Making Boredom Fun

Today I woke up to a miserable, grey day with no plans and no intentions to leave the house at all. This of course an absolute bombshell drop on my children!

With their eyes out on stalks they looked at me in sheer disbelief and repeatedly chanted, “what we’re doing nothing at all”.

I take full responsibility for this as I feel the need to continually occupy the children and fill their days as much as possible. A weekend rarely goes by where I haven’t tried to arrange something exciting and the times there is not much on I always feel the need to get out of the house and do something, no matter how small.

This has certainly had a detrimental effect on us and I feel I have taken away the children’s ability to amuse themselves and be happy in their own home with their own time and space.

I remember as a child making shops with my sister, playing fashion shows and thoroughly enjoying simple things such as colouring or dancing around my room; yes of course I remember those times where I moaned to my parents about being bored but there was never that expectation to be occupied every waking minute, it was down to me to make my own entertainment.

Being bored allows children to explore their own imaginations, to be creative and inventive and to find activities that they have a real passion for.

Society has made us feel that we should be continually stimulate our children, to make their weekends as jam packed as possible and to be enrolling them on every activity possible where their entertainment is already structured for them and limits the chance for them to use their own imaginations.

After the day from hell with the children continually craving my attention, demanding to be amused and begging to be taken out they finally found their own entertainment and settled down to word games and books that they wouldn’t ordinarily pick without being promoted, they made up their own workout routine and the youngest two baked a cake together with little intervention from me.

To them this has obviously become learnt behaviour and so I have come up with a list of things I am going to stick to the fridge to help then get started with enjoying their own free time:

Read a book
Do a puzzle
Dress up
Paint
Draw
Play with playdoh
Make a cake
Make a Lego creation
Have a puppet show
Have a teddy bear’s tea party
Play football
Skip
Bug hunt
Jump in puddles
Make an exercise circuit
Make up a dance
Make a show
Practice magic tricks
Climb a tree
Write a story
Build a cardboard car/house
Junk modeling
Make paper aeroplanes

I would love to add to this list and know how your little ones spend their free time.

In The Night Garden Live 2018:Family Ticket Giveaway

It is around this time of year when all the fun of Christmas is over, the weather is rubbish and there is nothing exciting planned that I start to think about the warmer weather ahead and the exciting things we are going to get up to.

One of the highlights for us for the past few years has been the fantastic on stage performance – In The Night Garden Live.

The musical theatre show brings to life all the familiar characters from the popular TV show through magical puppetry, breathtaking projection, enchanting music and life-sized characters.

Tickets go on sale from 26th January 2018 and there is also an exclusive resale on 23rd January.

The O2, London

Thursday 24 May – Saturday 9 June

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 29 May & Tue 5 Jun

Richmond Old Deer Park, London

Saturday 16 June – Sunday 1 July

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 19 Jun & Tue 26 Jun

Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

Saturday 7 July – Sunday 22 July

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 10 Jul & Tue 17 Jul

intu Trafford Centre, Manchester

Saturday 28 July – Sunday 19 August

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 31 July, Tue 7 & Tue 14 Au

If this sounds like something you and your little ones would be interested in then or if you are feeling lucky then I have a fantastic competition for you to enter below for the chance to win a family ticket for four(minimum 1 adult) at a venue and performance of your choice.

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The competition closes at 23:59 on 14th January 2018. Good Luck!

Milestone Myths With Baby Annabell Learns To Walk

The arrival of a new baby is one of the most precious and wonderful moments of a parents life, they bring such overwhelming joy and love but also a whole host of worries and anxieties that get to us on a daily basis.

From how much they are eating to how much they are sleeping is a constant worry and also as they begin to grow and milestones are being reached the worries also turn into something a little more competitive. We begin to compare what off springs of families and friends are doing and goals they are reaching.

Toddler groups turn into a mine field of parents either bragging that their little ones have sat up for the first time or the poor parent at the other end of the scale that is still waiting for their child who is of the same age to even roll over.

As the years have past and the more children I have I’ve come to the realisation that hours or staring at developmental charts and comparing my babies with others is a negative waste of time and the focus should be on getting through those milestones when they are good and ready and not when a chart tells you they should.

As adults we are all still learning new skills which will be easier and done quicker for some than other and this is no different to when we a little. We all have strengths and weaknesses and this is what makes us all so wonderfully individual.

Being a Mum of five I can tell you that all of mine have taken their first steps at times rating from 9-14 months, some have crawled from as early a 6 months when others never crawled at all but ultimatly they have all reached those goals when they are good and ready.

With babies milestones in mind Baby Annabell have come up with the fabulous Baby Annabell Learns To Walk.

Doll mad Oscar was very excited to have a new friend to go with his favourite Little Brother doll and was in sheer amazement who he saw all the amazing things that this new doll could do.

Baby Annabel makes her way through those all important milestones from sitting to crawling and walking.

