Last week, it was my eldest daughter’s 17th birthday. As well as being an exciting celebration for her, as she is desperate to learn to drive. Also, she is edging even closer to officially being an adult in a years time. But for me, it is […]
Recently the kids checked out the Mardles – The Egg Who Couldn’t Wait book and Mardles Cutie Stickers. Mardles bring characters to life with their augmented app. The app is quick and easy to download on Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon Apps. Once you have […]
I work for myself and I have to say that I love it. For years I have found the flexibility to work around the kids a godsend. Before all of them went to school fulltime in September. I managed to work with a preschooler buzzing around the house. Always looking forward to the other children being off on school holidays. Meaning we could enjoy being together and the lack of routine. But since they have all been in school full time, the school holidays are getting harder. I feel terrible for writing this but surely I’m not the only one finding it a challenge.
I love spending time with the kids, but life gets in the way. The bigger they get the more inquisitive they get constantly asking questions. This is essential for them to learn so I don’t want to put a dampener on that one. but how many whys can you answer in one day?
Then there’s the mess, 4 lots of toys out at once, no one owns up to who made what mess. Meaning a trail of devastation that no one wants to clear up as it wasn’t them. With the mess, we might as well pair up the arguing. Seriously I have to watch them like hawks to see who causes each argument. When I am in another room, it is usually about 10 minutes before someone storms off, something goes flying or someone is screaming out.
I try my hardest to keep the kids entertained with days out and breaks away. But with all the best intentions we can’t can’t be out all the time. Even when we are out at least one child wants to be home. I understand that the 16 yo doesn’t want to trail along with us all the time and that is fine. However, the 11yo seems to think as her older sister stays how she can too. She feels hard done by having to trail along. This holiday we have had a glamping trip away and several days out with friends. So you would think on they could nicely watch a film and chill for a few hours on the days I need to work, but no!
The work thing also now stresses me as I used to be able to catch up in the evenings when the kids went to bed during the holidays. Nowadays I am so blooming exhausted once they all go to bed due to later bedtimes now they are old. I usually collapse in a heap on the sofa.
I really want to focus on the good times with them as they are growing too quickly and before I know it they will have all flown the nest. So for the future half terms, I am going to make a decent plan. Meaning we can all enjoy it. I will be looking into holiday clubs and Grandma Daycare for a few days. So they are happy and entertained whilst I work. And make sure I plan ahead with work, not leaving me trying to meet deadline whilst they are requiring my attention. As they are now away from me at school a good chunk of their time. Then throw in all the afterschool clubs and other stress.
This has ultimately reminded me of the most important lesson in parenting. Which is never think you have it nailed as there is always a curveball on the horizon. Forever a learner!
Our Favourite Merlin Days Out
If you follow our family on Instagram you will see we love our Merlin Annual Passes. Brought on a whim in their sale in 2016 I wasn’t sure how much we would use them but we have got our monies worth. We have had lots of fantastic days out so I’m sharing the paces we will definitely be returning to.
- Chessington World of Adventures – I have very fond childhood memories of visiting Chessington Zoo with my family, there was only a few rides then and lots of animals. So the park has certainly changed over the years with many more rides but also plenty of animals too. As the kids range so widely in age 4 years to 16 years. It is sometimes difficult to keep them all happy. But Chessington has something for every one of them. And lots of things we all love, last year they have added the Gruffalo Ride to replace the famous Bubbleworks. I wasn’t so sure and the Gruffalo seems to have been overdone, but our family verdict was we loved it. A few of my thrill seekers love to ride the Vampire Ride, whilst the less brave of the family can have a merrier time on the Adventure Tree.
- Warwick Castle – last year when we first visited Warwick Castle we weren’t sure what to expect, but it was great fun with the Horrible Histories Maze, exploring the Castle itself, the younger girls loved meeting the Princess in her tower. But in 2016 the highlight of the day was the jousting. Then last year they have upped their game with War of the Roses Live, a fast-paced live show with horse and knights.
- Alton Towers – October 2016 we hired a cottage near Alton Towers so we could go for a few days. Then explore other places locally. Well there was so much to do we spent 5 out of our 7 days in the park. CbeebiesLand is great and all the kids loved it. Even the teen well she is a first generation Cbeebies baby. When she was little we only got an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Very different from nowadays when the kids get to have a permanent fix of Cbeebies. There is the big thrill seeker rides that T wanted to go on but The Smiler was probably my least favourite experience of the day. We also spent a whole day at the Waterpark, which was great too.
- Weymouth Sealife Centre – Is a great day out if the weather is good. It has a fab splash park, so the kids always have a blast in that. Last year they added a new adventure playground too, Carribean Cove. It’s location is a winner too, more or less on Weymouth seafront. So once we finish at the Sealife centre we can head across the road for a paddle and even fish and chips on the beach.
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