Seaside Spotters

We Brits love to be beside the seaside! Whether it be winter or summer, a shock February heatwave or a late summer day, a little bit of good weather sees people flock to the beach and revel in the sunshine.

Lots of you love the sunshine and you love my spotting activities for the kids too, so lets combine the two!

So, can you spot.............

The beach
Coastline showing the gravel beach, sea and pier

An easy one to get us started but can you spot the beach? Is it a sand or stone beach? Is the tide in or out?

Someone building sandcastles 
Sand castles on a sandy beach

What type of castles are they building? Have they dug a moat?

A stripy deckchair
Stripy deckchairs on a beachfront

Can you spot a stripy deckchair on the beach or over looking the beachfront?

Surfers waiting to catch a wave

There's always someone trying to catch wave! Can you see a surfer?

A kite
Two brightly coloured kites being flown

Just like surfing, you'll always find someone trying to fly a kite! Can you spot a kite?

Wind turbine
Close up of a wind turbine

Wind turbines are becoming a more familiar site on the UK coastline, so can you see any?

Ice cream
Ice cream cone being held

If you're at the seaside there's a good chance you'll spot a child getting sticky with an ice cream? Can you spot someone enjoying an ice cream?

Fish and chips
Chips with a fork stuck in them

If you've ever been to the seaside you'll know that a part of that is enjoying fish and chips! Have you seen anyone enjoying fish and chips?

Boat out at sea
Sailing boat on calm seas

Can you spot a boat out at sea? What type is it?

Someone having a paddle
Little boy running into the sea for a paddle

Lots of us love to have a little paddle and feel the sea and sand between our toes? Can you spot anyone having a paddle?

How many on the list have you spotted?

Enjoy the seaside!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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3 Budget Parent Dates For Under £20

Recently, Daddy and I have started to spend a little more one on one time together. Once a month he's taking a day off work and whilst Joseph's at school we go on a little day date together.

A couples hands making a heart shape

A little grown-up time, without the buzz of noisy toys or a little person asking for snacks, where we have conversations mostly about the little person that plays with those noisy toys and is always asking for snacks!!

Currently living the budget live means these dates aren't expensive. Yes, I'm a cheap date! 

Whether you're a Mummy and Daddy, Daddy and Daddy, Mummy and Mummy, here's 3 budget parent dates you can try for less than £20!!

A trip to the cinema
OK, I realise some of you will read this and think there is no way you can both go to the cinema for £20 and I'm not suggesting one of you sits in the car whilst one of you enjoys the latest movie! But if you're happy to have your date on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you can make use of 2 for 1 movies via Meerkat Movies. Take your own snacks too and you'll come under the £20 budget.

A meal for two
Take a look at your local pub or restaurant's menu and you might find they do cheaper lunchtime options. If day dates aren't your thing, enjoy a post bedtime meal at home with a yummy M&S Dine In selection. 

A peaceful picnic
There's a big difference between a picnic with the kids and one with your other half! Hopefully, they'll be no knocked over drinks, arguing over sandwiches and repeated request to sit down! Either make your picnic at home or treat yourself to some luxury style sandwiches and snacks from Waitrose or M&S. 

Your date might be cheap but it doesn't have to feel that way!

Mummy Snowy Owl
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5 Free Things You Can Do With Kids

Having kids can be expensive, especially when you're keeping them entertained during the school holidays. Sometimes everything you look at seems to have gone up in price or got very expensive and I know from experience how it feels to sit scrolling through your phone at things to do with the kids only to realise you can't afford them.

So, here's 5 free things you can do with kids.

A trip to the park
Most kids love a trip to the park but if you're regulars at the local swings your kids might not feel all that excited. 

Little boy dressed as Captain America playing on a park

Change things up a bit and go to a different park, maybe one you've not been to before and let them wear their favourite fancy dress costume.

Pets at Home (aka the free zoo)
Kids love animals, but a trip to the Zoo can be expensive so why not try what I refer to as the free zoo, Pets at Home!!

