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Things I've Learned in My First Year as a School Run Mum

Wow and just like that reception is over. My daughter has just completed her first year of school and I have just made it through to the end of my first year as a school run mum. It been a big learning curve for the both of us. As she is learning about phonics, making new friends every week and exceeding in learning. I have been learning how to remove felt pen from school shirts, figuring out what she needs to take in her book bag and understand the importance of checking that book bag everyday. Not forgetting that labelling is queen. 

Somehow we managed it and survived our first year of school. My daughter loves school, and even though her first year hasn't been the easiest year she has become ever more independent full of sass and is bursting with knowledge. My girl can read, write and teach me a thing or two about the solar system and dinosaurs. I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned in my first year as a school run mum, partly just to share some of the giggles but more importantly to share these for those embarking on their first year of school who may be a little apprehensive.

The School Run. Whether you will love them or hate them they have to be done, five days a week. But ultimately the school runs are a nightmare. It really doesn't matter how prepared you are, or how much you plead and bribe your child to leave you alone for at least five minutes so you can look at least half decent on the school run. Most of the time you are having to deal with meltdowns and have those 'chats' explaining that they need to put their socks and shoes on for school before their teacher rings. That's even before you get out of the door. Pretty much four days a week we would forget something and have to go back. Or I have to go back and checked the house is locked up because I have been telling her to brush her teeth, finish breakfast [insert any excuse imaginable as to why she can't get ready on time]. Leaving the house forgetting something is inevitable.

The Teachers. There is nothing scarier that your child's teacher making a beeline for you in the school playground and asking if they can have a word. Over the course of the year we have been pulled over to the side a few too many times. But I like to think that our daughter's teacher has grown to really like us despite the trouble our daughter gets into. First terms she stole the teachers donuts. Half way through the year she took her drawing mummy and daddy to a whole different level with drawing private parts too, that was an embarrassing parents evening. Then for my husband to tell the teacher who was a beetroot shade already that her drawing was not to scale! I wanted the floor to swallow me up.

The Children. There will be children that you take an instant dislike to and their parents by association because of the things your child tells you. We have a list. However on a serious note at times there will be curve balls thrown at your child and its important for them to try and figure out ways to deal with their emotions and encourage them to talk about it. It is pretty much most certain that your child will ask every child and their families for sleepovers or birthday parties that have never been discussed. You and the other parent then have to come up with some excuse as to why they can't come over for a sleepover. Awks. 

The Parents. I have always struggled to make friends, it is even harder now that I am a mum. At first I found the school playground really daunting, there was so many faces that I recognised but I have no clue why. But I have made some fantastic friends, we have had play dates, organised parties and had a number of picnics in the park. Now we have a summer of adventures to plan. 

The PTA. You can't always always avoid the PTA, no matter how hard you try. We do like to attend the events that the PTA host at the school with the raffles, cinema nights, bingo and races. However its not something that I ever see myself joining due to the sheer fact that I am always so busy, but I do like to help out when I can. When in doubt make a cake. 

The Uniform. No matter how many you buy at the start of term you will never have enough and they can be sooo expensive. Two days into the her first week at school my daughter decided that it was a good idea to crawl around outside and scuff her new shoes. Every morning, every bloody morning she comes up with some reason why she can't get ready. My socks are too itchy, my button is too hard or I don't like trees (she has to wear a school logo of a tree and the name of the school on her jumper).

Non-uniform Days. Whilst we are hear talking about uniforms there seems to be a non uniform day every other and I am pretty sure I can guarantee that you will forget last minute as your child asks you on a Sunday night 'What am I dressing up as for animals day mummy?'. We had to resort to using a mask out of the elephant donuts game and dress in a grey top and grey legging. She was totally the best looking elephant. I am in no way shape or form remotely a pinterest worthy mum for this whole DIY costume malarky!

Snacks. Lunch. School Dinner. Before we get into the food police it should be noted that any parent arriving for the school pick needs bring a snack, no excuses! An after school snack is essential unless you want a meltdown or deal with tears all the way home. Always, always pack a snack. So school dinners haven't really changed since school with  fish fingers, chips, pasta and curries. No turkey twizzlers tho, damn you Jamie Oliver. I just love the fact that they have a mid week roast and fish and chip Fridays. But there is a bit of a lunchbox police who tell your child that their lunchbox should be full of fruit and veggies, but smuggling in a chocolate coin at Christmas can't be too bad. 

