My Instagram in 2016

You may have seen recently on Instagram lots of people posting their ‘2016 Best Nine.’ It is calculated by a website using your username taking the most ‘liked’ pictures into account. Last year was the first year I did the ‘Best Nine’. I instantly loved the idea I knew I would be doing it again next year.

So first up: Here are my 2015 Best Nine.

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I still love all of these photos.  But I knew I wanted to post more in 2016.  I wanted to average one a post a day, which as you can see I achieved.

Here are my 2016 Best Nine.

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I like all of these photos, of course I do but they are all from the last month roughly. Since this website takes into account your most ‘liked’ pictures I can at least see that my account has obviously continued to grow month on month. This is positive for me to see but I don’t think these are my 2016 Best Nine so I thought I would pick Nine of my own that are my ‘Best’ regardless of likes and comments. Then I realised that I couldn’t stick to just nine because some of my baking pictured are my favourite so I am splitting this into two categories: Family and Food. I will do the Family pictures in this post and the Food pictures will follow later in the week.

Family Best Nine

This is one of the least ‘flattering’ photos I have of Perky but her whole face exudes happiness.  I absolutely love it!

This was taken at RHS Wisley which is one of ur favourite places to go.  Pinky thought this little gazebo looked like a witches house so she had to go in and have a look.

How could I not include with one… Her expression makes me laugh every time! As does the caption.  She used to ask some crazy stuff!

I love this of Perky and Daddy.  They had just gone down a huge slide together, her big sister was too much of a wimp to have a go but Perky kept asking for more!

Too cool for school 😎 #mysundayphoto

A post shared by ✨ Kirsty ✨ (@winnettes) on

The caption says it all… Look at that attitude.

This was taken on our summer holiday in Menorca.  This had to make my top 9 as it includes all of us, we all look happy (because we were) and we are all looking at the camera.  All parents can relate to how hard it is to get this shot!

This really does just sum them both up!

This had to be included.  Pinky really began to find a passion in photography this summer, I basically lost my camera.  Her favourite things to capture were flowers and as you can see here things like height difference were not going to get in her way.

This is a recent post but I love it.  Over the past (nearly) two years these two have become closer by the day.  Yes, they bicker and fight, what can feel like all of the time, but they are also each others comfort.  They turn to each other for reassurance.  They give each other their biggest smiles and no matter what has happened that day they always give each other a good night kiss and cuddle.  So when I managed to capture them walking hand in hand chatting away, how could I not share it?

I have really enjoyed writing this and going through my Instagram to choose my favourite photos.  It was unbelievably hard to pick just nine.  I am definitely going to do this again next year (but I may have to pick a few more than nine).

The A-Z of Parenthood

A is for Appetite: How on earth can someone so little eat so much?

B is for Bribery: See my Parenting Bribery 101 for more details, in summary this is the daily saviour.

C is for Curiosity: Be prepared to answer an average of 8586 questions per day.  Kids are really curious, have google at the ready, a half arsed answer will not suffice.

D is for Danger: There is danger literally everywhere.  This is worse as a first time mum.

E is for Elocution: Kids may be able to talk but their pronunciation leaves much to be desired.  Prepare for some hilarious moments (hopefully not in public).  For my niece socks are co*ks apparently.  Can anyone find another hilariously rude slant on this one? Or is it just me with a mind in the gutter?

F is for Farts: Call them what you will, they are ‘Botty Pops’ in our house, Kids find them hilarious, always.  The louder the better, they have no sense of embarrassment.

G is for Grey:  Parenthood bought with it the first of many grey hairs! Oh and eyebrows… fml.

H is for Hair Washing: Who knew such an innocuous part of washing could be such a drama?

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I is for Imagination: Kids have the most vivid imagination.  Sometimes, just to keep you on your toes, they will balance this with being the most literal people around.

