Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Making the summer holidays affordable. Adults go free with Kelloggs at selected attractions, kids eat free at Frankie and Benny's, Vue Mini Mornings for £1.99, swimming for kids for £1 and more

The summer holidays are here, we are just one week in and already the children want to do so many activities that sometimes just aren't easily affordable. If you don't want to spend the rest of the holidays skint that is! 

Days out are always expensive for us anyway due to the size of our family however theme parks etc... aren't always affordable for a lot of people. Doing one or two days out is ok but when you have six weeks to fill it can get a bit much. 

I have had a quick scout around of offers that are on at the moment as well as fun free activities to do with the children. 

Firstly, Kelloggs are running 'Grown ups go free' at selected attractions across their cereal range. These attractions include; including: THORPE PARK Resort, the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Manchester, Madame Tussauds London or Blackpool, SEA LIFE centres & Sanctuaries, The Dungeons, Warwick Castle, Shrek’s Adventure! London, Aqua Zone at the National Aquatic Centre Dublin, Aillwee Cave and many more. These vouchers last until 30.06.2017 and are valid with another full paying adult or child. Restrictions do apply, please see the website for full details. 

Legoland adventures

Over the weekend we visited our local Vue cinema who are running their Mini Morning films every morning over the summer holidays. At just £1.99 per person this makes a cinema visit a lot more affordable than it usually is. We saw Angry Birds the Movie and there is also Kung Fu Panda 3 on show too. Check out the Vue cinema for dates for specific films. 

Vue Mini Mornings for £1.99

When you are out and about the children inevitably get hungry and what better way to eat than Kids eat Free at Frankie and Benny's! Every Monday-Friday from 4th July to 2nd September 2016, all you have to do is download the F & B's app. One child eats free per adult eating from the main menu, up to four free kids meals per table. 

Our local Places for People leisure centre is offering kids swimming for just £1 over the holidays. for a registration fee of £3 per application all children aged 16 years and younger can swim for £1 within the All Welcome and Family Fun sessions. Do check your local leisure centre for any similar offers. 

Local library summer reading challenge. It's FREE, my favourite word at the moment! The local library is always a fab place to go and hunt out new books to read. The summer reading challenge takes place each year and the children need to read six books to complete the challenge. Find more details and sign up at your local library. This is always good for rainy days and you can take as many trips back and forth to choose the right books too. 

Local to us we have Stoke Park to visit. It includes a splash pool for the kiddies that they can have hours of fun playing in and a grass area to take a picnic. You could spend the whole day there just for the cost of a car park ticket and maybe an ice cream too! There is also a play park, mini golf (fees apply) plus lots of sports facilities to hire too. 

We also visit Runnymede in the summer too. There is a splash pool there so don't forget a towel for the little ones. We pack up a picnic and take a football and some cricket stuff. we play games, have a mass family picnic, the kids enjoy a splash around, we walk along the River Thames and enjoy an ice cream too. Parking charges apply but this again makes for a cheap day out. 

(Whilst the 2 parks mentioned are local to us please do look up parks in your local area and see what you can find whether it be a play park, splash pool, sports facilities or more.)

 A trip to the beach is always great fun. We have so many different places we could go to within an hour to an hour and a half drive away. Again you can pack up a picnic, some towels and your swimmers and have a fab fun day out at the beach. The children love making sandcastles, burying each other in the sand, splashing in the sea and looking for shells and more. 

A slightly chillier day than normal at the beach

What are your top tips for saving pennies over the summer holidays? Are you struggling to keep them entertained or keep up with the demands of days out? 

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Summer Holidays have arrived and I am now on countdown to my last baby leaving for big school in September. Where were my Mummy transition days, I am not ready for this!

That's it, schools out and the summer holidays are under way. I've already been asked if we can go bowling, swimming, cinema, Legoland and more and we are only on day one of them all being home together!

The sun is finally shining and we bought a swimming pool to keep them busy when we are at home, not every day can be a full on day out unfortunately. Although I am always one for a discount code or buy one get one free tickets on days out it's still expensive for us all to go so days out have to be limited unless they are cheap or free. We have a local lido which looks fun and we could easily spend a day there, a walk into the local woods to feed the ducks and take a picnic is another activity to do and I have just booked tickets for the £1.99 movie mornings at our local cinema which are running every day over the holidays.

