Helping Children To Save

Saving money had never been one of my strong points.

From the moment I got my first job at the age of fourteen the money got my sweaty hands and I was off to get that much wanted…but never needed new dress or pair of shoes.

This is something that has been a real struggle through my adult life and I want to be able to pass on better skills to my children as regards to saving with the hopes that they don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

I have listed a few ideas here they I am going to be trying out to build good foundations for those future, and hopefully there will be some here that you may want to try:

Filling A Piggy Bank – Children are very visual and having something there that they can add to and watch grow will give them the encouragement to keep saving.

Saving For A Treat – We all love to have a goal in life, something to work towards and strive for. This will then  encourage  them to save for that much longed for toy of item of clothing.

Matching Their Saving Amd Building For Thier Future – To give them a bit of encouragement we can help them reach their saving  goals a little quicker by matching what they have saved when they reach a certain amount or thinking more long term we could take out a savings account such as a Junior ISA so they know through their hard work you have created a sum of money to help out with something bigger such as their first home or uni fees for when they are older.

Earning Their Money – It’s all very well for them to be saving up their pennies but they need to realise that these have to be earned and not just given to them. Simple chores around the house such as tidying their rooms or washing the car are a great place to start.

Lead By Example – This is probably one of the most important ones for me. I want to let the children know that all the days out, holidays and treats we have come at a cost and these things need saving for. Having a jar on the side to save up spending money for a holiday or letting them know that you are forgoing that lunch out so that other important things can be paid for is a great way for them to follow in your footsteps.

I would love to know if you have any top tips for saving with your little ones.
*collaborated post 

Bringing The Inside Outside

As you are all well to aware the weather in the UK is extremely hit and miss and when we do get the odd spell of sunshine we all need to make to most of it.

One way to do this is to make the garden an extension of your home and get as much use out of it as you can.

We are always trying to bring the outside in by filling the house with pot plants and floral fabrics so why shouldn’t we switch things around and take the comforts of our home into the garden.

For me being in the outdoors is the perfect way to spend time as a family.

The poor wifi connection and lack of TV and computer screens allows us to enjoy quality time together whist enjoying the sunshine.

The great outdoors also offers so many benefits such as helping to improve concentration, relives stress, improves vision, boosts your immune system and many more things why would you not want to make the most of your time out there.

The added bonus now is there are so many great products on the market to make your garden an inviting and comfortable place to be.

Gone are the days of flimsy plastic tables and chairs that always have the tendency to buckle under to much weight.

These have been replaced with cosy ratan sofas and sturdy tables and chairs made from all kinds of different materials that replicate indoor furniture perfectly.

To this you can add plenty of throws and cushions to make for an even comfier experience and creating a welcoming  splash of colour.

Something that makes me want to make the most of my time outside is the addition of mood lighting in the form of candles and solar power lighting.

A few candles lit on the table can keep the bugs at bay is you find some citronella  candles and solar power bulbs placed in the tress and shrubbery allow you to stay out well after the sun goes down.

The garden really can be a feast for all your senses from the smell of fragrant flowers to the sound of the early morning bird call.

It’s a place to relax and unwind so why not make your garden a little haven to enjoy as a family.

What would your dream garden include?

*collaborated post 

Back To The Fun At Elderflower Fields

You know when you leave a place and you are already planning your next trip back next year that it is place to remember.

This is exactly how we feel about Elderflower Fields and why we have just had our third and equally as fantastic trip there.

Our first taste of Elderflower Fields was as day visitors and it captured our hearts the moment we set foot in the field…so much so that last year we returned for the whole weekend and had our first ever experience of camping as a family.

This year was set to be just as good…if not even better than the last and we were all itching to get there and start the fun.

We were lucky enough to be trying out Pitch this year that is a fabulous company that sets up luxury bell tents for you that are beautifully kitted out and ready for you on your arrival. 

I have lots more to tell you about this, but as they say a picture paints a thousand words so I will leave you with this picture of the most incredible tent I have ever had the opportunity to stay in!

With setting up being completely pain free we doned the glitter and sparkles and made our way down to the main field to see what was going on this year.

The familiar main stage was alive with fantastic music and a sea of families relaxing and taking it all in.

For us one of the big pulls of this festival is the food and the children all made their way to grab an ice cream before they got going on the activities.

What I love most about Elderflower Fields is its relaxed atmosphere.

You can slowly wander without any pressure to get to planned activities all the time. There are of course a few things that have timed slots, but the majority you just turn up and have a go.

This year there was the addition of the Woodland Tribe that was a huge hit with the boys.

It saw Daddy uncharacteristically put his DIY hat on and hammer and saw with them all to help create a super cool den.

Another activity the children returned to plenty of times was the trapeze workshop.

The boys had no fear at being twisted and spun in the silks and it left Izzy with a real want to take it up as an activity once we got home.

Circus skills were up next and they tried their hands at everything on offer. I however wasn’t so skilful!

Grabbing a bite to eat was on the agenda before the evening fun.

Food is a huge part of this festival with something for everyone from meat lovers to vegans, savoury fans or those with a sweet tooth all tastes are catered for.

