Inside Out Games

insideoutgames-pin

With school holidays looming, there will be plenty of opportunities to play, have fun and enjoy tons of quality time with the kids, especially if we have a warm dry summer this year – fingers crossed 🙂

Family days out can get expensive and you can’t always rely on the weather being on your side – especially in UK=style climates.

But with a little planning and a little cash, if any, big fun can be had by everyone of every age.

If casting your mind back and replicating games of yesteryear isn’t an option for you, pop over to google and do a quick search for outside or traditional games. I remember loving bean bags as a kid and of course you can buy them on Amazon. These are colourful and fun….

beanbags

 

First-Play original Beanbags
size 15cm x 10cm. sold as a pack of 12 assorted colours.

 

I’m not sure about the fillings though. Apparently commercial bean bags are filled with plastic granules which isn’t a great idea if you’re going completely plastic-free but the other way would be to make them yourself and two-thirds to three-quarters fill them with rice or lentils. Then you’re using food which could be considered wasteful and they will have to be stored in an animal-free zone.

Hmm, as I’ve been promoting non-plastic toys, I’m tempted to go for making them myself – still trying to work out a filling alternative but may just go for rice for now.

Use bean bags to
*play catch – easier for little hands to hold on to
*target practice – throw onto the steps of a small ladder or into a bucket in the centre of the lawn
*have a juggling competition – for those aspiring to circus skills

And if there aren’t any breakables indoors, bean bags can be played with inside as well as out.

Have fun!
Linda x

P.S. Just in case of rain, grab this quick download so entertaining can be an indoor joy as well – actually the games in this little book can all be played outside as well

website-IndoorFamilyGames

 

Indoor Family Games

Choose from your favourite book shop

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Barnes & Noble , iTunes , Kobo , Google Play , Payhip , Etsy Books ,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penguins of Paradise

penguinsofparadise-pin

Last year (ish) I designed a simple knitting pattern for beginner knitters called Winter Nits – listed here – of a snowman, a father christmas, a penguin and a sleeping bag.

Simple quick to knit and fun to play with. Recently I took it one step further. I bought some new yarn and started making penguins in stunning colours… Penguins of Paradise!

Really, they kind of look like little birds without wings but for pure cute and cuddliness they definitely hit the spot. They fit in the palm of an adult’s hand and they’re so easy for little fingers to hold on to.

You need just a small amount of yarn in a few colours and a scrap of toy filling. And the tools are easy too; a pair of knitting needles, scissors and a darning needle… And tahdah they only take about an hour… Make one in the evening and it can be admired and played with by breakfast 🙂

Added bonus – very cheap to make and NO PLASTIC!!

Happy knitting
Linda x
P.S. I resisted the cheesy joke of saying very CHEEP – did you notice? 🙂

Showing Up in the Sunshine

letthesunshinein-pin

Uh oh, gorgeous sunshine lighting up all the dust and clutter in the house … outside it is then ….. but if you really really want to get the house de-cluttered and don’t have a clue where to start, there’s a handy step-by-step download on The Good Life page

This is one of the great ideas lifted from the book:

Make a large cushion cover with a zip or Velcro opening and keep your scatter cushions inside. Use as a floor cushion and empty out the scatter cushions when you want them or when a pillow fight is due 🙂

NB: Don’t do this with delicate, embroidered or beaded cushions

Colours can help or hinder when you’re looking to create a serene and uncluttered living area. Too many bold colours may work in a child’s bedroom but in a communal living space it may not. And too many colours can create a cluttered appearance

Choose your colours carefully when decorating or freshening up the décor.

Or, just go outside in the sunshine and close the door behind you 🙂

Have a Great Day
Linda x

 

Tea Snob

teasnob-pin

(extract from ‘Afternoon Tea’)

How I turned into a tea snob:

Afternoon tea has been a traditional English affair for centuries but over the years has been dropped in favour of a quick snack at lunchtime and a larger evening meal.

This reflects the speed and ‘lack of time’ we all seem to suffer from nowadays – and the fact that most employers take a dim view of their workforce popping out every afternoon for tea and cakes. 🙂

Many dieticians will promote eating ‘little and often’. Of course, they may question the wisdom of eating cake but, hey, a little of what you fancy does you good!

Back in the year 19something, my school separated boys from girls for science lessons. The boys learned how to do ‘man’ things and the girls learned how to do ‘woman’ things… it was a while ago.

One of the girls’ first domestic science lessons was ‘How to Make Tea’. If my memory serves me, we learned this incredibly important skill over the course of three weeks or so. (!) The attention to detail settled in my mind and slowly but surely over the years I became a tea snob.

