2nd October 2019

Party Time!

OK...Can we talk birthdays ? And kids parties? I know, I know, but this year Freyas party was a bit of a challenge for us, we had vowed to make is sustainable as possible, but there was a conflict of interests to be resolved first. 

So we can do our best to influence our kids all we like, and it all seems like its going great on the environmental and sustainability train until.... birthday time, and all I see flash before me is an endless sea of plastic, sparkles and balloons. Of course she just wants a “normal birthday” with pretty decorations. No hessian table cloths, jam jars or overwhelming smells of hemp. But is that really the only alternative? There must be a way that I can make a special party with all of the trimmings without it becoming a single use free-for-all. 

I was going to have to get smart. Party supplies almost always end up in landfill, I was just going to have to sweep in and intercept before they got there. 

This particular aspect of parenting I am finding very hard, how can I guide the children in line with our way of thinking but also ensure that they are not left out of trends and fads? Naturally they have the strength of character to be able to voice their opinions and not follow the crowd but we can all remember the immense pressure to conform that there is throughout childhood.

•Pinterest is your friend. There is a tutorial for practically everything. Freya had been pinning pictures of JOJO Siwa cakes for months and had an extravaganza in mind. All that I wanted was for it to be vegan and for her to like it. Thankfully pinterest had a great recipe for Vegan lemon drizzle cake, add a bit of pink food colouring tho the icing and it worked like a charm. I made the cake topper from leftover wrapping paper and card. Then topped with sweeties and a signature Jojo bow on a stick. 

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/415246028142029549/

•Dishes. Did you know that despite the fact that disposable plates, straws and cups are largely made of paper, they are still not recyclable! They are wax or plastic coated, so when they are used once and then “disposed” of, they head straight for landfill and take a long time to decompose. I used my regular crockery for the party, most which I have been collecting since I was at college. It’s an eclectic mix of colours and styles that I have been buying as one off items from second hand shops for years.  I made a decision, vastly out of desperation when my little darlings arrived on the scene that I should abandon all hopes of owning swanky glass sets and beautiful matching crockery because I could not keep up with the breakage rate! Sure I have my favourite items that stayed in the cupboard but this way, if anything got broken it could be cheaply and easily replaced. I’m owning that decision and fully recommend that you follow suit!

•Decor :  

  -  Paper chains made by painting on used notepaper 

- Solar lights and bunting borrowed from family

- Birthday banners recycled from last year

 

•As this was a family party we did away with party bags, however, there are some great companies now offering eco party bags,  a quick search on insta will bring up a few. Heres a link to a great Plymouth based company: https://www.facebook.com/ecopartybag/

Alternatively, you could give guests a cookie or a cupcake.  

•Balloons: we made a conscious effort not to use balloons this year because of their environmental impact.

•Food. As this was a BBQ we were able to ask guests to bring along something that they would like to have cooked, this meant that we were able to minimise waste, and anything that wasn’t cooked guests were able to take home with them again. We provided buns, sauces and a couple of side dishes. 

•Entertainment. Freya wanted a paddling pool in the garden at her party, Pretty much all of them are made from plastic! As a compromise I purchased one from gumtree that had only been used once. 

My apologies for the lack of pictures this time, I was too busy being mamma! ! 

We would love to hear your sustainable party hacks in the comments 🙂

xx A xx

 

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15th September 2019

Kids Vegan Party Food

 

Vegan kids Party Buffet Haul

I can't believe that its been a week already since Freyas 9th birthday, time really flies when you're close to the edge !!! I was super stressed out last week, with so much to do and the thought of entertaining little ones at home was pretty full on, but I must say that when it came to the food I was pleasantly surprised.

 

Can you imagine the stress of having to put on a vegan buffet at a kids party? Notorious for sugar loaded cakes, party rings and ham & pineapple pizzas, these kids were not going to be jumping for joy at the sight of a falafel and beetroot wrap, kids at parties are a tough crowd. And aside from all of that, vegan food is expensive, is it not? Or so we are led to believe. 

