primary times logoUnfortunately predicting the weather is not something we are blessed with in Britain. With the summer hols approaching who girls n craftsknows what the weather will be like! We may have some scorching hot days (which many of us can’t cope with!) or we may have a downpour of rain, and often with the odd bit of thunder and lightening, and when those mini storms occur you’ll hear people saying, ‘We needed that!’.

Anyway, here in the ‘The Browns Household’ we’ve got a few things planned for the summer hols, but we won’t be going abroad this year, so when it came to writing my Primary Times editorial this month, I went with the few ideas that I had about what we could be doing on those rainy days. I’ll be honest, I don’t venture to soft plays on rainy days when the kids are off. Why? Because everyone and their dog make their way there! A room full of screaming kids is not my idea of fun! So I need to be prepared to entertain my girls within the confides of four walls!!

Anyway, between the craft days, dressing-up and performing mini-plays (that haven’t been rehearsed very well), I’ve included the link to the editorial I’ve written for the Primary Times. Hope it helps you decide on activities for the summer hols 🙂

PRIMARY TIMES EDITORIAL – PAGE 7.

Page2Stage Parties … and much more!

So last week I talked about Kids Parties. And yes, I’m still talking about them. As a parent it’s what life is about, isn’t it? 🙂

cinderellaActually I couldn’t resist writing this blog post … I wanted to share some party news that has pleased me.spiderman

Last week, my week got more interesting with kids parties when we attended a pony party! My 7 year old, Lexi, loved it! But before we left, my hubby said to her, ‘I know what you’re going to ask when you’re finished, and the answer is NO!’ She had no clue what he was talking about until the party was over.

‘I want to start horse riding …’ she said as soon as we got in the car to leave!

So we had a chat and I soon talked her out of that one! Not that I’m being a cruel parent, but if this was something she was passionate about I’d encourage it. But it simply isn’t. She hadn’t mentioned it before and she hasn’t mentioned it since. Thankfully!

Anyway, this got me thinking about kids parties and how it might drum up some interest for them to start new activities. As this also happened with Gabriella recently too, but luckily her new little adventure was a lot cheaper than horse riding!

In my blog, Ideas for Kids Parties, I mentioned a company called PAGE2STAGE, who do fantastic princess and superhero parties. Well, I found out that they also have a stage school too! So Gabriella joined just last week and absolutely loved it. The class lasted for an hour Jasmineand a half, split into all princesssinging, dancing and acting. If you live in the Tees Valley area, this company is definitely worth checking out. Kelly who runs the company is so lovely, having little ones herself, she totally gets them. The more I looked into Page2Stage, I was surprised by what they have going on! They have a Frozen Ball coming up, they are involved with Stockton International Riverside Festival and they have their own showcase every year.

To see their awesome reviews, check out the page2stage facebook page.

So I can honestly say this is one party that I’m pleased we went too. If you don’t live in the Tees Valley area (or the UK!) and you’re invited to a party similar to Page2Stage make sure you check out if they do any other activities.

However, if you do live in the Tees Valley area, Page2Stage is definitely worth checking out. I mean, come on, a Frozen Ball – how cool is that? Oh to be little again 🙂

I just had to share this, as I’m very pleased we found them 🙂

 

Ideas for Kids Parties

kids parties 1

Photo Credit: LilSugar

Sometimes I think my kids have a better social life than me! They don’t think so, constantly asking, ‘Who are we seeing today?’ ‘What should we do today?’ ‘Where are we going today?’ Yes, even on a school day, God forbid if I answer, ‘No-one,’ ‘Nothing,’ ‘Nowhere!’ At the ages of 7 and 5 years old they can do a very good impression of Kevin and Perry!

Many weekends, like most parents, are taken up with kids parties and sometimes, let’s be honest, it can get a bit endless. So you can imagine my own excitement when we attended a child’s party that involved the help of parents. This might sound hideous to some parents, but I’ll be honest, I’m not one of those parents who enjoys soft plays or lots of children running around playing ‘tig’ and bashing into each other! Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to catch up with other parents, but half the time that’s impossible when your child is stuck up high in some kind of contraption of ropes and tubes, or you’ve got to keep an eye on them as you try to ensure they don’t get belly flopped to the ground!

OLC-KidsSlide2

Photo Credit: www.omagh.gov.uk

I digress a little, but I once took along Gabriella, and my goddaughter Eva, to a soft play party. Can you imagine my horror when Eva came down a slide, (when I say slide, it was the smallest slide ever, infact it was more like a small slope!) and collided with a boy’s head. Her lip came up four times bigger than it should be. I had to take her home mid-party. What a disaster, and although I knew there was nothing I could have done about it, I felt so guilty that it was under my watch! My friends were lovely about it, but still, I felt so awful!

