Tag Archives: Kids

Things to Do With Kids on New Year’s Eve

Do you let your children stay up to see in the New Year on New Year’s Eve?

We don’t usually, but the boys are getting a little older now, so if they can manage it, I think we might let them stay awake. Otherwise, it’s just the two of us plus Jules Holland, and Cal falls asleep before 10.30, so it’s getting a little dull!

I always stayed up on New Year’s Eve when I was a child. All of the neighbours got together, including the kids who were all of a similar age, and went around each house having food and drinks, and doing the conga in between! If only things were so neighbourly these days!

I’m not sure what we did to entertain ourselves as kids back then. Probably spent time laughing at the adults! But here are some ideas if you’re spending New Year’s Eve together as a family, whether you stay up late or not…

  • Have fizzy drinks and mocktails – there are plenty of recipes out there, but try fruit juice mixes with lemonade or soda, or smoothies with cherries, umbrellas or sparkler decorations.

    Mocktails and fizz!
    Mocktails and fizz!
  • Watch fireworks – have some of your own fireworks in your garden, or join in with an organised display at a local hotel or park.
  • Crackers & party poppers – our kids go crazy for party poppers! For them, they are the ultimate permission to make a noise and a mess, and definitely say ‘celebration’. Crackers are another great pop and surprise – you may have some left over from Christmas, or could pick them up cheap in the sales. Alternatively, make your own.

    Party poppers, streamers, crackers - all signs of a great celebration!
    Party poppers, streamers, crackers – all signs of a great celebration!
  • Make a Photo Booth – grab a few props, silly hats, wigs and glasses, and have a fun photo shoot. Make some memories!
  • Dress up – see above. Dress up in something silly or fun, or dress up smart or in party wear. Whatever takes your fancy – anything goes.
  • Dance-off – have lots of fun dancing to your favourite tunes, or using your favourite video game maybe?

    Have a dance-off!
    Have a dance-off!
  • Make Resolutions – talk about resolutions, write or draw them, or maybe video them for future reference?
  • Games – board games or party games are always fun, especially when the whole family are together. I’m sure you’ve been given some for Christmas this year – what a great time to try them out!
  • Reminisce – look at photos from the past year, make a time capsule or a scrapbook of your year. Gather together any tickets, postcards or other souvenirs you have saved from special trips this year.
  • Make a Time Capsule for the future, like this one from My Kids Adventures
  • Bake some special treats – how about these fabulous New Years Confetti Clock Cookies from Repeat Crafter Me

    New Year's Eve Cookies from repeatcrafterme.com
    New Years Eve Cookies
  • Do some New Year crafts – you might like to try this New Year Wishing Wand from Babycentre.co.uk
  • Or some toilet roll tube confetti poppers from Smashed Peas and Carrots  
  • You could also make your own party hats or masks
  • Have lots of glow-in-the-dark activities: glow sticks, a disco ball if you have one, flashing glasses and other cheap Pound Shop novelties, torches, glow balloons…you get the idea! Lights out, party on!

Finally, and most of all, have some fun together this New Year’s Eve!

New Year's Eve Happy New Year Champagne and Streamers

Happy New Year!

Things to do with kids on New Year's Eve - tons of ideas for all ages
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Pleased to be linking up with:

You Baby Me Mummy
Adventures In Websterland

Half Term Bucket List From A Kids’ Perspective – What They Really Want To Do

Half term is here, and I’m trying to be a good Mum and making a list of things we should do together to fill our time. I’m mindful of packing in travel, outdoor activities, nature, crafts and of course lots to do with Halloween.

Then I stopped and thought – what do the children actually want from their half term holidays? I often like to read about kids’ perspectives on things – why am I not just asking my own kids?

Of course, small children don’t always know what’s best for them, and would maybe just veg out and eat Haribo all day, every day if we allowed them, without any thought for fresh air or good nutrition, so we often have to intervene. But it’s an interesting exercise anyway, I think.

Veg out and eat Haribo all day!
Veg out and eat Haribo all day!

Here is the list of what my kids want to do for Half Term:

  • Carve our pumpkins
  • Make our Halloween costumes
  • Watch a Halloween movie (Beetlejuice or Ghostbusters are top of the list)
  • Make some videos and edit them (they want to make more ‘Look Inside’ videos, and Hugo got a green screen for his birthday so wants to learn how to use that too)
  • Go to a Halloween party (their football club is holding one)
Carve pumpkins ready for Halloween
Carve pumpkins ready for Halloween

That’s it!!

