Today my youngest daughter started nursery for the first time at eleven months old. It was the day that I started the letting go process. Since she was born a year ago she has been fully my responsibility. Today, she has to learn to be without me and I have to learn to share my little girl with the world. The reason she is starting nursery so young is I am returning to work after my second maternity. As a family we had lengthy discussions about how me working would fit our family life and the reasons for returning to work. With two pre-school children our childcare costs are excessive so this decision did not come lightly.

My main reasons for returning to work are:

  • Getting back me – being a mum is everything I have wanted in life, but I do feel like I’m losing some of me being at home. Having returned to work once before between babies I know that work can be a break! This inspired my mum needs a break poem.
  • Financial reasons – you can’t get away from the fact that life is expensive and working helps us our family manage overall finances now and in the future. As a family we have ambitions for our home and life and money will definitely help us get there.
  • Nursery opportunities – my eldest daughter has been at nursery for two years now and I have seen the wonderful things a good nursery can teach children. Having the patience and energy to complete projects and tasks with small children takes great skill. After having my toddler at home more the last year I truly appreciate the work nursery staff do everyday.

Even though I have multiple reasons for going back to work, it doesn’t make the transition process any easier. Walking away after dropping her in today broke my heart a little bit. Having gone through this before, I know it gets easier but it needs time. At the moment she is refusing to eat there, so this is my main concern, but I’ve read that the change in environments can make this happen.

As a parent I think you are predisposed to worry and feel guilt about every decision we make. I just need to remind myself that we are making the best decision based on our circumstances.

If your thinking about going back The Guardian wrote this article offering advice on going back to work after children.

As we approach the New Year we all start to reflect on where we are and where we want to go. In a world where we hear so much negativity it’s important to be positive. 2017 was special for me and my family for many reasons.

Why 2017 was special for me

My youngest daughter was born

In January 2017 I went through child birth for the second time. My labour started on my due date at 2pm and by 10pm our gorgeous daughter was born.

2017 has been full of adventure with her learning to smile, laugh, sit, crawl, eat, stand and almost walk.

As we approach the New Year and her first birthday, the future for 2018 looks very exciting.

My eldest daughter turned two

We were fully into the toddler years with my eldest this year. I could have done without the toddler tantrums at times. But watching her grow and learn has been unbelievable.

My highlights of living with a two-year old have been;

  • Her language has developed so much that we can now have full conversations.
  • She has learnt to value friendships.
  • She is becoming a being in her own right and developing her own ideas.

The next stage in 2018 will be all about the three’s and the preschool days.

Celebrated three years marriage with hubby

We got married whilst I was pregnant the first time, so this year we got to celebrate our third anniversary.

I couldn’t think of anyone else I would want to share this parenting journey with. Watching my husband with our girls, makes me very happy.

Started Mumversation!

In October this year I finally built up the courage to start my own blog.

I’m still very much in the early stages of writing but I am loving being part of the blogging community.

Mumversation gives me a freedom I didn’t have to express myself and challenge myself to do something new.

if your looking for ideas for what to do with your family this New Years Eve see my post here.

What I hope for in 2018

As we approach the New Year I have been thinking of what I hope for personally next year.

My 2018 wish list;

  • A smooth transition into work – I know going back will be tough at times but I’m hoping that we can establish a routine that works for us.
  • A break with the family – we didn’t manage a holiday this year with the baby so I would love to get away in 2018.
  • Time with family and friends – my brother and family are moving abroad soon, so along with my dad (who also lives abroad) half my family will live in a different continent. I hope in 2018 we can maximise time spent with family and our friends.
  • Finally Blogging! – I hope that whilst I’m back at work I can keep up with and develop Mumversation consistently. Watch this space for more in 2018.

2017 was special

 

New Year’s Eve changes significantly when you have children. Whilst they are young it’s difficult to go out celebrating late unless you have babysitters. There are ways to celebrate with the children by creating your own family friendly New Year’s Eve.

Family friendly new year's eve

Family Friendly New Year’s Eve

Have an early New Year’s celebration

Why wait until midnight? Instead celebrate alongside another country with the children, as they move into the New Year. Samoa is one of the first places, turning to midnight at 10am London time. With Australia, New Zealand, China and India all moving into the New Year across the day.

Legoland do this at their resort by celebrating New Year’s at Kid Standard Time (KST). They put on a firework display at 9.30pm GMT especially for families.

Play a Netflix New Year’s Eve Countdown film

In December Netflix release a number of animated movies which countdown to midnight. Simply search ‘countdown’ or ‘New Year’s Eve countdown’ to find the latest releases.

If your still feeling Christmassy you could alternatively watch a Christmas film on one of the streaming channels article here..

Attend a family friendly New Year’s Eve Party

Across the country more and more places are putting on family New Year’s Eve parties.

They are sometimes run in the middle of the day or earlier in the night and include meals, entertainment, music and fun.

