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!

Making The Most Of Those Early Years

Making The Most Of Those Early Years

The other day I make the announcement that in a few months time I’m going to be a Nanny!

As you can imagine this revelation has caused me to have a million and one thoughts flooding through my mind and one of the things that has become even more apparent is the fact the time passes way to quickly.

That age old saying of ‘this time will go so fast’ is so true and I feel as though I have blinked and my eldest has turned into a young woman with her own family on its way.

With Oscar growing at a rapid rate I’m going to make the most of the precious time I have left with my youngest before I lose him to school.

We still have a while yet and I have decided that with Wednesday being the only day we have completely to ourselves it is going to be used to have as much fun as we can.

It’s going to be a day to forget about the housework and the millions of other boring jobs that need doing and just having quality time that I will never get back again.

Those early years are so precious and short that I’m going to make the most of these moments.

The dirty dishes and grubby carpets will still be there but those precious little moments with your babies won’t.

We started this off last week with a trip to Worthing where we threw stones into the sea, chased waves and ate scrumptious fish and chips and ice cream.

You can’t get much more perfect than that!

Should I Have Stepped In Or Was I Right To Turn A Blind Eye

A trip into town yesterday and what should have been an enjoyable lunch with two of my children will now always be etched on my mind as something completly different.

We had settled down to a lovely meal after attending an event yesterday. It was actually the best meal out that we have had in a long time as both the children had sat perfectly which is a rarity!

Sadly though just as we were finishing up our deserts a huge cloud came over the afternoon after what I witnessed at the table in front of us.

The table had infact caught my eye earlier on as I had seen a young couple with a baby of about a year old sitting enjoying their meal and I was astounded at how well behaved he was. Sitting quietly on a bench not making a murmur which is a far cry from what any of mine would have been like at that age!

Then all of a sudden there was a huge commotion, the baby had grabbed a glass that had hit the floor! The parents were screaming and staff came running over.

The manger quickly tried to calm the situation, but the father was furrious and was shouting at the mother.

Then the father proceeded to shout and hit the baby! I looked in astonished at first and couldn’t believe that he clearly found it acceptable to lay his hands on a child, let alone a baby who was barely a year old and had accidentally knocked a glass to the floor.

All went quiet but I couldn’t take my eyes off of their table. He then proceeded to strike him twice again whilst paying for his meal, all the tables that were a lot closer to me and the waiter who was taking his money were all witnessing this and nothing was being said.

By this point the mother was collecting together their belonging and my blood was boiling. 

He then picked the child up, shook him twice and grabbed at his face.

At this point I rose from my chair and made my way over to confront him. I then looked back at the worry on my own children’s faces and stopped myself.

In the past I have felt the need to put myself in other people’s situations that have made me feel uncomfortable and my husband had warned me that one day I would come unstuck.

This thought stopped me for the sake of my own children as I could have been putting them in danger by confronting a man like this.

A man that happily struck, shook and grab his tiny, precious baby in a packed restaurant without looking round once. Clearly so happy that his actions were justified and this is what worried me even more. 

Through this whole ordeal the baby didn’t make a noise, not one wimper and not one tear was shed and it is now killing me inside to think what this poor child must suffer at home if this monster thinks they kind of violence is acceptable in such a public place.

I will forever regret not going with my gut and confronting this man, but then if I had in reality what would have been done?

The police probably wouldn’t have deemed it as an offence and it happened in such a short frame of time I dont think this would have been an option anyway.

Would I have just caused unnecessary upset for my own children and put us in a dangerous situation?

All I do know is that my gut is now churning from what I saw and if a situation ever arises like this again I won’t be taking the British approach and turning a blind eye as my heart and conscience couldn’t take it! 

School Starts:More Emotional For The Children Or You 

I wasn’t going to write a ‘back to school’ post as the Internet has been flooded with them and really and truly I should be a dab hand at all this by now.

Today was the first day I had left number four in the classroom for a whole three hours and I didn’t handle it how I thought I would.

This should be a breeze as let’s face it he has been at nursery for eighteen months and left for that same length of time; and I should be reeling in the fact that I had a whole childfree morning.  Something that I spend my entire life longing for. 

Instead I felt that it was another door closing and another milestone finished in the rapidly moving life of a child.

The old cliche of ‘oh doesn’t it go fast’ was rushing through my mind and although I find it such an irritating phrase it really is so true.

I hankered around for a few minutes and he asked if I could sit and stay.  I simply said no adults were staying today and he took it in his stride and carried on with his drawing.

I longed for that little bit of separation anxiety to kick in but there wasn’t even a glimmer.  That little boy that had hung on my every word was now going to have another important figure in his life who’s  words will be gospel and I can’t help but feel a little bit redundant.

I thought that the more children I had the easier moments like this would be but it seems to be having the opposite affect. 

I know what is coming and I know those moments in time are now gone and can’t be replaced.  

I now need to pick myself up and look forward to the adventures he is going to have during his school years.  The friends he is going to make, the things he is going to learn and the experiences he is going to share to mould him into the little person he is going to grow into.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the years of preschoolers is to pack as much in and capture as much as you can in those first few years so they can be looked back on and relished as they simply are the most precious years.

Count To Ten And Hang In There Until Bedtime

A family with five children is always going to be hectic.  I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for and I live for everything it brings me, yet today was one of those days!

I woke up late getting everything off on the wrong foot.  Rushed breakfasts and missing clothes always create stress for all of us.

After finally getting out of the house and dropping the older ones off to school I pull up at home realising number two still had my house key meaning I was locked out with number five screaming for juice.

