The Terrible Threes no one told you about!

terrible threes

The Terrible ones, twos and threes

Whoever termed the phrase the ‘Terrible Twos‘ blatantly never had kids. They obviously never experienced the ‘Terrible Threes’.  I knew when Finlay began crawling just shy of six months I was in trouble with this one. Very determined, very head strong. Little did I know what was in store for me!

As Finlay turned one, the tantrums began, we seemed to hit the magical Terrible Two’s a whole year early! Most things would result in a huge meltdown. Not being able to balance his toys, the offer for help, not being able to get to get somewhere quick enough, anything and everything would set him off. The worse part was watching him hurt himself. Nearly every tantrum would involve Finlay furiously banging his forehead on the floor at full ferocity. The resulting bruise almost became part of him, it was always there.

Was this behaviour Normal?

I sought advice from the health visitors over and over. Each time I was told not to worry, it’s normal, it’s frustration, ignore it. Well, I can say it didn’t feel normal. It was impossible to ignore. Especially when at the park, Finlay would throw himself down screaming. Banging his head as hard as he could on the ground. All while the other mums stared. All because the swing wasn’t free or we had to go. It was extremely embarrassing. I questioned if I was a bad parent. Had I been too strict or not strict enough? Did I feed him the wrong foods? is it something I did when pregnant?

This wasn’t an irregular occurrence either. We were lucky if we had a meltdown free day. We were drained as a family, not knowing how to deal with the anger! Mostly I ignored it as much as I could, it was my way to cope, but Chris found it more difficult. He wasn’t able to just switch off. Finlay’s tantrums would result in us all shouting at each other. My only respite was the fact this was ‘normal’ it would end hopefully, sooner than later. If we hit this stage early perhaps we would bypass the terrible twos phase.

The Terrible Threes!

That was wishful thinking. Moving forward we have endured the terrible twos and moved into the terrible threes. There was a small respite period where the head banging seemed to disappear, but recently it has begun rearing its ugly help. The tantrums remain. I comfort myself with the fact that he has good reports from the nursery. His behaviour isn’t perfect (he is, after all, a little boy), but nothing has been flagged up that would ring alarm bells.

Sometimes, Finlay’s behaviour reduces me to tears and I sob my heart out wondering if I went wrong somewhere along the way. Of course, I love him dearly and unconditionally, there’s no questioning that. In between the tantrums, Finlay really is the most loving, caring little boy I know. Always concerned when people are sad, giving cuddles of comfort. However, as baby number two grows, I can’t help but worry. What if it’s just like Finlay, how on earth will I cope?

As I sit here in soft play, he’s currently lobbing balls at every poor unsuspecting victim, his character makes me smile, but I am well aware he is the only one doing so!! However, I do feel recently, the tantrums although more intense, seem fewer and far between, perhaps this is the light at the end of my tunnel?
Have you experienced the terrible ones, Terrible twos and terrible threes? I would love to hear your stories,your tactics and coping mechanisms!

Saving Pennies: Top Tips on saving money and making money!

Saving Money

One of the reasons I got back into blogging was to have a place to document ways I have been Saving Money. Not Just saving money, but also making money. With the hope that one day, I may be able to start working from home one way or another. I realised the other day that while I have been busy beavering away, researching. Silly me, hasn’t actually documented anything on the subject. I don’t claim to be a money saving expert, but my finances have always been very tight. Therefore I have many years experience of living on a shoestring budget (I wish I hadn’t but hey I appreciate every hard earned penny I have!). So I would suggest don’t cut your hair or wash it, wear your clothes out until you get confused for a tramp, don’t…. Only Joking!!

Really, I have been looking into ways to increase my earnings from home over the past few months. I have found many interesting and genuine opportunities, and some great places full off advice. However Until I have a little bit more experience with them I do not feel it right to be sharing that with you right now. It would be the blind leading the blind!! When I am confident in what I am doing I promise I will share everything I have learnt. Until then here are some of my best tips I can offer so far!

