Parenting · parenting · Uncategorized

2 broke moms guide to Weston Super Mare

An easy 2 hour drive from the Midlands, it’s no wonder that Weston Super Mare was one of our favourite beach destinations year after year during my childhood. 

I was delighted to join my 6 year old son this week on a school trip to Weston, it was great to forward plan for our summer holiday road trip we’re organising to Weston this summer. 

Top things to do in Weston 

  1. Donkey rides – reasonably priced and a lovely experience for kids.
  2. The beach – the kids had so much fun playing and being creative with the and. My favourite was burying our legs in the sand and creating mermaid tails with the shells for decoration. 
  3. The sea – you can beat a paddle and a little wave jumping whatever the weather. 
  4. The Weston train, there’s a little kids train you can get on and do a bit of sight seeing. Fun and very reasonable – just £1.50 for adults. 
  5. The museum has recently been refurbed and is FREE! 

There are so many more things to do in Weston, these are some of our favourites and most reasonable. 

So what did the kids say? 

Kane is 6 and this is what he had to say about his trip to Weston Super Mare. 

I loved playing football on the beach. I also liked making castles. I saw the donkeys that I liked, i’d like to go on these the next time I go. I liked looking at the sea. I loved seeing the animals when we were on the coach going to Weston. I found lots of shells on the beach while I was playing. 

There are so many wonderful beaches in the UK. We look forward to exploring some more after our trip to Weston this August. 

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Parenting · Uncategorized

Co-parenting positively

So I’ve been co-parenting/shared care for the last 2 years, and people -family, strangers and friends ask me how on Earth I do it so I thought I’d share a few useful tips. 

By no means do I even remotely like my ex, despite giving me 2 beautiful and amazing boys, he is still unlikeable. 

We had a very messy break up that went through court and resulted in a shared care arrangement. I could list all the things he has put me though and bad things he’s done but that wouldn’t be useful, let’s just say it’s been eventful. Since or split I can’t say I’ve been perfect either and could have dealt with some things in different ways- I’ve learnt a hell of lot.

I have had a rollercoaster of emotions and it has not been easy but these few things have enabled me to survive. 

  1. Think of your children -sounds obvious but when emotions are high our focus can get lost.
  2. Focus on what your doing not what he’s done. A recent quote will live with me for ever, ‘if everyone just focussed on their own child and not others it would be great. This is so true. Focus on your child and not your ex.
  3. Separate your emotions – you can’t take back who the father of your child is so deal with the ex you’ve got regardless of your feelings towards him. 
  4. Avoid conflict and focus on the positives. Write down some good things about your ex, things they do well in parenting (honestly there will be something). 
  5. Agree to disagree. You will not always agree on parenting decisions, even as a couple you don’t. Don’t let this cloud your way of parenting. 
  6. Communication is key – model the behaviour you want from your ex, demonstrate the positive way you want to communicate with them and eventually you’ll get that back. 
  7. Don’t get sucked into negativity and arguing – it doesn’t make you feel good and it’s not a great message for your child. 
  8. Talk and get things off your chest – within reason but you must live in your truth, always and communication is the key.
  9. Don’t bad mouth your ex to your children. This will create many problems – your kids will pick up on your feelings without you saying a word don’t add more to that negativity. 
  10. Some progress is better than none. I used to feel that my ex and I had made no progress since we’d parted. Although things aren’t perfect they are a hell of a lot better than they were so I focus on the progress we’ve made not perfection. 

If you love your child more than your ex most co parenting issues can be solved 

Holiday · lifestyle · Money saving tips · parenting

Our cheap weekend break

I’m on a fabulous break at Woolecombe Bay in Devon. We are at Twitchen House which is one of the 4 parks that make up Woolecombe bay.

We booked this way back in August, 9 months ago. Initially it was a £48 deposit. £9.50 per person. We booked it via the Sun Holiday deals that they run a few times a year.

I was very happy to be able to get Woolecombe as it’s a very popular site, also after having a quick look on their website the true cost of this holiday would be more like £430 so we’ve saved over £300. This trip in total cost us less than £80. That’s just under £20 per head for a family of 5. To stay in a 2 bedroom caravan for 3 nights. Bargain. There are extras thst you can pay for but we just added the £30 for gas and electric which we had to pay. Obviously.

Of all the places we’ve stayed at via the Sun Holiday deals (and we’ve been doing them for over 5 years) I think this is my favourite. The facilities seem to be up to date and modern and lots to choose from.

We paid £5.00 each for a bus ticket that we could use for the durarion of our stay. It goes to and from Woolecoombe beach stopping at all the other sites inbetween. Woolecombe beach was voted Britain’s best beach in 2015 and 2016 and it’s easy to see why. It’s huge so even on a busy day you don’t feel like a sardine packed in with other people all around you. The views are breath takingly beautiful.

Shops and reastuarants are a short walk away and the obligatory fish and chips are available from a kiosk on the beach.

There were no loud funfairs just kids playing ball games and with a good old fashioned bucket and spade.

Our kids were entertained most of the time with the outdoor (heated) pool and play area at Twitchen House.

I love Devon especially the North. So if you are struggling and have never considered a Sun Holiday do it.

