Yes we are one full week into our summer break. As we were finishing for the summer I decided to get a list of things together to accomplish over the holidays, some for the family and others selfishly for me! To check out my list here
So, one week in and already we have managed to:
*set the pool up with much nagging to the OH….
We have also completed our full day’s fishing with lots of fab catches:
After a full days fishing I also managed to fit in my pj’s day!!! Not through choice but because the fishing day had taken it’s toll so I spent most of the day in bed and stayed in my jim jams for the rest of the day LOL…………….still that counts surely!
Also earlier in the week we found ourselves child free for an evening- Yes you heard me right- CHILD FREE!! So we treated ourselves to the cinema, Gallery seats at Bluewater no less- lots of leg room, super comfy seats and complimentary snacks and drinks………..don’t mind if we do.
Well here’s to next week to see what I can knock of the list- wish me luck.
I have read a few posts lately about the impending school holidays. Love them or hate them they just won’t organise themselves!
I have found it much easier and more fun to organise when the boys were a lot younger. I envy all of you with the 5-10 age group as there are LOTS of things you can do that cost NOTHING but a bit of time and planning- park picnics with friends, days at the beach, walks in the woods/ forests, kite flying…….and the list goes on.
However as they get older I find it becomes far more costly and a trip to the park is literally like you want to end their lives as they know it- SOOOOOOOOO uncool!!! Being able to get away with a ‘special’ trip to the cinema over the hols is now one of the main things they want to do……………….and money just does not grow on trees, whatever anyone tells you.
So I now find myself with a 15 and 12yr old, both boys ( and both mine- I didn’t just kidnap them off a random street), and the thought of trying to organise and keep a budget of any kind over the summer is virtually non existent.
However I will not be outdone, I will sort summer the summer hols, it will not break me *cough*. So here are a few things that I definitely want to include over the holidays, both for the kids, as a family, and some ‘just for me’ selfish ones thrown in too.
* Cinema trips- 1st to see Worlds End with the eldest ( as he is 15!) and 2nd to see The Internship with the 12 yr old (not my choice)
* Fishing day- this is already arranged with friends so I can say with confidence that this will happen- next wednesday to be exact!! ( I’m a fishing addict and proud LOL)
* See the Brainiac Live show that is showing at Bluewater and also up London hoping at least one of them will accompany me.
* Organise a huge swim day at a fun pool for both boys and whatever friends they want to bring. I have a 7 seater car so the more the merrier LOl
* Try the ‘Up at The 02’ experience, requested by my youngest- at £25 a ticket I have emailed them from my blog to see if they want a reviewer!! Cheeky I know but if you don’t ask you don’t get LOL- If not I will bite the bullet and let OH and youngest go.
* Take a trip on the new Greenwich cable car- with kids would be good but if they turn their noses up at it then just me and the OH!!
* A mammoth game of Monopoly as a family- this tends to go for hours and I can keep the arguing to a minimum by providing fizzy drink and sweets and snacks.
* Camping- we have actually booked this and are going for a week in Aug to the Isle of Wight!! I cannot wait
* Have some girlie friends round on a sunny evening to drink copious amounts of pink wine, talk crap and eat rubbish! ( even better get a take away)
* I would love a PJ’s day! Just for the sake of it, a lazy, not going out past the door, watching dvd’s all day just because I can!!
* A trip to my Mum’s in Plymouth- on my own LOL like that will ever happen!!! But you never know stranger things have happened as they say! My eldest is getting to go next week for a week on his own- to say I’m jealous would be the understatement of the day.
* Have friends round for a chilled out BBQ, everyone chipping in, kids off playing football out in the park and jugs of Pimms to enjoy for the adults.
* Get the pool up for the boys- I am nagging the OH as I type- he hates putting it up as It is huge- but may encourage youngest to invite his cronies round for the day!
* Sit in a lovely beer garden on a sunny afternoon enjoying a mega cold beer or G+T- this one with no kids and don’t really mind if it’s with girly friends or OH!
* Would love a day down at Dymchurch beach- a bit of a trek for us but worth it if you get the weather and time the tides right LOL
* A poker night! Ok maybe it’s not great to teach your kids to gamble but we love a game of Texas Hold’em in this house. We invested in a poker table with drink and chip holders!!
* A HUGE water fight while the weather is still hot, with friends as much more fun the more people you have- and we are lucky to have a huge park outside our back gate!! I feel a panic buy of water bombs coming on!
* Get to watch through the series 2 of The Killing in peace! I know I am behind on this but lets face it with it being subtitled I cannot exactly sit on Twitter and FB iron or knit while watching it LOL
* Become an expert in beating the teenagers butts at Swingball! One of the less energetic sports I can do LOL Just bought a new retro metal ‘old style’ proper one- BRING IT ON KIDS!
At the moment that is about it but I’m sure I will add some or change some along the way. Still hoping to get the teens dragged along involved in someway in at least some of my list, but only time will tell.
So wish me luck and let me know what’s on your list.
