EVERY DAY’S A SCHOOL DAY- PLUS *GIVEAWAY* MATHS PUZZLE

So despite the fact I’m typing this in what feels like the Earth’s core while the paddling pool is filling outside, I think we’ve all accepted that the Summer holidays are over and normal business has resumed – boooo….

Thankfully the kids have settled back into the old routine nicely while I’m still busy clearing up/recovering from the aftermath of school holidays.

Spud and Flump thoroughly enjoyed their break from the classroom (as much as I enjoyed my break from the school run!) but in an effort to stop their brains from grinding to a complete halt I employed a few sneaky tactics to encourage learning in a relaxed, enjoyable way.

  • Reading. Every year we take part in the Summer Reading Challenge which encourages children to read books in order to earn stamps, which they can then exchange for prizes. This year was particularly special as it was also part of the celebrations to mark the birth of Roald Dahl 100 years ago! It’s free and had both kids devouring books enthusiastically – the power of a scratch n sniff sticker eh?
  • Writing. We chose postcards while on holiday to write and send to friends back home.(Did you know it can take the average 5 year old up to 35 minutes to choose 4 postcards? Neither did I). Spud kept a diary of his adventures in a caravan, wrote to Blue Peter and penned his very first best-seller based on Ronaldo and himself fighting aliens in space in order to save the world from an invasion. I successfully tricked Flump into practicing her writing by ‘playing schools’ with free printouts from this website which worked brilliantly until she decided she was going to be the teacher and I was the pupil.
  • Maths. I wrote about my kids very different approach to learning in Beauty and the Brainbox and this is particularly evident when it comes to numbers! Spud is a natural, he just ‘gets it’ and writes out number grids and times tables for fun . Sadly it doesn’t come quite as easily to Flump who has a more ‘I do not like the numbers and you cannot make me like the numbers’ attitude when it comes to maths. When the lovely people at HappyCalc  asked me to review their new maths puzzle I had a feeling it would be right up her street. I was right…

The box comes JAM PACKED with pieces (138 to be exact), a mixture of illustrations and numbers which are combined to make simple equations and awesome spacecraft creations. As you can see Flump took over the floor with her sprawling masterpiece and the space theme couldn’t have been more apt as this is her Year 1 topic – result!

 

It’s aimed at 3+ from an educational point but to be honest any child who enjoys puzzles would love it. In fact Spud is almost 8 and spent ages playing with it, particularly enjoying all the funny little illustrations (I have to say I was impressed with the details, so many different little creatures to spot!). Unlike any other jigsaw I’ve seen this one is completely free form with no specific rules, allowing the child to create their own original design every time. Ideal for any little anarchist.

If you’d like to get your mitts on one you can purchase here  (currently on offer for around £23 plus P&P) or you can WIN one by entering via the link below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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COOEE!

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Hello!!

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.

Have a great weekend!

Charlie.

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THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

And so will I.

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BACK TO SCHOOL??

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.
  • Ditto Startrite.
  • 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.
  • Wine.
  • Set alarm.
  • 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

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CARRY ON BLOGGING!

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?

XX

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MAGICAL RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS PARTY

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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!!

 

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Notelets, Paperchase £3.50 for 8

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.

x

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THE QUIET MAN

Sometimes I wonder how on earth my children came out of the same womb! Despite being brought up in the same environment they are different in so many ways. It’s fascinating to watch them evolve into these little characters who will one day go out into the world, armed with their own persona as a result of everything they have experienced and the opinions they have formed as a result. But what is it that determines how or why they learn to act or react to different situations? The age old question of ‘Nature Vs Nurture’ certainly raises its head.

As a mother I’m hardwired to worry about every aspect of my children’s development and personality is something that determines so much in our lives that I find myself constantly questioning my parenting style and its affects. Am I doing enough to raise children who will have the tools to deal with life and it’s challenges in a way that is reasonable and healthy? Am I overly authoritative? Am I stifling their personalities?  Do they know they are loved unconditionally? Are they happy? The list seems endless and exhausting! From the moment we first pick up that Gina Ford book (who doesn’t want a contented little baby, right?) we question our actions as a parent.

