Do kids see race?

Barack Obama tweeted recently

 

‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion……’

 

I am starting to wonder if, as well as pure ignorance, has political correctness contributed to Racism.

Obama is right, so at what age do you start noticing and worrying about racism?

My ten and eight year old sons were sitting in the back of the car with a friend of theirs who is mixed race.

Amongst the shouting and laughing coming from the back seat, I heard one of my sons say

‘you’re so black…..you….’

He couldn’t finish because I hit my brakes, pulled over and totally lost my head.  I started going into a rant about how I hadn’t brought him up to say things like that.

Before I could finish his friend stopped me.

‘Kate, we were just roasting each other! I just said to Harri, you’re so white, you must be invisible when its snows’

I laughed! and I was so relieved.

But It made me sit back and think,

Am I creating issues about colour that the kids don’t even see.

My kids aren’t racist, not even slightly, so why did I go so mad when I heard him say that?

Because, to make reference someone’s skin colour in a negative way is racist.  But,  Is it only racist if that person takes offence?

As their mum,  it’s my job to make sure they are brought knowing what is right and wrong.

I remember when Charlie was at nursery, he had the most wonderful teacher, Mrs Patel.  One day she pulled me to one side to say that another teacher had asked Charlie what he wanted to do.  He asked if the ‘chocolate’ lady could read him another story.

I WAS MORTIFIED.  I couldn’t apologise enough.

Mrs Patel hadn’t told me out of disappointment.  She thought it was the most wonderful thing she had ever heard! This little three year old was just describing her as best he could and she was nothing but flattered that he enjoyed her reading to him.

The Political Correctness that has been bashed into me over the years had almost convinced me that my little boy was showing racist traits at three years old!

Right now, my kids see past skin colour, and I’m not going to change that

Back to Obamas Tweet……..how cute is George and his fiend Si-si…..

 

What are your thoughts? X 

 

 

 

Good morning Saturday

I thought I would write a quick post as I sit here at 5.30am on Saturday! 

I’m hugging my coffee and feeling totally exhasted.

The kids have been back one week and it has already started! 
The sickness bug has hit our house! 
Luckily its not the sort of bug that knocks you off your feet for 24 hours.   It seems to just bring on uncobtrolable vomiting and once you have been sick, it moves onto its next victim.

My washing machine has been on constantly since Thursday and ive been through a bottle of carpet cleaner. 

My expensive candles that I only bought a week ago are nearly finished and my house still smells like a sewer.
Libby wins the award for minimal inconvenience as she managed to keep her pukey mess to one small pile.
Mikey managed to puke in my car, despite having pulled over and his door being thrown open!

Cleaning capets and washing bedsheets is one thing…..cleaning chunks from the door pockets of a car is a different ball game.
George started crying in the middle of the night (not unusual).  So I left him for five minutes before I checked on him incase he fell back to sleep.

How bad did i feel when I went into his room and and he was covered, head to toe in vomit.

At 1am I was bathing a stinky baby and stripping his bed.

Harrison has a fear of being sick and has slight OCD.  

He has basically locked himself in a room and banned anyone from going near him.  That still didnt save him though and he puked on mikeys bed (who was in with me) at 3am.

Baby Arthur may or may not have had it.  I spend most of my days covered in his sick and changing his nappies, so it seems he is in a constant tummy bug state. 
So that just leaves Charlie……..
Oh…and did I mention, as payback for heading to bed a bit earlier than usual, my dog left me a wonderfully smelly package on my hallway floor.
FYI Vanish Gold is my best friend during times like this.  It gets every stain and smell out of the carpet!
Hope your weekend is kicking off better than mine!

Our Day at Drusillas

We have been fortunate to visit a few special attractions around the South of England this Summer.

When I have asked the kids which one stands out, Drusilla’s Park won hands down.

It has been so long since I have been to Drusillas It is nothing more than a vague memory to me.  So when I was asked to give a review of the Park I jumped at the chance.

Anyone that I have spoken to about Drusillas has raved about it, so I was really excited to take the kids.

A friend of mine, Simin, lives in Eastbourne and has an Annual Membership for Drusillas.  She has been visiting the Park for over fifteen years.  So, apart from a great opportunity to meet up with her and her little girl, I thought it would be handy to go with someone who knows the zoo and can give me a guided tour!

Drusillas Park Is located just off the A27 at Ariston.

From where we live in Warlingham (just outside of Croydon) it took approximately an hour.

The kids usually hate long journeys, but I avoided the motorways and the route took us on a lovely drive through Ashdown Forest.

I had always thought Drusillas was a small zoo.  My kids adore animals and learning about different species so I knew I would be earning brownie points on this day out.  What we actually realised on arrival is that Drusillas is so much more than ‘just a small zoo’.

The variety of play areas and rides are probably the best I have ever seen!  But, I’ll tell you all about that later.

Lets start at the beginning of our day.

Car parking was simple and you don’t get charged to park in it.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, but a few of the attractions we have been to over the last six weeks have charged us for parking.

Like most of my days out, it started with a coffee.  Coffee is my ‘mama fuel’ to help me mentally cope with the day ahead.  Not only to make sure I don’t loose one of my six children, but to make sure I can keep an enthusiastic, ‘Balamory style’ attitude throughout the day.

Imagine my delight when I was greeted with a Starbucks sign!

After my caffeine fix, it was straight onto the animals.

The children had been given some activity booklets to complete on the way around the park.

I thought they were great because they were kept simple.  The kids had to spot animals listed in the booklet and stamp it accordingly.  This meant it was easy for my younger children to complete, whilst keeping the older ones entertained too.

They could also take part in the Zoolympics Challenge.  There were various points around the park where you could test your sporting skills against different animals.

Our first stop was Iguanas and Snakes.  The smell was reminiscent of the twins bedroom, so I was keen to move on fairly swiftly, but the kids took in every fact and bit of information available to them.