Top Saving Money Tips from Southern Mummy – Websites/Online

  1. HotUKDeals – Possibly my most favourite website in the world for saving money. I was introduced to HUKD many years ago and I would say I visit nearly everyday. This site is a forum based site where members of the public post their hottest finds. It not only advertises deals but a number of other relevant money saving offers too. It is easy to navigate through and you can even narrow down your search to specific areas. These include Kids, fashion, travel etc. If I am looking to buy something I always head here to check if there’s a hot offer on anywhere. Even if I’m not looking for anything specific, I always have a nose. I have picked early xmas presents up doing this. My star find was when B&Q discontinued selling sheds in store. They were selling them off cheap and I picked up £250 wooden play house for £64!!
  2. Topcashback – Did I say HUKD was my favourite? Oh its close, because I Love topcashback. You can make money just by shopping! Yes you did hear me correctly! Now the amounts vary and often its only a small percentage, but every little helps. If your a big shopper you will make more and if you by a lot of insurance or utilities there’s more money to make. If like me, you shop little, don’t think its not worth it, Over the past 4-5 years I have made about £500 (and I am a little shopper). The downside is money is not guaranteed, so don’t purchase expecting the cashback, but in all honest I have only had a few declines in all the years I have used it. Follow the rules which are stated clearly on each offer to minimise rejection.
  3. MySuperMarket – A great site for those who do online grocery shopping. You can actually do your grocery shop through this site and it will compare where has the cheapest deals, definitely a great tool if your looking to save money. I don’t tend to do my shopping online as I like to hunt for my bargains, but I do use this site, especially if I have vouchers and coupons. It means I can find where has it on the best offer and combine it with one of my many vouchers.
  4. Supersavvyme – This website has lot of tips, tricks and reviews for the savvy shopper. SuperSavvy has a section for coupons for house hold items which can either be printed or used online. I then see what coupons  there are and search HUKD and My Supermarket – you can guarantee there are always more ways to save pennies! I also love that they have a savvy circle. You can request to join and bid to review items!
  5. Megabotshop This is a bit of a kooky website actually. I think its a bit like Price Runner, where you can pop the item in your looking to buy and it will search the web and list the prices it finds. Its a bit kooky, but so am I, perhaps that’s why I like it!
  6. Camel Camel Camel I can’t remember how I initially found this website, but its a good un! Camel camel camel links to Amazon. Enter the product you want to buy and camel camel camel will bring up the historic price listings for it. It will show you its highest price and its lowest and how long it remained at that price, so you can see if its currently on a good deal. Now the best bit. If your browsing and want to buy at a later date put in the price in that you want to buy that item at and if that item drops to within that price range camel camel camel sends you an email! Now this is dependent on a price drop and you can usually tell by trend if that’s likely. If its never been that price or anywhere near it, don’t get your hopes up. However if you start putting prices in now for items you want for xmas, you are likely to get a few money saving hits before the big day!
  7. Approved Food – I have only just found Approved Food, but it was a find I had to share. Approved food, sells clearance foods at huge discounts. These are foods that are either close or past their best before date. However Best before relates to quality, not safety. The food therefore just begins to gradually lose its flavour and texture after that date. Don’t confuse this with ‘Use By’. Delivery is £5.99 for up to 325kg, but The savings you can make on food is massive and if you live near the warehouse, you can collect it free of charge!!!

Top Saving Money Tips from Southern Mummy – Ways to save and gain

  1. Try some surveys – As I mentioned at the start of my post, this is an area I am new to. I have put little effort in and I have made about £50 over the past 4 weeks from survey sites. I am working my way through a fair through to see what works for me. There are a lot about and payment varies greatly. I would suggest having a play around and see what works for you. When I have gained some more experience I will produce a whole post dedicated to surveys.
  2. Mystery Shopping – Yes, This is great!! There are a lot of opportunities out there. If you cant get out much there are a couple dedicated to online shopping only. Again a new area for me, but I don’t want to put anyone off trying it as it can be quite lucrative.
  3. Competitions – I am the competition queen among my friends. I have been doing competitions for 4- 5 years now and I have won some Fantastic Prizes. To name a few: 46inch Samsung Smart tv, £500 B&Q gift Card, GTEC Cordless Hoover, Sony Smart Watch, Ipad Mini, jawbone Fitness Tracker, Mobile Phone, Toys …loads. I have to state you are not guaranteed to win and winning is usually down to effort. I enter on average 100+ a day and sometimes I can go months without a win and then like buses I can get several in a week. Often Friends will start and then give up because they haven’t won. However its a long game. you have to keep going. Sometimes like recently I will win little, I get fed up and stop for a few months, but I always start again. If you have time to put the effort in then give it a go, you might win some nice treats!
  4. Charity Shops – Love them, clothes for me, clothes for Finlay all costing pence!! Don’t be proud, especially today, people give away nearly new stuff, it is a great way of saving money!

