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Tag: kids

How to Find the Right School for your Children

How to Find the Right School for your Children

When our eldest daughter started school, I dreaded it. It wasn’t even full-time education, just her pre-school nursery placement that meant she was out of my care for fifteen hours during the week. They were 15 hours that I’d never had to leave her before though and not only that, I would be leaving her with someone I knew very little about. As a parent, I don’t think it’s easy to hand your child over at any point never mind to a stranger, but as far as school is concerned it’s the standard thing to do.

As it happened, we were lucky and found a school that both Hubs and I were comfortable with. It wasn’t an easy task though and I know it caused both of us a headache or two. Maybe we over thought it, but in our house education is paramount. However, it has to be an education in the right environment that supports both parent and child to the nth degree.

Here’s how to find the right school for your children;

Do your research – 

The first step to finding the right school for you and your children is to research all of the school in your local area. Education may seem pretty standard, but you’d be surprised how different schools can be. They all offer a different approach to education, some you will agree with and some you won’t. Find out what kind of school interests you most, that way you’ll be able to make an informed decision on where you’d like to visit.

Look around as many schools as you have time to visit – 

Once you have a list of all of the schools you are interested in, make time to visit as many as you can. If I were you, I’d visit them all. You’ll never get a full picture of a school unless you wander around when the kids are in their lessons. You get to see how the teachers work, what kind of interventions are used and how well the kids respond in their learning environment.

Talk to every member of staff – 

Talking to every staff member can help you gain a better understanding of what they offer as a school. You’ll get a good idea of their level of knowledge and you’ll be able to make a judgement on their enthusiasm for the job. You’ll never get someone who is completely on the ball all of the time, but you’ll get an insight into their teaching style and whether you like it or not.

Look round the whole school, not just the nursery area – 

Once your child is settled into nursery, it’s probably safe to assume they’ll be in that school for a while as they go through the year groups. For this reason, it’s good to check out the whole school, not just the pre-school area, before to make a decision. If the upper school isn’t right for you as a family, you’ll know you need to look elsewhere.

Trust your instinct –

There’s nothing more reliable than parental instinct when it comes to making important life decisions for your family. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You’ll know if you need to move on to the next school.

Let them go – 

As hard as it may seem, once you have found the right place, it’s time to let them go. You’ll probably cry and feel like you’ve lost a huge part of you for a while, but school is an amazing developmental stage. Your kids will come home with snippets from their day that will make your heart happy!

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The Worst Things you can Say to a Stay at Home Mum

The Worst Things you can Say to a Stay at Home Mum

Skipping back a few hundred blog posts, for those of you that don’t know. In 2015 I gave up my business to become a stay at home mum. It was always my intention and I didn’t hesitate to hang up my scissors once our eldest was born. There have been a few ups and downs since then, sometimes I want to work, as well as bring up our girls. I go around in circles on a regular basis, trying to work out what the best plan of action is. I suppose though, even as a blogger which very few people accept as ‘work’ – I beg to differ by the way – I am first and foremost a stay at home mum.

Ever since becoming a parent and homemaker I have come across many different reactions. Some would love to be in my position, some think I’m lazy and some think my husband must be some sort of millionaire – he’s not I can assure you.  There have been comments that I’ve laughed at and others that have cut me a little bit. You see no one really knows another person’s situation, so even though comments aren’t made maliciously they sometimes come across that way.

So just in case you were wondering, here are the worst things you can say to a stay at home mum;

‘You don’t do anything during the week do you?’ – 

This was one that really got to me. It was assumed that because I still have one child at home full-time that I can’t possibly be doing anything during the week. Actually I do a hell of a lot. Once I’ve watched Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women that is.

‘I wish I didn’t have to go to work’ – 

This often comes with being told I’m really lucky and that I don’t realise how good my situation is. I do realise that this isn’t an option for everyone, but I don’t think that makes me lucky. It’s just our situation and it works for us. It has its downfalls too, just like being a working parent does. It’s all swings and roundabouts.

‘It must be so nice to have a lie-in each day’ – 

I haven’t had a lie in since 2015.

‘You still have time to make your mark’ – 

These exact words were kindly spouted in my direction, by an ageing professional. With. No. Kids. Need I say more?

‘When will you go back to work? – 

Well actually I do work. I earn a decent wage, from home, whilst looking after my children.

‘I would hate to look after kids all day’ – 

I’m not going to tell you every single day is a walk in the park, because it’s not. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to berate another person’s long-term situation, especially when your main point is that all they do is ‘look after kids all day‘. Just doesn’t seem like a nice thing to say, does it?

