Spring has finally sprung the sun is shining and finally the rain is holding off long enough for us to enjoy the great outdoors.  When I pick my son up from school we will be spending time in the playground with all of the other parents and children.  Having a wonderful playground so close to the school is wonderful because it allows the children to expel the pent up energy they have saved while working hard at school.  My son and his friends are definitely ready to spend after school running around outside climbing on the playground equipment and digging holes in the mud.  Hopefully being able to play in a more open and freer environment will help him and his best friend to stop bossing each other about and getting each other’s backs up.


Play England have devoted a whole section on the benefits of outdoor play because they believe that it is important that children learn skills that cannot be learned easily in the classroom.  Apart from the obvious health benefits of climbing on playground equipment and getting lots of exercise, children also learn how to interact with others and deal with conflict.  Playground equipment also offers the opportunity to conquer fears about height and balance.  Children also enjoy the freedom to abandon the playground equipment and find parts of the playground where they can hide and play imaginative games.

Visiting the playground as a parent can either be a sociable occasion where you chat to other parents or you find a quiet place to catch up on some work you need to do on your mobile phone.  Leaving the playground generally involves lots of time warnings and watching your reluctant child clamber on every piece of playground equipment before they reach the gate, only to forget their shoe and spend the next ten minutes looking for it.

Often we read statistics in the press as to how much a mother should be paid, if her role was a job rather than a labour of love.  It is always concluded that a mother would earn a healthy sum of money, in the region of 30 to forty thousand pounds, due to the amount of work that goes into the job of being a parent.  Many parents find their role challenging but rarely consider time spent caring for their children to be a job.  When your child is young it seems that your role of a parent is pretty straight forward but as children get older their emotional needs increase and our input is even more important.  Often time or lack of it prevents us from being the ideal parents that we would like to be.

Saatchi & Saatchi conducted a survey of 1,022 women in December 2014 and surveyed a further 1,800 mothers through Mumsnet to find out how mothers perceive their role.  They looked specifically at the eight emotional roles of parenting which include; carer, coach, hero, safe house, friend, partner in crime, fan and rule breaker.  When questioned almost 100% of the mothers agreed that all of the roles were extremely important but admitted that they rarely spent more than 10% of their time with their children fulfilling these roles.  The graphs below show that being a carer outweighs all of the time spent carrying out all of the other emotional roles.



The survey also found that 51% of mothers fulfil all eight roles all by themselves, so it is hardly surprising that being a mother feels a bit pressurised at times.  Ideally mothers would like the role to be shared more equally with their partners giving them time to have more breathing space.  We don’t live in an ideal world, but children do need to know that we are there, come hail or shine, and that we are human too.  If we were to perceive the role of parents as a job then we would probably perform badly, where targets are concerned, because a lot of what we do for our children is not quantifiable.

I have to admit as my son is getting older I find that my role is becoming much more complex and more often than not, it is hurt feelings rather than hurt knees that I am having to put a metaphorical plaster on.  I miss the simple days of going to the playground and watching him explore the playground equipment without a care in the world.  Now I have to make sure that he does his homework, looks presentable and help him to find ways to deal with bossy children without falling out with them.  In the morning when I take him to school I sometimes feel like the worst mother in the playground but that is probably how we all feel.

Interactive playgrounds aren’t something you see every where yet so when you do find one it can be quite a treat! The mix of traditional play and a new, exciting interactive element gets kids really eager to try it out. Interactive play is both challenging AND fun, and offers another encouraging way to get children fitter!


Another good aspect of it is that sometimes competitive sport can really only nurture the natural first team players and others can get left out or left behind.  But equipment like this is much more inclusive and gets everybody involved in a more relaxed way. Physical exercise for children is obviously hugely important, especially with the current obesity rates. This is a great way to get kids moving without them even really realising they are exercising.

Hopefully they will make a welcome change to video games. It will be great when more of our playgrounds include some interactive equipment!

Last night I watched a pretty shocking and sad documentary on Channel 4. ‘Junk Food Kids: Who’s To Blame?’ . It would seem that now one third of British children are overweight or obese. Also, stemming from this, which you might not really think about is the number of kids who are having to undergo drastic dental treatment due to rotten teeth caused by their diet.

The show, unsurprisingly, sparked a lot of activity on social media. Twitter was filled with people angry that ‘Who’s to blame?’ was even a question that needed to be asked and I have to say I agree with them. Parents must take responsibility for their child’s health.

