I’m going to be honest, swimming is my least favourite activity to do with the kids. I know they love it, but I always find the pools cold and because I’m usually the one holding L while she bobs about, I’m even colder. So in general, I don’t love it.
But, it’s a life skill and I’ve been planning on looking at lessons for L for a while. T’s lessons are the traditional arm-bands ones so I was intrigued to find out what Merbabies would be like since they don’t do arm bands.
Firstly, I was delighted to find that the pool in Inverkeithing High was lovely and warm. Honestly, an actual warm pool. What a treat! First hurdle down.
L is a shy little one. She’s unsure of new people and clings to me like a Koala each time we go swimming (even though she says she likes it) so I was a little worried about how she would be.
I’d love to say that she loved every single second but that would be a lie. She cried as soon as Emma-Lou, the teacher looked at her, but thankfully this didn’t last. Emma-Lou is just so lovely and warm, she engages with the little ones, but not too much so they still feel safe with their parents. She is clearly really experienced with little ones and set out fun games throughout the lesson. She made it clear that if anyone did not want to do something this was ok. No pressure to just dunk your baby right under the water…phew! It would be hard not to like her.
About 8 minutes into the lesson L was holding on to the side of the pool unaided and grinning from ear to ear. She blew bubbles in the water AND she let me partially submerge her. This from a girl who cries if her brother splashes her in the bath, is MASSIVE. I was honestly shocked at her confidence in the lesson within just a few minutes.
We had a really fun 30 minutes and L then asked me for the rest of the day if she could go back. It’s fair to say the classes get a big thumbs up from us. So much so that I will keeping an eye out for the expansion into week day classes in our area.
Merbabies offer accredited small group lessons for babies right up to pre-school with a complete emphasis on learning through play. Do check out their Fife for Kids listing for more details on the timetable, costs and to contact the team.
*The Fife for Kids team were paid for this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely honest. Images provided by Merbabies.
Let’s all be honest. New Year’s resolutions don’t work.
And here’s why.
We spend December living excessively. Eating and drinking pretty much constantly from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep. Routine is thrown out the window and we just live moment to moment. And the media encourages this with non-stop food and drink adverts everywhere we look. So, by the time the month ends so have the adverts and they’ve been replaced with the diet and exercise ones. So we feel crap about what we’ve consumed and how we look. Then we start nit-picking about other aspects of our lives. ‘We don’t go out enough’, ‘I’m a bad parent because I hate pretending to be a ‘insert animal here’, ‘the kids watch too much tv’, ‘I look at my phone too much’ and so on.
And we resolve to be better people. Eat less ‘bad stuff’, start an eating plan, stop looking at social media all the time, cut down on the Gin intake or whatever else you think is ‘bad’.
Then come the end of January we’ve failed miserably and feel crap about ourselves again!
Has anyone ended a year feeling positive about having achieved this type of resolution?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely in the mood for eating a bit better and moving a bit more. But only because I’m at risk of turning into a bit of cheese and quite fancy a bit of normality. Not because I’m getting sucked into this negative thinking and feeling disgusted by myself.
We were excited to be invited by OnFife Theatres to review their 2017 Panto, Aladdin at the Adam Smith Theatre. As the show was in the evening we didn’t think it was a good idea to take L so I opted to make it a mum and son night and me and T went along ourselves.
Normally I take T to see the smaller family shows that Carnegie Hall (also part of the OnFife family) puts on but the time was right to introduce him to his first panto. I did carry on the tradition by taking Lo to see Shhh…The Elves are Shy at Carnegie Hall though and although this run is now complete I would recommend to anyone with little ones under 5 that you check out Little Ulla, which runs from Thursday 21st-Saturday 23rd with tickets only £5.
Anyway, back to Saturday. As this was T’s first panto experience, it took some persuading that it was actually ok to shout out during the performance. Once he realised I wasn’t having him on he was beyond excited and couldn’t sit still. It was great to see the genuine glee on his face.
It’s been a while since I went to a panto myself and I wasn’t sure if it would all be like it used to. I was relieved to find that it was a classic, old school, traditional pantomime, with all the usual hilarity, breaking out of character and audience interaction that you would expect.
