they needed.
I can’t be in three places at one time, I’m good but that isn’t a skill I have acquired yet, so I have to default to plan b, and plan b involves the old divide and conquer technique.
Last weekend we had a bit of a parenting win, we took Reuben off for some much needed one to one time while we left the tinkers with Maw Maw – which they were most delighted by! Adam and I took Reuben out for the day, we left at about 10am, took him for lunch, to a football match he didn’t want to watch so he sat and played on my phone like a true 21st century preschooler and then played in the play park for 45minutes before heading home. Reuben felt special, we felt like we’d done something bloody ingenious and balance was restored. Everyone went to bed with a smile on their faces, including the toddlers who had been stuffed with McDonalds and taken to Toys R Us for some play sand ha!
The truth is, parent guilt kicks everyone’s arse, it is a brutal mistress and we are but it’s slaves. Even the most confident amongst us gets filled with self doubt and frets over whether or not we are doing this right. There is no manual after all.
I’ve become a big champion of the old “one to one” time, taking an individual child out for some extra special time with just you or both of you. It makes a real difference. With Reuben being at school now, I really feel like he does f get to have so much time with myself or Adam, especially Adam during football season as one of the only days he could have one to one is spent watching the toddlers during swimming lessons. Which is really very little fun when you are 5 years old.
One to one time can be rather easy to do too, especially if you have little ones at nursery or relatives/friends that can step in and help. It doesn’t have to be elaborate though, just setting the toddler/baby up with something like a movie and chance to chill, while you do some crafting or reading or baking, with your eldest can make a big difference. I’m not saying it’s all about the older kids either, what about the middle child, or the baby?
One to one for Toby is coming in the form of a cinema trip in a week or so, we’re heading out to see The Secret Life of Pets and Reuben has announced that he has exactly zero interest! Edie gets it all the time on a Friday morning when the boys are at school and preschool.
If you can, take time to do some one to one, you’ll see how much it means to all of you.
I don’t even really know how to address this, I just find it so deeply saddening. Last week a young woman, call Qandeel Baloch, was killed in an honour killing because she was a social media star and as if that isn’t horrific enough, thousands took to her social media channels, mainly Instagram, to celebrate the news.
So in case you didn’t catch the story, the girl in question was strangled to death by her brother, with the knowledge of her parents apparently, because she was a bit like Pakistan’s answer to Kim Kardashian. Was she attention seeking, tacky and a bit OTT? Sure. Did she deserve to be killed for it? Hell no. Would she have been killed for it if she were a man? Not in a million years.
On this poor girl’s Instagram there was every type of comment from “rest in peace” to “I’m glad the whore is dead” – vey literally. Horrendous as this is, it’s pretty standard in Pakistan, where there is a real issue with so called honour killings. The country is steeped in totally skewed values, values that I find heartbreaking, because they are so skewed towards men and towards keeping women down. The problem with this is that it isn’t just Pakistan where this attitude prevails, it’s everywhere – maybe not in the terms on honour killings, but just ask yourself how many times you have seen social media stars like Kim Kardashian referred to as a “slut”, “whore” or anything to that effect? Why? Quite simply because they are unafraid of their sexuality and bodies, and that is still considered unacceptable.
Women are not expected to be sexual beings, and when they do indulge in their sexual sides, they are attacked from all angles. Men think they are “up for it” and women call them out as “sluts”, yet on the other side of the coin, women who don’t agree with page 3, sexual exploitation of women or glamour modelling/porn are considered prudes. You literally can’t win.
For our children, we need to stop. We need to stop using terminology like “slut” and “whore” because what purpose does it serve other than to tear us apart and serve a patriarchal society? What does it do but to pave the way for extremist cases like this one, where a young girl has lost her life purely because she was a woman who wasn’t afraid to be a sexual being or something more than she was told she could be?
We teach our children this old poem: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” But words do hurt. Words make all the difference to actions, hey can invite hatred, they can insight truly horrendous acts and they more certainly do hurt. Even if you try not to let them.
I suppose you could say this is a fluffy “we all need to stand together” kind of post, and I guess it is, but it’s done because I feel that without imploring you to stop and think before you comment on the social media star you have preconceived notions of, we will never break this cycle where women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
What are your thoughts?
So the kids are on Summer holidays now and we’ve started the summer holidays as we mean to go on really, already rolling out the “fun” (by which I mean fighting, laughing, fighting and trying to feed each other to the bewildered puppy before dressing the puppy up in something heinous… and fighting) and cataloging the experience with our specially designed, personalised scrapbooks – proof for the boy’s teachers and grandparents that we do, occasionally, know how to parent the shit of life (coining Mother Pukka’s phrase there – go check her on instagram).
Our scrapbooks come from Stationery Geek and are personalised with the boy’s names on each one. They are filed with stickers to help prompt the kids with what to add, not to mention page after page of diary style entry logs that allows the boys to write, draw and stick in all the things they have been doing over the summer.
The personalised scrapbook has an awesome cheat sheet which helps the boys (and me – no point in lying!) remember what to add and how to add it. From “where did you go?” (Borstal if we don’t stop our bullshit soon according to mummy) to “what did you have to eat?” (McDonalds…) your kids won’t miss anything out. There is a list of what to collect and what to use to spruce up the scrap book pages – we wouldn’t want them going back to school boring would we? Not to mention helping your little ones to learn the days of the week and months – not just for the summer holidays you know!
I absolutely love scrapbooking. I don’t leave out the bad either – we had an absolutely epic first day in the holidays and I have made the boys put it in there – they have put in how badly behaved they were and that in the end mummy separated them and made them sit in the kitchen for the remainder of the afternoon in their respective thinking corners because they had been SO horrible and started to really hurt each other. In a way, I remember my mum doing this and it worked as a deterent for me – I hated my teachers and friends knowing I’d been bad, but then it also give us something to giggle about when they are older and something that we can all look back on.
Now, if you want to get your hands on one of these awesome scrapbooks (or any other fab stuff that Stationery Geek has to offer) just click any of the bold links and if you add the code “tobyandroo” at the check out and you will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a full writing set to go with your scrap book. No minimum spend either!