The Illnesses. Be prepared, there are so many little germs about. First term and my daughter gets tonsillitis and the week before Christmas she get suspected chicken pox but thankfully they didn't come out until boxing day. But the slightest chance your child has the squits or says they feel sick the school office is calling you to collect your little germ. Nits and threadworm are word no parent wants to hear. Once you find out that some child has nits in your child's class you will find yourself scratching and itching constantly, and you're straight up the pharmacy for a tablets for all the family just in case. 

Their Creations. Also known as the tat! As much as I appreciate my little darling making me so many beautiful creations, she doesn't half bring some crap home with her on a daily basis. I'm talking shoe boxes, milk cartons, scraps of paper with one line on them and princess lolly sticks, something that she made pretty everyday during the last term.

The Nativity. Like or not the nativity is a big deal. For us it was such an emotional event. Sitting there proudly watching your child in their first nativity is like nothing you will probably experience. Our daughter was given the part of Angel Gabriel and she was the only one that had lines, lines that she knows even today. When she was handed the microphone for her big moment it gave us all the feels. Yes we had a tear or two. But those tears turned into laughter as she wouldn't give the teacher the microphone back as she sang or should I say shout her song down the microphone. An unforgettable experience. 

Unauthorised Holidays. You may want to leave for a holiday a day early or stay on a day extra, which may mean that your little one could miss a couple of day of school. What do you do? Be completely honest and be upfront and write a letter to the head master and teacher about taking your child away and plead a little. This would be the right answer. However, the week we planned a long weekend away she was send home from school for being sick so there seemed no point of taking her back on the Friday. We decided to take our daughter away in the hopes that she wouldn't realise that she was supposed to be at school. Completely overlooking the fact that my child is so open and honest to the point that you're being pulled over in the playground getting a bit of a telling off from the teacher in front of all the parents in the first term.  

The Pick Up. It's the best feeling in the world, it really doesn't matter how far they may have pushed you that morning seeing your little ones smile from ear to ear is always so special. Everyday she would scream and run at me and I hope she never stops doing that. And you will never ever know what they did during the day, ever! No matter how much you ask.

So as you can see our first year at school has been a crazy adventure and we have learned so much along the way. My daughter has become independent, creative, fearless, courageous and still as sassy as ever. I adore listening to her brilliant mind. Her end of school report was better than we ever imagined and for the teachers to tell us her that she is exceeding against national standards. However despite all the amazing things about school there have been some hard parts about starting school and at times school began to dull my little sparkle. With support and encouragement our daughter soon  figured out ways to deal with her problems and stand up for her, perhaps a little too much. But even so, reception has been nothing but amazing. Bring on year one. 

Simple Teacher Gift Ideas to Say Thank You.

As we are gearing up to the end of term I thought that I would share some gift ideas that are perfect for your child's teacher. I think that a little thank you goes a long way, so are you prepared to say THANK YOU to that special teacher that has helped encouraged your child throughout the year? Or perhaps sending a little thank you gift hasn't even crossed your mind and now you have so many teachers thank. Don't worry that's why I have chosen to focus on a few teacher gifts on the blog this morning. First, to share the friendly reminder. And second, I’d love to ease the burden you might be feeling … just a bit.

GIFT IDEA #1: Handmade Cards

What says thank you better than a handmade card. It's a one size that fits all, so you cannot really go wrong with this option. So why not spend an afternoon with your children to get creative and make their teacher feel special. There are so many ways that you could try and be creative with your card, Pinterest will be your new friend as it's great for inspiration. However if you have left it too late there are always some great crafters out there that are only too happy to help.

GIFT IDEA #2: Stationary & Notebooks

As a geek who loves stationary, this would be the perfect gift for me. If there was ever a job where you needed to be super organised pretty much constantly would be a teacher. Just think of all the lesson plans, the meetings, the schedules and that's all before homework! A teacher needs to be organised. We have a teacher in the family and when she goes into detail about her daily tasks I honestly don't understand how they can keep up. So a gift that comes in useful is most definitely going to be appreciated. What better way to help them keep organised than with a A5 Teacher Personalised Notebook. This notebook in Blue, Red or Green has a modern half-page vertical line design, soft touch finish hard cover and is the perfect place for journaling, planning, note writing or just doodling. This Teacher Notebook also comes with a colour matching ribbon bookmark with elastic closure.

