25/08/2017

The fun doesn’t have to stop even if the summer holidays do!

It’s easy for the whole family to feel a little down as the end of the summer holidays is approaching, and you’re buying back to school items instead of sun hats and flip-flops. If you’ve already starting grieving for the 'summer' that’s just gone, we’ve got some ways for you to keep the summer dream alive long past the holidays.

In the UK, realistically September should be pretty nice, and probably a fair bit of October, so don’t think that all that 'sunny weather' has been used up. Think about what it is that you like about summer - although the warmer days are nice, really it’s the activities and the freedom of choice that comes with it that is what we’ll miss.

Here are some ideas to keep the summer holiday mentality always with you, so you don’t spend the whole of Autumn and Winter pining for summer (at least not as much, anyway!)

Getting outside/keeping active
In summer, it does seem so much easier for the kids to be out and about, getting active without a lot of effort from parents. With sunshine, automatically comes football games, rounders and just being outside more. It’s easy to stop getting out as much once the sun has gone, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you’ve found that your children took well to a certain sport over the summer, try enrolling them into a proper team, whether it’s with school or out of school. Did they get into football or softball after playing with family over the summer? Have a look around for local teams or discuss joining a school team so they keep fit more regularly playing a sport they enjoy. If it’s indoor sports they'd rather play, have a think about gymnastics, squash or swimming!

For a free, regular running session, try taking the kids to junior park run on Sundays - it’s totally free, only a 2k distance and run by volunteers every single week, all you need to do is register and print off a bar code for each runner. There’ll be a park run in a local park near you, so find out where your nearest one is. They might even make friends too! (There’s also adult park run on Saturdays which is 5k, if parents want to join in!)

Seaside
If you can’t get to a beach in Spain regularly (who can?!), you can still hit a more local beach on (fingers crossed) a warm day in late summer/autumn. We’re in Essex so not too far from Southend on Sea, which has lots to offer, even if it’s not the warmest of days. For something a bit more further afield, you could take a day trip to Brighton on the train. If it’s somewhere you’d prefer to stay overnight rather than do lots of driving, consider booking accommodation in advance that has free cancellation on a date that’s near to the booking date, in case the weather looks bad in the days leading up to the trip. Alternatively, if you live quite close to London, there are a few lidos around too, so see if there are any near you. They might not be a real beach but are pretty close to the real thing! Of course you have to be careful with the weather and it may have to be a spontaneous trip depending on weather.

Book something fun for half term
If the family is feeling glum about having to go back to school, you might like to get something all ready in the diary for half term, even though it probably seems like ages away at the moment! Thinking about what to do in half term will give you all something to look forward to. If you’ve spent all your cash on the summer holidays, try something like inviting different friends and family members round and having a fun week at home. Or even arrange a road trip hopping between various friends and family that you didn’t get to see over the summer.

Start an indoor project
A good way to do this would be to be to try up cycling a piece of furniture for the whole family or start a big jigsaw puzzle (if you’ve got space to leave it around). Try ordering some second hand furniture and teaching the kids basic sanding down and painting techniques to create a design you all like. If it’s difficult to get furniture delivered to you, get some quotes off Shiply before committing yourself.

An ongoing project like this could shave away boredom that comes with rainy days. There are also lots of new Lego projects that take a nice chunk of time to complete, like the Big Ben or Buckingham Palace kits that are fun for kids and parents to work on together.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas to get working on as autumn approaches! Remember to stay active, get outside regularly and most importantly, have fun!


This is a guest post


24/08/2017

Back to School with Bic!

I asked the monkeys today if they are looking forward to going back to school? They both said yes, quite enthusiastically! I think they are getting bored of spending time with me now, they miss their friends and want to use their new school bits.....shoes, bags and stationery! 

They've been sent some of the latest Bic stationery.......
A set of BIC® Soft Feel® pens, RRP £1.99 for Pack of 4, they have chosen two each and have been enjoying using them! The medium point pens come in vibrant pink, turquoise, green and purple. Even clipping onto clothes!
BIC® Evolution® Fluo Pencil with Eraser x 4. Big monkey is especially pleased with these, as he loves to sketch and likes to erase his mistakes as he goes! Much less likely to break than a wooden pencil, these are bang on trend with their Fluo colours!
BIC® Intensity® Pen for more intricacy when drawing. These 8 fine liner pens are perfect for the colouring both monkeys love to do! With water based ink they don't bleed through paper (always a pain when using a colouring book)
Lastly but not least they got this BIC® 4colours™ 3+1 HB Multifunction Pen. Big monkey was most excited to use this.....Multipurpose, it holds 3 retractable ink nibs and 1 refillable mechanical pencil! RRP £2.99 I think this is ace too and would have loved something like this back in the day!
I must say, if I'd had the chance of these stationery delights in my pencil case to take back to school I would also have very much been looking forward to going back! I'll be sad when they go back to school, in the meantime, we're making the most of the remaining days and filling our days with activities the monkeys enjoy, including their love of drawing and colouring. These BIC products can be found in WHSmiths, Rymans and Sainsbury's, plus more.

We were sent these items for the purpose of this post.
 




19/08/2017

Summer Fun With #DespicableMe3!

