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Beat The School Holiday Rip Offs

This is the first time I have booked a week off work in THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!

No problem-I thought. I’ll beat the price hikes by holiday companies and beat the system. I’ll book a Sun newspaper £10 holiday. So I Googled the passwords and avidly got to work booking my July holiday.

I chose Devon first- plenty of dates available-in 2015!

Then I chose Somerset- plenty of dates available in October!

Ok I’ll stay close to home-a holiday park up the road in South Wales. Not a sausage! I give up!

Lots of exclamation marks I know but it was very frustrating indeed.

Deflated I knew I had to book a full price holiday. So typing in Devon holiday parks I got to work searching. The prices varied from an eyes on stalks £1,000 for a week to the lowest of around £679 for a week.

I just didn’t have that sort of money and more importantly I didn’t feel like a week in a caravan was worth that sort of money-just because it was July.

So my next step was to wait for a last minute holiday. I set a budget of £300 which I might add made a private caravan owner laugh when I turned down her caravan for £490.

And I waited. Every day I scoured Teletext holidays.

My friends started going on their holidays and I started to think my frugality was going to get me the Worst Mum Of The Year Award.

We’d have to stay at home.

The Monday before my week off began my luck came in.

I found a holiday cottage in Brixham in Devon within budget. My first choice of location. It started life as £627. I’m winning. I checked Trip Advisor and the location had over 6 marks out of 10. Great.

The packing began. My little girl started counting down her sleeps.

Then I began to worry- I must have done something wrong to have got this. Once on the motorway to go to Devon I had to pull in. We’d gone less than 10 miles. “I think I’ve booked the wrong dates” I said. I pulled the car in and checked the confirmation. No. I’d booked it right. Phew. Off we went again.

We arrived in Devon and I was half expecting poor accommodation. To my delight we opened our cottage door and found lovely clean sheets in the beds, a nice clean apartment, two nice bedrooms, beautiful views out to sea and a patio door opening to a little garden.

And there the holiday began. We had a fantastic time and my little girl had lots of those precious ‘first experiences’. She went on a ferry to Torquay, had a horse carriage ride on the beach, went crabbing on the harbourside and went on a pirate ship.

I wanted to share my journey with you because I found the huge hike in prices really shocking.

Bide your time and set a budget- I’m sure you’ll have a holiday like ours.

I’m off again in a few weeks time. £1 camp sites offer this time- can I do it all again?

I’ll let you know

Thank you for reading my blog.

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All a Toys Are Rubbish

Real life is better.

How many times I have you heard a parent say that their child played with the cardboard boxes for longer than the toy?

Most toys don’t do enough to keep children occupied yet we fill our homes with them. Ok I know some toys are great 🙂

As a working mum with traditional values I find you can’t go wrong with these ideas:

HOMEMADE PIZZAS

Making the dough and putting all the toppings on is great fun and keeps children occupied for ages. Let them help wash up too. Not only is cooking fun but it’s also educational.

SHOPPING

Keep lots of kitchen items to use for shopping games- empty cereal boxes, sweet tubes, jars and tubs. Nothing sharp. When finished everything can go in the recycling bins.

GARDENING

Give your little one a trowel and something to kneel on and they’ll play for hours. Let them help pull up weeds, sweep,play with empty plant pots and watering cans.

CRAFT

I love making things. We’ve just bought a big bag of loom bands and are happy creating things together. I love crafts using leftover household items like toilet roll binoculars, pen holders from Pringles pots and landscapes using all manner if leftover items.

COMPETITIONS

Egg and spoon races, dancing competitions, who can make the best potato face, hide and seek. Anything can be made in to a competition to create fun for hours.

COLOURING

My little one is a whizz on the ipad but she will spend longer with good old fashioned colouring lens and colouring book. I love those great big felt pictures you can colour in. Colouring books are great for dexterity, colour recognition, colour use and concentration. Tracing paper over a colouring book is also good. Pavement chalks for outdoors. Bath crayons for bath time and paint for old wallpaper. Simple fun costing very little.

