Categories
London Attractions

Must Visit London Attractions

London has always been one of my favourite places to visit. From the first time I went with my Gran to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat at the Royal Albert Hall, there have always been so many must visit London attractions that I’ve hoped to see.

Must Visit London Attractions that I Would Love to Re-visit

All of my trips to London have been memorable ones. London seems to be a wondrous place to me, where no matter how many times I visit there are always more places I plan to go next time. Here are some of the top places I’ve enjoyed:

  • The Royal Albert Hall. As well as watching Joseph and his Dream Coat, I have also been to see Cirque du Soleil. That was the most amazing circus show I’d ever seen. I would absolutely recommend that everyone should see this remarkable show at least once in their lifetime. I was in awe of these talented performers during the whole of the show. There are, of course, a wide variety of different shows that can be booked.
  • London Zoo. I visited London Zoo just before I had my first child. There were so many different animals to look at and lots of different activities for children to explore. It is a wonderful place for families to visit and definitely intend to take both my children sometime soon.
  • Madame Tussauds. After seeing so many celebrities on television, it was really interesting to see these waxworks. It is fascinating to know how tall some of these people are in real life. For many of them, it surprised me. It is certainly worthwhile taking a look at this must visit London attraction.

Other places I’ve enjoyed visiting, include the Tate Gallery, where I saw the wonderful artwork by Monet. It is so inspiring to see these famous pieces up close. I also enjoyed experiencing the Tower of London, The Science Museum, The Natural History Museum, the Tube, Sea Life London Aquarium, London Dungeon as well as many other places.

Discount London is great place to look online for discounted tickets to attractions in London, as they can sometime be quite expensive. I think it would be absolutely amazing to attend a New Year’s party at The Shard. Watching the famous fireworks whilst listening to Big Ben chime would certainly be a New Year welcome to remember. In the future, I also think that the Churchill War Rooms and Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition are the places that we will visit as soon as we are able to.

Categories
Blog

Most Popular Blog Posts For September

As the new school year has started and we are getting into our new routines, I thought that looking through out most popular blog posts for September would be a great idea to help me get back into the routine of blogging.  September has been a hectic month for my family, which has meant that blogging has taken a bit of a back seat.  Now that things are settling down, I am excited at the prospect of having more time to write blog posts. Although I have been away from this blog for a little while, my posts have still be read and shared so thank you all for stopping by.   Here are the most popular blog posts for September on Dillydrops Blog.

Popular Family Posts

How to Survive Being Ill as a Single Parent – It is difficult balancing parenting with having the usual winter bugs.  Here is a guide to making things easier for yourself during these times. How to Get Children Ready for School in Good Time – As the new term is well underway, it seems that this post is gaining popularity.  We struggled for ages with this.  Mornings used to be such a chore, with me usually resorting to shouting, “We need to leave! Now!” as S would still be half way through getting dressed.  Things are much calmer and easier now that we have figured out how to speed up the process of getting ready for school.

Popular Lifestyle and Review Posts

As we get closer and closer to Christmas (sorry for mentioning it!), it seems some of you are getting prepared nice and early.  Our Christmas Card Wishlist blog post has been very popular this month.  To be honest, I haven’t even thought about Christmas cards yet.  Maybe I should! Floppy is very lucky to have been able to review some of the Pooch and Mutt dog food a while ago.  I hope our review of this dog food has been useful.

Popular Food Posts

Our Dairy Free and Egg Free Carbonara Recipe is still very popular.  For years, I wished I could eat something that tasted and had the texture of spaghetti carbonara as I used to love that dish.  Now that I can’t eat food with cows’ milk or egg in, this dish seemed impossible to recreate.  I am happy to say that I was able to substitute the egg and cream, with a little help from a visit to our local Holland and Barratt store.For us, the weather seems to have turned cooler this week.  We are definitely feeling more autumnal here.  As a result, I think that finding recipes for winter warmers has become more of a priority.  We are already batch making soups to keep us warm.  Our Easy Egg Free and Dairy Free Lasagne Recipe blog post is very popular at the moment.  Actually, I think I might make this for tea.  Yum!

