Celebrating The Small Things:Week Thirteen

Writing these posts has certainly brought me to the realisation that my plans of being more organised this year have not been going to well as I am a fair few weeks behind with these posts!

I have however been good at noting down all my special moments and hope to get caught up very soon as I currently stuck in Easter!

Easter Egg Competition – Normally Frankie isn’t overly into crafts and it has to be something he is really interested in to keep him engaged, so it was lovely to see such enthusiasm when preparing his ‘Eggtopus’ for the school Easter competition.
He sadly wasn’t a winner this year but he had an amazing time taking part.

Family Fun At The Seaside – This year Izzy’s birthday fell on our trip to Dreamland for the Big Fish Little fish event which was an amazing day but a real highlight for me was watching the children’s excitement looking for shells and crabs in the rock pools is one of life’s simple pleasures that you can’t beat.

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New Experiences For Me – As I get older my want and need to discover and enjoy new things has been growing immensely and I love any opportunity to try something different.
Over the past few years the blog has certainly made this possible and the other week I got the chance to made very own Dolly Mixtures which is something I’m not sure I would ever have done if it wasn’t for my work.

Getting Ready To Set Sail With BFLF and Camp Bestival

I would say we have probably been gearing up for this years Camp Bestival since Christmas and for the kids…well and me too July has seemed like a lifetime away.

One of the ways we love to get into the festival spirit before the big day is a trip to one of the fabulous events that Big fish Little Fish put on in conjunction with Camp Bestival.

Big Fish Little Fish are a independent company that allow parents to share their love of rave music with their own little ones in family friendly venues across the country. It means that parents can let their hair down and loses their inhibitions for a few hours, safe in the knowledge that the kids are having just as much fun.

A few weeks ago we went along to Dreamland in Margate and after having such an amazing time we chose this venue to return to again this year.

The cool, retro setting lends itself perfectly to this event and I was pleasantly surprised that this year they had moved into the ballroom which gave everyone a lot more space for throwing some shapes!

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It was literally minutes before we took to the dance floor…much to the embarasmemt of my preteen. There really is no ‘school disco’ feeling at these events, the floor is filled within minutes with parents reliving their youth and kids going wild to the fantastic music whist getting covered in bubbles and confetti.

Of course the music is the main attraction but the fun doesn’t end here. There was a craft station where the kids made some fantastic pirate hats and got covered in tattoos, tables full of playdoh for those of you that wanted a bit of quiet time, a section that was cornered off for tiny ones and tents and tunnels for everyone to climb through and hide in. There was also a face painting station that somehow managed to pass us by.

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I think one of the highlights for mine was actually the Naughty Floss stall where we grabbed delicious candy floss that came on a super cool, flashing glow stick!

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The ballroom was filled was fun and laughter throughout and it has definitely got us in the mood for Camp Bestival later this year where we will no doubt be dancing along with Big Fish Little Fish again!

* We were given tickets to the event for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twelve

This week has been a bit of an emotional one with the realisation my youngest isn’t so little anymore and how all Frankie’s hard work has been paying off for him.

Frankie’s Eyesight Improves – Its been nearly a year now since Frankie first started wearing glasses and it has been more than a struggle at times. He isn’t to bad at keeping his glasses on but since he had to start wearing a patch on his left eye we have had nothing but problems.
There have been so many bribes and ultimatums to get him to wear it and it has actually cost us a small fortune in the money he has earned for keeping it on.
It has however been worth the pain as on this visit to the hospital his sight has made a huge improvement and I couldn’t be happier.

Home Styling Tips From The Experts – I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous event hosted by the lovely people at Amara. When it comes to home styling I tend to buy pieces that I like without much thought about how and were they are going to fit into the house.
A day of tips and tricks has helped me no end and I will be showcasing this next week with a post on everything I’ve learnt.

Oscar’s Last Dance Show – Realisation is setting in that my youngest will soon be starting primary school and I will no longer have a little ankle bitter nipping at my toes.
I sat and watched his final dance performance with a lump in my throat and a funny feeling in my tummy that in a few short months this stage of both our lives will be coming to an end.