Sig

#MySundayPhoto – The Masters Apprentice

#Mysundayphoto

#MySundayPhoto – The Masters Apprentice.

Thomas Smith established The Royal Sussex Trug way back in 1819, just before Queen Victoria ascended the British Throne. Thomas Smith invented the Sussex Trug by reinventing  the historic ‘Trog’ an idea dating back from Anglo Saxo times. In doing so, Thomas Smith had a profound effect on Sussex and the English Garden Scene as we Know it.

Finlay’s Grandad, Robin Purchased the company in 1989. Since then the company has had its fair share of ups and downs. The company was hit particularly hard by the recent recession, as were many small independent businesses. However, with passion a perseverance  the company has come out fighting. Today it continues to go from strength to strength, selling Trugs all over the world. Some of its famous customers include HRM the Queen and Alan Titchmarsh!

For many years, Chris was the Master Trug Maker for the company, producing thousands upon thousands of handcrafted Trugs. Each Trug is personally signed, a stamp of quality approval. If you own a Trug, check the bottom, it may be personally signed by Chris! Although Chris has now left the company, he is still actively involved with the business. He regularly helps train the new apprentices and runs the twice yearly ‘Trug courses’ at Singleton Open Air Museum. He also pops in every now and then just to help out. Once a Masters Craftsman, Always a Master Craftsman.

Finlay loves nothing more than to visit his Grandad at the Trug workshop in Herstmonceux. Fin was super excited to find out he was going on a visit while I was tucked up Ill in bed. He was even more excited to help his daddy out ever so proud to help his daddy at work!! #MySundayPhoto

 

Sig

Photalife

Bump Watch – Tiny Tuppen #2 Weeks 1 -17

bump watch

Welcome to my first ever Bump Watch post. It seems so long ago now when I first found out I was pregnant with Tiny Tuppen #2. In fact, I think initially, I was in a bit of denial. It wasn’t that this baby wasn’t planned or wanted, but I was smack bang in the middle of a work dispute. Chris and I had been discussing expanding our family earlier in the year, but when I was issued with my ‘At Risk of Redundancy’ notice. The sensible option was to wait and see if I still had a job.

I learnt my job was safe and babies once again became a topic of conversation. However, as the universe likes to test us, I was then told my working pattern no longer fitted the  organisation. My hours were cut, and my working pattern completely changed. It left me in a very difficult situation financially. My dispute began in June and I also fell pregnant in June!!!

So with all the stress and my mind being on other things, I wasn’t keeping track of my cycle. It wasn’t until I was about 2 weeks late that I mentioned it to Chris, but I convinced myself it was due to stress. About a week later, we finally got a test and a BFP! Chris was over the moon, all I could think about was work. I was between contracts, signed off with stress, on garden leave and I had been served my redundancy notice unless I could agree to the change of terms. So to protect myself, I had to keep it very quiet and hence my first bump watch at 17 weeks!

The First few weeks

The first few weeks were a bit of a blur with everything going on. However, once the sickness set in about 7 weeks, I was nauseous from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. Thankfully I was never sick, but I struggled to eat and drink and I lost about 4lbs in weight. In addition to the nausea, I was sooooo tired. I had never experience anything like it. I would wake up from long undisturbed nights sleep, completely dazed and shattered. I felt constantly hung over minus the headache!

Getting through the day was hard especially with a very active 3.5 year old. I thought this period would never end and I longed for the 12 – 14 week respite all the books say. Well lucky me, it carried right on and I can honestly say its only really last week that I have slightly more energy. Although I’m not nauseous now, my appetite isn’t great, but its slowly getting better. What we do for our babies, the joys!!

Booking in and the Dating Scan

I had my booking in appointment at 10 Weeks and my EDD was 09th March 2017. To be honest it was pretty much as I remembered it with Finlay although I don’t remember it taking quite so long at an hour and a half! Lots of questions about family history and in addition previous birth this time. As I disclosed my Anxiety issues and there was a tonne of paperwork to complete and people to copy in because of it. At the appointment I had my bloods taken, dating scan and my consultant appointment booked (due to previous C-Section).

