We don’t have much play equipment in our garden. Other than a sand pit we never really have had. Is this wrong? My son’s new school friend is the proud owner of a (very impressive) garden climbing frame set. It comes complete with swing, slide and rope ladder, something quite like this one, and the kids absolutely love it. Everyday he wants to go round there to play, though if I allow him I’m quite sure that soon the parents will think we are starting to take advantage. It is a wonderful thing though, fantastic for the imagination as well – one minute it’s a pirate ship, and then it’s a cave and then they are climbing a mountain, it is rather quite fun to watch!

piarte ship

I’m not sure he’s a fan of the rope ladder but the swing is definitely popular, lower to the ground and something that can be held onto tightly. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting something for the garden in the past but then fear that as soon as it was there in his own garden he would lose interest in it (which is usually the way)….Maybe it would be best to just start with a swing and see how it goes from there!

On the school run this morning I realised that Autumn is here. There’s something special about a nice sunny, quiet Autumn day with a cold, crisp start to the morning and orange leaves on the ground. Just because the temperatures are dropping it doesn’t mean it’s time to come inside for the Winter. It’s great to fit in as much time outside before it gets either too rainy or too cold, which to be fair, in the UK could be anytime now.

Autumn is the time for dressing up warm and getting out into nature. Going out for a walk, jumping in the leaves, finding some conkers and then coming back for a hot drink indoors. Sounds pretty good to me. Conkers were always a big thing in Autumn when I was younger, it was the ultimate playground game with some of my peers taking it very seriously and trying out different methods to try and make their conkers superior! A row of jars filled with vinegar and conkers was a regular sight in my house, though I’m not sure it was actually proven to work! (Info on how to play conkers here if you are interested).

c onkers

Originally posted on mymumbakes:

Here’s a lovely easy recipe that is perfect for kids to make, especially as it involves getting a bit messy!! My daughter and I had great fun making these one rainy afternoon during the summer holidays. They would be a perfect gift for children to make for someone special.


For approximately 24 truffles you will need the following ingredients.

  • 150ml double cream.
  • 15g unsalted butter.
  • 300g chocolate – you can use white, milk or dark chocolate or even try a flavoured one, such as orange. Make sure you use good quality chocolate not cake topping or one with a low cocoa content.
  • Decorations of your choice. We used sifted cocoa powder, crumbled flake bars and sugar sprinkles. You could also use chocolate vermicelli, grated chocolate, chopped nuts, desiccated coconut or anything you fancy.
  • Some sifted icing sugar to dust your hands with.


  • A baking sheet.
  • Greaseproof paper.
  • A…

View original 507 more words

assorted childrens sweets

I have now had the job of being Alistair’s Mum for five great years and now that he is old enough to entertain himself more I have time to reflect on my progress so far.  On the outside I am relieved to say that I look like a pretty competent parent, as Alistair looks and acts as normal as a five year old can be and I can pull off a certain degree of serenity and togetherness.  The truth however is a completely different story because my approach to parenting seems to be somewhat unconventional and lax to say the least.  I am going to share my short comings with the hope that I am not the only who is not perfect!

#One:- I Tell Lies

Not big sticky dark ones but light fluffy white ones that will make my life easier and stop that pneumatic drill noise that can accompany a situation. The lie I like the most is telling him that his sweets and chocolate have gone off and had to be thrown away – when in fact I have eaten them myself.

#Two:- I Let Him Cut Up His T-Shirts

I have always believed that the clothes a child wears should not stop him from learning and exploring the world so I buy second hand clothes and make use of hand me downs.  This means that he can get as muddy as he wants and paint all over him without me having any kind of funny turn.  Recently he cut up a couple of his t-shirts so he looks as if he has been attacked by a lion and I didn’t batter an eyelid.  he now realises that if he cuts his clothes up they are no longer wearable so he doesn’t bother any more.

#Three:- I Don’t make Him Eat Vegetables

As a vegetable hater myself I consider it hypocritical to make life hell by trying to force Alistair to eat food that he doesn’t like so I let him make the choice of whether he eats them or not.  Fortunately this has resulted in him trying vegetables because he wants to and my heart wells with pride when he happily eats tomatoes during family gatherings.