The potato stall has us coming back every year without fail and this year the Thai stall was my favourite with its beautifully flavoursome dishes, in fact I didn’t visit anywhere else all weekend.

As the sun came down we settled on the main field to listen to more bands and have a few cheeky cocktails before heading back to the comfort of our beautiful tent.

Fully refreshed from a great nights sleep we made our way down to the campfire to take part in the Campfire Cookout.
This is new to Elderflower Fields this year and something the children all really enjoyed taking part in.

Alongside cooking up some yummy chocolate waffles on the campfire the children got to take part in a drawing lesson that saw them making their very own comic strip.

My all time favourite face painter Nam Nam’s were back creating their masterpieces so we couldn’t pass up this chance.

I always feel so sad when I have to take their wonderful creations off.

Still pretty full from the waffles it was time for the So Sussex Family picnic.

Last year this was something I felt a little worried about as the theory behind it is to get together with twelve people, friends or strangers and select one leader to go and collect your picnic of delicious local products to enjoy together.

 

This year we met up with one of my husband school friends and some others they were camping with and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous food and great company.

It was then time to get out of the sun and take a stroll through the Art Trail.


Some unbelievable sculptures had been created and there was something new and unique round every corner, including a lookout tower that the children played in happily trying to spot all sorts with their binoculars.

 

I simply can’t fit everything in that we got up to over the course of a few short days as there was just so much going on. 

For me this festival offers more than just music and dancing, although they are big parts of it to!

The activities offer the children new experiences they can take home and further if they wish to and gives them a real understanding of nature and the world around them through the fun of play.

This magical festival keeps us coming back time and time again and I would highly reccomend a visit to see the brilliance yourselves!

Prezzo #LaFamiglia Challenge 

Meals times are a battlefield in this house and there is always some sort  of issue that turns what should be happy family time into something less than enjoyable.

If we are eating at home or out there are no exceptions and the only difference to being out is that my stress levels increase as I am all to aware of everyone else around us.

For me the biggest problem is waiting. I have the most impatient children and having to wait between courses is something they are not to keen on.

This is where the La Famiglia from Prezzo is a fantastic option and something we could wait to try out for ourselves.

We were asked to take up the #LaFamiglia challenge with Britmums and were more than happy to take up the challenge.

We headed of to our local Prezzo in Reigate and were settled by out super friendly waitress who immediately kept the little ones amused with a spot of colouring.

 

While the little ones were busy creating I looked over what La Famiglia had to offer.

The set meal consists a large sharing bowl of pasta and there is the choice of the classic spaghetti bolognese, spicy penne arrabbiata or a penne alla rusticana.

Two mouthwatering garlic breads, two side dishes of either fries, oils infused fries, mixed salad or rocket salad.

And lastly four soft drinks with the option to swap for house wine for an extra £7 and not forgetting pudding, there is either the choice of ice cream or sorbet.

The meal is aimed to feed two adults and two children so even with a large family such as mine at the great price of £30 for  everything if we order double it would still work out a great deal cheaper then a meal out ordinary costs us.

Whist we chatted over our drinks it wasn’t long before our pasta arrabbiata and garlic bread arrived.


The children loved that they were able to help themselves to as much or as little as they wanted and to me this saved the whole argument about everything being eaten.

Pretty full there was of obviously sill room for desert.

There was a great selection of ice creams and sorbets to choose from but the salted chocolate sounded way to tempting for any of us to pass up on.

I would highly recommend trying out this great addition to Prezzo’s already fantastic menu.

The relaxed atmosphere and family friendly vibe put me at ease whilst we were there and I think tun would find it hard to beat the quality of food at such areasonable price. 

We Are Camp Bestival Offical Rock Stars!

For anyone that reads my blog I’m sure that it hasn’t gone unnoticed that we are huge fans of Camp Bestival.

I have been getting so excited over all the fantastic acts that are set to hit this fantastic festival this year and with it being their 10th birthday it is sure to be even bigger and better than last year.

Last year I was asked to be an offical blogger at Camp Bestival and it was honestly the absolute highlight of our summer for so many reasons.

This is why I am delighted to announce that this year we have been chosen as Offical Rock Stars and can’t wait to get covered in glitter and rock out with everyone else at the best festival around!

Keep an eye out for updates on the ever growing acts that are coming through thick and fast and hopefully if you like what you see you can come along and join in the fun with us too!

           

Getting Messy At NSPCC Messathon

Through the course of the year I always like to try and find ways a way give a little back.

Be it a cake sale at school, a sponsored silence or a jumble sale there is always a way to raise funds and I feel it is especially important to include children in this.

We can all get caught up in our own lives and forget about those in a much harder situation than ourselves and this awareness should be bought to the attention of our children in the hope that is will help them to become thoughtful and compassionate adults.

A great way to do this is to find something fun that the whole family can take part in and this is where the NSPCC Messathon is the perfect event for family fundraising.

The clever people at the NSPCC a charity who’s aim is to help neglected and abused children launched their first Messathon and we were lucky enough to be asked along to take part.

The event is aimed at families with competitors as young as four allowed to compete.

