Half term seemed to creep up really quickly and then be over just as fast! I mean, ok Moose didn’t actually start school until the third week of September so it was a really short half term for him but still!

I made absolutely zero plans for this half term holiday and usually I hate that because it leaves me often feeling guilty for not providing much entertainment for the children. Bored children (as any parent knows) doth not a happy half term house make.

Luckily my sister, Jo from The Knight Tribe did the same thing. This meant that our children got to catch up with some of their cousins!

We didn’t go very far afield. The beauty of having cousins to play is that they basically entertain themselves. We spent days playing at Jo’s house, we ventured to soft play on one day and we took them all to our local country park on the last day.

We brought along our Beagle, Fudge and Jo brought their Labrador, Rosie. Despite Fudge usually being a very grumpy old lady (she is 13) she seems to get along really well with Rosie and we had a lovely day!

It’s so important to me that my children grow up with a good relationship with their cousins. My siblings are all people who I love dearly and watching our children play together is one of my absolute favourite things to do.

My sister and I managed to have 2 sets of babies quite close to each other

Bess and Leo were born 9 days apart and Moose and Emily were 18 days apart. Both pairs have always been really close. During that first half term of school Moose really missed Emily so he was really excited to spend lots of time together over the holiday.

So, although our half term didn’t really include any expensive activities or a lovely beach holiday (maybe next year, MrG?), we spent it doing something valuable. Taking time to reconnect with each other.

I am thankful for the family my children have around them and I am grateful that after such a lovely day we made it back to the car before the rain started to fall!

 

 

The Ordinary Moments

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last month or two, you must have seen the latest cleaning craze which has hit social media. The likes of Mrs Hinch and (my personal preference) The Organised Mum have been everywhere and so, the Zoflora has been out out for many a Mum and Dad.

The thing is though

I am not a naturally organised person. Cleaning is not how I express myself or what I consider to be any kind of fun. With that in mind I wasn’t feeling too enamoured when I was sent some Ace cleaning products recently – I mean, sure, I was happy to try them out of course. If anyone could pose a challenge it would be my adventurous 4 year old, Moose!

But me and cleaning? it was all a bit, meh! I have 3 children so stains are not a stranger in our home but I have always been a bit disbelieving of the claims of some of these cleaning products – mainly due to experience.

The day after our products arrived, my 4 year old son arrived home after school and it was like the planets had aligned. He got changed into his play clothes and when he handed me his polo shirt I had to laugh, I have no idea what he did at school that day but it was MESSY! Perfect timing.

Exhibit A

The first thing I did was to soak the shirt in a mix of COLD water and Ace for whites. It has to be cold water because hot water decomposes the active ingredient of bleach in the product and renders it ineffective. I didn’t know that either until pretty recently and I am 36 and have kept 3 other humans alive, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t know either.

After a while of soaking (it was going to be about half an hour but I was distracted and ended up coming back to it about 2 hours later – oops) most of the stains were gone. I then just popped the shirt into the washing machine and let it do it’s magic along with a little capful of the ACE for whites to give it a bit of help.

This was the result. Before and after – just for you!

So the shirt is again like new. I know this won’t last, there will be more stains and plenty of them. All marking out how Moose has played that day. Now that I know I have a cleaning product which works, that seems a more pleasant prospect than it had previously.

To help with your stains at home, head to ACE clean UK to find out more.  ACE can also be found in Tesco, Sainsbury’s Morrisons and Waitrose

Long live stains and creativity and pushing the boundaries – and thank goodness for ACE!

*This is a post is for an entry into Britmums #ACEforschool Challenge, sponsored by ACE*

 

Today is Ada Lovelace day!

You have probably heard of Ada Lovelace but you might not be entirely clear on why she is famous or who she really was. Here are some facts you might not know about her but you definitely should!

ada lovelace

Her father was Lord Byron

Yes, that Byron. Ada’s Mum and Dad separated in 1815 when Ada was 3 months old. The mad, bad and dangerous to know poet sadly (or not so sadly, depending on your point of view) died when Ada was 8.

It was said to be that, because Ada’s Mother wanted to avoid her daughter inheriting Byron’s reckless artistic temperament, she pushed her daughter into the study of mathematics. 

She wasn’t really accepted.

Ada had to publish her work under her initials, as women were not seen to be intellectual.

Although Ada’s mother had succeeded in providing her daughter with the best education and had passed onto her a real thirst for knowledge. She hadn’t done quite so well when it came to teaching her how to be a lady in victorian England.

In an 1835 edition of the New York Mirror (Ada would have been 20) was written: “It is said that Ada Byron, sole daughter of the ‘noble bard’, is the most coarse and vulgar woman in England!” Even Babbage, her good friend, was said to have described her as having “a good deal of the Byron devil”! 

She’s buried next to the Father she never knew

She died from cancer in 1852 – at just 36 years old. At her own request, she was buried next to her well known father in a Nottinghamshire churchyard.

It took a while for the world to catch up

Lovelace’s ideas about computing were so far ahead of their time that it took nearly a century for technology to catch up. While Lovelace’s notes on Babbage’s analytical engine gained little attention at the time (they were originally published in 1843), they found a much wider audience when republished in B.V. Bowden’s 1953 book “Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines”. As the field of computer science dawned in the 1950s, Lovelace gained a new following in the digital age.

