I don’t know about where you are, but here in Yorkshire (Yorkshire folk will confirm), we have had some pretty miserable rainy weather recently! When I planned our Summer break, I never took into account the good old British weather and how it might influence those plans. I just saw the word “Summer” and imagined long sunny days in sandals and shorts, paddling pools and water fights, and lots of ice pops! Reality however has been somewhat different, and whilst we have eaten our fair share of ice pops, I’ve quickly realised Summer is very unpredictable – you cant exactly have a beach trip in a monsoon, and you can’t take the kids on a nature walk when its blowing a gale, and as you are probably more than aware, it has been on that level of rainage/storms!


Yesterday was a complete wash out of course, and potentially a day of cancelled plans, falling out and exhaustion. I was slightly disappointed to say the least, but at the same time we took it in our stride and made the most with what we had. With said rain (and a long weekend of travelling) it meant that we ended up staying in all day which would usually equate to me going slightly mad and us all getting a good dose of cabin fever, but it actually turned out to be a really hearty and successful day in! We had invited some friends over for a play date and whilst the kids built dens, played dress up, trains, knights and watched Moana (for the 50th time), we chatted about anything and everything! We then made homemade pizzas for lunch and had sneaky ice creams out of the freezer for afters. The day flew by and the kids had so much fun with new faces and friends. 

I went to bed feeling like it was certainly a “Mum win” kind of a day!

On the flip side of our lovely rainy day in yesterday, just last week we embraced the rainy forecast and hit the water fountains in Hull city centre. We decided that the kids were going to get wet anyway so what’s a bit of rain? It turns out it wasn’t “just a little bit rain” but clearly Yorkshire is now home to a Monsoon season, and we were soaked to the skin in seconds with nowhere to shelter! The kids LOVED it, and it was the biggest laugh and fun we’ve had in ages…

It is from these 2 days of laughing and having fun despite us apparently being in Monsoon season, that I have decided that rain is actually a lot of fun if you are prepared. Whether you are out and about splashing in it and getting soaked, or snuggled with friends indoors eating yummy food (and they were delish pizza’s), and playing your favourite games together, it can be a great day “whatever the weather”!

I think as parents we often spend so much time feeling like we aren’t enough for our kids, or we are so quick at pointing out or down falls, and what we haven’t been able to do with them, that we miss the small moments that matter. The moments that bring sunshine despite the rain…the moments like making the most of a rainy day with friends, and getting soaked from fountains and rain together. The moments of giving your kids a fun day inside despite the weather and creating memories as well as their own pizza! On days like these we need to pat our selves on the back and celebrate, because we didn’t just survive it, we laughed, we loved and we had a heck of a lot of fun!

Rain, I have discovered, doesn’t have to make for cancelled plans and going insane. It is fun, sounds great on a conservatory roof, and encourages you at times to take a break and become inventive!

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The focus of our summer bucket list this year was mainly to explore our new county (Hello East Yorkshire), and to spend a lot of time enjoying our new easier access/closer proximity to the coast. Whilst planning what we might like to do, we have spoken a lot about picnic teas on the beach and in the garden, paddling on the beach, discovering new farms, places by train, and local nature in the countryside.

We plan on me doing the fun days out and crafty things, and then hopefully bonus beach trips or country walks on an evening with daddy when he gets home from work!

The kids wanted to do some of the same things as last year, whilst also making the most of our new home and spend some time in the garden too. They want to see their cousins and hang with Grandma’s too…Together we came up with this.

Summer Bucket list 2017

Visit a Castle
Go inside a Lighthouse
Go to the Model Village
Go to a Farm
Go to the Rock Pools and hunt for crabs
Sealife in Scarborough
Have Breakfast on the Beach
Go Glamping
Hull Fountains
Go on a boat ride
Make Ice lollies
Go on Holiday
Go to Eden Camp
Eat a big Ice cream
Bake a cake
Make Potions
Watch them make the Rock
Have a sleepover with cousins
Visit a new museum
Have a fire/Smores
Discover the “Forgotten Village”

Making it happen…

From there I did the same as last year and drew up a calendar to make sure we remembered to do everything. School holidays are themed each day and rotated each week, and so we work it into that. I then find that within an hour or so not only is everything in there to do, but I also have a plan for everyday of the summer.

Doing this means for us that I can make the most of the time I have with my kids and also know where I am with things like dinner on an evening (do I need to put something on whilst we’re out all day?). It makes life far easier with 3 kids, because it means I can look at the schedule in advance and plan for picnics, transport, invites to friends, or generally just use it as a bargaining chip in my discipline efforts (yes I do believe in bribes!). Of course there will be mornings watching Tv or playing with toys (It is there Summer break after all) but a schedule means we know our focus for the day and we know what to wear and pack in the bag the night before.