We’ve just come back from a little trip to the SeaLife Centre, one of Toby’s favourite places to visit. He literally loves it! It got me thinking, there are so many ways to teach kids about everything from science to basic preschool knowledge at the SeaLife Centre, without them ever even knowing it. I mean, you can be crafty about it yes?
So, a few things for new time you go to the SeaLife Centre (or indeed any other aquarium):
- Count the fish
Sounds daft and pointless but actually kids seem to get a right kick out of counting random things – similar to how we feel about counting the bottles of wine in our well-stocked fridge. If I ask Reuben to sit down and do some maths with me I’m met with the same foot dragging attitude that I feel when it’s time to do laundry, but if I casually drop in “Oh my goodness, what a busy tank. I wonder how many fish are in there, shall we count them?” He seems to have an abundance of mathematical know how. Go figure.
- Set a task
Ideal for children that like to explore, set them a task to find something out. If they can read his is an extra bonus but if they are Reuben’s age it might be something they will have to ask a member of staff. So the last time we went, I asked Reuben to find out as much about Penguins as he could. He, of course, wanted to share the information with his Dad as opposed to me, I’m boring you understand, but he did pick up a few bits and bobs like what penguins eat, that they can be aggressive and that the SeaLife has Humbolt penguins which are small and not fans of icy climates like you see in movies.
- Spot the colours
Colours are awesome at SeaWorld. They have this amazing array of fish and coral, you really can’t miss a single colour. It’s an ideal opportunity for toddlers to learn their colours, and for even younger ones like Edith to learn colour recognition such as “point the the blue fishy..” Etc.
- Learn about pollution
This is something the boys learnt about way back, it was always a big topic for the SeaLife sanctuary team, so we had a good ole chat with them about it and they have picked up a lot. It’s a good way to I still the old “don’t litter” philosophy, in the hope that they will remember it next time and shove that grotty, half eaten lollipop into the bin (or your hand…).
- Name the animals!
Did you know that animals make up a big part of the science curriculum for KS1? Well they do – it’s a huge part of science, from learning about environments that animals inhabit to learning about recognition of different animals and their wellbeing. It’s all in there, so if you go to a SeaLife Centre, take the chance to learn about different animals – from seals to otters – and how they are kept, their vulnerability status, if they are predators or prey… the list is endless!
So there you go, a few ways to keep up the learning when you’re visiting aquariums this summer!
Last week Edie was sent a Britt bunny – a soft, cuddly and oh so adorable bunny cuddly toy that has fast become her must have snuggle companion. She has been nestling into her Britt bunny, which we’re simply calling “Britt” (I know, you don’t have to tell me how creative I am) every night, rubbing her face into it and tracing her fingers along the soft fabric.
The Britt bear was designed in Sydney, Australia waaaaaaay back (cos we’re all old now, you know that don’t you? Ancient.) in 1999 when a very lovely English born lady called Britt Collinson decided she wanted to create her own brand of baby toys and accessories. Her beautiful soft toys began their retail journey at Bondi Beach weekly market and fast became so well known that she expanded past her Australian home into the global market, providing bambinos everywhere with one of her beautiful keepsake teddies to love and cherish. I have no doubt that, had Edith had her Britt bunny from day one, it would have pipped Flora fox (her beloved bestie) to the top soft toy in her bed post.
The very best thing about Britt bear is their emergency bear service. Yep, like the NHS but for teddy bears and a whole lot cooler. Basically, if your little munchkin loses his or her beloved little friend or their sibling chooses to dissect the aforementioned teddy, Britt Bear will repair or replace it. I know that if anything were to happen to Reuben’s Harold bear or Toby’s Fudgy Bear it is possible that myself and Adam would never be allowed to a.) forget it and b.) sleep again through to sheer despair. I love the fact that Britt Bear understand that a soft toy really can become the most important thing in the world to a child, both a safety net and best friend all in one.
This isn’t just a quick brag about how Edie has managed to get her frequently chocolate coated paws on one of these teddies, no sir. I’m offering readers the chance to win one of the iconic Britt Koala teddy bears in a colour of their choosing, simply by entering the rafflecopter competition below.
Have I ever mentioned before that we are TV lovers? I feel like I may have dropped it into conversation once or twice. Anyway, we are, we all love a good movie and as such we love the cinema. We pretty lucky when it comes to the cinema, we have a local, small family run cinema in our town that, quite honestly, top trumps the majority of large well known cinemas and costs us half the price. There is a sad side to cinemas now – for a family of four it can cost us anything from £40 to £70 which is pretty much the prize for a full day trip where we can guarantee the exhaustion of our children and, by proxy, their early retirement to bed and our early indulgence in alcohol. Not so with le cinemata… In fact, despite our love of the cinema, it is one sure fired way to get the kids excited and have them begging for a trip to Toys R Us for the latest totally overpriced loot to accompany the movie. Ahh marketing at its finest.
I’m not selling this cinema lark to you am I? Sorry about that!
We love it, most people love it and, despite the cost and subsequent begging for overpriced toys, it is something that the majority of us remember doing for the first time and look forward to doing with friends, family and, as kids, school.
At the moment the cinema is lighting up like a shining beacon of fun, filled with films that we are all just desperate to see, so I thought I’d share with you our cinema must-see for the next few months, conveniently broken down into for the kids and for the adults categories so you don’t scare your kids shitless taking them to see The Conjuring.
For the kids: (June/July/August 2016)
- Ice age: Collision Course
- Secret Life of Pets
- Roald Dahl’s BFG
- Finding Dory
- Pete’s Dragon
The Angry Birds Movie, Zootropolis & The Jungle Book are now finished in a lot of cinemas but have moved to “mini movies” at discount showing rates
Just to note here a lot of cinemas offer film screenings of all these films and older ones at a discounted rate for people with very young children such as Edith or special needs children who maybe require a slightly adjusted screening to help them get the same enjoyment as other kids. Please call your local cinema and ask.
For the grown ups: (July/August 2016)
- Ghostbusters 3
- Central Intelligence
- Now you see me 2
- Suicide Squad
- Batman: The killing joke
- Star Trek Beyond
- The Legend of Tarzan
- Independence Day: Resurgence
- Me Before You
- Jason Bourne
- Bridget Jone’s Baby (Sept)
- Mike and Dave need wedding dates
- War dogs
So, get your early Saturday morning cinema trips booked and your date nights planned, the cinema appears to be the place to go, and these are my movies to see at the cinema this Summer!
