Celebrating The Small Things:Week Five

Last week was a pretty hectic one full of all sorts of highs and lows that saw us here there and everywhere. I can safely say that we are looking forward to a break in routine and some fun and games during half term next week.

Here are the small things we have been celebrating:

Egg Challenge Success: Last week saw us taking a trip to St Thomas’s for Frankie to have his baked egg challenge. Frankie’s allergies aren’t something that apper heavily on my blog, I think this is because by the time I had started writing, the trials and tribulations that come with raising a child with allergies had settled and we had learnt to deal with the problems.
Since starting school though the problems and differences in his day to day life have come to light again and for him it is now impacting him in a more emotional way due to the fact he feel different to his peers.
School lunches are limited, baking at school and friends parties all see him singled out which can be upsetting for me as well as him.
We were over the moon that the baked egg challenge was a success and there has been another food to his list of things he can eat.

Much Needed Girly Time: Trips out are somewhat of a rarity for me and time alone with my Mum and sister is almost nonexistent. One of us is always working or there is a child in tow, so it was lovely to have the opportunity to have an afternoon out to the theatre to watch Cirque Du Soliel.
Aside from being a fabulous show having time to simply chat and giggle uninterruptedly was an absolute treat.

Watching My Husband Thrive: I really don’t praise my husband enough… he would completely agree with this but this weekend made me a very proud wife.
His absolute passion is fighting, so much so it has been lucky enough to forge a career out of this and his gym is going from strength to strength.
This weekend he took a team of his young fighters to a tournament and the success of all his students showed how much love, time and dedication he has shown each and everyone of them.

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.

Around The World In 18 Raves:Camp Bestival Warm Up Tour With Big Fish Little Fish

As I am writing this the sun is shining through the window and I have to say I’m getting a little bit excited for the spring and summer to finally arrive.

The warmer weather for me is the que for me to start dusting off the sequins (well actually mine don’t really get put away)in preparation for festival season.

Last year we got into the spirit of things by attending the Big Fish Little Fish event at Dreamland in Margate and we are looking forward to returning again to get into the festival mood!

Big fish Little Fish put on amazing events that allow little ones to get their groove on along with their parents. Think glitter, sparkle, bubbles, lights and great music all wrapped up into a fantastic few hours that the whole family will love.

This year the tour will be travelling to 18 cities and will be based around Camp Bestivals theme this year which is celebrating all things nautical.

There will be a nautical themed craft area, baby chill out zone, a dance floor filled with bubbles, balloons and glitter and a very special parachute dance.

There will also be a chance for the whole family to have some fun in the photo booth whist trying to win a family ticket to Camp Bestival.

If this sounds up your street then take a look HERE at the differnt locations the tour will be visiting and get those tickets booked!

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Two

This time of year is never my friend! I get depressed by the weather, long for brighter and longer days and generally spend the whole of January and February wishing away the minutes until the start of spring.

I am however hoping that this new series of ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ I started last week is going to bring a bit of joy to the next few gloomy months ahead.

This week I have picked a couple of my favourite moments that have involved things I don’t get time to enjoy as often as I would like.

One On One Time: With five children this is certainly something I don’t get the chance to do as often as I would like so I cherish them everytime I get the chance.
We took a trip to Southbank to an event where Frankie got to meet some of his favourite characters from the Cartoon Network show – We Bare Bears and we both sampled delicious coffee that had been expertly poured and topped with incredible latte art.
Aside from having to take some pics whilst I was there we spent the rest of the morning completely screen free, talking about all those radom things that run through the mind of a six year and and really just enjoying each other.

Healthy Changes On Track: For those of you that are followers of my blog you will know that the past few years have gained an ever expanding waistline with my change in career.
Its something I’ve been battling with for a long time now and this week I feel that I’ve finally broken the cycle and things have got back on track.
There have been no faddy diets, I’ve just cut out the rubbish and reduced my portion sizes, I have got back into all the exercises I love such as spinning and kickboxing and have been feeling and seeing the benefits both physically and mentally.

Getting An Insight Into School Life: When your children set off to school they spend over half their day in the care of somebody else and we have very little insight into what they get up to; and if your children are anything like mine they aren’t to free with letting you know what they do either.
At the beginning of the week I wasn’t to excited about the thought of having a meeting at the school, but was pleasantly surprised when we got the chance to join the children in the classroom to see what they get up to during their working day.
It was so lovely to see Frankie interacting with his peers, thumbing through textbooks and asking questions on things he was coming across and seeing how much he has come on during his short time at school.

