18 Goals for 2018 We are now a few days into the new year and before the full-on routine kicks back in. I thought I would take a little bit of time out to make some goals for the year ahead. No big new year […]
I have never overly been a New Year’s Eve party-er. All my adult years I have been a parent. So I can count on one hand the nights I have had out partying for New Years Eve. Over the past 10 years or so I have always opted for a party with the kids. So thought I would share my tips for a family New Year celebration.
- Food – Ok, ok I know most of you might be sick of the site of food after overeating during Christmas. But it is way too early to knuckle down to the New Year diet. So we tend to opt for a buffet-style dinner. So no mad stress to get everything ready and perfect. Just need to raid the freezers at Iceland and whack it all in the oven and hey presto. I usually take a one or two kids with me to choose what we have. Having a buffet also means that you can keep picking throughout the evening. Plus it’s a good idea to get paper plates, to cut out the washing up too.
- Time – We aren’t routine crazy on our family, so the kids will party on through to the New Year chimes of Big Ben. So we countdown through the evening and once we are close to midnight we turn on BBC to watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny. Then the fireworks in London, with the kids hoping one day they will actually be there in person to watch. But I know some people that have smaller ones and like to still get their kids to bed at a reasonable time. Have found Australia’s new year countdown on YouTube and done a fake midnight so the kids can then go to bed.
- Music – Who doesn’t love a spotify playlist? This is a great activity to kill some time during the Christmas and New Year lull, to compile a family playlist. On ours, there are loads of recent Disney soundtracks and party dances. Plus some classics from my teenage years. I also love to share memories of the songs I used to dance along to as a child with my parents. Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Take That and Craig David, of course, feature alongside, Moana’s ‘Your Welcome’ and Lego’s ‘Everything is Awesome’. Also nothing like a dance floor, we have a glitter ball. So turn the lights down and dance the night away.
- Games galore – Every year at Christmas we always add to our board game collection. So New Years’s Eve is the perfect opportunity to enjoy these with all of the family. I find playing games is a great way for the kids to have my undivided attention. As games time means no phone time in our house. This year we have found a love of UNO even the 4-year-old love to have a go.
- Look back a the past year – Time to reflect last year we decided to start our Family Memory Jar. So New Year’s Eve is the perfect chance to empty the and remember everything that has happened in the past year.
But most of all enjoy yourself, if you have any tips please share with us
As a mum to a larger than average brood, I’m often asked how I afford it. My kids don’t go without as they are in a bigger family. I just assess where I can cut costs on everyday living so that we can afford the bigger treats. So I thought I would share my family money saving tips with you all.
- Food shop wisely – the weekly food shop is often most families biggest expense after mortgage/rent repayments. Well, it’s essential we eat so we have to spend it. Over the last few years, things have crept up in price, plus my kid’s appetites have soared. So my food bills were often hitting £120 plus weekly plus top up shops between £20-£30. I made the change to Aldi and saw my food bills drop pretty drastically to around £70-£80 per week. Plus I now send one of the older kids into the local shop to get that loaf of bread we might need midweek. I find then I don’t get distracted by the end of the aisles deals. And leave the co-op with bags full instead of just the loaf needed.
- Annual Memberships – we love days out but they can be really expensive. So look into annual memberships. If it is a local attraction that you know you would be likely to visit 3 times plus (Easter, Summer Holidays and Christmas) then it is worth the investment. It can be a big initial outlay, so it might be worth giving it to your children as part of their Christmas or Birthday presents. Last year we had Merlin Annual Passes, which were a real treat. We used these loads. Gate prices for Chessington and Legoland are around £45 a day, but the passes cost just over £100. So this was recouped in less than 3 trips. The passes also included Sealife Centres and Alton Towers. We made a holiday around Alton Towers by hiring a cottage over October half term to enjoy daily visits to the park. If you are looking for more low-key days out, we have had National Trust memberships for several years now. These are so reasonable, and within a couple of visits, they have also been covered. We often just pack a picnic and head out for an afternoon and the kids get to run off steam in the picturesque gardens. And learn lots of historical facts, whilst we explore the houses.
