24 July, 2017

How I Keep Organised - With Printables

Being organised has always been a natural thing for me, I can remember at a young age liking order and things clean.
For me a clean and organised life is a happy and stress-free life, when things are messy and unorganised my mind feels cluttered and everything is one big jumble. It makes me extremely crabby and unable to process things.

I wanted to share the tips I use that help me keep organised and on top of life. So for those that need a starting point on how to organise this is for you.

1. A little bit each day - Everyday I do a little bit of cleaning and organising.
keeping on top means that my jobs are quick and easy, giving me more time to do other things. When you let it pile up is when it becomes a major task and a time consumer.

2. Tidy Basket - Keep a tidy basket close by, so as your sorting you can put things that don't belong in that room into the basket ready to go back in its place.

3. Everything has a place - Everything in our home has its own space from an under stairs shoe and bags storage system to a crafts cupboard and candle drawer.
It makes life so much easier because  I can find everything I need and I know where everything goes as I'm tidying away.

4. Check list - My most valued tool in keeping my life organisedI have printable lists and notebooks of lists for everything!
I keep a checklist on what foods and cleaning products I have in stock, kids school uniforms and even Birthday and Christmas presents I have bought through the year.
I do this because I will always know what I've got and if I'm running low or need to buy anything then its right in front of me.

This is the fun part of the post because I have made it so you can download my organisation sheets. From my weekly meal planner and shopping list to a school uniform checklist and my favourite Christmas present gift sheet!
All you have to do is click here! If you use my printouts tag me on social media so I can see your organising.

5. Get everyone involved - My last and final tip is to get the whole family involved. Both Our children have to make and clean their bedrooms before school each morning, at 3 and 6 years old they are responsible for their bedroom to be clean and their toys in the toy room downstairs to be tidied away after play. As well as this being helpful to me it really teaches them to respect their things and to look after them.  It also means they are sharing the work load and helping mum, so I have more time to play with them.

I hope you liked my tips on how I keep organised, there are many more posts on organising which you can find here on my blog, do go check them out. 

If there is anything you want to see me cover in my next post let me know in the comments. :) 


23 July, 2017

30 Free Activities for Kids This Summer - With Printable

I have 46 days (not that I'm counting) until the boys go back to school. Until then I have to keep them mentally and physically stimulated to reduce the chances of them fighting and that dreaded Mum! I'm Bored! Phrase.

With that in mind, I was determined to not let the school holidays beat me. I have been researching what activities we can do to keep my little nuggets busy come rain or shine and on a budget!

I love thinking of new ways to keep my kids busy, which doesn't involve sitting in front of a screen.
I love my children to be out and about, exploring and being creative, because that's' what being a child is all about. Tv and games consoles are all well in moderation but it doesn't make them think or tire them out.

A major problem a lot of us will face over the summer holidays is money. Having children is an expensive business, and over the summer you're going to end up spending a  small fortune on all new school clothes and accessories.

With everything in mind, I have created a printable summer bucket list on 30 fun and free/ low-cost activities to do with your children.  

We have already started ours and we have had so much fun. Last night we ticked off building our own lego houses and we had a movie night watching Matilda. 

So whether you are looking for completely free/cheap activities to do with your children or are just needing some inspiration download my 30 Free Activity Ideas for Kids. 

 I would love to know your free/cheap activity ideas, leave them in the comments below.


10 July, 2017

10 Things to do at Butlin's

For those that have never been to Butlin's, this is a guide just for you. A guide featuring some of our favourite places/activities which I recommend all families to take part in.

1. Danger Mouse Show (Live Shows)

I had to include this as my first because it was such a good production.  The kids were glued but it was also extremely enjoyable for the adults. My two boys happily went down to sit close to the stage and I can tell you they did not move an inch and for my 3-year old, I couldn't believe it! He's not got a long attention span, especially with things like tv and shows so for him to sit for 45 minutes, I was surprised and extremely impressed.

2. 3D Shows 

We were given tickets to see Giggle Planet, the kids loved it. It was extremely interactive and the even put a camera out to the audience for some extra giggles.
The quality of the 3D is also much better than the cinema because things really fly at you and get very close. This was Archie's first 3D experience and he jumped at everything but he was in fits of laughter so a massive thumbs up from us.

3. Soft Play 

Our two loved the soft play and what's handy is that it's right behind the main stage, Liam and I were able to sit with and have a drink and the boys were in view across from us.  I think Alfie easily clocked up over an hour in there because he wouldn't come down, not even for food! In the end, I had to ask the members of staff to get him out!

