Categories
Parenthood

10 Reasons Not To Have A Child

You’re probably wondering why I’m giving you 10 reasons not to have a child. I have two. That’s exactly why I’m qualified to tell you 10 reasons NOT to have a child!

  1. Your bank account will thank you
  2. Child-free holidays
  3. Life is a series of never-ending questions
  4. They need constant entertaining
  5. You can be the cool aunt/uncle
  6. You need to feed them, everyday
  7. They’re not just for Christmas
  8. They will fight each other, constantly
  9. You’ll keep your identity and your name
  10. The world is overpopulated

1. Your bank account will thank you

Seriously. Kids are expensive, they need things. I’m not just talking about the basics liked food and maybe a bed (cosleepers rejoice!). B’s new glasses cost €160. Sure he needs them, but does he REALLY need them at that price?! The biggest dent to my bank account? Matching outfits. I can’t resist them, I’m extremely picky about what I dress the boys in. Which can often mean paying an arm and a leg for an outfit they will wear maybe once. It’s a weakness of mine, but can you really deny how cute they look?!

2. Child-free holidays

I love traveling, I’ve taken the boys to Italy, Spain, Germany, Czechia, France, Morocco & of course all around the UK. BUT travelling with kids, paying for 3 tickets, packing car seats (we use the mifold), planning meals & nap times cannot be compared to a child-free, stress-free holiday.

A family holiday is priceless. There is something about sharing your favourite lunch spot in Barcelona with your children. Or watching their faces light up as they experience the magic of Disneyland for the first time. Encouraging their inquisitive nature as we explore the souks of Marrakech.

3. Life is a series of never-ending questions

Why?* ‘Nuff said.

*Google/YouTube is your friend. You might even learn something yourself!

4. They need constant entertaining

Especially during lockdown with playdates off the table, you actually need to entertain them yourself. Netflix can only cover so much, being invited into their imaginary worlds is a privilege. However, I personally have had enough of their pre-bedtime ‘shows’ which seem to involve a wailing banshee and bucking Pokemon. They often end by me being held ransom until I ‘pay up’ with REAL money for watching a show that I didn’t want to watch in the first place.

5. You can be the cool aunt/uncle

I love other peoples kids, I can play with them, spoil them and then hand them back.

6. You need to feed them, everyday

Yes, everyday, At least 3 times a day, if you don’t included snacks. More if your kids have appetites like mine. If you can’t work out why that’s NOT a good thing, refer to Reason No. 1.

7. They’re not just for Christmas

They are human beings who will grow up to become adults. They will either be adults who contribute positively to society and their local community, or they won’t. If you’re not prepared to put in the work (emotionally, financially etc.) that it takes to raise a child, then you probably shouldn’t have children.

8. They will fight each other, constantly

But when they make up and play together your heart will melt.

9. You’ll keep your identity and your name

There’s nothing I hate more than being referred to as B’s mum or W’s mum. I have a name, my own likes and interests. I have an identity that isn’t just ‘their mum’!

10. The world is overpopulated

So this is my super super serious reason NOT to have children. In fact it’s one of the reasons (apart from being single) I won’t be having anymore children. The world is overpopulated, children in ‘developed’ countries have a much larger carbon footprint than children from other countries. I tried to do my part with breastfeeding, cloth nappies, eco-friendly cleaning products & making my own baby food. BUT it can’t be denied more and more people are choosing to go child-free for the environment.

BONUS: One Reason You SHOULD Have A Child

Because you want one. Don’t have a child if you don’t want to or because you feel pressured. Have a child IF you are ready and take the 10 things I mentioned above. Children can be an enjoyable experience but they come with a lot of stress, financial and mental strain. If that’s not for you, then don’t do it.

Categories
Activity Ideas Parenthood

Bucket List: Summer 2020

I love writing lists. We ticked a few things off W’s ‘Starting School Bucket List’ back in 2017! After 3 years of home education, international nursery settings and flexischooling the boys will be attending a bilingual (Arabic/French) school from September! Coupled with nearly four months stuck inside as part of Morocco’s coronavirus lockdown measures. I thought a Summer 2020 bucket list would be a great way to give them back some control over their lives.