#Four:- I Let Him Stew At The Top Of The Slide

Alistair has always been more slight than the other children and is very baby faced so can get away with a great deal of sympathy from everyone.  At the end of term he had the irritating habit of climbing to the top of a very scary slide in the playground and being too afraid to slide down it – resulting in me having to help him down the steps.  Occasionally I would leave him at the top of the slide with the hope that he would come down himself but that never seemed to happen so eventually I had to show compassion and help him down.  I think he has been down the slide once and hated it!

#Five:- I Let Him Have A Messy Bedroom 

Alistair’s has a craft table, book corner, computer, television and lots of puppets in his bedroom and he plays in his room a lot.  Amazingly he enjoys drawing maps and writing stories either by hand or using the computer as opposed to mindlessly watching television.  His craft table is covered in boxes decorated with beads and other embellishments on them and he is very protective of his artwork.  His bedroom is one big creative mess most of the time and tidying only occurs when it becomes a health and safety hazard. I do not nag – every so often I lock myself in his room with bin bags and tidy up while watching his television and eating his sweets.

I have learnt over the last five years that parenting is hard work but rewarding at times and I don’t think I will ever get the hang of it!


So I recently read an article about ‘Incredible Lessons in Parenting from around the World‘ and I have to admit it was pretty interesting. We are so used to what is classed as ‘normal’ parenting wherever we are that you sort of forget other people do it differently. Some of the things on the list are almost funny but then I’m sure if we did some of them in the Western world it would cause a stir and most likely get a parent in trouble.  It was numbers 4 and 6 that really got me thinking.  They are both about giving their children a lot independence and trusting them (and other people) to behave as we hope they would.  I can’t imagine (and I’m sure a lot of other parents couldn’t either) letting my four year old go out and ride the subway or train by themselves.  If we saw an unaccompanied child of that age out alone it wouldn’t be long before they were picked up by the police or some concerned passer-by but that is what is considered normal in Japan for instance.  


Nowadays children don’t have as much freedom to run around the streets as we used to as things have changed.  It’s even quite unusual to see children allowed to visit the playground by themselves, yet in some places they roam free around the city or are left in the street while their parents go about their business, though that probably leads to them being pretty independent grown-ups pretty fast.  It’s just very interesting to see how the world’s attitudes to these things differ so much depending where you are and what you are used to. 

…I have to say that number 2 on the list – training babies to pee on command – would be very helpful indeed!

Having a child who eats everything would also be wonderful (number 9), meal times would be much easier!



So we have reached the halfway point of the summer holidays in the UK and exhausted many of the local attractions for children. It is important, especially during the summer holidays to make an effort to do some new, fun things with children without the pressure of the classroom. We’ve had a busy few weeks (and not a lot of blogging time) and so wanted to take a day trip out somewhere. All phones, computers, televisions and tablets were turned off and we headed out, not that the weather has been particularly good this week, what with hurricane Bertha! I wanted to do something different and creative (although was fairly certain a playground would be involved at some point, and sure enough it was)!

So we headed up to Penrith where I had heard good things about Crafty Monkeys – a craft studio for all ages. Unsurprisingly, being the school holidays it was quite busy when we arrived but with no time restraints we were happy to wait our turns. It was great fun! We painted a dinosaur, a mug and tried mosaicing (not quite as successfully though, it proved to require more patience than first thought) It was a great experience and all the kids there were loving being allowed to get messy and creative.

After we got cleaned up, I was begged to find a playground. Unfortunately it’s not until they get a bit older that they realise mums aren’t capable of just magicing a playground out of thin air. Luckily though, after asking another mum at Crafty Monkeys, I found out there was a playground not too far away, just outside of the city.

This was in fact the Great Salkeld play area. It had quite a lot to offer including slides, swings, a wobbly bridge, a small timber climbing frame with ropes and ladders as well as a big play area in the middle for basketball etc. It was a big area where the equipment isn’t too crammed together which I prefer as more space means more running around which means a tired out child at the end of it! The favourite piece of equipment was the wobbly bridge which, although met with some hesitation to begin with, was responsible for a lot of laughs.great salkeld play area

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