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Kids VS. Parents Games Night Challenge with Little Tikes

Kids VS. Parents Games Night Challenge with Little Tikes

*This post was written in collaboration with Little Tikes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

Now that our girls are well and truly growing up, we have a lot of family fun with board games. Hubs and I love to play all of the traditional board games with the girls, so when we were asked by Little Tikes  if we wanted to take part in a games night challenge, we couldn’t wait!

Little Tikes have a new range of super fun games out, ideal for kids aged 5 plus. They’re the kind of games that are that so much fun to play, the girls have no idea how much they’re learning whilst playing. So to kick of our Kids VS. Parents Games Night Challenge, Little Tikes sent us their Crazy Toaster and Hot Hoops games. As well, a music voucher and a Just Eat voucher to keep up the energy of the competitors!

Crazy Toaster – This is a pop up toaster game that will have you and your littles giggling all night! Slices of toast pop high out the toaster and you have to try to catch the flying pieces in your pans. If you catch them and they match the toast on your plate, they’re yours to keep. This game is fun, energetic and can be played for hours, but be warned – it’s not as easy as it looks!

Hot Hoops – This is a head to head challenge game and it’s perfect if you needs deciding points on your games nights! It’s fast paced and is bound to bring out the competitive streak in the whole family. The best thing about this games is that it’s compact and east to take on your travels.

 

Our family games night –

 

We had so much fun on our family games night, but unfortunately the parents did not come out on top! The kids of the house had scores well above ours and it was our eldest who was victorious and took the medal! We had such a great evening thanks to Little Tikes, their new games range is a lot of fun for both adults and children. Now all we need is a rematch to knock the kids off of their winning spot!

 

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Five Things being a School Run Mum has Taught Me

Five Things being a School Run Mum has Taught Me

I’ve had the joy of being a school run mum for a few months now. The novelty is wearing off and I’ve begun to countdown each term, eager for the holidays to start. It’s not because I don’t like school, we are very pro-education over here. It’s that the school run can become a bit of a bind! It’s a rat race, with everyone believing that they’re in more of a rush than the next person.

The good thing about the school run is meeting people on your wavelength. There will be at least one other mum, or dad, that you really get on with. You’ll laugh and cry with them as your children go through school and they will be your school run ally. Other than that, the school run is a real eye opener. So much so that if you did stand-up comedy for a living, you’d have fresh material for life!

Here are five things that being a school run mum has taught me;

Parents will KILL for a parking space –

Yes I drive to school, but in my defence we do live a couple of miles away. With a two and three year old to transport, walking each and every day is not an option. I’ve learnt though, that if you’re going to be driving to school then you need to be prepared to stand your ground.

People park their cars anywhere and everywhere and they get really shirty if you get in their way. The working parents are the worst, they want the space closest to school, so they can run in and run out in double-quick time. I understand they have to turn into work, but being a few minutes late is probably something they ought to have made their peace with when they had kids.

Kids are all sweetness and light until you get them out of the school gates. Then they turn into ‘hangry‘ monsters –

My kid is always happy at school. She’ll walk out with her friends talking and behaving like an angel. As soon as she gets into the car the ‘hangry’ monster appears. She wants food NOW and will be grumpy until she gets it. Why do parents always get cracked with the ‘hangry’ stick?

You’ll come across so may different types of parents. Remember though, you’re all knackered and you’re all stressed –

You’ll meet parents you like and parents you don’t. You’ll meet the ones whose kids you don’t mind your kids mixing with and you’ll meet ones you’d prefer they didn’t. What you shouldn’t over look though is that all of these parents are most likely knackered and completely stressed out, just like you are. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that.

Hold back on the smug when your kids goes into school meltdown free. Your time will come. Believe me –

When our eldest started her school placement she went in like a dream. I would see the parents with screamy kids looking fraught as they tried to get their little one to go and play. I’ll be honest I felt a little smug, mine was doing so well, we had no trouble. Oh the naivety! Of course once she’d settle in and got her feet well and truly under the table, our angel daughter felt comfortable enough to wail at the top of her lungs one morning as I tried to leave. Not so smug now hey?!

Play dates are a thing. Deal with it –

I was so inexperienced at school mum life until recently, that I honestly never realised that I would have to schedule play dates into my already brimming diary. It wouldn’t be so intrusive if I dropped the kids off and picked them up tired and ready for sleep, but at their tender ages I have to stay with them. Now I’m all for being sociable, but I find squeezing work into my day hard enough as is it, never mind when I have to leave my own four walls for hours. Yes the kids love it and yes it’s good for them, but I won’t half been pleased when they can head off and see their friends without me!