The Farmyard was lovely to mooch around, George loved it and It was so informative.  The older children have been to many farms and have books on most of our animals, yet we all learnt new facts at this section of the park.

-Did you know that dairy cows produce 21 litres of milk per day?

-Did you know that Donkeys are sometimes kept as pets to keep lawns short? (yea, I suggest swerving that informative can of worms!)

-I also learned that despite how I might feel sometimes, I am not built like a carthorse and, at a push, I just about have the strength of a Serval (a giant cat)….I know!? who knew!?

You don’t it about me, but I love monkeys!!! I could watch monkeys all day!! So Imagine my delight when our next stop was the capuchins (Marcel from Friends?) Marmosets, Colobus, Squirrel monkeys and Macaques.   There were even more species of Monkeys dotted around the park.


In all the years I have visited farms and zoos, I have never encountered Bats until I visited Drusillas.
The children and I were fascinated.  We could walk through an enclosed area where the bats were hanging (literally) all around us.  I grew up next to woodland and we would see the shadows of bats regularly during the summertime, but it was a completely different experience to see them up close.

New arrivals at Drusillas this year are the Giant Anteaters, and how amazing are they! (and, FYI, nothing like ALF!)

The park has over one hundred different animal species and I am not going to go through every one, but amongst some of our favourites were Beavers, Porcupines, Sloths, Camels and Penguins.  

I loved seeing the Flamingos, (and not just so that I could use that cute sticker on Insta Stories!)

They are so beautiful and pink…. I am working on mike to let me have a flock on the farm….what do you reckon my chances are!?

Another highlight of our day was our walk through Lemurland.  This is an enclosure where you can walk amongst the Lemurs and watch them jump across your path or if you are really lucky, they might even land on you!

The Go-Wild play area was exactly as it is described…Awesome Play.  It was every child’s dream and with a separate area for younger children, it had something for all ages.

The kids spent over an hour in this part of the park.  If they had their way they would have spent all day there! 

The photos don’t do Go-Wild justice.  I couldn’t possibly get a shot with everything included!

But, there was still so much to see so we had to drag them away from Go-Wild and head for the Get-Wet water park.

Simin had text me the night before to tell me to make sure I brought the kids swimming cosies and towels.  Now I don’t want to appear a whinge, but when you are getting ready to take six children out for the day something has to give.  On this occasion I forgot the swimsuits!

Luckily, it was such a hot day It didn’t stop Libby and George from having a great time jumping in and out of the fountains and water sprays.

Go Safari! is Drusillas new attraction which only opened this year. It is an area of the park made up of three rides.  They provide perfect thrills for younger children (my two and ten year olds enjoyed them).


The Hippopotobus, The Flying Cheetahs and The Safari Train which takes you on an adventure around the whole park.

Drusillas has a great Park Maze. We all had great fun getting lost and trying to find our way out.  I kept George safely on my shoulders the entire time we were in there.  Those of you who follow my blog and Instagram will understand why! #Georgethemenace

Hello Kitty Secret Garden is a lovely area with three more childrens rides.  The exciting 25ft hooper, a ride where you are bounced up and down.  The tea cups which, need no explanation and the Kitty car ride where you go on a magical journey through Hello Kittys Garden.

Stop at Hello Kittys House.  The girls met The Puss herself, Hello Kitty, and you can indulge with a pamper at her ‘Parlour’.  Children (or adults if you so wish!) can have their face painted, temporary tattoos and hair braids (at cost).

On this occasion I was organised and took a packed lunch with us. Therefore, I can not comment on Drusillas eateries but they all appeared clean and inviting (and the coffee was great😉)

The facilities were good and you were never too far from a toilet (which is always handy with six children!)

Harrison can not go anywhere without playing a shoot-me-up game so he was not dissapointed.

And, if we hadnt run out of time they would have liked a go on the climbing wall.
Drusillas have Keeper Talks and Animal feeding at regular times during the day and they have loads of events on throughout the year.  I would definitely recommend heading over to their website

www.drusillas.co.uk

We had such a great day!  The weather was glorious, but I can imagine we would have enjoyed it regardless.

On our way home from Drusillas, Mikey asked if he could go back and ‘be a keeper for the day’ for his birthday……I am certainly going to look into it.

If I have convinced you to take a trip to Alfriston to visit Drusillas, let me know what you think.

And, as always, Please share with your friends and followers 😘

I recieved free entry to Drusillas in return for this post. All of my opinions are completly honest and unbiased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our day at Godstone Farm

I have been visiting Godstone farm since I was Georges age.

Over the years it has just got better and better, whilst keeping hold of it orginal charm that makes me so nostalgic.

So last week, I made the brave decision to take ALL my children for a visit.

Even though we live on a farm, there is nothing like a day out at Godstone Farm.  We are so fortunate that it is just fifteen minutes from us.

Considering it was the middle of the summer holidays, it was relatively quiet, which helped me stay sane.

The farm is divided into areas that makes it easy to explore.

They have all the animals you would hope to see on a farm.  Horses, donkeys, pigs, goats, llama and cows. 

They have a wonderful selection of birds and smaller animals. Chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks, rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs aswell as a few reptiles.

Activities are ran throughout the day such as animal talks and feedings.

Have you ever watched Pig and feret racing? 

The kids loved it!

I had to giggle when the boys announced, on seeing the piglets…

‘Look mum, this pig has more babies than you!’

-yep, she looks in better shape to!

Always a magical part of the day is the barn where you can hold the babies and small animals.  

They have baby chicks of different ages, rabbits and tortoises.

 Aswell as making sure no little darlings throw the chicks across the barn, Godstone farm employees are on hand to answer any questions the kids have.

My kids loved this area, particularly George.  