So the summer holidays are fast approaching and I have to say that I am actually quite looking forward to them this year! I am looking forward to having the chance to teach, enjoy and spend quality time with the kids – but with that comes the kind of planning that is rarely seen outside of the military barracks – otherwise how the hell will we survive. So last night I sat down with Adam and we went through all the different things we thought would be fun to do/try out with the kids over the summer. Will we get through them all? Ha, don’t be soft, we’ll probably get through a few BUT we will have so many options and each week I will be able to sit down and make a plan for the following week that will fit in around my busy work schedule and the kids, allowing me to really make the most of the holidays. Just to note as well, I’m not suggesting that they should have 24/7 entertainment – quite the opposite as I really think that boredom is good for kids, but we will have to do some stuff otherwise I will require more than wine to see me through…. So, without further a-do, here is the epic list of ways to entertain the kids and summer holiday activities!
- Bake a cake
- Think inside the box with a giant box and some pens to decorate inside (mess prevention!)
- Have a day at work with a parent (for possible)
- Learn about a climate and the animals that live there (we’re doing arctic on one day)
- Bake brownies
- Pick some flowers to dry and press, then laminate
- Make your own candles
- Bake something we’ve never baked before
- Have a picnic in the garden
- Have a picnic at Wharram Percy (medieval village)
- Visit Dalby Forest and go on a nature trail
- Take a bike ride in Dalby Forest
- Visit the Railway Museum
- Visit Sewerby Hall and Gardens
- Take a trip to the beach and have fish and chips
- Have a day out with friends at Hunmanby Gap
- Learn an Olympic sport
- Visit Flamingo Land Zoo
- Watch a friendly football match
- Visit Chester Zoo
- Go stream dipping and see if you can spot fish
- Go for a walk and play pooh sticks over the bridge.
- Visit the Dinosaur Museum in Hull
- Visit Drayton Manor
- Visit Hesketh Farm
- Make splatter art with egg shells
- Chalk painting in the street
- Paint the playhouse
- Empty, clean and re-fill the pond
- Visit Playdales play park
- Visit York Maze
- Visit the Royal Armouries
- Visit Tropical world and Roundhay park
- Take a picnic to Roundhay park
- Make tye dye clothes
- Make jam
- Create a farmyard with your animal figures outside
- Make a wooden farm or zoo using craft supplies
- Have a garden tea party with your dolls
- Go strawberry picking
- Create a scrapbook each
- Go on a treasure hunt at the beach with metal detectors
- Go rock pooling
- Download printable fun worksheets and do them (take them to school at the beginning of term!)
- Create a holiday shoebox to save everything you’ve done
- Collect shells at the beach
- Have a movie night
- Go to the cinema
- Sleep out in the garden in a tent
- Go camping in a field
- Stay up late and sleep in the living room on a blanket bed
- Make popcorn and watch a film
- Visit the local pottery barn & make something
- Visit Goathland
- Feed the ducks in Pickering
- Visit Mother Shipton’s Cave
- Visit Knaresborough for a day
- Visit Brimham Rocks
- Visit Alton Towers
- Visit the SeaLife Centre
- Visit Peasholm Park
- Play football at the park
- Paint a wall picture outside
- Cover the kitchen floor with paper and design a mini world for cars/trains
- Visit a castle
- Take a day trip
- Visit Whitby
- Go to a country show
- Do some dog training with the puppy
- Make our own lemonade
- Make our own sausage rolls
- Visit Honeysuckle Farm in Hornsea
- Visit The Deep
- Do a car boot and sell some things
- Visit a local museum
- Visit a local art gallery
- Learn to knit with Maw Maw
- Buy some cheap trainers and design our own with fabric pens
- Fill up the paddling pool and spend the day splashing
- Create your own water pillow
- Make a puppet show and perform for Daddy after work
- Have a cultural food night and try something new
- Have a national themed day, learn words from that language & trivia about that country.
- Make some flavoured liqueur for Christmas hampers
- Practice letters on a letter hunt in the garden
- Make a fairy garden
- Make a milk bottle igloo
- Visit a birds of prey centre
- Visit Grandma & Pops
- Go puddle splashing
- Visit the local swimming pool
- Take a day trip to London and visit the British Museum
- Take a day trip to London and visit the Natural History Museum
- Visit Sheffield Tropical park
- Visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park
- Make stick wands & play wizards
- Make a lava pit in the living room
- Make pizzas and watch a movie
- Go on a moon walk at night
- Go on a bird hunt and see how many different birds you can find
- Create some ice art
- Visit York’s Chocolate museum and make our own chocolate
- Make Roald Dahl meals and tell stories all day
- Read a book collection (ours will be Harry Potter)
- Make firework art with paint and straws
- Make some flower bombs and plant them
- Dress up and have a pirate themed day
- Make a mud kitchen out of an old palate
- Create a new recipe
- Make a play dough kitchen
- Make play dough
- Play giant snakes and ladders in the garden
- Take part in a sponsored run, walk or bike ride
- Go on a bike ride with family
- Set off early and go walking on a planned Moor route
- Visit Thornton le Dale for a chocolate milkshake and to feed the ducks
- Spend a day being a photographer and camera man/woman
- Go to Creepy Crawlies or a soft play area
- Visit Clifford’s tower in York
- Visit the Jorvik Centre
- Learn about a historical event (we will be talking about several things)
- Make our own pasta for dinner
- Buy some hair chalks and dye your hair for the day.
- Learn 1-10 times tables
- Have a jelly baff
- Tidy up the front garden
- Visit the new Water Park at Scarborough
- Visit Bolton Abbey
- Visit the Festival of Archaeology between 16th – 31st July
- Check out the new Tree top nets in Lightwater Valley
- Set up a summer blog
- Go Geocatching
- Have a BBQ party
- Visit a trampolining centre
- Learn about a different religion for one day each week, visit a place of worship on each day.