There is so much stuff to do here too much to cram into a weekend so we will definately be coming back.

Our party consisted of 2 adults. 3 children aged 14,11 and 7 and we’ve all had a wonderful time.

lifestyle · Parenting

Planning and throwing a kids party on a budget

birthday1Do you want to throw a great party to remember without breaking the bank?
These handy tips will help you do just that.

  1. Plan in advance – have a clear budget and a savings tin (for your birthday fund) that you can add to throughout the year. Also buying and planning though the year will mean less last minute expensive purchases as the party approaches. The works, Poundland and other budget shops have lots of great deals for parties all year round.
  2. Team up with a mate. Having a joint party means sharing the workload and the cost. You can often host the party at somewhere slightly above your budget if you’re sharing the cost too.
  3. Ditch the paper invites. There are tons of free, fab apps you can create a great party invite for you child’s party. Quick, easy and FREE! Also you’re saving lots of time and paper of course.
  4. No – cost activities/games – musical chairs, Simon says, keep up the balloon and dance freeze. Kids love traditional and simple games. Get them to help you plans some too.
  5. Get the kids making their own food. Create a pizza, buy pizza based and kids favourite toppings. Kids are more likely to eat what they create themselves and if not they’ve had a fun creative task. This can be one of your party activities, possibly messy but fun!
  6. If you’re feeling particularly brave – Host the party at home! Even in winter there are many great fun activities you can do inside the home. Pamper parties, creative arts/crafts, makeovers and cooking fun. Outdoor parties can include treasure hunts, bouncy castles and sports fun.

Parties don’t need to be elaborate and expensive. Some of my children’s favourite parties have been quite simple and personal to the child.
Not sure where to start, speak to you’re kids and ask for their ideas. Get them creating a food shopping list too they will love to get involved and you’ll know exactly what they will enjoy and want at their party. It means you’ll have less to do too.

Keep following us to see us host a great kids party on a budget within the next month!

 

Parenting

Holidaying with kids abroad

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We love holidays and haven’t let parenthood stop us from seeing the world.

Why should you? Without obviously mentioning the partying on tables in Ibiza or Vegas where is really not appropriate to take your child. Let’s face it surly every destination has somewhere that is ‘deemed child friendly’ what really is a child friendly holiday – as let’s face it everywhere has children (even Vegas and Ibiza) so why wouldn’t other children holiday there? 

So why do some parents put the barrier up to travel sometimes before little Billy has even been boarded a plane? Is it parents own anxieties preventing them see the world? 

Well if you are thinking about or actually taking the huge plunge and holidaying abroad with your little one. Here are a few handy tips that may help you on your journey. 

  1. Plan your trip with your kids – be realistic about what you can do with your but at the same time don’t underestimate what a child can experience. 
  2. Travel with other families. You can share food and accommodation costs  plus you get some adult company if you’re a single parent.  
  3. Before you go, get kids involved in a pre holiday project. They can research the places to visit, food and culture. 
  4. Ensure they have plenty of activities. Books, films on iPads, colouring and activity books are a must. Let’s face it is doesn’t take long for a 21st century kid to get bored. 
  5. Pack loads of snacks. It’s goes without saying that as soon as you start your journey a child is going to yell ‘I’m hungry’.   Packed lunches are the way forward, even a bottle of water cost the earth at the airport. 

“Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.” – Unknown

parenting · Uncategorized

Dealing with co-parenting problems

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Sharing the care of your child isn’t always easy. It’s often difficult for parents to communicate let alone work together amicably for the sake of the children.
One thing I do know that above all the egos, disagreements and pettiness our children are the and should be the main focus and are the most important elements of any kind of parenting. After a lengthy court process I’ve been co parenting for around two years, it’s not always easy but I’m learning lots that can help me in many areas of my life.
So a few key things that help me defuse co parenting problems.
1. Stay positive and feel happy – your feelings and behaviour will be detected by your child. Try to stay positive even if things aren’t going as perfect as you’d like them to be.
2. Don’t get triggered by you’re ex. You can only control your own behaviour and your own reactions. Don’t focus on them, focus on you and your children!
3. Ask yourself ‘is this going to affect my child/children in a positive way’. Whenever I feel like arguing or reacting to my ex I ask myself this question.
4. Focus on YOU and your children – you can’t control what they are doing so don’t get affected by it.
5. Write things down or speak to someone to offload any negativity or anger to avoid you going crazy or being confrontational with your ex.
6. Communication is the key – think about the language you use and the way you talk to your ex.
7. Treat your ex the way you want to be treated by your ex. Model the behaviour that you want to receive.
8. Focus on the positives – say thank you when your ex does something positive. This sounds horrific I know but it really does work and will make YOU feel better.
9. Back down from an argument and walk away. Think of solutions to problems and don’t try to create conflict.
10. Write down all the positives about your ex (honestly there are some even if it’s one to begin with lol).

Education · Holiday · lifestyle · money saving rips · Parenting · Uncategorized

2brokemoms guide to… Disney World

We’re here to help parents on with very tight budgets to acheive things they think are too expensive or behind their wildest dreams. We’ve always wanted to take our children to Disney World but when we priced it up it was way out of our budget.