Popular Photography Posts

As we have had a little bit of time away from writing longer blog posts over the past few weeks, I have made sure to still include my photography blog posts twice per week.  I am currently doing a course in photography so am hoping that this will improve the quality of my photographs for this blog.  Our most popular photography blog posts have been Wooden Logs for Winter and the Dizzy Dinosaur Game.  Both of these take me right back to my childhood.

Our Most Popular Blog Posts for September

We have really enjoyed looking through to see which blog posts  have been the most popular this month.  It is interesting to see which posts that you enjoy reading the most.  Which was your favourite blog post for September?

Categories
Genie

Millionaire Genie

This week, I have been treated to £5.00 worth of credit on a new game on 888ladies.com. Millionaire Genie is a slot game that has an Arabian Nights theme, with a Genie guarding the ever changing jackpot (it was almost £500,000 when I played but was constantly changing so if you have a go, it might be different), as well as music to suit the theme playing constantly in the background.  I quite liked the music as I found it to be calming. Millionaire Genie Game, please note the jackpot changes constantly.

The game started with the Genie emerging from his lamp then the rules were explained:

The symbols on the tiles included a magic lamp, a bag of golden coins, a snake with a green jewel, a key on a magic carpet, a magic book as well as playing cards for Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. On my first spin I bet 1p on each tile, which meant that my total bet was 15p per spin.  This was all written down and worked out for me at the bottom of the screen, which meant that I did not need to think too much about the maths! I pressed, “Spin,” which made the tiles all spin vertically.  I was very excited that on this first go, I’d got 3 Scatter symbols that meant that I was rewarded with 13 free spins! 

The game awards you a random number of free spins when you match the 3 Scatter symbols.  The game spun the tiles for me automatically for the free 13 spins and I won £1.75!   This made me want to play on so I tried the automatic spin option that meant I had 10 games, one after the other.  There were other options for automatic spins, including 10, 25, 50 and 75 spins. If I had got 3 tiles that matching tiles with a girl with a pink scarf on, I would have been able to play a bonus round.  Unfortunately, I did not match these before my credit ran out.

As with many gambling games that I have played in the past, this slot game was all down to luck rather than any kind of skill.  I played the game on my computer but I read that it is also available on Apple and Android devices. I really enjoyed playing this game.  I do not gamble very often so this was a bit of a treat for me.  It was fun when I won each time, even if it was only 10p at a time.  I spent about half an hour using my £5.00 credit and I enjoyed imagining what I would spend the money on if I happened to win.  I hope you enjoy the game as much as I did if you have a go on the game yourself!

Categories
Miles Kelly

Miles Kelly Review

We were sent two books from Miles Kelly to review, which included the Junior Picture Dictionary and 100 Facts Inventions.  Both S and H were very excited about their new books and couldn’t wait to read them.

Junior Picture Dictionary

I think this is the perfect book for H at the moment.  She is four years old and is asking questions about EVERYTHING, all of the time.  This book has helped to answer some of her many questions.  We loved how there were clear illustrations and how the vocabulary was linked to these.  Although she is not able to read these words yet, the illustrations were a brilliant starting point for lots of discussions. Her absolute favourite pages were about dinosaurs.  She is obsessed with them at the moment (you can read about her Dinosaur Party here) so having several pages all about her favourite topic was like a dream come true for H! 

For S’s class theme at school, they have been discussing dinosaurs and have spent lots of time on different dinosaur projects.  He found the names of a few dinosaurs that he didn’t know before. Grandma and Granddad recently bought some Venus fly traps for their home.  H was very interested in these and was very excited when she saw that they were included in the Picture Dictionary. We were all very impressed with this Miles Kelly book and would certainly recommend it for inquisitive little ones.

100 Facts Inventions

S spends quite a lot of his time trying to make his own inventions so this Miles Kelly book about inventions was a perfect addition to his bookshelf.  We really liked that this book had inventions throughout different times in history.  My son’s favourite pages were in the beginning and the transport inventions pages.  S was inspired by this book and used some rocks and a stick to make his own axe that they may have used in the picture below.  S really liked the fun facts, quizzes and cartoons throughout the book.