We don’t know what will happen regarding second wave, borders etc. So will only be doing the activities that can be carried out under social distancing guidelines. I firmly believe in giving my children their own voice, everything listed below is entirely their own original ideas.

W & B’s Summer Bucket List:

  • Bake a cake
  • Take a trip to the Zoo
  • Visit the Animal Shelter
  • Have a sleepover
  • Go out for Ice cream
  • Eat chocolate fruit kebabs
  • Go to the beach
  • Have fun at the pool
  • Play with friends
  • Build a secret den
  • Watch a film together
  • Go camping
  • Have a picnic
  • Play in the river
  • Take a surprise trip

Is there anything you would add? Don’t forget to check out our Summer Learning Activities blog:

Categories
London Parenthood

Event Edit: Big Fish Little Fish Hackney – Drum n Bass

The concept of a family-friendly rave has intrigued me for quite a while, the Little Londoners were ecstatic at the idea of ‘going out’ with me rather than the usual, yet rare, babysitter (read: abandonment) scenario.

That’s where Big Fish Little Fish come in, their events promise top DJs and licensed bars for the ‘Big Fish’, as well as craft areas, play areas and face-painting and more for the ‘Little Fish’. I was excited, the boys were excited and there was an ‘optional’ fancy dress theme of togas, which of course I made them wear!

Upon arrival the Little Londoners were given a free glow stick each, to add to the assorted collection already adorning their wrists. We navigated past the buggy park to the front door, they had warned of a security check but as I no longer need to carry a changing bag we had a friendly face ushering us through to the rave room.

Our first mission was to wake up a little as they had both fallen asleep on our way to the event, so we headed over to the craft area run by Captain Cookie Crafts. There was a mural and a container of felt tips that W (4) happily took advantage of. There was also a craft table with some sort of headdress craft for children to make with a few examples dotted around. It was pretty busy so we steered clear, the play dough table was even more packed and the play area itself seem to trigger a few soft play flashbacks for B (3) as he clung to my leg whimpering. We avoided that area for the rest of our time until the end when W saw the opportunity to make his own ‘pirate’ headdress (I think they were meant to be Egyptian but didn’t have the heart to dampen his spirit).

Face painting was next on the agenda, this was provided by PHACEbyPhilly. W opted for a dragon and B opted for a crocodile. She was super fast and effective, I thought the face painting the boys had done at Into the Wild was brilliant, but this was on a whole other level!

After a few marshmallow pops and a couple bags of popcorn, washed down with apple juice we were ready to hit the dance floor. W happily showed off his best moves, and even tried out some questionable break dancing, that I had to put an end to due to the number of little walkers on the dance floor. DJ SS was headlining and played some pretty decent tunes that even I (not really a drum n bass fan) could get into. They managed to top the event off with some pretty cool light effects, bubble machines and glitter cannon!

The only tears we had were from me trying to get self-conscious/Velcro ‘baby’ B to detach from my leg and join W in dancing. We also had tears and screaming when it was time to go home, but that’s always a sign of a good time and we can’t wait for the NYE event, which has already sold out!

I’d definitely recommend going to BFLF event near you if you have the chance, but make sure you bring your partner, or if you’re a single parent like me, a friend, it would have been nice to have let W happily space out on the dance floor while also allowing B some ‘quiet’ time in the play area.

***

We were invited along for the purpose of this review.

Categories
Education Parenthood

Starting School: Schultüte 

A Schultüte is a wonderful German tradition for the first day of school. My grandmother is German and so it’s a tradition that we are passing down and I intend to keep within our family. I remember receiving mine when I first started, so of course I had to make one for W (4) on his first day!

For those of you that don’t know, a Schultüte is essentially a cone packed with goodies, to celebrate the year ahead. Some parents are more creative and able to make fantastic cones but I just stuck with card, wrapping paper, tissue paper and ribbons for W’s.