Some examples of family friendly parties are both. Look up hotels in your local area for closer options.

Cardiff Cantref Centre in South Wales runs a party for families.

Casey’s Venue Telford kick off their family friendly party at 6pm.

Chessington World of Adventure run their own party including a meal and entertainment.

Take the family to a New Years Day parade

Rather than take the children out on the 31st December save your celebrations for January 1st.

In London there is the annual New Year’s Day parade. Starting in Piccadilly from midday and ending at 3.30pm in Parliament Street.

Hopefully these have given you some ideas to enjoy with your family. Happy New Year to you all.

Happy Christmas to all my blog followers. I hope you are having lots of fun and laughter this Christmas. For those who are looking for a five minute break whilst the kids play with their presents, this is my Christmas poem.

Christmas Poem

The time has come,
It’s Christmas once more.
A magical time,
I truly adore.
With friends and family,
Time spent together.
We share our homes,
Whatever the weather.
Food is eaten,
Drinks are drunk.
Gifts are packed,
And put in the trunk.
Driving to others,
Who live far away.
Or sticking your feet up,
And home you stay.
Kids love the magic,
Stockings hung by the bed.
Leaving out a mince pie and a carrot,
Making sure the reindeer are fed.
Getting up early,
To check out the tree.
Has Santa come overnight,
And left a present for me.
Christmas Day is here,
And full of traditions galore.
The day isn’t over,
Till Dad starts to snore.
But Christmas is fleeting,
It only comes once a year.
So cherish the moments,
And have fun with those near.
I hope you enjoyed my Christmas poem.
If you did and want to read more poems see the below posts;
Merry Christmas everyone!

My daughters and I recently attended Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular. This is an annual event run in the week’s prior to Christmas at Willows Activity Farm. If you’ve never heard of the farm see my review here.

This is my review on the Christmas event, based on my own personal experience.

Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular Review

What is it?

The Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular is a full day out of festive fun for all the family.

It runs from November 22-December 24 2017. They are open from 10.00am to 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm), on some days they will be open from 9am ( 9, 10, 16, 17, 21-24 Dec).

Whats included?

This is the list of all the activities based on the 2017 event:

  • Meet Santa and receive a golden key – after which children can choose one of the hundreds of gifts. Piled from floor to ceiling to take home in the Toy Shop.
  • Create-a-Cuddle workshop – children can make their own reindeer cuddly toy to take home along with a naming certificate and special gift box.
  • Attend Elf Academy – learn some of the basics on becoming one of Santa’s elves. Including how to tiptoe like an Elf and the important letters of the Elf-a-bet.
  • Watch a 3D film – pop your glasses on and take off on a 3D adventure with Santa in a 3D film.
  • Watch a Christmas show – including Christmas Storytime, our Elf Sing-a-Long and special Nativity performances featuring farmyard animals.
  • Write a letter to Santa – pop it in our post box to receive a free reply delivered to your home.
  • Iceskate – Glide around the synthetic ice rink with ice skates available to fit all sizes.
  • Tristan the Runaway Tractor – take a ride around the festive wood.
  • Animals – Meet Mischka, Santa’s reindeer and all the other Farmyard animals.

There is also an Elf Passport to complete, a chance to take part in Snowball Shootout,  Festive Funfair Rides, Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground™ and soft play.

How much is it?

Prices vary across the event, getting more expensive the closer you get to Christmas. Check specific days for prices, but they come in around £35 for children and £20 for adults. Under 2s are free as long as they’re not joining in meeting Santa and the cuddle workshop.

Best Bits

We really loved this event, and thought it was truly magical. It made for a really wonderful day for the whole family.

We enjoyed all of the activities but our two favourites were:

  • Meeting Santa – I have never been to a more beautiful and festive Santa’s grotto before. Our santa was excellent and professional. My daughter was a little scared of him, but he was so patient and kind to her it really made her day. The children getting to choose their own gifts was a nice touch as the gifts then felt extra special.
  • Create-a-cuddle workshop – My daughter was over the moon to get her hands on her own reindeer, choosing the reindeer’s heart was a great touch.

The thing that really shone out for me across the day was how professional and friendly the staff were at Willows Activity Farm. Everyone you come in contact with is pleasant, helpful and happy, which made our day that touch more special.

What could be better?

The ice skating was great fun for my toddler, but as an adult I found it almost impossible to stand up on. I have been ice skating on real ice many times and I found this synthetic floor to be far more slippery. In the end I went on with just my socks on so I could at least push round my daughter without falling over.

Overview

As you can see from my review, we really loved this event at the farm. At first I was a little bit put off by the price, but after attending I now think it was actually good value. You can access to all the activities, the children get to take home a gift from Santa, a stuffed reindeer and reindeer food and you also get a letter back from Santa.

The Santa’s grotto was so magical I want to go back again next year, it will absolutely be my go to for a Santa visit come 2018.