I asked them if they wanted to go anywhere – I had in mind Alnwick Castle for my little Harry Potter fans, Preston Park for some Halloween crafts, maybe a woodland walk, beach…? They met my suggestions with a shrug, a “yeah, could do”, but very little enthusiasm.

My children are tired. They have found the first half term back at school quite exhausting. I have busy boys who work hard and play hard! Hugo has had a birthday which we all shared an exciting weekend away to Edinburgh for, and a very full-on school camp for a long weekend which he is still recovering from. Both children have thrown themselves back into sport wholeheartedly since the summer break. They need a rest!

Sleepy little piglets
Sleepy little piglets

And why not? Do we really need to be on the go constantly? Do we need to be travelling, exploring, running about like crazy? Yes, it’s nice to do, but sometimes we all need a break.

So I’m listening to what my children are telling me. OK, I’m not going to let them laze about in pyjamas for the whole week, but I am going to take it easy.I need that too. I think that slowing down and taking our time over the things we really want to do together will help keep stress levels down and fights to a minimum too, so that we can just enjoy being together. I do hope so!

There may just be a blog or vlog post (or two) coming from us in the near future too!

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Half term bucket list - what kids really want
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Linking up with:

Diary of An Imperfect MumKeep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
This Mum's LifeTammymum

Little Loves #5 – Proud


They say pride comes before a fall, but I think being a proud Mum is perhaps excusable?  My kids have made me very proud for various reasons recently, so that’s what I’m sharing today.


Moby Dick book read at school in year 5
Moby Dick book

Hugo finally finished his school reading book ‘Moby Dick’ this week. He has really enjoyed reading it, and afterwards, we discussed why it was a classic and why he thought it had stood the test of time. Daddy told him about the hidden meaning of obsession and how it can be damaging. Hugo really took this on board. His level of understanding is becoming so sophisticated.


Toby’s Harvest Festival – our school has its harvest festival in Church, and it is a lovely service with the children leading the readings and prayers. I had a proud Mama moment as my little one, Toby, did a reading. The Church Altar was stacked with food donations for the local old persons’ Breakfast Club and the Food Bank.

Harvest festival offerings
Harvest Festival


I wanted to share with FTMOB this week but just didn’t get time to write a full post, but as Hugo was away at school camp, we took Toby out for a treat to Pizza Hut. He was so enthusiastic, and told me “I love it at Pizza Hut because, not only is the food great quality, but the staff are so friendly and helpful too!” A future blogger in the making?!

He also listened carefully to me bemoaning the fact that I don’t do more with the boys, and he reassured me “I bet lots of people with heart failure just sit around and don’t go out at all, but you try your best to do things with us all the time”. I felt so reassured that he appreciated the things I do with him, and also that he is learning to say kind things and make people feel better when they are sad. Another proud moment for me!

Pizza Hut kid review love
Pizza Hut Love


We have lots of ‘making’ plans for the half-term holiday, but have already made a start on Halloween costumes. This has been so much fun for Toby as he gets to basically rip up his clothes to become a zombie! Hugo has carefully drawn his design for me to create him a costume to be a dementor from Harry Potter. I’ve cheated a little and started with a Grim Reaper costume which I’m adding to with black cheesecloth type fabric. Photos to follow (probably next week!)


Here is a photo of Hugo, sharing the souvenir t-shirt he got from his school camp. He was incredibly brave and tried absolutely everything, including things very high up (zip slide, giant high swing, trapeze, climbing wall), very low down (caving, obstacle course, night wire), and lots in between! Here’s me, being a proud Mum again!

Find #LittleLoves at Coffee, Work, Sleep, Repeat:

Little Loves

The Reading Residenceethannevelyn

Why Dens Are Still Cool- Come build a den with us!

Our boys are getting older, and it seems like each day there is something else they used to enjoy, which is now no longer cool. Thankfully, building dens is not yet one of them!

This summer, my boys teamed up with children from a few other families staying with us at Chataigne, and they all built a den in the recently unveiled rockery area between the trees. Come and have a look at what they made:

Outdoor den building
The den – you’d hardly know it was there!

It doesn’t take much to build a den, just a few trees or other shelter, and a lot of imagination. Look at this den – it doesn’t look anything like the sort of den I imagined they would want to build, but then that’s my imagination, rather than theirs. Most importantly, their den appeared to require various signs chalked on bits of wood, including the obligatory ‘No Adults or Dogs’ (poor Daphne the Doodle was most disappointed in this).