As some of you will know my youngest is a bit of a luvvy. He has done a bit of acting, TV ads, plays, panto’s, short films and photo shoots etc, and is naturally high maintenance which I think comes with the career!
He is 12 and has been doing this for about 3 years via an after school drama club he goes to. He has attended auditions for all sorts of things from musical theatre to feature films. He has learned very quickly to take the knock backs in his stride and realises that sometimes you are just not right for a part.
How long he will keep this going I cannot say, he could give it up at any time or continue into his teens and beyond. He will only do it for as long as he enjoys it and that is the main thing. From an early age he has always been, loud, centre of attention and wanting to be part of this.
But how does a child get ‘into’ this sort of business?
Take a look below for some top tips
Get your children into theatre with these top tips
Whether it is Grease, Les Miserables, Oliver Twist or Hamlet, we all have a favourite theatre show that springs to mind. But have you ever spotted the signs of a star in the making? Actress and choreographer Jayne Draper from the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts has compiled some top tips on how to get your little ones in to theatre:
1. Attend ballet, dancing, singing or acting classes on a weekly basis at School/College/local Dance/Acting schools and visit the theatre to see productions.
2. Audition and participate in School/College Productions or join the Choir.
3. Ask your parents to send for a variety of prospectuses and visit different Stage Schools/Colleges to ensure that the course will match your needs, before you audition.
4. You could attend a Summer School/Workshop at a Stage School where you will gain exposure to a variety of disciplines, be taught by professionals within the industry and have the chance to perform at the end.
5. Always make a good first impression at an audition or in class – by being well prepared, enthusiastic and motivated. Ensure that you are well groomed and appropriately dressed.
6. Demonstrate a good professional work ethic, show mutual respect for teachers and fellow students and always work to fulfil your potential.
7. Work hard. Be focused, self-disciplined, driven, passionate, polite, committed and aspire to be the best you can be.
8. Show your versatility; explore your self-expression and creativity. Be adaptable and accept constructive criticism.
9. Practice in your own time to develop and perfect your technique to enhance your overall performance.
10. Look after yourself – Healthy eating, drinking water and plenty of rest are all essential to sustain the necessary levels of energy and stamina required. Ensure that your mind and body are “warmed up” to prevent Injury.
Despite our love for theatre productions, research has found that that on average the last time we went to the theatre was seven years ago, due to the cost of the tickets and inconvenience of getting to the theatre.
Luckily for us, TalkTalk is launching it’s new on-demand Theatre Channel on YouView to make theatre accessible to families throughout the UK. To get some further inspiration on what to view first with your kids and to inspire your children into the world of dance, music and drama, watch our video montage:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqwyGU5UPlM&feature=youtu.be
In this video, actors from the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts have teamed up with TalkTalk to celebrate some famous and much-loved scenes from the world of theatre, asking audiences across London what they wanted to see them perform.
Now I only have to spend 15 minutes on Twitter to know that anyone from there that reads this will be an A, you just have to take a look at the links to blogs and pictures of what your kids (and you ) are up to.
However, I bet if you were completely honest you could name a few parents that you know that are a B, right?
My friend and I have had experience of this over many years, and after taking the kids down to the local park sledging on Sunday we started talking about it on the way home. Yes we had an extra with us then ( i would never begrudge the child ever) which is what started the chat.
That said parent had contacted my friend to say she would call when she needed him back!!!!! ER excuse me……..we will not be gone for the rest of the day, maybe an hour or two!!
So then we started thinking about all the stuff we do even though our eldest’s (who will be 15 this year)are probably getting way too old:
*Halloween, we still have a get together and do the Trick or Treat thing and want to progress on to an ‘older ‘style party to include the adults dressing up too.
*Easter, although family and friends drop the Easter eggs into the boys we keep them aside and still hide them around the house so they have to ‘hunt’ for them in the morning.
*Christmas, my two are old enough to know that ‘Santa’ is not real *cough* however, they do play the game even though they roll their eyes when I go onto the NORAD site LOL
*Pancake day, we still love to have home made pancakes for breakfast before they go to school and after our tea on the same day.
*Summer beach days, in the hols we still love a day at the beach and we still make our sand angels before the tide comes in to cover them.
*Snow, as this is often a very rare sight we make the most of it, they still make a snowman and love to go sledging AND even though they are both old enough to go on their own we like to go with them!! How else do you get those pictures???
*New Year, we had friends around and celebrated with fireworks and we all set off lanterns with our hopes for 2013 written on them ( we wont mention the fact that we almost set our neighbors fence alight! *cough*)
We came to the conclusion that if we don’t as adults make the effort to enjoy these events with the kids they will grow up and never pass on that enthusiasm to their children. I cannot believe there are parents who just cannot be bothered or for whatever reason just don’t do these things. Or is it that they are happy for the kids to go off with others to do it so they don’t have to?
What do you think?
So tell me, what do you do with your kids that you hope they will pass on?
Are you a mum who can pop up the tree and hand your kids a box of decorations to do as they wish, killing 2 birds with 1 stone as they say- kids happy to do it and one less job for mum?
