I’m back from my blogging mega-break (9 weeks!) and so excited for the year ahead. I absolutely love New Year. I know some people think it corny or depressing after the excitement of December but I find myself getting giddy at the possibilities of a whole new year. Will 2018 finally be the year I make it into the World Series of Poker?? OK maybe the year I finally just learn to play poker but you get the gist.
As soon as Christmas Day is over I’m boxing up baubles and clearing the decks ready to say goodbye to the year gone by and welcome the next with open arms.
New Years Eve is my day. It starts early with a train journey to Brighton armed with coffee, a notebook and a pen. To start, some mooching in The Lanes and a visit to the art gallery then lunch and a glass of bubbles. After weeks of Christmas planning, visiting relatives and the general chaos of school holidays it’s a welcome breath of fresh air. Not to mention a walk along the seafront and a literal breath of fresh air to blow away the cobwebs of 2017. The journey home is spent scribbling my hopes and dreams for the year ahead. By which I mean a giant ‘TO-DO’ list with a few personal goals thrown in here and there. I won’t bore you with the entire lot but here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to in the next 365 days:
Health & Beauty
One thing I won’t be doing is starting another flipping diet! Nope. Wasted enough of my life to that soul-sucking nonsense. I ate my own body weight in Christmas cake, stuffing and stollen over the past few weeks and don’t feel remotely guilty about it. In fact I’m not even done yet so jog on Slim Fast.
My fitness goals come from a desire to challenge myself or try something new. Last year I did a couple of 10k runs (my first ever ‘proper’ races) and really enjoyed it. I’ll admit I’m definitely a fair weather runner though and there is nothing that would get me out pounding the pavements on a cold, dark day. For that reason I want to sign up for another 10k race this year to give me the incentive to dust off my trainers and get training again. Other than that I’d like to learn a bit more about strength training using my own body weight in a bid to tone up before we start peeling off the layers for Summer.
Drink more water. Urgh, I know I say it every year but I rarely drink enough and I know it’s a really good habit to get into – please tell me I’m not alone!! Despite its many benefits I still struggle to force myself to down anywhere near the recommended 6-8 glasses a day.
Wear SPF daily, book dental appointment to finally replace those two fillings (*cries*) and while I’m at it sort my barnet out.
I know what I’m comfortable wearing. I can walk into any clothes shop and easily pick out what’s ‘me’ and what isn’t. I know if a colour works with my pasty Irish skin and dark hair or makes me look like the undead. I’m bored though. My Converse/skinnies/jumper combo is my safe place and I love it but I need to be more adventurous with my choices. Nothing too mid-life crisis-y, I don’t want to to look like the lovechild of Grayson Perry and Lady GaGa. I’ve already made a start with my new Honey & Toast saddlebag, in a much braver colour choice than usual. I love it, but to be honest I’ve never met a leopard print I didn’t like.
Interiors wise I’m planning to ditch one of the sofas asap and replace it with a cosy armchair to free up some space for my children to fill with tat. Before Christmas I painted the master bedroom white and am on the lookout for some new bedding and copper/marble accessories for zhuzhing. Spud fancies a bedroom makeover this year for his 10th birthday which luckily is 9 months away as it will probably take us that long to agree on a wall colour.
You may have noticed the #rockingmotherhood tag popping up on your favourite blogs quite a lot recently. A list of 10 reasons why you’re acing it in the Mummy game followed by 5 nominees to join in. I’m all for encouraging us mamas to ditch the mum guilt and actually celebrate the positives of parenting so here goes…
1:EMBRACING NEW EXPERIENCES – Ha! Where to start with this one? Becoming a mother brings with it no end of new experiences and challenges. Some of these we may prefer to erase from our memory (Morning sickness? Episiotomy? Cracked Nipples? I could go on but I won’t!). Others open up a whole new world where we are forced to deal with things totally outside our comfort zone. From Great Aunt Aggie to Gina Ford (urgh) we’re bombarded and bamboozled with advice but ultimately the buck stops with Mama Bear and slowly you begin to grow in confidence, learning as you go. Every stage of parenting a small human throws up (!) weird and wonderful experiences. Eventually I realised that being a mother is a bit like being Charlie Bucket in Wonka’s Chocolate Factory; you know it’s a privilege not everyone gets, you spend most of it being slightly freaked out but ultimately you embrace it as one of the most amazing things you will ever experience.