Lets talk about the outdoor play area that gets even the adult visitors excited.

The playground alone is worth the enterance fee.  

(How amazing is this swing!?)

It has everything from zip wires and large slides for the older kids (and adults), to a sand pit, climbing frames and ride-ons for the younger ones.

It is perfect to plot up and have a picnic, but, if like me you are not that organised, they have a sandwhich hut serving coffee, tea, cold drinks and ice cream.

We spent about two hours here, and I still had to drag the kids away kicking and screaming!

If the weather is bad, There are also two covered play areas.  

One is a huge soft play area set up in one of the large barns. 

The other area is smaller with a climbing area and slide, set up for younger children


After wearing George out in the play area we headed to the Dino Trail.

Dotted around a path, and looking over the llamas, at the bottom of the farm are large model dinosaurs.  Each one is accompanied with facts on the animal.

With a toddler and an eight year old obsessed with dinosaurs, this was a great suprise!

Who knew that a baby T-Rex could have been born with feathers?

We ended our day in the large sandpit for younger children with a portion of chips and an ice cream.

I spent most of my time here wrestling George as he tried to take every tractor toy in the sandpit away from the other tots. 

Always making time for a trip to the shop, the boys bought some water toys to play in the sun.

Apart from all the activities, I was impressed with the general appearence of the farm.

The landscaping is beautiful, the facilities were clean and there were plenty of hand washing points.

We had a great day at Godstone Farm.  As always, it provided a fun and educational day outdoors, enjoying the great British summer.

For more information, please visit

http://godstonefarm.co.uk/

*I recieved free tickets in return for this review.

However, as always, all my opinions are entirely honest and without biased.

Our Day Out at Thorpe Park

If you are at a loose end with the kids this summer and want something that will suit all ages, from babies to older teenagers (and you) try Thorpe Park.

Thorpe Park is a large theme park set between Chertsey and Staines-Upon-Thames, at juction 11 on the M25.

Despite being just a forty five minute drive from me I haven’t been there since I was a kid.  Mike was supposed to join me, but because of his work commitments I took the kids on my own.  

Two children under two, four over six and just one adult meant I wouldnt be able to make the most of the day.  So, I dropped George and Arthur to my Mum and Dad’s and headed off with Mikey (10), Harri (10), Charlie (8) and Libby (6).

When we arrived the kids checked the map and all the many rides and gave me a summary of the ones they definitely wanted to go on. 

My slight disapointment, being a huge rollercoaster fan, (bigger the better) was because I was on my own, I had to swerve some of the biggest and best rides in the park.

Mikey was also disappointed, as he seems to have inherited my need for thrills! 

Saw, Stealth, Colossus, Rush and Nemiesis Inferno were all no-gos for us this time round. 

So lets talk about the rides we did go on.

Like other theme parks, Thorpe Park is separated into different areas, each with its own theme.

We started our day at Amity, a section of the park based around the seaside town that the movie Jaws is based on.

The first ride we went on was Flying Fish, a family rollercoaster.

After dragging Mikey and Harri on some of Universal Studios scariest rides last year, they were both up for this ‘tamer’ ride.

Libby and Charlie however, were rollercoaster novices and both tried get out of it.  

Thinking they would enjoy it once they were on it, I managed to convince them with some gentle persuasion.

They loved it!

Mikey didnt feel it quite satisfied his adrenaline need, but enjoyed it nevertheless.

Whilst in Amity, we also went on the obligatory log flume Tidle Wave and the more gentle water ride, Storm Surge.

One of my most memorable rides with the kids was ‘Storm in a Teacup’.  Maybe because I remember this ride and the Tetley men from when I was the boys age.  

While the kids were spinning the cup, faster and faster, I was watching their faces, they were ecstatic, their laughing and screaming with excitement will stay with me forever.   It is what #makingmemories is all about.

From Amity, we headed to ‘The Jungle’.  

This is where we rode on Mr Monkeys Banana Ride (a tame thrill ride for younger children) and the Rhumba Rapids, riding through the jungle river on a raft.

Whilst in The Jungle I spied a ‘Ghost Train’ sign.

Ghost Trains are my favourite kind of ride so I dragged the kids kicking and screaming towards it.

They breathed a sigh of relief when it stated at the entrance that you had to be 13 or over.  I was gutted! 

It looked fantastic, promoted as Darren Brown’s Ghost Train, I am heading straight for that on my kid-free visit!

Harri’s ride of choice was Angry Birds 4D Experience.

It was very similar to the Shrek ride at Universal Studios.   I dont want to spoil it for anyone, but it is a great ride for all the family. 

At Old Town the kids jumped on The Rocky Express, which they all commented that George (2) would have loved.  

Then, the kids hurried Mikey and I passed Samuri and Saw whilst we sulked like teenagers.

We stopped for a well deserved Whoppa at Burger King, just because it was the closest Eatery.  However, there are plenty of places to eat at the park.  They have everything from a Bar and Grill to Fish and Chips, Mexican, Kebabs, Pulled Meat and BBQ, they even have Burger King and KFC.

If you want treats they offer Donuts, Ice Cream, Slushies and lots of yummies dotted around the park.
The Lost City was the home of Mikeys favourite ride of the day….Quantum.  Judging by Thorpe Park standards it was one of the smaller rides but given that Mikey hadnt managed to ride any of the monsters, this satisfied his thrill level for the day.

Charlie and Harri however, were not so keen! Mikey ran off begging to ride again, whilst the others threatened to report me to social services for making them go on such a scary ride (I bolted out of the queue with Libby at the last minute as I knew she would be petrified).

Zodiac was a great ride, I actually managed to ride that one with Mikey as the queue was less than five minutes.

We spent the last hour of our day at Thorpe Park at Amity Beach, A large, man-made beach with shallow pools and water features.  