Dinosaurs In The Wild:Review

Sunday got off to a fraught start as usual with me dragging children through central London at 100 miles per hour due to the fact we were running ridiculously late on our way to the Greenwich Peninsula to experience the new immersive walk through experience – Dinosaurs In The Wild.

After a quick dash to get our tickets wee headed straight to the start of the experience where we were handed 3D glasses and prepared to get ourselves ready to transport back in time to the Chronotex research station.

The time machine saw us encounter all sorts of hurdles on its mission, but we arrived safe and well and in perfect time to explore the labs.

We stayed in each lab for around 10 mins which was the perfect time for inquisitive hands and minds to stay occupied without getting bored and distracted. Each section had the children transfixed to everything that was going on and i didn’t hear a moan or a groan from my own or any of the other children at all.

They got to see a huge beating heart of a Alamosauraus, get really hands on by touching ‘real’ dinosaur poo and teeth, watching baby dinosaurs hatching and the feeding time of lot of bigger dinosaurs too.

Oscar was really taken with a baby dinosaur that was brought out for them to see and got pretty upset that he couldn’t the one home!

The climax of the event took pace in the Lookout at the very top of the research station and I don’t want to spoil the experience by letting you know what goes on. All I will say is that its not for the faint hearted and although the age rating is 5+ I would say if your little ones are sensitive souls then this is something to consider.

Oscar who is 4 went through pretty unfazed but bolshy Frankie was soon put in his place by the whole experience.

I loved every minute of our trip and the set up left nothing uncovered. The charaters stayed in role fabulously throughout and keep the children involved and engaged for the entire 70 mins. The set and models were so lifelike that the children at not point doubted we have travelled back thousands of years through time and completely believed each and every moment.

The experience is running until the end of July 2018 and whether you are a dinosaur fan or not this is one not to be missed!

*We were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Top Five Reasons To Visit Elderflower Fields

Elderflower Fields was the festival that broke our family festival and camping virginity! Our happy place that is probably one of the only times of the year in which we can really switch off from the world.

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We are getting set to visit for the third time this year and couldn’t be more excited. There is still time for you to join in the fun, so take a look at my top five reasons for visiting if a family festival is something you have been considering this year.

Peace And Quiet – Of course a festival is lively, music filled and full of the hustle and bustle of the crowds; but it is equally a place you can sneak off into the woods for a secluded walk, plot up in the middle of a field and watch the fun from afar and of course the peace and quiet of sleeping under the stars.

Family Time – With the fast pace lives we all lead in this day and age getting away for the weekend with little internet connection and phone connection allows you to spend real quality time together without ant distractions.

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Food – If you are a foodie then this is definity the right festival for you. The amount of top quality, locally sourced vendors at the festival is unbelievable. Each and every one serving the most sumptuous food using top quality, ingredients made with love by the passionate owners.
Another bonus for us is the fact that Frankie’s multiple allergies are always catered for without any problems.

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Learning New Skills – Aside from a few all the activities at Elderflower Fields are included in the price making it fantastic value for money and allows the children to take part in a things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Over the past few years mine have learned a whole host of circus skills, trapeze tricks, kayaking and so much more.

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Building Independence – The festival isn’t as big as some and at no time have I felt worried about the safety of the children which is great for allowing them to build their confidence by independently moving to and from different activities and getting stuck into tasks on their own.

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I really could go on and on with reasons to visit Elderflower Fields, but really the best way to see exactly what I’m talking about is to visit yourself. There is still time to grab tickets ‘here’ so don’t miss out.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eleven

This weeks ‘Celebrating The small Things’ has been a seen us doing a lot of catch up with the things that got cancelled and postponed due to the horrible snow. Did the bad weather mess up any of your plans?

World Book Day – World book Day came a lot later than expected this year due to it being way to icy for the little ones to get into school in their flimsy outfits.
Frankie was super excited to get all kitted out as Willy Wonka and got completely immersed into the character; it was a different situation with Oscar though who flat out refused to join in.
He has gone from being a little boy who lived in fancy dress and couldn’t even take a trip to the shop without some form of dress up to not wanting anything to do with it at all!
I was still desperate for him to join in through the worry that he would fill singled out, but he waltzed into nursery without a care in the world it was in fact him who was the odd one out and I have to admire him for that.