If you saw my last post (the one where I freak out a bit) you’ll know that I had the opportunity to return to work pretty much immediately and so had to decide quick sticks what I wanted to do.
It all came about because I’d been considering returning to work sometime this year, possibly after the school Summer holidays – emphasis on considering and possibly. While updating my CV for the first time in over ten years, and having a mooch around a few job sites I kind of applied for a job, not thinking I’d even get an interview never mind end up being offered the role. I’m still not entirely sure why I clicked ‘apply’, I obviously got carried away in a moment of madness.
I’m a SAHM of two, both of whom have been in full-time education for almost two years now.
I think once the youngest child starts school there can be an assumption by family/friends/society that Mummy will be returning to some form of employment now she has all that time on her hands. The reality of the situation is that jobs that fit nicely around school hours and holidays are rarer than steak tartare.
More likely the majority of roles on offer will require you to be available weekdays 9-5, oh and probably won’t be cool with you not working school holidays, inset days, kids-off-sick days, polling days or any days that don’t fall within the stipulated terms of your holiday entitlement. If you’re lucky you might be able to wangle the odd morning off for a nativity play, class assembly or sports day but probably not all of them and probably not for every kid, every time.
Yes of course there are breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and the option of holiday clubs. Planning and staggering annual leave a year in advance to cobble together a childcare solution that gets you through until the start of term. If you’re very lucky there may be family on hand to help on a regular basis. There are ways to make it work and families adapt and work within their own constraints to do so.
So the question is, how do you decide if you should go back to work?
Just a super quick half pint of a post today as I refamiliarise myself with a laptop and poke my nose around the screen to say “Hi!”
So it’s been 3 weeks, did you miss me? Pah, bet you didn’t even notice I’d gone. Charming! Well I missed you lot, keeping me entertained and distracting me from all the very important things.
We’re at the end of our first week back to school here and so far, so good. With the exception of just one little meltdown (me, in the middle of M&S) we’re settling back into the old routine nicely and so far nobody has lost any uniform and Mummy hasn’t forgotten anything important. OK, I forgot the cheque for school dinners but apart from that, all good. On reflection my kids appear to be doing school a lot better than I am, hmmm… Oh, oh and we’ve walked to school four days in a row now and only had to run twice to beat the bell – I can tell you’re impressed. To be honest though, that’s mainly because we got stuck in a traffic jam on Day 1 and Spud was almost having kittens at the thought of being late for school, as a result we are now too scared to ever drive again JUST IN CASE.
Anywho, now that the chalk dust has settled and I’ve had a chance return the house to some sort of order I’m sooooooooooooo looking forward to getting back to blogging, lots of ideas I’ve been itching to crack on with over the holidays.
More of that soon, school run beckons – lovely to be back, looking forward to catching up with you all next week.
Somehow we are already halfway through the Summer holidays. Usually that statement would be one of reassurance, spurring me on through the second half towards the finishing line, where I can collapse in a heap at the school gates and be wrapped in a foil blanket by a member of St Johns Ambulance.
This year however, something very, very strange is happening. After doing a quick check that I’d actually got my dates right and we were indeed at the halfway mark, I didn’t feel any sense of relief at all. In fact my heart sank a little knowing that the weeks are going by far too quickly and before I know it we’ll be diving into the new academic year.
So what has changed? How have we gone from a situation where I spend weeks dreading the arrival of the holidays and counting down the days until it ends, to one where the whole thing is a relatively pain-free, dare I say enjoyable experience?!
Now I know there’s a current trend of parents slagging their own children off, calling them everything under the sun and generally highlighting the many ways they make our lives a misery. While I find some of it funny, (Katie at Hurrah For Gin is just genius!) I won’t be referring to my kids as dickheads, tw*ts or little f*ckers anytime soon (can’t promise I won’t be thinking it now and again though). Every parent knows children are hard work, they are relentless in their demands and have the ability to push you to the limit by breakfast but really, they are just being kids and sometimes kids can be annoying. As much as we would all love a tranquil existence with our impeccably behaved offspring it’s just not realistic to expect children to behave like anything other than children. In fact as parents it’s our job to deal with their little ‘challenges’ and ensure that they don’t develop into fully grown adult dickheads!
So apart from the incessant demands for my attention, requests for food, constant bickering and all the other perfectly normal shenanigans that make up family life, I guess what I am really trying to say is – the kids are alright. In fact they’re more than alright, I’d even go as far as to say it’s actually quite nice having them around! Yes, this is basically the post where I admit to sometimes enjoying the company of my own children. I can almost smell that Mother of the Year trophy.
