BeWILDerwood competition!

Bewilderwood is one of my absolute favourite family days out in Norfolk. It’s magical, marvellous and utterly enchanting. Not to mention it wears out even the most hardened small person. I’ve never made it home without the sound of contented snoring from the back of the car!
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We went at Halloween and had an amazing time and I’m looking forward to going again during February half term when even more Boggle magic will be sprinkled on BeWILDerwood. If you don’t know about the magical world of Boggles and Twiggles then you’re really missing out!

Competition time
I can’t recommend it enough so if you fancy giving it a try you could win a family ticket to enjoy all the fun at half term. Just leave me a comment telling me what would be your ultimate family adventure.
The competition closed 5pm on 7 February and the prize is a family ticket as described on their website.

So what’s happening at BeWILDerwood over half term?

The Boggles are sprinkling a little Boggle magic on BeWILDerwood this February half term and can’t wait for you to arrive! Join us as we re- light the warming bonfires and re-commence the party at the Curious Treehouse Adventure Park. The ‘Boggle Wish Bonfire’ is the first weeklong event of the season – head ‘this way’ to the ‘Big Hat’, which you’ll find brimming with pinecones and twigs, card and tissue paper; pots and pans (borrowed from Swampy’s mum’s kitchen), and gallons and gallons of glittery glue! Get busy on your wish-making potion, (don’t forget to add a dollop of dreams) and join together at the fire pit to make all your wishes come true!

Even though you will be busy there will still be time to explore and engage in the wild Norfolk landscape. Walk the Wobbly Wires, brave the Tricky Tunnels and take a lazy boat ride across Scaaaary Lake. Cross jungle bridges and visit treehouses and take time to enjoy the enchanting storytelling sessions and listen to the tales and adventures of Mildred, Swampy and the characters of the BeWILDerwood stories.

You can also claim their three for two offer by signing up to Twiggles Times. You’ll get your voucher before the February half term.

Motherhood-not the toughest job in the world

Ok I’m just going to say it. I don’t think motherhood is the toughest job in the world. The phrase has passed over into everyday language as a stock response and don’t get me wrong it can be tough, emotionally draining, physically exhausting but not all the time.

I loved my mat leave, making friends, getting to know Arthur, basking it what I’d made. There were moments it was hard work but no way would I say it was the hardest thing ever.There are huge factors that can make it tough but it’s about a situation not whether you gave birth. If you have one child, plenty of money and supportive family how on earth is that tough. It’s a privilege. If you have six children and your partner left you and you need nappies and food and no one helps – that’s tough but it’s not to do with being a mother. This doesn’t take account of women suffering PND but I would never imply I could understand that or any other mental health struggle.

I also think it’s a slightly smug badge of honour, unattainable by those not in the club. As women, sometimes, we can find outselves pitted against each other and I’ve read many scathing attacks on the ‘mummy brigade’ by women sick of this perceived sense of self importance. I don’t agree with them and I hate the term ‘mummy brigade and similar’ but by using phrases such as ‘toughest job’ or ‘most important job’ we’re doing ourselves no favours.

May be this is a simplistic view which takes no account of the economic impact of being a mother, loss of earning power, status and a sense of handing some of one’s self over to another for life. Maybe it’s because you can’t escape, there’s no clocking off and once your baby is here you know that you’d end your life for theirs.

Mothers are not all tough or weak or all amazing. We are a heady mix of brilliant, crap, fair-to-middling people. Bringing up a child is the most privileged part of my life with some tough moments but it’s not a career choice – it’s a lifestyle one. Implying it’s a career in some way demeans what it is – it’s far more powerful than that, and incidently this applies to dads as well. It’s tough but not the toughest job – ask any Chinese miner.

Olly the Little White Van

Arthur’s love of trucks, vans, buses and basically anything with wheels knows no bounds. So, when we were asked to review the new Olly the Little White Van dvd – it was perfect.
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We’d watched a few episodes on television before but never really got into it, probably because of times and due to the fact he’s only just coming through a rather tough Fireman Sam obsession. So last week we sat down and watched a few of the episodes we were sent, there are nine in total and at just five minutes long they are perfect for little people with short attention spans.

Olly is cute and helpful and has lots of friends and caught Arthur’s attention instantly. At it’s heart it’s about teaching children that being helpful and kind is a good thing and that, while we all make mistakes but if you’ve tried your best that’s the most important thing.
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I loved th songs that featured throughout and I really think these help to capture a child’s imagination. I also loved the fact there were short and he could watch just a couple at a time. But what did the boy himself think: “Olly is bootiful can he come to my party.” A ringing endorsement indeed!

