Category Archives: Closer to Home

A Review of 2016

In March of 2016 I made the decision to restart Big Family Little Adventures, our youngest was now a toddler and Family Travel and Days Out was back on the agenda.

Our first amazing opportunity was to become Thorpe Park ambassadors, which has been amazing this year, we have visited three times and we still haven’t sampled every ride, hopefully we can apply next year to test the rest, if not I shall certainly look into Merlin passes for us all, as there are so many fabulous places included.

We were invited along to Norwich Castle Museum to have a tour of the How to Train Your Dragon Exhibition, which was the start of further opportunities with Norfolk Museums, later visits in the year to the Time and Tide Museum’s exhibits including Rock and Roll and the Fifties

We took our first trip on the Eurostar for my 40th Birthday trip to Disneyland Paris, which was amazing, the children loved all the parades and rides, and the Pin Trading.

During the Summer holidays, we were invited to Scooby Doo Live, Shreks Adventure, a preview showing of Trolls and London Sealife, as well as a fantastic holiday cottage in the Lake District.

Asa took the eldest three to Comic Con in London, and they now have plans for more during 2017! and I took them to a screening of Your Name.

At the end of November we had an amazing family day out to LaplandUK.

One of my achievements of this year is becoming Arts & Culture Round-up Editor for BritMums, not only do I get to read about all the fabulous museums and theatres, I have been invited to several performances during 2016, with lots more lined up in 2017. Eowyn and I watched Beauty and The Beast Pantomime.

Looking ahead to 2017…

During 2017, I would like to continue attending as many theatre performances as I can, travel as a family to new places and have lots of Days Out to favourite places, and new onesm and have as much fun as possible.

Wishing You All A Happy New Year xxx

Bring On The Christmas Cheer! Family-Friendly Festive Activities You’ll Love

There’s less than a month to go, and before we know it, we’ll be decorating the tree and opening presents. Christmas is a wonderful time of year when you have children. Anticipation and excitement fill the air, and there’s so much going on. If you’re keen to spread Christmas cheer and get into the festive spirit, here are some activities and days out you’ll love.

Festive film night

Who doesn’t love a Christmas film? When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing that will get you in the mood like a festive classic. Get the kids to choose a selection of films, and stock up on treats. Snuggle up together with blankets, or light the fire. Press play, sit back and watch the magic of Christmas unfolding before your eyes. Popular choices include Elf, Home Alone 2, The Polar Express and Miracle on 34th Street. You can either order DVDs online, or you can rent or buy them through your digital subscription. As Christmas Day approaches, look out for films on the TV guide, and record any you like the look of. You should find that you’re spoiled for choice.

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Choosing the tree and decorating the house

This is an annual highlight in most households. Make a day of going out to choose the Christmas tree, and then putting the decorations up. Get your Christmas jumpers on, wrap up warm and head to the local farm or garden centre. Have a look around, and hopefully, you’ll find the perfect tree. Before you go, get the decorations down from the loft, and find the tree stand. When you get home, put the Christmas playlist on, and start hanging baubles and draping beads. Once the tree is up, you can start putting gifts underneath. You can also put up decorations around the house. Add a wreath to the front door, and some fairy lights to the porch. Let the kids decorate their rooms with tinsel, homemade bunting, and paper chains.

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A trip to the panto

Many families enjoy a trip to the pantomime at Christmas time. The panto is all about having fun and spending quality time together. If you haven’t booked tickets yet, look out for deals in the paper, or search for shows online. You tend to find that shows in large cities are more expensive. If you’re keen to avoid high prices, stick to smaller productions in your local area. You can often save by buying family tickets and booking in advance.

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Christmas crafting

Christmas is an excellent time of year to indulge your creative side, especially if it’s miserable and cold outside. You can have loads of fun creating unique wrapping paper and cards with the kids. There’s nothing like receiving homemade cards and presents the kids have helped out with. If you’re keen to spoil those close to you, make the most of your children’s talents. Get the paints and pencils out and do some cutting and sticking. Use your imagination or search for ideas online. You could create Father Christmas out of paper plates, or make customised party hats for Christmas dinner, for example. Before you begin, stock up on supplies like glue dots, paints, glitter, and coloured card.

