Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Schooldays have always been brightened up by the thought of a class day out, or if you’re lucky, a residential trip for a few nights away.

I have fond memories of going on a week long residential the first year of high school to an outdoor pursuits centre, which involved activities such as abseiling off viaducts, caving, and canoeing.

There was also a year trip to France for a lucky few in the third year (drawn out of a hat so not everyone got to go.)

So far, so good. France is far away enough to feel like a proper holiday, and you get to visit a different country without being too far from home.

Now, though? Like everything else, (proms, anyone?! ) schools seem to be having to go one better, one bigger, and more ostentatious.

Not content with jaunts to France, some schools are laying out trips to places like Barbados.

Barbados. I ask you. Nothing wrong with Barbados, I’d love to go there – but since when did school trips start to go halfway across the world and cost more than a family holiday?!

Trip of a lifetime, that. Not a school jaunt.

Ours can go to Australia in one of the years.  Literally the other side of the world. On what planet is that a reasonable school trip?! I dread to think how much that would cost.

They’re busy fundraising for it right now. Tip – if the place you want to go to costs so bloody much that you have to fundraise for it, maybe you’re going a tad too far. Back up a bit and have a think.

Flying high school kids nearly 11,000 miles is a little bit very excessive.

Maybe they need more parents to stand up and say “hang on, do you think we go into the garden and pluck money off the money tree, or produce it from our arse?!”

Maybe then we might get a semblance of normality in all the craziness.

What do you think? Excessive, or fun?

Let us know via the comments and tell us where the furthest place your school goes for school trips!

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Summer’s getting nearer, and as a result our thoughts are turning to places to visit with the children on a summer holiday.

Holidays here are usually UK campsite type ones with entertainment on tap (we personally love a bit of Haven. Can’t beat a bit of Rory the Tiger to entertain you!)

These come with huge static caravans with their own bedrooms, bathrooms etc.

For some unfathomable reason though, the Dad’s thoughts have started to turn towards the idea of camping.

With a tent. Between the four of us. Would they settle down? Would they chuff.

A separate tent just for them? Even worse.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of camping.

I have many a fun memory of Guides camping trips where we all sang “Ging Gang Goolie” round the campfire, and “Oh you’ll never get to heaven in a baked bean tin, as a baked bean tin’s got baked beans in….”

(I’m mindfully ignoring the fact I got splattered with pee once having to cart the portable toilet across the field to be emptied. How to traumatise an 8 year old. I’ll keep my rose tinted specs on and forget that bit.)

I also remember sniggering and running across to other tents in the middle of the night and pulling out tent pegs just for the laugh of it with some others.

Then running back to the tent, diving into the sleeping bags and sending up fake pretend snores and waiting for the shouts when it twigged what we’d done.

Oh, the japes.

Which is why it pains me to think that camping with our two would be a ballache.

We may harbour thoughts of singing songs round a campfire, toasting marshmallows in the embers and waking up refreshed to the sounds of birdsong.

When the harsh reality is the fact that they’re related to ME and might turn out to be little camping s***s who run feral at night time, and we’re so deranged from lack of sleep we want to shoot the blasted birds for daring to sing and wake us up when we’ve only just nodded off.

Do you camp? Do yours behave and I’m worrying unnecessarily?! Or would yours be likely to run amok too….

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When you think the world can’t get any more bonkers, you stumble across news articles that make you scratch  your head and laugh out loud at the absurdity of it all.

The latest one to do this for me is this news that the NHS has set up an exercise boot camp for overweight children and toddlers in an attempt to drive down soaring childhood obesity rates.

Children are meant to have a little bit of puppy fat.

However, after saying that, if a small, toddling child is so frighteningly overweight that they’re deemed needing to attempt a kiddy fat camp, surely it’s the parents who need to attend classes seeing as they’re the one feeding and exercising them?!

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs if the NHS feels the need to set up million pounds initiatives to encourage toddlers to play with balls and balloons.

Parents should be doing that anyway, there shouldn’t be a need for an intervention.

Every parent knows that exercise is good for children, surely. If they weren’t bothered before to go out to parks, play football, etc, are they suddenly going to start because they’ve been told to?!

Exercise costs nothing and kids like nothing better than to run around if given half the chance.

As for getting the parents to read food labels, if you’re going to educate them, why stop there?! Give them cooking lessons as well and teach them how to cook from scratch with wholesome ingredients.

Teach them to say no to requests for endless snacks, unless it’s healthy ones. Unlimited access to the fruit bowl, and offer breadsticks, crudites, rice cakes if they need a snack.

Restrict chocolate to a once a week treat instead of everyday occurrences.

Toddlers shouldn’t be sent to boot camp. If anyone should be, it’s the parents of the extremely  overweight children.

What do you think?

Let me know via the comments box! :-)

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To the untrained eye, a games console such as the Wii or Playstation is a fun pastime to keep the children happy and occupied.

To the more initiated though, they’re a torture device with some kind of mind warping facility that can render the most placid of children into rabid, foul mouthed demon monsters.

They’ll lull you into a false sense of security by being lovely and calm, so you let them turn it on for a nice game of FIFA football or whatever.

Then halfway through the game, if you so much as dare to say something to them, their language has changed beyond all recognition.

It’s morphed from English into some kind of grunt that only apes and chimpanzees would have a chance of understanding.

“We’ll be going out in a bit. So another ten minutes and then turn it off.”


<ten minutes later>

“Turn it off now, your time’s up.”


After a while of going round in circles, you end up unplugging it at the wall because they just won’t turn off the bloody thing. (Don’t worry, they won’t be in the middle of a game. They’ll have finished that, and just be doing something VITALLY important such as farting around choosing someone different for their team.)

To which you’ll get a round of Kevin The Teenager type wailings.

