19 April 2014

The Week That Was / Project 365 Week 16

Week 16 and the second week of the Easter holidays. Thank goodness for sunshine! We've been trying to establish whether it's summer or winter here - shorts one day (that's the kids, not me) and fleeces the next. But we've had loads of time outdoors and some great opportunities to relax and unwind, which is what school holidays are all about in my opinion. I'm struggling to convince the kids though, with "what are we doing tomorrow?" still being asked daily *sigh*.

Here's our week in pictures....

1. A lovely afternoon at my cousin's baby shower. Plenty of fun and games, ending with a round of 'What's in the Nappy?'. My cousin and niece are trying to differentiate between curry paste and marmite here!

2. Our 'Favourite Place' has an abundance of bluebells at the moment. So pretty.

3. A fun day out at Chessington World of Adventures and I finally managed to conquer Cobra! I am currently running a fab competition to win £250 to spend at Chessington.

4. After much nagging from The wannabe vet Teenager, we finally bought 'It' a toothbrush. He wasn't impressed but clearly loved the liver-flavoured paste!

5. Another dog walk, made all the more appealing with the promise of an ice cream.

6. Another cooking lesson for The Boy and this week it's.....cake!

7. The Boy gave our flower bed a long overdue weeding session. He worked really hard and even made his dad a cup of tea at the end of it.

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Apparently none of you were able to spot Reggie last week. Shame on you! Here he was, getting in on some cooking action....

Ok I know it was a tricky one. A little easier this week but that boy gets around so keep 'em peeled! Hope you all have a relaxing Easter break and remember: a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!  Until next week...

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

17 April 2014

"I Hate School!"

My middle child doesn't really enjoy school. If you ask her, she will say that her favourite subjects are break and lunchtime. She "hates" maths and science, "sometimes likes" english and finds the boys in her class "immature and annoying." Get the picture?!

She isn't a natural 'learner', certainly not one who seems to soak up all the information like a sponge and if I'm being perfectly frank, is a little bit *whispers* lazy, when it comes to school work. I find this frustrating at times (as do her teachers) because I often look at her work, knowing that she could have done better. The bare minimum seems adequate for her but even as I type these words, I feel a bit guilty because I know that I was exactly the same at school. Perhaps that's why it's frustrating?

I'm being totally honest here when I say that for the first few parents evenings of her school life, I would come away disappointed. Don't we all secretly hope that the teachers will describe our 'little darlings' as the most talented or intellectually gifted child they have ever seen? Or perhaps that's just me....

Over the years I have realised that this is never going to be something that is said about my child. But that's ok because I still look forward to every parents evening. Why? Because The Tween is a pleaser and wonderfully helpful and kind to others. At parents evening I repeatedly hear sentences such as "she's the model pupil", "always so helpful and willing to please", "I know that when I give her a task she will just get on with it, without any fuss".

And I burst with pride, 'cos that's my girl they're talking about! 

This year she entered secondary school and I wondered whether she would just be a 'small fish in a big pond', with no one really knowing who she is. It's the academic ones that tend to stand out isn't it? At our secondary school they have a credits and warnings system (you can probably guess how this works) and as parents we can tap into the system whenever we like, to see how our child is doing. 

At the end of every term, they hold an assembly where the form and the child(ren) with the most credits are congratulated and invited on to the stage. The Tween came home on the last day of term with a certificate. She was one of only 6 children in the whole year (about 150) who had gained more than 200 credits so far this year. She seemed fairly non-plussed about the whole thing (hence the screwed up certificate left to rot at retrieved from the bottom of her bag!) but I can't tell you how proud I was.

Of course I would love to see a little more of this helpful, kind and 'willing to please' attitude at home (wouldn't we all?) but I'm thrilled that this is the kind of behaviour she displays at school. Why am I surprised that she can't keep it up 24/7?  She's got to let off steam somewhere and I would much rather it be at home (behind closed doors) than at school!

Today it's my turn to host 'Loud n Proud'. If you'd like to share a personal achievement or your child has done something you want to shout about (in a good way!) link up your posts below and grab the badge to display somewhere on your blog.

3 Children and It

16 April 2014

Chessington World of Adventures - Review and £250 Giveaway

Yet again, we struck gold! The Sun are running a fab campaign at the moment, whereby if you sign up to their Sun+ membership (digital entertainment bundle) you can grab yourself two adult tickets to one of the UK's top family attractions. We were fortunate enough to be offered free tickets to Chessington World of Adventures and with it being the Easter holidays, couldn't wait to get there!

Chessington - Fun for all the family.

Living fairly near to Chessington, we have already been a handful of times but not for a few years. The Boy has grown considerably since our last visit so it was lovely for all of us to enjoy every ride without fear of someone being under the height requirement. Having said that, there really are a lot of rides for children under 1.1m. It's definitely an attraction for all the family.

Despite it being the school holidays (meaning horrendously long queues), we managed to get on almost all of the rides on our 'wanted' list. A few of them had a 90 minute waiting time all day, from 11 am onwards. Our advice would be to get there before the gates open and head straight for Dragons Fury, followed by Vampire - the two biggest (and most popular) roller coasters. I would also advise taking some snacks. They do their best but there isn't much to look at in those queues and when the kids get cranky, a few handy snacks work wonders!

The food on site are varied and very reasonably priced so there's no real need to take a picnic in with you. We opted for the sit down pizza/pasta buffet which cost us £25 for 1 adult and 3 children with unlimited food and soft drinks.

