Family · family holiday · Parenting · travel · Uncategorized

Kids club abroad

So I have never been a fan of kids club abroad, I mean why pay for a family holiday if you are going to dump your kids in care several times during the week right? And whose kid really wants to go anyway? 
So the first two holidays we took to Spain T took one look at kids club and said nope, no way, She did absolutely no way, not one chance want to stay there! I could kind of see her point , It was full, and by that I mean crammed, of children of all ages who spoke all languages none of which seemed to be English. The workers weren’t English either and didn’t seem too fussed if we stayed or not. They had some activities out on tables and a play park attached but no real plan it was kind of just a free for all/do what you want sort of session and so for a 4/5 year old it must have seemed very daunting!

This year was 100% different. Firstly the welcome meeting at our hotel was a walkabout so we actually got taken to kids club where several staff members took the time to explain the sessions and how we signed up, What they do, How much fun they have. T was mesmorised! It was a boiling hot morning and she didn’t even once mention the glaring sun we were stood directly in while the explained, in maybe a little too much detail given the conditions, each aspect of the kids clubs for varying ages.
We took the forms and didn’t think much more of it, I wasn’t going to pressure T to go because being a family holiday I was quite happy to spend the whole week with her, after all it’s what I came away for right? But sure enough she asked to go. So the one day we knew would be cloudy I queued up first thing and got her a space in the morning session for 2 hours. She was thrilled.

We arrived and they took down our contact details and asked for T’s name and age and introduced her to the room, “This is Tiana from UK she is new today” ūüėä She went in all smiles and seemed happy enough so we left.

Now what to do in a family resort without a child for 2 hours! We went and treated ourselves to a fancy coffee,took a walk along the beach, explored part of the hotel we hadn’t seen before and then waited until we could go and get her!

She had a great time! She came out with all sorts of artwork and had taken part in lots of team games inside, outside in the shade and in other areas of the resort. She had been given a t-shirt and water bottle that she was to wear to kids club if she went again and was hers to keep, again she was so happy about this and even bigger news…. She wanted to go again!!

I couldn’t believe it here was I doing everything i had ever stood against, putting my child in kids club on a family holiday! I wanted the difference to be that she wanted to go though, I was never going to force her. So again we left it a day and she asked again to go. One more morning session down and she had a great time once again.

As we were only there for a week I felt two sessions was enough not to interrupt our holiday too much so we didn’t let her go anymore and she understood why.

I am just still so shocked as to the turnaround in her this time. I think this was just the right kids club for her, the friendly faced encouraging staff really made her want to go and it seems so was made to feel so welcome she wanted to go back! The structure and controlled activities is just what she loves and I’m so pleased we let her have this positive experience, If she never goes to another one again she will always have that.

Children · Family · family holiday · Parenting · Uncategorized

Things I have learnt about T on this trip

She has the independence I knew about but is now growing the confidence to go along with it, during meal times she would happily go off to get her own drink and would get her own food and sit at a table on her own if I let her! Once I even had to chase her back to the poolside as she walked off to see where Scott had got too, this was day 2 and she had been at this pool once before! I don’t know why but she must have felt so immediately comfortable where we were she just seemed to forget all usual rules about not walking off alone.


 She can sing anywhere and not feel self conscious about it. Not loudly but quietly along to herself occasionally accompanying it with a dance move or two. Unless in the car when we get the full surround sound of whatever is going through her head phones, no need for radio!

She can laugh at herself, unless she is tired then she gets grumpy.

She has a determination that makes me proud-we saw this with her swimming, sea swimming.

She is young enough to still say things wrong and make us laugh but old enough to be able to go sightseeing in an old town and not complain.Some of the highlights of holiday were 

“Runaway track” – runway 

Sunball – the sun

“I’ve got dots on my screen!” – she is swimming and water has splashed her sunglasses!

Air freshener – air conditioning!
She is happy with hers and our company and doesn’t set out to make friends, She would have been friendly towards anyone that we met but as no one approached her/us to play she was happy to play at the park/in kids club etc on her own. This must come from being an only child but I’m pleased she isn’t needy of other kids attention and can be happy having fun with us for now.