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Poopsie Surprise Unicorn Review

Poopsie Surprise Unicorn Review

*We were gifted the Poopsie Surprise Unicorn for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

A sure-fire way to make my kids happy is to make slime with them, they absolutely love the stuff. Throw in a unicorn and they just wouldn’t be able to contain their excitement. I know this because recently we reviewed the Poopsie Surprise Unicorn and I’m sure they thought all of their Christmases had come at once. It would seem that slime and unicorns are the perfect combination!

The Poopsie Surprise Unicorn is available at Smyths, The Entertainer and Argos, it’s RRP is £49.99.

 

The Review –

Now as a parent, you can imagine that slime isn’t one of my favourite things! My kids however love it and the Poopsie Surprise Unicorn was no exception. You have to feed the unicorn all of the slime ingredients, using the tools provided. Once the unicorn is full of ‘food’, you put it on the toilet to poop out the slime. Now you understand why my kids love it so much, hey?!

The slime instructions are really easy to follow, and the girls thought feeding the unicorn was great fun. The littlest loved the brightly coloured mane of the unicorn and uses it as a toy, even when it’s not making slime! This set comes with glitter that you can add to the slime, making the ‘poop’ fit for the most glamorous of unicorns! You don’t just get one set of ingredients either, so the kids can make slime until their little hearts are content.

Overall, my girls just loved their Poopsie Surprise Unicorn. They laughed and giggled all the way through making their slime and I’m pretty sure it’s their new favourite toy. If you’re in need of some Christmas inspiration this year then I couldn’t recommend this product enough, it’ll get you some serious brownie points with the littles!

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NOROVIRUS – Surviving Illness as a Parent

NOROVIRUS – Surviving Illness as a Parent

This week has been totally awful for everyone in our house. Within three days of the Biggest going back to school, we had been struck down by an array of germs. Bringing with them a virus or three that would last the entire week. At first it was just a cold and as much as I can’t stand them, it wasn’t as bad as what was just around the corner. With a cold we can curl up in front of the TV and feel sorry for ourselves for a couple of days. Which we did. When Norovirus hit though, it turned into a whole different story.

Sickness is never fun –

After having two HG pregnancies I honestly find even the slightest bit of nausea traumatic, never mind actually being sick. So just as I felt like I was recovering from the cold and happened to wake up one the next morning feeling slightly off colour, panic really set in. I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so there and then I had to resolve myself to the fact that I would spend the next couple of days with my head firmly glued to the toilet bowl. Joy.

Luckily Hubs was off for the first day, so I could freely alternate between the bathroom and the bedroom. Leaving behind the aroma of bleach, desperate to rid the place of germs so no-one else would catch them. It’s really difficult to explain to toddlers why you feel so rough though. I didn’t do the school run for an entire week and felt so guilty for ‘leaving them to it’. Between them, his Lordship and my parents managed to keep things afloat without me. For some reason, as parents we believe that we aren’t allowed to be ill, as the world will obviously stop turning. If this week has taught me anything though, it’s that it’s OK to take some time out when you need to. Things will be just fine, in fact the kids will probably enjoy the novelty of the situation!

When everyone else gets sick –

After a couple of days I thought I’d be on the mend, the dreaded Norovirus had other ideas though. Not only did it decide to linger with me for days on end, it also decided to infect Hubs and the Biggest. No. Fun. At. All. The last few days have seen Hubs attempt to keep the contents of his stomach down, as he hates being sick more than I do. They’ve witnessed the Biggest projectile vomit on the way home from school, right in front of the neighbours gate – whilst she was stood there. They’ve also endured more acoustics in the bathroom department than I care to remember.

I wish I could give you a very definite answer to how to survive illness as a parent. The truth is, I don’t think there is one. All you have to do is power through, or sleep through it. It’ll pass – one way or the other! 

 

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The CBBC Summer Social – Review

The CBBC Summer Social – Review

*We were provided with a family ticket for the purpose of this review, as always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

 

After being invited to the CBBC Summer Social this year, I was a little dubious as to whether it would suit our girls at their young ages. Festivals are something that we have wanted to try out since having children, but doing it at the right age so everyone enjoyed themselves was a must for us. After speaking with the CBBC Summer Social team though, I was assured that there would be plenty for our girls to enjoy. It was clear that they were going to have a blast and so we prepared ourselves for our first ever family festival!

This years Summer Social was held at Croxteth Hall, Liverpool. A beautiful old building with amazing grounds, ideal for this kind of event. As I’d never been to Liverpool before and because I’m a bit of a Beatles fan, we decided to book ourselves into a hotel and make a mini break out of it. The first day saw us visit Paul McCartney’s childhood home and we had a walk down Penny Lane, I was in my element!

