10 tips to survive soft play.

Picture it if you will…….

We are at grandmas for breakfast.

A cold April Saturday when it’s rained on and off for a few days. The garden is wet and muddy and the kids have their cousin over.

The men are doing some work in the garden to get it ready for summer so there are tools everywhere.

Mud is being trampled in and out and I don’t know how many times a child has come in hurt.

I suggested I leave the babies with grandma and taking the big kids to soft play for a couple of hours to run off some energy.

So here I am. Sat with my cuppa. Watching 3 kids hate crash the bouncy castle. That has been paid for by the birthday party in the corner.

The birthday parade starts and the kids inevitably ask me if they can join in.

I need a plan.

A plan to survive this couple of hours of soft play hell.

10 Tips to survive soft play

  1. Take another grown up. Although the noise of 50 + kids may break the recommended noise levels that humans should endure taking another adult means at least you can try to catch up with some important gossip. Also they will be on hand if you need to nip one child to the toilet or change a baby.
  2. Find a soft play with comfy corner. One of our local soft plays has a couple of sofas I try and get the sofa before anyone else. Then you can …
  3. Enjoy a cuppa. While sat on your comfy sofa, drinking your hot cuppa you can at least pretend your at home. (I mean don’t go picking your nose or scratching your bum your still in public)
  4. Take advantage of the fact someone else is going to cook dinner and clean up the mess. Some soft play food can be half decent, so let someone else do the hard work.
  5. Juice jug. The best way to keep the kids hydrated is with a jug of juice. They are normally the same price as one of the bottles of juice yet they normally last 2 kids 3 top ups. Plus your being kinder to the environment by not having disposable bottles.
  6. Take a magazine or a book. The kids will probably just go off and play so long as bellies are full and they have been watered. So take the opportunity to catch up on your important reading.
  7. Go out of peak time. Generally we only use soft play as a last resort. (Like most parents) Like when the weather is bad and there are no other plans. That said I sometimes use it as a treat. In that case I pick the quietist time usually after school hours when some soft plays will have a meal time deal. These are normally quieter times.
  8. General hygiene & Antibacterial gel. Kids carry germs fact! Make them wash their hands and use your antibac gel too before they have food and before and after going to the toilet
  9. Don’t get into the “can I have just one penny”cycle. Some soft plays. Ok most soft plays take advantage of stressed out parents by adding more ways to part them of their cash. They add dreaded grabber machines or those machines or toy vending machines. Those little suckers will be dotted around soft play with their bright lights. Enticing children promising them their dreams will come true and they will win some amazing prize for just £1. We got caught in the habit of letting the kids have just one “penny” too many times now we are trying to break the habit. Try not to get into the cycle. Stand your ground you can do it!
  10. If you can’t beat them join them. Sometimes you just have to squeeze yourself into their world for a while.

I hope these tips help you survive your trip to soft play. If all else fails instead find a pub with a playground inside. Then at least there is gin to take the edge off!!

Nina x

10 Reasons Why You Wont Sleep When Your A Parent.

As I crawl through the house at 5am on the weekend trying to locate a tooth that was lost and replace it with a shiny penny.

I find an envelope and start putting fancy writing on it from The Tooth Fairy. Saying how sorry I am that she couldn’t find the tooth and that as it’s a first one she will leave a penny anyway.

I realise that I’m gonna be knackered again by teatime.

People wonder why parents are so exhausted.

Well this is just one of the reasons.

Here are a few more. Let me know if you think I’ve missed any off the list.

10 reasons you won’t sleep when your a parent.

  1. Newborn Phase. To start with newborns will need to be woken or will often be awake waiting for those night feeds. This exhaustion is kind of ok as your still on a high normally from having your new little bundle or bundles in your life.

  2. 4 Month Regression. Your newborn may have a short stint to lull you into a false sense of security. However this may be short lived the 4 month is a bitch.

  3. Teething. Babies can go through a terrible time when they are teething. And they won’t be the only ones. Sleeplessness can be a big symptom of teething. Ibuprofen is good. As are teething powders. Oh and coffee.

  4. I want my do do. Yes I know giving babies a dummy will inevitable end in tears being shed. Normally us parents. But babies can often lose the bunny in the night and not be able to settle off again without it. This screaming for said dummy ending up with you scrambling for it in the dark.

  5. Bed Wetting bAs your kids get older you will start potty training. If you decide to brave no nappy at night you may find yourself be woken by little ones telling you they have wet their bed. Who knew so much pee could come out of someone so small. So change of bed, jammers, or leave until the morning and brave them sleeping with you?

  6. Illness. When my kids are ill I actually let them sleep in our room on their own mattress. I get them a bowl if they are sick, tissues for a runny nose and plenty of vicks for stuffy noses. Their illness will have them waking up and telling you they are gonna be sick. A few times a night probably. You will need to empty the bowl and clean their face. While you try to keep both eyes open.