The obvious difference this Summer is that Flump and Spud are a year older, 5 and almost 8. This has such a big impact on many aspects of their abilities and behaviour versus previous years. In other words, they can enjoy doing way more stuff without everything resulting in some sort of emotional meltdown – HURRAH!!
Most days they can happily go from one activity to the next without needing to ask “What can I dooooo Mummy?” every 5 minutes and can play together or independently for a decent period of time too. Most days. Flump is more than happy in her own little world but Spud sometimes needs a little bit of guidance so we have a ‘Summer Rules’ sheet on the wall listing all the things they need to do before they are allowed screen time. This includes a certain amount of time reading, doing a craft, completing worksheets, making their beds, playing outside etc and usually this is more than enough to keep him entertained between breakfast and bedtime.
Days out are a much more enjoyable experience too. As long as I keep a constant supply of snacks and water on hand at all times the world’s our lobster. Playdates are a pretty relaxed affair with the little ones happy to play together (between snacks) and although there is an age gap, Flump is now more than capable of holding her own with the big boys and much to their annoyance often enjoys joining in with their games.
Where in previous years I wouldn’t have even attempted a trip to the shops unless it was absolutely necessary, so far we’ve managed a couple of pretty successful days shopping (even a Primark haul!) relatively fuss free. One of those included a trip to IKEA which the kids requested so they could go to Smalland for an hour, well I’m not gonna argue with that! Win win.
Lazy mornings, dawdling walks to the local playground, visits to the library and the odd trip to the coffee shop for a treat have broken the days up nicely and kept us happy with little effort or expense.
Credit where it’s due, they really have been pretty good company so far.
In order to make the most of our time together I’ve made a few changes to my own behaviour which have without a doubt allowed me to enjoy the holidays in a much more carefree manner. Primarily, I’ve taken a big (temporary!) step back from blogging, writing if and when the notion takes me, dipping in and out of Twitter much less than usual and joining linkies a little less often too. This alone has made a huge difference – although I do feel like I’m neglecting my lovely blogging friends a bit I know they are a great bunch and will completely understand that family takes priority.
Spud and Flump are growing up far too quickly for my liking and every day I lose a little bit more of my babies as they figure out who they are and develop into little people! (Sad face.) I am very, very lucky to have the option of being a SAHM and I’ve realised that even though the kids won’t appreciate that now, hopefully in years to come they’ll remember the day we found ‘the tiniest frog in the world’ or knocked on fairy doors in the forest.
7 days. We are 7 days into the school holidays and already I feel like I should be sewing name tags into PE knickers*. OK, I get it. I know that as parents we’re responsible for kitting the crew out ready for the first day of term. I know it makes sense to just get it out of the way as quickly as possible, weeping into our ever-emptying purses as we go.
(*Pah, ha, ha AS IF!! I’ll be using my trusty Sharpie to scrawl initials onto washing labels like every year!)
We’re all used to seeing ‘Back to School’ signs in-store before the kids have even broken up for the holidays, I’ve already seen a few blog posts on the subject too but I’m sticking firmly to my usual Head-in-Sand technique. Is it too much to ask to just NOT have to think about school for a while? School-runs, PE kits, fundraisers, parents evenings, homework, packed lunches, random costume requests, assemblies, sports days, sick days, school trips, Nativity plays, birthday party politics, Harvest festival, after-school clubs, lost property, show and tell and the endless list of things that make up the school year – please can we just enjoy our holidays happily in denial that it’s all there waiting for us again in a few weeks time?
This will be my fourth year of ‘doing uniforms’ so I’m under no illusion that it’s going to be any different this time round. Here’s my personal method to dealing with the back-to-school prep (I’m not suggesting it will work for everyone):
Read emails from M&S advertising 20% off uniforms in June. Make mental note to take advantage of this offer saving time and money before the holidays start. Completely forget (mental notes are no longer a reliable form of reminder, make pointless mental note to write everything down, or even better set reminder on phone so I can’t forget to read it.) Remember the day after the offer has expired.
Spend 5 weeks not thinking about school
Plan a quick trip to Clarks to get the kids feet measured.
Approach the clipboard wielding member of staff and add your name to the waiting list (page 7) along with the entire population of Bedfordshire with children under the age of 12.