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Weight Loss Goals Being Achieved – I am a few months into my membership at David Lloyd Health Clubs now and I have really been keeping the benefits in so many ways, with the biggest of those being my weight loss.
For those of you that regularly read my blog you will know that my weight gain over the past few years has been a real problem for me and something I have been really struggling with.
Since joining David Lloyd at the beginning of the year I have seen a real change to my body shape and in turn a boost to my self confidence which I hoping will allow my to be a little braver in front of the camera soon!

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping – My lovely little sister is getting married this year and the bridesmaids dress have been a bit of a problem to say the least! None of us have been able to find anything we had all liked until the other day when we had a trip to Dig For Victory and found a whole shop of adorable dresses that can be made to measure and to your exact requirements.
In a few weeks time we will be getting measured up and ready for them and I literally cant wait.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Nine

This weeks ‘celebrating the small things’ is a bit about how I’ve been trying to think positively when things are not going the way you hoped. I am always a glass half full person and I wholeheartedly believe that thinking positively isn’t about expecting the best but accepting that whatever happens is the best thing for that moment in time.

A No No To Wheat For Frankie: We seemed to be spending a lot of time at St Thomas’s with Frankie this year in a bid to see if we can tick a few allergies off his huge list!
The other month we had a success with baked egg and I had high hopes for the wheat challenge but sadly it wasn’t to be. We had got right to the end of the five hour long test before he broke out in hives and was having itching in his throat and ears. We were both devastated as he had been sitting there all morning planning all the new foods he would be able to eat and this all came crashing down in one foul swoop!

On a positive note the reaction wasn’t as bad as it could have been and there is still good chance he could pass the challenge at a later date which we have everything crossed for.

And So Came The Snow: For me the attraction of snow is very short lived. Yes it looks very pretty and I love getting out to take photos in it, it is great fun to get the sledges out and bomb down the hills with the kids but it brings everything to a complete standstill, everything get cancelled and the kids eventually get bored of the whole thing!

I did however manage to embrace it as much as possible is as its such a rarety to get a few snow days in the UK. We went out and and enjoyed playing in the white stuff and then equally enjoyed getting back in to snuggle up with a hot chocolate.

Birthday Parties: Birthday parties when you have five children tend to take up a huge amount of the weekend, it is lovely for the kids but I often find myself thinking of the hundred and one ways I could be filling my day instead of being there though.

I have to say though this birthday party that was for Oscar’s best friend was an absolute delight.

None of the other children had really formed firm friendship groups whilst at nursery and would never really mention specific friends until primary school age. Oscar however is a different child althoghter and has a best friend that he speaks of very fondly and recalls their adventures at playgroup with such passion.

Its times like this the mum guilt kicks in for moaning about them having their own special times as they are such important experiences for them.

Workspaces For Teens

Give me a newborn over a teenager any day! Oh yes there are the sleepless nights and the endless cycles of feeding but as long as food, comfort and plenty of cuddles are supplied they are pretty much catered for. Teenagers however are a different breed altogether.

I have managed to navigate one child through their teens and she has now made here way into her twenties with both of us coming out the other side pretty much unscathed, however I am now on the same journey with my eldest son who has been completely different to my daughter.

I actually couldn’t ask for a better teen than Archie in so many ways to be honest. He is kind, caring, thoughtful, helpful and aside from the occasional strop he is pretty easy going. However when it comes to schooling its a different matter!

He is punctual, always completes his homework and is very well behaved during class but is a naturally gifted boy that is coasting through school and isn’t fulfilling his potential which is in fact more frustrating than anything else.

If he was messing around or not completing work then this could be dealt with by punishing him, but lack of motivation is a much harder thing to crack as it has to come from him.

He does however have lots of ambitions for jobs that don’t nesseserily need formal education and he has his heart set on this. I love and encourage my children to follow and fulfil their dreams so I am probably a large part to blame for this and need to get his mindset to think in a slightly more practical way without quashing his dreams.

He currently dosent have a area dedicated to learning so I think a workspace where he can keep organised, stay away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house whilst still building on his teams would be just what he needs right now.