What’s inside?

You can put anything inside of these, I tried to think of things that I thought W would need as well as enjoy. I got him a couple of new books to read and Star Wars themed workbooks to support his learning (I can’t help but giggle over P is for Padme, or the saying on the back ‘Learn well. You will.’). The notebook, pencils and skipping rope are from Cath Kidston and I found a CD of alphabet songs to add to the boys collection.  W loves taking photos on my phone so I popped in a disposable camera for him to have a go at taking his own (the old fashioned way), also picked up a boys fragrance bottle from Next because he always wants to borrow my perfume! The Lego set and the Go Fish! game are just for fun and great activywe can do together. Not pictured are some triangular colouring pencils as they are easier for him to hold that I also picked up for him.

How to make it? 

I cut out a square of wrapping paper, stuck it onto some thing card, put glue along one side of the square and made a cone shape, sticking it down together. I glued tissue paper along the inside at the top, stuffed a ball of tissue into the base (a little like a cornetto) and then filled it up with presents, before tying the top with some ribbon.


He had already been given a new school bag and a Swatch watch at breakfast, so the look on his face to be surprised again when I picked him up was totally worth it! I couldn’t be more proud of him and so excited to see what the year ahead has in store.

 

Categories
Activity Ideas Parenthood Travel

Bucket List: Into the Wild Summer Festival

So, this was an item I had added to the bucket list and then immediately regretted! I didn’t know how on earth I was going to manage two under 5s by myself for a whole weekend of camping. I didn’t even have any camping gear, so it was a quick stop at Decathlon for the basics (honestly, BASICs). I got a 3 person pop-up tent, an inflatable mattress, 3 sleeping bags, a lamp to hang inside the tent, some (not) glow in the dark tent pegs and a couple of blankets.


The day arrived and I was really having some doubts about the feasibility of it all, I wasn’t bringing any food and just hoping there would be enough food options to cater to our tastes, I barely packed enough clothes and was wondering if it would be too late to change my mind, but we got there and in no time at all set up camp. Everybody was so friendly and helpful, the boys enjoyed taking turns to hammer the pegs into the ground and put out their sleeping bags before we explored what the festival had to offer.


There was a programme of workshops and various activities, I didn’t get the chance to do any of them as busy shepherding the boys, but they enjoyed a few fairground type rides that were free for the first day (swings and trampolines), there was a circus tent with dressing up, face painters (the face paint looked awesome with their coloured hair) and an arts and crafts tent where they made some wings. Plenty of music to enjoy throughout the day and communal fires to sit around. Most of the food was vegan, which again wasn’t an issue for us but the boys do snack a lot and it ended up being quite expensive by the end of the day feeding their grazing habits.


The main attraction for me was that it was a drink and drug free event, which meant there was something quite pleasant and relaxing about drinking chai, listening to Nick Mulvey and dancing/singing along with a sleeping B in the sling. There was no real need to feel cautious about walking back to our tent in the dark which made for a very safe and enjoyable environment for me and the children. Children were very much welcome to be children and W made hordes of friends that ran around in little feral packs, whooping and hollering with items of clothing missing and face paint streaked faces.


A typical day for us involved waking up rather early, mad dash to the toilets before getting ready for the day (minus shower as these were out of order!). We filled up our water bottles and then walked through the ‘village’ through to the main site for a bowl of porridge in the Into the Wild cafe tent. A short kids yoga session or dance meditation to start the day right followed be a short walk to see what activity the boys wanted to do, ranging from chalk carving at the tinker station to making mandalas or upcycling. A quick snack and they were free to roam the play equipment; there was a pirate ship, sand pit, parachute and climbing frame, building up an appetite for lunch.


The temperature really rose in the afternoon so we would out the blankets out and have a little nap or go to the cafe tent for the storytelling sessions. Another chance to play or draw before dinner and then a chance to chill out in the main tent listening to an aural delights that were on offer for that evening. Overall it was a very relaxed affair, the children had a blast and I would definitely consider going back again, perhaps a little more prepared!


