Silent Sunday

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Saturday is Caption Day

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Rainy day ideas for Toddlers

When it rains it not only puts a dampener on your mood it’s also harder to entertain the children. I find entertaining them is far easier when the weather is nice. But the weather has only blessed us with about 3 good days this year so I’ve needed to think of ideas a lot.

When all the kids are at school its just me and Jack at home and silly as it sounds (with 4 kids) I still struggle to think of things to do with him. So it gave me an idea, if I’m struggling then maybe others are too. So I asked some friends to give me some ideas and this is what they came up with;

  • Rachel from Mummy in Training says “Den building! Couple of chairs and some blankets & cushions. My 2 love it!”
  • Alex from Lamb and Bear said “We painted pine cones last week! You could also use stones or sticks”
  • Alyssa from Mummy to a Monster says “Stick waterproofs on and go for a walk in the park/woods. Doesn’t matter if you get wet as you are prepared for it and then you can have a nice hot chocolate when you get back. Bonus point is the park is normally empty”
  • Kate from LesBeMums says “Making slime or your own playdoh using household items”
  • Julie from Pondering Parenthood said “We love a sensory tuff spot activity!”
  • Leslie from Messy Blog UK says “Puddle splashing! We go puddle splashing even when it’s not raining…we use our tuff spot”

So there you have it. We will definitely be using some, if not all of these. Do you have anymore to add?

 

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Our haven holiday

At the end of March we took the long journey to Cornwall for a Haven Holiday. We’ve had many Haven holidays but this was the first one with just Harry and Jack as the teenagers had to stay for exams and work. It was a brilliant (if a little stressful with the boys) holiday  and it was good to just get away after all we’ve been through the past few months.

The boys loved the Characters and was definitely their highlight. Tom loved the beach. And my favourite was visiting lands end because it is beautiful there.

Here are a few of my favourite photos;

 

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10 ways to save money on holiday with children 

Having two teenagers, a 5 and 2 year old we have been on many many holidays and in that time I think I’ve got pretty good at how we spend our money. I don’t claim to be an expert but having been there and done it and seen what works and what doesn’t, I think I have a few good tips that may help 🙂 I know it sounds impossible that you could actually save money on holiday with children. I suppose it’s not really saving money, it’s more not spending a ridiculous amount while away which I know is very easy to do, especially with kids!

So here goes….

  1. Try to add a meal plan to your holiday. It may seem a lot to spend when you’re booking but it’s a lot cheaper in the end. We fill up at breakfast, snack in the day and fill up in the evening. We’ve been away before and just ate out every day and it was so expensive. We even made our own breakfast one holiday to try and save money but it was still expensive.
  2. Alternatively if you like to make your own meals (which we like to do too) then just spend your normal grocery allowance on food, don’t go overboard. Aldi is good for this.
  3. Give your children their own money daily. Kids find it exciting that they can buy their own things and it teaches them at the same time. And it stops a lot of tantrums in shops (most of the time) because it can get expensive when you go on days out.
  4. If you have a small child that is not at an age where they want something from the gift shop or the tacky flashy things at night, then don’t buy them anything. I see so often people buying babies expensive stuff and the kid could not care less. If you want them to have something for a memory box etc then buy something cheap or save the tickets/receipts from the places you’ve been.
  5. Before your holiday go to the supermarket and buy snacks like raisins, chocolate, crisps, fruit etc and a pack of waters/fruit shoots. And then every day pack up some snacks and drinks and enjoy the day. It saves you from buying overly priced food and drink whilst out.
  6. When you go into the arcades, change up what you’re willing to spend, distribute it between you and then put your purse away, money can easily be wasted in one of them.
  7. Drinks in the evenings can be really expensive, to cut costs a little I buy the children a character cup the first night and then they can be refilled with squash for about 50p/£1 and because they’re always quite big, the kids only need 1 or 2 a night. A lot cheaper than fruit shoots, which seem to last seconds.
  8. Also if Tom and I want alcohol, we buy a pitcher to share, it works out a lot cheaper.
  9. Look for free/cheap days out whilst on holiday. We have regular free/cheap days out at home because they are so fun so why not on holiday? We do have still have expensive days out, just not all the time. It’s best if you research the areas before you go away.
  10. Alternatively look for some sites that can help. Consumer credit index is a good place to start

So there you have it! Do you have anymore to add? I’d love to hear some tips that you may have picked up on your travels.

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Why my son is heading to NCS this year.

