Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Keeping the children amused was easily achievable about twenty or thirty years ago, as they were happy to be out all day in the fresh air, climbing trees, and running about.

Happily content with their lot, there were no distractions such as the internet, the Wii, or ds consoles.

Okay, there was the Nintendo Gameboy if you were a kid in the infancy of the nineties, but they were brand new and not commonplace like they are now.

The two small people of this house are like chalk and cheese. The 10 year old is happy to be out as much as possible, and could kick a ball about all day.

The 6 year old does like playing out, but left to his own devices would quite happily sit in front of his DS console for hours or watch dvds.


Which is all well and good, but a bit of balance is needed in there too and some fresh air and exercise thrown into the mix.

It doesn’t help that the longer children seem to spend on their game consoles, the grumpier they get when they have to come off. Or they’ll answer you with monosyllabic grunts as they’re too busy trying to make Mario race around a track in his car, or Sonic jump for golden rings or something.

So, ‘screen time’ in this house has been limited to half hour bursts with running about doing outside activities in between.

A hark back to the simpler times of no consoles may be a step too far, but it makes sense to restrict their usage.

Do you limit screen time or let them go on as much as they like?

Or notice a change in behaviour after they’ve been on a while?


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I’m not one of those ‘crafty’ types that make perfect flowers out of toilet rolls, so my heart did a little plunge yesterday when I realised next week is the egg decorating and Easter bonnet competition at school.

I aspire to be crafty. I look at all the pretty things on Pinterest, then realise if I was to actually make anything on there, it’d be more at home on a Pinterest fail board where people point and laugh.

Yes, yes I know it’s the kids who are supposed to do it, not the parents. I’m one of those who buys all the materials for them and then lets them go mad sticking little fluffy chicks and stickers on their crowns.

That’s what it’s all about right?!

Then you get to school and see little Johnny and half of the school with him parading around with what, quite frankly have had more than a little adult input.

(If they were done by the kids, I’ll eat one of those flower toilet rolls I was talking about.)

You just know Alpha Mum has been up half the night supergluing her fingers together and getting in a tizz just so they have the best hat EVER.

The hats. I can cope with. Just about.

It’s when they get to Juniors that it all gets ridiculous. Not content with doing hats any more (what’s wrong with hats for goodness sake?!) they have to create an egg scene.

So now the game has been upped and you have to think of something witty like the Eggs Factor (X Factor, geddit) and make little egg judges and have a panel of the little blighters.

Last year, the 10 year old did The Grand Old Duke of Yolk and his 10,000 chicks marching up the hill. He did it all himself, too.  (OK, there weren’t quite ten thousand chicks. That would have made for making a big assed hill.)

duke of yolk


No idea what he’s doing this year, but I suppose he’d better get cracking.

No doubt the Alpha Mummies have been making theirs since February….

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I’m not the brightest spark first thing in the morning before I’ve had a cup bucket full of tea, so the kids took advantage this morning seeing as it’s April Fool’s Day and I’m an easy target.

On getting out of bed, the 10 year old came down the stairs  saying:


“The ladder on my bunk bed feels wobbly.”


To which I replied, “Right, not to worry, I’ll get your dad to look at it when he gets home from work.”


“APRIL FOOLS!”  laughed the pesky child.

Got. Well and truly.


As for the six year old, I heard a shout from the living room.

“Mummy, mummy there’s a spider in here!”

So when I went in to chase it away I found this on the settee:


spider april fool




I’ll have to get my thinking head on to get the little so and so’s back next year.

If I have enough cups of tea before then and now, I should come up with something….


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The sun’s been shining this week, and so we headed off to Bolton Abbey for a run about in the sun.

bolton abbey river


There were plenty of hills to roll down to keep them amused and active,and this pretty lake.

We could also admire the beauty of some of the main buildings as well.

bolton abbey

Here’s to many more sunny days out.

Have you been anywhere nice now the sun’s made a comeback?

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After a soggy and miserable winter, it’s been lovely to see the return of that big, burning ball of fire in the sky this week.

You know, that orange thing that emits heat.

The sun, that’s it. It’s been so long since it’s made an appearance that I forgot its name.