We were up early on Saturday morning with Frankie absolutely champing at the bit to get started.

Tshirts and headbands at the ready we made our way to the starting line at Frimley Park  in Surrey for the warm up that got everyone going and eager to get started.

The claxon sounded and each team set off one at a time to make their way around the 2.5km obstacle course.

My super competitive family raced ahead to get going with the fun and I have to admit I was really excited to see what the course had in store for us.

We were faced with hay bales to scale, bubbles to slide through, a water slide to plumit down, a squelchey pool of mud to wade through and so much more.

It was a welcome break from the technological world that seems to take over our life so much and brilliant to have some good messy fun.

It had us in fits of giggles and really bought is together as a family by cheering each other on and helping each other to overcome each of the obstacles.


We bounced out way across the finish line on space hoppers to collect our medals of honour for taking part.

Sufficiently covered in mud and soaking wet we stopped and grabbed a well earned bite to eat from one of the many stalls offering great refreshments.



Everything has been though of at this event to made it fun and stress free to take part as a family.

There were plenty of toilets and changing facilities to get out of your soggy clothes or capes to save your car from the mess if you are unorganised like us!

Plenty of places to keep you entertained before and after the race with face paints and tattoos and an area to educate you a little more on the good work the NSPCC do.

Or simply spend a few hours in the beautiful surroundings the event is held in.

There are still two more Messathons for you to take part in this year with the first one being in Bristol on 29th July and the second in Herts on 19th of August.

If this takes your fancy then I have the discount code BLOGM25 that will save you 25% on your entrance fee if you add it at the checkout. 

We are now champing at the bit to take part again and I would love to know of any of you decide to have a go yourselves!

Watching My Child Have Her Baby

It’s been a little over a month now since I became a Nanny and the little bundle of joy has fitted herself into the family as if she has been here forever… although it seems like yesterday I was there watching her come into the world.

One of my biggest regrets through my births was not having enough to photos to look back on.

For me a large part of labour is always a blur and I would love to have been able to capture those moments be they good or bad to document the highs and lows of childbirth.

I spoke to Alice about this and she was more than happy for me to be there with my camera to capture those moments you will never get back.

The original plan had been for Alice to stay at home for as long as she could and then once she had got to the stage she needed to go to the hospital I would meet her and her partner there.

As with many births things don’t go to plan and I got her face timing me at 6.30 in the morning bouncing around on a birthing ball, hair like a mad woman and a real sense of panic on her face.

Anyone that has experienced labour for the first time will understand the worry and fear of the unknown and sometimes all you need is that little bit of reassurance that everything will be ok.

I got round to her as quickly as I could and  told her to take it easy as it was going to be a long day!

We reached the stage that she felt the need to go in and although she had managed to get to three centimetres without to much worry there was still that one centimetre to go before she would be admitted.

Home again, food eaten and a long bath was had and it wasn’t long before we were back in the car and in our way back again.

For me this is always an anxious time but Alice was taking things in her stride. Listening to the advice from the midwifes, staying mobile and coping much better than I would have thought…then the fun began!

The birthing pool was filled and for a good while she managed to stay calm and take each contraction as it came with a little help from gas and air.

The pain suddenly got far to imence for her and she started to lose control.

As much as Alice was going through the worst pain she had ever experienced, I was feeling the pain of ultimate helplessness and all I wanted to do was to take that pain away from her but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

She was moved from the birthing pool to the labour ward as she was desperate to have an epidural and being so close I was trying my hardest to talk her round and just battle though those last few centimetres.

In my head I had for her my idea of the perfect birth and as bad as it seems I found it really hard to sit back and let her take control of her own decisions.

That Mum instinct kept kicking in and I realised that she was now a fully grown woman, capable of making her own decisions and I was going to have to let her go ahead and do what was right for her.

With the lack of anethitist and Alice not wanting a drip she managed to get through the next few hours on her own.

Screaming, shouting and in a complete state of panic there was nothing anyone could do to calm her down and it was honestly the most painful thing to watch as a mother.

She had lost control and nothing anyone said or did was going to comfort or calm her and I spend the next hour watching the clock that seemed to be on go slow. It was one of the lifestyle hours of my life.

It is your instinct to want to do all you can to comfort your child and childbirth takes this completely out of your hands.

You can be there but the battle lies with them and all you can do is support them as much as you can until that magical moment happens and your grandchild makes their way into the world.

That overwhelming rush of love flowed through my body in exactly the same was it had done with all my own births.

The tears were flowing and I knew from that moment things were going to change forever.

All the pain, worry and fear had left us both and we were left gazing at this perfect new life that was going to bring us such love.

All those new things we can help her discover, all those milestones that we can enjoy watching are laying out there in front of us as I was enternally grateful to have been allowed to be part of this once in a lifetime experience.

Birth is nothing short of a miracle and each new life coming into this world is a unique and beautiful event.

I was privileged to be able to go through every moment of this with my own daughter and is something that will be etched in my memory forevermore and I am so pleased that Alice now has a collection of these and more intimate photos to look back on and share with her own daughter in many years to come.