My teenage son is like most year 11’s. His day consists of school, playing a little sport, Xbox and YouTube. Not really something I want him to be doing (obviously the school and sport I do) but there is only so much I can push him to do. But a couple of months ago he came home with a leaflet and was super excited about something called National Citizen Service (NCS) and after reading through I started to get excited too and I signed him up right away.

So what is NCS?

NCS is a government backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.


NCS is open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland. The two to four week programme, which takes place in school holidays, includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.


At a time of huge political uncertainty, where division is more evident than togetherness, NCS is a powerful tool to ensure the next generation see more in their similarities than differences.


In a nutshell, the programme:
●Puts young people through a series of challenging activities to take them out of their comfort zones and develop their strength of character
●Provides a progressive journey that hands over more responsibility to young people as the programme progresses and develops leadership skills necessary to succeed in the workplace
●Enables young people to connect with their communities through social action.

To date:
●Almost 400,000 young people have taken part
●More than seven million hours of community action have been completed
●For every £1 spent, NCS’  2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society

NCS is amazing value for money. The whole experience including food, accommodation and travel costs just £50 and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is also provided for young people with additional needs.

See why I signed him up straight away? It’s an amazing opportunity to make new friends, build his confidence and learn life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom. He actually will go on his 16th birthday but he doesn’t mind at all because he is so excited. He’s been difficult to live with lately. Exam pressure, teenage hormones etc are taking their toll on him. His dad and I have both said we think going to NCS this summer is going to be brilliant for him in more ways than one.

If this is something you would like your Year 11 to do but worry about the plans you’ve already made this summer, don’t, just register for further information because NCS are great because they endeavour to get all teens a spot on the course for a time to suit your needs.

And if you’re thinking maybe next year because this year will be too late? Nope, because there are still places available for Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer. To sign up now, go to the NCS website.

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Silent Sunday

Myself, nephew and sister at his passing out parade.

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Saturday is Caption Day

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Easy Updos for mums with short/medium hair

Lets face it when you have kids you barely have anytime to wash your hair let alone blow dry and style it so more often that not it gets shoved back in a ponytail. Up until recently I had really long hair which obviously is some aspects was a pain but to be honest it was pretty easy to style as I had so many options. Sadly I didn’t realise that until recently when I had my hair cut short.

I went from this

To this

So quite a massive change. One thing I soon realised was just popping my hair in a ponytail was just as easy but it didn’t look as good as it did when I had longer hair. I decided I needed to look for some hair styles that were easy to do because I just don’t have hours to spare and also made me feel good.

  • French plaits. This is a bit of a cheat one because I have my teen daughter do them for me but if not French plaits, simple ones are just as effective. One in the middle or a double one
  • Half a top knot. So the top knot seems to be a favourite with many mums but with short hair its not the easiest. But half the hair down and half in a knot looks good too.
  • Fringe up. So there are many ways to pop the fringe back which gives a nice style. Pretty clips, a small plait, backcombing etc.
  • Double pigtail. So you put the top half of your hair in a ponytail and the bottom half in a ponytail, Depending how long your hair is, you can sometimes join the two.
  • Double top knot. The same as above but like Mickey Mouse.
  • Ponytail twist. Put your hair in a low ponytail, pull the hair loose and then twist the ponytail into itself (think 90’s teenager)

Do you have any good tips? Or should I let the kids continue to pull my hair out and look into how much a hair transplant cost? I did enjoy having long hair but it was quite high maintenance really so think I’m going to stick with the short hair style. I may just get rid of the fringe.

Do you have short hair? What’s your go to style?

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Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

Conduct your own experiments at home or on the go, just like the girls from Project Mc²

McKeyla McAlister’s Ultimate Lab Kit includes numerous science tools to investigate on their next mission. Now you can perform fun S.T.E.A.M. experiments and investigations at home using just household ingredients.
Product Features
Real working microscope with 4x power (batteries required).

30+ additional pieces, including 3 glass slides, 2 test tubes with stand, funnel, beaker jar, 3 lab flasks, 15 pH strips, pipette dropper, petri dish, safety goggles, Project Mc² ring, and 2 sticker sheets to examine and decorate.

Conduct 15+ different experiments from the included booklet or create some of your own!

I sent this case to my niece because she has a few of the Project Mc2 sets and loves them. This one was of course no different and the ultimate lab kit made her eyes pop out her head. She got straight to opening the kit and discovering what she could experiment with. It’s definitely been a hit with her. The only small downside is that the kit doesn’t contain any items to do any experiments straight away. They do only need cheap items but they may not be available to everyone straight away.

The case is available on Amazon for £45.98.

 

*We were sent the case in exchange for a review but all opinions are honest and my own.

 

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