Teaching My Children To Make Non-Resolutions

In the past the 1st January has never filled me with hope and longing for the fresh New Year ahead but more of a sinking feeling that so many of those resolutions I had made the year before had not been achieved and probably more accurately been broken within the first week.

It heralds a time when society tells us that we need to compile huge lists of goals and aspirations for the year ahead that whist writing I am already in my head knowing that trying to fulfil all these dreams and wishes within such a short space of time is going to be unrealistically achievable.

I know that for many of you the dawn of a New Year is the perfect start to clean the slate and achieve new goals and I applaued you for this but it is simply something that has never worked for me.

As my children grow the tradition of New Years’s resolutions are obviously something that they have become interested in so this year I have decided to introduce non-resolutions.

Instead of looking back on the past year and highlighting the things we haven’t achieved I will be earging them to highlight the positives, even if they may have seemed insignificant at the time, its all of the little things that go unnoticed I want them to reflect on and celebrate.

Instead of setting goals within an arbitrary time frame I want them to create life goals they can strive towards and achieve when they are good and ready, have hopes and dreams they can fulfil within a time that suits them and most importantly celebrate simply being who they are and be proud of whatever they achieve whenever they choose to do it.

Being Present This Christmas

How many of you spend too much gazing at a screen, running backwards and forwards trying to get a million and one things done or getting bogged down with a huge workload.

This all sounds to familiar to my everyday life and it is something that I think about continually. I tell myself I am going to change so many of these things but life gets in the way and I never do.

I know that my phone and my camera are like a third hand to me and I spend way much time using both of them more than I should. Doing the job I do makes it hard to switch off as so much of my day to day life is in fact my work and I always end up using this as an excuse when I know that this isn’t healthy for any of us.

The children also spend more time than I like using devices so this Christmas we have all taken a step back and spent our Christmas how it should be…making conversation and playing games with family and friends.

I would usually be filming and photographing every minute of the day from the minute we wake up, right through the day, but instead I took a few snaps and a few Instastories that I couldn’t resist and spent the rest of the past few days being in the moment rather than trying to capture it.

I also made a conscious effort this year to buy the children games that allow them to use their imagination and interact with each other and that is exactly what has happened.

We have all been coming together to build Lego creations and the boys have been playing relatively argument free with their Playmobil models which has been so lovely to see.

It has also come to my attention that simple things such as board games are a real novelty to my children when really I should be making time much more often to sit down and play games like this with them as they bring so much joy to us all.

Emails have been ignored and any impending work has been put to the back of my mind so that I can concentrate on the people that are most important to me.

The world hasn’t stopped spinning because I haven’t opened posted to Instagram, the children haven’t missed out because they haven’t spent endless hours playing games on their Kindles, but what we have had is a few days of enjoying each others company that happens all to rarely and is certainly the best gift I have received this year.

Pines And Needles:A Family Affair

Last year the lovely people at Pines And Needles introduced me to the world of real tress and since then I would never look back.

From the excitement of going along to select the perfect tree to the the anticipation of it being delivered to the front door the thrill of buying real is pretty special.

The other evening we went along to Pines And Needles wimbeldon branch to take part in their Treetorial event and select our very own tree.

During the event a member of staff who are always kitted out beautifully in their Santa hats and kilts(the trees come from Scotland!) showed the children and gave them a few facts about the trees, let them pick out some decorations to decorate a tree whilst we were there and the highlight for Izzy was getting a ride through the tree wrapping machine!

Filled with their new found knowledge the children picked out a stunning 7ft Norway Spruce that they have named ‘Piney’ who they egarly awaited the delivery of the next evening.

Unfortunately ‘Bruce’ arrived after the little ones bed time but it actually made for a more magical morning as they all rushed down the stairs to see it first thing in the morning. Izzy has already said she knew it was here as the smell has waffted into her bedroom and Oscar immediately dived in for a cuddle proclaiming he loved him!

For the next few hours I had pulling, poking and prodding until it was time to decorate our stunning tree.

After a few fraught moments of twisted lights and broken baubles the tree was complete and had once again become the most beautiful focal point of the front room and the whole story of the chosing, naming and decorating will be a found memory for the whole family to remember for many years to come.

If you are yet to get your tree and think that Pines and Needles is the way to go for you then you can use the code JOYOF5 and this will get you 5% off of your tree of choice.

There are plenty of venues to find across London or you can also purchase online.

I would love to see you trees in all their glory and if you fancy naming yours like us then don’t forget to use the hashtag #brucethespruce on all your social media posts.

*collaborated post