Categories
Miles Kelly

Miles Kelly 300 Fantastic Facts Book Review

We were very excited to receive four titles from the Miles Kelly 300 Fantastic Facts range to review.  We received the History, Science, Bugs and Earth fact books.  These titles were perfect for my nine year old son’s current interests.  You can read our review of the Miles Kelly Picture Dictionary and 100 Facts Inventions here.

300 Fantastic Facts: History

This history fact book is has three main sections: Egypt, Greece and Rome.  Each page is beautifully illustrated with lots of detail included in the pictures.  We really like the way that the facts are all put into bit sized chunks by being clearly numbered throughout the book. This book contains short, fun quizzes, cartoons and features such as illustrated instructions about how Egyptians used to make papyrus.  Most aspects of life and the lifestyles of these different cultures are described and explained well in this book.  S’s favourite facts were on page 40 as he enjoyed reading about Egyptian doctors and calendars.

300 Fantastic Facts: Science

Science is S’s favourite subject at school.  He also spends a lot of time reading science books at home so this fact book was perfect for him.  This fact book contains three main topics, including Science, Great Scientists and the Human Body.  For S, this was a great breadth of information and he really enjoyed finding out about all of these. His favourite part were the Compu-science pages as he is really interested in finding out more about how computers work.

300 Fantastic Facts: Bugs

S and H have spent a lot of time in the garden this summer.  They have found many bugs as they have helped with the gardening in both our garden and their grandparent’s garden.  H has particularly enjoyed spotting the butterflies.  S has been more interested in the spiders now that he has recently decided that he is not afraid of them any more. This book contains sections on Bugs, Spiders, Butterflies and Moths.  It contains a mixture of detailed illustrations and photographs to support the interesting facts in there.  S really liked the facts on the more fearsome bugs in this book.  I think he mainly wanted to scare me for fun, to be honest!

300 Fantastic Facts: Earth

This fact book about the earth had three main topics, including Planet Earth, Oceans and Weather.   As with the other Miles Kelly books in this series, it contained quizzes and absolutely wonderfully detailed illustrations as well as photographs.  It even contains some how to sections, as the other books do too, so that S can take part in some activities related to the facts he’s just read about. Since visiting the Natural History Museum in London, S has loved looking at gemstones.  He intends to be a geologist when he grows up as well as doing his computer science, so the page on gemstones was definitely his favourite from this book.

Recommendations

Overall, we thought that these fact books were great.  S has spent a lot of time reading through them and has repeated lots of the facts to me.  He has used the books to explain all sorts of interesting things to his sister too.  Thesehese books would be a great addition to any home or school library.  I know that S will be dipping in and out of these for many years to come.  I also think that H would enjoy reading these when she is a bit older.   So far, she has enjoyed looking at the pictures and discussing what she can see.  I think that these are great value too.  They have a RRP of £9.99.  I think these would be ideal as gifts for birthday or Christmas for children with inquisitive minds.

Categories
Bedroom

Messy Room To Homework Station Bedroom Makeover

As my son gets older, his bedroom seems to have got messier. He used to keep it very tidy but since turning ten years old, he puts things down and just leaves them. His Grandma and I have spent quite some time tidying his room over the past few months. It had got to the point where we had had quite enough of doing this for him though. We decided that he needed to take back the responsibility of keeping it tidy himself. We just had to figure out a way to motivate him to keep his room clean and clear.

Messy Room

Here are some of the pictures of my son’s room after his recent bout of not being bothered to keep his room tidy. This was one week after we had last tidied it. As you can see, it was a struggle getting his clean clothes into the wardrobe. His dirty clothes were under the bed and strewn all over the place. He insisted on keeping his wardrobe doors open for the simple reason (as he admitted later) that he could not get them shut. He loves reading but his books were getting tatty and damaged. Overall, the room was getting out of hand and he was starting to ask to sleep in the living room because he couldn’t get to his bed. Absolutely frustrating when it had been clean and clear only a few days previously. This messy room to homework station bedroom makeover was absolutely necessary.