- Go to a local crafting session put on through the holidays (literally all over)
- Have an olympics party
- Learn all about an animal
- Learn and write a poem
- Visit an outdoor theatre
- Enter into a family dog show
- Buy some body paints and go crazy in your swimwear!
- Go to a family disco
- Visit Legoland Manchester for the day
- Visit Cadbury World for the day
- Learn how to make bread
- Visit the local library for a reading session
- Make a flower crown
- Sort through toys/clothes and donate to a local charity shop or women’s shelter
- Sew a teddy bear’s outfit
- Visit a family-friendly festival
- Do an interview with family and friends on a topic of your choice
- Check the relevant curriculum and get a head start using teacher’s online resources
- Make our own cheese
- Make a collage from magazines
- Make some footprint art
- Make something with paper mache
- Make some handprint art
- Give in and go on a Pokemon hunt!!
- Go horse riding
- Go rollerblading
- Go bowling
- Go on a ferry to Amsterdam (not half as expensive as you may think!)
- Make a den in the forest using sticks, leaves and mud
- Visit a circus
- Make a worm house
- Have a movie day and watch films all day
- Have a day learning about Kings & Queens of England
- Learn and paint world flags
- Get some kinetic sand and play with sand on a wet day
- Attach chalk to your bikes and create some artwork!
- Make some animal footprint casts in the local forest
- Write a story
- Make a butterfly farm
- Learn how to juggle or do a circus skill
- Make an ant farm
- Make your own bubble bath or soap
- Make some mocktails and cocktails together
- Do some face painting together (let them do yours!)
- Learn about Vikings and dress up as them
- Design a cartoon character on the iPad (search apps – there are plenty, some paid, some free)
- Make a flicker book (cartoon flicker characters)
- Learn about Romans and dress up as them
- Plant some flowers in the garden – or do some simply gardening
- Make a dream catcher
- Learn how to play chopsticks on the piano
- Make a sun catcher
- Hire a bouncy castle and invite friends over
- Make a go kart
- Make ice cream or your own lollies!
- Play crazy golf
- Go indoor rock climbing
- Go zorbing
- Play foot golf
- Blindfold taste selections – guess what you’re eating (nothing too nasty)
- Have a Lego day – download some stuff to build and go crazy
- Get up REALLY early and visit a fish market (pick your dinner and cook it!)
Enjoy the summer holidays. I really struggle with this, especially as a self employed work from home mum – finding that balance is SO hard – but if you try to look at the holidays as a positive thing, something that lasts for a super short time you can step back from work with planning and enjoy it. I promise you can have a really good time learning, playing AND do it all on a budget.
We’ve had Yoda for a couple of months now, and it’s become a daily thing to take him out for a walk. When we were searching for a breed to give a home to, I was determined to buy a dog that wanted to go out on nice long walks and could keep up with the kids as they charged about like raging loonies. I wanted a dog that we could drag along to our local National Park who would see it as a bit of fun and not a chore, our 10 year old chihuahua would keel over if I suggested she ran about for 6 hours – heaven forbid. Or at least, I thought she would. Funnily enough, Yoda has inspired a desire to go on nice long country walks in all of us, including Barbie the chihuahua (yep, her name is Barbie… what’s your point?)
As delighted as I am that my mastermind plan worked and we’re inspired to go out in the great countryside and run about – free fun – I guess I didn’t think it through that I would be exclusively responsible for the safety and care of 2 dogs and 3 children under 6 (one of which can’t walk very far as she’s only 1)… something I find mind boggling when we are in the house and wrapped in safety gaff.
As you can imagine the question I get asked a lot (and I ask myself a lot) is “How do you do it?!”.
The honest answer is: Easy. No really, I’m not drunk or typo-ing, it is actually surprisingly EASY when you know how and you follow a few little tips.
Want my tips? Well, I’m going to share them anyway 😉
1.) A little bit of planning goes a long way
It might sounds a bit daft but planning ahead is a brilliant way to minimise upsets. PLEASE NOTE: One cannot plan for circumstances that involve sticks or rocks that your children fall madly in love with like Toby did on one particular walk that I wrote about last week… you just gotta roll with that shizzle.
I usually make a plan of where we are going, not always exact, but with an idea of what is surrounding me. I really do think if you have an idea of where you are then you can’t really go wrong, and in case of an accident or something, you will be able make decisions like turn back vs carry on easier. I strongly recommend keeping a dog walk for young children to between 1 and 2 miles, no more until they are used to the idea of walking. (it’s also not recommended to take puppies on more than a short walk due to bone development!).
2.) Don’t overload
Look, if it’s bright sunshine and 20C, you probably won’t need to take an umbrella and coats will you? Don’t go crackers and try to take everything you could possible need for a short walk, just take the bare minimum to get you by. If it’s unlikely it rains, but it does because we’re in the UK then rest assured your kids won’t melt in the rain like the wicked witch. The ultimate goal here is to get everyone out and having fun without you losing one of them or breaking your back in the process, if you take coats and all that jazz, you will end up being a pack horse as well as parent and responsible for dogs. I recommend grabbing one of those back packs that can attach reins to if you have a potty training toddler that can/will walk, and then roll up a small change of clothes. Also, keep a towel in the car with a change of clothes in case it rains or you decide upon a bit of impromptu stream paddling.
3.) Push it, push it real good… or not.
Ditch the pushchair and grab the carrier is my best advice for people with under 3s on any walk, there is just no pushchair in the world that will be fun on a woodland walk with older kids or dogs in tow. The truth is, and this is from a mother who has vast experience in selling pushchairs specifically for off-roading, you will set off with your pushchair and run into a fence or locked gate. Humour me, don’t do it!! Buy a carrier.
4.) Lead by example
Always have leads to hand. You can’t run after a dog with a baby attached to you or kids in tow. Unless you have a super power… Let your kids help with the leads, but be prepared to take over in the case of other dogs, people, rabbits and virtually anything that could inspire the pooch to leg it.
