Date days with the kids

Some people think this is a bit strange, but we do it every year and absolutely love it.

Every year my husband and I set aside 2 dates where we split up as a family.  On one of the days he will take my son out for the day and I will take my daughter out, and the other day we will swap.  We cal these our ‘Daddy and Daughter’, Mum and Son’, Days.

The kids get to decide (within reason!) exactly what they want to do on their special days, this year both kids wanted to do a Theme park, so we all ended up at Lightwater Valley for the day…abeit separately!

We had a great time, I spent the day with my son and my husband and daughter went off and did their own thing. We waved if we saw each other, but we made a conscious effort not to make contact for most of the day.
This meant that both the kids could do exactly the rides they wanted to do with no compromising and no ‘we’ll do what your sister wants and then we’ll do your thing’ type conversations. Normally the kids are really good at sharing and making sure everyone gets to have fun, but this one day they are allowed to be completely selfish and have complete control over the day.
Which is a good thing because when it comes to theme parks our children are like chalk and cheese!  I did manage to get my son to ride the roller coaster eventually, but it took some serious persuading, but he’s very cautious and takes quite a lot of time to work up to do these things.  My daughter on the other hand was 1st in the queue!  Of course once James plucked up the courage to go on, he loved it and went on twice more after that!

Yesterday was our 2nd date day. My turn to take my girl out whilst Hubby and Son had a day together.
The boys chose to go to Magna, a science museum in an old steel works.

My daredevil daughter on the other hand chose Go Ape at Sherwood pines!
Much to her disappointment (and my relief) she wasn’t old enough to do the main treetop adventure, so we opted for the Junior one. The disappointment was short lived!

Once up2016-08-25 11.10.53 in the trees she was off!  I had to call her several times to wait for me as I clung on tightly to my rope.  Watching her ahead of me shouting ‘ Look mum I can do it without holding on!

Luckily her choice of afternoon activity was much more sedate!  We went for all you can eat Chinese buffet for lunch, where she happy stuffed herself with sweet and sour chicken, crispy seaweed and prawn crackers!   Then off to the cinema to watch Finding Dory.

All in all 2 great days full of memories made, and we’re already talking about what we’re going to do for our date days next year!

Do you set aside 1:1 time with your children? I’d love to hear what sort of things you like to do?

Summer wind down

If you’ve followed me from the start, you will know that the reason I started my business in the first place was so that I could earn an income with flexible hours around my husband and my children.

I’m now 3 years into my business and I have started to see a pattern of winding down over the summer months. Not many orders come in during August as everyone is off enjoying time with their families, and so I have decided that it is the perfect time for me to do exactly that!

I am taking 3 weeks off from making jewellery during the first three weeks of the school holidays (18th July – 5th August).  The business won’t close completely during this time, print kits for new orders will still go out and emails will get answered.  My phone will be going off and my hands will be taking a rest though!

Priority orders will be suspended during this time and any prints that come back during this time will be logged and acknowledged when I am ready to start making jewellery again.

I’ve got some exciting things planned with my husband and kids during my time off, I’ll tell you all about it when I come back.

We adopted a Donkey! (well 2 actually!)

A few weeks ago we were stuck for something to do a on a Sunday afternoon.
My husband had been told about a donkey sanctuary not too far from us that had opened recently so we thought we would give it a try.  We arranged a family afternoon out, myself my husband, our two children, my mother-in-law and also my brother and sister in law and their 2 children!!!

When we arrived at the Wonkey Donkey Visitor Center, the car park looked a bit empty. The doors were closed (the weather wasn’t the best that day) but there was a sign outside saying that they were open and we were welcome to come in.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much, my memories from childhood of visiting horse and pony sanctuaries were of limited facilities, muddy dirt tracks, smelly stables and cold outside toilets.   I was most pleasantly surprised to walk in and find a lovely warm cafeteria area, serving hot drinks, home made cake and selection of other snacks and sandwiches, etc. There was also a beautifully stocked sweet cart which of course the kids spotted straight away.  There was plenty of seating, and there looked to be even more in another area, so we said that we would see the donkeys and then come back for hot chocolate!

We were greeted by a lovely lady (sorry I can’t remember her name) who took us around the center and introduced us to all the donkeys.  There were 17 at the time we visited, and each has it’s own story to tell, some of them extremely sad stories of neglect and very bad treatment.   Despite that, most of the donkeys were extremely friendly an happy to have visitors.  The weather was a bit wet and since donkey’s coats aren’t waterproof they opted to stay inside their stables for most of our visit, although they did come to the doorway to have a good fuss and find out who we were.  We also met Jenny, the founder of the sanctuary and heard a bit about how it came to be. It’s a great story but I shall leave that for another day (or better still go and hear it for yourself!).

The last three Donkeys we saw were new arrivals, Rolo, Finn and Isaac the mule. They had been brought over from Ireland where they had been very badly treated.  They donkeys weren’t ready for too much human contact yet, they were still very nervous but the lady we spoke to seem confident that it wouldn’t be long before they managed to start to trust people again.
The kids fell instantly in love with them, and that’s when we started to think about adopting one. Here is my daughter having a little kiss with Finn!

My daughter having a cheeky smooch with Finn her adopted donkey.

My daughter having a cheeky smooch with Finn her adopted donkey.

£25 to sponsor a donkey for a year is very reasonable considering what it costs to look after these animals properly, we were told that if we decided to adopt a donkey we would get photos and a letter from our donkey and be able to come to special members only days to spend time with our donkey up close.

We went inside to get a hot chocolate.  The chocolate was beautiful, and the comfy seating and log burner in the cafe just made it perfect (I hadn’t seen the log burner when we first arrived as it was round the corner in the extra bit). We took our time and looked again at all the donkey’s information.

Well you guessed it our two children couldn’t decide! They had each fallen in love with a different donkey, and so we ended up adopting 2!  My daughter chose Finn in the picture above, and my son wanted to adopt Isaac the mule after hearing how horribly afraid he was of people after beg starved and beaten.  He’s hoping that one day Isaac will let him stroke him.
My brother and sister-in-law adopted Magic on behalf of my 3 year old niece too.

A week or so after we adopted the donkey’s we received in the post a letter and a photo of each donkey.  The kids couldn’t wait to take them into school to show their friends.

We can’t wait to come back another time when it’s drier and the donkeys will be able to come out and say a proper hello.  In fact we have a visit planned this weekend, and we are bringing more family members!!

The kids are looking forward to lots of visits and coming back on members days to make lots of memories with their new donkey friends!!