Bedroom Makeover

My son’s bedroom has had the same layout the whole time he has been in that room. We decided to clear the room, leaving only the bed and the wardrobe in there. Sorting out everything from his room and throwing away anything that was broken or not needed any more. We soon realised that his bedroom mainly consisted of science sets, Lego, books as well as the clean and dirty clothes. It all needed sorting out. All of the Lego went into a large, sturdy box, every single last piece. My son was told that from now on, all Lego had to go in this box by the end of every day. His books were sorted and his bookshelf was put into the hallway so that they could be accessed by the rest of the family. All clean clothes were put away in the wardrobe and dirty clothes were washed, dried and put away too.

Discussing How to Arrange His Room

We discussed the new layout of his room and my son was happy for us to arrange the room in anyway that we wanted. He did say that he wanted all of his posters back on the wall but that he had an idea about where he wanted each one of the to go. I gave him a small box to put things in that he wanted to keep near his bed. He put in the book that he was reading at the moment and some other nic knacks. I think it is important to talk to children about how they want their own bedrooms arranged. After all, it is their own personal place that they should feel they have a choice in deciding what goes where. It also helps them to feel part of the process and automatically gives them the responsibility of  wanting to keep their room as they decided they wanted it to be.

Making the Space into a Homework Station

As my ten year old is about to enter Year Six, he is slowly getting more and more homework. We looked around a local Secondary School the other day and realised that his attitude to homework needed a boost to get him prepared for the transition. Having an inviting space to work is always great motivation.

A Homework Station Needs and Office Desk

Luckily, we received an office desk from Kit Out My Office that was perfect for this messy room to homework station bedroom makeover. The desk really made his bedroom look much smarter. The position of the desk was just right for my son. He wanted to be able to sit on his bed sometimes to write notes if he thought of a story at night time. His post-its are wonderful for jotting notes down. It was also in the best place for having as much natural light as possible shining through the windows. I think natural light always helps with motivation levels. When arranging his precious items on his office desk, we discussed clutter. We decided that his desk was to stay as clear as possible and that his bedroom was to be kept exactly as it was when we spoke. After a quick talk, we decided that my son would spend five minutes before bedtime everyday just tidying everything up in his room.

Messy Room to Homework Station: Feeling Motivated

He mentioned that he wanted to start by doing some artwork on there with big sheets of paper, as the desk is quite deep. The science notebook also found its way onto the desk, all ready to do some more experiments. By this point, he was feeling very inspired by all of the exciting projects he could get stuck into now that he had his own space to do them. We decided that homework was to be done straight after school on Tuesdays and Fridays. Even if he had no homework, he would need to sit and read or write something at these times to keep in routine. This quiet time will be useful for when he starts secondary school and has more homework than he has now.

It was important to him to have everything he needed within reach. His fine tipped pens, biros and pencils were all put close by. As he finds that he can concentrate better if he has a fiddle thing, we arranged his magnetic toy, robot stacking dolls and one of his Lego creations so that he could just pick them up whenever he needed to. His 3D pen was put into the handy drawer ready for even more creations. Healthy snacks are very important so we talked about taking a bowl of fruit or vegetable sticks with houmous or any other healthy snack into his room to do his work. Usually, he is not allowed snacks in his room. If he keeps it on his new desk and eats while doing his homework, I have said that having a snack may motivate him to keep working.

How This Bedroom Makeover Helped My Child

The process of changing messy room to homework station had a big impact on my child. He felt really inspired to use his homework station to start some creative as well as some scientific projects. After realising that his messy bedroom had got out of hand, he promised that he’d never let it get like that again. He told me that it had helped him to think more clearly. Thinking about where to find his clothes was not a problem any more. They are all in the wardrobe. His Lego is all in the Lego box. He says that he now knows where to locate what he is looking for as everything has its own place.