GIFT IDEA #3: Chocolate. 

What says thank you in the best way possible, than with chocolate! Chocolate is always a winner. With these Morse Toad chocolate you can add your own personality by writing in chocolate and finishing with a note to say who it's from. Morse Toad have a huge range of messages for different themes from birthdays, anniversaries, new baby, a valentines gift or just to say thank you. You can write a personalised message, up to 44 characters long, including words, letters, numbers and punctuation. There are so many food gifts from Yumbles that you really are spoiled for choice. Keeping with chocolate idea, these dairy milk chocolate bars with personalised sleeves are also a fantastic idea too. One for a true Cadbury lover! I didn't actually know you could get so many different personalised gifts from Cadbury's Direct. For our lovely teacher we thought that this would be a wonderful idea especially as you are able to personalise the back of the bar and up to 100 characters. We chose the biggest bar you can get at 850g to make sure that they really enjoy the gift. With the personalisation we got our teachers name on the front and the words 'It takes a big heart to shape little minds. Thank you so much Mrs R.'. 

GIFT IDEA 4: Beauty Hand Saviour

Something that our daughter gave to her teacher last year was a hand cream, nail file, personalised tea bag and chocolate. We were told that apart from the chocolate hand cream is not a gift they get often. So a beauty hand saviour has to be in this teacher gift list. SEAMS Beauty Hand Saviour was a brand that was born from the fashion industry and especially formulated for couturiers and seamstresses to help mend, moisturise and soothe dry pin-pricked hands. As well something that heals, soothes and moisturises the cream’s been formulated to be fast absorbing and non-greasy, making easier to handle fabrics and surfaces without leaving residue behind. And now, the must have hand cream is something that seamstresses, make-up artists and models or simply anyone who wants incredibly soft and beautiful hands needs. Seeing as we use our hands everyday, we need to take the extra time in keeping our hands looking and feeling great, so that you can work faster and in comfort.

GIFT IDEA 5: Cookies and Treats

I don't know many people who don't love cookies, so why not surprise your child's teacher with a batch of super delicious cookies. A selection of sweet vanilla hand iced school themed cookies that you could also personalised with their name. For those who are looking for something that is organic, vegan friendly or free from then Creative Nature who specialise in healthfoods are your only choice. Their ranges include healthy flapjack bars, superfood powders, green powders wholefoods and breakfast toppings. An impressive range. A product that caught my eye are their healthy flapjack bars as they seems like the perfect treat to add into a teacher gift bag. These healthy flapjacks comes in a range of flavours such as goji berries, maca powder, cacao powder and muffin mixes. The carrot cake one is AMAZING! And if you make a purchase of these carrot cake ones make sure you bulk buy. They are so good. 

GIFT IDEA #6: Teacher Tea Gift Set

As a tea lover this would be a great gift to receive. I am more than sure that a few tea breaks are needed for teachers so why not surprise your child's teacher with these personalised assorted teabags. Each are packaged individually in a paper envelope. Handmade & designed specifically with quotes for a special teacher. These are the perfect gift for the end of term. The designs include cute, witty and encouraging quotes to brighten up a special teachers day! The teas are sourced from well known British tea companies and the set includes a selection of flavours: English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Camomile, Rooibos, Indian Spice Chai, Mint (spearmint), Jasmine Green Tea and Honeybush.

So have you thought about saying thank you to your child's teacher? If it's completely slipped your mind you have two weeks left, so be quick! We currently have a Teacher Gift Bundle over on our Facebook page, so why not go over give our page a like and enter. 

Explore the Adventure: Hunstanton Beach

Norfolk is one of the most beautiful places that you could ever visit as there really is so much to see and do. One of the best things about living in Norfolk is that you are surrounded by its beautiful coastlines, where you can walk on unspoiled sands, have a picnic, eat ice cream and relish in the tranquility of sea views. 

Hunstanton is one beach you won’t forget with its candy cane striped cliffs and plenty of fossils to dig up. Hunstanton has a real special meaning to my family, it's the place that we go when we feel happy, when we feel sad or the place to go when we need to blow those cobwebs away. However, for me Hunstanton is a little more special that just a beach, it's the place that my husband asked me to marry him so you can understand our love for this beach. 