This is how we made it a reality.

1. We searched for villas online. Villas broken down per person can be a lot cheaper than a hotel.

2. The villa we have is an 8 bed. We invited our families to come along, making the cost of the Villa very affordable.

3. We gave ourselves 18 months to save and pay for it.

4. Worked out how much we needed and broke the cost into weekly chunks and set that money aside.

5. Shop around for flights. America is a huge country and there are many was of getting there. If you don’t mind long waits you can fly inexpensively.

Our villa

Education · Parenting

Busy parents guide to getting your child to read

These tips are mainly if your child is of preschool age to year 2 ( age 3-7).

  • Read a little a lot – we are all strapped for time so just be consistent. Read daily even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
  • On the way home to or from school if you go in the car. Get your child to read to you. Get them to spell out any words they get stuck on. This worked well for us. School books were read before we got home.
  • Play word games as and when you can. Be it ones like Scrabble or Words with friends. They are great for building confidence when they can find words.
  • Download reading apps on any devices your child uses. There are some great phonics apps.
  • Find stories on You Tube. There are lots of audio books on You Tube with animation and the words for early readers to follow.
  • Get your older children to read with younger ones. If you are pushed for time get your older children to brush up on their own reading whilst helping their younger siblings.
  • Visit the library make a trip of it. Get your child to choose a book and sit and read it in the library. Lots of libraries have reading challenges, where if you read a certain number of books or visit so many times you get a certificate or reward. These are usually run in the school holidays so check out your local library.

Recommended apps

Reading Eggs

Hooked on phonics

Check out summerreadingchallenge.org.uk

they run a reading challenge each summer it is great to get involved.

How to... · Money saving tips · Parenting

Kids present hacks …

Here are a few tips on how to save time and money when buying gifts for children. Be it your own, extended family or school friends.

When I was new to all this gift buying I would spend a fortune because I was ill prepared. If I had time before a party I’d run it to a shop buy a gift then put it into an over priced gift bag with an equally over priced card. Gone are those day.

Pre plan

Get a wall calender and put all the birthdays in the family on there. That way at a glance you know what you have coming up.

Save if you can

I have a prepaid debit card that I top up each week and use it as and when I need to buy gifts etc. You could also use a service like Park Christmas(see previous blog) and save up and buy gift vouchers and spend them throughout the year.

Buy presents in advanced

Buy about a month in advanced. Get it wrapped and ready. Nothing is worst than that last minute rush around before a party to get the gifts wrapped If I wasn’t rushing around at the last minute in shops, I spending a fortune putting money in cards because I just wasn’t prepared in time.

Some stores do really good deals on Birthday cards too like 10 for £1. Bulk buy them. It’s much cheaper and you will always have them to hand. Same with wrapping paper too.

2 for 1 deals

when I see these I buy a few and put them away until I need them. These are great for those last minute parties your child gets invited to by school friends etc or your friends child you inevitable have forgotten.

Stick to one or 2 places to buy your gifts from

Have your go to shops. If they have a reward scheme then great. Wait for the extra points weekends and bulk buy gifts. You get your points and gifts you were going to buy anyway.

Ebay or other selling sites

Great to buy and sell. You can sell unwanted gifts and buy new ones at a fraction of the price you would pay in a shop. These are great if you are buying something specific and branded.

Regift

I learned this from one of my mum chums after her daughter’s party. She simply hid all duplicate presents so the child wouldn’t notice and saved them for regifting. Saving time and money.

Nothing revolutionary but it’s the little things that make life little bit less stressful.

Parenting · parenting

Attention

Recently I’ve been thinking about what quality time meant for me and my children and how I’d implement more of it.
Is the time we spend with our child really quality time?
What is quality time?
To me quality time is undivided attention with a child to strengthen the relationship.

We all love attention – whatever our age
So as parents we obviously know when our kids need attention, right??
Like everything in parenting we don’t know everything but what I do know is when my kids start acting up it’s normally because they want my attention.

 

In our busy lives it’s sometimes hard to juggle family, friends, work & husbands
So allocate specific time to all your children and let them know that this is their time. Obviously the more children you have the more difficult this is to organise but it’s so important. I have a friend with 5 children and she manages it!

How to implement quality time

1. Make time for all of your family
We have a great planner that has a section for all of us. We can plan the month and allocate specific time for each other.
Children will crave your attention in many ways, look for the signs and many times they are negative (tantrums, attitude)
All children need attention whatever their age.

2. Make quality time
Quality time can come in many forms. Take away and a movie, going for a walk, pampering.
Know your child and act accordingly. My boys are 13 and 5 so their needs and wants are very different, there interests are different but they both still enjoy some things the same (hugs from mom, movie night, lunch, playing in the park)

 

3. Know your child
Speak to your child, talk about their day, their interests and what they enjoy.
Simple conversations show your child your interested and are giving them your time and more importantly your attention.

4. Family time
Family time is important.
Allocate specific family time
Incorporate traditions that your child will remember. Every child needs their own Individual parent/child time.

Put your phone down, turn off the TV. Children know when they don’t have your full attention.

Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.