The basics of it are that junk food is cheap, quick and easy. Alongside that, for some people taking their kids outside and entertaining them rather than leaving them infront of the tv may seem like all too much hard work. Small amounts of exercise do wonders of good whether it’s running around the garden, a quick trip to the playground or something more structured like a sports club or class.

Did you see the documentary? Here’s a trailer if you missed it.


Over the weekend while my son had been evacuated to my parent’s house I undertook the challenge of putting my son’s new bed together.  With my husband tactically unpractical it was left to me to digest the instructions figure out which bits go where and identify the correct screws and Allen keys.  I choose this mid sleeper bed from Argos and it arrived in two boxes with plenty of plastic wrapping and an annoying block of polystyrene that decided to shed its ball everywhere.

The build was easy enough – I only really needed help when putting the safety bars across because I needed an extra pair of hands to support it.  Basically the whole deal was to screw bits of metal to other bits of metal but not too tightly until it was complete, just in case you cocked it up.

I chose this particular bed because it gave floor space underneath it and the option for a tent.  My son had said that it was a shame that there wasn’t a slide attached to the bed so he could slide out of it in the morning like a real climbing frame from Playdale. It sounded like a fantastic idea except that his bedroom just isn’t big enough to accommodate such a great construction.  I think he would have liked a climbing frame like this in his bed room.


I excitedly set the tent up underneath the bed and added a wind up lantern so that my son could pretend that he was camping.  I mistakenly told him that he could sleep in the tent during weekends and holidays so last night he slept in a sleeping bag on an old mattress underneath his brand new bed.  I have yet to see him to find out whether he slept well in his new tent.

I just wish that I was small enough to enjoy sleeping in his tent – although I have plans to hide there when it all gets too much and hope that I am not found for a while.

Blogging The Night Away:

It wasn’t until I studied the development of reading in order to ensure that my son was ready to read that I realised how important the ability to listen was.

Originally posted on TWO WRITING TEACHERS:

Silence. It is the other side of talk. It is the back board of listening. When we are silent it opens up our mind to what is going on around us. It allows us to listen and reflect on what others are saying. When we are silent we are able to tap into the art of listening.

When we open our workshop with talking the other side of this is teaching children to listen.The job of the listener is not only to be silent and take in the information from the talker, but to think and wonder, to see and feel what the storyteller is communicating. This art of listening is something students need to be taught. It is about setting the expectation and teaching children that they gain more from being silent when they truly sit back and take in the stories around them.


Whispering partners get kids listening…

View original 419 more words


For many years I used to wear a bum bag with all of my essential items – even a urine sample from my cat to take to the vets but that is a different story.  That was until I met my husband and he decided that I needed refining and bought me a number of handbags unleashing a temporary surge in receiving handbags as presents from relatives and buying handbags because they went with a certain jacket.  This handbag epidemic has resulted in the drawer in my bed being stuffed full of bags that I no longer use and are starting to smell a little unloved.

I have practically rebelled against carrying any type of bag after I didn’t have to carry nappies, baby wipes and bottles around.  For a short while I reverted back to a bum bag but now I am back in work I am quite tempted to buy a new bag. While searching for a perfect bag it has become apparent that we get emotionally attached to the bags we buy and if they are looked after well they will last a lifetime.  When I think of long lasting bags I always consider leather to be the most obvious option simply because I really like the smell and the texture and a good quality leather bag always looks good even when it is battered and old.

I have an old very battered satchel that I bought in Sorrento over a decade ago and still use it to carry documents, however it is very rigid and not really made for the gadgets we carry these days.  I am considering buying another leather satchel but this time it will be made of softer leather and be a little bigger.  Whilst searching for bags online I came across the brand Rowallan of Scotland who have produced a variety of beautiful handbags made from high quality leather.  I particularly like the satchels they have designed and the fact that they are made from soft leather. The best thing about the is that they are affordable and the prices don’t make me feel nauseous.


If I had loads of money to burn then I would probably look at buying a Cambridge Satchel partially because if the Google Plus advert is correct the company was started  on a kitchen table and simply because they are undeniably gorgeous.

Saddle Leather Work Bags

If you can’t afford the £200 + price tag then you could buy an Iphone 6s case instead.

Maybe I will just look at my bag drawer and dust them off and fall in love with them again saving myself loads of dosh!

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