4. Swimming Pool 

The pool is a definite trip, it's a good size with slides, wave machine and even a mini slide for younger children to climb on and slide down. we all had a fantastic time. Next time I must remember to wear contacts though!

5. Fun Fair 

The traditional fun fair definitely had me reminiscing, rides include the dodgems, Helter Skelter, carousel and the chair -o- plane.  As well as many rides there are some traditional stalls and a place to get your fun fair food such as doughnuts and candy floss.

6. Shoreline Restaurant

This is the hotel that we stayed in, the food and service were terrific. I would highly recommend families to stay here. The staff were all lovely as well, we had a little issue in our room which they corrected, they provided extremely quick service and a goodwill gesture to say sorry.

7.  Bognor Beach 

Butlin's is right next to the local beach, it's so close in fact that all you needed to do is walk out the gate and across the road.  The beach is unfortunately pebbled, so if you don't like pebbled beaches this may not be for you but the kids loved it and the water was so clear we could see little fishes swimming around us.

8. Billy Bear Bedtime 

In our hotel, there was a special bedtime visit from Billy Bear. The kids meet down in the lobby and were all taken to Billy's own bedroom in the Hotel. I'm not sure if any of the others have this but I know the Shoreline hotel is specifically for young children.  We all went up to the first floor, you can't miss Billy's room.  The room its self is very different to the rest of the hotel, Billy's room is kitted out in red and yellow and with very overshaped / cartoon styled furniture.  The kids thought it was the best thing ever, they went to bed extremely quickly when we got back to our rooms which was a bonus!

9. Family Fun-Karts 

You can hire your own family Kart for 30 mins to go off exploring the park, this is something we really wanted to do. unfortunately, we were unable due to an overbooking and with it being our last day there was no option to go again. However, from seeing everyone else it is a definite must activity.

10. Scoop Ice Cream 

Hot weather means lots of ice cream and the scoop has some delicious ice cream.

I hope you found this post useful, don't forget to check out my other post on how to save money on your Butlin's holiday here


07 July, 2017

Butlins Money Saving Tips

This week we took the boys on their first Butlins holiday, both Liam and I went as children and we thought that the boys would enjoy it just as much as we did.

Before we went I looked online as much as possible to see what I should pack, where is best to eat, what activities are a must and anything else I could think of.
I wanted us to have a good time but I didn't want us to spend a small fortune either, I know how expensive holidays can be and I'm all for saving money where I can. So I thought I would put a little post together with my own tips on how to save money for those who are either like me and like to budget whilst on holiday or if you only have a little budget to work with.

Booking Tips 

First thing is to book out of season, our holiday was booked just before the start of the summer holidays. A couple weeks later and the same holiday we have just been on is almost £350 more.

Stack codes, we were able to stack several codes on our holiday which gave us a nice discount on our holiday.  Always look for online codes before you pay full price!

If you aren't going to be in your rooms much then go for a cheaper accommodation, you can rent a variety of accommodation from rooms and hotels to apartments and chalets (in Minehead only).
These can vary in prices so compare them all and see what fits your budget best.

Food Tips

Food on site food can be expensive so save yourself some money and bring yourselves some snacks.
Before we left I made snack bags for each person for our stay.

We also brought a crate of water and squash as drinks can be extremely expensive too and if you're in the hotel then you have something to drink at night.  Your Hotel room/apartment will have a fridge which we have found so handy to store drinks and food in.

We filled our boots at breakfast so that at lunch we didn't need much and if the kids were hungry we brought them little snack wrap kits from the onsite supermarket to go with some items in their snack packs. The snack wrap kits were £2 and the Diary Lea Lunchables were £1.69 so a lot cheaper than a lot of the food here. For example, a regular piece of Cod from the fish and chip shop is £5.20 that doesn't include chips.

You can visit the Butlins website to download the menus of certain restaurants, so I do advise doing that so you can get a rough idea of how much a meal is likely to cost.

We dined at Paper Johns on our first night and our bill was £45 that was for 4 drinks, 2 kids meals and 2 buffets, however, our dining experience wasn't the best so I personally couldn't recommend eating there.

I think next time we would try self-catering so we could save more money as our weekly food shop is normally £60 for four of us and we spent that in almost a day just on food and drinks.

Activity Tips

There are many free activities such as shows and fairground rides but then there are a lot of things you will need money for especially the arcade! There are two arcades in Butlins one in the skyline tent and one in the fairground area. So be aware that the kids will want lots of change to play with.