Shortly before the monkeys broke up from school for the summer, we took them to see the latest Despicable Me movie. Despicable Me 3! As you already know, we all loved it. It's reignited little monkeys love of all things Minions! Imagine his delight then, when a large box arrived full of Despicable Me 3 merchandise! 
There was so much in it! Tissues, wipes, a cap, swimming shorts, sun glasses, plasters, a towel, scooter, helmet, balls, bucket and spade, a bat and ball set, candy gun, hand held fan, fairy lights, a back pack........pretty much everything Minions and Despicable Me 3 a young boy would need to see him through the holidays!
Little monkey is most excited about the folding in-line scooter (and to be fair, what 6yr old child wouldn't be)! We were sent the fab scooter (worth £29.99) along with a great fully adjustable helmet and away he went. With a height adjustable handle, it's perfect for him.
We took quite a few of our goodies on holiday to Cornwall with us. The bucket and spade set was even played with by our friends 13yr old daughter....shhhhh, I didn't tell you that! All very good quality, the cap and swim shorts are a perfect fit for little monkey and both wash up well. As does the character towel.
Look at him! Such a cool dude!
With various toys, including this light up ball, little monkey (and his big bro) have had lots of fun with our gifted haul. We can highly recommend the film and the official merchandise. Thanks so much to the #DespicableMe3 team. We love it all and funnily enough, the capers those minions get up to, somehow remind me of two monkeys I know rather well! 

We were gifted the above for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


 









10/08/2017

Will We Go Back?

We loved Cornwall so much last year, last week we went back to exactly the same place! Will we go back a third year in a row?

With our friends caravan being so reasonable and perfect last year, we decided to rebook and go back again. We went almost exactly a year to the day and as soon as we arrived on the holiday park, we felt like we were returning home! 

As big monkey was travel sick last year, both monkeys wore bands on their wrists and both had half a travel sickness tablet before leaving home. We decided to travel late at night in the hope they would sleep! Far too excited to do that, big monkey stayed awake for most of the five and a quarter hour journey but little monkey slept a lot of it. The drive down there was problem free, with no travel sickness and not a lot of traffic.....brilliant! 

In the caravan by 01.40 and all in bed by 02.10, we woke to rain on the Saturday morning! The forecast for the whole week wasn't great at all to be honest! 
Later that morning our friends joined us (in the caravan next door). They'd left about 04.30. They too holidayed there last year with us. 

Having a kids fenced off play area right outside the two vans meant the children could all play together out there when the weather permitted. Luckily Saturdays rain did clear up from time to time and they managed to play, whilst we unpacked and settled in. 

Fish and Chips in the rain at Wadebridge on that first night was fun! 

Sunday and Monday were much better......we managed the beach both days and went back to our favourite both days. Holywell Bay. £6 to park all day (with The National Trust), a river to play in, huge Sand dunes to 'surf' down and of course the sea. The monkey loved body boarding and sliding down the sand dunes! They played in the sand, built sandcastles, dug holes and splashed in the river. Toilets are close by and there's a van on the beach where you can get drinks and snacks. We love the Cornish beaches as they are all manned by RNLI Lifeguards. We were so lucky with the weather.....which was still forecast to be rainy much of the week.
Tuesday was great fun. We drove to Wadebridge and hired bikes to ride the Camel Trail. Little monkey used a tag-along with hubby and the rest of us used mountain bikes. We cycled along the off-road track for 5.5miles to Padstow and then wandered around the harbour, had brunch and took a ferry across to Rock. After about 6hrs of window shopping and exploring Padstow, we cycled the 5.5miles back to Wadebridge. All of us agreed it was fabulous and definitely something we'd like to do again.
Of course no trip to Wadebridge would be worth it without a trip to the local bakery to get their infamous Cornish Pasty.........delicious.

Wednesday was pretty much a wash out. The children and two of the adults went to the park indoor swimming pool. They played a game of tenpin bowling and later that day (in the rain), we all visited St Austell, Mevagissey and drove home via Truro. Wednesday was also date night for hubby and I (something our friends insisted on). They had the monkeys over for dinner, took them to the club house for bowling and the slot machines and then for a night time walk. We drove back to Truro and found a fabulous authentic Italian Restaurant. The food was amazing! We liked Truro too. Our evening out ended at a more local pub for a drink, and happily the monkeys had been as good as gold and had great fun too. 
Another day on the beach Thursday. This time an overcast very windy Watergate Bay. Lots of surfers but the waves were a bit too fierce for my liking....Daddy and the monkeys did not spent too much time at the water's edge! Funnily, even though each family had decided to do their own thing, we both ended up at the same beach. We, however, did not get caught out in the heavy rain shower that our friends did! 
No visit back to Cornwall would be the same without another visit to Hendra Croft Farm for a Cornish Cream Tea. It did not disappoint again! So delicious. Another few hours child free, as the monkeys stayed with our friends whilst we went there.
Our last full day in Cornwall, was spent......at Holywell Bay again. The kids love it so much there! 
We were sad to leave on Saturday. Cornwall is such a lovely place. Friendly people, decent road surfaces, great beaches and just a more chilled out part of the UK. Will we go back?
Like Hell, we will! We're even talking about staying right at Holywell Beach next time! 




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