10 reasons why your child should join an after school club

I’ve linked up with a company called Izully  this week to raise awareness about keeping our kiddliwinks fit, healthy and active. Izully are an online platform where you can search after school clubs in your local neighbourhood, in the London area. Go and check them out if you live in the Capital!

After school clubs along with sports in general are a popular talking point in our house. My husband is a sports obsessive and also runs a tennis club, teaching lots of children for a living. However, our 5 year old is very anti after school activities. The roller disco on a Saturday evening is the only ‘sport’ that she has stuck too. Swimming, gymnastics, tennis, and dancing have all come and gone, money for classes and uniforms have slipped through our fingers.

However, I WILL NOT GIVE UP promoting different sports and clubs to Darcie. I will continue to offer and introduce her to every activity I can think of, and club I find. Because I think it’s important, so important to have the opportunity when you are young to discover another dimension to yourself. School is such a strict machine, curriculum is so tight, there is limited opportunity for our children to really spread their wings. It falls on us, the Mumas n Papas to open their eyes to the world of extra-curricular.

Here are my top 10 reasons why children should join an after school club:

  • Exercise. This is obvious I guess, but I was surprised to read that the recommended daily exercise for a child is an hour a day. Whilst the majority of schools can only manage to fit in 2 hours a week of physical activity.
  • Making friends! You can never have too many friends can you? Widening your child’s circle of friends can only be a positive, mixing with children who share the same interest in that chosen after school club, means finding common ground should be easy!
  • Discover new talents. Did you know your could do the splits? Did you know you could do a cart wheel? Paint an elephant? Sing a song on a stage? You won’t know until you try. Get them to try.
  • Improving a child’s ABC’s: Ability, balance and co-ordination. Never a bad thing.
  • Keeping them occupied for that ratty bit of the day; The part of the day where they are often irritable and whingy. Get them to that club and avoid an hours whinge-a-thon.
  • Release those endorphins. Exercise makes you feel good, it’s a fact.
  • Shake of excess energy. If school wasn’t enough to ware them out, then an hour of rugby or dancing will surely do the trick! Sweet dreams kiddos.
  • Maintaining a good level of fitness will help your child function better on a day to day basis. Keeping alert and ready to learn at school.
  • Another dimension. As a family you could begin to play this sport at the weekends together. It could be the start of a whole new way of life!
  • Achieving badges, grades and certificates. Taking part in recitals, matches and shows, all add to a child’s confidence. You CAN do it, you have done it. A big fat CONGRATULATIONS and a clap will bring the biggest of smiles to our munchkins. And a new found confidence in themselves.

 

So there you have it, 10 whole reasons to get researching on after school clubs today!Izully have written a great article asking ‘Are you are a pushy parent?’ Do have a read. They raise some really interesting points. (and yes, before you ask, I am guilty of this label!)

Mummuddlingthrough

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage. Whose idea was that?

If you think about it, the idea of Marriage is actually quite absurd.
Meet a boy, fall in love, have adventures, lazy Sundays; Make memories. Get married, settle down, throw a Toddlermonster or 2 into the mix and before long you can barely recognise yourselves.
“I really fancy you with poo on your neck, said no spouse, ever.”

What can prepare us for spending a lifetime with one person? What if your parenting styles don’t match? There’s no way you can possibly try before you buy on that front.
What if your career aspirations take you in totally different directions? What if one of you turns out to be a miserable sod? And what about those little foibles we all have? Be it a nervous cough, or the inability to cook, or a Dad-joke back catalogue which sees you cringe into your Daquari. All of which were sweet at first, but now drive you to the edge (or the Bacardi bottle).
It sort of like this: finally getting your hands on a once in a lifetime vintage Chanel bag. It’s gorgeous, frankly it’s love at first sight. It sleeps next to you, accompanies you to the best of occasions, you are frankly inseparable. You wear it proud on your arm, but the years roll by, and although it’s still your best most prized precious, the novelty has worn off. It’s been with you as you puke up in the bar loos, realising you are not 21 anymore and cannot drink more than a few glasses of wine. It’s been there during laughs and heated debates. It’s seen your best and worst, but now you have kids and their stash of essentials no long fits into your beloved Chanel. Weep.
Clearly there is only one thing for it: time to invest in a bigger and better, but I’m still in the marriage analogy, and upgrades are not part of this deal.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that being parents, AND keeping your marriage alive and kicking is hard. Really bloody hard. Navigating our way through life, raising humans and doing it together in perfect harmony is surely an unrealistic goal.

Maybe we should all get married in our mismatched PJ’s, 3-days-post-hair-wash and a seriously sadistic case of PMT. This realistic approach would set us up for the institution of Marriage a lot better than a beautiful unstained gown, a face of professional make up, a room full of people who are being kind and complimentary, all washed down with free flowing booze and food that has not been microwaved.

***

As my husband says ‘Teamwork always pays off’. I guess if you can still raise a smile to each other after 5 years of sleep deprivation and somehow fancy each other (occasionally) despite the extra pounds and hairy legs. If you can bring yourself to still be kind even when you really just want to drop the C bomb. If you can bite your tongue rather than criticise the way they staked the dishwasher. If you can still high-five the hell out of life…
If you can, then that’s good enough. That’s Love.
That’s my marriage with kids.