5.) Train the dog… and the kids…
Get your dog trained, be it through enrolling in training classes or training them yourself. It is a must if you plan to go on dog walks with kids, you simply can’t be the douchebag with an untrained hound belting around and untrained mini humans going feral as well. I also HIGHLY recommend getting the whole family involved in training, Yoda will now sit and stay for Reuben (age 5) which is super important because, despite the fact that he instinctually knows I am “alpha dog” he needs to learn he is never going to be the “beta” when the kids are present, even if they are small and non-threatening. To allow a dog to be dominant over any human is simply asking for bother.. Take some treats with you and train on the go. On top of training the dog, “train” the kids. Going out with the dogs has rules in our family, 1.) we don’t run too far ahead, 2.) we listen to my instructions and if I shout STOP it happens immediately, 3.) we never, EVER go near water without my say so and 4.) don’t approach other dogs or try to get involved if our dogs run off.
I know it makes me sound like a bore and I can almost feel their eyes rolling in their heads because I re-cap these rules every day, but it is simply for their safety and my sanity. We walk near rivers, we walk on popular dogs walk routes and I need to be sure (ish) that we will all make it home.
Last of all, and most importantly, ENJOY! Do you have any tips for walking dogs with kids in tow?
P.s – Just a tiny bit in love with Yoda? He has his own instagram account. No really, I’m not joking, Yoda is a bit of an IG star… check him our on instagram at @yodaandthebabes.
The weather. It’s something that, as Brits, we moan about a lot. You have to understand if you are reading this in another country, weather is something that unites us in it’s shitness over here in the UK… we have rain in Spring, rain in Summer, wind AND rain in Autumn and often rain that turns to black slippery ice instead of snow in Winter. I feel like you should be getting the vibe of rain. A lot.
Despite this awesome wetness, we do have those sporadic weeks that are filled to the brim with sunshine, and because it’s such an enigma to us we are outside like crazy people right from the crack of dawn screaming “sun, get on me!” and throwing our children at the paddling pools that we left out to be filled with rain water… there is truly nothing better than getting in the garden, especially over the summer holidays which are imminently approaching, much to the despair of neighbours everywhere.
The paddling pool, for all it’s rain filled glory, only carries a certain clout in the garden fun stakes, so I’ve put together a little list of garden games for summer that really are a must have!
Snakes and Ladders giant garden game £39.99
Garden chess set £47.99
Jumbo Connect 4 £89.99
In the ground 6ft trampoline £199.99
Canvas tipi wigwam £67.99
Personalised rounders kit £25.00
Colour in picnic blanket £37.00
Wooden crochet set £23.75
So what are your favourite garden games? Do you follow the philosophy of “chuck em outside and love the sun?”
Earlier on in the week there was a news story that, quite frankly, I could only imagine breaking on a slooooow news week, or maybe the gossip columns of the Daily Fail. Thing is, this wasn’t a slow week for news at all – come on people, we got a new Prime Minister (who is a total cockwomble) and the political parties have been melting like candles in the sun, not to mention all the sports stuff that has happened (Ronaldo’s moth attack anyone?). It has been a pretty news worthy week, but rather than flip out over the invasion of Paris by moths or the very real, very important political shit tip that our country seems to be at the moment, Britain had a bitch fit over Victoria Beckham kissing her daughter on the lips.
Yup, you read that right compadre. Kissing YOUR child on the lips is, according to some of the masses, horrendous. News worthy even.
I’ll state right off the bat that I am neither a Beckham fan nor hater, I am what one would term ambivalent to the whole stardom thing (she wasn’t even my favourite Spice Girl #Gingerforlife) so my thoughts and feelings on this come exclusively from a place as a mother. Who the fuck doesn’t kiss their kids on the lips? I do, everyone I know does and I have never met anyone who has told me they think it’s weird… so where are these people? Come forth and announce yourselves so we can all tell you to get a grip.
This really is what worries me about our society, that anyone could sexualise a mother’s kiss is beyond me. It baffles me. Motherhood is pure, loving and all encompassing to those of us lucky enough to have taken that wild and wacky journey, but it is never and should never be a sexualised thing. Children should never be sexualised, and to a child a kiss is simply a display of affection from their parent. I can only imagine the horror if it had been David Beckham kissing his daughter on the lips as opposed to her mother – which I’d just like to point out is no different. A PARENT/child relationship should never be sexualised. Apart from the mind-boggling stupidity of sexualising a mother’s kiss, I am also deeply frustrated by the mother shaming that this scenario highlights. Is there anything that we, as mothers, aren’t shamed for now?
Here’s a little run down of the basics: being gross for breastfeeding, being unhealthy for not breastfeeding, abusive for smacking, not strict enough for not smacking, shouting too much and creating anxious kids, not shouting enough and being a lax mother, not paying enough attention and being neglectful, paying too much attention and creating wimps, being wasteful and using disposable nappies, being a hippy and using cloth nappies, not losing weight fast enough and being lazy, losing weight too fast and promoting a bad body image to your child… these are just the few I have heard over the last week and could think of off the top of my head. There is literally no end to what you will be shamed for as a mother. And now we get to add kissing our children on the lips to the list…
Where does it stop?
If we teach our children now that kissing on the lips is inherently sexual, even when between a mother and a child, does that not sit that we are a.) sexualising children which leads to all sorts of worrying questions and b.) teaching them that every relationship is inherently sexual, and thus, moving back to point a, they are sexual beings? Surely that is going to lead to some seriously confused kids.
This whole topic really upset me, it just didn’t sit right at all. There is so much sadness and despair in the world now, truly it is one fucked up place, what is the need for us to find damage or destruction in something that is so simple and pure?
“Daddy can we build a track today?!”
It’s never mummy, and you know why? Because I can’t play. I hate it. I cook, I clean, I cuddle, I love, I bathe, I draw, I bake, I read stories, I paint and I even help with the set up of play… But I truly detest getting involved in imaginary play.
When I was first a mummy to Reuben, I used to kid myself that I didn’t mind. I could definitely enjoy a good play, of course I could, I would be thrilled to sit and play Raa Raa with you for 7 hours while you smack my hand with the Raa Raa figure for the millionth time darling. Of course.