You would not believe the rush of relief I felt when I was able to complete a vegan kids party food haul at Asda last week in under 20 minutes, and it didn't cost the earth either. Supermarkets are defiantly getting much better, as big brands are taking on more veggie and vegan options. There is of course a separate issue of where you chose to shop as a consumer, and the reminder that processed foods are not a replacement for fresh natural foods. BUT for the sake of a party Im all in on this occasion. 

 

So, here it is... My vegan Kids party buffet!

Carrot, pepper & cucumber sticks 

Hummus dip, (its so cheap and easy to make your own! I'll pop a link in at the end.)

Asda mediterranean  pizza

Tortilla chips

Popcorn chicken style bites

Vegan  nuggets

Potato Pops

Veggie sausage rolls

Asdas own brand vegan chocolate cupcakes (big hit!)

Ben & Jerrys chocolate brownie vegan ice cream

Strawberries & Blueberries

 

 

I hope you find this helpful 🙂 

xx A xx

 

Asda vegan kids party food

 

 

Try making your own hummus: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/hummus

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19th August 2019

Be an opportunist

Oh Heyeeyyyyy,

I haven't forgotten that I promised you an update on my attempt to break away from the fast fashion mind set! I have just been super busy with Alfa Design, merchandising, and looking after the little ones through the holidays. Never fear; what does one do when feeling overwhelmed and  stressed? Opt for some retail therapy of course. So I finally decided to go for it and visit a few of my local second hand stores in search of beautiful, preloved items of  clothing, Plymouth, you did not disappoint. 

Here are a few items that I have collected on my travels over the last couple of weeks:

This embroidered sheer top which cost me £3.50. I've worn it with some chunky gold jewelry and a dark lip.

 

 

 

This cute geometric print dress originally from Marks & Spencer's Limited Collection. I wasn't too sure about the colours to start with, but its cut really well, and hangs beautifully so I've fallen in love with it. Perfect work dress. £3.00

 

 

 

My new "floaty goth dress." ( As Freya calls it) 

Nightmare to photograph, no idea where I am going to wear it. Fell in love. £3.50. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, another skirt from M&S Limited Collection 99p!!I could wear this print for dayyyysssss.

 

 

Top tip ....Be an opportunist, drop in to a charity shop whenever you pass, the stock is unpredictable and always rotating, so you never know when you are about to stumble across a hidden gem.

xx A xx

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15th August 2019

Your Mission

Wow, things on the blogging front are starting to get some momentum, it looks like you guys are connecting with us and starting to enjoy the content a little more in recent weeks which I must say, is reassuring! 

This week was our seventh wedding anniversary, seeing as things have been so busy with Alfa we thought that we would make the effort to get away just the two of us, disconnect from our phones and spend some time together. As it happens we were late leaving and had to come back early because of work commitments, so it wasn't quite

the break that we had anticipated. However we were really chuffed to have received the inquiries that we did, and to have been able to spend a night away at the beautiful Bearslake Inn in Oakampton.

(https://www.bearslakeinn.com/accommodation-dartmoor.asp)

 

 

When Levi and I decided to launch Alfa we had so many ideas and avenues that  we wanted to explore. Levi obviously was keen to put most of his energy into Alfa Design, which, may I add he is slayyiiinnngggg! And I wanted to run Alfa Family, write the blogs and manage the brand. Simples. NOT.

In order to support ourselves we have been working on weddings, markets, craft fayres, art campaigns, visual merchandising and more . We are having to learn about balancing the books, taxes, budgeting, web management, advertising, networking, press, and how on earth to keep children entertained for long periods of time. We research endless environmental alternatives to keep our home, and practice as green as it can be, and are basically feeling like we are winging everything ( largely because we are).