There’s a computing language named after her

The US department of defence computer language is named Ada. Each October, Ada Lovelace Day recognizes women in maths, science and engineering, who the British Computer Society then award the ‘Ada Lovelace medal’ to.

You can read more about Ada Lovelace by following the links below:

https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-ada-lovelace 

https://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323

GET INVOLVED

An official event for Ada Lovelace day, Peterborough STEM festival returns in 2018 for it’s 3rd year. It will be held at the Kingsgate Conference Centre, Peterborough on October 13th, from 9.30am until 4pm.

Promising fun activities to celebrate and experience the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This event is FREE to enter and suitable for the whole family. You just need to book your FREE tickets here:

https://www.peterboroughstemfestival.co.uk/

I am not an active parent. Despite reading all of the media warnings about screen-time for children and the importance of keeping their little bodies physically active, I am often guilty of looking out of the window and using the weather as an excuse to stay indoors and pop a movie on or play video games.

It’s a bit rubbish on my part I know but there we are. Not that I am not offering an apology, but I have been thinking about it a bit more now that both children are going to school and the long days of time together (where I could be complacent about really how much time we had) are over.

So now those long days have been shortened down to 4 hours after school. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am fortunate to have even that. It’s not much though, is it?

In a way it has improved the quality of our time together though. Because, I think, that clock is ever ticking I am determined to make the time count. So, I have been quite strict with myself and imposed a no laptop rule for ME between 3pm and 8pm. I instead spend that time concentrating on being present for Moose and Bess.

This week

We have been out in the garden this week simply playing with toys. It has been really lovely to spend time with Moose just playing without the rigmarole involved with going somewhere else!

It has been so nice this week to make the most of our outside space. Moose loved playing with the Phlat Ball V3 Flash he was sent as well as his boom bat and other toys.

Inside the ball are suckers so the ball can be squashed into a flatter frisbee style shape. We played a game of hot potato with it, when the ball pinged back to shape whoever was holding it was out!

Moose had so much fun with it and loved the flashing lights too. You can find Phlat Balls at Smyths

We also found a Minion space hopper in the shed which Moose had a lot of fun playing with and for his birthday he received a scooter and helmet. He has had a little practise on the scooter every day this week.

We hear a lot of chatter in the press about how children today have forgotten how to be children and play without the aid of technology but I disagree. Given the chance I think most children enjoy being unplugged*.

*Eventually. Even if they do initially protest that you have ruined their lives by turning their tablet off.

 

A few weeks ago something happened which stressed me out so much that my cortisol levels went haywire and it left me with a bubble of fluid in my actual eyeball. My retina to be precise. More on that later but as I am currently viewing a very wibbly wobbly world I am having to avoid driving (or going outside if I can help it).

The timing of this is not brilliant. Easter with kids means 2 weeks with the little darlings at home. Fortunately the weather has been utterly rubbish so that has limited outing options anyway. Remember last years Easter break weather?

We spent the fortnight getting cracking on the planting of stuff last year. It didn’t grow (obviously, gardening and I do not mix well) but at least we were out there I suppose.

It did occur to me though when looking back through Instagram pics that we didn’t really go anywhere last year either and despite starting this holiday feeling more than a bit guilty about it, I am actually ok with not being my child’s Minister for Entertainment. Here’s why

1 Only boring people get bored 

Having nothing planned means that your child must fill that gap themself. This encourages creativity which can only ever be a positive, right?

When your mind is full of everything in your life it is incredibly hard to think creatively – the same is true for your child. My brother used to be able to get from one end of our home to the other without ever touching the floor (as that was lava of course) and I am sure that was bred of moments of pure boredom

2 Home does not = boring

You do not need to go to a farm or a theme park. Just look em in the eye and ask them what they want to do and engage with them on their level.

Why not let your child paint some rocks and go and hide them for other children to find?

Do they love to play on their gaming console? Then grab that second controller and be their player 2. No stress, no financial outlay, just time to connect. They will love you for it. 

3 Boredom teaches independence 

You can’t always be there to tell your child what to do every step of the way, and you shouldn’t have to. Being bored teaches your kids that they have to rely on themselves. It teaches them to be independent with their learning and find ways to entertain themselves.

4 It’s a life skill

Coping with situations which they do not find very exciting or stimulating is definitely something your child will need to learn how to do as they grow. I cannot begin to count how many times this has happened as an adult but if I add up all of those work meetings, Toddler groups (sorry, they are boring. You know it and I know it) and times when my child is telling me about minecraft. Well, it’s a lot.

Being bored as a kid has allowed me to perfect my “this is so interesting” look (while mentally preparing meal plans or planning my next creative writing masterpiece) 

5 Boredom doesn’t really exist

The word “boredom” was first used by Dickens in Bleak House in 1852. Of course, tedium has been around a lot longer but the actual word boredom is relatively new. 

As an adult I quite enjoy moments of nothingness. Just silence to sit and fill with my own thoughts. As a Mum it doesn’t happen often.

not bored at home

Boredom is a choice. I choose not to get bored, instead I value the time and use it to be mindful which I think is really important for mental health and generally feeling Human again! This is something I am hoping my children will learn for themselves but what better way than to lead by example?

How do you cope with bored children over the holidays?