Hopefully you can understand my caution. Not that I’m neurotic or anything …

Anyway, when we were invited to a Woodland Party, I thought this sounds like my type of thing! A party in the fresh air, building dens and making fires! Yes, I probably should have had boys!!! I didn’t actually tell my hubby about the party because I wanted to take Gabriella 🙂 . So we attended this party last Sunday … and it was awesome! So different. Little Joe had definitely picked a winner – for boys and girls!

It started with a little hunt, leading us to a camp in the middle of the forest. The company Acorn Antics were hosting the party & the leader Cathy was lovely. The parents got involved, helping the kids making dens, fire lighting, making little elves from sticks … it was all safe and controlled. The kids then had pizza and hot dogs which were heated on the fire. The kids were allowed to heat their own marshmallows on the fire (obviously supervised). It was such a refreshing idea. It was great to watch the kids and parents working together. Gabriella usually hates being cold, but she absolutely loved it. She couldn’t wait to tell Daddy, who was a little gutted he’d missed out. 🙁

Since this party, Gabriella has been obessed with her own birthday, constantly asking me what can she do for her birthday, although it’s not until November!

But it did get me thinking about parties. It’s nice to do something different for parties. I’m not saying be bigger, better and spending lots of money, as there are ways to have a unique party but not spend a fortune. So I had a bit of a research for us, to see what ideas are out there. Although, admittedly, there doesn’t seem to be much, maybe some of these ideas will help you to expand on your own:

page 2 stage

Photo Credit: Page2Stage

Hire a princess / or pirate party – PAGE2STAGE is an awesome company that have lookalike princesses. But they do so much more. Just tell them what you want and they’ll do their best to give your child the best party ever! Both my girls have attended parties hosted by these guys, a ‘One Direction Party’ & a ‘Pirate and Princess Party’. My girls absolutely loved both. I definitely recommend these guys.

Gymmanstics Party – Hire your local gymnastics venue OR set-up your own obstacle course in the back garden.

Sports Day Party – Set out some fun races in the garden, even get the parents involved by holding a ‘child & parent race’, or ‘mum’s race’ etc.

Craft Party – Help the children to make something in particular: a photoframe, a necklace etc. Something they can take home and keep. There are plenty of ideas on the internet, have a look at what would be suitable for your child’s party.

Baking Party – Let the children make their own cakes to take home.

A Cinema Party – We’ve attended a cinema party before, it was lovely. If it’s something you think you can’t really afford, or don’t want to spend so much, why not choose one of your child’s favourite films and host a movie party at home. Lots of cushions, popcorn and sweets, they’ll be in their element.

Tresure Hunt – You could design your own in a local park or in your own home/garden.

Christmas Party in the Summer – Kids love Christmas, why let them wait a whole year, get Santa to visit in the middle of the year!

Picnic Party – Hold a picnic party in the park. Play some old games, such as, rounders, swing ball etc.

Pet, Animal, Zoo or Farm Party – A great way to keep the kids entertained. Check to see if you have any local farms or zoos that interact with the kids, this would be a great educational party too. Some pet shops hold parties for children, this allows them to hold rabbits, guinea pigs or, for the more daring, snakes.

Skating Party – This obviously depends on age. But even the smaller ones can have a penguin to hold onto.

Science / Chemistry Party – Make something that involves powders and chemicals, such as, candles, soap, bath bombs or perfume. Usually better for older children, and would definitely need an adult to take control and lead.

Beach Party – If you’re lucky enough to have the weather, this is a great idea. Kids love the beach. And they’d love it even more when they get chips and ice-cream!

Flying Kites Party – If you have the space, and the time, let the children make their own kites – then go flying them.

Pamper Party – This is becoming a very popular idea: nails painted, hair styled and girls made to feel like a princess. 

Build a Bear Party: We’ve attended 2 of these in the last few years. Both my girls loved them. Plus, they got something to cuddle when they came home.

These are only a few ideas, it’s also nice to go back to basics, a few games at home: pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs and my all-time favourite – pass the parcel. 🙂

Or do what we did last year, book a few days away instead of a party – Centre Parcs was awesome, you can read about our trip here.

Although, I’m not sure I’m going to get away with that this year! Gabriella really is on a mission!

Whatever you decide to do, just have fun! 🙂

 

 

 

 

My 4 year old has grown-up :-(

Well, the 6 weeks is over. Personally, I’m not sure where it has gone! Maybe because today is a big day in our household (as in many) I didn’t feel as joyous or as ready as I thought I would. The thing is both my girlies are now in full-time school. Lexi joins YR2, and little Gabriella has started ‘big school’.