I paid £80 for my adult ticket which included parking, camping pitch and all workshops, the boys were free as under 5 so I’m not entirely sure how much a child ticket would have cost but that information wouldn’t be hard to find. There were a few issues with water and the sawdust toilets were fine for me but took a bit of getting use to for the boys as their favourite part of going to the toilet is flushing it!


I found out afterwards that Tom Hardy had also been at the festival and I’d missed my chance for a photo!

Categories
Activity Ideas Parenthood Travel

The Bucket List: Seaside Trip

We’ve had a couple of days wrapped up inside thanks to blocked noses and sore throats, so yesterday when we all woke up feeling marginally better a little spontaneity was in order. I decided to take the opportunity to surprise the boys with a trip to the seaside (also an item on the bucket list).

I did a quick Google search over breakfast for the best beaches near London and Margate was the first one to pop up, so I searched for day trip suggestions.

After a less than 2hour drive, we parked in the recommended car park for Turner Contemporary (parking at £2.70 for 12 hours = a bargain). Unfortunately the art gallery closes on Mondays so that idea went straight out the window. Instead we went for a wander in the various antique shops and stumbled across The Curious Cupcake Cafe for a spot of lunch, and of course cupcakes. I really loved the old school milk bottles they served the boys’ milk in!


We then went to the highly recommended Shell Grotto, via the Tudor House. The boys were fascinated with the house but less than enamoured with the Shell Grotto. Made using 4.6million shells and no way of knowing how old it is, or why it was made in the first place. This underground Grotto was little more on the creepy side, too much for the boys, especially B who ‘escaped’ screaming his head off in fear. There is something to be admired about the intricate details and artistry that must have gone into it.


We couldn’t leave without a trip to the beach! (Dreamland was recommended to e by many friends when they knew where we were but I thought the boys could be too young to appreciate it) I hadn’t brought any swimsuits with me as I thought the sea would be too cold and the day too miserable for them to enjoy paddling in the sea. But we were graced with some glorious sun, they paddled and W promptly fell into the sea, face first much to everybody’s amusement!


We picked up a fish and chips, with mushy peas, dinner before heading home in another journey lasting less than 2 hours. It was such an easy drive and has definitely made me want to explore more of what our British coastal towns may have to offer!

Categories
Parenthood Travel

Does going on holiday without my children make me a bad mother? 

You may have recently read the Daily Mail (I know, I know!) article about the families that bring their nanny on holiday with them so that they can have a stress-free holiday, the children have fun and everybody is happy. Not according to the readers, some of the comments that I saw were in the region of “family holidays are just that, if you don’t want to spend time with your children you don’t deserve to have them.” Well I’m sorry DM readers, but I’m about to tell you one better. I have just been on holiday, WITHOUT my children and it was brilliant!


Firstly, I don’t agree with this whole concept of a ‘bad mother’ it takes very little for a mum to be brandished as a bad/inadequate parent, take my London Underground post for example. Whereas it takes very little for a dad to be a ‘good/hands on dad’. Thankfully I don’t really on internet strangers to affirm my parenting, I know that I’m a good parent, I’m exactly who they need me to be and part of that is being myself. Parenting is a full time, full on job, once you become a parent you understand what it is to truly love somebody and to give up your life for them, but that doesn’t mean you literally have to give up your life for them. I know some parents that have never had a night away from their children, even if it’s just to pop down to their local with a friend for a round or two, I’m talking parents of children in the 5yo region by the way. I can understand parents of very young children feeling anxious, but I must confess I had my first ‘night out’ to an Ann Summers party when W was 7 weeks old, B was 8 months old and still BFing when I went away for my first child free weekend, that was nearly 2 years ago now and I haven’t looked back.


