As we brace ourselves here in the UK for a hot days, we are getting the paddling pool prepared, water squirters are at the ready, drinks are in the freezer, sun cream is applied….let the fun commence!!
We don’t often experience heatwaves here, but when we do it can really change our sleeping patterns. We for one had an uncomfortable game of musical beds last night, our youngest really struggled to settle in the heat.
So during all of these moments of fun, it’s worth considering prepping the home for this evenings sleep!
As featured in an article on the BBC, here are some top tips for sleeping better in a heatwave as suggested by Prof Kevin Morgan, former director of the Clinical Sleep Research Unit at Loughborough University, and Lisa Artis of the Sleep Council.
During the daytime, draw all of your blinds and close the curtains to keep the sun out. Keep the hot air out of your home by closing the windows on the sunny side of your house. Once the sun has gone down, open all of the windows to let in a breeze.
During this weather it’s often tempting to wave goodbye to any routines you may have. It’s advisable not to change your little ones bedtime hour too much as this can really disrupt sleep.
Stay hydrated! Drink loads of water, but not too much just before bedtime.
Replace your duvet cover with thin sheets as they will absorb the heat. Keep your duvet handy though in case you wake up cold!
Use a fan!! If you don’t have one, fill up a water bottle with icy cold water.
So, during these worrying of times, we’re back with a lip-smacking bang to keep the kids thirst kept at bay. This really is a treat in our house, not for the every day but a recipe the children love to make on sunny days.
Inspired by Allegra McEvedy who has written a cookbook inspired by the stories of Enid Blyton, why not give the kids a lesson on the art of making Lemonade? It really is so simple and I can promise the results are totally worth it! My kids delight in reading out and copying down the ingredients and method, the measuring and weighing and the jolly good shaking!!! Most of all, they love the outcome and it certainly quenched our thirst during these warm days in the Uk. Let’s get going!
100g caster sugar
Start off by quartering the fruits and then let the kids squeeze out the juices into a jug. You should end up with about 150-200ml of juice. Place the skins to one side.
Next up, place the juice into a jar, add the sugar and 250ml water. Place the lid on top and get the kids to give it all a good old shake until the sugar dissolves.
Add 1 litre of cold water and the squeezed out lemon and lime skins. Give it all a jolly good stir!! Add ice and Enjoy!!!
We have just returned from a fantastic family holiday, topped off with a surprise trip to Disneyland Paris for our kids. We decided to keep it a secret as we didn’t want our children to only focus on the Disney element of our holiday. We therefore had a blissful week beforehand, without being constantly asked “is it time for Disney yet?”. It was worth it, their little faces were priceless, they really had no idea what we had planned for them & were blown away with excitement. Cute.
So, post Disney chats with my husband about what we’ll do differently next time we visit (we will, it was great) has prompted me to write this list. Hopefully this will help any Disney first timers out 🤞🏻
1. Download the Disney App and take a good look ahead of your trip. The app has times of performances & parades, queuing times, you can book restaurants (via a phone number), find the play zones, book fast passes etc and is generally really helpful.
2. Take enough water to queue but don’t go overboard and weigh yourself down – there are plenty of water fountains throughout the park where you can top up your bottles.
3. Try not to go at the weekend and preferably if you can, go out of season!! What an earth made us go in August and on a Saturday, I have no idea!! Seemed like a good idea at the time!! The Friday wasn’t too bad & we managed to go on a few rides. Saturday however was a whole different story. We queued for nearly an hour just to pass security and then had to queue again to get entry into the park itself. The queues for every ride were at least 75 minutes long, not so great with little ones in tow when they are hot and bothered. Prepare yourself for the Disney Princesses, the shortest queue we could find was 95 minutes. Fortunately our two weren’t that bothered so we managed to get out of that one this time round.
4. Ahead of the Disney performances & parades, work out the route and get yourself a prime position on the kerb. On our first day, we hung about in Main Street and then danced along behind Minnie & Mickey who were singing “we’re on our way”…we got so caught up in the magical atmosphere (they know how to gather a crowd!) and as a result promptly ended up right at the back.
On the Saturday, we’d learnt our lesson so we parked ourselves right in front of the main stage, 40 minutes before any show was due to start. We had the best experience ever – the show was incredible and our kids were mesmerised.
5. If you’re on a bit of a budget, take a packed lunch & some snacks. We treated our kids to an ice cream and saved our money for a meal at dinner time inside the resort. It’s not cheap, so brace yourself and accept it for what it is. Our meal for 4 people cost over 80€ (which is relatively cheap in there) and to be honest, wasn’t the best but it did fill the void and the kids loved the restaurant.