As with all children she has a few hiccups and when she is crawling will drop to her tummy and cry. This is not a problem as she will be happily picked up and sits on your knee whist wriggling and fidgeting around.

When it comes to walking she will happily take her first steps whist holding onto your hand a bubbling away with each move.

This doll has made a very welcome addition to our household and Oscar has been amazed with everything she’s does. The interation they can get from this doll is amazing and I’m sure this would be a welcome present under any tree this year.

*collaborated post

Little Lambs Softplay – New Location And Better Than Ever

Setting up a business whilst being a busy Mum is something that is no mean feat and something many of us would shy away from for many reasons.

It takes drive, determination and passion to keep going and I am in awe of anybody that bites the bullet and makes their hopes and dreams a reality.

This is exactly what Sophie the owner of Little Lambs Softplay in Coulson has done and I have absolutely loved watching her journey and how far she has come in a few short years.

From a small area in a cricket clubhouse Sophie then moved her business onto a bigger and better premise inside a very popular shopping centre in Sutton that was a huge success, so much so that she then had the opportunity to grow even more allowing her to open the new premise she is in today in Coulsdon town centre.

I went along with Oscar to check out everything that is now on offer and we were both more than pleasantly surprised.

The softplay area is extremely spacious with slides, ball pits, ride-ons and lots more to keep little ones up to the age of 6 occupied.

On the same level there is plentiful seating from tabled areas to a cosy corner away from the noise that would be perfect to fed babies or simply pick up a book a relax if it all gets a little to much.

One thing that has always drawn me to Little Lambs is the food. Softplay areas are not usually renowned for the best food but they have really got this down to a tee here.

From indulgent waffles covered with cream and all sorts of goodies to at the healthier options of jacket potatoes that follow Slimming World guidelines, there is something for everyone.

I settled down with a warm croissant and a creamy coffee while Oscar opted for the fully loaded hot chocolate.

My head was turned more than a few time though with the scrummy looking Oreo milkshake and festive late complete with a mini mince pie.

Full up and worn out from all the running around we made our way upstairs to the role play area that I absolutely fell in love with.

The children can get dressed up in a huge variety of different costumes, take to the stage and become a mini popstar, get cooking in the kitchen area or do a spot of shopping in the supermarket or finally become a builder in the construction area complete with a cement mixer, bricks and safety equipment.

Little Lambs really do have everything you could want and more from a Softplay and more.The usual equipment to allow the children to build confidence, agility and let of some steam; good food to keep you all fuelled and an interactive area to allow you to really engage with your little ones whilst growing their imaginations.

This has certainly gone on our list of favourite places to visit and we will definitely be regulars from here on in.

*collaborated post

We All Deserve A Body That Works:MUTU Embrace Workshop

“We all deserve a body that works” these are the wise words from the creator of MuTu System Wendy Powell who has put together a complete body makeover program to help Mums fell better about themselves.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to meet Wendy and spend the morning taking with a group of lovely mummy bloggers about body confidence and trying out a few components from the MuTu System.

The morning kicked off with a screening of the documents movie – Embrace. The movie was made off the back of two before and after photos that were posted by Taryn Brumfitt an Australian mother of three that took social media by storm.

The buzz around these photos was so great due to the fact that Taryn flipped the usual before and after images on their head by showing her honed, bikini competition ready body as the before picture and her softer, heavier picture as here after photo.

The huge media attention from this created such an impact on Taryn that she took off on a round the world expedition to see how woman from of all different ages, cultures and backgrounds feel about their bodies and the results were pretty amazing.

It was a moving, heartfelt and thought provoking movie that really made me think about the way the over 90% with me falling into this category are in fact ‘highly dissatisfied’ with their bodies.

Thinking about the way I perceive my own body I would certainly say that I have a huge amount of hangups and these actually go back to well before my child bearing years.

After childbirth I have gained and lost a lot of weight and really lead a very yo-yo style of dieting and exercising for the past 20 years and have forged a very unhealthy relationship with both of them that I have battled with for a long time.

I am a very all or nothing person and really want to find a balance of healthy, not restrictive eating that can go hand in hand with an exercise plan that is flexible and sustainable.

This is where I was pleasantly surprised what MuTu has to offer as it fits this criteria perfectly.

Simple exercises and easy to follow diet guidelines to fix your body from the inside as well as the outside.

This is where Wendy’s phrase ‘we all deserve a body that works’ really comes into play.

So much emphasis is put on looking good that we tend to neglect the issues that can appear after childbirth such and rather than take the time to fix this we just put up with it.

Carrying and naturally giving birth to five children has certainly taken its toll on my body and after a few pretty unsuccessful trips to my GP who simply handed me a pelvic floor exercise sheet and told me to get on with it, it is by far one of the most important things for me to rectify but I have never made it a priority.

Pantyliners are now just an everyday habit when in reality I shouldn’t have to go day to day with these worries when there are resources out there to help us women to live worry free lives and enjoy time with our family without worrying about any embarrassing leakage.