Essentially the last four months have been an absolute mind-field, but recently it feels like things are falling into place. Its been a very strange feeling, sharing our lives online so publicly, and often we wonder if anyone is watching/ reading and if anyone actually cares about what we are doing. Those of you have been watching our Instagram stories,or maybe reading our blogs have started to speak up and connect. Our inboxes are gradually lighting up with messages and emojis. You sent some great responses to our last blog about food poverty (wearealfa.com/if-you-know-then-you-know-part-1   - for those of you haven't read that one yet) .

This last week, a few of you have tagged us in relevant articles, pictures of products that you think we may like and even showed us that you have had a go at our budget recipes. I can't even begin to explain how happy this has made us, and it really got me thinking. Hopefully you like something that we are doing, otherwise you wouldn't stick with us right? Well we want to produce more of what you like to see.

  • Sustainable living hacks
  • Food
  • Fashion
  • Days out
  • Parenting
  • Running a business
  • Perhaps there is an event that you would like us to cover?

So

Your mission this week: Wherever you are following from, drop us a message or send a little wave and let us know that you are out there and what you want to see more of! We cant wait to hear from you.

One last thing! We are now on Pinterest, so I will pop some links below for those of you who are on there, as well as our usual platforms 🙂 

xxx A xxx

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12th August 2019

If you know then you know (part2)

Feeding a family can be pretty expensive these days. Actually, feeding yourself is pretty expensive, let alone worrying about picky little eaters! I spoke earlier on my blog about the difficulty that I used to have when cooking on a budget, so I have decided to share a few of what I call my Hero recipes, for when the pennies need to stretch that little bit further! Take a screenshot and save it on your phone, you can thank me later 😉

 

 

I also have a couple of recommendations that I find to be super useful.

A Girl called Jack : ( https://cookingonabootstrap.com/) She’s wicked, a thrifty, feminist food writer with a sharp sense of humour. I just know that you are going to love her. I follow her on instagram too, heres a link for those of you who are interested. ( https://www.instagram.com/jack_monroe)

Sainsbury’s on Pinterest: I know this is a random one, but recently I discovered that they have tonnes of pages for budget and vegan recipes, and they are broken down at price per portion so they are great if you are trying to keep to a certain cost. ( https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sainsburys/) We strongly recommend the shroomdog pasta.

A Facebook page called “Feed your family for £20 a week” :I must admit that we have never followed a full week, and its not all veggie/ vegan, but its a great resource for ideas, and i often tweak the recipes.
( https://www.facebook.com/FYFA20PW/)

 

 

xx Amie xx

12th August 2019

If you know, then you know- Part 1

Has anyone else been here? The cheapest of cheap food shops. When money is s tight all you can afford is pretty much just basics; tinned beans and bread. With the rise of the use of food banks I think mainstream media would make us think they are almost a myth, not needed or that the people using them just can't manage their money. However it is real. It's happening to real people, with jobs that don't pay enough, in a world where we have so much to pay for and that we are expected to have. I remember when we struggled  a few years back.

This morning Freya and Albert have been playing Mario Kart quite contently and I've been tucking into a nice seeded loaf and a cup of earl grey in bed whilst catching up on a few emails for Alfa Design. Sad as it sounds, I can't go more than a few minutes without a quick browse through Facebook. Whilst online, I stumble across this video that hits pretty close to home.

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=feeding%20children%20summer%20holiday&epa=SEARCH_BOX

It's about a mother struggling to feed her children. Can you imagine how hard that must be? During the term time she receives free school meals, but over the six week holidays there is no additional financial help. This often results in skipping her own dinner in order to feed her children. I feel a familiar knot in my stomach, I've been there. Maybe you have too.

At 22 I was at university with two children and money was tight, my food budget was normally around £18 a week. I would eat the cheapest basic meals ( I'm talking super noodles, beans on toast, or perhaps a bowl of oven chips, basically, lots and lots of beige) so that I could ensure the children had a decent dinner and a nutritionally balanced packed lunch to take to nursery. But guess what? I wasn't alone, although I  felt very much that I was, the truth is that this was happening everywhere, it still is, but many of us are blind to the problem, and often individuals are too embarrassed to let on.