“It’s so UNFAIR! I HATE you! You’ve ruined my LIFE!”

Stomp, stomp crash.

Whatevs, Kev.

Even the innocent Mario Kart isn’t immune from a bit of sibling rivalry.

Mario, you see is a two player game which means they can both play together at the same time racing each other round the track.

Which you’d think would be all nice and lovely.

Nope, it just means that you get a double helping of bratty behaviour instead.

Two lots of “ugg” if you say anything.

Or whinging. “He’s deliberately driving in front of meeee!”” “Make him STOP!”

“Waaah!!” or some such rubbish.

Give. Me. Strength.

Not to mention the complete attitude and back chat you get for the hour or so after you’ve turned the blasted consoles off.

It’s like their personalities have been changed.

A recent experiment saw me unplug all consoles (Wii, Playstation) and hide the Nintendo DS’s so they can’t play on them either.

One whole week of absolute bliss and nice, calm children.

The minute they got plugged back in though? All hell broke loose.

So this is why they’ve been unplugged for weeks now, as it makes for a much more calm environment.

So are they getting plugged back in?

It’s bliss.

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If there’s one thing that will keep the 11 year old quiet for ages, it’s anything to do with different countries and places.

We went abroad on holiday to Mallorca last month, and as it was the first time out of the UK for him much excitement ensued as we flew across foreign landscapes.

As England fell away, and we soared over the sea and then France, all his previous trivia questions and games he’d played turned into reality as the different countries lay out beneath us.

Yes, we spend many an hour on quiz game sites here taking geography quizzes and seeing how many countries of the world we can name, or what country borders such and such ones.

We’re getting very good now.

I myself named every single country of the world within the 15 minute time frame the other day. (Go, me! :-) ) geek

We’ve also discovered a website that you can track planes on in real time and watch them take off and fly to their destination, and land. Pretty fascinating seeing and knowing where they’re going, and wishing we were off on our holidays too.

All in all, you might gather we’re a bit geography mad. Which we are.

Map wallpapers have some amazing wallpapers of all different places, which is just our thing.

My first thought was “oh cool! We NEED map wallpaper.”

We’d probably get nothing else done, as we’d be too busy looking at it all day.

I think one of these on the children’s wall would be a great idea, as not only are they pretty and come in different colours you can get maps of different continents to broaden knowledge there too. I love the fact they’re educational, as well as brighten up the place.

We’ll be unbeatable at any pub quiz game at this rate. We already rule when it comes to the Pointless TV show.

Bring it on.

Do you think you could beat us with random country names that no-one else can think of?!

This post is in collaboration with Wallpapered.

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We’re a big fan of the written word here, and with several bookcases full of books you’re never far away from a good book to get stuck into.

Whatever your age.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re never too young to get interested in books.

With the two children of the house, they’ve been ‘reading’ books since they were about 6 months old, and now at 7 and 11 years old they love to pick up a book and read to themselves.

Yes, from 6 months old. Admittedly, they don’t do much actual reading at that age, and just prefer to gum the book instead and use it as a teething ring, but the act of picking up a book and looking at the pictures is still a good habit to instil.

To save soggy paper, cloth books are the best bet here! You can get cloth versions of the classic kids books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar so they can chew as much as they like. :-)

When they get to around a year old, they can sit on your knee and try and turn the pages over as you’re reading for extra fun and games.

Try a bath version of the books as well with a waterproof one.

You can even buy little books that attach to the side of your pushchair as well called Buggy Buddies.

These were a godsend when out and about in town as it would keep them amused for ages in the pushchair, and there was no chance of losing them as they couldn’t throw them out as they were firmly attached by a plastic twirly clip.


Nowadays, they have a bookcase full of books, are strong readers and pick up a book for fun. Just the way it should be. Current favourites at the moment for the 11 year old are any David Walliams book, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

The 7 year old prefers the Horrid Henry series.

As for me, I read everything and anything too – including the children’s classics. Like I said, you’re never too young or old to read, and escape into a fantasyland….

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Every year, our primary school has escaped the madness that is Book Day dressing up, and has just had a lovely book fair in the school hall instead.

(Any excuse to buy new books is fine by me.)

This year, however, in their infinite wisdom, they’ve decided to follow the other sheep (sorry, schools) and have said that the children are to dress up.

Yes, I know, I KNOW it’s all a bit of fun, and I need to lighten up, but that doesn’t stop me doing a big internal scream and sweating a bit at the mere thought of having to think up a costume.

Making things isn’t my ‘thing’. Words are. So, I will not be joining the ranks of the Alpha Uber Mummy Brigade and hand knitting my own costumes, or indeed spending a shedload in a mad panic at the local fancy dress shop.

If you’re like me, what you need to do instead is decide what you DO have in and they go as a character from that.

Luckily for me, we’re all Harry Potter bonkers here, so we already have a Gryffindor scarf and a wand. A pair of round glasses purchased from Poundland and a lightning shaped scar on his head and voila, he’s Harry Potter.

We’re sorted, he’s happy and all for the princely sum of a pound!

If you’re still wondering what to do for World Book Day, here’s some other easy, lazy, cheap (take your pick) ideas:


The Worst Witch

Have you got any Halloween costumes kicking about? If you’ve got a witches dress and hat, you can go as Mildred Hubble from The Worst Witch series.

Pippi Longstocking

Another dead easy one. A pair of colourful stripy tights and a frock, and hair tied into plaits. Sorted.


Where’s Wally?

Stripy red and white t-shirt. Ta-da.

Just William

Hey, they don’t even have to go in anything but uniform here. Just have some knee length trouser shorts (get raiding the summer uniform wardrobe) and sling a satchel over their shoulder.

(Don’t forget a cap as well.)

Next year, hopefully it’s back to the book stalls again…..

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