Then the fucks train ran dry and I came to the realisation that “playtime” just isn’t my thing – and that is a-ok. I am not the mummy that will relish the chance to sit and set up track for them to knock down (like for real, I *just* built that shit, are you kidding me?!) or will play doctors or kitchens. I’ve had multiple kids literally on purpose to avoid having to go there (not the only reason…). I absolutely adore to take on the role of spectator but all I can think during playtime is a strange mixture of “kill me now” and “I could so be doing xyz instead of sat here banging a dinosaur up and down”. Which I think is sad because I really WANT to love playtime… I juuust don’t.
My husband is a total contrast to me, he loves playing. In fact, that man is a boss when it comes to the train track building, car driving mayhem that is playtime in our house. One could never say that it is not his “thing”. Many a time I have sat watching from the sidelines while he and the boys mastermind an elaborate track that has everything a child could possibly dream of. I have sat by and smiled as they have spent hours setting up wonderful zoo scenes for their animals and dinos, but I haven’t been even slightly tempted to join in.
With everything in life, we all have our own niche, things that we excel at and stuff we do upon occasion because there is no one else to do it and we feel we have to. Sharon in the office might be a whizz at accounting, but she ain’t no marketing genius like Janet, Janet owns that shit. The same is true for this parenting gig, some of it comes naturally – we excel at it and we can do it with our eyes closed, but other bits are a serious drain on the system. The difference, I think with parenting, is that unlike the daily grind of a day job, we actually feel a desperation to be good at it all, to rock out every aspect and that just doesn’t happen. I struggle to believe that there is anyone out there who can honestly say they are truly delighted with every parenting task, every angle of their life with their children and the roles they are expected to fulfil. It all boils down to parent guilt, that cruel and uncaring wench who hangs around our necks like a cheap scarf. Parenting guilt suckers you in and it becomes almost impossible to shake her off.
I used to look at Adam playing with the boys and bringing such joy to their little faces with his silly games and effortless fun, and I’d wonder why I wasn’t naturally like that. Then one day Toby fell outside and cracked his noggin on the concrete, as his bizarrely clumsy self is wont to do. He blitzed past Daddy who was supervising (please, dear reader, note that: it was DADDY on duty, not me *beams with pride*) up the stairs and into my arms while I was running a bath. It suddenly all clicked for me. I’m Sharon in the office, filing my accounting and doing it like a boss. Sure, I could do marketing but I wouldn’t do especially well at it like Janet. I have become quite happy to announce “ask your dad” when the boys ask for playtime, and watch from the sidelines, just like Daddy is content to eat the biscuits from our productive baking session.
What is your parenting fortay and what are you not a legend at?
I’ve come to the conclusion lately that I don’t really like my wardrobe. You know when you suddenly take a step back and look at what you have, denouncing most of it as “I wore that before I had small humans that would lift it up or pull it down” and the old “geez, that is just laughing st my hips now”. Well, I’ve been doing that quite a lot lately, I’m not happy with my wardrobe for the most part and I’ve fallen in to that vicious mum cycle where I buy cheap supermarket clothes for myself in order to avoid “treating myself”… Like clothing is a freakin treat.
There isn’t anything wrong with that by the way, my favourite ever jeans were from Primark (another pair by contrast from White Stuff) and my current must have vest top is from none other than George at Asda, but that doesn’t mean that on a whole I want to cut myself back from wearing clothes that make me feel just that bit more special.
Then there is the question of budget. Moola has been short of late, I’m still in my first year of freelance and self employment, Adam’s company has had a change of hands and we’re saving for a holiday that, quite frankly, could have bought a bloody house. So yeah, clothing hasn’t really ranked high for me, especially when my ever fluctuating weight means £6 stretch leggings are where it’s at.
Then I discovered Love the Sales, a site that I am pretty much drooling over constantly. They stock everything from Dolce & Gabbana knickers to ASOS dresses, a total spectrum with one thing in common: everything is on sale. I am always a sucker for a good bargain (who isn’t) and I do love a bit of thrifting, but who the hell wants to drag three bored children around the shops when there is a sale on, or sit on the Internet for hours at a time trying to find the best sale items amongst full price garments that make you *wish* you were just that bit richer and not living hand to mouth all the time. I mean, there is something lovely about a £79 shirt (which is the price of my delectable shirt I’m wearing above) but doesn’t it just look so much better if you know it was £39 instead? Yeah, it does. It’s that feeling of knowing you got something you really love, really wanted, but couldn’t afford or justify at the better price… And even if you could afford it, grabbing a bargain is the honey to your monster.
If you aren’t a huge fan of shopping either, this is the perfect place for you, honk of it as a walk-in store that has a personal assistant that won’t judge you if you’re braless, in your slippers and sipping wine from a mug. You can put in your size (show it won’t show you what you could have if you didn’t like cake so much), price preferences, brand preferences and even break it down to style within garment range. So if you’re looking for a glorious white A line dress for that wedding that you don’t want to go to but want to look smoking for, in a size 12, for under £90, you can put that in (less the not wanting to go part, it can’t help you with that).
Better yet, love the sales is not just pandering to the fashionista inside us all, but rather stoking the fires of the electrical appliance lover (I see you there, getting excited about that 70% off washing machine… Hell, I am you) and even that wannabe interior designer. Everything is available, and still ALL ON SALE.
So fancy shopping the sales without the queues, distressing lighting and animalistic warfare over those shoes that you and that random girl grabbed at the same time? Me too!
I’m wearing the lovely Ivory Longline Button Shirt from the Mint Velvet Sale collection
As you know I am a huge fan of aden + anais, they are a brand that I have always been really smitten with, their awesome swaddle blankets, muslin squares and especially those amazing dream blankets are just so blissfully perfect – an absolute can’t live without for new parents (ahem and parent’s of five year olds too judging by Reuben’s theft of his baby sister’s dream blanket!
I’ve run a few giveaways with aden + anais in the past, but never one that has excited me *quite* this much!
If you follow the blog on a regular basis you will know that we are taking the kids (cos it’s all about the kids you understand) to Disney World in September. The Disney excitement in our house is strong at the moment so when I was offered the chance to tell you all about the fabulous aden + anais collaboration that has just launched, I threw myself at it with gusto! Two of my favourites, together? Hello!
Now, I have a little confession, I’m not a big fan of Disney clothing or blankets (or any brand for that matter) as they are often rather garish, in your face or just not my style, but that, well, that is just not the case with this delightful range.