The last few weeks of school were a mix of disco's, sports days, summer fayres and visiting new classes for September. With 4 children in 4 different schools there were a lot of dates to keep in kind for various end of term activities. For my youngest this meant visiting 'big school' in readiness for Reception Class in the new term.

Is he ready? Yes. Am I ready? No. He's my last baby and he is all grown up. He is still only 3 and not due to have his 4th birthday for another few weeks so it all seems very strange visiting Infant School with a 3 year old and watching him quite happily walk in and feel at home.

What I want to know is where were my transition days? Who will help me when all of my babies go into school in September? Who has made sure that I will be ok on that first day back at school?!

I thought all would be fine, my babies are growing up and I will have more time to get things done during the day. However events of recent weeks have proved I am not ready even if Thing 5 is. I have never got to this stage of the youngest child's life without having another baby to look after and this time around I thought I was fine with that.

I thought I was ok. I thought I was enjoying watching my babies grow and start the next chapter of their lives but where does that leave me? I am not ready for this next chapter of my life, I am not ready to be on my own during the day although I will have plenty to keep me busy other than looking after children all day.

Thing 5 will of course be fine, he's been doing the school run to the local Infant School with me since he was born and has grown up seeing all of the teachers every school day whilst taking his siblings to school. On his first visit day to Infant School he didn't even want me to stay, I felt quite redundant!

In recent months I would look forward to Thing 5 starting school, looking forward to them all growing up albeit a bit too fast, however as time passes it has made me feel extremely sad at how fast this phase has come around and that I know have to deal with it sooner than I want to now.

Although the children are grateful to have their Summer holidays and some freedom from school for 6 weeks I am already thinking ahead to the prep of back to school. Buying school uniforms, new school shoes, name labels for everything and four children in full time school at three different stages of their school journeys. I am not ready to see Thing 5 in a school uniform, although he is big for his age he will look tiny in a school uniform and against everyone else in the school.

I am not looking forward to September, I always think the summer holidays will go slowly and then they fly by in the blink of an eye and this year I will be left on my own when September comes. Saying goodbye to this stage of mine and my babies life is going to be a lot harder than I thought. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Farnborough International Airshow 2016; Public weekend July 16th-17th 2016. Lots to see and do for all of the family inc. a visit from Tim Peake

We are just hours away from the start of Farnborough International Airshow 2016. With the TRADE week starting Monday 11th July, if you are in the Farnborough area there will be lots of planes up in the skies. 

We are looking forward to the public weekend which is July 16th-17th this year and we are very much looking forward to going into the airshow as there is so much to see and do as well as all of the fab aircraft displaying this year too. 

On the public weekend there will be flying displays from;

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Eurofighter Typhoon
Apache Helicopter
Pitts S2S
Breitling Wingwalkers
Twister Aerobatics
Great War Display Team
RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Boeing 727-200
P-51D Mustang
Autonov 178
Red Arrows


As well as the flying displays taking place there are many more things to do inside the airshow. There will be a static display of various aircraft as well as things such as a Jeep 4x4 experience, motorbike and quad stunt show, tank driving, free fall stunt bag, a UK drone show and much much more.

There is also a family area where there will be so much going on that you and your children will not be able to contain yourselves. Whether you are more creative or adventurous they will have something for you in the family area. This year they are going to have face painting and an arts & craft area for you and your family to stimulate your creative juices. However, if you fancy something a little more thrilling, you can jump on one of the fairground rides or even have a go at reaching the summit of the very problematic climbing wall. 

There will also be theatre entertainment from The Balloonists, A Brief History of Flight, The Astronauts, Chocks Away and The Space Cadets. 

Also featuring are some simulators so you can try your hand at flying an aircraft for yourself inside one of these motion simulators. 

Brooklands Museum will be bringing a selection of their aircraft to exhibit at FIA 2016 as well as some of their vintage experts to give you some insight to their aircraft plus some family activities delivered by the Brooklands Museum learning team. 

There is so much on offer for the while family and it really is a great day out to see lots of aircraft on display both on the ground and in the air plus lots of onsite entertainment, learning fun and more. 

Tickets are available at the Farnborough International Airshow 2016 website and are priced at £40 for adults advance tickets or £48 on the day, concessions are £35 advance tickets or £43 on the day and children 15 years or younger go FREE

Please note; Some activities mentioned are subject to extra charges on top of the ticket prices. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

The new special edition Year of the Monkey 2016 colour packs for the Mountain Buggy Nano, Duet, Swift and Urban Jungle pushchairs

Mountain Buggy Year of the Monkey special edition fabric set

Mountain Buggy special edition prints and fabrics have always caught my eye over the years. There has been so many fab colour ways and special edition fabrics for their pushchairs.