At 13 weeks exactly we had our dating scan. I was worried that Tiny Tuppen wasn’t OK, however I had no need to worry. Tiny Tuppen was present, with a good heartbeat, with everything that it should have, nothing that it shouldn’t. Tiny Tuppen also was very active (I think another boy!). Tiny Tuppen measured as 13+4, resulting in EDD as 05th March. However, I ended up missing the Combined Screening test through lack of communication.

Consultant Appointment

At 15 weeks I had my consultant appointment. This is when it came to light I had missed the combine screening test. Chris and I were not told to go the get bloods taken on the scan day. We remember the conversation about the Screening and when we would find out the results. It seems odd we would both miss the part about going to get blood tests. The Hospital were sure we were told. Anyway, the consultant advised we could have a Quad screen test combined with the NT measurement taken at the dating scan.

The appointment with my consultant was pretty straight forward. I really want to try for a VBAC with this baby and the consultant had no objections as long as Tiny Tuppen is not Breech. To help reassure us the consultant has booked us in for a scan at 37 weeks to double check the presentation (Fingers crossed with this one). If it’s all good, we can go for a VBAC.

A few days after this appointment, we got the good news that Tiny Tuppen had screened negative for Downs and Edwards. The results were 1 – 2300 and 1 in 50000 retrospectively, which I think are pretty good odds.

16 Weeks Appointment

The Midwife called me 40 minutes before my appointment, which really annoyed me. As I was the only one booked into the Clinic she had made the decision to cancel my appointment. The midwife asked me to go somewhere else that afternoon for the appointment, but I couldn’t as I had plans. I felt like it wasn’t my fault and why leave it until 8.20am when my appointment was at 9am. I guess she had her reasons.

I had my appointment a week later with a different midwife. Surprisingly I found out that midwifes no longer check the babies heart beat at 16 weeks. I was really looking forward to this, especially for reassurance, but that’s the new government guideline’s. Apart from asking a few questions and filling in a few notes, BP and urine checks, that was pretty much it. My next appointment will be at 24 weeks (apart from the 20 week scan).

Worries so far with this pregnancy

  • unexplained bleeding (had my first bleed with Finlay at 16 weeks and regularly after)
  • Hoping stress hasn’t affected baby.
  • Is VBAC right choice?
  • How will work take the news?
  • Is baby OK?
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Breech presentation

Symptoms Vs Last pregnancy

  • No current bleeds – Touch Wood!
  • Loads of nausea – (None last pregnancy).
  • Tiredness – Much more severe this time.
  • No appetite.
  • No Nasty candida – again touch wood (constant from start to Finish with last pregnancy)
  • No movement felt yet – Pretty sure it was 16 weeks with Finlay
  • No Cravings – same last pregnancy

Well, that was a crash course through my first 17 weeks of pregnancy. I tried to keep it brief, I could have gone into so much more detail, waffling about this and that.

Find out next week how things are going and how work take my news!

Sig

MaternityMondays

Tiny Tuppen Number 2 is cooking!

Tiny Tuppen number 2EEEK, So I have been keeping this a secret for quite some time. We have a Tiny Tuppen due, our little family of three is going to become four!!

I haven’t really told many people, mainly because of all the issues I have had recently at work. I needed to get everything officially sorted before I let on. Luckily, this little babba has been good to me so far and I have only just begun to show at 17 and half weeks. Still easily disguise as bloating!! I will be letting work know tomorrow – anxiety is setting in!

Anyway, this is the best news I have had in such a long time, I am so excited. I will update with a more detailed post of this pregnancy so far and I really look forward to being able to document the rest of the pregnancy, but for now – Pink or Blue, whats your guess??

Sig

#MySundayPhoto- Budding Rockstar

My sunday Photo

This is my first time taking part in a linky and I have chosen #mysundayphoto as I like the simplicity. I am still trying to get into the swing of things having only had my blog up and running about a month, so here goes, hope its right!