This year I’ve been soaking up the sun in Ibiza, going out for amazing meals, meeting new people, have champagne at breakfast without it being frowned upon and drink sangria on the beach at midday, without having to run after two children who don’t understand the concept of lying on a beach or being unable to go out until 5am in the morning because I have to be back to relieve the babysitter. Now, in case you’re wondering child-free doesn’t mean that they are stuck at home twiddling their thumbs. They usually stay with a trusted relative that can manage W’s additional needs without feeling overwhelmed, I leave clear (strict) instructions which are usually ignored in favour of swimming every day, playing in the sun and getting spoilt rotten. We video call at every possible opportunity and I get sent updates with little photos and videos as requested, so that I can feel comfortable in the knowledge that they are happy, safe and secure.


For me as a single parent it’s a win win situation for all, the boys get a break from me and I get a break for them. We are in each other’s pockets 24/7, without another parent for them to bounce off or a partner to take the reins when I’m run down, this is our compromise. We all end up refreshed and happier for it, and I can’t see the harm in that.

Categories
London

Foodie Friday: Rabot 1745

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Rabot 1745 has been on my radar for a number of years now, but I have never had the chance to sample the delights they have on offer. If you’re not familiar with Rabot 1745, it’s Hotel Chocolat’s restaurant that serves cacao-inspired cuisine in the midst of London’s Borough Market. In other words, a chocolate lovers’ dream.

They do not have a children’s menu so I chose a few dishes for us to share amongst ourselves. We started off with the sourdough with cacao three ways. I then opted for the Seared Sea Bass for myself, sharing a small portion of it with the boys and chose the Mac + cheese for them to share, as well as a small avocado salad between us all. They demolished everything put in front of them and seemed to enjoy the meal as a whole, which brings me to…

What did the Little Londoners think and would they go back again?

W (4) said: “It was yum, can I have dessert?”

B (2) said: “CHOCOLATE-Y”

What do I think?

Even though they don’t have a children’s menu, they were very good at accommodating us. The boys enjoyed being able to look out over Borough Market and were luckily well behaved enough for a place that doesn’t really cater to young families. I would definitely take them back to try some of the other dishes on offer, if you don’t feel your children would be suited to the restaurant upstairs there is a bustling cafe/shop at ground level.

Categories
Parenthood

New Beginnings

When I left my ex and moved back to London, W was still an only child, we had a few more weeks left until B would join us. I took him to Greenwich Park, I wanted him to experience the park that had been a large part of my childhood. I took this photo of him as he embraced the view of London I had grown to love sprawled in front of him. I felt like it was a new beginning for the both of us and this photo represents exactly how W approaches any new situation or environment, with open arms.

Last week we had an information session at W’s new primary school that he will be starting at in September. We were introduced to the headteacher and class teachers, the children were invited to play in what will later be their classroom and he went. He ran off to play with his new friends, full of excitement, he didn’t look back once. Parents around me were emotional and tearful at the idea of their little ones off to school and while I could relate I wasn’t going to start crying about it. Others couldn’t wait to wave their children off, as the rejoiced at the idea of no longer being somebody’s snack b*tch 24/7, asking if there was a summer school program to sign them up to, and already organising the details for wraparound care (breakfast clubs and after-school activities).

I, however, felt a mixture of relief and disappointment. I was disappointed that it was a day I had to navigate alone as a single parent, without a partner to feel excited or upset with. Nor did I have my mother, who we had lived with until she lost her battle with cancer last summer, so she wouldn’t be home that evening to relish in our shared love of paperwork. Despite these negatives, I was relieved, the day signified a new beginning, it made everything a bit more permanent. I have uniform to buy, I had forms to fill in, he will be at this school for the next few years and B will join him there at a later stage, our lives and the dream of bringing my boys up in the London I grew up in and love has become a little more concrete.

I know that W will be fine, he will make new friends, he will charm his teachers, he will learn and grow, laugh and play. He will be fine and so will I. Though I may be saying something different come September, you may find me at the gates with the other parents holding back the tears. But for now I am celebrating with a glass of prosecco* and saying ‘cheers, to new beginnings!’.

*because that’s all I could find