The products are exactly what you would expect from aden + anais – soft, stylish and a little different. This collection includes burpy bibs, musy muslin squares, dream blankets and swaddles, all in the most beautiful Winnie the Pooh, Bambi or Jungle Book styles. I suppose what I like the best is the fact that these are neither garish nor boring and bland pastels but a mixture of eye popping colour, sweet Disney characters and the softest fabric imaginable.
So, get to the good stuff yeah?
Well, I’m offering you the chance to win a pack of aden + anais’ classic swaddles in a style of your choice. Just enter the rafflecopter competition below!
I had big plans for a competition post today. It will have to wait until tomorrow now, because I need to get this off my chest.
I woke up yesterday morning to Adam telling me that further tragedies have occurred in Dallas, Texas with police officers shot in the line of duty. I hadn’t even switched on the news that day so hadn’t heard why the riots were taking place. Irrespective of the reason for rioting, I could never condone or understand anything other than a peaceful protest and the fact that police officers have been murdered is heinous. That discussion ends there.
Naturally I then clicked off my news app and headed over to twitter, where a very poignant post had been shared by Scary Mommy written by a black mother, asking her son’s white friend’s parents to help her out in keeping him safe. Essentially she was asking that they make their kids aware that a.) skin tone DOES matter because of institutional racism and b.) if they see an example of her child being picked on or treated differently for the colour of his skin then they need to point it out and stand up for him to help.
This sounds reasonable to me. Perfectly. Yet, within a matter of seconds, there was “this shouldn’t be about race, it works both ways” and “what about my white child?”. Sound the bullshit buzzer loud and clear people, because this just doesn’t work. I couldn’t believe the plethora of “white lives matter too” comments, “I’m sick of hearing about racism” comments and “my child is bullied because he’s white” comments.
I felt that frustrated that I sent out a tweet that simply said ” Sheesh, waking up to “white people experience racism too” all over. It’s time we had a talk about individual vs INSTITUTIONAL racism.” with a little angry emoji because, well, I do love a good emoji. Who doesn’t? Who do you think picked this up? A nazi account, that’s who. When your tag line reads “Deport all africans”, “white power” and “viking blood” I can feel confident in the fact that we won’t be sharing sippy cups of wine any time soon. I was sent stats on black crime in the USA to “prove” that it isn’t institutional racism, rather a simple fact that blacks are baddies.
I think the truth is that we NEED to have a societal talk about the difference between individual racism and institutional racism. We need to talk to our kids, especially if we are white, about white privilege.
Individual racism can, and does, happen towards white people. I have experienced it – I remember walking down the street in St Kitts in the Caribbean, we got lost and ended up in a small town that was having a street party. The music actually stopped and people stood and stared at us, and not in a nice way. Not even slightly. It was scary, it was racist and it was horrible. BUT IT WAS ONE INCIDENT. One isolated, I’ll-never-forget-that-day incident. It was not a constant factor in my life.
And it never will be, because I am white and we live in a world where that gives me, my husband and my children, a certain privilege.
I’ve always told my boys not to look at someone’s skin tone – it’s irrelevant – you can be black and be an asshole, you can be white and be an asshole… but in doing that I have made a mistake. The truth is worse than that, because skin tone does matter and in order to make the world a better place for their generation I need to teach them that it DOES matter. It matters a lot, not to the person they will be, not to the outline of their being but because without the understanding that skin tone matters, my children won’t grow up to understand that they have a certain head start in life purely because of their skin. They won’t be able to understand that in life, they are safer, more likely to get a job, more likely to be treated fairly and more likely to be considered a “good citizen” BECAUSE they are white. My boys need to understand that as white, middle class males they will be in a position that they can use to open a dialogue about how we live in this society, or they will be in position that they can abuse. Just look at the case of Brock Turner, a convicted rapist who was given 6 months for his crime because a ‘prison sentence would severely affect him’ as he was going places. A classic case of white male privilege.
I need them to understand that their black friends (of which they have none right now because the area we live in is totally skewed in it’s representation of ethnicity) will be automatically disadvantaged. They will have to be better, work harder and push more, just to be on a level.
Like it or not, it’s the truth. Fortunately for my children and myself, we’re in the UK, and we don’t have nearly half the issues with racism that are prevalent in the states, but it’s naive to think we don’t have it. With the current climate in the UK, it’s naive to think it won’t get worse too.
Every country suffers from an institutional racism. EVERY country. In order to move forward from that, we need to accept white privilege and teach our kids so that will have the tools to put us in that world where skin colour truly does not matter and we ARE equal.
Welcome back for another #saturdaysiblings linky with myself and Danielle from Someone’s Mum.
We want to see your candid shots, perfect staged shots and everything in between of your little siblings. Share with us your siblings stories and link up old posts or new photo posts. We will comment on as many as we can – usually both of us do over the course of a month, and then we will be able to share our favourite picks on social media and on the following linky.
This week, I have chosen these beauties as my favourite posts:
From My Mummies Pennies, this beauty say’s “let nature be our teacher” and I couldn’t agree more. So much love for this.
Sharing her “N O T S O I N S T A” post is Sprog On The Tyne – this really made me smile as I have taken soooo many shots like this in an attempt to get the IG winner! Ha!
I can’t help but fall in love with this beautiful back drop from Momma A Day when she took the kids to Himley Hall Country Park.
Lastly there is this precious moment showing the difference but similarity between Confessions of a Crummy Mummy’s two. One eating skips, one eating carrot… both with the same expressions!
So grab a badge, link up, gram and hashtag and we hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as we know we will.
The linky opens at 9pm.
So grab a badge, link up, gram and hashtag and we hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as we know we will.
The linky opens at 9pm.
If you link up here:
- Please comment on both the host posts and another of your choosing, more if you can.
- Please grab the badge above and add it to your post.
- If you would like Danielle or me to retweet your posts, please do add and tweet us on Twitter (@tobyandroo and @MumSomeone) and we will oblige!
If you join us on Instagram:
- Please tag your post #SaturdaySiblings
- Have a look around the hashtag and like and follow some posts and people you enjoy (We are tobyandroo and someone_s_mum )
- Generally share the love, however you join us.