 

The CBBC Summer Social –

When we arrived at the CBBC Summer Social, the gathering crowds were a clear indicator that we were in for a good day. Right from the word go, there was something for the girls to see and do. From fairground rides, to story time and street bands. Entertainment literally was all around us and the girls just didn’t know where to look first!

 

 

Attractions we loved;

The Clangers Garden – This was huge hit with both of our children. Inside the walled garden there were life-sized Clangers hiding around every corner. There were crafts for the girls to get involved in and there was also the chance for them to water some of the pretty flowers planted in the garden. This was great full for all!

 

 

The Main Stage – the highlight of our day was by far the chance the girls had to see Mr Tumble, on the main stage. They loved every second of his performance and I take my hat of to the guy because he never faltered, even though we were in the middle of the heat wave of 2018!

Hubs and I were very impressed with The Philharmonic Orchestra too, they were amazing to see live!

The CBeebies Village – this part of the festival was a great addition for the younger fans. Our girls loved seeing Mr Bloom in real life and his set was very entertaining for them. They also loved seeing the Go Jetters, which is a firm favourite in our house at breakfast time!

The Fairground – as this was the first time our girls had been to a fair, they were very excited! We took them on the ‘cranky horses’ and the smiles on their faces just said it all! The only downside to this was that there were extra charges for the rides, which for a family of four could make the day extra expensive considering the original ticket cost to attend the festival.

 

 

Mr Wilson’s Second Liners – these guys were an incredible marching and dancing band! They walked around the festival performing at regular intervals throughout the day and they attracted a huge crowd each time! Hubs, the kids and I were so impressed with their performances!

Overall, we had a great day out at the CBBC Summer Social. With the exception of the cost of the fairground rides, the day was perfect and we all left with huge smiles on our faces! Thankyou at CBBC for the best, first festival!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tiny Treasures Realistic Baby Dolls – Review & Giveaway

Tiny Treasures Realistic Baby Dolls – Review & Giveaway

This post was written in collaboration with Kid Kreations and Tiny Treasures.

 

This week our girls have been lucky enough to have had the chance to review the Tiny Treasures realistic baby doll, as well as a selection of accessories from the Tiny Treasures range. Our girls have loved looking after dolls for a while now, so when they found out how much Tiny Treasures are like real babies, they were so excited to take care of them! These dolls are so realistic, that they weigh and smell the same as a real baby. They have super soft hair and closing eyes for added effect too.

 

 

They were sent a package which included a Tiny Treasures doll, a unicorn rocker for the doll and a mermaid sleeping bag with a super cute, matching headband. Both girls were absolutely amazed with the selection they got and I thought the unicorn rocker was a fabulous addition to the Tiny Treasures set.

 

 

The box that our Tiny Treasures doll arrived in, also doubles up as a rocking seat for her. It even has a three-point strap to hold her in, just like the seat we used to use for our girls. I think it’s really great that this company have made use of all aspects of the set. Making the box a seat not only makes it more fun for the girls, it also reduces waste which is incredibly important.

 

 

The Verdict –

The Tiny Treasures collection has been a huge hit in our house. They’ve been so looked after by our girls and have even been out on car journeys with us! From an adult point of view, I’m very impressed with the quality of the doll and all of the accessories. They are well made and can stand the heavy use that is inevitable when you have two toddlers. I’m also a fan of the range of accessories available. They’re novel and fun for the girls which means hours more play time.

 

 

The other good thing about this product, is that it massively encourages our girls to learn through play. If you read my post on reaching EYFS goals, you’ll know how important this is for us as a family. These dolls have succeeded in bringing out the caring and nurturing side in both of our children. They are an excellent way for them to learn how to be around other people, in everyday life. The features of the doll, including the closing eyes are great to get the girls’ imaginations working too. Their doll goes to bed when they do and it’s helpful for her to appear asleep!

 

 

Our girls don’t have a bad word to say about their new doll set. They’ve already had hours of fun and I know they’ll have so much more, especially as the littlest gets older. The only thing that has posed a small issue is the weight of the doll, as our youngest finds it a little to heavy to carry. Having said that, our oldest at three years of age has no trouble at all, so I’m sure the baby of the family won’t find this a problem for long. Overall, we have been very impressed with out Tiny Treasures set. The girls love it and so do I!

The creators of Tiny Treasures are giving my readers the chance to win their very own set which includes the doll, the unicorn rocker and mermaid sleeping bag. For your chance to win, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

Win a Tiny Treasures Realistic Doll Set

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Does Staying at Home with the Kids Mean I Lack Ambition?

