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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).

 

 

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

I’m in the Top 100 Weight Loss Blogs: and need a kick up the butt

Weight Loss Tips For Mums
Weight Loss Tips For Mums

I was shocked and chuffed to find that I’m No32 in the Top 100 Weight Loss Blogs!

That’s a list including people like Jenny Craig and ‘proper’ weight loss organisations, so it’s pretty good going.  I’ve even given all my weight loss blog posts a jolly good polish to celebrate.

BUT.

There is a problem.

I’m feeling a bit of a fraud.

Despite everything I said in my weight loss tips and the fact that I’m writing a blinking book about it.

In the last month or so I’ve tipped back officially into the ‘overweight’ range.

Again.

I know how it happened.

I spent much of 2011 thinking I had a bad back, frustrated that I could no longer run (despite being a rubbish runner) or do much exercise and not managing to fix it; add 4 lbs.

After several months with an Osteopath and Physiotherapist I decided to try an Acupuncturist.  Despite knowing that I know about nutrition (heh, I’m listed as one of the Top 100 Food Blogs by Woman and home!), I had lost confidence and listened to him when he said that I wasn’t eating enough; add another 3lbs.

Then I got my diagnosis with Fibromyalgia (pain all over the body), which meant I could no longer run to lose weight, which was my cheat as I’m a rubbish runner.  Plus, I get tired from doing about 1/4 the exercise I used to be able to do.  And I’m now on drugs that help brilliantly with the pain and sleep, but have the side effect of weight gain; add the final 8lbs.

*Hangs Head In Shame* after all I’m meant to know how to do it aren’t I?

Or maybe you will like me a little more to know that I’m not perfect *Looks hopeful*?

 

Anyway, it’s spring (I’m not keen on New Year), which is a great time for a fresh start ready for the summer.  So I’ve decided it’s time to kick my own rapidly expanding butt.

I may have Fibromyalgia.

It may be difficult.

But I know that my stuff works.

So I’m going to prove it.

I’m going to lose 1 stone 1lb: get back to a healthy weight and lose the muffin top.

It doesn’t matter that I’m doing it AGAIN.

Just that I do it!

 

I’d love your help?

I’m going to write a weekly diary of my progress; read my blog posts and keep me going because I may need some encouragement when I get Fibro flares and feel depressed and in pain.

Or join in and lose weight too? I’ve got a facebook group for ‘Easy Healthy weight loss’ and a facebook page.

Or tell me your story of how you lost weight against all the odds?

 

Fancy seeing who else is in the list?

Top 100 Weight loss blogs to follow

 

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

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Family Festivals

Have you thought of going to a Family Festival this summer?

Family FestivalsI know many of you won’t be even considering the hundreds/thousands of pounds that it costs to go on holiday this summer.

You might also be struggling to take 7-14 days off work.

I’ve got a great alternative for you …

Hows about thinking about a Family Festival instead?

 

If you’ve never been to a festival before, it’s a great way to start.

If you went to festivals before having kids, why stop now?

 

A ‘Family Festival’ can mean lots of things, but basically it means that there will be music, but kids are expected and catered for.  Some are more ‘family’ than others.

I had the idea of going to a Family Festival last year because I’d never been to a festival before, so I thought maybe if we start now with the kids, they’ll invite us along with them to Glastonbury when they are teenagers!

We went in a yurt glamping, but this year we are going to try camping for the first time with a glamping twist (think bunting, and pretty colours!).  You can also just go for the day, or stay in a local B&B if you don’t fancy getting in touch with nature though.

To be fair to people who used to go to festivals when they were younger, it’s not going to be the same; getting drunk just isn’t practical when you have little ones to watch and lots of people around you.  The good news is that kids don’t mind mud and love tents, so as long as you are willing to compromise a bit, I reckon a family festival will be every bit as good as the ones that you used to go to.

We went to ‘Just So’ in Staffordshire in august and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G full of magic and imagination (here’s my review), with some great music in the evening.  Curly headed boy said that the 3 days felt like 10; so you see it is the perfect alternative to a holiday.  Apparently according to the stall holders who go to loads of festivals we were lucky to get the right one first time round, because it is definitely the best from a fun, safe and family perspective (i.e. it’s not about getting drunk or taking ‘other’ substances).  Luckily for me they’ve invited us back this year, but even if they hadn’t we would sooooo be going.    If you are a first timer and love magical things, then this is definitely the right festival for you, I’ve just checked their website and it’s looking even better this year.  We took a radio flyer, but this year you can rent them (brilliant idea), my favourite singer JonPaul Palombo is back in the acoustic tent, and it looks like it’s packed with the same sort of simple, slightly naive, and really funny things for the children to do.

This year we have also been invited to try out the Penn Festival in a couple of weeks, which is much nearer us in Buckinghamshire.  It’s much more of a music festival, with an eighties vibe, so perfect for me and the Northern one’s music tastes; I’m looking forward to Snap, Altered Images and The Beat most of all.  It sounds like it started out as a local thing and has expanded from there, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what it’s like.  It’ll be our first long weekend camping as well; lets hope this rainy weather isn’t all summer.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

If you can’t make it to Penn or Just So, never fear!  Check out these two sites for ideas on where to go:

Festival Kidz

Festivals for All.

 

Here are my 10 top tips for picking a Family Festival:

1) If you don’t want the extra cost of accommodation, choose somewhere nearby and pick one with entrance for just a day.

2) If you fancy staying over, there are always B&B’s or you can camp (tips on camping coming soon).

3) If you have a bit more money then go for a Yurt or a Bell tent already put up for you.

4) If your kids are young, find smaller family festivals, rather than the bigger obvious ones like Lollibop (London) or Camp Bestival (Dorset).

5) Check what is included, because the last thing you want to do is pay and then have to pay for the activities as well.

6) Check the reviews and avoid the ones where it is more about the stalls and selling of ‘stuff’.

7) Take snacks and water, because food will be expensive if you have to buy every meal.

8) Extend the trip by a couple of days and turn it into a weeks holiday to combine two things into one.

9) Safety is paramount – have some kind of sign/agreement to work out which adult is on watch at any one time, don’t just assume and make sure the kids have your mobile no on them.

10) Prams and pushchairs may not be viable.  Slings, backpacks and radio flyers work well.

 

I hope I’ve convinced you to try out a family festival this year and you have as much fun as we will.

I’m going to write a post with tips for what to wear to a festival, so don’t worry about that bit, plus some tips for first time campers like us.

I’d love your tips for festivals or links to places that you have been.  Feel free to add a blog post to your review if you’ve written one.

I’m just hoping that the weather improves; but I’m sure that we’ll get into the spirit of it all anyway!