Categories
Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Week

I think Mental Health Awareness Week is extremely important.  Just as with keeping your body healthy, I think that it is just as important to keep your mind healthy.  I have recently blogged about my experiences of parents being judged in everyday life but I realise that most people are criticised in some way on an almost daily basis.  I have known more than enough people that have been able to brush off comments like the ones I described in the post.  Unfortunately though, sometimes things like this can get too much and seem like a never ending stream of negativity.

I have known friends and family members suffer mental health issues due to stress at work, as a result of being in emotionally and physically abusive relationships, because of being bullied as a child as well as those suffering from Post Natal Depression. Many of these people kept their issues and thoughts secret as they didn’t want to ‘bother’ friends and family, others didn’t want to worry anybody else and some thought that they could deal with it all on their own. I have found that people I know, do not usually admit to having any mental health issues unless someone starts a conversation about it.   When you feel alone and like no one understands how you are feeling, having even just one person notice that there is something on your mind or sharing their own experiences can make a huge difference to someone feeling low. 

Even if Mental Health Awareness Week gets just a few people thinking more about how to improve your own and others’ mental health, I think that is a great thing. Tweeting positive things each day made me feel wonderful.  Getting bogged down with everyday stresses meant that sometimes I had forgotten to think of the positives as much.  Spending each day considering what I would like to tweet has helped me a lot in this area.  I started off thinking, what makes me feel happy and positive?  I must admit that although I often try to stay positive, I have moments (such as lately) when everything seems overwhelming and rubbish. 

Trying to juggle being a single parent, keeping up with my three jobs whilst also being a stay at home mum, making nearly all of our meals and snacks from scratch due to our food intolerances, looking after the dog, house and garden, worrying about money, getting everyone where they need to be on time and trying to maintain friendships as well as see family regularly on very little sleep each night IS overwhelming. I feel that tweeting positives each day has helped me to re-focus.  I feel that it is what I have needed to stop me feeling as anxious. Stopping and considering what makes me happy generally has led onto me tweeting more than once per day.  On 11th May, I wondered what on earth I would write.  On 13th May, I had so many things I wanted to type that I had to hold back a bit from flooding my timeline! 


There are so many things to be positive about.  I am very lucky to have wonderful family and friends.  I am so lucky to have one job, let alone three and to also be able to stay at home to care for my children most of the time.  I am also fortunate that I absolutely love all of my jobs and enjoy every moment of them.  I am glad that I make our food from raw ingredients as I feel it is healthier for us (and we don’t get ill).  I love our house and garden and it makes me feel good when I’ve been able to tend to it, especially when the children help me.  We are very fortunate to have a dog, who does like lots of fuss. After having a stressful time lately, focussing on the positives has made me re-evaluate things.  I think it is natural that everybody has times when they are feeling down or overwhelmed.  I believe that some people need a little bit of help to know how to bring themselves out of feeling low now and again. 

Knowing someone cares or that someone is aware that you are feeling overwhelmed can be the thing that lifts someone’s mood. I think everyone needs to be aware of mental health issues.  Not everyone shows that they are having problems.  Maybe you could be the one to start the conversation if you are aware that someone is struggling?  Maybe you could be the person to ask, “How are you today?” and to make them feel like you actually want to listen to the answer and not just a, “Yeah, I’m alright,” as you’ve only asked out of politeness.  Maybe you could be the one that asks about the positive things in their life? Simplyhealth have written a blog post about five steps to get you on your way to positive thinking that could help if you are needing a boost.

Categories
Uncategorised

Making Mistakes

This week, I have made a few mistakes and I don’t mind admitting that (see also my post on the dangers of biting fingernails).  Years ago, I would have viewed this as being like the end of the world but nowadays I am more relaxed about my errors of judgement.  I put it down to the fact that I have realised that I am a human and not actually a robot and that I can now allow myself to make mistakes. Yesterday, H and I had a fantastic time reading, “Five Minute Peace,” by Jill Murphy.  As we read the story, we discussed the details of the pictures and discussed items that the Large family had that we had in our home too.