Is too polite a lot of the time and often lacks guts/balls/just a bit of umph! She gets pushed infront of in lines and doesn’t speak up when I’m a group of kids until it’s too late and someone has already been chosen for the activity.

She isn’t boastful, T was lucky enough to get a suitcase scooter for Xmas that we could use around the airport and a lot of other kids commented on it how cool it was, they wanted one. She just smiled and looked at us proud of her new toy, one little girl even threw a tantrum because she wanted one right then! She was only about 3 bless her. 

Family · making memories · motherhood · Parenting · Uncategorized

Why the build up to our holiday is so bittersweet

Now we are down to under a week until our holiday we are all feeling ready. Ready for adventure, sunshine, a pool and a beach and most of all just ready to be together. 

We love spending time together as a family more than anything else in the world. Making happy memories and building a childhood for T is what our days off and time together is all about. The work Scott does means this time is even more precious because usually public holidays and fun family events like Halloween, Easter, and every weekend he has to work. We are used to this routine now and use this time to have all the more fun Mummy and T days, but when she knows Scott will be off too she gets super excited. It’s amazing for me to see the bond they have now, it’s like a love that has grown over the years they have known each other and is now blossoming into something long lasting and wonderful.

Now as we are going away for a week with her it was only fair she see her Dad for 2 nights this weekend instead of one. Not only that but then Monday and Tuesday night too, Just so he gets to spend lots of time with her before we go. 

So Sunday night T will be home for a big family bbq, she will have friends to play with and the house will be busy and full. Monday morning I will take her to school and I won’t see that gorgeous little face again until Wedsnesday evening after work.

Now this was all my idea so what am I feeling so sad about? 

This is the right thing to do.

We have to share, she enjoys going and spending time there so this is good for her too.

All this is true but it still doesn’t mean I will miss her any less. She has been away with him for a week before and it hurt like hell but it was made better by the fact I knew she was enjoying herself. I think this is worse because I know she will only be at school during the day. I think I just need to focus on getting ready for the holiday and fitting in as many workouts as I can to feel as good about myself as possible before I go. Walking Poppy will help as a distraction too as I will still walk her in the mornings like I would do on a normal school day. 

I just need to think once I have that little body back in my arms she is ours all ours for a whole week and then the fun can really begin. 

Family · making memories · motherhood · Parenting · philosophy · Thankful · thoughtful · Uncategorized

Finding time to make memories because life is short

These days time is even more in short supply, with the constraints of a working life, hobbies, keeping relationships with friends close, adding in playdates for your children and just generally maintaining your house where do you find time to make memories and just have fun? 

We are all guilty of just wanting to sit and zone out while we mindlessly scroll through pages of social media, it’s just the way people relax these days but it’s far too easy to forget our little people grow so quickly and are not little for long. Time is precious and so even if it’s for a few minutes at a time I always make sure I take the time to put my phone down and actually listen to what T has to say, properly listen. 

Only when we are fully in the moment can happy memories be made and fun times had. 

Like when I climbed the tree house Sunday to eat my ice cream with T, there was no social media, no distractions, just for a few minutes it was just us two eating ice creams in her den. Perfect.

Don’t get me wrong little people can talk, and talk, and talk about mostly pointless things but sometimes it does us good to just listen. To remember what it is like to be little and how important it is to cherish those funny things they say because one day they will realise how silly they sound and stop saying them. 

T a couple of weeks ago ‘I am growing up you know Mummy!!’ We couldn’t stop laughing! 

So take a minute, inbetween loads of washing, on the way to school, after dinner and homework to just appreciate the little things, build those happy memories because life is short and moments matter.

RIP to the zookeeper that lost her life yesterday at the zoo we happened to be visiting at the time. 

Make every minute count, You never know what is round the corner.

fitness · Friendship · Parenting · Uncategorized · walking

Highs, lows and another 14 miles down!

So this weekend has been up and down. By up I mean I had some time to myself on Thursday which meant I could meet a friend for dessert on her birthday, a lovely treat laden with calories but oh well! 

This was followed by taking T back to ballet after the Easter break, we found out her exam date is 21st so are excited for that. Friday I had a message from a friend asking if I wanted to join her and another friend for coffee! I jumped at the chance to get out of the housework if only for a short while and we had a great catch up. Then I met my walking group and we did a 3.5 mile walk through a nature reserve I had never been into before. Here is Poppy on the way back walking with some of the ladies from my group, it really was a beautiful day.