  7. Nightmares. Dreams about bats coming to get them, falling into water and not being able to swim and monsters coming out of the wardrobe to name a few. Nightmare will end with your own mini nightmare. Your child will probably stand at the side of your bed staring at you from an inch away from your face. Your unconscious mind will feel this presence and alert you. Waking you up to the small child literally in your face. You will either now have to share your bed with the scary creature you produced yourself or try and reassure them there are no monsters in the wardrobe. Meanwhile you’ve had a mini heart attack from that angelic face that was an inch away from your own.

  8. ELVES. Some parents including me will buy into the Elf On The Shelf thing at Christmas. This will mean you are up late at night after everyone else is in bed moving said elf. Either that or you will wake early in a morning thinking shit shit shit. Where shall I put that thing today. You bought this thing. You did yourself out of those early nights in December!! Just remember that.

  9. Tooth Fairy. As mentioned above. Kids teeth fall out about 6/7 years old. The tooth fairy will need to come. You must wait to retrieve said tooth until everyone is asleep. Like properly asleep. I mean who made this thing up anyway. A fairy swaps teeth for a coin then they build castles with the teeth. Teeth that are smaller than a ricecrispie. That the child has to put under his or her pillow. Where their head will be. What in God’s name would make anyone think this is a good idea.

  10. Worry. Throughout your children’s lives there will be nights when they will sleep soundly and you will be wide awake. Not sleeping because your little one (or big one) is causing you worry for one reason or another. It could be an unexplained tummy ache. A little rash that you will google and decide you need to go to A&E only to discover when you wash their face to sooth them the rash disappears. It must have been a splash of juice or that lolly pop they had this afternoon. :-/

So if I’ve left anything out or you can relate to any of these leave your funny stories in the comments.

Of course most of the above can be overcome with plenty of daytime naps and failing that coffee. All of the coffee.

I wouldn’t change these sleepless nights for the world. You just have to remember that these things will pass and when they do you will give anything to be five if your baby that night feed one more time.

Join my sleeplessness ramblings over on my instagram stories.

If your up in the night take comfort in knowing your not the only one.

Nina x

The Summer that could change your life! – National Citizen Service.

Since my Stepson turned 17 I’ve been thinking back to when I was 17. I had a full-time job, lived on my own and had a little group of friends that I went about with.

Cam my stepson turns 18 towards the end of the year and I can’t imagine him living on his own, doing grownup things, like pay bills or communicate with people outside of snapchat.

He like many his age are just lacking those life skills that is needed in the big wide world.

Like many teens nowadays Cam has spent most of his teenage life in front  of a computer playing games or studying for the nightmare that has become GCSE’s

I was chatting with a group of friends who have family members around 17 that are also about to head out and find work.

We were discussing the fact that when we were their age we would apply for a job in a bar and that would entail talking to the customers, communicating with other members of staff. Something that was second nature almost. (No snapcaht in our day Gosh im sounding old)  We said that the teens we all knew only really communicate by text or snapchat. They are heading out into the world without knowing how to talk face to face!

When I heard about National Citizen Service (NCS) I was intrigued into what it could offer my teenage stepson.

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First of all it take place in the summer holidays when I know some of you will have other commitments booked but rest assured if you register your interest on the NCS website with no obligation NCS will do their up most to work around your plans.

So whats in it for my Teen?

Well first of all Its 5 days away from us parents. Taking part in lots of fun activities like canoeing, and Abseiling.  It’s a chance to make new friends who are the same stage in life but from different backgrounds.

Then your teen heads to another residential, less adventure more like a University style camp. A chance to learn those important life skills, This for me is the important part of NCS.

This initiative is such an amazing opportunity for young people to develop their confidence, their communication skills and develop friendships that could last a lifetime.

They will learn these life skills and then use them to put together a community project, do some fundraising and make a difference to their chosen project.

Afterwards there will be a celebration  with their new friends to look back on what they have achieved.

NCS will look great on your teens CV which will aid them in future endeavours whether they want to apply for a university course or go out to work!

What are you waiting for?

This action packed program could benefit your teen for just £50 thats everything included. all activities, food travel and accommodation.

There is even extra funding based on your personal case so it could be free!

Almost 400,000 have already taken part in NCS and it continues to be a powerful project for teenegers to grow into outstanding members of thier community!

There are still places available for Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer. To sign up now, go to the NCS website. use this link: http://www.ncsyes.co.uk/?utm_source=blogger&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=summer18

Nina x

 

Belton House Visit Thank You To The Girl In The Green T -Shirt

Before I start this post I want to start by saying despite all of the trials of the day Belton house is well worth a visit. The outdoor play area is enormous. Its great to get outside and be in nature but know your safe. There is an indoor play that serves hot drinks and lovely cakes and sausage rolls.

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Friday April 6th.

Today we went to Belton house.

Now the day didn’t start well due to being up late, a tyre being flat on the pushchair, not being able to find the car key the list goes on.