6. If going to the Disney in Paris, take a Poncho. Our first day was 28•C but with showers forecast. We all discovered that our rain coats were only shower proof. Despite spending considerable time drying our coats in the ladies when the sun came out, we would then get drenched again. Countless times. My kids didn’t care, but with rivets of water streaming down my back, I conceded defeat. A lady I met in a queue told me that to buy their Ponchos in the park they spent 15€ per adult and 11€ each for children. They do have the Disney logo on the back, so a nice souvenir if like that sort of thing.
7. Don’t worry too much about having cash on you. Everywhere accepts cards. EXCEPT the ice cream and cold drink carts. You’ll need cash for these if you want to avoid the long queues at the various cafes/outlets dotted around the resort. There is an ATM in Discovery Land at the Paris resort.
8. Don’t expect the Characters to be milling around all over the park. They won’t be. They each have specific times, they come along with Marshalls who put an umbrella over them and then an orderly queue is formed so you can get a picture & autograph.
9. If you haven’t downloaded the app or don’t want your head stuck in your phone for the entire time, remember to check the super large information boards in every zone. We only saw these on the last day towards the end…doh!
10. Above everything else, relax & enjoy yourselves. We soaked it all up & tried not to focus on the cost of entry vs the number of rides we managed to get on. If you allow it to be, the atmosphere is truly magical & for us that is all that mattered 💕
Do you have any top tips for Disney trips? If so, we’re always happy to hear what you have to say.
Summer is upon us (hoorah!) which can mean only one thing – the Summer Holidays are nearly upon us. Whether this fills your heart with joy, or makes it sink just a teeny bit, we’ve been seeking out fun & (importantly) FREE activities you can do whilst home or away to help keep the children entertained and help to avoid them either driving you bonkers, or spending 76 hours a day on the iPad/TV/Games Console.
We’ve worked our way right through the alphabet to give you 26 super activities you can do for free, using mostly household items which need relatively little preparation. Please do let us know if you give them a go, you can share your photos with us on Insta or Facebook – we would love to hear from you!
A is for Anemometer
Wondering what an Anemometer is? You can measure wind speed by making this cool little machine. All you’ll need is 5 paper cups, a paper plate, pen, ruler, pencil with a rubber on top, drawing pin, 2 straws & a hole punch. We found this great video on YouTube:
B is for Bubble Snake
Children (and mums) love bubbles, so let’s up the ante & go large! Grab yourself a clean plastic bottle, scissors, rubber band, a dishcloth, bowl and washing up liquid. Let’s go! This is really cool because not only is your bubble snake rainbow coloured, it also keeps its shape so you (sorry, the children) can play with it afterwards.
Find a local pond, lake or sea and go for a dip!! Take a net or a clean jam jar and search for bugs, tadpoles and fishes! Hours of free fun, and the squeals will be plentiful.
E is for Experiments
Get your groove on with these awesome yet simple experiments:
F is for Forest Walks
Kids love a walk in woodland areas. They are great to explore, with so much to see, touch and smell!! Get your walking shoes on, grab your magnifying glass, some paper and crayons. Do some tree rubbings, have a scavenger hunt…so many fun things to find!! Do you remember climbing trees? Get climbing (safely!). Find a huge tree and see if you can hug it! What does it feel like? If you all link hands, can you hug it now? What does it smell like? Track animal footprints…what do they think they are? What animals do we have locally? Be a wildlife spotter. What animals can they see? Do they make noises? What do they think they eat? Write down the results! So much fun to be had, so free!
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
G is for Games
Remember hopscotch, leapfrog, skipping, beach long jumps? Get together some chalks, a few stones and a rope and you’re all set. Don’t forget to join in! (Apart from the skipping, unless you have a better pelvic floor than us then give that one a miss!)
H is for HerbOil
Spend time gathering Rosemary (or whatever herbs you have to hand). Sniff, discuss, taste. We used Rosemary, peppercorns, small chillies, garlic and wedges of lemon! Mmmm…yum!! Break up, squash and place into a clean bottle and fill with oil. Looks beautiful and you can splash it on your salads, pizzas and pasta to jazz things up a bit.
I is for Insect Log Pile house
What child can resist a wriggly worm or an interesting earwig? Have fun gathering logs and sticks. Dig a shallow hole in a shady part of the garden, pile the logs and sticks over it. Fill any spaces with twigs and leaves.
Trail ivy over the top to help keep the moisture in. We then drilled in some holes (but this isn’t necessary) Voila!! A new wonderful summer home for all of those creepy crawlies!
J is for Jelly Bean Bracelets
Buy some jelly beans and use a thick needle to thread at each end. Resulting in colourful and edible bracelets. See this cute clip for a demo!
We like to mix things up a bit, so added some Jelly Lips to personalise our design.
K is for Kebab making
Got a bbq planned? Get the children involved! Make up colourful kebabs out of red & yellow peppers. Use with chunks of courgettes! Discuss patterns, sequences and formations – a mini maths lesson at the same time!
