Monthly Archives: July 2019

Keep organised at home.

Collaborative post.

The end of the school year is here and we are at the peak of excitement about the summer holidays! The end of the school year always makes me look ahead to what the new school year will bring. September is always the time for new starts. Whether it is new classes, teachers or places of learning. I always found myself keen for a fresh subject learn or a new job!

With new starts comes new paperwork, and lots to remember. As a household of six, this means a lot to organise at home! And, unfortunately I’m not the best at organising paperwork!

Home organisation.

This year I’ve got plans to start organising myself a little better. I need to have a better filing system for our family paperwork. Currently all the important documents are housed in a box. It’s not the best filing system as it takes ages to sort through! I quite like the idea of getting office lockers and allocating one for every one! An elaborate but easily workable way to keep all the important stuff organised – and safe for each of us! Plus I have to confess I quite like the industrial look and adding lockers may allow me to really explore that trend in my home office!

Keep on track

I used to keep track of calender events with a simple calender on the wall. However, I’ve discovered it is easier to work with a large whiteboard instead! A whiteboard enables me to update any changes to the weeks plans quickly and easily. It’s my top tip to helping stay organised!

Make time to plan.

Every week, I make time to organise myself. So even though my calendar is busy and hectic, I keep control by allowing myself half an hour planning for the week on a Sunday afternoon. This means I don’t miss that dentist appointment which has been in the diary for months but slipped under the radar! It also means Monday morning is as calm as it can be, no matter how busy my day is!

Do you have any ways you like to keep organised?

Hape Sand Toys Review

Summer holidays are coming! We love time at the beach, paddling and building sandcastles! We always try to pack our sand toys to take with us as I don’t want to waste money on plastic toys which will break easily. My children have several beach toys which I remember buying with my parents in France as a child. So, buying with care means any toys we do buy, can be handed down.

I was asked if we’d like to review some sand toys from Hape, we already own a couple of their wooden toys, so I was keen to see what their sand toys would be like.

The sand toys we received are made from thick plastic, and they look very durable. As well as feeling quite comfortable to hold.

Robust sand toys.

We were sent a bundle of three toys to try out. Initially we tried the Hape dune buggy in the sitting room.

It was an instant hit, the handle makes it easy to manoeuvre for my 17month old. He loves being able to take charge of steering it around the house. It’s been very cleverly designed so it is very easy to steer. The large wheels make it easy to push through uneven surfaces – e.g. sand!

The Power Paw was popular with my 4 year old, she said it was easy to hold and spent ages digging with it. It is easier to use than a conventional spade so great for younger children.

My favourite item was the rain shovel. This is versatile for play in sand or water. It could be used to dig with or create a shower with water poured into the handle. It has been hours of fun! Cleverly designed so it fits comfortably in little hands, it is great for use in the sand pit too.

We can’t wait to take our Hape sand toys to the beach this summer!

8 Ways to have fun this summer without spending a fortune!

The summer holidays, can be a stressful time, how to keep the children busy and happy without spending a fortune!

Keep things simple…

Grab the face paints and eco glitter and have a festival in your garden. If you’ve space put up a tent, or make a den with sheets a chairs! You could even decorate your tent with pom poms and paper flowers- or even daisy chains! Then turn on your favourite songs and enjoy!

Splash about!

Eva from Captain Bobcat Blog suggests getting the paddling pool out;

Paddling pools and splash pads are great, you can kill quite a few hours there!

We love splashing about, and if you don’t have a paddling pool – improvise! An old baby bath or even a plastic storage box can be hours of fun to splash about in. (Do remember to always supervise children near water!)

Use that National Trust Membership!

We took out a membership when we were on holiday as it meant it was cheaper than the day visits to two places we wanted to see. If you already have a membership, grab a picnic and head off to a local property! Also remember to investigate your local garden centres as many offer special events or Maria from Suburban Mum reminded me that some even have a soft play area!

Get Outdoors with the family!

My children love going on walks, but I know some hate it! So, make walks fun by either planning where you’ll go – perhaps you will walk to a picnic spot? Or maybe write a simple scavenger hunt list? Shel from The Willow Tree suggest Geo-Caching;

” Download the app for free and go on a search to hunt for hidden treasure! It may be a little time capsule or a box with a message in. You can even leave a message for the next person!  “

Go camping!

If you have a tent lurking in the shed, what’s stopping you from taking it away for the weekend? Use a site like pitchup.com to find a campsite pack up your basics and take a weekend away! Can’t afford the pitch fees but have a garden? Pitch your tent in the garden! No tent? Check out camping pods, not quite as cheap as pitch fees but still a cheap option for a night away.

Kids Summer Courses!