#MySundayPhoto this week is actually my favourite photo I have taken in a long time. We have had such a hard time the last few weeks with this little man. At three and a half he has really begun to push the boundaries, testing and pushing us at every turn. I feel I have spent the last month in a constant battle of wills (god knows what the neighbours must think!). Finlay is so stubborn and headstrong that every little thing is an assertion of his growing Independence. We decided to try something new with him today, to try and distract and occupy him. So we dug out the old xbox guitar hero. All I can say is that for  ten minutes we had total and utter concentration, A Budding Rockstar in the Making!!

Sig

Photalife

Little Dish Family Cookbook: Review

Little Dish Family Cookbook ReviewBaking with Little Dish

Many of you that have found your way here probably already know Little Dish as producers of healthy pre packed Children’s meals made with 100% natural ingredients. Well the Founder Hillary Graves, has produced this Fantastic little cookbook with a wide selection of healthy recipes to cook together as a family!

I have had the Little Dish Family Cookbook for a good ten months now. Actually, I was super Lucky and won it in a competition last year, excited was an understatement! I am always on the look out for healthy new recipe’s that I can cook for the family and I knew that Little dish had released this. However, as I like to try and remain thrifty I tend to get my recipe’s of the internet, therefore I refrained from buying it. Winning it was a real Bonus!

Whats inside?

Little Dish - whats inside?I adore this book, its not just about cooking healthy wholesome meals for the whole family. The book actually actively encourages you to get your children involved in the cooking and preparation. Therefore, is especially great for encouraging fussy eaters to try new things.

The book is laid out really well, It has clean crisp design with splashes of colour, accompanied with beautiful, mouth watering photos. To add a little bit of fun, each recipe has a cute little character. He or she advises what your little one can do to help. A fun little bonus with this book is the sticker chart and stickers. Finlay really loved choosing his stickers. Its a great way for your child to see what and how many new skills they are learning, very innovative!

The Book is nicely split into the following sections:

  • Breakfast
  • Smoothies
  • Lunch & Supper
  • Savoury Snacks
  • Puddings & Desserts

The book also has very clear contents and Index pages. I cant stand not being able to find what I want in a cook book.

Lets Get Cooking!

As an afternoon activity, I always turn to the back of the book to either Savoury Snacks or Puddings and Desserts. I had my friends little girl also, therefore what better way to spend an hour or so baking with the tiddlers. Together we selected the Delicious ‘Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies‘!

Little Dish Baking

These cookies were really simple to make. They only required a few ingredients, Rolled Oats, Flour, Butter, Egg, Light Brown Sugar, Raising agents and chocolate Chips. The little ones could really join in with this recipe, due to all the mixing and stirring (it was messy!!). As the book suggest they really loved rolling out the mixture into balls and squashing them with forks. A huge bonus is they only take 10 minutes to cook. So we were soon sampling the fruits of our labour and these cookies always get a huge thumbs up from us!

Little Dish Chocolate Chip Otameal Cookies

This book gets the thumbs up from us and is most defiantly one of my Favourite toddler orientated cookbooks!

Finally, at time of writing this post this book is available on Amazon for £7.00 – Bargain!

Sig

Family Fever

Living with Anxiety – A Constant Battle!

anxiety-1157437_1920

The beginning…..

Anxiety is something that has been with me for as long as I can remember. Even as a small child I would worry about anything and everything. My main anxieties came from social interactions, I was painfully shy to the point of sometimes being mute. However for me this was normal and I don’t believe any alarm bells ever rang, with me or anyone. It wasn’t like it suddenly happened, it just was, as it always had been. I was quiet little Heidi, and anxiety was just part of me.

Growing with Anxiety

As a teenager, my shyness and anxiety became very intertwined. I had only a few friends and I found it near impossible to make new ones. My fear of social situations and interaction had a huge impact on my everyday life. I began to withdraw, and declined any invitation that may lead me to any kind of unplanned interaction with people. However on the outside, no one would ever know. I hid it well, smiled, laughed, disclosing my fears to no one. The more I worried though, the more I would worry about. Accidents,death, danger were always on my mind.

I struggled immensely with the torment inside, school and college suffered, I feared asking for help when I needed to, mainly because I didn’t know how to ask and it meant having to talk to people (it wasn’t until many years later I would learn I was Dyslexic). At college I started failing exams, an administration mix up meant I missed my main exam, but I did nothing. University was my dream, but a combination of poor results and not being able to ask for UCAS advice meant I never got my application in. I ended up taking on my part time job, full time.

