Friday, 12 February 2016

3 East Sussex Seaside Towns to Visit with the Kids in Half-Term

I know some people are put off visiting the seaside when the weather is not so good but actually we just go for it. Of course it helps that we are only 20-30 minutes from numerous beaches nowadays but even when we lived further afield we used to take a day trip and enjoy the fun of the seaside whatever the weather. The big pull of visiting in the Winter of course is that there aren't any crowds and you really can enjoy all that space with your kids.

There are loads of great seaside towns to visit in our home country of East Sussex and you can take your pick but the three I am giving a shout-out to today are Bexhill-on-Sea, Eastbourne and Hastings.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

I Never Want to Tidy Toys Again!

I've been feeling a bit poorly over the last week and to be honest it has made me a tad grumpy at times and certainly my patience and tolerance for noise and mess has been low. After a number of nights with interrupted sleep and only limited rest we decided not to go to church Sunday morning as I just didn't think I'd be able to function for the rest of the day and my husband had been out at Night Church until the early hours of the morning.

The girls and I had made a deal to get their homework done and to tidy their bedrooms before lunch and then the afternoon would be more relaxed with a photography walk and a cream tea after. The morning started well as I had managed to get about six hours sleep and we got all the homework out the way pretty early and with minimal fuss.

It was then time to start the clear up of the bedrooms and before we could even start that I realised the lounge was a mess from where the girls had been up before me. In truth they had been really good and got themselves some breakfast and turned the TV onto low to chill and do some colouring whilst I continued to rest but for a few minutes all I saw was the mess in the lounge.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Term Time Holidays - Yes or No?

Image Credit: Mayan Ruin from Shutterstock

It's quite a major debate, isn't it?  I am constantly seeing posts across my social media feeds with parents asking other parents if they should take their child out of school to go on holiday. We all know that the price of holidays depends on the popularity of the time of year and it is pretty logical really.

When JJ first started school we took him on a term-time holiday each year as it meant we could enjoy a break with my parents for next-to-nothing and seeing as I wasn't earning major money it was just what we needed. Time to be a family, have fun together and recharge our batteries. We didn't have any qualms about doing it as he was just 4 or 5 years old and the the few days he missed school were not crucial in the overall scheme of things - he is a bright boy.

Then things changed, the twins became old enough to go to school and JJ was learning different kinds of subjects and we felt he might miss out by not being at school. Also the ten days discretionary leave that a Head could issue changed and now Head Teachers can only authorise leave in exceptional circumstances and those circumstances are left up to the Heads discretion. It is a bit of a minefield to be honest now.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Adventurer Mens Waterproof Boots from Mountain Warehouse

JJ came home from Scouts a couple of weeks ago with his new programme for the term and it looked like they were going to have lots of fun - explorer camp, hiking, life skills, emergency aid, buggy races, tending their allotment and a water camp. As I scanned the list I noted the remark that all scouts would need to make sure they had sturdy walking boots for the hike as it would be over rough terrain and shoes, however study, just do not give the ankle support that is needed.

I recalled that last time we had gone out for a ramble JJ had been moaning that his walking boots were pinching, so I got them out to have a look and low and behold I found they are only a size 7 and he is now between an 8-9. I therefore knew it was time to have a look on the Mountain Warehouse site and see what was available for JJ at a good price. I was super impressed that there were walking boots on there ranging from just £19.99 for a basic pair up to £159.99 for top of the range Apex Isogrip ones.

As JJ is still a growing lad (he is only 12 years afterall) I didn't want anything too expensive but I wanted his feet to be comfy, dry and well-supported so I opted for a pair of Adventurer Mens Waterproof Boots  in a grey and orange colourway. I see the other colour option - blue and dark grey, which is also very nice, has gone into the sale and is just £29.99 now too. The boots are available in sizes 7 - 12 and I think they come up true-to-size.  We went for a 9 for JJ as he can wear thicker socks or even two pairs whilst they are on the larger size and then grow into them, making them a wise investment.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Designing my Dream Kitchen.... One Day!

Image Credit: Custom Kitchen Design from Shutterstock

I've got to a point in life where I really am very content. I've achieved the things I want and now I am content to follow God's will and see where He leads me. Right now that means I am down in East Sussex volunteering, mothering and supporting my husband in his work.  In the future who knows...

But if I am really honest there is one thing that I am a little sad I'll probably never get to do and that is design my own super stylish kitchen. My husband and I bought our first house in 1997 and we changed the old-fashioned brown tiles to a mix of bright and cheerful ones but that was about it as eighteen months later we were moving into a house that came with our work and we knew we'd only be there short-term so no point in doing any more than a lick of paint. The next place we bought was a brand new flat where we got to choose the tiles, worktops, cupboards etc which was nice but it was only a small place and I wasn't that excited.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Parenting: What to do?

Sometimes parenting is the most difficult job in the world. You are desperate to get it right and then situations present themselves that you have no idea how to tackle and you just have to learn on the job. Yes there are tons of manuals; books ready to tell you the best approach and there are online forums and web articles and in fact dozens of resources but really does anything beat your own intuition?

Every child and every situation is different, I've seen that with just my three children and if I am honest I look at my oldest JJ at age 12 and think that my husband and I aren't doing such a bad job. Yes he is addicted to his computer but he is a good guy all round. He's smart, he cares, he tries hard, he is polite and he is fun to be with. So I think we are right to be trusting our gut and parenting in the way that feels natural to us.

I'm having behavioural challenges with one of my girls at the moment. They are having a tough time at school and keep pushing the boundaries and acting out. This of course leads to consequences from the teacher and the last thing I want at the end of the day is yet another email to tell me of that days mishap!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Sturdy School Shoes from Hotter Shoes

Back in September JJ started secondary school and he had a new pair of what looked to be really sturdy leather shoes. Here we are just four and a half months later and they still fit him, but he has worn the leather away at the heels and they now rub. Also the insole is really worn and quite uncomfortable to wear.

With this in mind I got in touch with my shoe store of choice and asked if they might like JJ to put a pair of their men's shoes to the test. Hotter shoes are available online and from over 70 stores in the UK and I am an avid fan. I got my first pair of Hotter boots back in 2010 and I still wear them now, I also have trainers that travelled to Ethiopia with me and a couple of pairs of shoes and they all last this heavy-footed woman really well.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Getting the New Year off to a good start

I feel like Christmas is a distant memory now and I'm happy the new year is here; there is still that feeling of expectation and new beginnings. Like anything can happen as it is a fresh canvas awaiting me to draw the picture of 2016.

To be honest I came into the new year without too much thought of what the year ahead would hold and what goals I should be thinking about. I'm really not into New Year's resolutions and I just assume they will be broken, so I stopped making them some years back but I do believe it's good to have a focus and change is the only constant.

Better Health 
Over the last couple of weeks I've spent quite a bit of time in prayer and quiet contemplation of what I should be doing this year and a few focus areas have made them self apparent to me. First off I really need to get a grip on my health. I've been on too many diets in the last thirty odd years since I started to try to lose some weight. The evidence from those last three decades tells me that diets do not work for me, I now realise what I need is small, gradual changes. So I am working on changes a couple of things each month and making them habits for life. It is going to be slow and I'm sure at times boring but it is so necessary and if I can establish all the better behaviours as my norms then the weight cannot fail to fall off and my health improve.

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