During our workshop Wendy showed us some simple moves that can be carried out pretty much anywhere with the use of very little equipment and time but could have a huge impact on your day to day life.

Armed with all this information, my MuTu kitbag and bundles of inspiration I headed home to embark on the 12 week program that aims to help you lose your Mum Tum, heal your core and pelvic floor and give you confidence from the inside and out.

The course is easily accessed online where there are simple to follow videos, week by week plans and a food ideas to help you along the way.

I am currently four days in and have already been feeling the benefits.

I’ve not been hungry or felt the exercises were a hinderance to fit in around daily life, in fact I have a new found energy and am hungry to see what each new week will bring.

I will keep you up to date with my progress and will report back here after my 12 weeks are up so wish me luck!

*collaborated post

Creating A Sleep Haven

A chair covered in clothes from rushing around in the morning, crumpled bedsheets from the kids using the bed as a trampoline, a dressing table that resembles more of a children’s play area than a place to beatify yourself.

Does this sound familiar to you? This is indeed how my bedroom looks 90% of the time and is a far cry from the peaceful haven I have always wanted to create.

I have now finally…well most of the time managed to reclaim my bed from the night time bed invaders and really want to have a place I can retire to where I can relax and collect my thoughts after a long day.

There are a few things that I am going to change to make it a place I want to spend time in rather than avoid.

Declutter: Clutter is one of the biggest causes of restlessness and I can fully understand how lying in bed worrying about the piles of clothes and dirty washing can contribute to a restless night.

Organising the wardrobe, getting unwanted items listed on EBay and banishing the washing to another room are all great ways to make it a tidier and more restful area.

Calming Colours: It is a well known fact that the brain reacts to different colours in different ways so choosing relaxing and tranquil colours such as green or blue are the perfect way to keep stimulation to a minimum.

Lighting: The harsh light that is created from the main bedroom light isn’t condusive to staying relaxed. Use subtle lighting from bedside lamps and dimmers to create a calm environment.

Also keep out the harsh morning sun with good quality blinds such a those from Roof Windows to allow those much needed lay-ins, if the children allow!

Smells: Allow the use of all your scences to come into play and fill the room with beautiful,relaxing scents.

Lavender is a perfect scent to add relaxation and this can come in the form of scented candles, air fresheners and dried lavender itself.

Bedrooms Are For Sleep: This is probably the thing I find the hardest to obide by.

Switching off from screen time, banning exercising or any other stimulating activity in the bedroom is a must…well within reason!

Get Cosy: Finally add as much cosiness as you can with scatter cushions, throws, comfortable bedding. Really anything that is going to make you feel cosy.

I’m going to put all of these tips into practice and hope that my little haven can be created and create a more restful nights sleep.

PlayStation Family Showcase

Gaming is something that has never really grabbed my attention for any length of time and aside from playing Packman and Tetris when I was younger I have never really given it a lot of thought.

This however is the complete opposite for my eldest son who is an avid gamer and in fact has been trying to convince me for the last two years that gaming is a viable career and a path that he really wants to follow.

With this in mind when I got the invitation to Playstation’s Family Showcase I was hoping that they would open my eyes to something I know very little about.

Walking into the event at the cool and quirky Perseverance Works in East London the boys eyes lit up and neither of them new where to start first.

The whole area was set out into different sections with a huge variety of games to try your hand at, plenty of refreshments to keep you refulled and if you fancied a bit of a break from the screen time then there were lots of crafts to keep you busy and some yummy cupcakes to decorate with lovely Cookie Girl.

The boys quickly found the NBA 2K17 basketball game and sat together playing whist I grabbed a coffee and chatted to the hilarious Ellie from ‘Scummy Mummies’ who was there to host the event.

Archie seemed to quickly find his favourite games FIFA17 and the super cool Gran Truismo and settled down to challenge the experts that were walking round to help out with any tech questions…there were more than a few from me!

Frankie however was overwhelmed with the choice and flitted backwards and forwards between games such a the fabulous new Lego Ninago Movie game that really bought one of his favourite movies alive in front of his eyes, Marvel Superheroes that went down a treat as he got to play some of his favourite superheroes and Crash Bandicoot which was in fact one of the first games I ever bought Archie.

There were even two fantastic games – That’s You and Knowledge Of Powergames that allow the whole family play together with the use your smart phones or tablets to answer questions and really interact together that would make the perfect alternative to the usual board games this christmas!

Watching the boys play together and make new friends by joining up and using the two player option on the games really made me see gaming in a different light. I had always seen it as a solitary pastime that kept them very isolated when in fact games can help team building skills, make healthy competition and create social skills. All of these things I had never really considered before.

I think the boys christmas lists have certainly grown since this event and I would definitely advise any of you to check out some of the games I’ve mentioned as they would make super gifts for any gamers out there.