J is for Jealousy: Kids seem to have a large amount of jealousy.  Cuddles given to Hubby, Toddler needs cuddles too.  Sibling has something, Toddler needs something too.  They simply cannot bare to feel left out.

K is for Kisses: Give them lots and lots of kisses.  They won’t let you for long and who doesn’t like to know they are loved?

L is for Love:  One of the most amazing parts of being a parent is the love you feel and receive in return, it is absolutely indescribable.

M is for Mother: It doesn’t matter if you are a Mum or a Dad your own Mother will suddenly make so much more sense to you.  Be prepared to apologise for your past indiscretions.

N is for Normal: Whatever you used to think was normal will be different as a parent.  Accept it and embrace it the new normal.

O is for Organisation: Not everyone is naturally organised, if you aren’t then get organised.  It will help no end.

P is for Poo:  There is no greater expert in the types, colours and consistencies of poo than a parent.

Q is for Quiet:  Say goodbye to the quiet.  You will spend all day craving it and then when the little ones are in bed asleep you will miss them and their noise.  Plus everyone who owns a toddler knows silence is dangerous not golden.

R is for Repetitive: Nothing can be done once. Everything you do or say that involves the toddler will be repeated over and over and over….

S is for Snot:  Children just seem to have a constant stream of snot! Even in the summer!

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T is for Tears:  There will be lots and lots of tears, unfortunately it will probably be at a 50:50 ratio between yours and the childs.

U is for Ups:  There are so many downs in parenthood, often due to lack of sleep and short fuses, it is important to appreciate and savour the ‘Ups’ when they come.

V is for Volume:  Kids seem to need everything in large volume.  Nappies, snacks, toys, clothes, you name it there will be lots of it!

W is for Waistline:  Say goodbye to it! Mums and Dads!  I’m not saying forever, of course if you put it a ridiculous amount of effort you can probably get close to a pre-child waistline.  But don’t try too hard because even if you achieve it you will suddenly realise your arse has sagged 3 inches! (I speak from experience)

X is for Xylophone:  Why on earth is this noisy toy available and aimed at toddlers? Seriously! Also if they drop the sodding thing on my foot one more time I’m going to find the person who made it and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Y is for Yelling:  You will do your best not to yell.  Every fibre of your being will go into not yelling.  At some point you will break and you will yell.  It may not be at the child, it may not be at your partner, but you will yell.  Chin up! Move on! It happens to the best of us.

Z is for Zzzzz’s of Sleep:  Never again will you get into a decent deep sleep, it’s simply part of being a parent.  You will sleep, but you will always sleep with one ear open.

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Parenting Bribery 101

I recently wrote about my Unexpected Mummy Skills and a comment by Lucy at This Mums Life asking about my bribery skills has inspired this post.  It has occurred to me that I am a master in bribery.  I am not bothered that I do it, I don’t feel guilty because quite frankly it gets the job done.  I have found throughout this parenting rollercoaster that a single approach to the ‘negotiation’ will not work.  There are many variables that need to be taken into account such as why is the bribe needed? What are you trying to achieve from this? Can I reasonably uphold this bribe at a future date? You wouldn’t want to promise a trip to the zoo simply in exchange for a toddler putting their shoes on…. Trust me they will rememberer from now until eternity that putting their shoes on should get them to the zoo, not a mouldy old cookie.

Now I suspect (but could be wrong) that there are two types of people reading this now… Those that eagerly await my thoughts and tips on bribery.  Welcome! I take it you are parents to toddlers, possibly at the age of 2 – 4 years old.  What I like to call the ‘Prime Manipulatable Years’ or ‘PMY’s’.  I feel your desperation for five minutes peace.  Or, perhaps  you have already been here and done it.  Please tell me the need for such frequent bribes ends soon.