Trust me, you would not believe how easy it can be to cover it up once you get started.

Personally, I found that: "Hey guys, why don't we do dinner at yours this week? then maybe I can have you over next week?" ( Hopefully when my next payment has cleared) Sounds so much nicer than, "can I borrow 20 quid again please?" Don't you think?

Thankfully we haven't fallen upon times like that for a while now. After uni Levi and I went on to get steady jobs and we were lucky enough to move to my mums while we found our feet. I'm still pretty frugal, and I don't spend much on our family meals. I've got a go-to pinterest board where I save all of my recipes. (link here for those of you who have pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/amiesmind/vegan-meals)

Seeing the video this morning, and all of these feelings flooding back has inspired me to share some of the recipes and methods that I used to depend on. I know that those of you who need this the most probably won't want to share or comment, but perhaps you will save a link to your phone, or make a note of something useful, if so then I've achieved what I wanted to.

Can I also remind Plymouth people that there is a fantastic lunch at the library scheme that is currently running through Wednesday's in August, where children can pick up a free lunch and join in with family-friendly activities. Have a read if you are interested

If you are lucky enough not to need my suggestions then may I ask this? When you pop to a friends house, take a pack of biscuits, or offer to pick up the milk. Invite a friend over for a regular weeknight dinner, or perhaps double up when you make a lasagne and ask if they wouldn't mind trying a new recipe you're working on. Be thoughtful, be tactful and be kind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our go-to Recipes to follow 🙂

4th August 2019

Admitting my addiction and embracing change.

Let’s talk fashion. And big (and little) changes. And making a difference. If you follow our family Instagram (link here if you fancy (https://www.instagram.com/wearealfafamily)) you have seen that I have begun working on a few projects about the fashion industry.

Clothes. Looks. Colours. Style. I’m a bit obsessed. I studied fashion and textiles at Plymouth College of Art and Design as it was then called, in 2007. Despite that being a mere twelve years ago I can't say that I recall the course discussing a strong focus on the environmental impact of our designs. I bet things would be very different if I walked into the studio now. 

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about. The truth is that we are all far more informed about environmental issues than we were even ten years ago. Our family has decided to dramatically try to reduce our consumption and our impact on the planet and we started we started as most people do, by making small swaps. We’ve been leaving the car at home, bringing our own shopping bags, turning the TV off standby, and ditching the plastic straws. The more knowledge we gained about the environment the more we realised small changes were simply not enough! 

OK - if everyone would make small changes, then surely, they would equate to much larger movement. However, as we enter a state of climate emergency, in order to really make a difference then we would need a total lifestyle overhaul! 

Our little swaps grew to larger ones: changing to a vegan diet, moving to greener energy suppliers, cutting out single use plastics, and shopping locally and independently. But deep down I knew that I had an addiction that was causing me to frequently hand over my money to big brands that had huge environmental implications. I admit it. I love fast fashion. 

I’m not exaggerating to call it an addiction, and it’s one that I think touches many of us. Here’s why. The rise of gender reveal parties means that we’re slapping a pink or blue label on our children earlier and earlier. Girls take on the persona of "little princesses" and our eager, well-wishing friends bring pretty dresses, tiny impractical shoes, decorative hats and socks so delicate that won’t last a week. You get the idea. A baby is not even born yet and already her wardrobe is filled with more outfits than she could ever wear. By the time we had been through them all she would have already grown out of that size. It’s a beautiful but exhausting cycle.

I adored dressing up as a child, rummaging through my mother’s wardrobe, fashioning dresses out of anything I could get my hands on. Honestly, curtains, belts, scarves – nothing was off-limits. I could be whoever I wanted to be that day. As I grew up, I would often copy the outfits of my favourite popstars. In fact, FLASHBACK, I remember feeling invincible shouting "GIRL POWER" in my Union Jack dress after watching The Spice Girls at the Brits. The clothing we choose to wear is a display of our interests to those around us: music fan, sports enthusiast, hippy, professional. 

