Ooh, I love Christmas.
More so than ever since having my children. I want to make it completely magical for them and have lots of festive days.
Every year though I’m torn between wanting to do ALL the great Christmassy days out and not wanting to get lost in the abyss of spending enough money that it could pay off the mortgage. I genuinely believe we can have a blinking great month of December without it costing an arm and a leg. Let’s all remember it’s about being together and sharing some quality time with our loved ones.
So, with this in mind, I’ve been doing my research in order to bring you, the lovely people of Fife my list of Great Value Christmas Activities and hopefully provide a little inspiration if you’re starting to think about what you’d like to get up to.
1. Take A Trip To Carnegie Hall
We all love going to the Theatre at Christmas time for a fun-filled family trip. I doubt very much that we like how much it can cost for the whole family to see a Christmas show. It can be eye watering. For the last 3 years we’ve visited Carnegie Hall and seen some brilliant shows that guess what, have NOT cost an arm and a leg.
I was so happy to see that not only is this year no different, but they have actually have a whole family festival going on this Winter.
I’m about to mention the C word!
Its only just November I hear you cry.
I know, I know!
However us parents have to be organised. If your little uns are of an age where they are thinking about Christmas already then they will most certainly be talking about their Christmas letters for Mr Claus himself. We will be sitting down to do T’s very soon.
So I’m just a tad excited to be involved with Letter From Santa, a great website where you can get a personalised letter from Santa for your child.
There’s a brilliant selection of great value packages with letters, texts and even activity packs starting at just £4.99. Such a great idea for injecting a little extra magic into Christmas.
Go check them out and thank me later,
*this post contains affiliate links
Update number 2 finds us with a house that still looks like a complete building site with only 6 weeks till we want to move in. We’re almost two weeks behind schedule with an aim to move in on December 10th now.
Our windows are pretty much in but we realised our bedroom window looks ridiculous as it’s too big and squashed right up against one wall. So now we’re having to remove this, build up a wall, move the window to the left and put in a smaller window. We also made an error with some privacy glass that we thought would look cool while providing privacy from our people being able to look in. Mistake. So, that also has to be removed and replaced. And we also found some rotting floorboards so these need replaced/repaired which is taking some time to fix. So I think it’s a bit of a race against time to get the prep work done in time for the heating to be done next week.
It’s been an intense few months what with the house project getting into full flow and various other bits and bobs going on. So to say we were ready for our annual catch up with some very good friends is a bit of an understatement. I was champing at the bit to get going on Friday and finally, after popping up to the house to take receipt of our new kitchen (exciting) and waiting for the car to be serviced and being told it needed extra repairs (sob), we managed to get on our way.
This is our fourth trip away with these friends and our families have expanded somewhat since the first one, so we’ve leaned more towards booking more spacious cottages so there’s plenty of room for the kids to run about. They are inevitably more expensive but I do think it’s worth it. Especially since we do spend our nights in after being out and about during the day. Also because we go away with another family we do have a bit of freedom to book something a bit nicer than the norm.
So we booked East Bickerton, right in the heart of the Northumbrian countryside.
The cottage is absolutely stunning and Lizzie, the owner, lives right next door which is really handy if there is anything you specifically need. Not that we did need to contact her as she had thought of everything. Apart from on our final morning Alan woke up with a bug and wasn’t able to travel. Lizzie was so gracious in allowing us to stay past the 10am check out, telling us we could stay as long as we wanted. Thank you Lizzie! When we arrived there was milk, biscuits, tea and coffee awaiting us (I love little touches like that). As well as being a stunning home in a stunning location, it was also really family friendly. We were provided with two travel cots and two high chairs, a stair gate and boxes of toys for the kids to play with. One piece of feedback I would give Lizzie is to advertise this as it’s a huge draw for families and saves us packing our own. As if all that wasn’t enough we were able to order a supermarket delivery which she kindly took receipt of for us. All in all East Bickerton gets a massive thumbs up from us.
In the last couple of weeks or so the dreaded parenting guilt has crept in again. (note to self, read old post about dealing with the guilt...or write a better one!)
As anyone with more than one child will know, we become a lot more relaxed as parents the second time around. You know, you see your child eating Cheerios that they have cheerfully scraped off the floor and you nonchalantly realise you haven’t bought cheerios in a month rather than go running for the Calpol to help fend off the illnesses that’s-a-coming since they just ingested so many bad bad germs. Or you don’t go rushing to their bedroom every time they let out the smallest whimper and sit stroking their head till they fall back asleep, when you then commando crawl out the room. Now you wait till they’ve been screaming the house down for a good while….and even then you just tell them to sshh and stomp back out to finish watching House of Cards.
So I’m fine with all of that. We’ve found it all much easier the second time around and haven’t worried so much about the small things and that’s definitely a good thing.
What’s getting me though is the realisation now that some of the expectations we had for T were pretty unreasonable. Things that totally aren’t even a big deal, but they would stress me out so much at the time.
