Bee did a tweet the other day. I mean she does lots of tweets on lots of days, but this one got more likes than I can remember ANYTHING I’ve ever said getting. Not that I’m jealous or anything, it’s sound advice, but then I would hope so because it’s basically been my approach to parenting for 23 years now.

Bee: ‘Mum, I don’t feel very well…’

Me: ‘You’re probably thirsty – have a glass of water!’

Bee: ‘I just had a glass of water though?’

Me: ‘Get some fresh air!’

You get the gist.

As I have clearly done an excellent job of bringing up Bee, to the point where she can get 366 likes on a tweet, (absolutely how you measure parenting success), then I thought I would blatantly rip her off in return by doing my very own list of things that you definitely won’t regret doing.

Taking Bee’s list as a given, here are 11 other things you should do that I promise you won’t regret:

Tidy out a drawer

Do you have a drawer in your house that makes you sigh and feel bad about yourself every time you open it to look for a battery or a Calpol dispenser? Tackle that drawer today and I guarantee you’ll feel better about yourself afterwards. You will probably start casually asking small children if they have a headache, just so you have an excuse to open the drawer and feel smug.

(I’m starting you off with a drawer to keep things manageable as if you go straight in with an under stairs cupboard then you WILL feel deep regret when you are at the point where you’ve taken everything out but haven’t organised it back in again.)

Use sunscreen

Dur.

Eat a piece of fruit

Ergh, who wants an apple when there are party rings in the world? Eat it though, even if you don’t really want it. You can still have a party ring afterwards if you want, that’s just called BALANCE.

homemade party rings

I MADE these. Get me.

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In partnership with On the Beach

A few years ago I was chatting to Bee about something or other, I can’t remember what. I think perhaps I was feeling a bit overworked at the time because I started going into this daydream.

‘Wouldn’t it be lovely,’ I said to Bee, gazing into the distance, ‘to be somewhere really warm right not, where you didn’t have to do anything?’

She looked at me.

‘There would probably be relaxing noises in the background,’ I continued, ‘maybe the noise of the sea? And someone would bring me a cocktail.’

She looked at me again, like I was actually quite stupid.

‘That’s a beach holiday mum,’ she said.

‘A beach holiday?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘it’s what everyone in the world wants. You’ve not just invented it.’

‘Oh,’ I said, disappointed. I imagined I’d just created a personal paradise that no one had thought of before. Since then ‘beach holidays’ has become a bit of a family saying that we use if someone is stating the obvious. Like if Bee is complaining about work, telling me how what she’d really like is a flexible job that’s well paid, but also creative and worthwhile and good for the environment and what not.

‘Dur,’ I’ll say, ‘beach holidays.’

When On the Beach got in touch then, to ask me if I wanted to write something about our family beach holidays, this was the first thing I thought about. THEN I started picturing all of those happy times we’ve spent on the beach together, enjoying the sand and the sea, relaxing in each other’s company.

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In association with wilko

Belle has changed a lot over the years, particularly the last couple, but one of the things that hasn’t changed is her love of Halloween. I don’t know what it is about it, but she loves it. At the beginning of October she changed her phone background to pumpkins and told me to watch out because it was ‘spooky season’.

Ever since she was small Belle has loved dressing up for Halloween and over the years we’ve hosted Halloween parties, bobbed dozens of apples and even made our own trick or treat balloons. Last year Belle and her friends hosted a Halloween party at school for the younger kids and one year she won a Halloween fancy dress competition at a holiday park we were staying at, dressed as a ‘cereal killer’. She’d collected empty cereal boxes for weeks in advance and was VERY proud of herself. (You can see the costume here.)

Safe to say then, Belle has always loved Halloween.

Halloween at wilko

I make the point to give you an idea of how excited Belle was when wilko got in touch to ask us to have some fun trick or treating with their Halloween range.

Halloween is definitely for all ages and seems to be more and more popular with teenagers particularly, probably thanks to all the gruesome TV shows they watch and the opportunity that Halloween presents to legitimately wear ripped fishnets. Belle has even been invited to Halloween parties this year. Who knew teens loved Halloween so much? View Post

When it’s time to move to another home, there are a lot of things to consider. Moving is a major life decision, and is often spurred by other events, such as a change of jobs or a desire to live closer to family members or friends. It can often be a time-consuming process.

One question that often comes to mind while moving is: what do I do with my furniture? For some, they have to take it with them to their next home without hesitation. Other times, a little more thought is involved.

You can find more information online about furniture shipping, moving companies and other alternatives. There are many different companies out there offering a wide array of services and support. Research them carefully, and make sure that any business you work with is licensed and insured.

Here are a few things to contemplate when you’re deciding whether or not to take your furniture with you when relocating:

1. Will everything fit?

This is an important question to ask. If you’re moving to a smaller home than the one that you previously had, you might not have enough space for everything. If that’s the case, then you’ll probably have to make the tough choices of selecting just the pieces that will move to your new house with you. The other pieces can be donated to friends, family members or charity or put up for sale.