So here is a simplified version of what we are doing each day in the summer holidays. Some of them will be on consecutive days, like Sealife and then Filey Brigg the day after, this way we can sleep in Filey at my sisters and tick off “cousins sleepover” and “Breakfast on the beach”…For obvious reasons I have left out my specific dates of when we are doing everything, but you get the idea and hopefully will find it helpful to get through and enjoy summer with the kids!

 

I am so excited for Summer adventures and days spent on the coast, enjoying village life, family time, settling into our new life and discovering new places!

What do you have planned for Summer?

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Trains are officially my mode of transport now it would seem, and as a result I think most people assume I can’t drive here. For someone who has driven since 17 and hot on cars, it’s been so weird to be asked on several occasions this week if I have a licence or thought about getting one, because “It would save a lot on train fairs”! It’s quite funny really but does make me miss having the car on a regular basis. I am looking forward to having daily life in the village and only needing the train for a day out, which won’t be long now. We are on the final count down with the last leg of the move, and this time next week we will have exchanged and completed and preparing to move into our village pad!

This week has been bursting at the seams with deals and bargains; not only have we have had a date out (bonus), but we have booked our summer holiday, and Alice and I have found some freebie things for the Summer Hols in a couple of weeks.

Sand Pit at Princes Quay

Its been ages since I went to Hull and walked around the City, and doing so yesterday brought back many memories of my teen years shopping there with friends! Alice and I caught the train a little further after the school run and met up with one of my very good friends here (who is also Nath’s cousin) and her kids, and spent the day playing in Hull.

We went to Princes Quay which now has an outlet floor (bargains) and seems very much geared towards entertainment. It was a lot quieter in the city than I remember, but it meant it added to a feeling of being more relaxing.

We sat for a good while chatting next to this cute sand pit they have there on the 2nd floor whist both her eldest and Alice had a fab time digging and playing in the sand. After lunch we headed outside, where across the road they have some lovely new fountains where the kids flock to and play in for ages too. It was gorgeous and all very chilled.

I’ve never thought much of Hull but being there reminded me of some great things the kids would love which are all Free, and I know that come the Summer Holidays Ethan & Megan will be super excited to go check out the fountains!

Summer Holiday

If you missed my most recent post, it was all about our Bargainous Summer Holiday in August! In a nut shell its 7 nights, mid August, family of 5 to Pisa/Tuscany for £630 (total NOT each).  You can read how I did it here.

Pizza Express Voucher

Last Saturday and all rather last minute, Nathan and I decided to go out for dinner whilst the kids were asleep. My sister in law was kind enough to listen out for them, and we found ourselves enjoying a gorgeous meal at Pizza Express. I don’t know about you, but I feel like Pizza Express has gotten rather pricey these days? (They have also stopped making my fave pasta dish and the Bosco salad – gutted!).

I, in true thrifty style, found a voucher for us to have a 3 course meal for £12.95 each! It was delicious and a lot easier on the ol purse strings!

Check out Voucher Codes to see if they have anything you can use this weekend, that’s where I found this one!

Little Bargs in the Charity Shop

I haven’t particularly been looking for much in the charity shops this week as I have been pretty busy. Here and there though I have called in to the odd one just for a quick nosy.

On Saturday I bought an amazing African looking dress for a fiver, a cushion for the new house for £2, and the ultimate bargain on Monday in Brid – some brand new sandals for Ethan for £1.49!

Pack up for Swimming

Finally last Friday we went swimming after school. I learnt from last time that they come out of swimming absolutely ravenous and so to save stress, tears and money, I made them a pack up and they sat in the boot of the car after swimming and enjoyed it. Ham sandwiches, crisps and fruit – it went down a treat!

We have discovered a negative to living in the country during summer time, in the form of  “Harvest bugs”! In our hair, all over our clothes, on our arms and in our stuff. They are everywhere! As soon as we step off the train into the village we are greeted with mini beetle type black bugs and thin minute wiggly sorts and they’re blumming annoying!

Today is our school’s Summer fair, which we are a little too excited for I think, and then we shall be on the countdown to moving day… Those bugs better do one by then! The long standing residents of the village assure me we will get used to them (in about 4 years!), but they are most certainly a negative to the dream of country living…

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With the wonderful taste of Summer we had last week, we found that going out was both easy and very exciting too. Now Alice is 10 months old, she eats almost anything and has a reliable schedule for her 3 meals a day. She also loves to snack like no other and often that part of life catches me out!

Whilst going out and making the most of the weather has been a wonderful thing, I have been caught out on far too many occasions with lack of snacks for her. I just forget with the mad dash of school runs and my fried brain, and I never thought I would say this, but I really do miss the days when we could go anywhere at anytime because my milk was all we needed.  Nowadays it is a mass of clothes, snacks and “stuff” and I am still getting used to needing to be a little more organised!