There will, of course, be those feeling a little curious about the title but think offering a biscuit is a good enough bribe, or that you shouldn’t bribe your child at all!  (Do these people really exist outside of baby books?) You should bring them up to respect your authority as a parent.  Welcome also, feel free to continue reading even if you disagree with me.  Once your child hits the PMY’s feel free to refer back here, you may finally understand what I am talking about.  Perhaps you might like to ‘bookmark’ this post for future reference?  I too used to think bribing your children was for the weaker parent.  I was wrong! Oh, so very wrong.  Now if there was a Masters degree in this subject I would pass it with first class honours.

So on to the types of bribes:

The ‘Go and sit down’ bribe: Usually a simple snack, ideally healthy (I keep the unhealthy ones for more important bribes).  This won’t buy you much time but it will allow you to make that cup of coffee you so desperately want without the child hanging off your waist and risking third degree burns.  If you chose a large apple you may have enough time to drink some of said coffee before they finish their snack and resume their previous position around your leg.  How do they hold on tighter than a Greenpeace Environmentalist attached to a tree?

The ‘please put your shoes on NOW’ bribe:  This has two subsections!

  1. We are just going for a walk to get out of the house before Mummy goes certifiably crazy: Use a biscuit.  If it has chocolate in it you will get out the house, on average, three times faster.
  2. We are going out to meet friends/family: Have the treat ready (out of sight) but ensure they know they can only have it when you arrive at your destination in a timely manor.  If I’m feel particularly mean I will also promise something I was already going to provide whilst out and about, that way they think they have earned it and you get them out of the effing house!

The ‘I need five minutes peace’ bribe:  This will vary from child to child.  Pick their favourite activity or toy (other than the comforter) and hide it! Yep, hide it!  Then when you need some peace and quite bring it out.  For Pinky and Perky it is painting.  We have some cool glitter paints which are hidden in a cupboard and I went out and bought a large roll of white wallpaper liner from Homebase.  You can get loads of the stuff for about £5 or £6.  It’s much thicker than standard paper so it doesn’t t break as easily with sharp pencils or too much paint.  Granted this takes a bit if time to prepare but once they are set up and ready to paint I can get a good ten minutes of peace.  It might not be quiet as such but they aren’t saying ‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy’  every twenty seconds.

The ‘Reeeeally late bedtime’ bribe*:  I usually use this on a Sunday, and sometimes every other day of the week depending on how fed up I am.  Pinky likes to ‘stay up late’.  She won’t go to be unless Perky is already in bed.  Easily solved… Off to bed Perky.  However, sometimes this isn’t enough so in the interest of keeping the balance I will occasionally let her think she is staying up even later than normal.  This involves doing dinner a little earlier, doing the bath a little earlier, closing all the curtains and making everything cozy.  Then when ready for bed we get into my bed and either watch a cartoon or read a book.  This may kill about 10 minutes then its bedtime.  Pinky thinks she has stayed up really late, in actual fact she is in bed half and hour earlier than normal.  Now that was easy I hear you say… well there is a little more to it.  Sometimes she is so tired that it is ok she is in bed early, mostly though it just means she spends the next two hours going in and out of her room…. So heres the real bribe (no the cartoon was only half of it).  I tell her if she is ‘good’ and goes straight to sleep and doesn’t get up then we will go to the park or soft play in the morning after breakfast.  Really the reward is up to you but for that extra half an hour of child free evening time I guarantee it’s worth it.

The ‘Eat your dinner’ bribe:  I know what you’re thinking, that one is easy, it’s pudding.  Well, not in our house it isn’t.  I once heard a Health Visitor explain to a worried mum that although it could be tempting to use the yogurt as a way to get a child to eat their dinner it can be detrimental in the long run.  She explained that using it as a treat always makes it something they will crave.  Instead, always offer the yogurt.  That way it becomes as normal as the dinner itself.  Plus children don’t have the same food hang ups as an adult does so they really won’t deliberately starve themselves.  After a couple of missed meals they will soon eat!  This little nugget of advice really stuck with me, I wasn’t even a parent when I heard it.  So this eat all your dinner bride has taken a little imagination on my part.  This is a deprivation bribe really.  ‘If you don’t eat your dinner you won’t get…’ Pick your own thing your child would respond to.  Pinky responds to no Paw Patrol, or other cartoon of choice the next day.  And believe me she knows I will stick to it.