After T went off to her Dad’s for the weekend I had a low point. I’d had such a busy, fun day and then suddenly there was silence. I know we can’t be busy all the time but I honestly just felt really lonely at that time so after my dinner for one I picked myself up and got ready to go to my friends for a makeup party. It was a fun evening and I was pleased I went.

Saturday morning came and Poppy was booked in to the vets as she has a small bald patch on her head. I had a couple of errands to run first but once they were done I really started to worry about what could be causing it. It turns out we have some ear solution as the vet believed her blocked ears could be causing het to scratch there more often.

I was immediately happier after leaving the vets and full of motivation I set about prepping the house for friends to stay over. A homemade curry and a few glasses of prosecco later and Pictonary was a real giggle!

 It’s amazing how just being with the right people can pick you up immediately, I feel very lucky to have the right people in my life at the moment.

So finally my walking total for this week, it’s been another good week for walking so I’ve clocked up 14.23 miles. All good practise for our Peak district trip which is now only 67 days away! 

I hope you’ve all had a good weekend and I would love to hear what you got upto!

Thanks for reading, 

Lou x

happy · Mums · Parenting · Uncategorized

Happy day 

Today is a good day, the best kind of day, today is a day I’ve been waiting for and excited about but also one that has come round quickly and without too much clock watching. 

Today my use returns, no longer am I free to walk miles before and after work at my will, eating late and sneaking in trips to the chip shop. No more lie ins on a work day and quickly throwing some lunch in a bag on my way out of the door. From today games night at friend’s houses with lots of prosecco and giggles will no longer be able to happen on a school night without the need for a babysitter and the fog that descends the next day will once again affect someone else. From this evening the dog will no longer be sleeping facing the front door because she knows there is someone missing and she is waiting for them to come home. My time will be shortened in the mornings and taken up by reading and homework in the evenings. School uniform will need to be prepared, baths and hair washes scheduled in. Bed time stories will once again be a thing and that school backpack will see the light of day after 2 weeks stored in the cupboard. Hair styles will need to be planned and executed daily and packed lunches planned. Time to catch up on that series I’ve been wanting to watch for 3 weeks, gone. Extra time to prepare for the car boot sale we are doing Sunday, forget it. Time to spend my Saturday evening watching something that isn’t Britain’s got talent, not a chance. 

All this because today my T is home and I get to kiss that little face again! To be called Mummy and be needed morning and night by this person sometimes just for a cuddle! To be able to tuck her in at night and wake her up in the mornings, get her ready for school and help her learn when she gets home. To spend the weekend playing and the evenings watching trash tv while snuggled on the sofa. To hold that little hand again and have my baby girl back that is why today is a happy day. ūüíú

Changes · Children · Easter · exercise · Healthy eating · Parenting · Uncategorized

Healthy parenting vs convenience 

Parenting is a minefield this we know and one part of that minefield is parenting healthily. From the moment we have a baby we are given advice like breast is best, only use homemade baby food, water over juice and so it goes on. As your child gets older this advice gets less and less and you are left to make your own decisions and parent your child in the way you see fit. Yes this is good, we have this little person that we can shape into whatever we choose diet wise. They can be vegetarian, vegan, drink only soya milk or live off of McDonald’s!

T has always had a balanced diet, she loves all vegetables and fruit, has never been a fussy eater and is usually willing to try new foods. But as your child gets older and becomes easier to parent on the go, grabbing a quick snack on the way to ballet becomes the norm rather than preparing a fully homemade blended fruit puree decanted lovingly into a sterilised Tupperware!

Sunday’s are now no longer for batch cooking the weeks meals and freezing individually into carefully measured portions but instead for completing homework, attending play dates, ironing school clothes and searching for PE kits.
The days of searching for organic, unprocessed, appealing snacks for your little one are now replaced with handing out the closest item to hand from the snack cupboard.
Gone is the separate meal time for your little one including a separate menu using carefully selected seasonal vegetables to broaden your child’s tastes as they grow. Now they eat what you eat at the time you eat it, and frozen vegetables occasionally is no longer a cardinal sin.