I don’t think you have to spend a fortune to have fun.

Children who can a use themselves will be less demanding of attention. And will be less likely to get bored as quickly.

Sometimes movie time with a hot chocolate is a great way for the whole family to relax.

Remember your little one wants to be just like mum or dad so role play games or helping out games will be just up their street.

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The Memory Maker

Their first drawing, their first painting, their first tracing-so hard to throw them all away. I keep scrap books stuffed with these items and in one book I cut the pictures out and use them like a picture alphabet book so they can be looked at for learning and not just stuffed behind the sofa.

This got me wondering if there are any other ideas for keeping our memories alive.

PINTEREST.

Take a photo of your child’s artwork and collect the photographs on Pinterest for them to see when they’re older. No need to keep heaps of paper


KEEPY

An app that lets you capture works of art, special times and messages all in one place by their age. Bring the memories to life

 MAKE A MEMORY BOX

Nothing better than looking through objects that have an important meaning no matter how small. I have shells, jewellery, cards, photos and baby clothes in a special box. Even my little girls umbilical chord is in a bag (Not my idea-it’s gross)


SCRAPBOOKS

Here are my scrap books-I love them

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You can buy some lovely items too-silver fingerprint jewellery. First tooth silver boxes and photo albums.

 

I think it will be lovely for my daughter to see how she grew, what she did and where she went. These are the times that will help her develop and learn.

These are the memories I have too of being a mum.

Have a lovely weekend.

 

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Too Much Of Everything

I don’t think I used to be a hoarder and I don’t really think I am now but I can’t explain how every corner is full of stuff!

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Stuff in the cupboards, stuff in every drawer, stuff under tables and stuff over-taking every room.

I keep quite a tidy home on the exterior but look in an cupboard and you’ll find them brimming with stuff.

Obviously the fact that one of me became three has added to the situation but it’s one lovely little girl that has really changed things.

Like most Mums I want her have the best I can afford but as she approaches four years old I am of the opinion that I may have gone a little over the top in my generosity. I haven’t substituted material things for time either-we spend lots of time together and we enjoy good old fashioned fun.

These are the ‘stuff’ lists I need to do something about-I wonder if you are reading this and thinking the same:

BOOKS

I am a complete sucker for books and must buy a book or two at least every few weeks. We read together almost every night so I like books we can both enjoy. Trouble is that there are so many books we can’t see them all. I need to find a really good storage solution-oh and stop buying more books.

TEDDIES

They are breeding in my house-every night I go in to my little girls room and she has gone to sleep with five or so different ones. Why do teddies have to be so huge these days too? They are under the bed, in baskets, in her bed, in my car, in the conservatory, on the table. Everywhere. Biggest trouble is now Mum is mean because I will not buy anymore soft toys-poor Ty Beanie Bert and Ernie were dumped in the toy shop today. I had to put my foot down.

CRAFT STUFF

I love making things and keep lots of bits n bobs for craft making. I can see a project with everything so always cut up old cards, keep bits of card and am always bring home the free pencils you get at restaurants. Its all stuffed in a craft chest-we love rooting about in it but is has made me a bit of ‘collector’

CLOTHES

Um of course like any other woman I don’t have enough clothes and I never have the right outfit for an occasion but I am slightly embarrassed to admit I have two double wardrobes full of clothes split In to three sections-work, casual and going out. And I have similar for my daughter-two rails of clothes and a whole storage system full of tops and skirts. I know it’s too much and I need to get rid of items. I just hate throwing away things when there’s nothing wrong with them.

Today I’ve made a pact to myself to start de-cluttering.

It’s stressful having so much stuff around the house.

I really find it hard not to buy my little girl nice things but I must stop doing it or she wont value things.

Where do I start though? One room at a time? With the books, teddies and clothes? With a bonfire?

Stick with me-I can do this. Can you?