Does Staying at Home with the Kids Mean I Lack Ambition?

My husband and I had a conversation recently, mainly about the family life of professionals. He told me that one of his colleagues had informed him that he does so well at work, because his wife ‘lacks ambition‘. What he meant was, his wife had given up her professional role to stay at home with the kids and that it was the right choice for their family. It would seem that he appreciated this ‘lack of ambition‘ though, as he felt it allowed him to progress swiftly in his own career. As you can imagine, I was a little taken aback by his admission.

I’ve previously written about my marriage and I’ve commented on the main reason it’s working so well. That reason was the fact that I stay at home to look after the kids. Yes this is so my husband can progress in his career and yes it meant I had to leave my first business behind. Does it mean I lack ambition though? Am I forever destined to be mother and housewife, with no desire to follow my dreams? I think not.

Ambition doesn’t always wear the same mask –

The thing about ambition is that it means different things to different people. From being a teenager, it was always my ambition to work for myself. I knew I wanted to be my own boss and a lot of hard work got me there. My husband always dreamt of working as a medical professional, he continues to work hard in this field and he will go far. This demonstrates ambition in two different ways, but both are ambition nonetheless.

Stronger than my ambition to build a business, was my desire to become the best mum I could be. It was my ambition to become a stay at home parent, that was and still is the environment in which I want to raise my children. How can that not be ambition? It’s a dream and it takes a lot of working towards, I believe I have succeeded. I have have fulfilled my ambition.

I do always put my husbands work needs before my own, but that’s because I want to, not because I have to. Just because I want him to achieve his goals and because I’m happy to work around his aspirations, doesn’t mean I’m faltering on the ambition front. Ambition doesn’t just have to be associated with career prospects, it covers life as a whole.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat –

The comment this guy made frustrated me most, because my ambition to be self employed will never disappear. That’s why I built up a blogging and freelance writing business from home. Just because people don’t always fulfil their ambition by taking the traditional route, doesn’t mean it’s not achievable. I know from my own experience that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Referring to your loved one as ‘lacking ambition’ is entirely unacceptable, given that there’s so much to be achieved without leaving the comfort of your own home.

So whatever your ambition may be, whether it’s to rise through the ranks of your company, to be a stay at home parent or to build a business of your own. Never, ever believe that you are lacking in ambition. Never let anyone tell you that you don’t aspire to do anything or be anyone. You are you for a reason and you’re already achieving so much.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ease of One Child Parenting

The Ease of One Child Parenting

Ok, so the title to this post is probably a little misleading. Parenting and easy don’t really go well in the same sentence. I suppose what I mean is that when you’ve been bringing up two children for the last three years, then when that number drops to one for part of the week, I do believe that parenting gets easier. The logistics of having only one child to care for, are much simpler than having multiples. I love having two children, but I have to admit that I can see the positives of a little one child parenting.

The biggest was so young when we had baby number two, so I really do find it hard to remember only having one child to look after. For the best part of two years I’ve been permanently attached to two kids. For half of that time I had two kids that couldn’t walk, then for the rest of the time I’ve had two who think it’s hilarious to run in opposite directions. With me stood in the middle wondering which one to retrieve first!

 

Altering the dynamics –

Since the biggest started nursery, our family dynamics have completely shifted. It’s been a really difficult time for me, I certainly wasn’t ready to let her go. So for the first week, we filled every minute away from her with some sort of activity, anything that meant I didn’t have to think about leaving her with what felt like a stranger. I thought that if I didn’t think about it, then one day I’d wake up and be used to it.

The trouble is, I can’t fill every single hour of nursery with super fun stuff for the littlest to do. For a start, the house would start to look like a complete tip as I’d get nothing done and work would just pile up. So now, when the biggest is at nursery we spend some time at home too. I have regular periods where I only have to parent one child and do you know what? It’s not all bad. All of a sudden life with kids has become simpler then ever before.

There’s less bickering, no chasing each other around shops or disagreeing on what they’d like for lunch. I only have on child to keep safe on the playground and only one hand to hold as we walk down the side of the road. I only have one child to wrestle into their car seat and I only have one child to entertain whilst trying to do a million and one other things at the same time.

 

Getting used to our new way of life –

Even though there are many positives to only having to parent one child, I’m still not completely sold on the idea of one child parenting. I’d much rather have both of my girls by my side, but I know things have to change. Slowly but surely I’m getting used to our new way of life and soon enough I’ll have a few hours of completely child free time to contend with. For now though, I’m going to relish the ease of one child parenting. Who knows, I might even start to enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

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