A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

We’re so excited!

Excitement is really mounting, rather like this 10 second snippet of L’s happy dance at last year’s Camp Bestival. Only a few sleeps to go and we’ve been lying on her bed tonight talking about all the things we want to do together while we are there.

I am now especially excited about the sing along Jungle Book screening and the paper plane world record breaking launch to celebrate Disney’s Planes. The prospect of sneaking some cocktails with some fellow bloggers in the Bollywood Bar is also very appealing. I can’t wait to see Ash and The Levellers. And that’s just me… Continue reading

My definitive #CampBestival Packing list

I think this year I might have cracked it. My definitive Camp Bestival Packing List. Last year I had lots of help and advice, which I have added on to last year’s list. It will keep growing I know, so keep hitting me with what I missed in the comments!

I’ve just reviewed  kattoos temporary phone number tattoos and ear defenders. Wayfair have some cool glamping and camping gear, I especially love the bunting you can write on and wash off!

Here’s my account of Camp Bestival last year which gives more background on some of the things on the list as well as our fab experience. If you’d rather see it there’s also a video here. Even queuing for the toilets is fun, not that we ever had to queue for long at all, in fact the toilets were pretty impressive.

So, on to the Camp Bestival Packing List! This is pretty exhaustive, but at least you can decide what you really don’t need, rather than kick yourself for not bringing something, and it is dependent on the weather forecast.
Continue reading

How clean is your car?

How clean is your car? I’m amazed at the stuff that makes its way into our car. But then I have raised a pair of magpies who like to stow shiny things in every spare hiding place they can find.

My son’s friend always asks me why my son is allowed toys in the car, why he is allowed to exit Dukes of Hazard style, or to pretend to be a dog and exit via the boot. It suddenly dawned on me that there could be another way.

However, I’ve never achieved it, so I was glad to see Hyundai have proved that clambering all over the car is natural small child instinct.  I really smiled at the bit where the small kids get to go loopy and mess up the car.

Hyundai then gets older primary school kids reviewing the durability of the cars.

I felt the experiment was slightly flawed in that it didn’t use anything as a benchmark or comparison, but still, the headteacher seemed to think it was a valid lesson and nice to see children showing their younger siblings how to clean up afterwards, gives me hope.

So fess up, how clean is your car?

Commissioned post

Two tales of Legoland…30 years and 30 minutes #maddayout

That’s my Dad in Miniland at Legoland Windsor, Father’s Day 2013.

That’s my Dad in Miniland, Denmark c1984.

My photography skills improved a little, or maybe it’s just technology.

It meant a lot to take my Dad to Legoland, nearly 30 years on. To take my kids, just a little bit younger than I was when I went. To take a glimpse into my own childhood, to remember and be reminded how it felt to be a child and to see being a parent in a whole new light.  Continue reading

Battle Boxes – Great British Adventure Kits

There’s a knock on the caravan door…

Have you got a sheet? asks a small child

Another Knock

Have you got a tent pole? asks another small child

Another knock

We just need something, you know, to make a keep out sign says my daughter

Another knock

We need snacks for us to eat in our den and a rucksack and a flag and another blanket says my son, all in one breath. Continue reading

Party Like It’s 1979

I supplied the photo, (can you guess which one is me?) but today’s guest post is written by the very wise Laura Potts, a mum to two. I think all parents will find her approach to kid’s birthday parties reassuring:

Themed cakes. Expensive activities. Party bags. Kids’ birthday parties have gotten entirely carried away. But the kind of low-impact, homemade celebration that’s been lost to the ages is the antidote to today’s commercialized overproductions – and little guys love it.

Be honest. How much pressure do you put on yourself to throw your child the “perfect” birthday party? Continue reading

Top Tips for Parents of Gap Year Volunteers

Did you take a gap year? I never did, but I wish I had done something like it sooner. My trip to Ghana with Comic Relief to do some overseas volunteer work earlier this year was three days, but in the sense that it involved months of planning: for the trip itself and around social media and fundraising, I felt as if I had taken a sabbatical from my everyday life and it gave me a whole new perspective on life.

I would really like my children to experience what I did, I talk to them about it all the time. Original Volunteer, organiser of overseas volunteer work gap years around the world asked me what my tips for parents of gap year volunteers would be, I have to admit the beforehand the thought of them travelling made me feel a bit wobbly, but the research has made me feel a whole lot better about it, plus, we still have at least 10 years to go! Continue reading

Parenting through a divorce

Today’s commissioned guest post does exactly what it says on the tin, it offers some useful tips on parenting through a divorce.

Nobody goes through a divorce lightly or without a lot of thought. Just like marriage, it can be a life-changing event with huge ramifications especially if children are involved.

Britain currently has the highest divorce rate in the E.U with an average of 2.8 divorces for every 1,000 people. Divorce is increasingly seen as not a failure but as a positive step that can liberate people from unhappy and/or abusive relationships and allow a second chance at happiness.

There is anecdotal statistics that suggest that the separation of parents who are in an unhappy relationship can have a far more positive effect on children than staying in a marriage purely for the sake of it. Divorce is, however, a big step and should not be undertaken lightly. It is and should remain a last resort after other avenues have been exhausted. Family counselling is readily available through organisations such as Relate who are at hand before, throughout and after a divorce.

Children are often underestimated in their ability to pick up on relationship problems that their parents have. This is sometimes used as justification for ending unhappy marriages to protect the children from any arguing and fighting that might have been going on in the home.

A family break-up presents uncertainty for all parties and children will feel this the most. It can lead to them feeling angry, frightened and sometimes even a sense of misplaced guilt but with the correct counselling and with the positive input from both parents this can be largely avoided.

Children need stability but above all they need both their parents in their lives and to know that they are loved, wanted and needed.

Divorce should be seen as an opportunity to promote this especially if the unhappy marriage might have stifled the development of these areas. Either parent airing any issues or problems they may have with the other parent to the child is not just unnecessary but can be harmful to the child’s development.

So what can be done?

  • Ensure that your child understands that they are loved.

  • Ensure that your child knows that they still have and always will have both parents.

  • Encourage your child to speak about their feelings and concerns.

  • Explain realistically what the divorce will entail.

  • Do not spring surprises on your child or tell them untruths.

  • Stand united as parents and ensure that you are both giving your child the same message.

Divorce is not easy for any party involved but by both parents following the above steps any upset and uncertainty for your child can be minimised. The plans being drawn up regarding the separation should always place the child first and when possible involve their input.

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