To make life a little simpler however, here are some things I have a discovered to ensure life is made somewhat easier when on-the-go with a baby this Summer!

A Spoon

I always make sure I have a spoon in my bag. It may seem a bit random but it has saved me on many occasions from a baby melt down, and has been super useful for the times when I have forgotten to pre pack meals or snacks. It is also helpful if we stay out longer than planned and need to grab a pouch or jar of baby food for dinner. I use the one from Oxo tots that I previously reviewed, as it is sturdy, easy to keep clean and Alice seems to love it the best. It stays in my bag and I feel way more relaxed knowing we have it!

Pots of snacks/Fruit Pouches

I used to just shove the pack of rice cakes or whatever into my bag, but realised my other kids were dipping in and by the next day the bag was split and they were a soggy mess all over the bottom of my bag! (Not fun and very gross!).

I was recently sent some snack pots from Oxo Tots that have become my new fave, and baby essential when out and about from day to day. Having them in my bag has made life so much easier and feeding Alice on-the-go more convenient. Firstly are the flip top snack pots… I love them in the Raspberry colour as they are easy to see and just look lovely. I also love that you can easily see what’s inside thanks to the clear sides. They are robust for a baby that likes to chuck stuff, and the tops are secure, yet easy to open when wrestling with said baby. I also like that if they aren’t eaten on that day, the pot keeps them fresh for the next.

We also have the Small and Large bowl set which has been great to transfer left overs to and from the fridge to going out. They are easy to store and clean, and I find the small one is great to make finger food lunches and the larger one main meals. The lids are secure and are easy to pop in the microwave and heat up too. I love that they are nifty little bowls instead of the random Tupperware I used to use and I really enjoy using them day to day. I usually dish up a portion of dinner into one of these for the next day.

Then we have the snacks…the market is huge with an array of snacks for on-the-go and we have tried many different brands over the years. We recently discovered “Heavenly Organic Superfoods” which combine wonderful flavours for tasty and healthy baby snacks. I really love the array of foods they produce, from fruit pouches to mini bread sticks and little “halo bites”. Their snacks are small enough to fit in pots and big enough for babies to grab and hold independently. Alice especially enjoyed the carrot and cumin waffles, the wafers and “Coconut Squishies” (fruit pouches made with coconut milk – yum). Their Rosemary bread sticks also came in very useful when I was out with my sister and her toddler twins the other week too, and went down an absolute treat!

Alice also loves the Apple & Sultana muffins from local company “Little Fingers” who also have tasty savoury snacks made from carrots and lentils, and courgettes. Again these are really convenient for quick on-the-go feeding solutions (if you remember to pre cook some of them in advance).

Nappies and Wipes

So I am very aware that this super obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I have reached for the wipes and they either aren’t there, or its a trick and the pack is empty. Cleaning poo from a weaned baby in public with toilet roll and soap and water is pretty awkward and so embarrassing! Now not only do I keep nappies and wipes in a pouch in my main bag, but we also keep them in this handy wipes dispenser and nappy pouch from OXO tots that we were recently sent for review. I find it useful for the car, but honestly don’t feel it is something I would naturally buy myself and don’t use it day to day.

Nathan on the other hand LOVES it and uses it regularly. He prefers it to a big changing bag or back pack when taking the kids out solo, and finds the grey a little more manly! From a dad’s perspective it is the perfect baby accessory to hang on the pram, ensuring minimum “stuff” and super easy to access…it is now his thing and he thinks its great for on-the-go!

Water

Now the weather is mostly hotting warming up, it is so important to make sure baby stays hydrated. I am surprised how much water baby Alice goes through each day, but I am usually always good at making sure I have her a cup of water in my bag so she can enjoy little sips throughout the day.

A Hat

All my kids have been quite fair as babies and so whilst we love to be out and about enjoying the weather, we have to be aware of the dangers too. Remembering sun cream is often a downfall at this stage of the year, because everything is so unpredictable. Remembering a hat however seems easier (?!) And Alice is just about getting used to her little sun hat, which was only £1 in a local charity shop. I keep it in the bag and pop it on when the sun show’s its face!

Overall having a baby in any season and going anywhere is a lot of work with a heck of a lot of stuff to remember. I always think as long as I have food and water and a nappy and wipes we can make do and have a lovely day out -whether it is spontaneous or something planned. A hungry/grumpy baby certainly puts a damper on things and causes a lot of unnecessary stress, but snacks like those from Heavenly Organics and the pots from Oxo Tots, have certainly made it super easy to keep in my bag and know I’ll be okay!

*Thank you to OXO TOTS and Heavenly Foods for sending these products for review. All thoughts and pictures are my own. 

 

 

Family Fever
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