Some days I simply ask the girls to do things for me rather than trying to bribe them.  ‘Please stop annoying your sister.’ ‘Please share your toys, she had that first anyway!’  These days I am clearly delusional with sleep deprivation!

Bribing works, accept it, embrace it and move on.

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t use bribery with their children? If so please, please, please share your secrets with us all.

*This will only work until they are able to tell the time. Use it whilst you can my friend!

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Dear Bear and Beany

What I want my Daughters to know

As days pass by and I see my daughters develop into their own independent little ladies, I often wonder what sort of women they will become. This isn’t something I particularly worry about. Perhaps I should. I don’t mind what jobs they have, I don’t mind if they go to university or not. Their happiness is the most important thing. Along the way I hope they learn, or I can teach these few things….

Be strong minded but not hard hearted. It is important to know what you want and to have the courage to go and get it for yourself. Accompany this with a warm heart and an ability to empathise with others and you will go far and be loved.

Have an opinion. Base this opinion on facts not hear say. Not everything you read or hear will be true. Don’t jump to conclusions. Be prepared to debate. Be prepared to have your opinion changed. Remain open minded. You won’t always be right, be gracious in defeat and always admit when you were wrong.

If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. If asked for an opinion then yes, voice it. Sometimes, however, a question wasn’t asked, a debate wasn’t started. In this instance, if it is too hard to find something nice to say then just don’t say anything.

Ambition is important. What the ambition is isn’t overly relevant. Having ambition itself is what matters as it gives you drive and focus. You can do anything you set your minds to it. Hard work goes a long way.

Be organised. This can be hard to do at times. It is important to stay organised in both thoughts and process. Sometimes things happen in life that knock your confidence, don’t let these things get in the way.

Trust your own instincts. We are all individuals and because of this we will each take different paths in life. We will all enjoy and dislike different things. As they say ‘it takes all sorts to make the world go round’. Only you will know what is right for you. Trust you know the answer.

Stand up for what you believe in. Trust me no one else will.

Stand up for others. Not everyone is strong, and sometimes even strong people have their strength taken away from them. Don’t stand and watch people be bullied or have their confidence sucked from them. Stand up for what you know is right and give others a voice when they have lost theirs. Someday you may need them to return the favour.

Value yourself. There will be a lot of people that come and go throughout life, sadly many of them will try to take advantage of you. If you let them they will keep doing it. Know your worth and value it! Don’t let anyone walk all over you.

Be decisive and be determined. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them.

Learn from other people’s mistakes and not just your own. This is hard to do but pay attention. There is no need to replicate someone else’s mistake.

Believe in karma. Trust me… What goes around come around.

Love freely. Those who love the most are loved the most.

Most importantly…

Be happy! Do what brings you joy. Be with people that make you happy, surround yourself with the good in the world. Happiness comes from within.

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Disappointing Weekends

Truth be told I look forward to the weekend from about 10am Monday morning. I long for the adult company and conversation of Hubby, I relish the idea of being able to split the parenting duties, not being the only one saying ‘no’. It is very common for me to post something on my Instagram with some sort of Friday or weekend reference, ‘Happy FriYAY’, ‘Have a great weekend’, ‘Can’t wait for Friday wine o’clock’. Etc etc….. I like these posts by other people but when I do it all I manage to do is to piss myself off. It doesn’t matter what we have planned for those glorious two days of double parenting the weekend will always be a disappointment.