Have the mental ‘Should I pop next door for socks/water bottles/hair bobbles while I’m waiting?’ debate. Decide not to risk it.
Follow 5yr old around putting sparkly shoes with flashy bits back on the shelf, explaining why they’re not an option for school shoes and trying to ‘big up’ the lovely plain black, tat-free pair.
Thank God for 7 yr old boys who just want to get any pair and get out!
Purchase 2 pairs of ridiculously expensive school shoes, safe in the knowledge that after one day in the playground they will resemble something Worzel Gummidge might wear.
Momentarily feel victorious before remembering you still need to buy uniform!
Rifle through rails of uniform in the hope of finding anything other than age 15-16 polo shirts.
Feel a bit sick
Spend the rest of the day online sourcing the required items/sizes (speedy delivery obviously) and hoping everything fits.
Hunt out old school bags – containing homework form to be completed over the holiday! Quickly Google stuff. Print, cut, stick while child reluctantly labels things.
Bath, bed, book, lights out.
Make mental note to be more prepared next year.
Like I said, my way may not be the most pain-free approach to Back to School, but somehow, every year I manage to present the kids at the school-gate in a shiny new, grossly oversized uniform, ready to be adorned with biro, grass stains and a number of unidentified mystery stains in the coming weeks.
Ironically I live just around the corner from the official school uniform supplier and walk past a lovely display of embroidered badges and printed logos on a daily basis – it literally couldn’t be easier for me. Maybe I’m just a bit ‘homework on the bus’, maybe I should be a sensible, organised, responsible grown-up but actually we’re far too busy learning to ride without stabilisers and chilling on the paddling pool while we can!
So are you a super-organised Smuggy McSmuggerson or a bit of a Last Minute Larry like me??? Either way I hope you are enjoying the holidays so far! x
After last week’s epiphany following my weekend break from blogging I’ve been enjoying a newfound sense of balance and sanity (well, where blogging is concerned anyway). I usually take an ‘all or nothing’ approach so trying not to get bogged down with ALL THE THINGS is taking a bit of restraint but overall I feel much better for it. There’s no limit to the amount we can do in a bid to grow and promote; interacting via linkies and twitter chats or just enjoying reading a few posts with a cuppa for the hell of it.
Generally, you get out what you put in and rightly so. I know there are pro bloggers out there who work day and night growing their brand and running their blog as an actual business. There are also parents who work full-time and yet find the time to post regularly, run linkies and competitions, hang out on Twitter and still remember to bring the PE kits on the right day and fashion a solar system costume out of some loo roll tubes and a grapefruit the night before ‘Space Day’ (HOW?!). I am neither of these people and unfortunately have no plans to be anytime soon so I need to accept that and be realistic about what I can achieve in the time I’m willing to dedicate to my little blog baby.
So that’s that all sorted, jolly good. This zen-like approach lasted all of a week before it suddenly dawned on me: OH MY GOD IT’S ONLY THREE WEEKS UNTIL THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!!!!!!
If I’m struggling to keep up now how on earth will I manage a whole 6 weeks (8 in Ireland) with the kids at home?! Over half term there was an understandable lull in activity amongst a lot of my fellow parent bloggers; however that was only a week or two, hardly a huge deal but the whole of the school holiday? How the hell does that go? Seriously seasoned #pbloggers , what are we looking at here? 6 weeks of tumbleweed or an enormous increase in ‘pre-loved’ posts? (Actually I don’t really mind these unless they are about how to make a Minion Jack-o-lantern in the middle of April). I had considered entitling this post ‘EVERYBODY PANIC!’ but then realised it may just be an overreaction on my part, the pros have probably been preparing for this since new year.
The obvious solution would be scheduling posts and while I totally get why a pro would go down this route, it just doesn’t sit well with me personally. My little blog is mainly ramblings on what’s happening in real-time, a natural progression from one post to the next depending very much on what I’ve experienced/read/discovered prior to writing the post. Rightly or wrongly, I want my posts to be authentic, reactive or even just a good old chinwag depending on how I am feeling, not something premeditated or written under duress because I feel I should be ‘keeping the blog ticking over’. I am not saying scheduling is a bad thing for other bloggers, just that it doesn’t fit naturally with my approach right now. Like I say, I’m not a professional blogger so this may not do me any favours or could be perceived as detrimental to my success, whatever that may be, but I can only make decisions based on my gut – hey, my blog, my rules!