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If you’re eager to give thoughtful gifts to friends and family, why not get the kids to help you out in the kitchen and rustle up some themed treats? You could bake biscuits in the shape of reindeer or snowmen. You could make Christmas tree brownies or star-shaped flapjack bites. Once your trays have cooled, add a handful to a rustic paper bag and tie with a red and green ribbon. Alternatively, you could fill mini Kilner jars or small baskets.

Christmas markets

It’s that time of year when the markets come to town. Taking a trip to the Bavarian markets is a great idea if you older children. You can sample some festive delicacies, and look around for new gift ideas and new additions for the tree. Try and avoid peak times if possible to save time queuing. If you’re not sure whether your local town or city is hosting markets this year, search online. You can usually find information about locations and opening times. If you can’t find anything local, consider booking a weekend away. Manchester and Birmingham, for example, are famed for their markets. If you have young children, look out for family-friendly events. You may find that some markets have rides and reindeer as well as stalls.

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Visiting Santa

Christmas isn’t Christmas without paying Santa a visit, especially when you have small children. There are lots of places you can visit Father Christmas, and it’s a good idea to ask around for recommendations. Before you go, sit down with your kids and write Christmas lists, so they know what they’re asking Santa for. Look out for grottos that offer additional attractions. Examples include the opportunity to see live reindeer or take part in some festive games or crafts workshops. In some places, you can also have breakfast with the elves or take a walk through an enchanted forest. The Internet is an excellent resource for parents, especially if you’re looking for something a little bit different. Search for events in your local area, and read reviews. If you’re thinking of going to something that is proving to be very popular, consider reserving tickets in advance.

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Christmas is coming, and it’s time to get into the festive spirit. At this time of year, there’s so much going on, especially if you have children. You probably have traditions of your own. But hopefully, this list will also give you some extra ideas. The holidays are all about spending time together, having fun and creating memories. Whether you’re staying in and cosying up in front of a film or heading out to meet the reindeer, there’s something for everyone at Christmas. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy your well-earned time off. Look out for special offers in the local papers, and take advantage of free family-friendly activities. You can also have loads of fun at home. Get the arts and crafts supplies out or host a family film night.

Help Your Child Get More Out Of Their School Experience

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We all want what’s best for our children, but sometimes it can be hard to work out what that is. When it comes to certain areas in life, however, it is usually quite clear. School is a good example. If you are like most parents, chances are you want your child to do as well as possible at school. Sometimes, it can be a little worrying not knowing exactly what is going on during their school days. However, there are ways of ensuring that your children are getting the best possible experience out of their school. In this article, we are going to look at some of the basic ways you can ensure that this is the case. Let’s take a look now.

Healthy Habits

As long as you are helping your kids to live their lives in the right way, school is likely to have a much better effect. Mostly, this is just a matter of helping them to develop healthier habits. This is something which you can do at home and while you are out and about. What kind of habits are we talking about? Generally, we mean those things which make it easier for your child to do the right thing. Performing is difficult in any realm if your body is not at its best. So do your best to encourage your children to step away from the television as much as possible and eat a healthier diet. Choose a bedtime that allows them plenty of sleep before each school day. And limit the amount of time they spend in front of any kind of screen. All of this is likely to add up to make a huge difference to their performance at school.

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Encourage Extra-Curricular Activities

School is often plenty for most kids, but not all the time. Sometimes, it is necessary to try and encourage your children to get involved in extra-curricular activities. There are many different kinds, and they all have some kind of benefit which your children could do with. It could just be a sports class, or a language class, for example. Or it might be something more substantial, such as school business trips and tours, where they can learn more in-depth about a subject that interests them. Getting your children involved in these extra activities will help them to develop in a more rounded way, and that is something that all parents should want for their children.

The Importance Of Routine

Routine plays a huge role in getting your children to enjoy school more. Most children really do thrive on having some kind of structure, even if they don’t believe it themselves! One of your tasks as parent should be to set up routines which will help your children organise their days. It doesn’t really matter too much what the routine is, exactly, just so long as there is one. With a routine, it is much more likely that your children can enjoy their school experience all the more.