The Postcard Project

The holidays are here, and, of course, we’ve had our main holiday in Crantock thanks to Actimel already. Naughty us.

That means the day the holidays started, Mini came home with a folder containing her holiday homework- all five pages of it. There are words to learn, websites to view, and maths to gen up on. Which is fine I suppose as I was going to get the pair of them to do an hour of reading, maths and English work to keep them from watching TV the whole holidays and being back to square one come September.

The thing that is a slight annoyance is that which probably annoys most parents- the Holiday Diary.


They have upped the ante so to speak at our school in that a prize (head, meet desk) will be given to the best one. So, the kids going abroad and who have middle class Boden wearing parents and a wardrobe full of White Company linen are well sorted then. 

The likes of us who have sod all planned bar a few trips to the park and barbecues in the garden are thoroughly screwed.

The idea is that you keep tickets and things for all the places we are supposed to be visiting in the holidays. Of course, this means Mini now wants to visit Legoland, Windsor Castle and anywhere else that requires I park with upwards of £50 just to enter. Seen as my purse resembles the leather equivalent of Old Mother Hubbards cupboards, I am doubly screwed my friends. They don’t give out tickets for the park after all. That and my printer works when it wants and was sold by Argos as having cheap inks. What they mean is the inks cost more than the printer did, and if you dare to use fakes off Ebay, the printer will sneer like Naomi Campbell when faced with lukewarm tap water rather than the posh alternative.

I had to think what on earth I could do to fill up the pages of the rather attractive notebook I bought her from the 99p Shop in town.

So, I got my blogging buddies involved, and my goodness they rock my friendlies.

I thought a good way to fill the pages of the book, if we aren’t going away ourselves is to have others, where ever they may be, send the Brats a postcard instead. Mini loves getting post and Littlest never gets any other the hospital appointments, and being cheap and varied, I thought this was a good thing to try out. Not only that, but if we do go to Windsor, or down to Kent, we can pick up a postcode for a matter of pennies and put these in too.

First up was Jade who blogs at Late for Reality, who was pleased to help as she was testing out an app from Touchnote, which lets you send a postcard with your own images on from your phone. They think of everything these days don’t they!?

Here is Mini with the postcard:

And here is a close up of the front

And the message


It worked I’m pleased to say, and both have now been taking it in turns to share the postcard. It’s nice to see see something so old school bring happiness to the Brats. I’m hoping for some more over the holidays, and I’m sure Mini will blog them on her new blog– her other little holiday project.

Thanks to Jade and Ted too!

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The Post in Which I get Taught My First School Lesson Since 1998

OK, never let it be said that I don’t know when to say sorry if I’ve upset someone when I’m peed off.

It seems my last post was read by the Brat’s school, and in the heat of everything that has been going on for a while now between Mini and another kid in her class, it kind of got a little OTT.

The thing is, my children are my life. I love the very bones of them, despite the lack of sleep due to Littlest’s illnesses, Mini being a bit of a diva from time to time and the other little things they do- like having a tantrum in the middle of a shop. 


I know that this is possibly, probably, going to be read by Mini’s teacher, and possibly the wider school, so sorry. Sorry for calling you a nutcase Mrs R. Sorry that you thought I was a bit detached or unapproachable. Sorry that Mini is a bit of a pest sometimes when it comes to her diva crying. We’re working on that one anyway.

The thing is, we had a bit of a communication breakdown go on, and sometimes I can barely remember my own name of a morning. Littlest still wakes up so many times a night from his Restrictive Airway illness, and I generally average out at about 2 hours sleep a week, if I’m lucky. So, it’s not me being a mardy bitch, it’s me being earth shatteringly knackered.

I hate that someone thought I was a bit up my arse, bit cool kid, cos that is so not me- when I told an old school friend that the world’s biggest geek at school was considered that way, she told me she’d get back to me when she’d stopped rolling on the floor. I hate that someone could feel they couldn’t talk to me. 

So, yes, sorry. Credit where credit is due, Mini has gone from being not interested in reading and not being able to write very well, to being a epic reader and terrific writer (she wants her own blog. Scary). 

I take it back. Its all good. 

And a note to other bloggers- remember, when we fly off the handle, or have posts which follow other’s posts, some times they could be read by someone who has no idea the other posts exist, who don’t read our Twitter streams, and who could take it the wrong way. Lesson learned my friend’s, lesson learned.

