30 things I want to do before I’m 30: Mum edition

Consider this my first proper go at a bucket list, having just celebrated my 24th birthday, I’m starting to feel a little more over the hill than I did before!

Can mums really have a bucket list of stuff that’s just for them? Probably not, but I’m willing to give it a go (bonus points for every item on the list that isn’t mum related?)

I plan on updating this list every time I tick an item off! And maybe I’ll review them as I go along too… Starting off with a VERY family friendly one, here it is, my 30 before 30 list:

  1. Go to Disneyworld Orlando, Florida with the kids
  2. Have a mother-daughter photoshoot
  3. Go on a girls’ spa weekend
  4. Do a cocktail making master class
  5. Go to the Gatsby Party event my husband and I planned to go to this year!
  6. See P!nk live in concert
  7. Go to a festival
  8. Visit Cadbury World in Birmingham
  9. FINALLY qualify as a registered barrister (or, failing that, transition to solicitor)
  10. Visit Hever Castle
  11. Write a book
  12. Do an ancestry DNA kit
  13. Go to Butlins
  14. Start doing yoga again
  15. Go to another country in the UK (not England!)
  16. Drive in a foreign country
  17. Go on holiday to the Lake District
  18. See The Lion King in theatre
  19. Take Olivia to see the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House
  20. Try a ‘Family Day Out Jar’ and see it through!
  21. Watch Trooping the Colour in person
  22. Run (or walk) a marathon
  23. Properly try at being vegan (goodbye cheese, I will miss you)
  24. Book a city break for me and the hubby
  25. Go to Alton Towers with the kids
  26. Go GLAMping with the kids
  27. Hike along the Yorkshire moors with Olivia
  28. Force my husband to do a dance class with me
  29. Get a sewing machine
  30. Learn how to crochet (I’m old now, that’s something I should learn to do, right?)

Only 8 kid-orientated items on the list! Not bad going, eh?

Have you done a list like this before? What would you be excited to try?

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Mum Guilt – Going on holiday without your kids!

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In the first half of the Easter holidays I went on holiday to New York with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Amy.

Noticed anything in that above sentence?

That’s right – no children!

My girls-only trip was a bit of a treat for me after having Olivia at home for 7 months, and dealing with all of the rubbish that comes with your spouse being deployed for so long.

At the end of that period of time last year, it’s obvious that I was GASPING for a break, and so our little break to the US was booked!

But, actually, I missed my little girl like CRAZY.

She’s been going through these super cute phases recently, and her personality is really shining through. She comes out with adorable little sayings, and she is changing by the day. She’s also been all over mummy recently (in a really sweet and loving way), which made leaving her so much harder! I almost wish she could have been really badly behaved at least for a day or two before I went so that I wouldn’t have felt so guilty about leaving… but, to be honest, we all know that the “mum guilt” would have hit me sooner or later anyway.

This was the first time I’d left Olivia and gone abroad without her, but she has spent plenty of time away from me before! She’s spent a week or more with her nanny down in Kent without me there, which is longer than the amount of time I was away for my New York trip! For some reason, this got to me more than those times. Honestly, I think it’s because I was doing something for me…

It’s kind of inevitable isn’t it? The mummy guilt eats away at you WHENEVER you treat yourself to anything. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. We live in a world of amazing technology, and your child isn’t going to remember that for a period of 5 days when they were 2 you were on holiday and only speaking to them on FaceTime.

It doesn’t make it any easier, and it is rough leaving them. You worry about EVERY SINGLE THING that they are doing without you. I know my husband is perfectly capable, but with Olivia’s time being split between daddy and granddad while I was away, it made me feel better to set out a week’s worth of outfits for her so that I at least knew she’d be dressed every day! She probably subsisted on pasta and cheese for the entire time, breakfast, lunch and dinner alike, but she was eating – I knew there was food in the cupboard! I planned a little day out for her and granddad when he took over babysitting duties, again making me feel better that she had something to do while I was away.

And when I got back? I had such big cuddles from her and was given so much love! She had clearly missed me (I was worried both that she wouldn’t miss me at all and that she would miss me too much and wouldn’t handle it well, both of which did not happen), and the cuddles were the best thing to come home to. I felt refreshed, I felt more like ME, and Olivia had a break from me too. After all, she must get tired of the same old routine as well.

Although she hadn’t gone away anywhere, it was as much an exciting break for her as it was for me (or so I keep telling myself!)

No major disaster happened while I was away, and, yes, things may go wrong, but probably very rarely! If you know they’re well looked after, there’s really nothing to worry about.

I hope this post is reassuring someone who was feeling as awful as I was the couple of days before I flew out!

Have you been abroad on your own (no kids in tow)? What did you find helpful to push that mum guilt to the side?