If you’d read my last blog (which was before the holidays) you’ll have realised I’d found school dinners quite unnerving. But now the time has come that my youngest (my baby) and her little 4 year-old friends are all taking that next step in their little lives. Another chapter for us all.

Now, as I mentioned in my previous blog, I thought I’d be skipping out of school, in fact, I thought I’d be running out of those school gates so fast all you could see was lightening. So why is it as I sit here writing this, I feel lost and I can’t take away that sick feeling? You know, the heavy lump that sits in the bottom of your stomach when something is bothering you! I’m constantly checking the time. I’ve been making note of the time they’ll be having snack, lunch, and as I write this I only have an hour and half to go before pick-up. It can’t come quick enough.

It was worse with Lexi we moved her schools in the first week of her starting full-time school, due to us moving house. I didn’t sleep for a week, but she was absolutely fine and settled straight in. Gabriella has her older sister to make sure she’s okay too, so really I have nothing to worry about. I know this, and by next week I’ll be loving my free-time to write my books, expand my wedding business and generally do all the things I’ve been dreaming of for the past 6 years. But I miss them! Lexi cried last night because she was going to miss me, and she didn’t want me to be lonely. I’m not going to admit to her that I do feel pretty lonely today, because that would just upset her more. But there are so many of you out there feeling lonely too. We’ve shipped our little ones off to full-time school, my little lunch partner has gone, my little friend who I discussed everything with on an afternoon has all grown up.

I’m not so much worried whether she’ll settle, (especially as I was with Lexi) but I’m worrying about little things. One of my main concerns is the whole toilet thing … will she ask when she needs it? And mainly will she wipe herself properly when doing a No2!? I worried about the same thing with Lexi who is absolutely fine and she didn’t even think about it, just got on with it. Gabriella has a tendency to go off in her own little world, will she listen when asked a question? Or will she listen full-stop? Will she be okay in the lunch hall? And in the big playground after (even though Lexi’s there!) The thing I know the answer is ‘yes’. I know many of you reading this will be shouting ‘of course she’ll be fine.’ And I know. I really do know. I just wish that rock would move out of my stomach!

Another concern is ‘Does she know enough?’ Does she know what she should know for her age? Will she pick things up okay? It’s not about my girlies being the brightest in the class, it’s about making sure she is happy. Making sure she doesn’t feel as if she’s struggling. I don’t want her to feel under-pressure. I was talking to my sister-in-law about this and she sent me a fab link which you must look at if you have similar thoughts to me: What Should A 4 Year Old know? I’d loved it.

Anyway, now I’ve distracted myself writing this blog, time is marching on (thankfully) I’m going to go and distracted myself with editing book 3! The book 3 which should have been out by now. However, I’ve totally enjoyed the holidays with my girlies and I’m just truly grateful that I had the time to spend with them.

And to all you parents who are feeling like me, I’m with you … you’re not alone xx

New Chapters for Little People

sports dayWell what a week it has been at Vic HQ. This week has been about little Gabriella. I’d never forget Lexi, who had a good week herself: school trips and glowing school report. *Beaming proud parents*  Her school trip was part of her R.E subject, so they visited a local church then finished off at the library to listen to a storyteller. Admittedly, I would have loved to have joined her. Although I write chick-lit/women’s fiction, I love children’s stories. Anyway, I couldn’t attend the school trip as it was Gabriella’s sports morning. So cute: little 3 & 4 year olds racing across the field, little smiles as we all clapped and cheered. But then the morning got even better. As parents we had the opportunity to buy raffle tickets. We had 10 tickets, and nearly every ticket came out. I had to keep telling the teacher to give someone else a chance. After Gabriella had picked a lovely little set; a fairies craft set, which will come in very handy in the summer, our tickets just kept coming out. Now, the bottle of red was waving at me, it obviously really wanted to come home with me! So after we were all laughing and joking, the red wine was given to us (and gratefully accepted) when it became embarrassing that our numbers kept coming out: you’d think we’d fixed it! Now because of this lucky streak, we stopped at the shop and put the lottery on, plus I picked up a scratch card. We didn’t win on the scratch card, however, there were 2 x £100,000 and 2 x £100. Now if this isn’t a sign that we are on a winning streak, then I don’t know what is. But it wasn’t the lottery, as we didn’t win on the Euro Millions. However, I’m a positive person so I’ll keep you posted on our lucky streak.