My love for clothing became a deep routed sense of my identity. It gave me confidence and the ability to express how I was feeling, and how I wanted to be seen.  We must never underestimate the power behind a good outfit - I still stand by that now!  I easily slipped into the female stereotype of a shopaholic. I would research trends in Vogue, meet friends for a social shopping trip, then get a buzz out of buying a new outfit. I knew I couldn’t sustain the expense of this, but then the compliments would come flooding in and suddenly it all becomes worth it again. I was addicted. 

My first job at sixteen took me to Topshop where my eye for trends and ability to outfit build was celebrated. I was encouraged to always wear the latest look and given a generous uniform allowance to make it easy. Being obsessed with clothes had given me a career! Before I knew it I was on my way to art college to study fashion. Clothes! All day long! Yaaaaasss Queen. Living. The. Dream. 

 

So, you must see, silly as it may sound, my life is centred around the fast fashion industry! However, now, as an adult I realise I have to challenge years of conditioning in exchange for a slower paced, more environmentally friendly wardrobe.  What do I do? 

I’m going to own my past, and my conscience, and start shopping in secondhand stores. Starting, well, now. Here it is, my first ethical fashion challenge. Can I get wearable, fashionable clothes in the charity shops of Plymouth? I don't think it’s going to be easy. It might even be fun. Whichever way, it feels like an important choice. 

Follow us on insta to see what I pull off the racks. And tell me, are there other changes we can make that have worked for you? Top tips on the best place to look for great vintage also welcome. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

20th July 2019

A new shade of Green

Those of you who follow our post regularly may have already seen the news that we were invited to join "Proud to be Green" business directory this week. So let us tell you a bit more about what this means for us.

 

We were SO pleased to be told that we were actually already hitting all of the necessaries to be considered a "green"company. Our pledge to you regarding being a sustainable design company is not one that we take lightly, and we are constantly reevaluating our processes to find new ways of improving and reducing our footprint on the earth. 

You have the power. By visiting proudtobegreen.org you- the consumer has access to a whole directory of local businesses who are doing their bit for the environment. So weather you are looking for restaurants, hotels, retailers, in fact, pretty much anything, Then you can shop knowing the you are shopping green and shopping local - great eh?!

If you want to read a bit more about how we manage our carbon footprint then feel free to visit "our Eco Pledge" page on our website 🙂 

4th June 2019

Soul food with love from the Punjab

Sitting in the middle of a row of terraced houses in Peverell, you could be totally unaware that one particular front door leads the way to an exciting new Punjabi inspired business.

We began working with Purdy a few months ago, a family friend that of mine that I hadn’t seen for years; both Purdy and ourselves were starting up new businesses when she approached us to create a logo and business cards for her venture.

 

Fast forward a few months later and Purdy is inviting our family into her home for a taster session of what she does best, cooking up some great tasting Punjabi cuisine. Naturally we were thrilled to be able see for ourselves how Purdy’s business runs, and after numerous photos of delicious looking food appearing on our social media feeds, we were ready to get stuck in!


We brought along with us two sceptical children who were a little put off by the thought of “spicy” food, though we encouraged Freya and Albert that for them that this was more about having fun with the preparation and sampling of new flavours, rather than sitting down for a full meal.
Purdy greets us at the door with a smile, her arms adorned with decorated bangles from her recent trip to India, she immediately puts them at ease. Stepping into the house, atmospheric music is playing and the warm aroma of incense fills the nostrils, you actively feel yourself relax - we are encouraged to make ourselves at home and to help ourselves to teas and coffees. (There is also the option to bring along your own tipple!) The children are soon slurping down squash and admiring various ornaments and beautiful paintings in her vibrant home.

Our places had been laid out with aprons, rolling pins and chopping boards, whilst we get ourselves prepared and wash our hands Purdy runs through the necessary health and safety information.
We start by watching the preparation of poppadoms, and get the chance to taste an interesting variation of flavours - we help to make dips, settling on two separate ones, mild for the children, and a bit more of a kick for ours.

