Thursday, 30 July 2015

Stay Play Explore at Hinckley Island Hotel #review

Stay Play Explore at Hinckley Island Hotel Review

As part of our Stay, Play and Explore Break in Leicestershire we stayed at the Hinckley Island Hotel.  It is a great value break which includes bed and breakfast and also tickets to three popular local attractions.  Prices start from £129 per night.  The attractions included in the deal are:  Conkers, Twycross Zoo, National Space Centre, Twinlakes Theme Park and Stonehurst Family Farm.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Conkers- Stay, Play and Explore Leicestershire / Review

Conkers Centre Stay Play Explore Review

We were delighted to be invited to a Family Blogger Day at Conkers in the heart of the National Forest.  It was quite far for us to come so we made a long weekend adventure out of it.  This was a good decision as the five hour journey to Tamworth the night before ended up taking eight hours with summer holiday traffic.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Amazing Wubble Bubble Ball Review and Giveaway

the Amazing Wubble Bubble Ball Review and Giveaway

We were recently sent The Amazing Wubble Bubble Ball (RRP £19.99) to review and also one to giveaway to our readers.   Well, the kids love playing ball and also love bubbles so we all thought the Wubble Bubble was a great idea.  

How I'm Totally Winning at the Summer Holidays (or not!)

We're now in the Summer Holidays.

I'm pleased to say that they're going very well.  I'm  really enjoying the break and loving this special time with my four kids, who are of course all having an amazing time too.  The extra organisation that I put in during the weeks before they broke up has definitely paid off.

  • I hired a cleaner to make sure the house was spic and span ready for the kids being home.  Yes, I know that they play, eat and generally make a mess, but it's easier to clear up after them when starting with a tidy shell.  
  • To keep on top of this I've made us a summer holiday cleaning rota.  The kids are helping out by doing chores which is making it a lot easier for me.  They are also tidying their rooms every night, so hopefully we will end the holidays with them as tidy as when we started.
  • We've already done lots of fun things and I'm sure that making a calendar of all the summer activities that we have planned was a really good idea.
  • In preparation for rainy days and in case they finish their chores early and get bored I have lots of activity baskets and craft activities ready for them.  It's great that they can take these, have fun and easily clear them away again on their own.
  • Having lots of days out and fun activities planned, means that we have managed to go completely screen free this holidays.  The kids haven't even asked to watch TV, a DVD or play on the tablet once.
  • We're meeting up with friends at least every other day.  It's great for the kids to have other children to play with and talking to adult comrades is lovely for me too.  Of course, I'm really lucky that my four kids have been getting along really well with each other anyway.
  • With the kids helping so much with chores, I'm even managing to go for a swim, run or go to the gym each evening.  I feel a bit guilty for taking this time for myself but a healthy mum means a happy family.  If I keep up this fitness regime, I may even treat myself to a spa or beauty treatment once a week.
  • Even though there is technically no school, I'm not touching alcohol on "school nights".  As tempting as it would be to pour a glass of wine and reminisce about each lovely day, I know that going alcohol free means I have a clear, fresh head in the morning, so I can have an early start for another fun filled day.  I may treat myself to a glass each weekend as a treat.
  • All homework is completed, we're already signed up to our Library's Summer Challenge and have enjoyed cuddling up each afternoon reading to each other.  
  • I have stocked up the pantry and made a healthy summer holiday meal plan, so we've been eating healthy homecooked meals too.
  • Being a work at home mum is also going well, of course.  As I'm stimulating the kids on our fun days out, feeding them well and giving them lots of activities to do, then I am getting plenty of free time to get my work done.  The money is rolling in.   Result!

And. Then. I. Woke. Up.

Aargh, I love my kids, I really do.  For me, the summer holidays as a kid are some of the best memories of my life (they were so long, and it was always hot- do you remember?) and I want to pass that onto my kids too.  I want us to be running along a sandy beach, in the sunshine with a Mr Whippy ice cream, and I'm sure we will do that, but in reality that's not the whole picture of the summer holidays.

The house is a mess.  We're arguing over chores.  The kids are really excited about the freedom no school affords, so are running around the house and up the walls- screaming, laughing loudly, then falling out with each other and there are tears (usually mine). 

 We had a fun weekend and we have plans for the upcoming weekend but I needed this week to get some work done and be ready for our weekend ahead.  Of course, there has been no chance of that.   I'm in that rut of running around, doing everything, but not getting anything done.  The phrase headless chicken springs to mind.

We haven't met up with friends yet, the kids are ok as they have each other to play (argue?) with, but I need some adult company!  Each evening, I'm too exhausted to even comtemplate doing any physical exercise.  Even if I was ready for it, I've been on my own with the kids until late each night so no chance for escape fitness.  Every night, my one solace is a glass (ok, maybe bottle) of cava or prosecco.    Of course, I regret it in the morning, when I'm woken up early being bounced upon by the energetic brood.  We can't sign up to the summer reading scheme yet, as I haven't even found the overdue library books yet!  I've not shopped and to be honest, can't afford a big shop yet this week so we're doing daily trips to the local shop and eating easy (read beige not so healthy) food.  I need to earn more money for our time away, but I just can't find the time to put int he work.  Sadly noone wants to pay me for not doing anything.  

By the end of each day  I have a headache (definitely casued by the kids and not at all the wine), am exhausted, frazzled and can't string a sentence together.  

That's why I sat down and wrote this instead of doing proper work!  I may have priority issues.

Roll on our weekend away!  All of the same above but at least at a different location! :-)

Anyway, how are your holidays going?

Any tips to being an unfrazzled mum?  Please send them this way.  Thank you!  

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Colours of India

The Colours Of India

“I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolour.”

When I was younger, I loved looking at photos, information books and brochures of India.  They were always so bright and colourful.  I used to collect all sorts of elephant ornaments and my favourites were the bright decorated Indian elephant ornaments dotted amongst the shelves in my bedroom.

Inside the Kitchen Drawer- Organising Cutlery

Home Interiors The Kitchen Cutlery Drawer
Williams Ridout / Homify

Oh, the kitchen cutlery drawer.  Everyone has one.  We all strive to keep them clean, clutter free and organised but then we take a good look inside and find various bits and bobs have been added until the drawer is full to the brim and once again needs a good sort.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Friday, 17 July 2015

Strawberry Fields Forever


I have our country kids post about picking strawberries at Brooksgrove Farm, Pembrokeshire, coming up later.

But while we wait, here is the short video that we made of the day.  Sorry, it's not edited just "put together" but I've come to realise that if I'm going to make occasional videos of our days out then I need to get them down in the most time effective way that I can.  

Enjoy!  Have you been strawberry picking yet?

School Uniform that Passes the (Play) Test...

BHS School Uniform Review

I spend a lot of money on school uniform each year and the kids spend a lot of time wearing it.  Therefore, it's important to me that their uniform is affordable, comfortable, long lasting, easy to care for and smart.  BHS asked us to put their school uniform to the test on a typical after school free night:

Monday, 13 July 2015

Malta, We Love Malta...

Family holiday Malta 1994

When it comes to travelling, I love to explore new places.  I have a long list of countries to tick off which I eventually want to visit for the first time.  However, I also have lots of places that I long to revisit as well.  It would be amazing to show Dave and the kids some of my favourite holiday destinations.

Disqus for Diary of the Evans-Crittens

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