So here’s 5 ways to tell that the summer days are tantalisingly close:


1)       Pretty yellow daffodils raise their heads and dance in the breeze.

spring daffodils


2) We can go for walks along the seafront wearing just a t-shirt and still be warm. If we’d have tried this a couple of weeks ago we’d have slowly turned purple and keeled over from hypothermia.

waters edge filey


3) The sun streams through the window when you open the curtains in the morning, and brightens everything up with its warm beam.

Until you notice that the sun shining on the glass is showing up every little fingerprint on there and some little blighters who will remain nameless have written the word “POO” on the window pane.

“It wasn’t me mummy!”

Hmm. Okkkay then. :-)

4) You feel the urge to kick off your winter boots that your feet have been hiding festering in all winter and put some pretty flip flops or sandals on. Until you put your feet into them and shriek at the Hobbit look they’ve acquired during the Boot Months and quickly shove them away again.

5) At the temperature creeping above the freezing mark you wonder if you can feasibly get away with having a barbecue yet.

Until you remember that the British weather is likely to lull you into a false sense of security by pretending to be warm to start off with and then starting monsoon season five minutes later and dumping heavy rain over your coals then laughing at you.


Bring on the warm days….




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It’s not enough that the kids at primary school now have to sit for SAT’s exams in years two and six (that’s aged 6-7 years and 10 -11).

Not enough that your ten year old brings home 2 lots of homework a week. One literacy assignment, and an amount of maths that would make a grown up weep.

It’s not unusual to come home with 10 sides of A4 filled with maths questions.

Last year, when he was in year 5 (aged 9) and just doing the practice SATS, he came home with a couple of exam papers every week. Staggered over a few weeks to do them, but still totalled at least half a dozen.

He’s now got ‘booster’ classes along with every one else in the year which is supposed to be extra tuition and keeps them in school until 4pm doing extra classes twice a week too.

Then, today, it’s announced in the news that it’s being proposed that schools are looking at extending the working school day until 6pm.

Say what?!

Just when are the poor buggers supposed to have some ‘down’ time if they’re out of the door for 8.30am and not home until 6.30pm?!

It’s all very well saying that it will help with childcare for parents, but there’s a world of difference between an after school club which won’t be work based and more play focused, and an extension to the school’s working hours.

It would be a case of get home not much before 7, have your tea (what are they going to have between lunch at 12pm and the home time of 6pm anyway? Do they get a free dinner? They bloody should do. Or are we expected to cough up for another meal?!)

Their after school clubs would be out of the window too. Between them, they have Beavers, Scouts, swimming lessons and football sessions.

Seeing as they all start at 5.30 and 6pm, are we expected to just get rid of them, too?

For crying out loud, they need some time to relax and wind down. Between the ages of 4 and 10, you’re still tiny and you’d be lumped in with this too.

Let them have some childhood instead of a routine of school, tea, bed. Which is what it would basically be.

It would be good from a working point of view for the parents.

NOT at the expense of the well being of our kids, though!





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Sitting on the beach with a bucket and spade making sandcastles while mum and dad sit in a deckchair looking on is all part of childhood.

Which is why it’s sad to see in today’s newspapers that a new survey says that one in five people under the age of 35 have never set foot on a UK beach and instead jet off to foreign climes with their powdery beaches and palm trees instead.

How is it possible to get to that age without setting foot on the glorious British coastline?!

It’s all well and good going on holiday abroad, but there’s so much on our doorstep too.

We are a little island after all, so not too far away from the sea wherever you happen to be.

Sitting on the sea front with your fish and chips, or burying your brother or sister’s legs in the sand. Making sandcastles and digging a moat round it. then running down to the sea with your bucket to try and fill it up.

There’s some lovely, picturesque views too.


Looking down over Whitby, and with the Abbey in the distance

whitby harbour


Sunning yourself thousands of miles away is fine, but for the rest of the year when you’re not jetting off, remember what’s on our own doorstep and introduce your kids to it…. they’ll love it.

kids don’t visit Britain’s coastline any more article



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There used to be a time when I went shopping, and bought myself all manner of lovely things.

I’d buy new clothes, maybe a new pair of shoes, and generally just treated myself to some loveliness just because I COULD.

Over the years though, I seem to have lost the ability to be able to shop for myself and if it doesn’t involve buying nice things for small people, my brain just doesn’t seem to compute.

Buy things for YOURSELF?! How does that work then?!