L is for Lip-Smacking Lemonade
Ever tried to make it yourself? If the answer is no, now’s the time to start. It tastes SOOOOO good!! Here is a tasty recipe from The Enid Blyton Jolly Good Food book:
Mix the juice of 3 lemons & the juice of 2 limes with 100g caster sugar, and a few handfuls of ice. Put all the juices into a jar along with the sugar. Add 250ml water, screw a lid on tight and shake shake shake until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour it into a large jug along with 1 litre of cold water. Pop in the ice cubes and the fruit skins and enjoy!!
Here is the link for the book, we highly recommend it – we’ve made so many jolly scrumptious recipes from it!
M is for Mobiles
How cool are these biodegradable ice mobiles?! Let the kids create their own Ice Palace with these beauties. Simply get a cube/mould tray, pop in some small flower heads and top up with water. Put a thread loop into each one and freeze for a couple of hours. Hang up your mobiles and enjoy the fun!
Or any type of scrap paper for that matter. Bills, junk mail, whatever? We’ve worked out a few different and easy ways to make paper planes, so give them all a go. It’s amazing the amount of time the children spent flying these in the garden (it did get quite competitive though!!).
O is for Obstacle Course
If you need the kids to burn off some energy, why not make up you own course. Gather whatever you can find to create a course of hurdles, slaloms, water obstacles and tunnels. Why not use wellies or stones to design your slaloms in zigzags. For the tunnels, crawl under chairs and benches or even a large empty box. Time the kids & their friends and REPEAT! This creates hours of fun….and might guarantee a peaceful afternoon once they’re worn out!
P is for Potato Printing
Got any old potatoes lurking in the back of the cupboard? Let’s get crafting!! Those old spuds can keep the kids entertained for ages. Cut a potato in half and mark out a shape. Carefully cut away the flesh of the potato, so the shape is raised. Plop some paint onto a plate, press the potato shape in it and stamp away! Glorious, messy and fun.
Q is for Queens
Make create beautiful crowns out of cardboard and have a royal tea party! You can also make place names for you all, and get the best cups out. Posh it up!!
R is for Running
Get those legs working and do some short sprints with the kids in the park or garden. We LOVE a game of tag in the park (and it gets your heart rate up in to fat burning mode too!). Develop some healthy competition by making a note of your best times, and see if you can all beat them by the end of the summer.
Have a child not so keen on running (me too!) take the bikes and scooters out and run round your local park whilst they scoot or cycle. You get to exercise, and they get to burn off some energy. Take a picnic and you can reward and refuel after your exercise.
S is for Slime!
Not only is this enormously good fun, it is also a precision activity so it helps develop the children’s measuring, weighing and maths skills (without them even knowing!).
We use this amazing book, and the recipes haven’t failed us yet!
Pom pom slime, glitter slime, bogie slime, snail slime – let your imagination run wild! Once you’ve finished, pop it in an airtight jar and it will keep for another time. Hint: Cover your unstripped kitchen table BEFORE you get the food colouring in the mix!!
T is for Time Capsule
Grab a metal tin and get the kids to pick out some pictures and some trinkets. Place a newspaper clipping inside and a note. Bury in the garden to look at in years to come (just remember to mark the spot!) Peppa Pig style.
U is for Underwater
Take a trip to the swimming pool and practice your under water rolls & handstands. On holidays with a pool? Try some daily races and exercises in the pool to keep the children entertained and you fit at the same time!
V is for Volcano
We love making Volcanos! They are so much fun and so simple to achieve, and because they’re science-y there’s plenty of measuring and weighing ingredients. Find out how to make one here>>
W is for Water Fights
There isn’t much out there that tops a good old fashioned water fight in terms of fun! Do your bit for water conservation by using the paddling pool water to feed your grass and plants when you’re finished with it! Last time we had an epic fight, we inadvertently managed to empty the whole paddling pool during the fight – things got crazy. Can’t remember the last time we laughed that much together. Don’t forget to put towels down on the kitchen floor to avoid slippy little feet!
X is for Xylophone
Get the beats going with a music session. Dig out the hidden instruments (or is that just us?!), or make some of your own using household items and rock out to your favourite tunes. Personally our lot love a bit of Kidz Bop so we’ll pop that on the TV and go for it!!
Get baking with your little people. James, our very own Paul Hollywood has some fab bread ideas on the blog to inspire you. More science-y fun with weighing and measuring, plus you get a scrummy treat at the end of it! Bit scared of making bread as a first bake? Try these easy peasy cupcakes – the children can make them with limited help from you, so you can enjoy a cuppa whilst they do all the work!! (Well perhaps that’s a little optimistic, but it will keep them engrossed for at least half an hour).
Z is for Zoning out!
Put the kettle on, make yourself a cuppa and give yourself a well-deserved break. Why not stick a film on and make the most of the peace? Happy Summer holidays, lovely people! X