Does all this mean I am a bad parent? No, it simply means I am human. T has become easier to parent as she has grown but in this time her needs have also understandably changed. This means my time is spread between hobbies, school work, play dates and family time rather than fully focusing on prepping and planning her weeks food while watching her play on the carpet.

Yes she still has balanced meals and she likes to count her fruit and vegetables at the end of every day to see who has had the most, often if she hasn’t she will ask for more, but certain areas of her diet have become convenient. We have noticed this and a couple of weeks back we decided to make a conscious effort to try and change things.

A few things we have decided to change are;

Cereal- we are no longer buying T anything with chocolate in because she loves it or deserves a treat. She loves healthy cereal and hasn’t complained once since we switched so this is something we can easily stick to. This week we have been adding fruit to porridge and Weetabix to make it even more fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoghurt- kids yoghurt is so convenient, you just pick it up and pop it in the lunch box, or hand it out after lunch or dinner. They are also full full full of sugars and colours. We have gone back to basics with natural yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and fruit. I’ve also bought lots of smaller tupperware pots so I can send these in lunches and make them for us adults too!

 

 

 

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Snacks- gone are the Barney Bear cake bars, The individually wrapped, brightly coloured packets of sugary treats will no longer appear in this house on such a regular basis. I was actually surprised how little searching it took to find healthier snacks while shopping in the supermarket and T has enjoyed granola bites instead of biscuits and rice cakes instead of crisps. The good weather has also meant our meals have all been sprinkled with salad and T has enjoyed adding herbs from the garden. Our Easter week has also been the most active it could be with T taking her bike out 4 times and scooter twice and playing outside nearly every day.

Our decision to change our own eating habits as well as T’s hasn’t come at the easiest time with our house now being full of Easter eggs but the initial excitement wears off we intend to go back to chocolate days twice a week, usually a Tuesday and Saturday, this is something we have done for a long time and T looks forward to.

Once school is back and the work routine begins again I’m hoping we will be set to continue with our healthy choices, fitting in fun exercise where we can. I’m not saying there won’t ever be a time where I will say no to throwing a fruit shoot in the back of the car or that a packet of crisps won’t ever darken our cupboard doors again but hopefully this will just be something we see as more of a treat not a staple part of our diets so it will be better for all of us. Overall I will feel I am doing the best I can for T and not relying on convenience when I could make healthy, easy and fun swaps in all our diets. I’ve seen that kids can find just having a change fun so why not change from convenient to healthy and nutritious and get the kids in involved in making and preparing their own food choices when you can too.

Making easy healthy food fun and exciting while enjoying the changes yourself = mum winning!

Children · Easter · Family · happy · horse riding · Parenting · Uncategorized

Our Easter Week

This week has been great. It has been a week full of play dates, Easter egg hunts, bike rides and more. It has been a week of having fun with my girl, enjoying being her Mumma and having as much fun as possible with her before she goes away for a week on holiday with her Dad. I’ve loved every minute of it, here is a diary of our week. 

Monday we biked round the country park near our house, T helped us wash our cars to earn some pocket money and we went to the library for their Easter event. It was a beautiful sunny day and we finished it by watching a movie together.


Tuesday T went on her pony day. She spent the day at the stables and had 3 hours of riding and spent the rest mucking out ponies, feeding and grooming them and walking them to fields. She hasn’t done a day like this since August and she loved it.

Wednesday we went to a friend’s for an Easter hunt, games and lunch. We have done this for years now and always have a great time there.

Thursday we went to a friend’s for a play date and had a lovely time catching up and it was warm enough for the girls to play outside which was great. In the afternoon we went swimming with my cousin, something we haven’t done in months so T loved it. This is something we need to get back into now so she starts to get her confidence back before our holiday in June.