My brain short circuits.

It’s used to buying things like school uniforms, plentiful kids clothes items and toys, and Match Attax cards.

When it’s sent into town to buy things for ME, it doesn’t know what to DO.

It sputters about in a panic.

Today, I thought I’d go for a trip to the nearest big city (as you do) and have a leisurely stroll around all the shops while the two small people are at school.

I had a walk round all the old haunts, re-visiting all my favourite old places, and even managed an enjoyable hour wandering through the designer shopping arcade.

You know, as it’s so much easier to go to the nice, pretty places whilst they’re safely ensconced in school.

If they were with me, they’d only be trying to do knee slides along the length of the shops or trying to play hide and seek behind the prettily dressed mannequins.

I’d be like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but a lot more scruffy and unkempt and with two feral children in tow.

“I don’t think there’s anything in here for you. Please LEAVE!”

Yes, it’s easier to do the swanky places when they’re filling their head with education and the like.

I went with the intention of buying myself something NICE, godammit.

Something for me, as I don’t ever do that nowadays.

So, what do I come back with? Some nice designer perfume? A swanky new bag? A jewel encrusted mobile phone case?!

Erm, no.

I’ve wound up with :


- some slippers



and some foreign goodies

foreign goodies


Oh well, I’ve got warm feet and we’re sorted for random chocolatey and sugar highs, at any rates.

Next time I head into town give me a nudge and get me told to buy something more extravagant though! :-)



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Mums who breastfeed are to be given shopping vouchers, according to the news today.

Yes, the latest way to erode a parent’s choice to choose what is best is with the introduction of shopping vouchers dished out to mums who are good girls and do the best thing for their baby.

Yes, we all know breast is best. That fact’s bashed over our heads enough as it is, we’re not daft.

It’s full of nutrients for baby, it makes them brainy, and if they drink enough of it they may develop super powers and fly around the room a’la Superman. (Some of that sentence may or not be entirely accurate. You get my drift, though.)

Whereas if you formula feed, they’ll be obese, thick as two short planks, and you’re just emotionally STUNTING them. (Again, I’m not being entirely serious here.)

Come ON.

It’s formula, not arsenic. They’re not going to drop down dead after a bottle of SMA, or Cow and Gate or whatever. It’s a perfectly viable alternative to breastmilk.

How is the lure of some shopping vouchers going to suddenly make people think “oooh, new clothes, now THAT’LL make me breastfeed?!”

Not everyone can do it, or indeed wants to. Why are some people so intent on taking away the right to choose? I’d say an unhappy mum was more detrimental to a baby than glugging formula.

If you can breastfeed, then fine, as it is the best option.

If you can’t, are struggling, or are unhappy with it and want to formula feed, that should also be fine.

Leave us alone to choose!


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He’s doing well, is little old Ted.

He might be getting on years (he’s about 11 years old now!) but every so often he needs a good wash. Being a little white teddy bear doesn’t help. He’s a little grub monster, is that Ted.

So today has seen me pinning him to the washing line by his ears (ssssh, don’t tell the small people!)


In the ‘bath’ – (well, the sink makes a perfect Ted sized bath!)

teddy in bath


I’d never dare put him in the washing machine. The trauma would be too much to bear if he came out all bobbly with his stuffing battered about.

So instead, off he goes in the sink for a bath. Fill with warm water and some non biological washing powder, and leave him to have a soak. Give him a rubber duck to play with if you’re feeling particularly bonkers.

Then, a wash with a soft sponge.

When he’s looking decidedly cleaner and fresher, gently squeeze out excess water and pin him by his lugholes to the washing line. (Aw, poor Ted.) Wait until they’re out of the house at nursery or school or whatever first, or you might hear a shout of “What are you doing to Ted?!”

teddy drying


Don’t worry, he’s enjoying being out and about and getting some sunshine on himself. He told me. :-)

If you suffer from house dust allergies, or want to be doubly sure he’s sparkly, after he’s all clean and dry pop him in a freezer bag and stick him in the freezer for a couple of hours.

No, I haven’t cracked up. It apparently kills of all the dust mites.

So there you go. A fresh as a daisy Ted. All clean and fresh and they’ll be none the wiser to his little outing today!


Disclaimer: no soft toys were hurt in the making of this blog post.



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