Mini and the Shoes

By now, if you read this blog regularly, you’ll have gathered I’m not the biggest fan of the Brat’s school. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a failing school, it’s not falling apart, it’s rated outstanding by those Ofsted lot.

No, I fear it’s something that is becoming epidemic in schools who are proud of their outstanding status and who will do anything to protect it.

It’s called “Head Up Own Arse” syndrome.



Now, when I was Mini’s age, at my school we didn’t wear uniform. Our original headmaster didn’t bother with it. If you wanted to wear a school shirt and skirt, that was fine. It was also fine if you wore denim dresses with green pvc belts and skirts with spray paint affect badges too (what? what? It was 1987, we all wore that).

I do think a relaxed uniform is of course better than turning school into a fashion parade, after all it’s not nice for the kids who are unable to keep up with trends. Tag Day at secondary when I used to wear my mad, out of school clothes was bad enough.

What I do not understand though is the conversation I had with Mini’s teacher on Thursday.

Mini has been struggling to get along with this teacher for a while, and she’s not alone-they have had her for 18 months and one minute she is your best mate and the next she’s talking to you like you’re 6 too. So, I’m not a great fan to be fair, and was hoping Littlest would get the other teacher next year, but sadly he’s lumbered with her next.

Anyway, Mini is a menace to shoes, and she’s on the 5th pair of black shoes or boots this year. With only a mere week to go until the holidays, when she mullered the fronts of pair 5, I thought, sod it, and let her wear some white and pink summer slip ons instead. The school says they can wear sandals or summer shoes as long as their toes are covered so thought that’d be fine.

Apparently not.

Now, Mini isn’t the only one not wearing black shoes, I have to add, and one girl in her class wears only the correct sweater for school, but also wears stripey tights and the wrong colour skirt too, but she was still front and centre in the paper a few weeks back when they got given an Outstanding rating. In the grand scheme of that Mini’s shoes are nowt.

Again, apparently not.

I got barked at by this bloody nutcase of a teacher that her shoes are unacceptable and she would not be permitted to attend class in them again.

Over shoes. I thought she was taking the pee, to be honest. So, I remarked with “they have a week left, it hardly matters”. To be told yes it does, its the rules (now remember the utter lack of uniform on the child in the paper at this point). 

So, I had to sarcastically remark that I was unaware that wearing white shoes instead of black would significantly halt Mini’s ability to learn anything or even read. Which was met by an almighty death stare.

It’s not just Mini though- one of the boys Mum’s was told off for the shocking and disgraceful crime of her child wearing white trainer socks instead of black ankle socks. The horror!

I wouldn’t mind if they stuck to this bloody rules malarkey with every bloody child, but it would seem being a member of the PTA or Governors renders all rules null and void. 

So, what is Mini wearing? Her PE pumps. I am damned if I’m going to waste money on a new pair of shoes for a week, which wont fit her by September. Not a chance.

What annoys you with school? 

Doing Your Part for Local Charities*

Charities are important services and while we look to them for support, we don’t always acknowledge the assistance which they need.
Both local and national charities require support from fundraisers and here we look at a few things you could do to help. From understanding their role in the community to highlighting their cause or simply looking into fundraising opportunities, there is always something you can do. No matter how little it might seem, it is always worthwhile to help a good cause.

Community
First of all, these charities often highlight the very best of your local community. After all, a charity is often comprised of people doing something out of the goodness of their heart or working in roles specifically aimed at helping others and making a difference.
With local charities, this often has a direct impact on the local community and area. It might not affect you directly but, as part of the community, you have a chance to become more integrated.
Additionally, you never know when you might need to use the service either so helping to ensure it’s still operational is highly important.
Unsung heroes
Likewise, let’s not forget that donating money or volunteering, helps contribute to those who might not get the attention they deserve. We all know the major national charities but how much do we know about the good deeds right on our doorstep?
Whether it’s Herts Air Ambulance or any other service, these are charities and people that don’t always get the praise and attention they deserve. Volunteering or doing your part can change that. Whether your contribution is large or small, it’s putting the name out there and increasing recognition.
Putting the ‘fun’ in fundraising
Finally, you can combine a lot of these elements and look into fundraising. This can be a useful method of gaining money for a local cause but it also has a lot to benefits for you as well. Raising funds encourages you to get out there. Not only do you become integrated with the community as a result but it pushes you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do and thus occupy more of your free time.