One of my fondest memories of my own summer holidays as a child was going on a ballet course for a week. I loved having an intensive dance week, and making new friends! Emma from Fashion Mommy suggests keeping your eye out on local events, especially sports clubs;

Most football clubs run weekly soccer camps over the Summer. My son does WBA one, and it costs £60 for 5 days, which is basically cheaper than childcare. For that he gets qualified coaching, a certificate and trophy at the end of the week and loads of fun. Perfect for boys and girls and totally enjoyable.”

 

Bake Off!

Rainy afternoon? Get baking! Maybe organise a bake off with other families? Or perfect your favourite cake? If you aren’t keem on baking keep it simple! Cornflake cakes and flap jacks are easy to make and require minimal equipment.

Kids crafts

So one of our favourite holiday activities is to get crafting. Funcraftskids.com is full of some great ideas for all the family. Perfect to keep everyone busy!

If you’re not into complicated craft projects, grab an old roll of wall paper and roll it out on the kitchen floor or in the garden. It’s perfect to draw or paint on!

8 Man Tent Camping

I posted a while ago about the problems I was having deciding on which 8 man tent. I finally made the decision to opt for the Arpenaz 8.4 XL from Decathlon, as I think it offers value for money as well as ample space. But while I was clearing the garage, I remembered something which has been stored there for years. Unloved and forgotten about, but the solution to our camping conundrum!

Back in 2010 we purchased a second hand Cabanon Espace 8 man tent. We had one child and the tent was a ludicrous purchase as it was huge! It filled the entire boot of the car, and we felt we may get lost inside it. It is HUGE! So, it went on one holiday and was stored. Until today. Today it has been dragged out of hiding, and is about to be put into use. Yes, it really could be the answer to our camping conundrum!

Cabanon 8 Man Tent

However, it does bring its own problems. Primarily, how to transport the tent! It’s a canvas frame tent, so it comes in several bags, and is heavy! (It is the same tent you might use if you go to stay in a ready pitched tent in Europe.) Unfortunately this means it doesn’t actually fit in our car. (Or it might, but we wouldn’t be able to fit anything else in.) A roof rack wouldn’t work as I have no plans to be lifting the weight of the frame and canvas onto the roof of the car. Which leaves a trailer as the most sensible solution to taking our tent anywhere!

Camping Trailer

I’ve avoided thoughts of trailer tents and caravans, so I’m slightly amazed by my own decision to invest in a trailer just to transport our camping stuff. I also worry that it will make ferry crossings more expensive, plus keeping the trailer secure whilst we are away from camp – how easy is that? So, I’ve lots that I need to think about still – and plan!

Munch Cats Magazine – Review

In our journey towards reducing our single use plastic consumption, I’d put a ban on kids comics as they are often wrapped in plastic or contain a plastic toy which inevitably is soon unwanted. But having a 4 year old who loves to read and really wants a comic made this tough! Until we were sent a copy of Munch Cats magazine.

Munch Cats Magazine is plastic free! Our subscriber edition is delivered in a brown paper envelope which can be recycled. The magazine itself can also be readily recycled. There’s no plastic toys or wrapping included. Stickers are still included but the backing is paper not plastic!

The magazine is full of fun craft activities and ideas. There’s plenty to cut out and colour in too, so great for developing fine motor skills. My daughter loves it! We have yet to see it in an actual shop, but we will be looking to continue her subscription as she really enjoys the Munch Cats adventures!

Reducing your plastic #GoPlasticfree

I sometimes think I should be able to function completely plastic free by now, as we have been trying to reduce our plastic for a while. But, with a busy family we sometimes slip up. Today is 1st July, and the start of Go Plastic Free. So I’m using that as the motivation I need to really assess the areas of our life where we could further reduce our plastic reliance.

Plastic Free Victories

I think our biggest victory has to be our plastic free home baking. I am not someone who is a natural star baker, but I’ve learnt to bake bread, biscuits and cake. This saves a huge amount of plastic, and money too. I have to admit we ended buying shop bought for a few weeks, and it was astonishing how much plastic accumulated. in a matter of days.

Areas to reduce our Plastic Use

The kitchen is still an area we can reduce our plastic consumption. We try to buy things plastic free, but it is a struggle when you’re on a tight budget.

I’ve noticed some tins are lined with plastic and I’m uncertain as to whether they can be recycled in the same way as non-lined tinned or not. I also wonder why tins which are plastic lined are not clearly marked.

I’ve a very guilty pleasure of keeping frozen fruits in the freezer for days when I am in a hurry. But, those fruits generally come in plastic bags. I have found a local farm shop who sells frozen fruit loose, but the price is much higher. So, my intention is to freeze some of our own crop of fruits this year. We have a big crop of fruit, so I need to create freezer space! I also think we could reduce our plastic and carbon footprint by only eating locally grown fruit and vegetables in season.

I’ll be writing daily about our efforts. You can also follow me over on instagram; DANCINGINMYWELLIES