Some of you may have read the post I did recently where I was basically having a big ol whine about not being able to find any Christmas Glee. It’s been a tough few months and we’re definitely not out of it just yet, the house is still the number 1 talking point and for all the wrong reasons. There’s just so much to do and we’ve been fighting the clock to get it ready for our first Christmas there. I think we could have done it if we really went for it. But after Alan missing out on so many evenings and weekends because he’s been doing things at the house, it seemed a bit pointless to burn ourselves out to get in a few days before Christmas and then we would have missed the whole build up to the big day, which, lets face it, is the best part.
Also, even though it was me who was really driving the ‘let’s get in before Christmas’ dream, when I actually took a step back and thought about it is started to seem a bit silly. I’ve put Christmas on this pedestal, wanting it to live up to all sorts of Insta-worthy amazingness when really, all the children care about it playing with their new toys and seeing their cousins. The don’t even care about the Christmas dinner. They’d probably be happier with pizza if we’re all being honest about it.
So now we’ve decided not to move in before Christmas and stay with Alan’s mum and dad for it. It’s different for all of us and there’s some things we’re all having to do a little differently. For example, the Christmas tree has gone up a little later than we would have normally have done it (due to T’s incessant asking about it), but a little earlier than they would have done it (due to T’s incessant asking about it). And I’m sure it’ll be really lovely for them to see the little ones’ excitement on Christmas morning, but there’s no way they’ll be loving the fact the excitement starts at 5am.
Anyway, thinking about these small things that will be a bit different this year has got me thinking about all the utter craziness that we can get sucked into in trying to make Christmas perfect.
Before you read on, if you do any/all of the below and love it, that’s great. I’m not judging. Christmas traditions are brilliant as long as we enjoy doing them. The things I’ve noted below are simply some of the things I’ve not found so enjoyable but have been sucked into in some bid to create Christmas perfection. Read More
I was tagged in this by a fellow blogger, thanks Three Time Daddy (which I mistyped in google there and was presented with a whole host of ‘interesting’ websites. I don’t recommend googling three TIMES daddy – instead just click the link above to check out his site. Unless you do want to google three times daddy, in which case, enjoy).
Anyway, I was too polite to tell him to take a run and jump so, below, you’ll find 100 truths about little ol me.
Q1: What’s your name?
A – Claire.
Q2: Any nicknames or aliases?
A – Mummeeeeeeeeeeeee
Q3: Your gender?
A – Female.
Q4: Your star sign?
A – Aquarius.
Q5: How old are you?
A – 33 and 11 months.
Q6: Your relationship status?
A – 4 years into the old matrimonial adventure.
Q7: Any children?
A – Indeed. A 5 year-old son and 2 year-old daughter.
Q8: Any pets?
A – Oh I wish. When I first broached the ‘let’s get a dog’ conversation Alan suggested we have kids instead. So I’m sure that gives a clear indication of his love of animals.
Q9: Any tattoos or piercings?
A – Having removed a bunch of piercings in recent years I’m down to ears pierced twice plus my tragus and 3 tattoos (4 if you count the fact that one is a cover up). All of the above demonstrating why you should THINK before acting! I’ll still get more tattoos though as I don’t really learn from my mistakes.
Q10: What do you like about yourself?
A – Oh lord. Em. I’m a genuine kind of person, I think.
Q11: What do you dislike about yourself?
A – I can be uptight/anxious if things don’t go the way I think they should. And sometimes I’m a little too honest.
Q12: Righty or lefty?
A – Righty.
Heyyyy, remember me?
It’s December! The time for Christmas Glee. The time in which bloggers share their gift guides and post beautiful pictures of their Christmas tree, or their little ones in cute reindeer jumpers, or having a lovely family day out meeting Santa in the local grotto.
Me? It’s been a month since I’ve written anything. A good couple of weeks since I posted on Facebook or Twitter and though I’ve been updating Instagram, it’s been sporadic and pretty half-hearted if I’m honest.
I’ve kind of lost my blogging mojo.
There’s been so much going on that I feel so lethargic and at a bit of a loss about what to write. I don’t have any Christmas cheer yet! And because I do enjoy a ‘5 reasons why’ and ‘top tips’ kind of post and just writing a bit about my life doesn’t seem quite right.
And won’t score me many points on the old Google rankings front.
F**k it, I’ve nothing to write about except the things that have been going on in real life so I guess it’s better than a big black hole of nothingness!
First up – I QUIT MY JOB!
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.