We did a variety of activities in connection with this story, which H absolutely loved.  We made cakes, just like the cake that Mrs Large tries to eat in peace (and of course we ate said cakes). She also washed up, with lots of bubbles as Mrs Large put lots of bubbles in her bath. We read , ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ and viewed different versions of it on the iPad as Laura in the story reads this to her Mum.

We played the water flute that changes pitch, depending on how much water is in it to make the story more real for H as one of the children in the story plays the recorder to his mother, while she is trying to have her five minutes peace in the bath.  None of this went wrong and no mistakes were made here.  We both really enjoyed spending time together, focussing on taking part in different activities to make the book ‘come alive.’  We even played with her elephant toy.

As I have not really done papier mache with H before, we decided to make a bowl using this method.  In the, ‘Five Minute Peace,’ story, the baby elephant makes a mess at breakfast time by putting his bowl of cereal on his head, amongst other things.  H wanted to make a bowl like this but to add sparkles to it, instead of being white to match the book.  H ripped the newspaper up brilliantly and helped to mix the glue and water to make a gooey paste. She absolutely loved sticking the paper onto the upturned bowl and did so very patiently for the longest I’ve seen her sit down to do a craft activity.  H was very excited about the bowl that she was making and we discussed the Five Minutes Peace Story throughout.

I have not done papier mache for a while and did not have any balloons to use for it so I thought that the pyrex bowl would be ok to use instead.  This was my mistake.  When it dried, it stuck tight to the bowl and would not come off.  I felt awful as H was so excited about seeing what her efforts had achieved.  I explained my mistake to her and said that we should have used balloons instead.  After the initial disappointment of realising that she wouldn’t see the bowl that she had worked hard to make, she suddenly perked up at the mention of balloons.  She told me that we should get some balloons and try again another day.  She also wanted to play with the balloons in the living room, with her brother.  I had an excited little girl again.  Plus, it meant that we would get to have fun sticking the ripped up newspaper together again but hopefully this time, we’d get to see the finished product. A while ago, I would have been so worried about making a mistake like this, that it would have overshadowed the whole day of activities. 

My thinking has changed lately though.  We had a fantastic time doing crafts, baking, reading and talking together.  I made a simple mistake and explained what had happened to my daughter.  I was pleased that she reacted the way that she did, suggesting that we could do it again and that it was something to look forward to.  We both learned from the mistake and moved on from it, realising that we’d had fun along the way.  I think that it is a valuable learning experience for her to see that it is ok to make mistakes and that they are sometimes necessary to understand the world better.  It is also important for her to know that it is great to have high expectations but if mistakes are made, then it is how we react to them and move on from them that we should focus on.

Categories
Festive Sales

Making The Most Of The Festive Sales

Once again, December is creeping round the corner and it’s almost the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas! If you’re planning out your gifts, dinner and decorations and wondering if your budget can stretch then making the most of the festive sales can really help your money go further. Logbook loan provider Auto Advance have some tips that will allow you to take the stress out of buying presents.

Beating the Black Friday rush

This big shopping day has really grown in popularity in the UK in the past few years. Made famous in America, Black Friday marks the busiest shopping day of the year with huge sales and plenty of bargains. Shops, supermarkets and online sites all partake in slashing prices to help shoppers snap up some christmas bargains. We’ve all seen the mad rush and stampedes associated with this major shopping event on the news but you don’t need to get caught up in the crowds the get yourself some savings.

Online retailers like Amazon and eBay also participate in Black Friday with some fantastic deals to be had. Plenty of high street shops will have their deals online as well as in store so you won’t be missing out. The biggest reductions are usually on more expensive electrical goods like TVs, tablets and PlayStations – so if you’re getting one as a gift, it’s worth looking for one next Friday. You can also expect to see this year’s must have toys cut down in price in anticipation for Christmas. If you already have your child’s letter to Santa then you will know which gifts to look for!