As a stay at home mum I am naturally on hand 24/7 for all the needs of the girls. Other than 15 hours a week that Pinky is at preschool I am the go to girl! We are never apart. So I understand that it becomes very normal to ask me for something when they need it, from food to cuddles. I truly get it. HOWEVER, it would be nice if they could learn that their father is equally capable of providing for them. When they are physically sat on his lap having cuddles, or playing a game with him it would be nice if they didn’t leave his company to hunt me down and ask me for a snack, or to take Pinky to the toilet. Call me melodramatic but they really do hunt me down, in my own home and pull me out of whatever corner I am hiding in trying to get 5 minutes peace whilst I can. Ok,y it’s their home too but I swear they have infiltrated every single part of it. Even my makeup bag has their hair bands in it!

Believe me Hubby does try. He genuinely tries to get the girls to understand that he is more than capable of getting their preferred snack out of a cupboard for them. He tries to inform Pinky that he too knows where the toilet is in the house and could be equally as capable as Mummy in the art of arse wiping! But no, only mummy could possibly do it right!

In some ways I know I should be flattered, happy even, and definitely enjoying these days whilst they still very much need me. And I am under no illusion, I know full well I will long for these days back when they are gone. Living through them is a different story though.

Things have changed in our household recently. Hubby is working longer hours and is traveling more than he has ever done before. One week the girls saw him Monday morning then not again until Friday evening. They missed him loads and wouldn’t leave him alone. I think they would have cuddled him for hours if it wasn’t nearly bedtime. It was really cute, they are actually showing huge signs of being ‘Daddy’s girls’ where for years they have been ‘Mummy’s girls’. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, I thought to myself that as much as I miss Hubby when he is away if it means the girls get to enjoy the time they spend with their Daddy more and maybe appreciate his presence I may get a chance to deal with one less toddler request over the weekend.

Alas no!

It doesn’t matter how much they miss him only Mummy could possibly complete their request properly. Only Mummy deserves to be screamed and shouted at, tantrumed at, because only Mummy could possibly understand the reason and all consuming need for a catastrophic meltdown over a fleck of dust on Dolly.

So with another weekend over, another Monday morning looming, have I been on call all weekend?

Oh yes!

Will I still sit and long for next weekend most of the week?

Oh yes!

I will always remain hopeful that next weekend will somehow be different because without hope there is only despair. And that is not a healthy place to parent from on a regular basis.

Of course Wednesday’s wine o’clock helps, or is it Tuesday’s? Or Thursday’s? Meh! They all help….

Cuddle Fairy

 

