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8 Top Tips For Having Wonderful Summer Holidays With The Kids On A Budget

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Here are my Top Tips for finding things to do in the holidays to keep those kids of yours busy without breaking the bank!

 

1) The Library

There is a summer challenge every year.  This year is the ‘Creepy House Challenge‘ where the kids read 6 books by the end of the summer holidays and they get loads of encouragment from the librarians with stickers and the chance to tell them about each book.

This is a great activity.  It’s Free.  It takes time going to the library.  You can do it when it rains!  Plus it’s a gentle way of keeping them going on reading.

 

2) Forests

I’m an ambassador for The Forestry Commission and love Wendover Forest.  They have a Forest Fairy Tale activity going on at the moment, which is a great way of getting our kids involved in being outside.

Take a picnic, make dens, let their imagination run free!

 

3) Festivals

I LOVE going to small or family festivals.  I’m off to Folk by the oak this weekend and Folk Stock in September.  Check out my top tips for first timers.

Take your own food and drink to keep the cost down and give the kids a purse with their money in it so that they understand there is a limit and can choose what they would like to do, but that it’s not an endless supply.

 

4) Simple Things are good for the kids

Don’t worry about a lack of money, it’s good for the kids to enjoy the simple things in life.

Don’t try to fill all their time, it’s good for them to get a little bored, or to learn to occupy themselves (although you may need to give them a bit of direction or make it easy for them to think about it).

 

5) How to keep the house together and yourself from going crazy

Check out my Top 7 Tips For the Summer Holidays , with ideas on how to keep the kids occupied and help the house to survive!

 

6) When You Are Exhausted

Read these top tips for cheap games to play when you are tired:  so that when you are exhausted, or if you get sick, you have some simple things that take little energy for you to do, or that they will be happy doing over and over.

Take some time out.  Swap with another mum.  Ask relatives to give you a day off.  Or pop the kids into a day’s camp if you can afford it.  You’ll come back revitalised and fun to be with, so it’s a win-win for the whole family!

 

7) Don’t Do Things You Can’t Afford

Don’t put yourself in debt in order to survive the holidays.  Your kids don’t need that.  A simple rule of thumb is that if it’s going to take you more than 3 months to pay off (i.e. a season), then you can’t afford it.

They won’t be ruined forever if they don’t get to go to Disney World or an adventure park.  Look at the free things available instead like museums or community events.

 

8) Don’t Feel Guilty About Working

It’s a fact of life, some of us have to work full or part-time during the holidays.  I’m particularly aware of this as things are going to be really busy this summer with the preparations for my new Salon and Spa as it opens in October.

With the time that you have, be present with them.  Create Memories.  Have fun.

 

What are your top tips?  (Feel free to add your blog post if you have written one, I don’t mind people adding links).

 

 

Add some colour to your tent

Don’t Forget a Thing! Packing List For Camping With Your Kids

Add some colour to your tentI’m just back from my first ever camping trip and first ever family music festival, so being addicted to lists I thought I would share and share alike!

I promise you won’t get such a comprehensive list elsewhere because:

(a) I’m a bit wacky and love a bit of glamping and

(b) I’m retentive about lists.

I’ve highlighted the MUST HAVEs for you!

If you haven’t been to a festival with the kids yet, check out my post on why family festivals are a great adventure to try out with the kids and my review of the fabulously muddy Penn Festival and last years Just So.

 

Clothes

Check out my tips on what to wear to a festival, plus my Pinterest board with more ideas and links to the clothes.

Wellies (there are some lovely ones on my Pinterest board)

Crocs (don’t use if very muddy, they’re feet will be a terrible mess!)

Daps if it’s not muddy (There’s some cute daps on this Pinterest board of mine)

Fleeces – were brilliant for me and the kids (I’ve now bought an extra one, so that I’ve got daytime and nighttime ones!)