Ok so I think we’ve gathered that scheduling probably isn’t going to be a way round this little dilemma (unless we’re scheduling extended toilet breaks?), so what are my options? How can I cobble together something remotely cohesive without it taking even longer despite 649,352 interruptions, mainly due to snack demands, tending to imaginary injuries and bum-wiping requests?
Now I know you may think I’m overreacting slightly here, I mean it’s not like I post every day but every blogger knows it’s not just about firing out a post, it’s as much about joining in and sharing the love too. So here’s my master plan, or how I intend to juggle a decent amount of blogging while actually enjoying the holidays with my little cherubs:
1. Time Management: It takes me bloody ages to write a post. I am simply unable to bang out a post without agonising over whether or not it’s perfect. At least 80% of that time is spent faffing, so there’s definitely a case for just trying to minimise the faffery and getting on with it. In truth faffery is to blame for most of my time-wasting sins including getting distracted by notifications of posts I follow (I’ll just have a quick peek…an hour later I’ve commented, clicked on 3 in-post links, signed up for a free subscription box and started a 7 day trial on PicMonkey!)
I’m experimenting with setting a timer while writing this post and so far I’ve had a phone call from my brother and a man turn up 4 hours early to quote me for replacing the garden fence panels. Both of which are great but also perfect examples of how my futile attempt at time management has gone to pot without the kids even being here!
Cunning Plan: It’s pretty obvious that most of these distractions can be avoided by just switching my phone off for an hour. NEXT!
2. Choose Your Moment: Now onto minimising interruptions of the non-technological variety AKA kids, who unfortunately don’t come with a ‘silent mode’. Of course I don’t expect them to let me get on with anything uninterrupted for longer than 3 minutes despite my desperate pleas for a bit of peace ; (in a similar way to how they suddenly have no end of urgent questions and require an abnormal amount of trips to the loo when you’ve asked them to get into bed!)
All parents waved goodbye to the certainty of uninterrupted time lonnnnnnng ago and it would be selfish of me to expect them to behave like anything other than normal, inquisitive, rambunctious little scamps anyway.
Cunning Plan: Time to get clever, think about what really holds their attention. An afternoon film and popcorn is usually a winner in our house when the kids are hot and tired and should guarantee some peace once a week.
3. The Notebook: A trip to the playgroynd, moochingat the library or a scoot around the park. There’s a good 30 minutes where I am basically surplus to requirements (in their eyes) with the exception of the odd swing-pushing request.
Cunning Plan: With my trusty pad and pen by my side that’s just enough time to plan out the bones of a post, catch up on a linky, enjoy reading that post I bookmarked or reply to blog comments.
4. Brucie Bonus: Sunny day? Fill that paddling pool, slap on the factor 50 and the kids are good to go for the day. Arrange a playdate rota with friends so you have a day child free couple of hours every so often. Suss out what’s on locally for kids; lots of councils, sports clubs and churches run free or reasonably priced sessions over the holiday- take advantage of them.
Cunning Plan: When opportunity knocks……………BLOG!
5. Bribery: So the post is ready to publish and you literally need FIVE MINUTES to do a final read through. Suddenly a little person appears at your side requesting the entire contents of Hobbycraft for something really cool they just saw on Mr Maker.
Cunning Plan: The promise of ‘getting the paints out’ in exchange for a few precious minutes if perfectly acceptable in such an emergency.
6. Lower your expectations: When I had my first child one of the pearls of wisdom many parents offered me in relation to housework was ‘lower your expectations’. You will never again have the ‘luxury’ of being bored enough to wash down the skirting boards or vacuum the curtains. Similarly, with little people around to keep you busy, lowering your expectations of what you can realistically achieve with your blog will save you a lot of stress.
Cunning Plan: Relax. Remind yourself you are not the only one short on time at the moment. I’m a Mummy before everything, that’s my priority and I refuse to feel guilty about enjoying that time with my kids free from the pressure to post.
I’d love to hear what your blogging plans are in preparation for the holidays – are you a fan of scheduling or just planning to take a bit of a step back and enjoy the Summer?
This week Flump turned 5 and we celebrated with a little party in the house, just a handful of her classmates and of course big bro, Spud. Himself was back to work after a lovely few days off for Easter but luckily I had lots of Mummies on hand to help out. Flump is big into unicorns at the minute so we went with a ‘Magical Unicorns and Rainbows’ theme which I have to admit I absolutely loved!!