- Cashback on your shopping – we are a generation of online shoppers, I love the ease of shopping whilst I lounge on the sofa. I always shop through the Quidco gateway, which is great to earn cash back on my purchases. I let my cashback collect up through the year, to withdraw and use towards treats.
- Buy second hand – the kids grow quicker than I can keep up with. So I seem to forever have a shopping list of what is needed. Even though I have 4 girls the hand me downs don’t always last through all of them. Yes, the older girls get to an age that they know what they want, so I do buy new for them. But whilst the little ones aren’t overly demanding (with regards to their fashion anyway) I head to local nearly new sales, pop into charity shops and watch the Facebook selling sites for bargains.
- Have a goal – I find it harder to save and then decide what to spend the money on. So if I have an aim, we love holidays but often miss having one as I think yeah I’ll book that somewhen. But before I know it is July and I can’t spare the cash. But if I book it and calculate how much I’m going to pay towards it each week/month then I will pay for it and we get away.
I hope these few tips help, please share your money saving tips too.
This week it would have been my Daddy’s and my little tribes Grandpa’s 71st Birthday. On his heavenly birthday, we take time out of our busy schedule to reflect. On his life and all the happy memories, we have of him. Remembering Grandpa enables our precious […]
Disneyland Paris at Christmas – A Memory to Last a Lifetime
Last Christmas after thinking of what to buy the kids for Christmas. Dreading the thought of just buying lots of toys just for the sake of buying toys. We certainly didn’t need more toys in our house as it was already bursting at the seams. I racked my brains, scrub that I quickly came up with the idea of creating a magical Christmas forever memory for the whole family. The obvious choice was Disneyland Paris, we had been several times before but not at Christmas. I thought that it would totally be out of my budget but still had a little online search. Once I saw that it wasn’t as expensive I dropped my trusty personal travel agent a message. She came up with a very reasonable price that couldn’t be missed. I made a snap decision and booked!!
The kids had absolutely no idea and as Christmas approached they gave me there lists. To which I replied with I’m not sure what I’m getting you yet. But whilst they were out of my hair at school and nursery, I head to Primark for the odd Disney clothes shop. And picked up thermals and warm clothes in the Aldi ski super buys.
The run-up to Christmas flew as it always does with endless school Christmas plays and activities. We were booked to go on the Monday before Christmas and return on Friday the day before Christmas Eve. On Saturday morning came the big reveal, the girls were dead excited. The boy or should I say Home Boy was less so as he makes out he would prefer to stay home and watch Ninjago on repeat.
Travelling with 5 children on my own can sometimes be a little full on but they are pretty good kids and realise when they need to help. My eldest, was fab being in-car entertainment when she wasn’t catching 40 winks! I opted to drive as I prefer that the kids are contained in the car rather than dealing with airports and hoping they behave on a flight or on the Eurostar.
We started our journey from Wiltshire at about 3am on the Monday, with the kids in their PJs. We arrived in Folkestone in good time and were on the train under the sea around 7am. The weather was good to us and we arrived as Davy Crockett mid-afternoon. We quickly decamped grabbed a snack and heading to the park.
The moment we entered those gates and the kids eyes lighted up, I knew that this certainly would live on in the minds forever. Disneyland Paris at Christmas was truly magical and everything that we had expected and more.
It was busy but we expected that so we didn’t go on some of the rides as there was no way we were queuing for anything an hour plus. We saw all the parades, some more than once as you spot things you didn’t the first time. One of our favourite things was to meet the characters and Aliza was no longer scared of large characters either.
We had a hectic busy, pretty exhausting 5 days but WOW we loved it. When we returned home we had a very low-key Christmas with minimal pressies. Not once was anything that wasn’t brought off of those long Christmas lists mentioned.
Now where are we off to this year, no pressure to top that then!!!!