The weather was beautiful and It was so reminiscent of the Lidos my mum used to take us to when we were kids (none of which are open any more).

I sat and watched the four kids mess about, splash each other and have a great time.

Depth Charge is next to the beach.  It is a multi slide where you sit on a raft and ride down the slide.  The kids would have gone on this again and again and again but time was running away.

Being the unorganized mum that I am, i hadnt packed swimsuits or towels so it is just lucky we made that the last stop of the day.

I say last stop, but as every parent knows, no trip to a theme park is complete without a visit to the park store!

Loaded with badges, sweets and souvenirs, we were ready to say goodbye to Thorpe Park.

All I needed to do was remember where I parked the car!!!

For more information on Thorpe Park, their prices and admissions, head over to their website.

https://www.thorpepark.com
If you have been or do plan a day in Thorpe Park I’d love to hear your feedback.

Love Kate

Xxxx

Linking up with #BloggerClubUK

Mudpie Fridays

Choosing to Tutor your child

Year five has been a big year for me as a primary school parent. 

I have found myself constantly thinking about the twins education and what choices we will be making at the beginning of year six with regards to high school.

I want to make sure that they are confident in their core subjects when they move up to secondary school.

I personally think tutoring is a well worth expenditure. 
I was privately tutored in German when I was at high school. 
My parents were told by my German teacher that I would be lucky to scrape a D in my GCSE.
My mum and dad decided that some of my problems might have been caused because the teacher and I had no chemistry whatsoever.  
So, I went to German tutor once a week for about 8 months before my GCSEs.
I passed with an A*!

Seeing a tutor once a week give the boys a chance to ask questions that they don’t get a chance to ask at school (and dont even bother asking me). 
If there is something they cant grasp, they can cover it in more depth or by using a different method.
The boys have gained so much from seeing a tutor. 

I even decided that I would start having Charlie tutored, who is heading into year 4 in September, to give him a headstart.

I was lucky enough to find a tutor that the boys adore and that they can completly relate too.

All of the boys were ‘where they should be’ at Maths and English.  I didnt start tutoring them because I was worried.  I chose to invest in tutoring to help with their confidence, which all three boys were lacking in.

It has really paid off.  Their school teachers have noticed a massive improvement and I can tell their confidence has definatly grown.
I asked the boys how they feel about being tutored.

Mikey,  10
‘I enjoy seeing Carla because she makes Maths and English fun and always comes up with new techniques to help us remember things.’

Harri, 10
‘At first i didnt want a tutor but since i have been seeing Carla I feel much more confident at school and we have so much fun with her’

Charlie, 8
‘I have always enjoyed maths at school, but when i see Carla its just really fun.’

I asked Carla if she would mind giving me her opinion on tutoring;

Many people ask me my opinion regarding private tutoring and it is hard to give an unbiased account when it is my main income.
There are many aspects I love with 1-2-1 teaching. That light bulb moment, when a pupil realises they are not bad at maths, cannot be beaten. Or when they run into your house with their latest school report and it shows a big improvement. My main goal is to see children enjoy learning. Many parents are surprised that after a couple of weeks, their children want to complete homework- children love to show you what they can do and it doesn’t matter if it is maths or making a paper aeroplane – as long as they are proud they can do it, they will do it over and over. The key is to make learning as fun and accessible as getting to the next level on Mario Kart.
I don’t do anything that a parent can’t – there are enough YouTube videos and resource books to help your own child. However, a lot of children do not trust their parents as teachers; children compartmentalise adults – parents parent and teachers teach. You may find you bang heads a lot when it comes do doing extra stuff out of the classroom. It makes sense to pay an expert. The most important thing is to find a tutor that suits your child. Firstly, why does your child need a tutor? For me the answer should fall into one of these categories:
1) Grammar/private school entry 10/11 plus exam practice
2) Confidence building
3) Special educational needs support
4) The child had a weak teacher/change of teacher in a certain year and needs catch up work
Some tutors specialise and the most important factor is making sure your child is 100% comfortable with your child and they understand their style of learning. Make sure you are getting what you want out of your tutor.
For confidence boosting, a 1-2-1 tutor is ideal. Yes there are cheaper options like Kumon and group work. However, personally, I do not think you can beat someone dedicating their full attention to your child. They are more likely to admit they do not fully understand something and ask questions when they are not comparing themselves to another child. It is equally important that they work at their own pace in the first instance. They will speed up as they grow in confidence.
But what don’t I like? If I am brutally honest, parents who tell me their child is bad at maths, only to discover they do not know their tables. I cannot stress enough, what a hindrance this is to your child. It is like me asking you to win Great British Bake Off, without measuring any ingredients and not knowing what scales were!
I am also not a fan of over tutoring a child. If they need four hours tuition every night after school and all day Saturday to pass the 11 +, the likelihood is that they will struggle at the school and will always feel anxious about learning. It is much better to be top of a good state school, than bottom of a grammar. Morale is important and something that will stay with your child for life. I personally do not offer a child more than 2 hours a week.
Lastly, unrealistic expectations can be tricky to manage with parents. An hour is not very long and if your child was struggling before, it is unlikely that they will become Einstein with an extra hour support. Even training at the top football clubs, not every footballer can bend the ball like Beckham, nor will each child become the next Carole Vordeman or Shakespeare.
At Carla’s Classroom, my motto is Loving Life Long Learning. I want children to be excited by education, strive to do better and believe they have no limitations. When I first talk to parents, many say, they didn’t enjoy school, or didn’t get maths – some still struggle now. They are often daunted by their children’s homework. Most people are surprised to find out, that for this very reason, I also offer tuition to parents. Many would love to support the teacher or tutor, but are left perplexed by the new methods, and vocabulary like chunking, partitioning, grid method in maths, or idioms, fronted adverbials and Hyperboles in English. And let’s be honest – if you are not a primary school teacher, how are you supposed to know how they do school work now? I’ve had so many conversations with parents who say they feel intimidated by their child’s teacher or that the homework does not make sense, that I saw a need to rectify this. It also cuts down on your tutoring bill – it allows parents to continue and support the work at home. A win for the pupil, parent, teacher and tutor! When children are phoning me themselves and asking for extra work, I know I have got the balance right, and that is when it is one of the best jobs in the world.’