PJ’s – take extra incase of trouble for the kids (mine are fleecy Joe Browns ones)

Water proof coats and trousers – I don’t wear the trousers (yuk!), but they were a must for the kids and the hairy one.  The macs need to be those pack-a-mac ones for lightness (try to get a prettier one if you can)

Wooly hats – for kids in evenings

Pashmina Scarf – for me (I don’t go anywhere without them)

Socks, Knickers, Bras – just incase you forget

Wings, Tutu’s and wands for Little Dimples

Fancy Dress For Curly Headed boy

Poncho Towels x 2 for the kids for after a shower

Nappies, wipes and bags

Outfits for each day plus spare leggings/tracksuit bottoms

 

Bedrooms

Hotwater bottles for me and the kids – OMG so glad I had these as I’m a wimp!

Pillows for me – yep wimp again.

Those cuddly teddy bear pillow for the kids – make great teddies and travel companions too.

Sleeping bags – a double for me and Little Dimples, Moshi Monster one for Curly Headed Boy and ‘proper’ one for the hairy northerner

Double blow up bed (and pump) – for the girls

Sleeping Mats – thick mat for the little boy and thin mat for the ‘hard’ one

Blankets x 4 – 1 under me, 2 on top of me and 1 more for Curly Headed Boy

Bed Bumpers – so that little dimples doesn’t roll into the tent side (she doesn’t like it)

Towels x 4 – can’t have enough towels

Microfibre hair turban if your hair takes a while to dry (£1 from Wilkinsons or a pound shop)

Festival

Rucksacks – for each of us, don’t use over the shoulder bags, and if you can get oilcloth washables one for you, they will be the easiest to clean afterwards.

Ear Defenders for kids

iPads and iPhones with films on for packing and unpacking

Power monkey to charge up iPads and iPhones – AMAZING!

Radio Flyer – perfect for carrying two kids, sleeping babies, lugging stuff from the car, and getting through mud. (some places you can rent them)

Games

2 books of drawing/sticker activities

Lego book for son, Duplo for daughter

Football – didn’t take it, will do next time as it is much more sensible than a frisbee

Books – thin ones that work for both kids (Gruffalo!)

Bananagrams game

Some little characters to play with e.g. Mini mouse plastic tiny travel house for Little Dimples, and Octonaughts submarine for Curly Headed Boy

 

Camping Stuff

Here’s my pinterest board for camping/glamping stuff.

Bog in a Bag – OMG you HAVE TO HAVE one of these – no long trip to the loo overnight or panic when it’s pissing it down! (there are a few left here to buy!)

Bunting and solar fairy lights – 2 lots – VERY important!

Tent – check out my review of the Vango Airbeam  Tent

Mallet – for the tent.

Pop up tent – we have a little one that is useful sometimes for at the festival or keeping things in outside our tent if we don’t take an awning.

Pink whistling kettle – obviously!

Enamel Tea Pot – Keep Calm and drink tea from John Lewis – tea is obviously a necessity!

Enamel Plates and Bowels – pretty ones with bunting on from John Lewis – I was disappointed that the edges seem a little dodgy.  You can buy the blue ones from the pound shops.

Cuttlery – we had plastic, but it was horrid.

Cooking spoon – get a metal one, we melted the plastic one!

Saucepan and frying pan – doesn’t need to be big, just enough for a whole meal for the family.

Front door mat – WOW this was useful – I’d bring two next time one for inside and one for outside

Wind break, HUGE picnic blanket and cushions from GLTC – gorgeous and made it feel really homey.  Would have been wonderful if it was sunny.  But didn’t wash very well :o(

Picnic basket and cool box – we didn’t really use this as we decided not to take lunch with us, but we will use it at the Just So festival and our holiday in Siblu (french caravan park).

Cooker with 2 hobs and under toaster (plus canister) – great for tea, a full english breakfast and making dinner on the night we arrived.

Collapsible water bottle – a must have

Collapsible washing up bowl – so useful for feet, washing up and catching drips from wet clothes!

Oven gloves – get thinner light ones as the lids are small

Light cutting mats for cutting up things to cook on.

Knife with cover.

Tea towel – we forgot!

Dustpan and brush – definitely needed on longer trip.