No Adults Allowed sign on the den
No Adults Allowed sign on the den

Otherwise, den building seemed to require a small plastic slide, plant pots, and sweeping brushes! They are therefore house proud den builders at least!

Den building Dens inside
Interior of the den

It was lovely to see though, children as old as 13 and as young as 5, boys and girls, all playing nicely together. They were also in the shade, away from the glare of the sun. They were discovering nature and enjoying the fresh air. I’m so pleased that they had this place to pop in and out of, to play different games in, and to call their own.

Dens in the trees
A den in the trees

So den builders unite. You don’t need much:

  • A shady corner, trees, a tent, a shed or play house.
  • Maybe an old sheet or curtains, a rug or some cushions
  • Pieces of wood for important signs
  • Toys and games to keep yourselves amused
  • Something for decoration – paint or chalk, pictures you made
  • Most of all, lots of imagination and a quest for fun!

Have a great time, either indoors or out, making dens. If you want more inspiration, you could take a look at our Pinterest board ‘Childsplay’

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Build a Den With Us!
Build a Den With Us!

Linking up with:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallYou Baby Me Mummy

Best of WorstDear Bear and Beany

From the Mouths of Mums

I have always enjoyed linking up with Louise at Little Hearts, Big Love for her ‘From the Mouths of Babes’ linky about the funny things kids say. I’m really bad, however, at remembering some of the things my kids say for long enough to make a blog post about them!

Little Hearts, Big Love


This week though, I turned the tables on the boys. We had been for fish & chips, and Toby had left most of his but promised he would eat it all later. He then caught me giving a little bit of fish to the dog!

He very angrily demanded to know what I was doing: “Whose fish is that? Are you giving the dog my fish?”.

I put on my best innocent face and said “I don’t know. I just found them” (where have we heard that before??).

Both boys giggled a little, but Toby returned to his serious stance:

“You’re giving the dog my fish aren’t you?”

I  gave another innocent shrug. “Daphne told me it was hers…” (Daphne is the dog).

By now his brother was laughing loudly. Toby was incredulous “MUMMY, YOU’RE GIVING THAT DOG MY TEA!!”

My final shrug and innocent voice squeaked out “It wasn’t me…”!

Talk about a taste of his own medicine!!

Cheeky dog, cheeky Mum!
Cheeky dog!


Look Inside an Xbox 360

We were really excited to be able to find out what’s inside an Xbox when we got to our house in France. Some of you had requested or suggested this as the next in our series of ‘Look Inside’ items.

Our old Xbox was broken, so we decided to open it up to take a look inside. We did it quite carefully in case we were able to have it repaired later, but it was still lots of fun to do!

Have a look at our video and see what awesome things we found inside our Xbox 360…

“I was about to get a hammer to smash the Xbox up because I was getting so bored and frustrated! But sadly I could not 🙁  . We still enjoyed doing the opening up though. It was really interesting to take a look inside and see what components make up our favourite games console.”

Next time we might be a little bit rougher, and really break something up! What do you think it should be?

Please subscribe to our Youtube Channel to see the next videos we make. As well as breaking things open, we also do Vlogs, mostly about our travels. We also like to share gaming videos.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Planet of Crocodiles, France

We’re making a list of cool things to do in France, since that’s where we spend most of our holidays (we own a holiday farmhouse and gites which we rent out – Chataigne House & Gites).This week we visited Planete Des Crocodiles, at 86320 Civaux, (approx. 40 miles from Chataigne House) in the Vienne region of France.

This is the second time we’ve been here, which is a good indication of how much we like it! This time, Hugo had some school homework to find out as much as possible about crocodiles, so what better way to do a great piece of research? He therefore insisted we had to make a visit!

The boys made a Vlog and took some fab photos. Yes, can you believe control of the camera was given over to the kids?! That’s because Mummy wasn’t on this trip, and she’s our normal photographer!

So, without further ado, I’m now handing over to the boys to give you all the facts:


Planet of crocodiles
Planet of crocodiles – great homework!

(This was also featured as My Sunday Photo )

Make It Your Own

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayANIMALTALES
Weekend Wanderlust
Weekend Wanderlust Linky http://abritandasoutherner.com/weekend-wanderlust/
Lou Messugo