Here's a little snapshot of our day:

Unlike other theme parks, Chessington is very manageable in one day and there is plenty to keep all ages amused.  I would suggest taking a change of clothes as you do get wet on quite a few rides, in particular the giant swings. I would also recommend that you stay as long as the park is open. We opted to avoid the traffic, but I understand from a friend that the queues quietened down a lot, during the hour before the park closed. 

We had a fabulous day out: lots of laughter, plenty of screaming (mostly from me) and oodles of fun. Thank you Chessington and The Sun for providing us with a whole day of entertainment during the school holidays.

Win £250 to spend at Chessington.

If you want to grab yourself some free tickets to Chessington then head over to Sun+ where you can pay just£1 for the first month's trial.  In addition to this great deal, The Sun are running a #Sunfessions competition. This is just a little bit of fun and a chance for you parents to get all of those confessions off your chest! The good news is that I have £250 to give away to one of you lovely readers, to spend at Chessington.

Here's what you need to do: 
  • Share your confession - a time when perhaps you didn't tell your child(ren) the absolute truth in order to get yourself out of a hole or to make your life easier! 
  • Write your confession in a comment below and then share it on Twitter or Instagram, making sure you use the two hashtags: #Sunfession and #3childrenandit. 
  • Complete the Rafflecopter below.
  • Head over to the Sun's site to see your 'Sunfession' appear.

I just added my confession:

"When my children were younger, on a particularly bad day I would set the clocks back an hour to make them think it was bedtime, when in fact it was only 6pm." Sorry kids! 

Please make sure that you follow all of the steps in order to quality. Good luck! 

The competition will close on Friday 2nd May 2014 when a winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter and notified in due course.

If you would like another chance to win £250 then head over to the following blogs: VevivosIn the Playroom

Disclosure: The Sun gave us 4 tickets to Chessington plus spending money, for the purpose of this review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Favourite Place

I wasn't planning to join in with The Gallery this week, mainly because we've been pretty tied up with the school holidays and I have some exciting reviews to write up. But when I caught sight of this week's theme - 'a favourite place' - I couldn't resist.

If you follow me on Instagram or have been reading my blog for some time, then you won't be surprised to discover that our favourite place contains flowers, grassy meadows and an open space to walk our beloved pooch. One Twitter follower even announced that she must live near me after I posted a few photos of our 'favourite place' - scary but quite amazing!  So here it is:

The changing seasons are alive in this beautiful place and the best bit?  It's just a 5 minute walk from our house.

The kids can ride their bikes:

Or pick some bluebells for mummy:

There's even a tyre swing for some good old-fashioned (free) fun:

And our little pooch loves to run around in the open space, free from his lead and able to explore.

When we haven't got much time, this is where we head for a quick walk but it's also one of the places I escape to for some peace and quiet. Just me and the dog.

We popped up here yesterday, before heading off for a day out. I persuaded the kids to join me, by reminding them of the famous tyre swing. It was a lovely sunny day so the perfect opportunity for some fresh air and valuable time away from screens. But when we arrived, this is what we found:

Our beloved tyre swing has gone! Where to we still don't know. Health and Safety gone mad? Perhaps an accident? I do hope that neither of these are true. But I'm determined to get to the bottom of it because our 'favourite place' has definitely lost some of its sparkle.

What's your favourite place of the moment?

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

14 April 2014

Look Who's Talking

Do you remember the moment you finally deciphered those first few words? I distinctly recall the excitement on recognising "dada", "mum mum" and "hello" coming from my then 10 month old daughter's mouth. We encouraged her speech, finding it endearing and of course being first time parents, were also super proud of her ability to speak from such a young age.

Approximately 5 months later came the first sentence: "my do it" and this was said daily, around 2354 times. Or so it seemed. It was her favourite phrase, particularly when it came to dinner time....

Feeding was a long drawn out process with the spoon being discarded in favour of fingers and even lasagne being wolfed in this fairly uncouth (and disgustingly messy) manner. My daughter is and has always been fiercely independent. If I wanted to get her to eat anything, this was the only way. Trust me, I tried various diversion techniques but to no avail!

Now this child is a Teenager, we have moved on from "my do it" to a variety of other equally irritating phrases. To follow are some of her current favourites:

"Hang on" 

Translation: I have no intention of doing it but hopefully this will keep you off my back for a little longer.

"In a minute"

Translation: Leave me alone I will do it when I feel like it but most probably will forget.


Translation: I'm not actually doing it but as I said, I will do it in a minute.

"Sorry I forgot"

Translation: I'm not  really sorry but if I start with that, my oversight is likely to be forgiven quicker.

But the most recent addition (and by far the most irritating of the lot), is the silent treatment. When a cursory nod or shake of the head is used in favour of a verbal response. Being in another room and consequently none the wiser, I am forced to repeat (rather loudly) the  initial question which is then met with a resounding: "I heard you!" Also uttered at a slightly louder pitch than necessary.

Every child, no matter what age, has at some point been taught, cajoled and encouraged to speak.  He/she then perfects a rather long repertoire of intensely annoying phrases which said parent subsequently attempts to remove from his/her vocabulary. Now THAT must be irritating!

What's your child's current most irritating favourite phrase, repeated ad nauseam?

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If you enjoyed this post and think I deserve to win the MAD (Mum and Dad) Award for 'Best School Days Blog' then I would love your vote. Just click on the badge below and remember that voting closes on 24th April. Thank you so much for even getting me to the finals. x

MAD Blog Awards