Dear Bear and Beany

In the dark dark house

In a dark dark street (floodlit by streetlights), there was a dark dark house (the outside light was probably left on by mistake again), there were some dark dark stairs (soooo many stairs, bloody town house) and at the top of the stairs there was a dark dark bedroom, in that dark dark bedroom was a little girl who was paralysingly afraid of the dark. Does anyone else remember the Funnybones? I used to love that cartoon.  I must get the book for the girls.  I digress…. To the point!
Recently Pinky has been complaining that her clock is ‘screaming’. After a quick investigation we discovered that the plug for her GroClock was making an awful high pitched squeal. We decided to condemn it ourselves. We did check it wasn’t the wall socket, and it made the noise in all outlets. As a side note we called the GroClock company and we had a replacement sent two days later (we just missed next day post) and they have asked we send back the old one (freepost👍🏻) so they can investigate. I know not many kids respond well to this clock that is designed to indicate an appropriate time to get up in the morning, however Pinky does. She totally gets it, she has even worked out that the little stars around the edge reduce over the night to indicate how much time is left until morning. Clever girl. This has has taken time and perseverance… So much perseverance…. Both Hubby and I had forgotten that the clock initially served as a night light. I can’t remember what age Pinky suddenly took great offence to the dark but I think it was around 2. The other little light we got her is a Lindum owl lantern. We all love it, it’s cute, but most importantly it only stays on for 20 minutes so we don’t have to go and turn it off and the batteries don’t get drained in one night. This gets used at bedtime and Pinky takes it with her if she needs a midnight toilet trip.
So to the point of my ramblings…. Bedtime went swimmingly. Stories, lights out, owl on, acknowledged the lack of clock…. Never mind it’ll be fixed soon. Our bedtime comes, our lights out, cosy satisfying sleep. So so cosy.
‘HELP ME!!! HELP ME!!!’ Hubby goes flying into Pinkys room to find her half sat up, half reclined, almost paralysed with fear, shaking, tears in her eyes. I’m laughing as I write this but mostly because if I don’t I might cry a little. Bless her cotton socks. The owl light went on and everyone went back to bed, I could here Pinky talking to her toys all happy again. 20 minutes later just as we had managed to drift back off into the land of nod…. The owl goes off and the screaming starts again. Fortunately we happened to have a plug in light that we dug out of the depths of the wardrobe or a draw or a box somewhere (my memory at 3am isn’t brilliant). This little plug solved the problem until the new power supply for the clock arrived. Happy days!
I decided not to bring the incident up with Pinky, mostly because I didn’t think that much of it but partly because I didn’t want to make her fear of the dark a big issue. As we were out on a little walk she decided to talk to me about it. What she described was the stuff of nightmares! She said the darkness went into her eyes and filled them. Her words no embellishment. She explained how the darkness held her down and stopped her from moving. Again, her words not mine. Then lastly she explained how the darkness was thick and scary. I’m not afraid of the dark. To the best of my knowledge neither is Hubby. I don’t ever really remember being afraid as a child but maybe I was. I do remember having a cuddly glow worm night light, but I’m not sure if it was bought for the night light aspect or because it was cute. Either way what Pinky described sounded terrifying even for an adult so for a poor little three year olds brain it must have been awful.
Lesson learnt. Night lights are essential, at least for now!

Dear Bear and Beany

Our Summer Holidays 

We are now roughly half way through the summer holidays and if I’m honest it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Pinky may only be at preschool currently but those 15 hours are invaluable to me. When she is there things are less rushed, I get slightly less pestered with just the one child, I get some time to miss her and both Pinky and Perky get to miss each other. The missing each other thing is probably the bit I miss the most. I think time apart is good and healthy. I find time to recharge my patience with Pinky and the girls recharge theirs too. The sisters argue less after 5 hours apart. So naturally, as appears to be the case with most mums, I was dreading the 6 weeks of summer holidays.
We are extra fortunate that Pinky is at preschool as it means we still get to have days out in the week. I like these times. Holidays scare me. Everywhere is more expensive (sometimes double the cost), everywhere is busier, the children are older. Last year we went nowhere at all. So this year I wanted it to be different, we didn’t have to do loads of things but I just didn’t want to practically hibernate. Also this year Perky is 18 months old, walking, almost talking and full of personality. She is no longer the 6 month old good excuse not to go too far.
In my usual list making organisation I sat down one evening and started looking for things to do, ideally not more than an hours drive away as there are so many good days out locally there really isn’t any need to travel too far without Hubby in tow. We don’t yet have a Merlin pass or National Trust membership. The only place I am a member of is the Royal Horticultural Society simply because Wisley gardens is practically down the road and I can get myself, another adult and 4 children under 5 in on my membership alone. It’s brilliant for taking other Mummy friends (or anyone really) and once I’ve been 3 times I’ve made my money back and some. With this in mind, as I sat down ready to make notes on prices and travel time I very quickly became disheartened. Some of the traditional days out were expensive enough to make a dent in my credit profile. Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mind spending the money on the girls, I think they are totally worth it, I am a firm believer in making memories in childhood. This issue I have is that it is cheaper during ‘off peak’ times which we still get to take advantage of. These types of places are just so busy during the summer, especially as we have had such good weather recently, for England anyway.
Never fear there is an upside to this. I’ve never been very good at keeping things simple, I always struggle to enjoy the little things. This summer that is exactly what I am trying to do, and so far I have been succeeding. Initially I was going to try and do completely free summer activities, the problem with that is supplies cost money, getting places costs money in the form of petrol. Instead I have tried to do super cheap activities and limit driving distances to 30 minutes.
The Park

I hate the park as a general rule. We are lucky enough that it is only a 2 minute walk away, it also has some good equipment for both toddlers and bigger kids. The issue I have is, due to its location, it is very appealing after dusk to the underage drinking teen and possibly the occasional alcoholic adult. These upstanding members of our society take great pleasure in leaving evidence of their late night visits dotted about for curious toddlers to find. It’s like a hepatitis treasure hunt.