Moving Forward and Recovering

I don’t know when I changed but at some point I told myself enough was enough. So I began to push myself, go out more (alcohol helped, in a good way!). My social issues remained,I struggled to talk to people, I made friends, not deep friendships but enough to go out and have fun. Although I constantly dreaded anything social, but I forced myself. Sometimes it worked out fine, sometimes I wish the world would swallow me whole. This is how I continued form any years, wishing I didn’t struggle, but getting by just fine.

Anxiety Relapse

I think it was when I had Finlay that my old anxieties began to return. At first, I don’t think I noticed. I put a lot of things down to being a stressed out first time mum. I had a pretty traumatic first few weeks after Finlay’s birth. Maybe this is what triggered it, being rushed to hospital? Maybe it was caring for such an innocent little human and realising there’s a lot of bad stuff out there and wanting to shield him from that? Slowly, slowly I began once again to withdraw.

I found trying to fit in with mummy friends and mummy groups tiring and no matter how hard I tried, I just never seemed to fit. I would often go to groups on my own, hoping I would meet someone, but I never did. Then I began to dread going and then I stopped going. I stopped meeting mummy friend and today I have probably isolated myself to the point they don’t even remember who I am now. All because of stupid anxiety!

Getting Help

Earlier this year, I had a traumatic time at work (you can read about that here if you wish) and my anxiety became too much. New symptoms began to develop. Chest pains, insomnia and just a general lack of wanting to go out at all, worrying about the slightest thing that could happen. I took a step I had never taken before and went to the Doctor. The Doctor and I talked and I was diagnosed with generalist anxiety and offered CBT. I haven’t got round to booking in yet, as typically they had the wrong contact details. They wrote to me to ask me to call for an appointment and calling people is something I really struggle with because I don’t know what to expect from the conversation. I will but in my own time.

So for now, anxiety is a big part of my life again. I am determined to beat it, not to let anxiety win, but sometimes I wonder If I’m strong enough, I guess only time will tell!

Sig

Rainy Days, Muddy Puddles and Ideas to Inspire!

Rainy Days and Muddle Puddles

Rainy days and muddy puddles

We knew it was coming, it had been forecast, but waking up to the rain and grey skies was a tad gloomy. Especially after the glorious sunshine of the past few days. Apparently in the south we were hotter than Thailand, and it was glorious!!

Rainy days come with mixed emotions in our house. I love the sunshine, the long days of summer. Chris on the other hand, can’t wait for autumn and the cozy storms it brings. Finlay, well come rain or shine he loves being out. However, he especially loves a play in the rain. He’s a typical boy as soon as there’s a puddle, he is in it. So when I asked him if he wanted to go out and splash in some puddles, I got a massive yes and he kissed my knee and said “THANK YOU MUMMY”!! He was happy. However, I know venturing out in the rain isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I thought I would share some of our other rainy day activities to inspire you.

Our Top Ten Rainy Day Activities

  1. Splash in Muddy Muddles

    As we already said this is our number one activity for rainy days. Put your waterproofs and wellies on and go and find them puddles. Its actually really fun to let your hair down and jump around with your kids. On the same topic, if you live near a forest or nature walk, take your little ones bike. Finlay loves skidding through the squishy mud on his balance bike, its messy, but remember its only mud, it will wash off!!

  2. Bake, Bake, Bake

    What better excuse to make some tasty cakes or biscuits? I always keep a box of those fairy cake mixes in the cupboard. They are quick and easy and Finlay loves sticking the edible stickers on at the end! If you fancy something else, why not try jam tarts or cheese straws!

  3. Make a Den

    Get those cushions, duvets and sheets out and make a fantastic den. I remember how magical it was when I was little. Think of make believe adventures to combine with the den, is it a ship drifting on the ocean with pirates and sharks lurking? or perhaps a fairy kingdom, a princess waiting for her prince to rescue her?

  4. Craft some items

    I have a draw full of paper, paints, glue, glitter (yes we have this evil stuff, Finlay seems to love it), pipe cleaners,boggly eyes, tissue paper, old greeting cards and we just make crazy things. I admit this can be messy and isn’t my number one activity, but its  great for the imagination every once in a while.