A lot of the shows are free but there are some that you need to pay for and pre-book for,  these seem to be around the £5 per person range. You can check online to see what will be on during your stay again so you can budget more money if you need to.

Sporting activities also have a charge depending on what your child wants to do and these range from adventure golf and archery to Ariel adventures, volleyball and Go Karting. Prices vary from £2.50 - £8 per person.

Souvenir Tips

All children will love to hit the gift shop and there is a range of items for a variety of prices many items can be bought for under £10, however, the most popular items are the Billy Bear & Bonnie Bear soft toys which are about £15 each.

We didn't let the kids into the gift shop instead we gave them a £20 budget each and I went in to buy a Billy Bear and some smaller gifts. We then surprised them by putting them on their beds whilst they were out at a show so when they came back it was a magical surprise for them which they really loved, it was probably more exciting than letting them loose in the gift shop because they weren't expecting it. You can shop on the Butlins website before you go as well if you wanted to pre-buy the kids' things instead of buying them on site.

Another thing that you can do which I was going to do but ran out of time was to pre-make a goodie bag to bring to Butlins with me.
So instead of spending too much in the gift shop, I was going to buy pirate themed accessories such as pens, stickers, chocolate coins etc and just add the Billy Bears when we got here.

We stayed in the Shoreline Hotel which is designed from the outside to look like a cruise liner and inside it's all decorated with a nautical theme, which our two just loved!

I hope you enjoyed my Money saving tips if you have any then let me know in the comments below!


03 July, 2017

Facing My Biggest Fear

We all have fears and phobia to some extent and that is perfectly normal, it's not normal when these fears take over your life. The last 13 years  I have been a slave to my anxiety and phobias.  I've Missed out on so many amazing opportunities because of that little voice in my head, that anxious state unable to rationalising that things were all ok, told me to not do it in case something bad happened.

At the beginning of this year, I posted 2017: Being the Best Version of Me, a post focusing on not setting new year's resolutions but instead to focus on myself and being the best version of me and that meant giving myself some much needed me time to actually look after myself. It meant tackling my fears and put the fingers up to the anxiety that has plagued me for years. I wanted to feel proud of myself and be the mother I have always wanted, the mother I have dreamt about being but haven't been because my anxiety restricted me.

Well, it's safe to say I'm on the way to becoming that mother because I tackled one of my biggest fears and flipped the bird to my anxiety...... I conquered my fear of flying! 

Now that may not seem much to some but I was terrified, the idea of being up in the air with nothing underneath me but the clouds and many hundred feet of space between my feet and the ground didn't go down too well. I felt physically sick, I already have a fear of heights and travelling far in general which on top of my fear of flying made the whole situation a BIG deal.

I wanted to and needed to do this, I want to be able to travel the world, heck I wanted to be able to travel around the UK without getting into a state, I just want to have the freedom to be free and to live my life with no holdbacks, without second guessing every single choice I made or where ever I travelled.

Flying wasn't what I thought it would be, for a start I didn't feel car sick or motion sickness like I thought I would. I didn't feel like I was on a roller coaster and my brain couldn't make the connection of being up so high so my fear of heights never bothered me. The only thing I didn't like was take off but once we were level I felt fine. Personally, I would describe the sensation of being on a plane very similar to being on a train or bus.

Now here is where I need to say a massive thank you because I couldn't have done this alone. I couldn't have stayed in the airport or even get on the plane if I didn't have one of my biggest support networks with me, my sister. 
My sister Stephanie is a frequent flyer, so I was in safe hands, with her no shit nonsense I knew she would put me on that plane no matter what I did or said and that was exactly what I needed. 
She took control so I hadn't needed to worry, all I needed to do was hold her hand and breathe and a lot of deep breathing I did during take off!
My sister gave up her time to come with me to stay with my friend so she could emotional support me and for that I am so forever grateful, she gave me the chance to see my dearest friend Vicki ( she blogs on over at The Northern Irish Mum) and her two beautiful babies as well as the rest of her family which is something I knew I couldn't have done alone. 

With 7 months into 2017, I conquered my biggest fear and I feel amazing. My everyday anxiety has been non-existent, I feel different. I feel more confident, I feel like I've metamorphized from a dull grey anxious moth into a bright beautiful butterfly, with the courage to fly free.
I can't wait to see what the next 5 months hold for me and how much I'll overcome, so far it's looking good with clear blue skies all the way to my next destination.

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