I am now starting to enjoy the park. It’s free, it’s local and (after the five hundredth time of me going bat shit crazy) the girls now ignore any rubbish on the floor so I have relaxed. It’s actually an enjoyable experience and is slowly taking less and less negotiation and bribery to get the girls to leave.


The Dog Walk

In the absence of a dog this is just a walk but it has the same effect. I usually consider the dog walk a bit of a chore and usually do it as part of our outing. It is less of a chore if I can do it on my own in the evening but when Pinky and Perky are with me the dog goes into a hyper-acute protective mode whenever another dog comes anywhere near us. Recently Pinky has been asking to go on a dog walk. She enjoys wandering for no reason and we mix up the route, sometimes just round the houses, sometimes down to the canal, sometimes just to the field to throw a ball. This kills about an hour and the girls seem to enjoy it, plus it’s free so win win.


The Woods

This can also be teamed up with the dog walk. In our case we have to drive to the woods but there are many options and most aren’t too far away. Next week we are off to the Alice Holt woods, these are the furthest from us and we will have to pay a small fee for parking but they have the Gruffalo walk which ideal for little ones, if I’m feeling really good on the day I may even make up a treasure hunt on our way round… Can’t promise though, that will be mood dependant.
Baking

I love baking anyway and as such I usually have the basic ingredients in the house at all times if not some more specialist items too. Earlier this week we threw together some chocolate cupcakes with a pink meringue buttercream icing. Yep that’s basic for me, but the sentiment is there. Flour, sugar, eggs and butter are relatively cheap items, the cupcake cases aren’t too much either and depending on the amount in the pack will last a few batches. If you don’t have a cupcake tray then you could perhaps use a roasting tin or Pyrex dish and make a traybake instead. Either way it’s cake, yummy, delicious, winning right there!


Pet Shop

This is like a free mini farm or zoo. Our pet shop is in a retail park, we have to drive there but the parking is free and there is also a hobbycraft so I get to have a window shop in there and look at all the crafty things I will never buy as they make too much mess and I don’t have the patience for the clean up. Once in the pet shop the girls love the rabbits and guinea pigs. There are plenty of fish and we enjoy picking out the ones we will get when Hubby next decides to get some. Plus there are hampsters, mice and rats which I always enjoyed as a little girl. If I am feeling very generous or the girls are being particularly well behaved there is also a Costa coffee there so I will treat them to a juice and a cake.
Visiting Friends

This is always an underestimated activity. I get some adult company and the girls get to play with their friends. Plus, because they aren’t in their own house playing with their own toys they feel like they have had as good a day as going on an actual paid for outing.
Daytime Disco

We can spend a whole morning dancing and generally prating around. We are currently loving some of the playlists on Spotify. iTunes have some good ones too.
Picnic

This is a particular favourite with the girls. We pick a bit of grass, usually a field, we take a ball and kick that about for a little while, then have a picnic. The picnic itself is nothing special, it’s simply what they would have had for lunch anyway. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect for this, just not raining is fine.


These are little snippets into our days. Only a couple of weeks left and I think we may actually survive. I am looking forward to getting back to a routine but it has been nice to slow down, I have tried not to make too many structured plans and we are all starting to really relax. I’m even starting to enjoy lazy mornings of duvets and cartoons and not being dressed before 10am (trust me this is a normal hell to me, I like to get up and ready).
Now for another dog walk….