Below I have listed a few of the top things I think are needed to create the perfect working environment for a teen:

Privacy: This is always something that most teens crave and I think its very important to allow their work area to be private and somewhere they can grow their own independence.

Organisation: Organisation isn’t always something that goes hand in hand with teens and many struggle to get this sorted, so a good desk such as the ones from Lionshome will help them to make sure everything has a place of its own, things are to hand as and when they need it and allows enough space for them to carry out all the work that needs to be done.

Limit Distractions And Boost Creativity: Make this area somewhere that is solely for work. Make sure that computer games and any other devices are kept away from this area to limit distractions and allow this area to be a calm, motivating place that allows your teen to be creative, productive and engaged to have a positive effect on their schooling and hopefully whatever career path they wish to follow.

I would love to know how you get your teenage children motivated to work.

*Collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eight

This week has been a pretty quiet one but some small changes in different areas of our lives have bought some joy to this pretty miserable time of year.

Spring Has Sprung: There has been a little bit of sunshine peeping through the clouds and my favourite daffodils have been showing their pretty heads which always gives me a bit of light relief after the harshness of winter.
It has got me thinking about festivals, holidays and getting outside more and I really can’t wait.

Big Improvements In Frankie’s Reading: For a long time I felt that Frankie was progressing slower than he should as far as his reading and writing was concerned. I tried not to compare him to his siblings and his peers but it is always something thats hard not to.
Thankfully though a few months ago his teacher had had the same concerns and felt that he was showing signs of dyslexia and this was why he was struggling so much.
With the help of a special coloured filter that he places over his books his reading has really improved and with this so has his confidence and I am so grateful that he has such a wonderful teacher that has picked up on this so early on in his schooling.

Getting Back Into Crafting: I’ve has a love hate relationship with crafting over the years. With my older children is wasn’t something I ever did at home as I couldn’t stand the mess and always wanted things to turn out perfecting, not allowing the children to use it to express how they feel and interpret their own ideas.
Things have certainly changed as I got older and I now love giving the children free reign, even if it does involve a few glitter explosions!
This year I was chosen as a Bostik Blogger which allows me to get crafty with the kids every month and its something we have all loved getting involved in.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Seven

Well I am really playing catch up with myself this week and I am really behind with my “celebrating the small things” posts, however I promised myself I wouldn’t miss a week and I’m going to stick to it.

This week I’m going to be looking back over half term which was a pretty horrendous one for us to be honest!

All of the children were ill until the end of the week and to say I was getting cabin fever would be an understatement, but we still managed to get a few good moments to record.

Feeling Grateful For My Job: School holidays can be a real issue when it comes to thinking of things to occupy the children and this is where I am extremely grateful for my work as it brings such amazing opportunities for the children and allows their time off to be filled with amazing memories.

This half term we were asked if we would like to become Chessington World Of Adventure ambassadors again this year so it would have been rude to not have a trip to celebrate wouldn’t it. We also had a wonderful afternoon at a Little Miss And Mr Men Tea Party where the children were treated to an afternoon of food, fun and personalised pictures from Adam Hargreaves.

Growing Up Fast: I received an email from Oscar’s nursery to let me know that they would be changing things a little at nursery to get the older ones ready for their big move to reception this coming September.

If I’m honest it gave me a big lump in my throat to think that my last little one would be moving on and I won’t have a little one around the house during the day anymore.

We spent a good while that afternoon practicing writing his name and learning his numbers and I was immensely proud of how far he has come…even if I’m not quite ready for it!

Feeling Proud Of My ‘Middlish’ Child: I say ‘middlish’ as when you have five children there isn’t really a middle child is there!

The one I am referring to however is Izzy. I often underestimate how much she does for me and when I sit back and think about it I would be pretty lost without her.

I always told myself that it was my decision to have a large family and putting on the older children was something I wouldn’t do as it has never been their choice.

In reality though a huge part of my day involves try to solo parent whilst working and this is no mean feat at times and I have to call in some help which 9 times out of 10 falls on Izzy.

Don’t get me wrong she loves to have a moan and a groan about it at times but is always there to help wether I ask or not and I really need to show her my gratitude for this more often.