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25 easy candy free Easter gift ideas for kids

Everyone loves gift-giving, and there is something especially magical about giving gifts to children. But have you ever considered the sugar content in those sugary treats?

A Dairy Milk buttons easter egg fits in the palm of your hand and also comes with a small pack of chocolate buttons. While that may seem ideal for a child, the egg itself contains 40g (10 teaspoons) of sugar, and the buttons contain a further 8.1g (2 teaspoons). To put that into perspective, a child aged 4-6 should have no more than 19g of sugar a day, and this increases to 24g in children aged 7-10.

What are the alternatives? Well, anything that isn’t super sugary chocolatey treats, basically. So, in the spirit of Easter, here is a list of alternatives.

Outside fun

  • Pavement chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimming costumes
  • Ride on toys
  • Scooters and rollerblades
  • Tickets to amusement parks, zoos and other attractions
  • Hula hoop
  • Frisbee
  • Plant seeds

Inside fun

  • Easter themed movies
  • Play dough
  • Finger paints
  • Fridge magnets
  • Lego
  • Colouring books and crayons/pens (age dependent)
  • Puzzles
  • Books (Easter themed)
  • Dolls/ toy figures
  • Bath toys
  • Educational playing cards such as wild cards
  • Stickers
  • Child’s first Bible
  • Board games to play as a family
  • Dressing up clothes

As a child, we had an easter egg hunt every year, complete with a treasure map. While I won’t be giving my daughter excessive amounts of chocolate this year, you could still recreate the classic easter egg hunt, just with other, healthier gifts which will enrich your kids for much longer than the 10 seconds it takes them to scoff that egg!

What are your plans for Easter this year?

Is Halloween More of a Trick than a Treat?

This year has been the first so far that Olivia has been able to properly enjoy Halloween. It’s been so exciting! For weeks she has been asking to put her Halloween outfit on, she knew she had Halloween parties to go to and was super excited for those too!

On Saturday, we drove back home from Nanny’s house and arrived back in Aldershot at around 1pm. FOR FIVE WHOLE HOURS SHE WAS ASKING TO GO TO THE GOD DAMN PARTY!!!!!

But that’s another story (look out for ‘What to do when your kids drive you absolutely bloody insane’).

One thing I won’t do, however, is take her trick or treating.

Maybe it’s my job (I’m exposed to people who do truly unthinkable things to their own children, let alone anybody else’s!), or I’m just a horrendous cynic for all things that are actually nice, but the whole premise of trick or treating for children really terrifies me. For now, she is not old enough to understand ‘stranger danger’, and as a baby she was never fussy about who she would go to. She would happily have cuddles from people she didn’t know, and even though now she’s more wary of new people, if I’m there in close proximity (but not necessarily in eyesight) she would still be quite happy to run into the arms of someone she doesn’t really know!

Why, would I then throw into the mix that she can go and knock on strangers’ doors and ask them for sweeties?

You don’t know who is behind those doors. It could be anyone.

You may think I’m being seriously over-protective, but even with me there, I wouldn’t like to send that message to her so early on that this is a normal thing to do… She understands Halloween, she has loved dressing up this year and she has had 3 parties before it’s even ACTUALLY Halloween – She doesn’t understand that it is just one day.

I would love to be able to put aside the horror stories I’ve invented in my mind and take her trick or treating, and, in fact, I most probably will do when she’s older. Truthfully, I’m sure that there are very few cases of knocking on the doors of sex offenders (unbeknownst to you, of course – I’m sure you wouldn’t knowingly go knocking on the door of someone on the register when you’ve got kids with you or not!) but for now I don’t want to run the risk of letting Olivia think that she can do this whenever she likes.

She has no concept of time yet, only ‘now’, ‘soon’, or ‘later’. I’m not able to explain to her that this is okay because Mummy’s here and we only do it once a year.

Even if I could explain that to her, in principle, am I okay with it?

Like I said, maybe I am just a horrendous cynic, but you really do not know who or what is on the other side of the door. There have been times when I took my stepdaughter out before Olivia was born and some houses really do go all out on their ‘tricks’ rather than their ‘treats’! I mean, enough to scare a grown adult let alone a child. I get that Halloween is meant to be scary, but realistically now it’s for kids and adults to dress up and have fun, isn’t it? Like many public holidays, it’s commercialised 1000%.

There are houses on our estate that literally kit out their entire garages with Halloween displays and games etc., but I’ll only admire them from a distance myself!

All in all, it’s a nice idea. But it’s actually quite terrifying, and maybe for the wrong reasons. Maybe I’m better suited to being the nice mummy opening the door and handing out the ‘treats’!

Do you take your kids trick or treating on Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

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