- And that’s it! Happy linking. We can’t wait to see your photos!
You might remember a few weeks ago or so I wrote about our trip to Thomas Land, and with a blogger friend of mine re-visting the place after reading our review, I was thinking about how the boys both loved it so. I thought it might be something to discuss for this weeks Saturday siblings!
When Toby turned 3 back in November, he was given a tonne of dinosaurs – that’s his “thing”, he is truly obsessed, but his brother has never been even remotely interested. As Toby has grown into himself, he has really started to love his brother’s trains and train track – it’s now an obsession that they share. He still loves his dinosaurs with the same ferocious burning love that I feel for sleep and chinese food, but he’s watched his brother and developed a similar passion for trains, purely so that he can join in the play.
I find it really interesting the way that children interact, children’s psychology has always been somewhat fascinating to me – how their little minds work and what makes them tick. It’s all the more fascinating when you have multiple children to watch the way they learn from their siblings and how they adapt to their surrounding.
While my kids all have their own “things” – Reuben is still a big lover of transformers, Edie adores her princess figures and Toby has the aforementioned dinosaurs – they really are little copycats, and they take their lead from each other, usually Reuben. Going back to the train thing, Edith has now started to collect the boy’s trains and carry them around with her in a bid to get involved with their play – something that frustrates them no end, but they are too fearful of her epic temper tantrums to tell her no, rather ladening me with that burden (and I have to admit I fear this temper too…). It doesn’t just stop with toys either, oh no, their whole being is based around being a copy cat.
Edith has started throwing full out temper tantrums (something she would obviously have done minus the siblings) but she mirrors the hand movements and sounds the boys make. Crossing of arms, slapping of thighs and shouting “hey!” are all behaviours that have started to emerge and are now very much a part of her hissy-fit routine. It is both hilarious and frustrating at the same time, depending on what level of coffee I have indulged in that day.
I suppose as adults we do it too, depending on our peer influence. I know as a mother I have changed what I planned to do or how I planned to react/behave because of peer influence. It’s only really now I’m getting older that it happens less and less, but it’s how we learn and how we respond to our friends.
Do you find this? Are your children prone to copying each other?
Last week when I took the kids for a post-school run dog walk, we had what I have now affectionately termed “stick-magedon”. Toby, my middle son, managed to locate the biggest, sharpest stick in the field, not to mentioned that it was coated in sheep shit. It was almost the same height as him, but with several branches pointing off just waiting to skewer him like a kebab on a drunken Saturday night out.
A bond was formed with this stick, a bond so fierce it left him in a fit of hysteria when I told him he couldn’t bring it home. Mama is a mean, cold hearted woman, and there was no way that stick was coming in my car in case I had to break sharply. I kind of like my kids with two eyes and my upholstery sheep shit free and unripped. Call me crazy. I posted the whole thing on my Facebook page and we all had a good giggle at his expense, but as I sipped my well earned wine on that evening I couldn’t help but dread tomorrow’s dog walk and the continual sniffles of “mr stick” as we went along. Ever the cunning mother, I devised a plan to grace his lordship with a stick craft – provided the stick was shitless and under a foot big.
We (by which I mean pinterest and I) decided to make some stick wands! We’re taking the kids to DisneyWorld and Universal Studios in September so I thought this might help to excite them about Harry Potter, and if not, it would feed my desire to shout Stupefy at them when they wouldn’t shut up or were scraping.
Want to make a stick wand with one of the bajillion sticks your little beastie has collected this week?
Here’s what you need:
- Sticks (around 20cm are best – I urge you to avoid the shit covered variety)
- Twine, ribbon or string (you can use tape too, but it will most likely come off early)
- Flowers, I think cow slips are perfect!
- Coloured paper
Take your stick and give it a clean. It needs to be a relatively decent diameter, too thin and it will snap, too thick and you will have more of a stick in fancy dress than a wand.
Take your chosen decoration and wrap around the end of the stick, securing with the twine or string. If you have used a paper decoration then I would suggest securing with tape first and then wrapping the string over the top of that so it doesn’t come undone.
Make as many as you like and let your little one’s imagination run free! The boys did turn theirs into swords… and guns… and then clubs to beat each other with, but hey ho, the effort was there. Oh and FYI, Stupefy doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. If all else fails it makes a good dog toy for around 2.4 seconds.
The weather hasn’t been amazing her of late, but between the down pours we’ve been trying to get out into the garden to make the most of it all. You understand it has absolutely nothing at all with saving my sanity from being couped up in the house with slightly rabid children under the age of 6. Not at all.
Anyway, we are lucky enough to have a playhouse and swing set outside that my mum bought for the kids when they were tiny, so every chance we get, we want to make the most of it – use up all that imaginary goodness and play. The boys have a fascination with climbing up and hurling themselves down the spiral slide whilst Edith tries to figure out what will sprout more grey hairs on mummy’s head; teetering over the side of the upper floor to the playhouse or playing dogems with the boy’s legs when they are full pelt on the swings. The one thing I do think our swing set is missing is a throne for madam to sit in, where she can join in the brazen swing-fest.
Well, that’s what we have now!
Swinging it’s way into our lives (sorry!) is this rather gorgeous wooden baby swing from Big Game Hunters (not to be confused with the lion shooting variety) which we have all become rather fond of pushing Edie in, even Toby.
The swing itself is made of wood (obvs) with a decorative beading around the front to entertain even the grumpiest of tinkers. There is a secure belt in the swing too, which means you can strap your little darlings down whilst their siblings swing them into next Sunday, just to be on the safe side and all.
For us, having a baby swing means that we don’t have to listen to Edie having a meltdown every time that she sees her brothers having a good swing, but also that we don’t have to worry about her and do that ridiculous skittering thing that parents do when they suspect their child is about to injure themselves. Best of all, as she is secure, her brothers can push her back and forth, so we can sit back and enjoy whatever little sunshine we have in good ole Yorkshire on that day.
If you have a swing set, or you’re thinking about getting one, then I can’t recommend a baby sit for the under 3’s enough. It’s tough, durable and means you will have fewer panty-liner requiring moments than without it.