However, as I started saying this week has been about Gabriella. My little girl starts full-time school in September. I know there are many parents out there in the same boat as me, that’s why I felt the urge to write this blog. You see part of me, can’t wait … I mean that in the nicest possible way. I plan my working (writing, wedding website and marketing) around my girls. So my two hours on a morning and working late into the night, sometimes isn’t enough, so I keep thinking I’ll have more time to really get my teeth into my work, which does excite me. However, Tuesday evening was an introduction to FS2 (foundation stage 2), which was fine, Lexi had the FS2 teacher, who is lovely, so all is good there. Wednesday was trying out school dinners. We were allowed to go with them, parents were allowed to eat, which I didn’t (I’m still on with my Green Glowing Smoothie – if you haven’t read that blog, you really must) but Gabriella had a plate of pasta and cake, which she just thought was great. But as I watched all these little people carrying trays which were half the size of them, my heart swelled. Gabriella is one of the taller children, but still she looked like a little dot. I wanted to tell them she couldn’t move up just yet. Could we not just wait another year? I didn’t think I’d feel like this. Lexi was so ready to go to full-time school, and the only wobble I had with Lexi was when we changed her schools in her first week joining full-time school (because we moved house). That was horrendous, I came home and cried, and then rang her new school to make sure she was okay! But she was fine. She hasn’t looked back. And I know Gabriella will be the same. I keep joking about celebrating when they are both in full-time school, but I’m actually feeling quite sad about this new little chapter in our lives. I thought I’d be skipping out the school (and I may just do that, as we have 6 weeks off before then!) but at the moment, I can’t believe I’ll have two big girls, who have their own little lives. I won’t know what has happened in their lives every minute of every day, and Gabriella may forget everything that has happened, as Lexi does, but as long as their happy I suppose I have to be too.

Many of you may know that in some countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland, school doesn’t begin until the age of seven! And their results are better than ours! Visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7234578.stm to find out a little bit more. Although I’ve known this information I’ve always somewhat disagreed, being a Stay at Home Working Mum (SAHWM) I’ve been desperate to have my working hours during the day rather working until late into the night. But suddenly, this week feeling a little nostalgic and sad I’m starting to wonder if four is too young to start full-time school. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to start campagning or anything as drastic, but it may not be the champagne I’m getting out, but the wine to drown my sorrows!

Anyway, I have a week left (as do many of you) to do 11.30am pick-up. A week left of just me and Gabriella on an afternoon. So I’ll just have to find something special to do. And then do something with Lexi so she doesn’t feel left out! So to all mums out there who have a little one starting full-time school I’ll be thinking of you when we either come home and sob, or get the Champagne out. I thought I’d be the latter, but I think this week has just proved that may not be the case. However, I’ll keep you updated in September, if I’m not rocking in my chair after the school holidays 🙂

PHOTO CREDIT: earlydaysnursery.org.uk

Kids and Nightmares

kid drawing sleepingNow, we’ve had a few episodes where I’ve woken to my girls tears in the middle of the night. I do wonder what can actually cause such vivid frightening dreams, especially at such a young age. There have been times when my girls have not wanted to go back to sleep, and it must be awful to feel so frightened and not understand it’s not real.

But then, I’ve always been a believer that dreams do actually mean something. Studying Psychology at ‘A’ Level, which I loved, it became pretty obvious that whatever occurs in our day manifests into our dreams. Have you ever watched a TV programme and then dreamt that a similar situation happened to you? Well, I’m also a believer that some dreams are actually a warning or a gift for the future. Please don’t stop reading, I’m not that loony … well, maybe a little.

But anyway, if this thought is true, what could possibly have been on Gabriella’s mind at 3.30am when she came to me shaking, crying, very frightened and her little pink doggy, that she sleeps with every night, cuddled tight into her, as she explained she didn’t want to move out!

As nicely as I could at the ungodly hour, I told my 4-year-old she wasn’t going anywhere. ‘But you said I have to move my bed to Grandma’s, on my own,’ she sobbed. Although, obviously I said no such thing, I suddenly felt very guilty. What had I possibly said during the day that would instil such a dream? I don’t want my girls to move out, ever! Have their own little lives, yes, but actually ‘move out’ mmm … I’d rather not think that far ahead.

I tried to think of the television programmes she watched, and I’m sure ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ has been designed to inspire children, not make them feel they have to move out, not just move out, but take their bed with them. Anyway, after a little cuddle, we soon fell asleep after I convinced her it was a dream and I’d say no such thing!

The only promising thing about the whole night was my dream about spiders webs! Granted, I work up feeling a little unnerved, but after looking on www.dreammoods.com
they tell me “
To see a spider spinning a web in your dream signifies that you will be rewarded for your hard work. You will be promoted in your job or recognized for your achievement in a difficult task. Spiders are also a symbol of creativity due to the intricate webs they spin.” 

So, I was quite pleased with my dream and I’m hoping it’s true, and it’s not the fact that I actually just need to clean my house!!!

IMAGE CREDIT: http://s45.photobucket.com/user/marranita/profile/