Let’s not forget that the gift of giving can also make people feel good about themselves. In other words, if you’re going to donate money then why not have some fun whilst trying to raise as much as possible?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Crantock with Actimel Connect Fund

Wow!

Well, readers, you probably know that it’s been quite sometime since the Lazy Family has been on our holidays, what with moving due to rubbish landlords, Littlest being sick, and just general bad timing, its been years and years.

So, a few months back, Actimel, the company behind some very scrummy and healthy probiotic drinks sent me an email regards their Family Well Being Index. The Index is available on their website, and promotes the idea that when families are in step with one another, everyone is far more positive, and it helps with hints and tips so all families can achieve that positivity.

They asked me if I’d like to come up with an idea around the world “Connect”.


At the time, the news was full of scientific research suggesting that vitamin d- found in the sun- is great for asthma and lung condition sufferers, so I told Actimel about Littlest, his chronic lung disease and how we wouldn’t want to apply to go abroad as we couldn’t go that far (the insurance for Littlest would cost so much, and his allergies are so bad we couldn’t consider going abroad), but we’d simply like to go to Cornwall and camp in the sunshine, go to the beach and let him soak up those vitamins!

I was so pleased when we were contacted that we had been chosen. We then found a great camp site- as we already had a tent and all the trimmings and we used to love camping before we had children- in a little known place called Crantock.

Crantock is 3 miles outside of surf heaven Newquay, but it’s so peaceful. Basically, large parts are owned and maintained by the National Trust, their are lots of holiday cottages and small camp sites, all right next to a beautiful beach. It’s pure old school chocolate box, like stepping back in time. There is one shop, a pub and a church bar the cottages.

We stayed at one of the smallest camp sites- Quarryfield which is independently owned and run, and has one field. We decided to go without electric hook up, all but ditched our phones and connected with each other as a family.

There was no time for boredom. We swam, we hunted in rock pools, we went for walks and played in the parks. It was the most fun we’ve had in ages.

The pace of life is so chilled, its on a different level to where we are in Berkshire, which is very busy. Everyone says good morning, we chatted to other parent’s on the beach, the locals were friendly and the atmosphere was slowed right down. Its definitely a place for flip flops, cut off shorts and vests!

As for Littlest, he is generally a little boy who is shy around unknown people, and who finds it quite hard to keep up with other kids as when he runs around he gets out of breath very quickly. It was like watching a different child this weekend. He made friend’s with a boy and girl on the beach, he swam, he ran like mad, and he was well, so, so well. He usually has to have his inhalers, aside from his twice daily puffs, at least 4 times over the weekend as he gets so knackered. He has trouble sleeping, and its not a great life for him.

He had has inhaler the twice a day he was meant to, and that was it. He slept in the tent, on a flat blow up bed rather than upright, and he slept, all night. At home, he is up several times a night due to his asthma.

He has laughed so much, and enjoyed himself immensely. We found baby crabs and shrimp at Crantock Beach, watched the surfers in Newquay, ate barbecue food, and cooked outdoors the whole time we were away, had picnics on the beach and used the car as a living room (we forgot our fold up chairs! Opps!)



We also went to Newquay Zoo, and both Brats were amazed at the amount of creatures they could spot. Part of the zoo allows wild tropical birds, bats and a sloth roam free, and the Brats found the bats funny as they were hanging upside down. We also met some meerkats, and walked like penguins. Newquay Zoo is more than a zoo as it contains not one but two adventure playgrounds, and a farm as well, and each enclosure was huge and allowed the animals to be happy. We were told all about how the Meerkats are very good at getting out of their enclosure as they can dig very well. The kids found it hilarious that the local uni had to telephone the zoo to let them know the Meerkats were sunbathing on their green!

We have had an amazing time, not just because we could connect with each other, not just because it was sunny the whole time. No. The reason it was amazing was due to being able to watch Littlest do what all kids his age get to do, run around and be happy.

As a parent, it is stressful watching him miss out, so having a weekend off worrying was so great! We have played and run and jumped here and there, all snuggled together in the tent, eaten great food and had a great time connecting. I’d recommend it to every family to get away from it all and get to know each other again. We are all so busy with school and being adults its hard to make time to have a bit of fun and relaxation.

I am so thankful to Actimel and their team, and we are so in love with the lifestyle, we’ve kind of decided to make it permanent! We have always thought sea air and a relaxed lifestyle would do Littlest the world of good and it did.

Go grab a tent and connect!