3 Little Buttons
Mummuddlingthrough
Life Love and Dirty Dishes
DomesticatedMomster

 

Is it ever really possible to feel like your ‘old self’ again?

I used to be obsessed with my old self.

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By Old self, I am of course talking about my pre-baby days. My twenties. Those care free days when weekends were one long party, social after social. My legs were cellulite free, my stomach wasn’t bearing the scar of 2 caesareans and I could squint in the sunlight without fear that my face had just concertinaed up. My Old self didn’t have to worry about anyone else. I thought this was great.

And it was great. But I got caught up in this gig called ‘Adulting’. I was cheated out of my twenties, by the thirties bug.

I was earwigging to a conversation a group of girls were having recently, one of them was saying that she couldn’t wait to have a bit of time off from parenting so she could ‘feel like her old self again’. Is that even possible? Is it that easy for us Mumas to revert back to those days? Is it possible to shake total responsibility and that dull ache of worry for our children, and, in its place, have a truly carefree head-in-the-clouds break?

I would love to find the ‘off’ switch sometimes. Pop the kids in the cupboard with my very adult ironing board and skip off to an all-day session.

I love a break, mini break, evening break, hell I’d take a coffee break. But it no longer makes me feel like my pre baby self, my old self. I can’t really remember who that person was anymore. Obviously the silly giggly gormless girl still lives inside of me but she grew some wrinkles, I think she found some morals and her head definitely won’t let her get away with buying the cheapest wine on the shelf anymore. Sigh.

The thing is I don’t mind. I’ve stopped looking for my old self. I’m growing really quite fond of this old bag instead. Life in the Thirties lane gets my vote. Over the past 5 years I have grown to love my Muma responsibilities, no I won’t get slushy, but it is pretty cool being someone’s ‘go-to’. However my wardrobe has taken a bit of a nose dive in the fashion stakes: I own a coat with a hood and wear it. Heels feel barbaric (how did I ever run up and down escalators in these) I now look like I need a wee when I walk in them. I love an elasticated waist – and still can’t part with my gigantic caesarean pants!

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But I wonder if hankering after your twenties self is universal to all, kids or no kids? I don’t think my girls should shoulder all of the blame for the loss of my ‘old self’. Cellulite is not exclusive to us Mumas, likewise those long forgotten bikini pogo stick figures. Wrinkles don’t just target those who procreate – although I do claim the baggage under my eyes as being a direct result of 5 years of baby induced sleep deprivation.

Is it really entirely the fault of my children that I own a sewing kit, a ‘general cards’ basket, gift wrapping caddy, a steam mop and a sodding great hose?! Probably not…

That’ll be my old self playing at Adulting then.

 Adulting with my new hose! Twenties self would be puking in the corner.

 

Run Jump Scrap!
Cuddle Fairy

Baca’s Coffee Bar: A toddlers eye review.

Bacas cover pic

My quest to seek out the most child friendly eateries in Sussex has taken me to Baca’s Coffee Bar this week. Set just a few hundred yards from the seafront in the little town of Seaford, Baca’s stands proud to serve unique coffee and tea blends alongside locally sourced food. I have often found this organic approach to be exclusively accessible to those amongst us who are not steering their laden down buggies along the high street, complete with a demanding toddler in tow. I had heard that this was not the case at Baca’s…
Armed with my ToddlerMonster, we stepped into the very chic coffee bar. A cool grey is the back drop for a collection of vintage mirrors, with shelving crates from the local farm shop, and coffee pots from all corners of the world. A stripped back bar gives off a relaxed rustic feel, but, more importantly, is keeper of the most delicious looking homemade cakes and pastries. The vibe is effortlessly cool here. Not mumsey. Not one bit mumsey. Hurrah! You would be forgiven for momentarily forgetting you were in Seaford, and instead bang in the middle of the Brighton lanes.

The owners of Baca’s Coffee Bar  are a husband and wife team who have small children of their own- so they get it. They get that children don’t sit still without a very good reason. They get that children can be fussy eaters. But most importantly they seem to appreciate, and not mind, that their pint sized clientele come with the loudest of voices!

The warm welcome immediately put me at ease – there were plenty of highchairs, and the buggy was stored without fuss. But the best surprise, the bit that had ToddlerMonster’s eyes on stalks was the toy bag tree! Let me explain… Here, was a giant pencil standing in the corner, with different coloured drawstring bags hanging from it- all for the taking. A different surprise in each one (yes Lila checked..!). Farm animals, a train set, books, stickle bricks, card games. What a frankly genius idea! I must mention too the well stocked big-enough-for-a-buggy, loo. Spotless, with a change matt, wet wipes & paper towels. All that a parent could wish for!


But let’s get to the crux of it. The coffee.