Little boy pointing at the fish in a shop tanl

Have a wander round and count the fish, say hello to the latest bunnies and see how many hamsters are running in the wheels. We've already been twice in the last week!

Nature Reserve
Pull on your wellingtons and make use of your local nature reserve. Like a trip to the park, if you're already regulars try a different one.

Little boy walking through a muddy wooded area

Take some old cereal or oats to feed the birds and ducks. If you're local reserve charges for parking, consider parking slightly further away to avoid the expensive.

Spotting Activities
Spotting activities are an activity that we've done for years in Girlguiding, especially when out on walks. That lead me to create these seasonal spotting activities.

Little boy looking at the ducks

Head out for a stroll and see if you spot any of the things on the list. 

Free Events
Here in the UK many of our local councils run a selection of free events, both in term time and holiday time.

Little boy sitting in a red car on a fairground ride

Head over to your local councils website and look for the 'What's on Where' section to see what they have to offer. Events vary and can include sports, crafts, dancing and family fun days.

Most of all though, have fun it's free! 

Mummy Snowy Owl

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30 Minute Quite Time Activities To Do With Your Child

So, you're kids are over excited about something, hyper after school, wired on sugar after a friends party, or maybe they simply want your attention, but they are loud and need to settle down.

Maybe you've had a long, tiring day and you'd like to have a few minutes of quiet time too, or maybe you just want to sit alongside your child, cuddle them and do something together.

Well, here's a few things you and your child can do together for a quiet 30 minutes.

Jigsaw puzzles are something I used to do a lot of as a child and our son also took a shine to them from a very young age. 

Little boy and his Dad doing a puzzle together on the floor

Starting off with the wooden style puzzles, JJ soon moved onto those featuring his favourite cartoon characters or animals. He will now sit and do a puzzles of a 100 pieces, which is quite an achievement for a 4 year old. Putting the pieces together correctly really focuses his little mind and I often sit with him to join in, well, when he lets me!

I've mentioned in my previously Lego posts that these little bricks aren't for everyone! Unless you keep it neat and tidy, Lego can be a bit of a pain and it can end up scatted around.

Lego laid out on a play mat

There are huge benefits to Lego though! Children can sit for hours playing and creating all kinds of different things, and they love it even more when us grown-ups get involved too! 

When anyone asks what to get JJ as a little gift I will often say colouring books. He is very lucky to have lots of toys, many of them hand me downs, so when his birthday roles around or someone wants to get him a little treat I will often say colouring things.

Child drawing with felt tips pens

As a result we have various different types of pencils, pens, crayons and colouring books, and he loves to sit and get creative with his crayons, especially when I join in.

Movie Time
I realise 30 minutes isn't very long to watch a movie but if you're little ones struggle to sit still or are quite young, 30 minutes might be long enough for them!

Child snuggled under a blanket at the side of their mother

Snuggle down with a blanket, some snacks and your child's favourite cuddly toy and watch 30 minutes of their favourite movie or a shorter feature, like the Room on the Broom or Stick Man. 

30 minutes isn't a huge amount of time to be quiet but it might just be what you and your little one need.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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5 Budget Easter Activities

Easter and half term are here, or just around the corner dependent on where you live! Whether your little ones are always asking for snacks, need constant entertainment or you've got the additional childcare costs, half terms are expensive!

Colourful speckled eggs in a nest set on the grass

To help with the cost, here's 5 budget things to do this Easter!

Easter Bunting
Turn your little ones paintings or splatters into cute Easter bunting and decorate your home for Easter.

Bunting with egg shapes hanging from it

Simply cut egg shapes out of the paintings and tape to a piece of ribbon or string. 

Easter Wreath
Older children that are good with scissors could easily make this simple wreath.

Cardboard Easter wreaths made out of egg shapes

Coloured card or paper cut into egg shapes and layered up make a cute addition to your Easter decorations. 