Just seen a lovely new dress though 🙂

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21 Top Bedtime Stalling Tactics

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How many of these stalling tactics do you witness when putting your little one to bed?

  1. Mum I need a weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
  2. Owwwww one more story pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
  3. But I need a cuddle
  4. Where’s (insert name of tiniest most hidden toys here)?
  5. But it’s not dark
  6. I’m scared of the dark
  7. A monster is looking at me
  8. My teddy is keeping me awake
  9. I want to come in to your bed
  10. I’m cold
  11. I’m too hot
  12. I want the light on
  13. Can you sit with me?
  14. I need a drink
  15. I need medicine
  16. Look at me jumping Mum
  17. I need a poop
  18. Where are you going now Mum?
  19. Is it night time?
  20. Can you tell me a story?
  21. I want to sit up

Funny thing is you can tick most of these off the list in one night.

I’d love to hear your stories.

Clever little people

Have a good week

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Emerging From The Fog

My little girl is three and a half years old tomorrow and I feel like I’m emerging the fog of becoming a Mum for the first time. As she gains more and more independence I find myself not panicking if she goes out of the room without me, not watching her every second of the day and not feeling like I have to control her every more.

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My little girl is becoming her own person-and I like it.

Of course I am still saying ‘Be careful’, ‘don’t’, ‘stop’, why?’ and ‘no’ far too many times in a day. Sometimes I irritate myself.

I am teaching my daughter that it’s ok for us all to be together but at the same time to do our own things. I believe everyone should have the freedom to pretty much do what they want to do but of course a lot of the day is spent doing things together too.

Now she occupies herself or helps me I have found the time to properly sort out my home. I don’t mean cleaning or washing-I mean properly sorting. I saw a photo of the house when we moved in when my daughter was about six months old-you could see floors and walls and everything.

My conservatory had floor space! How had it come a toy shop?

I am slowly de-cluttering and reclaiming some space back in the house.

Trouble is with the early years is that all of the toys are so darn big- a mini kitchen (Not mini at all), a balance bike, a pedal bike, a baby with potty’s, prams, cots, a drawing desk, an easel and mounds of soft toys. Yes I did buy it all but I don’t know if I was conscious or whether the Mummy fog was clouding my judgement,

The soft toys-I have to come back to them. Sometimes I think they are breeding. And they do breed-at every calendar moment-Easter…a new bunny, Christmas…a new Santa teddy, birthdays…a birth date teddy…a visit to the zoo…an animal teddy, a visit to fayre….win a blooming teddy.

Of course Summer is coming t’s teddy bears picnic time. We have enough teddies to host a picnic for hundreds. I secretly want to ties the teddies to balloons and set them free.

I want to banish the teddy. Become a teddy free zone. A teddyless society.

And balloons. Why is every occasion a balloon occasion-and who ends up holding them? Me!

When balloons manage to come home (If they survive ‘oops I let it go’) I get a pair of scissors and cut the bottom off so they deflate faster than you can say teddy. In the bin they go and I smile.

I’m not a minimalist by any chalk but I am growing an aversion to teddies and balloons!  

Sorry I went off on a different path then.

Back to emerging from the fog-I’ve realised since I became a Mum that I’m a little bit of a loner. I have lots of friends and know lots of great people but I tend to just do my own thing. I’m a doer and love being inspired to try out new things. I’m always cooking, crafting, gardening, planning days out or researching.

What’s great now is that my little girl can do things with me.

I hope this doesn’t read in a way I don’t mean but I felt for a long while that having little one is really restricting. Of course it’s enjoyable but I found the restriction of having a baby and then a toddler was really tough.

In just a few short years though I now feel that I have a companion in my daughter and I hope she will get the same enjoyment out of the things I love as I do.

If she doesn’t it really won’t matter because we can still be together doing different things.

The fog is clearing and I’m still here as the same person I was-it’s just that there’s now a beautiful little girl by my side.

Thank you for reading