It’s quite clear that coffee is at the heart of Baca’s. Namier, the owner, explains that the Horsham Coffee Roaster supplies them with a unique Benchmark single origin Brazilian coffee – only available on a seasonal basis. Now, I’m not going to pretend that I understood exactly what that means, but what I did understand is that this is rare and makes Baca’s unique in this area. I was urged to try the coffee without my usual large dose of sugar, reluctantly I did. Smooth, rich, naturally sweet, not bitter. No, I’m not talking about my husband.


For 20 years I have been drinking coffee with sugar, until this day. The flavour of this coffee is so good I didn’t miss it, with double shots served as a standard. I’m assured that the drip coffee changes every 2-3 weeks too.  For the tea connoisseurs amongst us there is a vast selection from the Bluebird Tea Company Mixologists. As for ToddlerMonster? She was quite happy playing with her zoo animals sipping her Montezuma’s hot chocolate thank you very much…

Not forgetting the food.

Great lengths have been gone to, to ensure that everything served at Baca’s has been locally sourced. The cakes are made by a fellow Muma in the town, the meat comes from a butchers a few miles down the road, as does the bread. Even the milk is bought directly from the dairy farmers rather than a wholesaler. This is a café with a conscience, and with such I can enjoy the crumbly almond croissant, or a slice of the delicious Bakewell cake (almost) guilt free. On this occasion I devoured the Portbello mushroom, gruyere cheese and thyme toasted on Norfolk multi grain bread. D-E-licious.


I’m getting caught up in the organic abyss here – ToddlerMonsters are of course catered for, or ‘Little Munchkins’ as the menu calls them. Offering kid-simple sandwiches, a soup and the much loved hummus / breadstick / cucumber combo. Great for keeping busy fingers occupied…

Hiding behind that rustic, urban decor is a café that has munchkins firmly at their heart. A great addition to the towns thriving café culture and a welcome new addition to my weekly routine!

Baca’s Coffee Bar

2 Dane Road

Seaford

BN25 1LL

01323 872380

Opening Times:

Monday – Friday: 7am – 5pm

Saturday: 9am – 3pm.

Sod the Gym Membership… Get a Soft Play Pass.

I’m not really a ‘gym’ person. I realised this when I once paid £500 for an introductory half hour session, a long time ago. Enthusiastically, pre-children I signed up to the gym right below our office one January along with all of the other girls from work. A sort of group new years resolution. ‘We could spin during lunch’ we hailed, ‘we could swim after work’ we cried. Some even went as far as to chip in with ‘we could do Body Pump BEFORE work’. At the time I didn’t like to pipe up with the fact that I thought we had all gone RAVING MAD! We already worked long hours in a thankless sales office, frankly the thought of doing anything other than eating my meal deal during lunch time blew my mind. Let alone the prospect of waking extra early to ‘pump bodies’ (whatever that meant!) And when work finished, that was it I was outta there and into the bar next door to moan probably about being fat and unfit amongst other things.
So having signed up and set up the monthly payments I skipped along to my induction. Never to return to the gym again!!! But they tie you in, you cannot, to quote Friends ‘QUIT THE GYM’ they don’t let you. In my case the Gods took pity and the place burnt down! No joke..

I digress. So, Soft Play AKA Muma-Gym.

I have never quite experienced physical exertion like I did during one particular visit to a well known Soft Play centre. Lila was 6 months old and Darcie had just turned 3. My greatest error was to have innocently assumed that going it alone with the two of them and no little chums to play with Darcie was a good idea. I spent the next 2 hours crawling, jumping, climbing up, climbing down, lifting Darcie over, dragging her under the brightly coloured ‘FUN’ jungle.  All the while dressed like a marsupial, wearing Lila! EXHUSTED, why don’t they sell wine in the café?! Gap in the market there.
8 months on and the girls are a little older, obviously. But this has meant they are stronger, faster and braver. If I thought climbing through tunnels, up sheer drops, down loopy slides (which test your pelvic floor, I might add) was tiring enough, it has nothing on trying to keep eyes on two children literally running, amongst other children running, amongst throngs of Mumas sipping MASSIVE mugs of caffeine, amongst the enthusiastic young YOUNG staff who frankly could do with having their own parents there to keep an eye on them.
In between the cries for refreshment – just how much juice can a 4 year old get through in one session?! Jugs upon jugs of the stuff, and the cries for yet another snack to keep those energy levels at an all time high, you have the cries all Mumas fear most: those cries that have been inflicted by your own child.
Cue sympathetic voice, and fake smiles, to poor little Johnny who Darcie pushed down the loopy slide because actually he had been sat there for about 10 minutes telling his gathering crowd of nippers that he was king of the slide. NOT.FOR.LONG. While I don’t condone pushing, fighting, snatching bla bla etc I do have to reserve my ‘serves you right Johnny’ face, and adopt the more appropriate ‘sorry my child hurt your child’ face. What I’m really thinking is, “Put your oversized caffeine fix down and teach Johnny the way of the world: starting with basic slide etiquette!”

If you can survive a soft play session without a) breaking a sweat and b) not thinking “Where the fuck are my fucking kids” you’ve done well, very well.
I come out of the ‘fun’ warehouse with ringing ears, teary over tired children, a bad back, DISGUSTING socks and an overwhelming need to wash mine and the kids hands in bleach.
But, We’ll be back next week…