I confess I am DEFINITELY not one of those mums! I wish I could be but for some reason I get all OCD when it comes to my Christmas decorations and tree. It has to be ‘just so’ and even when it is done I constantly adjust for a day or two until I’m happy with it.
However, this as you can imagine takes forever. I am not OCD with anything else ( I don’t think) so why Christmas decs?
I’m also very nosey and love to look at other people’s Chritmas trees………….
Having just had a week away at half term camping in Dorset, I started thinking why I love being away camping. Something that would have had me breaking out in a sweat a few years ago. So I thought I would share a few top tips for camping with families.
THE TRICK IS TO BE ORGANISED!
Print off a camping list…
Of any of the main camping equipment online. Or make your own using their list as a starting point. Check the list against your equipment several weeks before you go. Tick off the stuff you have and listing the stuff you need to get.
Make a shopping list..
Make a shopping list just for the time you are away. PLAN YOUR MEALS and take the basics with you. So, if your plan is to have a curry make sure you have the jar of sauce and then buy your meat fresh on the day.
Cool box and freezer blocks…
A good cool box and freezer blocks are essential for milks and butter to keep cold. I tend to freeze a pack of bacon and sausages to take for a cooked breakfast on our 1st morning there. They will also act as freezer blocks for the first day but will have defrosted well for the first mornings breakfast.
Go prepared for cold and warm weather this is the UK after all.. Woolly hats and hot water bottles for the colder evenings and possible shorts and sun cream for warmer days.
Take games suitable for your children and family to play. We take Uno cards and several decks of cards for Black Jack and Solitaire. Pens and writing pads for Hangman/ Battleship. These really don’t take up much space but can provide a few hours of entertainment on a rainy day. Don’t forget games for outsidetoo, such as, football/ bats and balls/ Frisbees. These will all help keep the kids entertained after dinner in the evening.
Get the kids involved…
Get the kids involved by giving them some responsibility. Let them pack a small bag of things they want to bring for their own amusement like books, head torches, trump cards etc. Also during the camp try giving older kids a chore, such as, filling the water bottles, washing up, or taking rubbish to the bins etc.
Take flasks because not only are these fab to take out with you during the day for a sneaky cuppa. But we fill them at dinner time to make teas and hot chocolates before bed. Instant hot water when the kids are tired and don’t want to wait for the kettle to boil.
Take a windbreaker…
Take a windbreaker to mark an area close to your tent space. These can help create a great cooking area if your tent does not have a porch. Also they are easy to uproot and take with you for a day at the beach, presuming you get sunshine.
Disposable BBQ’s can be picked up for a few quid in most places. They are great alternative to take to the beach for a lovely evening with a Hot Dog or Burger thrown in for a cheap and easy dinner. Sometimes we don’t even bother with the BBQ. We just use one of our single stoves and a frying pan for the same results. They are portable so make use of them.
Relax and enjoy…
Relax and enjoy the time. There doesn’t need to be a strict regime like at home. No one will be knocking at your door. The ironing and cleaning do not need doing. Have a break from social media. Take each day as it comes, late mornings/ late bedtimes/ extra snacks and treats. THIS IS YOUR HOLIDAY AFTER ALL!
Let me know if you go camping and have some tips I haven’t mentioned here.
I don’t know where that came from as it’s hard to remember if as a child I was read to or not. However, as a teenager I definitely remember reading a lot( mainly Stephen King and the like!). Thankfully, that love of reading is still as strong today.
When both my boys were tiny it was part of the bedtime routine to have a story. When they started reading at school it was religiously done everyday.
All of that has paid off as now at the grand old ages of 11 and 13 years they are both avid readers in their own right. My youngest actually got a Kindle for his Christmas present.
However, I do know families where the kids are totally uninterested in reading and no matter what they have tried along the way, it hasn’t worked.
So does it matter whether you start early or not? Does it matter if the parents are avid readers?
Does it matter if you don’t have lots of books at home?
Top tips on how to get your children reading
Watch our video with Jeff Brazier where he gives his top tips on making story time fun
For some parents, a seemingly simple task like reading your children bedtime stories can send them into a nervous panic. But, it’s never too soon or too late to get your children reading and needn’t be a stressful experience.
That’s why celebrity dad Jeff Brazier has joined forces with the National Literacy Trust today to launch a new campaign to try and help the four million children in Britain who don’t own a book to start reading.
Almost a fifth of children who don’t read say there are no books in their homes, which is why the National Literacy Trust is backing the campaign from McDonald’s UK and Harper Collins for a new partnership to help get kids reading.
McDonald’s UK is to hand out around nine million popular children’s books with its Happy Meals, as part of a new partnership with publishing house Harper Collins. The promotion aims to get books into the hands of families and support mums and dads in reading with their children.
Watch our video with Jeff Brazier and Jack Sallabank from the National Literacy Trust where they give their top tips to get your children reading. From funny voices to involving your children with finger puppets, watch our video for Jeff’s great tips which is sure to be a success with any child.
So what strategies have you tried to get your children interested in books?
What age group where they when they started showing an interest?