I wanted to keep the budget fairly small for this one as it’s tempting to get carried away with party planning these days with so many gorgeous ideas and inspiration online (Pinterest I’m looking at you!!) I honestly think a lot of it is wasted on the kids who just want to be made a fuss of and run around with their friends like a bunch of loons. So on a mission to get the balance of fun and finance right, I started looking out for anything that might fit with the theme well in advance, picking up brightly coloured pieces here and there and stashing them away in preparation for the big day. I’ll try to note where everything was from if I can remember but if there is anything in particular you would like more info on just comment below.
The invites went out pretty early as the party was being held during the Easter Holidays so I needed to know if people were going to be away on holiday – luckily everyone was around that day – phew! I saw these notelets in Paperchase and although I know you can buy much cheaper ones these were so cute and perfect for the theme I just couldn’t resist them!
I found some party bags on Ebay and picked up unicorn trinket bracelets (also Ebay), a selection of pens/pencils (B&M) individually wrapped sweetie necklaces and marshmallow twists (Poundland) as party favours.
Sticking with the theme I decorated the room with a unicorn helium balloon (Amazon) which turned out to be HUGE and some coloured paper decorations and balloons (both ASDA) which I tied together in rainbow colours.
Before the guests arrived I laid out a few crafts on the table (covered in this cute rainbow fabric available by the metre at The Range) to keep them occupied. ‘Make your own unicorn horn’ station with cones made from sparkly card and lots of jewels and stickers for them to decorate with – they loved this! We had colouring sheets, glitter tattoos, nail painting, glow sticks and some good old fashioned party games like pass the parcel and pin the horn on the unicorn (with some painful looking results!!)
I made this Rainbow Unicorn cake inspired by a YouTube video by My Cupcake Addiction although I used a few more colours and made them a bit less bright as I wasn’t so keen on the red buttercream used in the original, I also added a buttercream ‘cloud’ for the unicorn to stand in. The unicorn topper was made by piping white chocolate (using a template underneath some greaseproof paper) and sprinkled with a mixture of sugar and edible gold dust – BLING!! (Apologies for the rubbish shots, it was a bit of a manic day!) The usual triangle sarnies, crudités and cocktail sausages kept the girls happy followed by cookies and giant marshmallows (Tiger) on sticks which I dipped in pink candy melts and then into sprinkles – so easy and mega cool looking.
As you can see she seemed pretty happy as we all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ (accompanied by Spud on keyboard) as she was presented with her birthday cake adorned with FIVE (how is this possible??!) silver candles. Party bags distributed and lots of kerfuffle with coats and shoes, the guests headed home and the birthday girl settled down to open her gifts – exciting! Mummy put the kettle on and cut an extra large slice of cake. Birthday party, done. Now I could do with a magical unicorn to tidy up this aftermath.
The house seems ever so quiet this morning following a week of half-term shenanigans! Trips to the park, playdates, cinema (followed by the obligatory half-term Happy Meal), baking and general monkeying around made for a lovely week of family time; Himself even had a few days off work to join in the fun! I always factor a few lazy days in between plans for any school holiday as I think the kids do need a rest even though they will NEVER EVER admit to being tired. Their absolute favourite thing to do on our lazy days is craft. Anything involving paper, scissors and lots and lots of mess keeps them happy for literally hours. I recently discovered an online company called Weekend Box Club who will post a selection of craft activities for you to enjoy containing everything you need to get going all in one little box! With half-term on the horizon I knew it would be perfect so I joined up and placed an order which arrived a couple of days later in time for me to stash it out of sight from little peepers.
I ordered the Bumper Box which includes 4 activities and costs £7.50 per box but they also offer a Mini Box which includes 2 activities for £4.95. The Mini-Box is delivered fortnightly and the Bumper Box can be delivered fortnightly or monthly. They also offer gift subscriptions which I think is a really lovely idea and way more fun than a bunch more plastic tat for the toy box.
As you can see the packaging is pretty trippy which I love and as soon as the kids saw it they couldn’t wait to get inside and see what it was all about! You’ll be introduced to Hattie, Wooster, Sammy & Oswald and inside you will find your brightly coloured envelopes containing supplies, clear instruction cards for each activity, stickers and a certificate to colour in on completion of your masterpieces!
Each box has a theme and we received the Native American themed box. Card, string, powdered paint, a paintbrush and even blu-tac were supplied to make a native American headdress modeled here by Flump (customised with insect doodles and stickers).
