The Highlands have been on my list of places in Scotland to visit for a while now. I always feel slightly ashamed when I speak to friends from other countries and am asked about the north of Scotland and I have to confess I haven’t seen a whole lot of it. So, I may have put on my persuasive voice when we were deciding on the annual weekend getaway with Alan’s side of the family. The last couple of years we have been to Perthshire, which is so beautiful that we were thinking about visiting again this year. However, it can be difficult to find accommodation for our huge family so we looked farther afield.
We opted for the Highland Holiday Home and weren’t disappointed. Located in Errogie, on the North East end of Loch Mhòr and just a couple of miles to the East of Loch Ness it’s perfectly rural (whilst being near enough to Inverness for a wee visit).
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.
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
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
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
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….