I think ill be discussing with Carla tutoring for myself.

Then maybe I wont sweat a river when the kids walk towards me with their homework book!

CampBestival 2017

Well, what an experience this was!!

On paper, this weekend was my idea of absolute hell.
Six children (two babies), a tent, rain….lots of rain, mud….lots of mud and not a tiled roof in sight!

Somehow, amongst the damp and filth, we dug deep into our British souls and managed to have a fantastic weekend (great friends and the Gin also helped).

Due to my total lack of organisation we didnt manage to secure a motorhome this year.
Instead, we opted for CB Boutique camping with a company called PodPads.

It was a six man bell tent that included a groundsheet, carpet and six campbeds with sheets.

There was enough room in our tent for our travel cot, double buggy and festival trolly.  Although, with all the paraphernalia that comes with two children under two, it was a squash in there and not much room to move around.
If the weather had been better and we could have left our bits outside it would have been much roomier.

There is a fab ‘reception tent’ where they provided us with free tea and coffee facilities and you can charge your phone free of charge.

One of the best things about Boutique camping (beside avoiding divorce while trying to errect a 6 man tent) is having the car park at a reasonable distance from your tent and being a short walk from the actual festival.

Last year, at the campervan field, it felt like a Marine assult course getting us, the five kids and a buggy from the motorhome to the festival.
Thats not meant to discourage anyone, but for us, and the ages of our children, we prefered to be closer to everything.

Next year we will head for Boutique again.  I am going to start doing my research now into what we will stay in and ill post about that over the next couple of weeks.

I would be lying if i said the weather did not affect our weekend. 
Although we all enjoyed ourselves, we didnt get to make the most of what Camp Bestival has to offer.

We tried to do as much as we could when the rain stopped, but there is so much to to do, we missed out on alot.

Having a couple of art-mad youngsters in our crowd, we headed to The Art Tent first.
The kids had a great time making dreamcatchers out of old vinyl records and cds.

Once the main acts started we headed over to Castle Field.
We rumaged for a spot like crazed fans to watch Justin Flethcher AKA Mr Tumble and then pitched up for my personal Camp Bestival highlight of the weekend…..Dick and Dom.  You’ve never know true exhilaration until you have screamed ‘BOGIES’ in the rain, like your eight year old self.

One thing that did help keep my spirits up while my Hunters were getting abused was The Alchemy Bar by Schweppes.

A Gin and Tonic cocktail bar where Special ingridiants mixed with the G&T’s added something a bit special to my already favourite drink.

So with a couple of bevvies inside us, we soldiered on.

We danced (in the rain) to All Saints, Mark Ronson, Madness, Louisa Johnson and the other amazing acts that made up the 2017 line up. 

The kids raved with Bflf in the Bollywood tent and threw some shapes at Sara Cox DJ set.

Now lets talk about the food…..oh the food!
Ive mentioned in previous posts about how much I love the Camp Bestival grub.

On the first night we had an obligitory crepe…one of the kids favourite things! Not cheap at £5 each, especially when you have as many mouths to feed as we do, but its becoming a tradition we cant resist.

The paad thai noodles are a huge hit with my little lot.  I can guarentee they will put away a portion each, no problem!!
And obvs, anything that does get left, Mike and I are ready and waiting to swoop in like seagulls on Brighton Pier!

The corn is another essential whilst at CB! I can guarentee, my instagram is always cluttered over CB weekend with gorgeous kiddies sinking their teeth into a golden, buttered corn on the cob in The Lower Kids Garden. 

Then you have Mikes playground, The Feast Collective.
This is a tent/section of the festival dedicated to different cuisines and dishes from all over the place.  Whether you fancy fish and chips or a lamb curry, The Feast Collective will sell it.
Mainly with a street food vibe, This is where i know ill find Mike if we get split up.

We tried DJBBQ pulled pork burger, which was everything i had hoped for after salivating over his Instagram over the last few months.
We tried chips, cheese and gravy which i am convinced would make the best hangover food and was another winner with the kids .
The dish of the weekend for me had to be the Indonesian Coconut Curry and dumplings…..it was the BEST curry I have ever had!

Another great thing about Camp Bestival is that you can bring your own food and drink into the grounds. 
So, as tempting as it is to just keep browsing the stalls, trying a dish ever hour, bringing your own bits will save your pennies.

The rain finally eased off on Sunday afternoon so thats when we headed to The Dingly Dell.

This is an area in the woods with a childrens park, farm animals and outdoor activities like zip wires, childrens building sites and Lizzies Way.
Now, im not going to lie, I haven’t made it to Lizzies Way.
I have been told by my other blogging friends that this is a highlight of Camp Bestival.
All i needed to hear was, in the middle of the woods, she has a mud cafe and you can make potions!!…this is enough to make sure it is our first stop on the list for next year!

Over the next couple of weeks I will publish more posts on Camp Bestival. 
I will cover more about the accomodation options, what to see, saving money and travelling there etc.

For now, the purpose of my post is to say, despite the weather, Camp Bestival 2017 was brilliant weekend, making more unforgettable memories with the kids, which, afterall, is what its all about.

The tickets for 2018 have just been released and ticketline offer a paymentplan.

You can book your tickets and pay them off weekly which I have done for last two years and it works so well.

Boutique options are not available yet but if you secure your weekend tickets, they include standard camping pitches. 