When I got to Belton it was very busy we headed to the Discovery centre but couldn’t go in as there wasn’t room for the pushchair I could have took the car seats off but they are so heavy. After a wander around the garden and a visit to the loo ( That I had to bump the pushchair down 3 large steps to use a disabled toilet?) we headed to indoor play. After this it was time to change the babies. Here lies a problem. The baby changing facilities are down a tiny corridor and up two steps. So I had to use the disabled toilet no changing facilities. So had to do it in pushchair. Mason took the opportunity to wee. All over his vest which I dried using the hand dyer.

Then it was time for the reason we came. 50 things to do before your 11.3/4. The activity was a trail using sticks. The trail was not at all pushchair friendly but I persevered having to cross a bridge and go through a gap in the hedge praying I wouldn’t get a puncture. I was almost in tears by the time I had done. Trying to push the pushchair through deep grass. Navigating across a bridge then the only way to the other field was for me over some fencing that I assume had previously navigated by other pushchair users.

On the way back to the car the kids wanted a go on around about I said yes for two mins.

It was packed with big kids and little kids.

Almost in tears from my day out that I felt was a disaster I looked up and a little girl in a green T shirt was helping my son onto the roundabout telling the big kids to stop spinning while the twins got on. She helped my two onto the roundabout. She chatted with them and helped them on and off. That girl in the green tshirt saved our day.

Thank you little girl in the green T-Shirt you rescued our day.

I have to say. I did complain about the changing room situation and the staff were lovely about it saying they had complained on behalf of customers before so they are aware of the situation.

Belton house are having a major refurbishment so maybe they will update the toilet situation.

Nina x

Mini Egg Cheesecake.

Wow two foody posts in two days.

This time I’m going to let you know what I do if we have too many mini eggs (as if there is evert too many)

Our family’s favourite pudding without a doubt is cheesecake.

When we are in holiday we can search and search for cafes or restaurants that have cheesecake on the dessert menu.

Over the past couple of years I think I have perfected a delicious “base” cheesecake.

So instead of using mini eggs you could put almost any flavour to it.

Mini Egg Cheesecake.

Ingredients.

  • 600g Cream cheese or quark
  • 250g crumbed digestive biscuits.
  • 100g melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 284ml pot double cream
  • 1 packet mini eggs crushed.

Method

  • Crumb biscuits (we put ours in a food bag and bang with rolling pin.
  • Melt butter for 5 – 10 seconds in microwave. Then add to biscuits.
  • Mix until it looks like biscuits could mild together.
  • Grease 23cm loose bottom tin with spray oil or rub butter around. Then line with greaseproof paper. (If serving in dish or glass etc no need to grease.
  • Place in the tin or equivalent. (We have used individual plastic wine glasses or tinfoil trays.)
  • Place in fridge preferably over night or in freezer for a few hours.
  • Add cream cheese, sieved icing sugar, and vanilla to a bowl and whisk
  • Add double cream and continue to whisk until stiff.
  • Spoon mixture onto biscuit base and smooth around so its level. If making in glasses and you can’t get spoon in to make smooth tap glass on the counter generally until the cheese mixture is smooth.
  • Place in fridge over night or freezer for a few hours.
  • Once set push up from bottom to release and remove the paper.
  • To serve I melted white chocolate and added a little chocolate and a drop of food colouring in different colours to different bowls. The. Scooped up on to a spoon and let it drizzle over the cheesecake in lines.
  • Then simply add a few mini eggs to the top using a little melted chocolate to stick them.

I hope you enjoy creating this delicious cheesecake as much as I enjoyed eating it.

Nina x

April Word Of The Month

“Take the maps they gave, And burn them, Take the lessons, And unlearn them, Whoever’s holding you down, Whatever’s changing your mind, There’s a road you will only ever find, Is there, If you dare
Just for once don’t stop and stare, Spread your wings , And trust the air
If you think the ice looks thin, Run faster
If you dare , Take the jump without the fear, And the far side will appear
Of a land you find is there, If you dare”  An extract from ‘Dare’ From Calendar Girls The Musical by Gary Barlow & Tim Firth

April is here and for many of us its the Easter Holidays For us however Its the start of a new adventure.

March

If you’ve read my post Gap Year you will know that as of the first of April We are Going to start Home Educating the twins (I say we I mean me)

We will be planning adventures around the uk and Europe.

My word of the Month for April is going to be Dare. I sat in the car driving to a Civil Reception of all places On my own. The first time I’ve been to such an event. I was feeling anxious about not knowing anyone and wondering if I would spend the evening sat in a corner.

The song Brave (See lyrics and link above) came on and the anxiety dropped a little.

It was then I decided it had to be my word of the month.

Brave to follow my heart and start our gap year home school journey.

Brave Saying yes to more opportunities

Brave to take on whatever comes our way in the future.

Whats your word for April?

Do you ever feel influenced by a particular song?

 

Nina x