 

 

 

We had selected our choice of meals before attending, and despite being ultimate curry fans we decided to go with more “hands on” foods that the little ones could get more involved with: Bahjis, Samosas and Chapattis. This proved to be a fun choice; we all got our hands dirty folding samosas, and moulding our dough for chapattis. We needn’t have had any concerns about our fussy eaters; both children gave all dishes a double thumbs up! Making the food ourselves we were encouraged to keep tasting as we cooked, adding spice gradually so that it was tailored to our individual tastes.
Levi and I eat Indian food fairly regularly and were so pleased with the outcome of our dishes, they were all beautiful, the sweet potato and aubergine bhaijs in particular were crispy, juicy and aromatic, frankly, the best we have ever tasted!

As an experience we all had so much fun and it was a real treat to be invited to partake in something so different. The children have been talking about it ever since, and are already asking to make some of the dishes at home. Purdy has schooled us on where best to buy the ingredients in our area, and emailed us a copy of all of the recipes that we followed during our visit. We were also able to purchase a bahji kit which means that for our first run we already have the ingredients measured and waiting for a rainy day family activity.
We have already been discussing visiting Purdy again for a more grown up evening, maybe next time we will go with grown up friends for the curry and red wine option 😉

We would highly recommend booking a cooking experience with Purdy, be it with the family, mates, a more interesting date night, or even a hen party activity. There were a range of veggie and vegan options to choose from and for no more than you would spend in a restaurant, you learn recipies that you can recreate again and again!

Find Purdy’s Punjabi Cuisine on Facebook or contact via email: pgounjabicuisine@gmail.com

24th May 2019

10 Budget Friendly Ideas To Keep The Kids Entertained This Half Term.

Half term can be challenging; you want to encourage the children to get away from the TV and get out of the house, but chances are everything they want to do costs a fortune. We have found that as a family of four a trip to a local cafe can set us back around £40 let alone the steep costs of attraction tickets for a day out! Frankly its money better spent elsewhere, but there are only so many times you can remain enthusiastic about a trip down the local park. We’re hoping that this list will help take a chunk of the stress out of next week and show you some of our parent hacks along the way!
Here are 10 tried and tested ideas that have worked like a charm for our little people. If we could give you one bit of advise it would be GET EXCITED the more you hype up a special job, or a secret task the more that they are going to want to do it, there is an opportunity for adventure in everything.

1. MAKE A FATHERS DAY CARD/ GIFT - Ok Fathers day isn’t until June 16th, but you are going to feel soooo chuffed when it comes round and you have already got it covered. Get out the water colours, old magazines to cut and stick, and a box of pens. Remind them that this is a special card so they need to spend long long time on it. ( you’re welcome) It could also be a good time to stockpile other cards, leave off any writing so that when you forget to buy one for something else you can use these. Grandparents love them. Encourage aspiring Jackson Pollocks outdoors.

2. PICNIC - Picnics can be eaten in the garden while you have a sneaky coffee and check your emails, or could be an entire day trip to somewhere lovely, We recently got the ferry to Mount Edgcumbe. Encourage the children to pack up the blankets and make the sandwiches from food you already have in the house. Sometimes if we have had a busy day and the weather is nice, I will cook tea, pop it in a container and we will whizz to the beach for a couple of hours and have tea there. It makes for sudden excitement and breaks up the routine. Sometimes we take onesies and they fall asleep on the way home which means that you can also escape the dreaded bedtime routine. hehe

3. FASHION DESIGNER - This is great for older kids to do on their own, or one for you to get involved with if you’re feeling energetic, take this as far as you like.
Gather up pre-approved ill-fitting or out of favour clothes and encourage the child to think out of the box. If a skirt is too short, how about adding a frill along the bottom made out of an old T-shirt? Or Tie Dye using vegetable inks.