If I have managed to convince any of you to go, please let me know and we can keep in touch over the next few months and maybe even hook up over a G&T  in the Magic Meadow next year 😉

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media.

Love Kate x 

Maybelline Nail Varnish

I have been on the search for a metallic rose gold nailvarnish.

(This is the colour i was after)

Im not sure i have found exactly what i was looking for, but it comes very close.
MAYBELLINE SUPER STAY 7 DAYS, GEL NAIL COLOUR, METALLIC SILKS in Rose Veil £4.50

I love the brush and the texture of the varnish.  It leaves a lovely finish and is easy to put on neatly.  

It dried within five minutes and looks great!
It is a lovely rose gold colour and looks fun aswell as classy.

Can anyone recommend any other nail varnishes for the summer? 

Kate x

Tips for friends of a newborn mum

Everyone loves a newborn.  Who can resist those tiny hands and that brand new smell.

It’s even more exciting when it’s a baby of a friend or family member.  

You can impose yourself as soon as the baby is born, then hand baby back when he starts crying…perfect!……if you want to piss off and send your friend into a stressy mess!

When i had the twins 10 years ago, i was clueless.

I was trying to take everything in. Learning to make bottles, change nappies, the art of winding, and all this while trying to bond with my new babies.

Aswell as the babies to care for, i still had a house to try and keep on top of.

When i arrived home from the hospital our first visitors were waiting on the sofa for us to get back.

It was flattering to know people care so much and were getting so excited over our babies but i found it quite overwhelming.

They told me to go and have a lay down and they would look after the babies.

At 24, and a new mum, i did as i was told.

Their intentions were great.  The realitly is, i wanted to be laying down with the babies.

The first couple of weeks visitors poured in with generous gifts and lots of love but if im honest, i hated it.

I heard alot of..

‘Dont worry about the babies, ill watch them, you get on with what you need to do’
Who wants to do housework after you have nurtured a pregnant belly for nine months and squeezed a human out if you?

What i really wanted was to chill out with my babies!
So…4 more babies later and a tonne more confidence, i’m going to tell you what works for me.
When you hear your friend has had their baby, these are my tips (because they wont tell you)
-Send your congratulations text and ask them to text you when THEY are ready for a visit.

No one knows what effect the birth has had on mum.   There is nothing worse than sitting on the sofa, scared to get up infront of your guest because you have leaked through your pad!

It took me a couple of weeks to even leave the house with the twins.  When George (number five) was born, i was out, digging into a tapas the next day!

-Take them round a diner, whether it is a M&S £10 meal deal or a homemade lasagne, it will be seriously appriciated!

-When you visit, after you have coo’d over the new bundle of gorgeousness, do a bit of housework.  

Make new mum a cuppa, load the dishwasher or offer to hang the washing out.

It will make her day! 
-Tell her how fab she looks after having a baby.  She will probably look like crap but its always nice to hear!

-If they are a new mum and breastfeeding, be sensitive.  Depending on your relationship and how close you are, it can be daunting….and embaressing.

The subtle breast latch, when you can start feeding your baby within seconds and with barely any boob showing is a talent that takes practice.

The first few days it is more of a undignified game of squashing your boob and nipple into all sorts of positions to try and encourage baby to ‘latch on’.

When you have an audience this can turn a already stressfull experience into a total meltdown.

If they look like they are not confident with feeding, either offer to help (if you know how to) or use that time to make a cuppa.

I asked some fellow bloggers if they had any tips, heres what they suggest:
Lisa at Mum and dad plus 4:

Don’t wake the baby if sleeping, don’t kiss baby, offer to make a brew and ask if they need help with anything pots, watching baby while they have a quick shower, making feeds feeding baby. Let them have a sleep if needed.  Go to help not be waited on. 

Http://Mumdadplus4.co.uk
Lisa at Baremother:

Do: bring cake or food (but check that mum isn’t lactose intolerant first), offer to hold baby so mum can shower, be the one to make tea/coffee, offer to help tidy or put a load of washing on. Don’t: touch baby without permission, kiss baby, overstay your welcome (an hour is plenty long enough), offer un-asked-for advice. 

www.baremother.com
Jen at Justanaveragejen:

Don’t insist on taking photos of the baby crying – my sons paternal grandmother did this and it broke my heart. She is not in his life anymore (not due to that) but it was weird and I am sure no one else would do it but you never know! And dont comment on how mum is feeding the baby, as long as the baby is being fed it isn’t your business! 

www.justaveragejen.com
Faye at Glossytots:

Take food and ask before you pick up baby 

www.glossytots.co.uk


Emily at emilyandindiana:

Make sure to focus on how mum is doing, just as much as the baby. And if they have any siblings, make sure to include them too, so they don’t feel left out! 

www.emilyandindiana.com


Natasha at itsatashathing:

Do take a little present for mum and baby. For mum some food and maybe some relaxing bath or shower stuff. Don’t tell her how to do stuff with the baby and sound patronising! Don’t pick the baby up without asking, especially if the baby is sleeping! 

www.itsatashathing.blogspot.co.uk/
Vikki at familytravelwithellie:

Thinking back to what I wanted from my visitors …. keep the visits short, never arrive unannounced, arrive with delicious selection of easy to cook food for new mum and dad to enjoy that night  ( m and s meals are a winner ) offer to help with any chores ( washing / dishes etc ) . Ask about mum and how she’s doing . Tell her she’s doing amazing. Tell her she has a beautiful baby . Tell her you won’t stay long this time but you would love to come back whenever she needs a little help , support, shower …. 

www.familytravelwithellie.com
Arabella at exeterbabyactivities:

Make a constructive but simple offer of help.  I see you are busy feeding baby,  – can I fold the washing for you?  Looks like baby needs a mummy cuddle, can I make a cup of tea for you?  Oh you are changing a nappy, shall I put the dishes away while you are doing that?