Boxing Day

We all know someone who sets their alarm super early on Boxing Day to head out to the shops and make the most of the sales. In recent years, most Boxing Day sales begin online on Christmas Day itself. Last year, an estimated £700 million was spent on Christmas Day by revellers keen to get themselves some extra presents. The boxing day sales are famous for picking up some reduced price clothes with clothing shops opening as early as 5am to prepare for shoppers. If you are serious about kitting yourself out with a new wardrobe then the key is to get yourself up and out early. Boxing day is known as one of the busiest shopping days of the year with people also heading out to spend gift vouchers and exchange unwanted gifts.

January Sales

Last but not least in the shopping sale calendar is the big January sales. As shoppers look towards their new year resolutions, expect a reduction in health products from gym equipment to juicers. If you are looking towards summer and the warmer weather than January could be the perfect time to book your holidays. Make the most of the new year sales and shop around online for the perfect getaway. Save some money and give yourselves something to look forward to at the same time

Categories
Holidays

Low Cost Activities For The Holidays

During the school holidays, it is useful to have some low cost activities to keep your children busy. Although prices can vary in different areas, this is our experience of different activities on offer. Here a few ideas for low cost activities for the holidays ideas:

Your Local Leisure Centre and Youth Clubs for Low Cost Activities for the Holidays

My children’s school send out leaflets just before each holiday. In all honesty, they often end up in the bin due to other commitments we have. This time though, we have decided to fully embrace the activities on offer. Booking the children into some crash course swimming lessons, trampoline activities, laser quest, discos, escape room missions and inflatable obstacle courses has given them something to really look forward to this half term holiday. I was really surprised by the cost of these activities in our area too. Several youth club activities were around £2.50 for around 3 hours and generally, the leisure centre activities were around £5.00 for a couple of hours. These low cost activities for the holidays are something that my children are really looking forward to.

Painting Pottery

After spending a wonderful holiday at Center Parcs some years ago, I found that my children absolutely loved taking part in the painting pottery activities. Choosing the pre-made ornament/coaster/vase/plate to paint meant that my children spent well over an hour choosing colours and painting their pottery carefully. Both children were so proud of their work that it has been proudly displayed on my windowsill ever since.

We have noticed that there are many shops opening that have pottery painting available for children and adults alike. We are lucky enough to have one that has just opened in our town so will be visiting this during the holidays. In our area, each piece of pottery costs between £5 and £13 for the pottery, paint and firing, as well as the time taken to paint it at a craft table in the shop. We think that this is a wonderful, calming activity that many children and adults can enjoy.

Indoor Soft Play Areas

Although I realise that for many, indoor soft play areas are the stuff of nightmares, we actually quite like them. Now that my children are that little bit older, I find the indoor soft play areas are not as stressful as I once found them. We have found that looking around the local area to find a smaller venue has worked out cheaper for us. It also has the added bonus that I have been able to spot my children more easily while they are playing.

Going for a Short Break in the UK or Abroad

You can find some great deals for short breaks and holidays in the UK and abroad if you are able to spend some time searching for one. We have found some good local, last minute deals for short breaks that we have enjoyed. You can also look on websites like DealsDaddy and DealsPlanet for discounts on hotel bookings and flights.

Meeting Up With Friends

This year I have been terrible at meeting up with friends. Life, work and other commitments have seemed to just get in the way. I realised that I had told one particular person that we would meet up with her and her children ‘soon.’ EIGHT months later, it still hasn’t happened. I have also been saying this, “We should meet up soon,” phrase to others in the meantime. Co-ordinating our schedule with the schedules of others and their families can be a task and a half, in our experience.

I decided that we needed to do something about this. After finding a date to meet up with my daughters’ friends, their siblings and their mothers, I sent a group message to everyone that I’d promised to meet up with and suggested we all meet together. Luckily, each of them happened to be free on that day in the holidays. We had arranged to all meet at the local common but due to the dismal weather, we have decided to meet at our house. All the children are very excited. It will be brilliant to have a catch up with all of the mums too. This is one of our favourite low cost holiday activity options. For the price of some tea bags, milk and squash, we have great company and always have a lovely time.