A quick and easy sponge, a bit of icing and a pack of mini eggs, can create an easy Easter bake. Keep it simple and the kids can get involved with the mixing and decorating! 

Easter tray bake cut into slices and on easter plates and napkins

For something even easier, why not make rice crispy nests with mini eggs. 

Egg Decorating
Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you let the kids handle and decorate real eggs! Even as someone that crafts a lot, I know as a Mummy that this could easily be a recipe for disaster! 

Child's hands holding painted Easter eggs

Bargain stores like Home Bargains and Poundland have polystyrene eggs for £1 or less and can easily be decorated with standard felt-tip pens or paint.

Easter Egg Hunt
You may read this and think 'but Easter egg hunts are super expensive', and they obviously can be! Especially if you decorate your house all over and buy pricey branded eggs, but it doesn't have to be.

Little boy running with an Easter basket containing Easter eggs

Every year I put host an Easter egg hunt for our son and our friends children. There's five of them in total and they fill a party bag full of sweets and treats for less than £5, and that's for all of them not each! Just get your prizes and eggs from bargain supermarkets or shops and go without decorations for a low cost hunt.

At Easter all you really need is chocolate and excitement for lots of fun!

Mummy Snowy Owl
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Easter Tray Bake

As a cake lover I always find a bake for most occasions! Last year's Easter creation was very yummy so I thought it was only right for another new one, and here it is!

Tray bake sliced and on Easter paper plates and napkins

Fancy a piece for yourself? You will need.......

For the sponge
125g butter or baking spread
125g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of milk
For the icing
400g icing sugar
3 teaspoons of cocoa powder
125g butter or spread
Mini eggs
Chick sweets

Baking tin (mine is a square 20cm tin from Home Bargains)
Greaseproof paper 
Mixing bowl
Wooden spoon or whisk
Wire rack

Ingredients and utensils listed

Preheat the oven to 180c and grease and line the baking tin. 

Lined baking tray

Start the cake by creaming together the sugar and butter.

Sugar and spread in a bowl

Sugar and butter creamed together

Add in the beaten egg and vanilla essence and mix again.

Beaten eggs added to the mix

Mixture so far

Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix well.

Flour and baking powder sieved into mixture

Add in the milk and mix again. 

Mixture with milk added

End mixture

Transfer to the baking tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Baked sponge

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the tray and then transfer on to wire rack.

Sponge on a wire tray

When cooled, make the buttercream icing by whisking the butter until soft and sieving in the icing sugar and coco powder and mixing well.

Softened and whisked butter

Icing sugar and coco powder sieved in

Buttercream icing

Spoon on to the cake and spread over evenly. Decorate with mini eggs and chick squashies sweets.

Sponge covered in mixture and chocolate mini eggs and chick sweets

Sit back and enjoy with a cuppa or a milkshake!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Tidy Stuff - Bras

Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head. No, not coconuts! Boobs! If' you've got them the chances are you've got bras too, but whether they are big or small, bras can be a bit fiddly to keep tidy and organised. 

Bras laying neatly in a tray as a pair of hands lifts one out

So, as part of the Tidy Stuff series, here's five ways to store your bras.

Laundry Bag (£3.99)
Laundry bags for delicates

If you've got bras and pants that match, a laundry bag will help you keep them paired and you can use the same bag for the washing too!

Drawer Dividers (£5.79) 

Plastic drawer dividers

These are probably the most popular option when it comes to keeping your bras tidy and they can also be used for pants and socks. Check before ordering that you can section them off to fit your bra size, as these don't always work with larger bras.

Hanging Organisation (£9.99)

Hanging bag storage showing bras and underwear in the pockets

Hanging bra organisation is great if you've got space in your wardrobe or on the back of a door. Go for a full hanging bag or simple command hooks to keep things neat.

Bra Tree (£8.99)

Bra trees, which is what many people call these special hangers, are quite a new discovery for me and I only know about them as a friend recently bought some! These are great bra storage if you like everything hanging up but don't have the space for a full hanging organisation.