This lets mum and dad know you are thinking of them without offering any judgement on how they are coping.

www.exeterbabyactivities.co.uk
Emma at readyfreddiego:

I have a nine week old and although the offers of tidying etc were nice they made me feel a bit awkward so I would have loved someone  to send me off to have my hair done and make me feel a bit more me!

www.readyfreddiego.com
Abi at somethingaboutbaby:

I often hear people say to help new mums by doing some chores but I honestly wouldn’t feel comfortable with my friends doing that – especially in the early days, my husband was at home so he was managing all that.  I really just wanted to know that my friends were there for me, and interested in my new baby – that they wanted cuddles, and to take photos and feel involved in this little persons life.  I  also wanted that contact to continue – for them to continue checking up to make sure I was ok, and baby was ok.  As a new mum it meant the world to me that so many people cared about us. 

www.somethingaboutbaby.co.uk


Vivienne at themothersroom:

Bring a useful gift – healthy food, a lidded thermal mug, a voucher for a sling consultation so they can get to grips with babywearing, an Amazon voucher so she can load up her kindle for those multiple night feeds –  new outfits and teddies often go unused! Make hot drinks for everyone and if you do get a cuddle, don’t hog the baby!  

(As an aside, don’t invite anyone round in the first few weeks of motherhood if you wouldn’t be comfortable sitting with them in your pyjamas – if they aren’t that close, they aren’t close enough to intrude on such a special time)

www.themothersroom.co.uk
Claire at mumsymidwife:

Please do not bring your children if they have colds. I had this and my 12 day old daughter was admitted to hospital because of it. Do bring along something for Mum, as she is often forgotten. 

www.mumsymidwife.com

Terry-Ann at notaneffingfairytaleblog:

Make the visit a short one, call just before to make sure its still okay to visit as things can change so fast with tiredness etc and don’t ask to hold the baby – the mum might not want even her closes friends to hold it yet 

www.notaneffingfairytaleblog.com
Stacey at onesmallhuman:

Bring a treat for Mum. One of my friends brought me a vanilla latte from Costa (my favourite) and it was brilliant! It had felt like ages since I’d had anything like that. Add to that the fact I felt like I hadn’t slept in days and that sweet caffeine hit was just fantastic.
And the other thing? Once you’ve met baby and had your cuddles, ask about Mum! And have a conversation about something not baby related – office gossip, something on the telly. Remind Mum she’s still a human being! 

https://www.onesmallhuman.co.uk

Nikki at yorkshirewonders:

Take Just Eat vouchers!  I would have loved this when mine were born.  It’s nice to take them food, but I would rather just have a nice visit then a Dominos delivery afterwards! 

www.yorkshirewonders.co.uk

Chantel at twoheartsoneroof:

Great tips above, but don’t forget Dad!! I think Dad’s often get totally forgotten when it comes to new babies. Mums get all the attention and dad is often left feeling like a loose part. Ask him how he is doing too, and if your bringing coffee or something for mum get it for dad too! Baby will alter both of their lives majorly!! 

www.twoheartsoneroof.com

Jodie at maidenheadmum:

I took ‘Pub grub’ for my friend and her husband in their first week at home. I went and bought some premium burgers, posh cheese and the best chips I could find along with a beer for Dad and something tasty for mum as she was breastfeeding. I then cooked it for them so they felt like they were having a treat, even though they were still at home! 

www.maidenheadmum.co.uk

I’d love to hear what your experiences were.  Do you have any do’s or dont’s for visitors?

Please share this with your friends

Lots of love peps
Kate

Xxxx

Travel hack – Flying to Florida

As seasoned travellers to Florida I like to think i am experienced at organising a great holiday there.

Given that i am usually booking for eight or more people i am particularly good at making sure we stick to a reasonable budget. 

I have just booked our flights to Florida 2018 and I’ve got to share this little gem with you.

Usually, if you fly from the South East of England to Florida you would either fly from Gatwick or Heathrow to Orlando, or Heathrow to Miami.

Unless you have air miles or you are booking a package holiday, flights are really expensive. 

Especially, lf like us you have to work around school holidays, even worse when you are paying for eight people!

So, here is my secret…….Norwegian Airlines!

They now fly direct from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale airport is about 30 minutes north of Miami and about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Orlando.

Fort Lauderdale itself is our favourite holiday destination.
The beaches are stunning, restaurants are amazing and there is always loads going on.

If however, you are heading to Orlando, the price of flights will make the drive worth while.

So….

Drum roll please…….

Return flights for the Easter holiday 2018 £450 per adult and £350 per child.
This is for the Economy Lowfare plus ticket which includes In flight meals, 20kg check in baggage allowance and seat reservation.

Gatwick is so much more convenient than Heathrow for those of us that are South of London.

Now let’s talk about the airline.  

Norwegian is classed as a ‘budget’ airline, But there really isn’t anything budget about them.

We travelled to Florida with them last year for my sister in laws wedding in Key West.

The check in service was excellent (but when flying with five children you tend to get treated like VIP….mainly to move you on as quickly as possible).

The Dreamliner plane is a new aircraft. It offers good legroom (lowfare plus) and hi-tech facilities.  

The touch screen media kit means you can order and pay for your duty free, food and drink using your tv and the cabin crew bring it straight to you. 

The kids and I were fascinated by the ‘magic’ windows that are made of smart glass and tint at the touch of a button!

The service on board was great and the cabin crew were very attentive and patient with the kids.  As all of us parents know, that can make a big difference to a nine hour flight.

If you are considering a holiday to Florida, check them out.  I’ll be sharing more posts on holidays in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami soon. 

www.norwegian.com/uk/

Let me know if you have any travel hacks when holidaying in Florida.