  5. Make Rock Creatures

    Grab some stones and Rocks (Easy for us as we live on the beach) and paint them. Stick some some eyes on them and voila – Rock Creatures. You can make them look like bugs, Lady birds, snails, butterflies or turn them into monsters. Decorate with stickers and glitter too!

  6. Read

    Use the time to catch up reading some books. Involve the children, ask them what they can see, what lessons they think they have learnt etc. Also activity books are great fun to do together and pass some time

  7. Play Board games

    The type of games will vary depending on the age of your child. ELC and Orchard have some great  games for younger toddlers. Finlay is getting to the age where hes beginning to understand some more complex games which is nice. He apparently loves Ludo (but hes doesn’t get that just yet, haha) Some of Favourites are hungry Hippos, Elefun and we even have a very Retro 80’s Mr pop that belonged to Chris Finlay loves.

  8. Dress up

    Whats not fun about dress up and make believe? Combine it with some of the other activities. make your costume! Dress up in use your den in the adventure. Act out your Chileans favourite,book, film and TV characters!

  9. Get involved with toys

    Get out the toys and play together. I often let Fin play while I’m trying so hard to fit everything else in. Don’t get me wrong, Finlay plays happily on his own, but its great to play with him. To put everything aside and just spend that time being part of his make believe world, the little things, rainy days can make us remember this!

  10. Watch  Movies

    Last but not least, do not let anyone tell you that TV is the spawn of the devil. I Think that TV can be a life saver. Especially if your busy. As long as you don’t have your little one glued to it 24/7 then don’t worry. On those rainy days make it extra special, Grab a duvet, get some popcorn, put your feet up and relax and watch a movie together!

Sig

 

The Fifa Fafer fo of the Primary School Application!

Education - Primary School Apllication ProcessThe Utter Confusion of the School applicant Process!

Seeing all the back to school photos on my news feed, has sent my tummy to a bag of nerves. This year we will be starting the School Application Process! To be honest It has come round so quickly (I guess it does for everyone). I feel I know very little about the process, but I know from word of mouth and news feeds, its a scramble for any place. I know also, all the local schools to us have been oversubscribed for the past few years. I’m guessing that’s a bad thing!

The Schools…

We live in an area that has one definite school in catchment. This school has a great reputation, but its a church school. They hold 30 places for worshippers and 30 places for everyone else (this may drop if they have over 30 church applications).  Then they follow the standard allocation procedure. The School application process for this school is also direct through the school (do I still apply online also? I’m so clueless).

I wouldn’t mind Finlay going to a church school. Although I don’t currently go to church but I am not an atheist. I like the values they teach and would like Finlay to learn about religion. To be to make his own mind up when hes older. However, I don’t hold out much hope of getting a place if I am honest.

The next nearest that may be in catchment, I know little about. It has a good OFSTED rating, but the parent feedback put me off a little. It had the highest percent of all the schools I was looking at with regards to bulling and how it was addressed. I also have heard very little about this school from word of mouth. This I find nerving and makes me think its not as highly regarded as some others.

Next, and to be honest just from my own research is my current favourite. I am unsure if we are in catchment but last year places did get down to distance and the furthest they accepted was 2.1 km away. We are about 1.9km. There may be hope for this one! I like this school as it promotes a lot of sustainability and Natural values. They even have there own Honeybee’s on the Marshlands opposite!

Finally, we have a lovely little School that’s on route to work for both Chris and I. Catchment for this school seems varied, but from last years stats we live too far away by about 0.2km. I do know people who have gone their who live where I live. Each new year will tell I guess.

None the Wiser!

I guess what really worries me is we don’t fall into many catchments as such, that our preferences will not matter and we will be placed anywhere. Scary stuff, thinking this decision is in someone elses hand.

All I know and have read is that children that have good supportive parents do better at poorer schools, than those at good schools with less parental support. So I know at the end of the day, I have some input into how well Finlay achieves. What worries me though is I want Finlay to be at a school where he feels safe and happy, is this something these other schools will offer?

For now, follow this space as I try and decipher the School Application Process. Working out about open days, questions to ask, applications and anything else. Currently I know very little, if anyone has any advice, please comment!

Sig