Hunstanton beach is an extraordinarily diverse and unique beach. Well, on the one hand you have the South beach, or main beach as it's known, which has all the modern seaside attractions that many desire, with the fairground, donkey rides, seal boat tours, attractions such as crazy golf and The Sealife Sanctuary. That's not even including the many great places to eat, the ice cream shops or action packed amusements. 

Then on the other hand you have the North beach where you’ll discover the wonder of nature at its very best. With three incredible candy striped tiered cliff face, huge bolders covered in green moss in straight lines that defy nature, and a great place for families to explore. 

However, just a short car journey away you can discover Old Hunstanton Beach which is something completely different. Personally, this is one of my favourite beaches in Norfolk. You will be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of Hunstanton Beach and enjoy the tranquility. There is more than ample parking available making it easier for bigger families or if you love taking your dogs for a walk along the beach. So if you're ever in Norfolk, then please go and visit Hunstanton it will be a little place you'll treasure. 

Other Norfolk beaches...

My July Goals

Hello July,

It’s been a little while since I have written a goals post and now I have my mojo back I thought that I would run with it and write. How is it July? We are more than half way through the year already, and it doesn't even seem possible. I have just had a little peek at my calendar for the month ahead and it’s looking super fun! July is holiday month, that’s totally a thing right? This month is full of big family plans. We are having a kitchen refit, finally. My little lady finishes her first year of school and breaks up for the holidays and we also getting away from all the hustle and bustle that comes with July and going on a family holiday. July is going to be a pretty busy month for us, so let's talk goals for July.

1. Write a summer bucket list. The little lady and I were chatting on the way to school about all the things that we would like to do during the summer. So we thought that we would write a bucket list of all the activities and adventures that we would love to do this summer. On our list are things like playdoh and picnics to visiting Buckingham Palace and taking a trip to Disneyland. Not to be a negative nelly and burst her bubble but the latter is something that is near enough impossible to organise for this year so I will have to think of something else. 

2. Fall in love with Instagram again. Oh Instagram, a bit of a love and hate thing for me right now. Is anyone else really struggling to grow or get any authentic engagement? Instagram use to be the platform for me to show my creative side, connect with other bloggers and curate a pretty light and airy feed, well try at least. But at times it can really make me seriously doubt myself and become a little green eyed as I filter through all the beautiful feeds that grow overnight. I really need to start an animal account they manage to get millions of followers in an instant! Ha! So in July I need to stop overthinking the posts I share and post things that I want to share

3. The kitchen renovation begins, finally. We have been living in our house just over three years now and in that time we have slowly but surely made this house our home. The kitchen was one room that needed completely renovating and now everything else is done, it time for a new kitchen. If this is something that is new territory for you, believe when I sat that there is actually so much to take into consideration when looking a brand new kitchens, who knew? It honestly took my husband and I so long to actually choose our kitchen. We knew the kind of style and the colour that we wanted, but we also wanted to choose a kitchen that was going to last us more than five years or so. So it wasn't an easy decision but we finally agreed on the same kitchen! And if choosing a kitchen didn't take us long enough, choosing a tradesmen is a completely different ball game. We organised so many meetings, so many consultations and read through so many detailed quotes. It's a bit of a minefield! With some luck we found a goods tradesmen who worked within our budget the only downside was that he was fully booked until the end July. Eeek. 

4. Our family holiday. We have a little family holiday coming up at the end of July and we are beyond excited. We booked our little adventure back in March and we have been counting down the days and this year our daughter is very excited as she decided on the cottage. We are heading up North to a little place called Bucken that is surrounded by beautiful hills, terrains and lots of water so as you can probably already tell there are going to be lots of adventures ahead for us. 

5. Blog relaunch. I may have already said this at some point, but I’m hoping to relaunch my blog this year with more categories, different content and perhaps even an entire new sections. As you can tell I am in the planning stages at the moment but I have been looking into a complete redesign and an overhaul of images to curate a prettier blog. Is there anything that you's like to see more of? I honestly would love some feedback off my lovely readers? I want to share content that you want to see. 

What do you have planned for July?

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