Love 

Kate

https://modernmum.net/2016/05/21/packing-and-travelling-with-a-large-family/

Choosing the right Secondary School

I thought about the boys future before they were even born.

I looked into primary schools, high schools and nurseries.
Obviously, if I was going to raise the next Prime Minister or Richard Branson I was going to have to make sure I made the right decisions with regards to their education.
It seemed like it was forever before we would have to make any decisions, yet it has flown by in a blink, and a decade later, here we are.

Throughout the years though, I have realised the most important thing is that they are happy at school.
If they are happy the rest should fall into place….right?

Well, that’s what I thought until this year.  With the boys finishing year five in a couple of weeks, and high school choices looming only a few months away, I feel like a huge weight is on my shoulders.

Time has caught up with me and I’m starting to face the reality that there might be more to choosing a secondary school than just making sure the boys are happy.

I was happy at school, too happy. 
I was happy messing with my friends.
I was happy trying out my latest make up technique in science class.
I was happy thinking about what lads name I would scribble over my homework book.
I was happy planning how to get out of my next PE class.
Happiness defiantly didn’t help me knuckle down and get the best GCSEs I could achieve.

I went to my local state secondary school.  It was a good school but like most schools you get out of it what you put in. 
The expectations never seemed particularly high.  That coupled with my lack of self disapline ment I was a typical ‘doing ok, but could do better’ kid.

Although my life has turned out better than I could have imagined, I know my school days were more of a social education rather than an academic one.

Seventeen years later and I struggle to even help the kids with their homework.
I do my nine times table using the ‘finger trick’ and I was convinced my last son shared his name with a historical British King.  Turns out, apparently King Arthur was a legend?!

Please bear this in mind when you read my blog and notice spelling or grammar mistakes 🙈

However, let’s not knock the social skills and enjoyment you need to experience in your teenage years.

I do believe some of the qualities that helped me succeed in my career and help me run our businesses now were created at high school.

With a husband that attended a prestigious private school, we really do have experience at both ends of the British education system.

So this leaves me wondering about the twins.
What school would suit them? The big difference between them and me and their dad is that they LOVE learning. 

We have taken them to see the school that Mike went too.
The building was beautiful and imposing, like Hogwarts, absolutely beautiful.
The head masters office was a posh lounge, furnished  with a think cream carpet, a huge fireplace and a large chesterfield sofa.
All of this was very impressive but when you are paying £20,000 per year I guess you wouldn’t expect anything less.
The children were lovely, the facilities were not unlike the Olympic Park and the exam results spoke for themselves.  

People say ‘if a child wants to learn, and they have the support at home they will do well anywhere’….do you agree?

We have looked at our closest local state school and I really liked it.
The head mistress seemed strict but fair, she knew all the pupils (three thousand) by name and they seemed to like and respect her. 
The kids were polite and well presented and the facilities, although not to the standard of the private school, were
Impressive.

Mike had a bit of an issue with the dining facilities.  The dining room could barely fit two hundred kids in it.  When he was at school everyone sat down together and ate a civilised lunch.  

I had to give him a lesson in state school lunch etticate. 
From what I remember, if we were eating in the canteen, it was usually sausage, chips, and beans which you inhaled as quickly as possible to give you time to gossip or flirt on the school field.

Mike wasn’t impressed by this! (Strange considering he became a scaffolder, who usually eat KFC with their feet up on the dash of the lorry!)

It has been quite an eye opener for both of us, learning about each others education.

We are going to look at all the schools again at the open evenings in September.
I think, given we are fortunate enough to have great state schools in the area, we will choose one of them.
Private school is a huge financial commitment and even if we could afford it, so many sacrifices would have to be made. 

Narrowing down the state schools will be hard, they are all good.  

All the Ofsted reports are great and when I’ve spoken to parents with kids already at the schools they all seem happy.
Realistically there are two that we are in the catchment for.
Mikey loves art and drama and Harrison is massivly into sport,  So those subject opportunities will play a big part.

The boys have to have a say aswell.  It’s important to us that they are happy with the choices we make.

Finally, practicality has to come into it.  

With four children following them up the ranks I need to know it will be in a location that is practical for us, as a family.  

Not just for the kids, but for me (mum taxi) as well….not always easy when you live on a country lane with no pavement and at least a mile away from the nearest public transport.

My dad has even been researching for me.  I randomly got this text recently.  Anyone that knows my dad won’t find this that surprising 🤣

I asked a few fellow bloggers what they look for when choosing a school.  Here is what they suggest:

“Ask them how they are going to be saving money with the budget cuts. They all have to cut something. Their answers should help you work out if the school is well managed and planning ahead effectively.”

https://falcondalelife.com

“I’d look at whether the children are well behaved, happy and enjoying school. Also what extra curricular activities are on offer. The overall attitude of the school and whether they instill a love of learning in the children. Plus I must admit I’d be looking at results too”

http://www.familymakes.com

“Look at the standards in general: uniform, equipment, facilities… It would give you a good idea of the general atmosphere. Of course, look at the kids and try to feel if they are happy but look also at the teachers! Are they knackered and grumpy? It says a lot about the school Plus of course the Ofsted report! :)”
http://thefrenchiemummy.com/top-tips-to-be-a-good-blogger/

“I spoke to parents with children already in secondary school. Are their kids enjoying being at school and doing well in their studies 🙂 Ofsted and open evenings are important too” 

https://thedaisypages.com

I really struggled with this and ended up choosing a school where my daughter wouldn’t know a single person. ”
https://www.frugalfamily.co.uk/hardest-decision-life/

“It’s not necessarily about secondary schools – more about any school (primary or secondary just the same) if you are choosing for a child that has additional needs”

http://www.rainbowsaretoobeautiful.com/2016/01/sen-choosing-mainstream-school.html

Do you have any tips that will help with our decision?

Lots of love,

A ‘trying to stay relaxed Kate