Anyone else sick to death of the sight of their local park? I am! But the kids love a park visit and it keeps them entertained for so long (unless your park is a little sad and tired like our current one!)
Days out with the kids can be an expensive business, by the time you’ve paid for wherever you’re going, travel, lunch and whatever
crap treat you buy them while you’re there. This is where the park comes in. It’s expense free. And if you get a good one you can get a good part of the day out of it. So let’s get excited by the park again!
Say hello to
THE GREAT PARKS OF FIFE:
As you will have noticed from the Hidden Gems in Fife post, I LOVE Culross. I grew up here and never appreciated its beauty but really do now. The park here is new and has something for all ages. The slide is a lighthouse. It has a tunnel, it has sand, it has balance beams and it has picnic benches, a small beach right next to it and of course, the rest of the beautiful village if the kids do happen to get bored.
2. Pittencrief Public Park
Dunfermline’s public park, or ‘The Glen’ as we like to call it, is huge and has 3 playparks, lots of space to walk and explore, an old steam train, a cafe with small soft play, public toilets, squirrels galore and even the odd peacock. Definitely take a walk through the woodland areas and check out the glasshouse and Japanese gardens too.
It’s the last day of the school term today here in Fife and seeing everyone’s lovely posts about Autumn recently have gotten me a bit excited myself about this season. Let’s face it, it’s usually overlooked as everyone is beginning to think about winter and the C word that I won’t mention!
So, I thought it would be nice to put together a little to-do list for our family for Autumn. It’s all pretty easy and mainly free to do so it shouldn’t be difficult. And it helps when thinking about what to do with the kids in the holidays to have a little plan.
I do have my own personal list which includes the obvious kind of stuff:
- Stop shaving legs
- Reduce hair washing to twice a week
- Buy a winter hat because of point 2
- Complain about how cold it is
- Buy a winter coat because of point 4
I have just realised that despite adding a whole area to the website about the house project and setting up a little Instagram account dedicated just to that (@alessordinaryhome if you’re interested), I haven’t actually penned any updates.
In my defence though, it has taken weeks for work to get into full flow so it would be really boring if I wrote a whole post about how Alan and I ripped up the carpets and threw some stuff in a skip. That was genuinely about 2 weeks work as obviously we can only be doing things in the evenings!
However, we have progressed past us amateurs doing bits and pieces to the professionals taking over. The house looks horrendous just now with building materials everywhere and it’s easy to panic and wonder if it’ll ever start to look like an actual house that we can live in. If you saw the pictures on my last post about the house you’ll see that we literally need to do everything to it. And most of the things have to be done before we can live there. The building has been empty for a couple of years so we’re talking fixing leaks, putting in insulation, forming rooms, central heating, bathroom, kitchen, flooring, windows and doors. EVERYTHING!
Hands up perfect parents?
No, of course not. No one’s perfect in this parenting malarkey. In fact, I’d go so far as to say most of us are just muddling through as best we can. High-fiving ourselves each night for surviving. I know this. I do. Yet, as I’m on this blogging journey I find myself following more and more social media accounts that perhaps give the illusion of perfection. Social Media is a platform for us to showcase what we want. And there are A LOT of very talented people out there who have amazing photography skills and who’s pictures make you just want their life. We know it’s not real, but we get sucked in anyway. This isn’t about to turn into a bitching session by the way. I love and follow a fair few ‘pretty’ accounts. But, it’s good to remind ourselves that we’re all real people with real lives. Unless you’re Beyoncé of course.
So, in the interests of ‘keeping it real’, I thought I’d let you in on some of my parenting fails. So here goes, my confessions….
My littlest baby turned 2 a few weeks ago and of course it got me thinking about when she and her brother were first born. While of course I’m sad that we won’t have that teeny tiny baby stage again, I’m also relieved that that stage is done because it’s bloody hard! And often not helped by comments that are well meaning but make you want to hit said person round the head with one of the dirty nappies you’re swimming in.
So, wondering what NOT to say to a brand new, war wounded, sleep deprived and completely overwhelmed mum? Here’s my handy list….
1. When are you due?
True story. Someone I know very well went to the corner shop a week or so after her youngest was born and bumped into someone from her village who stopped to chat and to enquire about when she was going to have her baby. Now I get it, this mistake could happen to anyone. But this woman, oh she couldn’t let it lie, instead of being mortified and apologising profusely upon being told he was at home with his dad she was insistent that Mum was joking! If you ever make the same grave error PLEASE just say sorry, tell the new Mum she looks great and swiftly move on. Or be at risk of being pummelled by the nearest object!
2. You look tired!
No shit Sherlock. A tiny person has just burst into their world and stolen sleep right from under them. They are slowly coming to the realisation that they have no, I repeat NO prospect of finding the kind of sleep they’ve been used to for a very, very long time! There’ll have been tears before your visit and no doubt more tears afterwards so, for the love of god, as with point 1, just tell her/them both that they look great. Or go a step further and offer to take the baby out for a walk so they can grab an hour’s kip.
Tom at 1 hour old
Yes I’m tired!