Spud decided to make the dreamcatcher which is hanging proudly in his bedroom window and looks great, lots of beads and feathers in bright colours and he loves the idea that his bad dreams are now being captured by his creation! (Also customised with insects for some reason?)
The third activity was making your own totem pole, for which you needed to supply your own loo roll tube. The envelope supplied some sticky backed foam to make your totem pole animals with and crayons to decorate the pole. We found this one a little less exciting but still enjoyed thinking up our animals and the cutting and sticking of course.
Of the four activities one involves baking, on this occasion BBQ Baked Beans. The envelope included a sachet of sugar and one of spice. Unfortunately the kids weren’t impressed with this one and I didn’t have the ingredients required to hand even if they had wanted to make them. I understand that the baking activity is chosen to fit with the theme and will always require some additional ingredients/equipment, which I would not expect to be provided by post, but I did feel this particular envelope was a bit disappointing given what was provided.
Overall I would definitely give the Weekend Box Club a big thumbs up. We spent a total of 3 hrs (with a snack break for Little Bird and Big Chief Bear Catcher) happily cutting, sticking and painting and it would have been more if we had done the baking activity so in terms of entertainment this little box packs a big punch! For those on a budget you can easily add to the quite generous supplies provided using your own stash, as I did, to allow for two children to complete each activity; which works out considerably less expensive than most kids activities x2 or even a magazine each! I also think it would be a great treat for Grandparents to have up their sleeve for sleepover weekends, where they may not have quite the amount of crafty bits and bobs to hand as Mummy Maker does.
I will say that this is not something that can be used to keep the kids amused while you get on with the ever growing heap of laundry. Both Spud and Flump needed quite a lot of assistance along the way so make yourself a cuppa and set aside some time to enjoy this as a family activity. Personally speaking, my two just want my time and attention 24/7, which they don’t get because LIFE, but when they do it means a lot to them. In fact the Weekend Box Club sum this up perfectly in their own philosophy, “Enhancing You and Them time, not replacing it”.
If you would like to try the Weekend Box Club for yourself they very kindly offer a FREE first box when you join up using this link and you can cancel really easily through your online account should you wish to.
Let me know if you try it or if you are already a member of the club (my weekend club memberships have changed somewhat since becoming a mother, although this one costs a lot less and comes with a no-hangover guarantee!!)
I remember when a perfect weekend started at 5.31pm on a Friday and almost certainly involved the office local, lots of vodka & Diet Cokes, and too many Marlboro Menthols. There were lie-ins, walks in the park and maybe a bit of market mooching and cake munching along the way. Ahh bliss… I do miss those days a lot but these days a perfect weekend couldn’t be further away from this. If you’re reading this chances are you’re a parent who waved goodbye to lie-ins long ago. You may (like me) be a one income family or a single parent meaning disposable income is something you no longer need concern yourself with. All that that lovely vodka money? That’s now been gobbled up by Aptamil, nipple cream and teething gel or if your further down the parenting road uniforms, school trips and Match Attax cards.
Yes, things are a little different these days. As life’s stages shift and unfold we discover a whole new world where it’s not about us anymore, but these little people bumbling around our legs trying to figure out the world around them. Now perfect weekends come in the form of dozy little snuggles in bed (usually way too early in the morning for my liking but one day they’ll stop and so until then I remind myself how very lucky I am to have them). Lazy mornings still exist but involve cartoons (and coffee!) in our dressing gowns followed by footie training for Spud and ballet for Flump (er, no intentional gender stereotyping here – I promise!!). The rest of the day was just a content blur of good ol’playing, bickering and munching, I even accomplished the odd bit of housework before bathtime.
The kids faces lit up on Sunday morning when they looked out the window to discover an overnight dusting of snow (just enough to squash together a muddy little snowman!) Flump had to check it was snowing out every window and then it was snowsuits and wellies on and out into the garden to play! Flump had the good sense to come in once the initial excitement wore off her gloves started to get soggy but Spud is clearly made of stronger stuff than us girls and was determined to stay out to finish his snow (mud/grass) man.
We are lucky enough to have wonderful in-laws nearby who cook a full Sunday roast for us every week ( I know!) and so we spent the rest of our day stuffing ourselves silly and tormenting Great Grandma, as per usual. And that’s it, our very ordinary weekend, not particularly eventful but perfect in so many ways. I already know that these are the days I will look back on fondly when the kids are all grown up and sleepy cuddles and cartoons are a distant memory. X