Sunday, 21 July 2013

Budget Tips for Mamas: Cheap Summer Days at Home

I am not a big fan of the heat. There. I said it. 

Not in the, "Oh, it's too hot" kind of way. You know, like us typical Brits say when we've had our fill of the UK's summer sunshine. Oh no, I just don't like it period. 

I have very fair skin, and literally as soon as I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, I'm as red as a lobster. It's just not for me. I'm a winter girl. Give me the snow to navigate through any day of the week. 

You would think with me being a winter girl, that my bambino might be the same. Hmmm, nope. She is a real summer baby (her name here is very appropriate), and she loves nothing more than being outside, running riot. I've found it a little bit tricky to fulfil her outdoorsy ways these last couple of weeks. Our garden is in blazing sunshine for most of the day, and I don't think it's safe to have her out there with the sun beating down. Even when the sun hides behind the trees at 5pm and she runs out the door, like I've deprived her of fresh air, (I haven't btw), she's still plastered in SPF50. 

Aaaaaaand. In case you didn't know, another challenge I'm overcoming in this very hot summer, is that I'm now in my third trimester of my second pregnancy. In the last week I seem to have doubled in size, as have my hands and feet, and whilst pregnancy means I'm several degrees hotter than most people most of the time anyway, I'm now burning up. Getting up in the morning has become a real challenge. I've now gained two stone, I'm suffering from SPD and I'm also taking iron tablets until the baby is born. Ho hum.

I do feel these last weeks are going to be a bit of a struggle, especially if the hot summer continues. I'm already getting dressed less and less. In fact I rarely bother as it is, unless I need to essentially leave the house. 

This also means that finding activities to keep my very-nearly two year old entertained is something in itself. Some days I feel like a crappy Mummy if we're stuck in, but there are days where I really can't face much else then venturing out to the garden at 5pm. Still, it's not forever. And while we navigate through these hot summer days, I've been trying to come up with some Cheap Summer Days at Home ideas. Most of these ideas are simple things that all families will probably do at home already, so the real beauty of these activities is that you will have a lot of the bits and pieces already. And if you don't, they won't set you back much, if at all.  

Take for example:

Sand and Water Play Tables

Brooke has a sand pit and it's a fantastic addition to our garden. It doesn't matter if the grass grows a jungle around it, she can still nip in. We chuck any old plastic toy, cup, container in there with her, and let her beaver away. Being the neurotic, over the top mother that I am, I always make sure she's in the shade too, so she doesn't over heat and so that the sand stays cool.  

This is her "my-mum-deprived-me-from-the-sun-ALL-day" face. 

The sandpit - with all sorts of tat from her toy boxes. The toys don't have to be garden specific, anything plastic and resembling a cup will do. 

Cup of sand tea anyone?


Thank God for bubbles. They are one of my summer saviours. Poundland do two bottles of bubbles for £1 and most supermarkets have the smaller bottles in multi-packets for a similar sort of price. Brooke goes nuts for them. She'll chase them, try to kiss them, wave goodbye to them. They're excellent for a simple and fun activity, (that you can even do sat down, yes!).

My bubbles!

"Buh-bye bubbles!" Or we hear, "Bubbles gone 'way!" Cutie. 

Paddling Pools (and make-shift ones!)

We've had two paddling pools, but our lack of shed means they've been left out to go rotten over the winter, and are now in the bin. BUT! This doesn't stop our water fun, oh no! Plastic flexi-tubs! They are incredibly versatile. Toy storage, laundry basket and of course, a make-shift paddling pool. And if you haven't got one of those - don't panic either. Just use your washing up bowl - just as good! 

I wonder if they'll notice if I do a wee in here?

Mum, I am a BIT small for this.

Next to the washing up bowl here, you'll see there are some paint brushes. Another Mama pal gave me some great ideas for water fun, including "Painting" the patio. Dunk the brushes in the water, then let the kids "paint" patterns and drawings and their names and all sorts. 

Also, what kid doesn't love just having a big tub of bubbly water to splash things in, and fill and empty cups of water. So simple and easy to prepare (time and time again) and it won't cost you a thing. 

I hope you're enjoying the summer! Stay safe xx

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