The new Year of the Monkey print has really caught my eye and looks fab on all of their pushchairs.

Available across the Duet, Swift, Urban Jungle and Nano range you can buy as a fabric set for your existing pushchair or as a whole package.

The compact Nano stroller and the Duet double stroller

The Mountain Buggy Swift

A printed fabric with metallic gold printed hood detail and peach printed liner fabric. It has monkeys and chrysanthemum print all over. It really is a bold and funky design and available to preorder on the Mountain Buggy website now. 

I am so tempted by an Urban Jungle with this special edition fabric set, I absolutely love both the pushchairs and the new fabric set that they have brought out.

The Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle pushchair

Introducing the Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Elements special edition, coming September 2016

Bugaboo Cameleon3 Elements special edition

Check out the totally unique gradient colour.

Introducing the new Bugaboo Cameleon³ elements, inspired by natural elements like the sea, the wind and the rocks. The Bugaboo cameleon³ elements is a luxurious, limited edition version of the original all-in-one stroller. This time reimagined in new colors, soft materials and special details that are all inspired by nature. Comfort for your child meets style for you; it’s perfect for trips through the city, woods and beach.

 Bugaboo Cameleon³ Elements will be available from September 2016. 

Home decluttering and home improvements. The never ending task as more gets added to the lists. Next job kitchen improvements and shed removal!

After our recent dining room makeover it was swiftly onwards to the next home improvement project. However, with so much on the list it's hard to decide what to do next. 

The dining room makeover, you can just see the shed in the background (one of our next projects!)

Home improvements seems to be a never ending task in our house and whilst some jobs take priority for me, the OH has other things he would like to do first. 

The list keeps getting longer even though projects get completed and there is only so many jobs you can get done on limited funds. I would love to just call in a decorator and pay them to paint every room in the house but that isn't going to happen. 

So plodding along at our own, very slow, pace we have got a few jobs to do in the kitchen next. Whilst I excitedly await the delivery of our lovely shiny new American style fridge freezer I have now decided the kitchen needs a bit of a reshuffle to fit it in! This week now consists of emptying a couple cupboards that are being disposed of, buying a new four drawer kitchen unit and relocating it and painting walls too. Buying the big fridge/freezer also means we can finally wave Bye to the fridge with the door that falls off and the huge chest freezer that takes up half of my utility room. Decluttering and gaining space is a big bonus from me! 

Also awaiting completion is a new wall in the kitchen too. We don't like to keep to doing just one job! The OH will finish that off eventually and that will also need painting and a new door hung there too. 

Over the weekend we also decided to declutter the loft, something that I find very difficult with a hoarding OH. It was packed up there but there was nothing that we really needed to keep yet we desperately needed the space to rearrange other areas of the house that were being used as storage due to the overflowing loft! 

On completion of the declutter we had done four runs to the local rubbish tip. These included 2 mattresses, 8 dining chairs, 2 beds, a cot, 2 boxes of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2 bags of cuddly toys and an old CD tower unit. All stored in the loft for no reason whatsoever and should have been disposed of years ago! There is now hardly anything up there apart the usual suitcases and Xmas decorations that you find in most people's lofts. We had to move the decorations to get other stuff out of the loft and Thing 5 asked if it was Christmas! 

After decluttering the loft we are now going to shift all of the OH's tools, painting equipment etc... up there and get rid of the garden shed. The poor shed was hurriedly put together when we lost our garage to the new extension a few years and ago and again the OH just dumped lots of stuff from the garage into the shed and it still hasn't been used in the past few years, it's time to get rid!! 

The shed will go and give us more space in the garden with just a smaller storage unit like the Keter Store it Out Ultra which can be relocated to the end of the patio out of the way and with minimal items inside. 

Keter store it out Ultra

Finally I have managed to get the OH to let go of a lot of things we didn't need and it means we can move a lot of stuff around and gain a lot more space inside and outside whilst then redecorating and improving the space that we have. There is still lots more to do and each day something gets added to the 'jobs to do' list which now resembles a 10,000 word essay!

I best get on with some DIY, I've mentioned 3-4 jobs just in this one blog post and there about 3 million more to do. I'm off to demolish some of the kitchen, extreme makeover style!  Now where did I leave that sledgehammer?!