Friday we went to a friend’s for lunch and a little Easter hunt. T made an Easter crown and enjoyed playing with our little friend Kali while i had lots of cuddles with her baby brother.
We then took a bike ride round the same route we did Monday so I could track it and see how far it was. T was great and so was Poppy. The one bad thing, my phone needed an update so didn’t track the route! This meant when Scott came in from work he ran it and took T back on her bike again!
We found out the route was 2.5 miles so T biked 5 miles today! My little trooper:)


Tomorrow we have our Easter egg hunt at home after the bunny has been ūüėČ then T and I have the rest of the day to ourselves. It’s been such a fun week and I am just now starting to feel sad I have to be without her for a week. This is the pitfall of having to share I guess. At least I know I couldn’t have shown my little person a more fun week and will remember this every minute I miss her next week. 

Mums · Parenting

Just let her go

“‚ÄčJust let her go”  Scott says when we are at the library Easter event and it’s time for children to all run off and find 2 paper eggs each to bring back. I wanted to run with her,  make sure she was alright and didn’t struggle to find some. I imagined her coming back round the corner upset because someone had pushed her or took her eggs. I also thought about the large space that is the library that I was letting her run off into alone. ‘By herself?’ I asked. ‘Yes she’s 7 years old, she will be fine.’ The thought had never crossed my mind that she would just be fine. She is my one and only and always will be and all I’ve ever thought about is to make sure she is ok but it seems now I need to think more about letting her experience life for herself. I’m not talking about letting her walk to the shops alone but maybe letting her run off with a group of other children in a secure environment to find some paper eggs is something she can do on her own. 

T can also be very shy around adults at times, we have spoken to her several times about her talking to grown ups and how she needs to answer when they ask her questions and not just say nothing. She has got better recently but because I’m so used to her saying nothing and then there being an incredibly awkward silence while said adult and me both wait for her answer that never comes I do answer for her sometimes. I know I shouldn’t but it’s just easier than creating yet more awkwardness while I try to coax her into answering.

So this happened at the library, she wasn’t answering so I answered for her a couple of times then when the lovely lady from the library left Scott asked me why I was answering for her. I had literally done it on autopilot and until he made me aware I didn’t even know I had done it. So again we spoke to her about answering adults questions and after this she slightly improved.

So today we were on the way to a friend’s house and I reminded her on the way about how she needed to try hard to speak to adults and again she was much better.
It’s like we have both got in this routine of I do everything for her, follow her around if we are somewhere unfamiliar to make sure she’s ok and answer for her when she doesn’t want to.
I know it’s got to stop but when do you start to let go of your baby and teach them to stand on their own two feet? Have I wrapped her up in cotton wool for too long? Just trying to protect her from feeling shy or embarrassed, is it time to step back and just let go??

Love · Mums · Parenting · Thankful · Uncategorized

This Love

From the moment I brought you into this world I knew I would do anything for you. The pain I was going through to get you was nothing like I had ever felt before and I knew I would keep going because it was for you. That moment I looked into your eyes and got lost in those big beautiful pools of blue staring up at me, while asking why you weren’t crying like I thought you should be. Because she’s happy I was told. 

From that moment I was finally left alone with you and I knew you were mine to keep and that fear and panic crept in, no matter how many books I had read I still had no idea what to do with you! From then I knew I would try my damn hardest to do my best for you even when I didn’t know what I should do for the best. From the moment I made my first choice on how to parent you and held you close all night in that hospital I knew I would keep you close forever. 

When I first saw you smile at me and hold your arms out I knew it was because you felt the same. I was your comforter, protector and guardian and you felt safe with me and always will.

I’ve watched you fall over and I’ve picked you up. I’ve taught you rules I can’t remember ever not knowing. I’ve given you knowledge and shown you how to love. I’ve created friendships for you that have grown over the years. You have learned how to make people laugh and how to comfort them when they are sad. You know the value of money and have known when I’ve had limitations I’ve still always done my best to give you happy memories.

You know the difference between right and wrong and watch the news intently pointing out the wrong in this world and questioning me as to why it happens. My beautiful girl I wish I could hold you tight forever and it makes me so sad that one day you will grow into a woman and show all this to a family of your own. I long for these times but I also long for my baby to stay in my arms for ever. I’m torn between wanting you to continue to grow and nurture you through life’s experiences and keeping you small and protecting you forever. This love is endless and so for now I will keep you close and have another girls night and sleepover in my bed and wake up being smothered in kisses and cuddles for you are and always will be my angel, my perfect girl, my best friend, Tiana x