Now I would consider both my children to be generally happy, healthy little souls, completely oblivious to all of my concerns on the above. They go to school quite happily, enjoy a good social group of friends and a loving home life (despite their constant bickering!). I can usually take them out in public without them acting like total morons, they generally do as they are asked and have a pretty good understanding of what is and isn’t socially acceptable. Pretty standard stuff for any 4 and 7 year olds. Personality wise, my 4yr old daughter is the funny, independent, creative, slightly bonkers, more confident of the two while my 7yr old son is a totally different animal. Outwardly he is a typically energetic, inquisitive, cheeky little chappy but he is also kind, and gentle, he has an understanding of how his actions affect others. He is loving, thoughtful, affectionate, perceptive, logical, introvert. He questions life, and religion, and death. He is my little thinking man.

In a world where extroverts are generally perceived as the superior, more celebrated camp I often worry that I should be doing something to encourage my son to develop a thicker skin, to be more confident, to be different. It saddens me so much to think that my little man, with his beautiful, perfect heart should change anything about himself in order to be on a level pegging with the next person. Is he a more likely target for bullies? Will he be able to present himself well in a college interview? Will he have the self confidence to put himself forward for a promotion? Of course we all want the best for our children but maybe it is time to celebrate all the positive qualities our children have without trying to change them. Maybe that in itself would instill a greater sense of self-worth as a child and ultimately throughout life. After all it seems such a shame to try to quash these precious traits that are often lacking in the world today. Let’s celebrate the introverts in our lives and appreciate how a quieter perspective on life might just be a positive thing in a very noisy world.

 

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PERFECTLY ORDINARY

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.

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Saturday morning Sofa Sloths

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.

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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

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THROW BACK THURSDAY? NO THANKS!

Today requires a list. Not one of your ‘send off passport renewal forms, pay window cleaner etc etc’ type lists. More of a ‘How to function as a human being until it is acceptable to go to bed’ type list. Yes, I know all you parents of teeny tots are struggling with serious sleep deprivation day after day, I’ve been there, twice, and then I stopped having babies so I could FINALLY GET SOME SLEEP! Last night however, in some weird kind of time travelling nightmare I was right back to those nights of stumbling across the landing in a bleary eyed stupor, in the dark, at some ungodly hour to tend to a little person.

Firstly to Spud with his hacking cough and wheezy little lungs, medicine and inhaler administered and back under my duvet for just enough time to get warmed up and doze off before I hear Flump crying out ‘Muuuuummyyyyy’!! Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle again, “What’s wrong?”, “I’ve had a bad dream, I was on fire”. “There, there…shhh…shhh, etc etc”.

By this point my brain had clocked in for the day and was trying to have a conference call with my body which was screaming “Shut the *$%@ up!!!! Now is not the time to be planning lovely craft ideas for Flumps 5th birthday in MARCH!!!” then pretends to be asleep. Luckily for brain, it wasn’t too long before another holler came from across the landing. “Muuuuuuuummmmyyyy, my clock’s beeping at me, I didn’t do anything, it’s just beeping!”

I look at the clock, praise be, only 15mins until it’s officially an acceptable time to be awake. “Only 25minutes until wakey time pet” (leaves with clock).

Hence the list, which has helped immensely by the way.

1: Eat breakfast (not cake). Stuff Nutribullet with healthy berries, green things etc. Tick.

2: School run. Tick.

3: Get some air. Walk to next town, pop into Waitrose for a few bits but mainly for the free latte (fist pump). Tick

4:Pretend not to be grumpy. (Listening to Scummy Mummy podcasts = LOLs) Smile at everyone I pass on my walk, goes down pretty well apart from two occasions, both teenage boys, who to be fair did smile back, nervously. Tick.

So far so good; I would have preferred to lie on the sofa and catch up on The Man in the High Tower but hey ho. Actually something pretty cool happened on the way back from my walk. I bumped into a friend who was out walking with a woman I had never met before who lives 5 houses down from me! Good stuff huh?

Right, next on the list: Eat nutritious, low GI lunch to maintain energy levels…umm, are Tunnocks Tea Cakes low GI???

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