2. Do I really want everything?

Sometimes when people move to a new home, they may be looking for a more modern look and feel. This often means buying new pieces of furniture to meet those needs. You’ll need to look over your furniture items carefully. Some you may want to keep for sentimental value. Others may have to stay behind, especially if they’re outdated or well-worn.

3. Can I afford new furniture?

It’s great to want all-new furniture when you move, but you really have to ask yourself if you can justify the expense. Do some comparison shopping before buying any new furniture. If you can buy everything that you desire, great! If not, you may have to buy only a few items, or just stick with what you have. As long as nothing is broken, your current furniture will probably suit your needs in the new home.

4. What if my furniture is damaged during the move?

If you are hiring furniture shippers or a professional moving company, make sure that you read the contract carefully before signing it. Specifically, check the portion that explains what happens if items are damaged or broken during transit, and who is liable or what amount, if any, is covered. If you are moving these items yourself, make sure that they are packed and secured carefully. If not, any replacement costs come right out of your pocket.

These are just some of the things to ponder when it’s time to move to a new location. Every move offers its own unique challenges, and furniture is also a major part of any move. If the furniture gets used and will have a proper place in your new house, you’re probably better off keeping it. It’s part of what makes a house a home.

Although it might be controversial, I’ve always considered myself more of a biscuit than a cake kind of girl. Presented with a slice of red velvet I’d be a bit ‘meh’, but give me a packet of chocolate hobnobs and I’m well away.

One of my very favourite biscuits is the bourbon.

The bourbon has so much going for it – it’s chocolatey, but with that slightly salty edge of an Oreo. It has the crunchy biscuit texture, but a creamy middle, and it’s a sandwich biscuit, so basically two biscuits disguised as one. If you’re prepared to be a bit disgusting, split your bourbon and noisily lick the cream then you can make a bourbon last a long time.

homemade bourbon biscuits

Now you’re probably looking at that picture and thinking ‘hang on a minute, those kind of LOOK like bourbons, but also they don’t? What’s going on?’

Well, I MADE THEM. I know. Get me. View Post

What we feed our children has a huge effect on their physical, mental, and emotional health, yet getting them to eat healthily is one of the biggest challenges of parenthood.

According to a study carried out by Vitabiotics’ Wellteen, more than half of UK parents are frequently battling with their children at the dinner table. A large number have even reported their kids ‘sneaky snacking’, with illicit sweet and junk food wrappers being hidden in their bedrooms.

This struggle is felt widely amongst mums and dads nationwide, with 1 in 5 parents admitting they have “lost control” of their offspring by the age of 13. After years of watching their every move, mums and dads are left wondering what their offspring are eating, doing and who they are friends with after they start secondary school and begin to make their own way in the world.

Top tips for encouraging your child to eat healthily

There are a number of tips and tricks out there for parents encouraging healthy eating (or just encouraging eating in general), but there are some which stand out as timeless and effective, often with minimal effort. Consistency is key – children and teenagers actually need it to build patterns of behaviour around, so regardless of your method, do it confidently and consistently.

Don’t label food as “good” and “bad”

Telling your child something is bad can actually have the opposite effect of what you’re aiming for, as they will see it as a form of forbidden fruit. Instead, make ice cream, fast food or sweets a conditional treat which can be given as a reward for eating main meals.

The same goes for healthy food, telling them they should eat it because it’s “good” for them is ridden with obligation and will ultimately have a negative result. Without labels, they will naturally pick and choose what they like and what they don’t – you might be surprised at some of the stuff they DO like.

Make a schedule

One thing kids need as much as consistency is a schedule, as this means they have a predictable pattern to rely on. It’s human nature to form patterns as it gives us a sense of familiarity and safeness – this is even more of a need earlier in life! Additionally, children need to eat every three to four hours, including snacks and plenty of fluids.

Making sure this is the same time every day will get them into a good routine and they’ll be less cranky, as well as healthier. Vitamins for kids can also be implemented as part of a daily routine, which can have a really positive effect on a child’s health.

Let them cook!

Even the older kids (and teens!) enjoy getting stuck in, when in the kitchen, as it makes them feel responsible as well as giving them an opportunity to be creative. This can be a fun activity as well as educational, as they’ll learn how to use healthy food to make meals they enjoy.

Letting them make their own choices (within reason, gummy bear pizzas aren’t really recommended) gives them a sense of freedom, and they’ll almost certainly eat something that they created and that they’re proud of.

A spokesperson for Wellteen vitamins, said: “With a bigger range of snacks to choose from, it is no surprise many parents think their offspring are indulging in more junk food than they did at the same age.

“When our children are young, it’s easy to know exactly what they are doing, who they are with and what they are having to eat and drink.

“Even when they start school and nursery, you still get a good idea of what they are doing from teachers and notes sent home.

“But as they get older and start to do things on their own, it can be harder to keep such a close eye on them, especially when it comes to their diet. As they travel to school by themselves or head out unaccompanied with friends, they have the opportunity to eat and drink foods they know they wouldn’t usually be allowed at home.”