They're back again. How? How can this be? They were only on holiday about 5 minutes ago for half term. (ok so this is where you know you're getting super old, when time starts speeding up faster than you can keep up with it)
But no, it's true, it's Easter. And to be fair, my children are super ready for this break. As I said yesterday, they are tired and crabby and just in need of some down time. Being honest, I do love them being at home. Actually, being really honest, I like not having to do the school runs, make a packed lunch and ensure there is enough clean school uniform and the relevant sports kits are ready to go.
Ok being really really honest, I'm going to fess up here. The novelty usually wears off by about 4pm on the first day.
There. I've said it. Basically I could do with the holidays being only one day long.
In my head, we spend long and lovely days, exploring London, going for walks on nature trails and having civilised lunches in pubs.
In reality, it pees down with rain for three weeks, I lose one of them in London (along with my patience and any sort of sobriety I had managed to maintain for 24 hours), the mere mention of a country walk is met with the same level of hysterical protestation usually reserved for prisoners of war about to have their fingernails removed and a civilised lunch in the pub doesn't happen as I can't trust myself not to order a bottle of wine with a straw and sit sobbing in a heap in the corner.
Except that you're not allowed to admit that.
And in truth, now that I've written it down, the reality isn't *quite* that bad (easy for me to say sat at the hairdressers when they're still at school...). But I've been here too many times to realise it's not easy.
So this time I have a cunning plan.
If I'm happy, they're happy (to a point admittedly - there is a bit/lot of give with this take)
Firstly - I need an incentive (yes I am secretly 10 yrs old). I find the whole thing more bearable if there's a treat at the end (ok so maybe not 10, verging on 8).
A teensy tiny treat to keep me going and lighten the load. Brighten the load even and what is better in this miserable weather (although the sun is randomly shining for 10 mins at the mo) than a bit of jewellery. A Summer piece of jewellery at that.
I have a new obsession (ok so this can join the list) and I did first consider them last year but never got round to buying one. However I was lucky enough to be given one for my birthday this year and I am just loving it.
Hipanema Bracelets. Here is mine. I have been wearing it for the past week actually, you may have spied it in the photographs but it makes such a difference to an outfit and my mood . A little bit of Brazil on your arm. Totally lifts a neutral outfit with that injection of colour that you might not normally wear.
The genuine articles here. No they're not cheap but then I don't wear a lot of bracelets and there are other options if they're just too big a treat (my kids can be REALLY vile)
Hipanema Chihiro Friendship Bracelet £70
Gorgeous shades of pink with the Bora Bora Friendship Bracelet £70
Found some cheaper though (I don't think these ones are this season's colours... bothered??)
Hipanema Madness Bracelet was £90 now £36 from The Hut
Hipanema Lovleyness (their spelling..?) cuff - was £95 now £38
And the Happiness bracelet in coral again from The Hut was £90 now £36
Now you don't have to spend that much - you can get a similar look for a lot less with individual stretch bracelets (not so great if you've got toddlers but at this price you can replace them really easily). New Look have a great selection and they're currently on buy one get one free. What's not to love......
Mint Green and Red Beaded Bracelet Set £5.99
5 pack orange beaded bracelets £5.99 from New Look
Multi Coloured Beaded Tassel Stretch Bracelet £5.99 from New Look
Have also found some perhaps more similar to the Hipanema ones (ie a complete copy....) in that they're one piece with the magnetic clasp.
Hipanama Inspired bracelets from Viva Design at Not on the High Street £27 (their words not mine)
Lots of different designs to choose from:-
So there we have one treat idea. I have three weeks to come up with loads more so if these don't float your boat, there's bound to be something else shortly that you can get for completing your Mummy Don't Shout Star Chart.
Secondly - what to do with the little darlings? The age old problem. What would make them happy? Sitting on the xbox for 12 hours a day for the two boys and watching some irritating Disney Channel on loop for my daughter. Which all in all doesn't sound like too bad a plan, bar THE GUILT. Yes, I'm Catholic, but I still think any mother feels more than a shade of eek as she can actually hear her children's brains atrophying with every snippet of canned laughter - or god forbid, the dulcet tones of Stampy Longnose. (if you don't know who he is, do google him but forgive me first)
And this holiday for us, it's even more relevant for the oldest as she has her 11+ looming. How to make it important but not an issue? Well, and I know I mentioned it before but honestly honestly honestly, it has been such a god send and I have had so many people email me and message me on Twitter saying Thank You for the recommendation, that I'm going to share my secret plan again and that is The Maths Factor.
The only reason I'm harping on about it is that it works. The 6yr old now knows (in half a term) nearly all his times tables. Thanks to Carol, the 10yr old now understands long division using two digits (and so do I having totally forgotten how to do it. The. Shame)
The 8yr old is admittedly more interested in playing the Maths Games but the clue is in the first word - he's playing games but they're still Maths. He's on the computer which he thinks is the biggest treat next to the xBox and I can breath a sigh of relief knowing that they're learning something. It can only be a good thing.
Am also mentioning it as there is another offer on to coincide with the holidays - as before, the first month will only be £1 for new subscribers who sign up by April 6th. But as it's Easter, on completion of their first month, they will receive a Maths Factor Mug and Mini Eggs. Alas, I shall have to purchase my own mugs and mini eggs for my kids (actually I'll have to buy double as I'm not a chocolate fan but can hoover mini eggs without blinking) but if they actually do 30 mins to an hour of this a day, that's a bargain. And believe me, I hold my hands up and say it's not difficult to persuade them to do it. I promise I'll write a blog for you to read whilst your children are tapping away at their maths.
In order to incentivise them even further (can I get them to do an hour a day?), I've bought the boys each a new Disney Infinity Figure which are two for £15 at Tesco at the moment (and only a tiny Easter Egg as we're still eating chocolate from Christmas - I kid you not. I'm hoping the children don't notice that they're actually Lindt mini chocolate reindeer and not bunnies.....why don't they make Christmas mini eggs??) and you will be able to see my halo from space.
So I think if we manage to get the children sorted for the hoildays, assuage the guilt and treat yourself to a small something, it means maybe.... maybe, we may enjoy the whole charade.
My other option is to treat yourself to something large at the end for getting through and self medicate with wine. The small bracelet and improving your children's numeracy is probably the more sensible option.
Finishing with outfit from today. Interesting trip to the hairdressers this morning. Three hours later and I appear to be ginger - the same colour as our new puppy. They've promised me they're going to sort it out, in the meantime, just call me Bonnie and I'll do you a triple time step. You have to laugh, otherwise you'd cry.
White linen tee - Max Studio
Ecru dungarees - H&M
Beige and grey jacket - Zara
Mole suede Oxford brogues - Seven Boot Lane
Dune monogram scarf - Louis Vuitton
Tan bag - Prada
Friendship bracelet - Hipanema
I shall be back tomorrow with another surprise I found on the High Street - slightly towards the higher end but certainly nowhere near as expensive as I had thought and I would say definitely worth looking at.
Last day of school today - football after school for the boys, the 10 yr old is off to a Renderman Presentation (which is the technology that Pixar use in their animation) at BAFTA. Don't ask. She found a seminar online and asked if we could go. I booked tickets as I assumed it was for children. I then find out it's for industry peeps and said it's not really appropriate. She then emails the organisers, saying she's 10 and wants to work in animation when she's older and can she come along. They said yes. She's going with Daddy.......