Bra Box (£4.89)
Sectioned box being used as bra storage
These bra boxes are great if you lack drawer space and can be easily stored under beds, at the bottom of wardrobes or on shelves. 

Hopefully these bra storage solutions have helped give you some ideas for your own storage and will help you on your way to a tidier home. We've all got 'stuff'' we just need to know how to store it or hide it! 

Mummy Snowy Owl

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5 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Disney With Under 5's

So, you've planned, or you're planning, to go to Disney and you're taking your little ones on the most magical adventure.

I've already written about planning your trip, how to get the best interactions, what you need for a day in the parks and our favourite rides. I've even shared our first experience of taking a toddler, so with these posts and everything else you've read online you're probably all prepared.

Smiling redhead boy close up to the camera, with a Mum and Dad and Mickey Mouse in the background

But there's still a few things you need to know when taking a child under 5 to a Disney park and I'm going to share them with you.

Adrenaline goes a long way!
You maybe exhausted from travelling, your body clock might be out of sync and you might want to take it steady in the parks on your first day and initially your kids may feel the same. This may change once they've had a wander up Main Street and set their eyes on that castle!

Disneyland Paris castle

A few rides in and they'll be in the swing of it and you'll be amazed how long they'll keep going. We have been up for a 5.30am flight, hit the park after within an our of checking in at the hotel and have kept going until the park closed! No nap and just magic to keep us going!

The adrenaline won't last!
As much as Disney magic and excitement is enough to keep the little ones going (and maybe you too), at some point something will snap. One minute their dancing to parade music and the next they're lying on the floor, kicking their feet because there's a queue for an ice cream or you say no to a toy!

Little boy lying down and sleeping in a pushchair

We've dealt with this firsthand and found it's best to simply leave the parks and have a break back at the hotel. A quick nap usually does the trick.

You might need a pushchair!
On our last visit JJ was 3, nearly 4, and could walk for miles without a pushchair. In fact we barely used one by then but on our last trip we took it with us for a few reasons. The main and obvious one being that JJ could have a nap if he needed, but the other was to negotiate crowds.

Little boy in a pushchair with his Mum standing behind it and the Ratatouille area in the background

Disney parks are full of children but when in a crowd most people only look at the own eye level, meaning little ones often get knocked into. People also never seem to look behind them when they step back, which causes a problem if you're walking behind a parade crowd. 

Waiting is boring!
As much as kids want to meet their favourite character, ride their favourite ride or watch the parade and illuminations, waiting for it to start can be boring or frustrating for little, excited people. This is where snacks come in handy!

Little boy curled up in a chair looking bored

Bored? Have a snack. Queuing? Have a snack. Waiting? Have a snack. These don't have to be a naughty snacks either. A pack of raisins, a piece of fruit or a packet of the fruit snacks (the kind the kids think are sweets) go a long way! Word of warning though! If you happen to carry your child whilst they're eating you may or may not find raisins in your bra! Take it from me! Oh, and keeping an eye out for hidden Mickeys is also a good boredom buster! 

They will want to buy everything!
A lightsaber. An action figure. Mickey ears. Something that flashes, spins and make a whole lot of noise! You name it, they will want it! It's very easy to get caught up in the magic and let them have what they want, but if you're budget doesn't allow it the repeated no's might get you down. The latter is certainly how we felt on our first Disney trip with JJ. 

Little boy standing in Disney shop with merchandise in the background, wearing a cowboy hat and holding a grabber toy

We knew he'd be excited and possibly want one or two things but he was so young that we didn't expect him to want everything insight, but he did! Next time around we saved an extra €100, which was split down to €20 a day for JJ to pick something. With the money available to him and a clear limit set, he seemed to understand that once he'd used it, it was gone and he considered his purchases more carefully. Very wise for a then 3 year old!

I hope these tips have helped you prepare for your trip with your little ones. Now, go and enjoy the wonder of Disney and it's magic!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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