Kitchen cooker table – was very wobbly, I wasn’t sure that it would stay straight.  Not needed for a festival (just cook on the ground), but good for a longer trip as long as you buy boxes to store stuff underneath.

Table and Chairs – This one from Cotswold is very easy to transport, but a little wobbly with little kids and takes up lots of room.  I don’t think you need it for a festival, just for camping longer than a weekend.

Cheap Plastic backed picnic blanket – was a god send outside the front door.

Wind up Lamp, plus two little ones for the kids (head torches are great too)

Something to hang up wet stuff with – a washing line or I got a pink plastic oval thingy with pegs on it that I could hang from something

General kitchen supplies

LOADS of black bags

LOADS of antibacterial wipes

LOADs of baby wipes

LOADS of kitchen roll

LOADS of Loo roll

LOADs of little packs of tissues

Matches

Little travel bottle with washing up liquid

Newspaper can be great outside the front door if it gets muddy (or straw as we had)

Dish cloths

Toiletries

EAR PLUGS – (Reminded by a lovely commenter!) – I use the blue waxy ones from Boots, not the yellow foam ones or the plastic ones.

Eye masks – you know the ones you get on a plane – can be useful because it gets so light in a tent in the mornings!

Wipes to wash face and take off make up

Travel bottles with shampoo and conditioner.  (I can’t travel without mousse either).

Moisturiser

Deodorant

Toothbrushes and toothpaste

Makeup.

Tampons and pads – if there is a chance your period is going to come while you are away, you so know it will!

First Aid – Plasters, Suntan Lotion, Sudocrem, Thermometer, Calpol, Aloe Vera (after sun and good for bites)

Food

Note: Remember not to take glass bottles to a camp site or festival.
Most important – Tea (or coffee), milk (take 2 x 1 litre and have one of them frozen), Orange juice, apple juice (take a frozen one), squash in a plastic bottle
Alcohol – now at the penn festival you couldn’t take alcohol on site, so the best bet would have been cans of cider or gin in a tin.  But at Just So last year we spent some time at the tent in the evening, so a box of wine is a good plan.  (Be considerate if you get drunk please!).
Fruit – last year I felt a bit unwell after going to Just So because my body is fussy and likes it’s fruit and veg.  So definitely take grapes, apples, satsumas, those innocent fruit drinks for the kids, and some extra veg for the adults for the first night’s dinner.
Snacks – will be expensive so add some high sugar but healthy emergency rations: bear fruit, yogurt covered raisins/strawberry flakes, sesame seed snaps etc.  Plus late at night the kids might be snackish, so some crackers are a good idea.
Breakfast:
  • Cereal – those little travel boxes of cereal are great if you aren’t taking bowls.  But they caused arguments between the kids as they don’t have equal numbers of types of cereal.  So I’m going to pick one type and put in a plastic box next time.
  • Toast – nice and easy and a good back up to have a loaf of bread with butter and marmite
  • Brioche – can make a lovely breakfast or snack later
Lunch/Brunch
  • Eggs, Bacon, Sausages, Tomatoes – we had a full english breakfast because the Penn Festival didn’t start until 12, so didn’t need to take a picnic lunch with us.  Whereas the Just So festival starts really early, so there will be no time for this.
  • Baps, cheese, crisps – when we go to Just So it starts earlier so we will take lunch with us.
Dinner – on the evening of arrival and last night – but don’t bother during the festival.
    • 2 cold cooked chicken breasts chopped up added to fresh pasta (quicker to cook).  Add pesto and a big tin of sweetcorn.
    • Tins of tuna heated up with some philidelphia and milk to make a sauce and big tin of sweetcorn with pasta or noodles
    • Tins of spagetti bolognaise on toast with big tin of sweetcorn
    • Tins of tomato soup, big bread, cucumber and carrots
    • Hotdogs (but my hubby is allergic to celery, so they don’t work for us)
    • I was tempted to introduce the kids to spam and corned beef!
    • Remember you can get tinned potatoes, which would be quicker to cook than normal ones.

 

 

What do you think of my tips and list?  Let me know if you use it and if there’s anything to add.  Also feel free to add your own lists in the comments!