Bundled back in the car I collect a spare from my Mother taking the telling off for needing to be more organised!

Handbag collected and food shop surprisingly easily done we set off to get number four.  He happily skipped out of nursery until the reality of swimming lessons kicked it and he turned into the child from hell!  Screaming, refusing to move until finally launching a huge pot of yogurt at my back covering me and the entire hallway.

  
He had won as we now had no time to get out and make it to the class in time.

Housework was then the plan for the rest of the afternoon which took twice as long due to number four creating a path of distrution in every room he went into.

Peppa pig flying out the window and a whole load of batteries thrown down the toilet were just two of the things I had to contend with.

   

 
With a vaguely clean house I get started on the dinner.  An unnerving silence filled the house so I went to investigate and found the boys trying to devour an entire multipack of crisps I had just bought.

Crisps removed they managed to get into number three’s room and cover their faces with her favourite Zoella lip gloss.

 
 
Lip gloss smoothed over to try and prevent a melt down from number three I made my way to the gym for a few minutes of peace.

 

My stress relief was short lived as I returned to a nappy less two year old that had pooed his way up the entire staircase just in the perfect position for number four to the walk it through the entire house!

After this horrendous day I’m sitting her now reflecting on everything that has gone on and I have come to this conclusion.

Raising children is a little like childbirth-you go through this massively, stressful and painful time that is forgotten within minutes when you are handed your beatiful bundle of joy.

Parenting is similar as you spend many hours slogging away and dealing with massively stressful situations and then the little angels do something so wonderful and heart wrenching that everything they have put you through is forgotten, well most things!

Under 1 Roof:The Name Says It All

With five children I have done my fair share of ferry kids around over the years, in fact at times I have literally had to split myself in half to get them all to the right place at the right time.

What I could have done with was a place that catered for all our needs in one area and this is just what the clever people at Under 1 Roof in Woolwich have bought to life with their outstanding new project.

 

We were invited along to the press day just before the grand opening to see just what they had to offer.

Upon arriving I thought I was going to be walking into a normal run of the mill soft play which if you are a reader of my blog you will know are never top of my list!

To my surprise thought we were lead through to a vast, colourful, engaging space that had been set up just like a mini town.  The builders were still busy getting things ready but the children were still in awe of the grandness of the place. 
Ann-Marie Martin, one of the founders and directors showed us around her baby and the passion for what she has created just oozed from her.  She had a real connection with children and adults alike and her excitement for what she had created was a key indicator to me of what a success this project will become.

The boys couldn’t wait to check everything out and there was so much to look at.  First stop was to try out the fantastic car shaped seats in the hairdressers which I had trouble prizing them away from!

   
   
Next stop was the soft play area.  I loved the puzzle wall which was something I had not seen before, they had the usual selection of soft bricks to build with, a double slide and a imagination play corner where the boys loved playing at being the King.

   
    
   
There is also a children’s theatre, a large cafe that overlooks the soft play, a spectacular sensory room, 84 place nursery, messy room, retail village, wellbeing and therapy room and a really well set up networking room.

   
 
Entry to Under 1 Roof is free and once inside you have the option to spend as much or as little as you like opening it up to the whole community.

There is a full seven day program that I challenge anyone to not find something of interest.  It is perfect for families such as mine with bigger age gaps as there is something for children from 0-11.

Under 1 Roof is now fully open and I can’t wait to go back to try everything they have to offer.

Bear Hunting At Discover Children’s Story Centre

We’re going on a bear hunt.  We’re going to catch a big one.  What a beautiful day.  We’re not scared!   Michael Rosen

I’m sure there are not many parents out there that have not shared these words from the much loved children’s book Were Going On A Bear Hunt.

At the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford the story book has been bought to life in a fabulous exhibition which mixes the adventures the family all went through on their bear hunt with rooms to explore that inspired Michael Rosen to write his story.

   
   

We swished and swashed through the long grass, splashed and sploshed through the river and eventually found the big bear hiding in his cave!

   
    
    
 
Once we had completed our bear hunt we were then left to explore all the rooms that had been set up to give the children an insight into Michael Rosen’s thoughts.

They loved playing in the school room, preparing a spot of lunch in the kitchen and sitting down to watch some TV in the living room.

As well as the bear hunt exhibition we also took part in the story time session for under 3’s based around another fabulous story, Snore.

We all walked bare foot into a small room decorated with flowers and fairy lights and scattered with cosy cushions to settle down on.

The story teller caught the children’s attention from the minute he began the session that was filled with songs, and stories that the children can interact with.

At the end of the session blankets are handed around to cosy up with and my lot found this so relaxing they even dropped off to sleep!

  


Although this was aimed at under 3’s even number three was taken with the whole experience.

Aside from these set sessions the centre itself has so much to see and do.

The indoor trail allows them to climb and slide to their hearts content, they can create spoons at the craft area, dance on the light polka dots, dress up in wonderful costumes and much more.

   
    
    
    

 
Outside in the story garden they can make beautiful music on the wooden instruments, climb aboard the pirate ship or launch into space in a huge rocket.

   
    
    
  
In between all this fun we managed to grab a bite to eat in the cafe that served a small selection of very reasonably priced lunch items and hot drinks.

  

This is the ultimate place to ignite your child’s imagination whilst keeping them active too.  With a range in age from 2-9 I was a little sceptical it would be suitable from them all, but they have all come away truly happy with the whole experience.

It had been the perfect end to our half term and we will be back very soon to create some more memories.

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