Currently viewing the category: "Family Time"

I am an incredibly lucky woman. I have two healthy and happy young chaps and a fabulously supportive and loving husband. I work for myself, writing a seemingly impossible number of words each week and yet absolutely love the work I do. Damn I am tired though!

As with anything there are pros and cons associated with working for yourself and thankfully for me the positives far out-weigh the negatives. What I do find difficult however is taking time off. When you work for yourself you don’t get sick days, there is no paid annual leave and even Bank Holidays are at risk of being snatched up by yet another impossible (but always met) deadline.

Basically if you don’t work you don’t get paid. In theory us self-employed people are supposed to squirrel away funds so that they may “pay” for our time off however I’d love to hear how many actually do that. For me there is always a client that I just can’t let down or even a project too lucrative to let go of. I’m my own worst enemy.

As well as working far more than the suggested weekly working hours I’m also determined to be Mum, wife and keep house as I would if I was a stay at home mum who wasn’t undertaking paid work, inside the home or otherwise. I take the boys to school / childcare every day and am always there to pick them up, I never miss school plays, the class assembly, harvest festivals or sports day and during the hols when the kids aren’t at a play-scheme or similar I am there, being Mum.

I insist on proper family mealtimes, cook from scratch (which includes a hot breakfast for everyone), date nights for the hubby and I and the house clean and (sometimes) tidy. Don’t get me wrong, Roy and the boys more than do their fair share but you know us mothers, we like to do most of it ourselves.

Is it any wonder I’m cream crackered? My mum calls it burning the candle at both ends however for me it is just life and life the way I want to live it. I want the earnings I bring in, I want the enjoyment and achievement that comes with my work, I want to be on hand when the kids need me, to enjoy conker hunts and cuddles under blankets… I just don’t want these eye bags.

Some would say that I need to delegate work-wise (not as easy as it sounds when you work alone) so it does look like I’m going to have to bite the bullet, be strong and book a proper holiday. Once I’ve actually steeled myself to do it and *gasp* handed off work to someone I trust I know I’ll have a fabulous time. My dream is to enjoy time just being me; Nicki, wife of Roy, Mum and not the freelancer writer and copywriter who in incapable (or unwilling!) to say not to work. I could get use to the idea of being the Nicki who is waited on hand and foot though.

I’ve always said that when we take our jollies next time round that it’ll be self-catering again or camping. I like being in control, don’t mind cooking when away and I like the freedom self-catering offers for families. That said bloggy-friends of mind have over the past year or two have been reviewing cruise hols and I have to say, I do quite like the look of it all. Between fabulous activities for the kids, shows, sports, luxury rooms, more different types of food that you could possibly imagine and more you can see why the idea appeals. I’ve just heard that one ship has bumper cars on board. It would be worth booking the cruise for that alone in my opinion.

This could all be a dream, after all I know myself well enough to know how difficult taking a proper break is however I’m not the only one who would be getting away, and there are Roy and the boys to consider too.

Right now I’m enjoying living the dream work and family wise and dreaming a dream of a proper holiday. Will it come off and will I book one next year? We’ll see.

Sail away


Photo credit



Keeping kids entertained over the summer can cost a small fortune, especially if you have more than one. Working with BettaLiving, the fitted kitchen retailer we were offered the opportunity to turn the tables on expensive summer activities while still enjoying oodles of fun in the hub of the home.

Apparently keeping a child occupied over the summer holiday can cost anywhere between £1000 and £1600 (not in our house it doesn’t, this must be a national average) however we’ve definitely found the summer to be more costly that any other time, especially when the weather is dire. With research showing that on average the number of days it rains in the UK in July is 14, or one in three, having activities planned to keep little ones occupied during wet weather is a must. As it turns out for much of July we were in a heatwave and while we enjoyed some outdoor days, garden fun and the usual fresh air activities there were days when it was simply too hot to be outside and when delicate skin needed a break from the rays!

To keep us going over through the rainy (and the hot) days BettaLiving sent us a #kidsinthekitchen box packed full of activities which we could use to keep the boys occupied. The maximum cost of the box was £50 and the contents….. what fun! Twenty different activities (see more on each here), many which could be used time and time again have not simply been time fillers, they have been fabulous fun activities in their own right.


Just some of the goodies in the Kids In The Kitchen box!

Research included in the kit also showed that children tend to lose as much as two months worth of skill, or 25% of the school year during the summer. These activities are all based on fun as well as encouraging the retention of these skills and the information supplied came with expert comment from Naomi Richards, author of “The Parent’s Toolkit” on how each activity offer the kids something both fun and skill-based.

Having tested the majority of the activities at least once and still having one or two left to enjoy we can safely say that BettaLiving have hit the nail on the head with this campaign. Not only has each activity been fabulously fun, they have provided hours of skill-based activities which are extremely frugal to say the least. We’ve made ice lollies (and Angel Delight lollies), played indoor ten pin bowling, made marshmallow structures, grown and harvested cress for our sandwiches, decorated spoons and enjoyed making up plays with them and much more. In the last week of the holidays now we still have Weetabix Jenga, pizza making and a volcanic experiment to enjoy.

Have a look at the BettaLiving activities and our photos below, they are sure to give you lots of inspiration for future frugal holidays, half-terms and very day play!
Thanks BettaLiving, we have thoroughly enjoy our Kids in the Kitchen experience!

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