Family Fever

To the worst parents in the world

We’ve had a rough couple of months, well to be precise Arthur’s daddy has had a rough few months and it got me thinking about the impact our childhood has on the rest of our lives.
How the support, or lack of it, permeates throughout adulthood and rears its head in all kinds of ways. With a lack of confidence, overcompensating with too much pseudo-confidence, fear, anger…It also made me realise that you can choose to be beaten or you can, quite simply, stand up and fight.
I wrote a while ago about how his mum had been battling cancer and how he had done everything he could be with her despite a very difficult relationship with his stepdad. For reasons I won’t go into his mother has now cut contact with us – including her beautiful grandson.
I’m angry with her, I’m incandescent with rage at his stepdad. I’m astounded that he still gets up everyday full of optimism with a bounce in his step. I’m amazed that, despite a really shit childhood where no one told him he was fab and no one showed him how to shine – he refuses to pass that on.
He’s far from perfect, bloody hell he winds me up sometimes, he sleeps in in the mornings, prattles on too much and speaks before he thinks but I can’t imagine not having the one person who’s supposed to love you unconditionally.
Because he was beaten as a child he refuses to do anything other than talk to Arthur. Because he was told he was thick he spends time praising our boy and telling him how clever he is. When I raise my voice he bends down to Arthur’s level and talks – because he remembers clearly what it feels like.
Because no one played with him he spends hours building trainsets, castles and cars and telling Arthur about the world. Whisking him on to his back when his little legs are tired and insisting on having bath time with him most nights. You may think that’s normal and yes it is but normal isn’t always easy especially if you’ve never experienced it.
So thank you to the shittest parents in the world, thanks for treating your son so badly and never giving him a sense of confidence. Because of you he is better. You’ve taught him how not to be a parent and if that’s the only thing you’ve done, that’s enough.

Embracing Thrifty January

This month I’ve made a promise to myself to cook more, buy less- simple changes but for us as a family, at weekends, it always goes to pot.
There’s a sense of indulgence, that we should ‘treat’ ourselves and before I know it Sunday is here and we’ve spent a fortune on food we didn’t need and thrown out lovely stuff we had.

Lovely Jubly veggy soup
So this humble vegetable soup was a show of respect for the carrots, leeks, potatoes, celery and onions waiting patiently in my fridge. This weekend dear veg, you are taking centre stage. Titivated with a little chickens stock I had in the freezer, some garlic and a bay leaf, it really was delicious. I also added a sprinkle of cheese and it was hoovered up by boys big and small amidst wedges of lovely buttery bread.

I even managed to save some for my lunch on Monday. That’s the other bit of my promise-no more spending money on work lunches and coffees. I worked out Im was spending more than £20 per week and I only work three days- that’s utter laziness(coupled with a rather huge caffeine addiction).

January I am embracing your thrifty nifty frostiness- next up is roast shoulder of pork with enough to make Monday’s dinner and Tuesday’s lunch too!

God I hate bloody January

So it’s over. The tree is down in some kind of symbolic needle-fuelled end to the festivities. My bank balance is a quivering wreck and my thighs are hoping for a speedy detox before the increased chaffing causes a small bush fire.

Now it’s time to get through January and yes, yes, there are brisk walks and ooh, everyone loves it when it’s sunny and frosty and bright but it sucks. It’s the motel month to November and December’s sumptuous 5star hotel. It’s ages until anything good happens and February is just as awful. Toddlers and bad weather is another reason to want to run into the arms of Spring. Already this week Arthur has rolled in dog pooh- not directly January’s fault but still.

Plus all he wants to do is go outside and splash in puddles and mud. According to many a Pinterest board this is fabulous but the reality is shed loads of washing you can’t get dry anywhere and constantly having to wear your ‘big’ coat and being on the look out for mud relating incidents.

So while I’m in such good spirits here are my New Year’s resolutions:

1 Sleep as much as possible through January – if it’s good enough for tortoises and all that.
2 Invent a mystery illness that prevents my going outside
3 Increase the level of guilt I place upon Arthur’s dad to take up the mantel and do stuff outside.
4 Buy unashamedly large pants in which to tuck Christmas until Spring when I regain motivation
5 When someone asks what I’m doing this weekend I want to have the courage to say: Nothing, I’m desperately sad it’s January and will be inside until it passes.

*Please note this post is in association with a tongue firmly placed in my cheek.

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