Make at 140 in the Royal William yard do some great patches for a couple of Pounds.Freya bought one or two last time she was there, part of the fun is sifting through the box and agonising over which one to buy, they are all so cool! Try to agree how many you are buying, or what the budget is before entering the shop to save on dramatic outbursts.
They are SO easy to apply to jackets & hoodies, maybe they won’t argue quite so much about having to bring a jacket next time?

4. BEACH CLEAN - I know, I know, we keep banging on about these! The Plymouth Beach Clean Facebook page has events running all the way through next week. We’ve done a couple, they are free, you can take the dog (check that the beach will allow dogs first), the kids have a mission, Albert dresses as a pirate and calls it treasure hunting, and you are doing something great for the environment. If the weather is nice then stay and paddle, if its not then don’t forget your wellies and a thermos.

Save a few shells and special stones so that when you get home you can make a bowl of soapy water, pop it outside and they can clean and polish the special stones…ooh imagine how lovely and shiny they could be! Our two have a shell and rock collection in pretty boxes this means that they are always on the look out for new stones to add. They may paint some and hide them, and when the collection gets a bit big don’t forget to bring some back to the beach!

5. HOT CHOCOLATES AND A FILM - The ultimate lazy day. Sometimes they just need to entertain themselves for a few hours. Spend some time making a special hot chocolate with sprinkles and a biscuit and sit them down to watch a film that they haven’t seen in a while, we love The Lorax. If the hot choccie is particularly good maybe let them text a photo to a family member.

6. SAVE THE BEES - Pollenize is a great local organisation who want to encourage bees back into the Urban areas of Plymouth. They sell packets of seeds for £2 and these can be bought from Boston Tea Party, The Hutong Cafe, and the Lord High Admiral. This is something that children can take real pride in watering and watching grow. Who will spot the first bee in the garden? Could you keep a tally?

7. CAR BOOT - ok this is an endurance test, but bare with us on this one. This is a tried and tested method of getting your kids to declutter their rooms. All old toys in a basket, they will need to be cleaned up and in working order, then you hit them with the deal breaker…. THEY CAN KEEP THE MONEY. Suddenly they get to play real life shops, they need to spend an afternoon making labels, sticking on prices, planning how to display their toys, and of course what they will do with the money. Sorry about the early start for the car boot though. Once shoppers find out that the children are keeping the money for a special treat they tend to be a little more generous.

8. JUNK ROBOTS - Alberts favourite thing to do at the moment is to make robots out of the recycling. If you want to spend a whole day on it then you could aways paint them. But its free and keeps them busy.

9. SPECIAL BATH - This is one of the best parent hacks ever, we learnt this from fellow blogger Louise Pentland from a Sprinkle of Glitter. At the end of a long day, when all you need is a break then its time to pull this one out of the bag. Special baths can be used to bring bedtimes forward an hour or so, or could also be done in the middle of the day. There is some forward planning required, you need to make a little kit: Maybe a pretty bath bomb, some bath crayons, bubbles, empty pots, anything could do, but make sure that its not something that they have often to maintain the excitement. Obviously don’t leave little ones unattended in the bath!

10. PERSONAL SHOPPER - Is it just me or do your children suddenly become completely engrossed in play when you mention popping up to the shops? I would start talking about visiting the shops at breakfast time, and explain that you are so glad that they are here to help you today. You will need help writing the shopping list, and finding all of the items in the shop. Make it a challenge, you need to have all the items ready and back home by 1pm lets say; So we will pick out clothes for the shop, write the shopping list, how long will it take us to walk there? Why not time your walk so you know what time you need to leave the shop, and start walking home? You get the idea! Bribes work… Maybe pick a special pudding, or chose a favourite for dinner.

You can tailor this to the age of the child, like all of the things on the list really. Older children can deal with money, and writing the shopping list, younger ones can draw pictures of fruit and vegetables that they need to find. Its a basic one, but if it gets you where you need to be then its got to be worth a go.

 

I hope some of these little ideas make the holidays a little more manageable, they are very simple but sometimes those are the best ideas! Have a great half term everyone, and don't forget to tag @wearealfafamily in your photos, we cant wait to see what you all get up to.