12 Cheap Activities for The Summer Holidays

Are you pleased to see the arrival of the summer holidays or does six weeks with the kids around feel you with dread? I’ve got to say, I always look forward to having a break and having the girls around even if they do drive me crazy. But I know a lot of other parents I’ve spoken to recently are dreading it. Why? Because the thought of six weeks trying to fill days with activities sends them into a tail spin.

Charlie at Mess Merlot recently did this great post about planning for the holidays . It’s a way of making sure you get a good balance of “Out” days and “In” days as well as keeping an eye on the cost. I truly believe for the sake of kids’ mental health, that they shouldn’t always have back to back activities planned in. It’s important for them to have some down time and a rest. This brilliant article highlights how kids need to have some moments of boredom in order to ignite their creativity. To find their own things to do.

We are lucky that we are having a two week break in Devon this year. After that, the girls and I have started making a list of the things we want to do over the remaining four weeks. Here’s some of our ideas and they shouldn’t break the bank!

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Alexa – The New Girl in Our House

We have a new edition to our family and her name is Alexa.

You may have seen these things advertised on TV, essentially they are a voice activated robot, sold as a “personal assistant.”  Alexa can access and play your music, play the radio, give you news, weather and travel updates as well as answering questions about practically anything. Apparently she can even turn the lights on and off but we haven’t explored this option yet.

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Interview With My Mum The Author

How many people can say that they are related to an author?! I’m so proud to say that my Mum hasn’t had just one book published, but 3 weeks ago she’s just had her 17th (yes – 17th!!) novel published.

The latest book is a called The Vets at Hope Green which she was commissioned to write by Ebury Books. I’ve read the story and have to say, even though I’m biased, that I enjoyed it a lot! I read it in a matter of days rather than the usual weeks and weeks that most other books seem to take me!

Buy this book 

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Book Review – From January to May 2017

Back in January, I wrote a list of  the books that I wanted to read this year.

Before I had children, I would read frequently and quickly. Reading on the train, on the tube and before I went to bed. Now it seems to take forever to get through a book. Small children, work and life seem to get in the way, but I’ve been slowly plodding on and noticed that I seem to be steadily reading about a book a month.

As an aside – how cool is this book exchange? What a great use for the now defunct red telephone boxes!

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Songs That We Sing Wrong

Last week, my youngest sister sent a text to me and my middle sister in a frenzy asking, “What’s the name of the person in Michael Jackson’s song Smooth Criminal?”  I immediately sent a text back saying “Annie.” She was gobsmacked. It turns out she’s been singing “Eddie are you OK?” for the past 30 odd years and only discovered it was wrong after her husband challenged her mid chorus on a car journey.

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Sarcasm. Love it or Hate it?

Sarcasm is a funny thing. And I don’t necessarily mean funny hah-hah. The difference in meanings used when we make a sarcastic remark often conveys disapproval or scorn which some people find hurtful or a bit below the belt. No doubt, in certain instances, sarcasm can be quite cutting but it can also have impact. For instance, if I said to my husband, “Thanks so much for all your help with cleaning the house,” whilst he was sitting watching TV, he would probably take more notice of my sarcastic tone than if I was to say “Can you help with the cleaning please?” which would no doubt fall on deaf ears.

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Mindfulness – What I’ve Learnt So Far

I’ve always liked the idea of mindfulness. Like many mums, I suffer with a nagging guilt that I don’t pay enough attention to the present, that I spend too much time on my phone whilst my children are growing up fast in front of me. I also liked the idea that mindfulness might help with my lack of patience and that it might help me to calm my brain from the constant thinking, planning and worrying; to enjoy more of the here and now.

After a taster session in July, I got hold of the book that was recommended by the tutor, and was immediately put off by the fact that you had to follow mediation exercises every day whilst reading the book. I was sceptical. I came up with a load of reasons this would be impossible to do, mostly revolving around having 2 young noisy children in the house. But in January with my resolutions for books to read this year, I decided to give this book another shot and MAKE time to do the meditations mostly whilst the youngest was at pre-school.

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How NOT to do The School Run

You might think that the trick of getting your child out the door and into school should be a relatively easy one right?

On the good days it can seem effortless to get everyone fed and dressed without too much whinging, out the door on time and deposited into school without any clinginess or crying. Then there are the more hellish weeks where everything goes wrong.

school-run-problems

 

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What The Comeback Kids do to Our Memories

Memories are a funny thing. Triggers like songs, films, people and even smells can transport you to another time, another place from years ago. It’s amazing to think how strongly memories and emotions are re-called over something so fleeting.

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Music is a powerful reminder. We all have certain songs which instantly spark a memory of what we were doing or where we were and who with.

Here’s just a few songs which bring back instant memories for me:

  1. Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite and Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap – These songs always makes me think of driving around in a battered car with my school friends after we had passed our driving test.
  2. The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield – Was the first dance at our wedding and always makes me smile.
  3. Time to Say Goodbye from The Phantom of The Opera – I always found this song emotional but will never be able to hear it again without shedding a tear as it was played at my father in-law’s funeral.
  4. That’s Not My Name by The Ting Tings – This reminds me of the summer before I got married and how it was played constantly at the festivals I went to as well as on my hen weekend in Bath.
  5. Anything by Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man album – This CD was played continuously on family holidays to Devon and Cornwall. They bring back happy memories of us on holiday as well as fighting in the back seat of the car with my sisters!

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Dealing with My Lack of Patience

Let me start by saying that generally I am impatient about most things. Impatient to get the kids out to school, impatient to hear back from a client about work, impatient to get the kids to bed, impatient to get the sodding decorating finished!

I may or may not have inherited this particular trait from my dad who is  not the most patient person I know either. But this week has seen my levels of impatience reach a new high (or should that be low?!).

Refusing to Get Dressed

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For some reason the youngest, who has always been chatty, over confident and loves pre-school, has now decided that she doesn’t want to go. Her avoidance tactics this week has ranged from refusing to get dressed, to hiding around the house when it’s time to leave the house. I’ve tried to deal with this calmly. I wish I was one of those jolly mums who laughs at such behaviour and joins in the game of hide and seek, but I inevitably end up losing my temper and insist on her getting dressed and going to pre-school because “I’ve got shed loads to do today!”

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