I am not a happy soul if I have to go without a cup of tea every day. Going abroad can be a nightmare and if someone serves me tea made with a tea bag, I sip cautiously for a few moments then ‘accidentally’ forget to finish it. I blame school entirely for my addiction to the perfect cup of tea

So, as I rather enjoy the habit anyway, I’m going to share with you the fundamental elements to get the perfect cuppa in this elegant little download that includes:

Afternoon Tea

 

*How to make a perfect cup of tea.
*a traditional Victoria sponge cake recipe
*everyday scones with an ‘afternoon tea’ makeover.
*sandwiches to savour.
*fruit teas and herb teas that change the tone from time to time.

Create cakes and sandwiches to make afternoon tea a royal occasion.Choose your favourite shop –

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Barnes & Noble , Apple iTunes , Kobo , Google Play , Payhip

Enjoy!
PS: Please note that the recipes contain gluten, sugar and dairy although a little experimentng with alternative ingredients never goes amiss!

Happy Shopping

happyshopping-pin

Are you revving up for the weekly supermarket ordeal? Here are nine ideas to make shopping run a lot more smoothly…

(I posted these quick tips a year ago but they still apply today!)

1. Eat before you go – an empty stomach is sure to guide you towards the chocolate and snacks.

2. Don’t take the kids! – they always find something they ‘must have.’

3. Do it online – no petrol costs, no browsing the shelves wondering what treats to buy.

4. Prepare a detailed list – and stick to it 🙂

5. Be brave and check out shop’s own brand – some are good and often a lot cheaper.

6. Avoid sweets and snacks aisles – you don’t NEED to visit these shelves – so don’t.

7. BOGOF – Buy one get one free if you NEED it – not just because it’s half-price – twice as much chocolate is twice the calories and sugar if not twice the cost.

8. Go on your own or with a good friend – on your own you can think more clearly, and a good friend can steer you in the right direction!

9. Don’t ‘pop-in’ every day – if you have a freezer, a monthly shop could work.

Happy Shopping!

Linda x

Being a Kid!

Beingakid-pin

Being a Kid is fun!

Before the days of computers and gaming stations, children were obliged to make their own entertainment. This wasn’t a hardship as we didn’t know any different.

Many of us spent our childhoods outside (even when it was raining); riding bikes, climbing trees and generally having fun while working up an appetite for dinner…

However, during longer winter evenings, without a TV or the internet, we found other sources of amusement. These came with very simple materials and often very simple rules.

Finding the fun in everything you do is probably the first rule of thumb. (Getting a Mary Poppins flashback here) A sulky child who won’t play needs another approach maybe, but when they see the fun to be had, most children will gladly join in.

Note: It may be a good idea to exaggerate the fun at first if you come up against resistance. 🙂

Many games can be played outside as well as inside, depending on the weather of course.

website-IndoorFamilyGames

As we are never too old to learn, we are never too old to play, and the games in this book, with a few allowances here and there, can be played and enjoyed by all ages – all you need to do is find the kid in you! (Find your favourite book shop over on the good life page.)

So let’s go. Pencil, paper and marbles away… not a charger, battery or a plug anywhere to be found!

Before signing off I must include this quote from George Bernard Shaw that kind of says it all really….

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

Have Fun!
Linda x

Holiday Hobby

Lazing on the Beach_

Is it just too boring lying on a sun-drenched white sandy beach all day doing nothing? No? Ok cool, stop reading this, close your eyes and relax.

But, if you get fidgety and you’ve read all the holiday romances you can stomach for now, have a stab at knitting!

Not only is knitting one of the most relaxing hobbies you can have, it’s also creative and practical and could conceivably solve the Christmas present list this year – sorry didn’t mean to use the dreaded C word before summer’s really got going, but hey, it’s not a bad idea if you think about it…..

Had a think? Get onto youtube or get an obliging friend or relative to show you the basics – it’s really not rocket science – and off you go. If you can’t beg borrow or steal the yarn and needles you need, a very small financial outlay may be necessary – but really we are talking affordable here – even for me!

Don’t be put off by thinking you have to knit a scarf… strange how we often assume that …. There are plenty of fun designs out there for beginners. Check out Etsy or pop into your local knitting shop (yes, they tend to be few and far between these days, but if you find one support it by shopping there if you can).

I’ve put together some simple patterns – listed here. You can choose from a couple of different suppliers, download them straight away and get those needles clicking instantly!

Happy Holidays!
Linda x

 

Moving House

Moving Housepinterest

Oh, the joy of moving house! Moving is apparently one of the most stressful things you can do but, with a little planning and, hopefully, the knowledge that you are moving somewhere nicer it can be a lot less stressful and some of it may actually be fun!

One of the things I concentrated on before I re-located was de-cluttering…. wow, did I have some excess stuff! Everything I owned got the third degree in the months before the big day.
-Do I need it?
-Do I want it?
-Can I do without it?
Well, some of the things I gave away I kind of miss for their practicality – a couple of units that just wouldn’t fit in the van for instance – but in all honesty they wouldn’t have suited my new home, so hey, something new maybe just around the corner.

But big stuff aside, if you’ve been living in your home for a few years and you have a family, chances are there’s a fair amount of clutter you don’t really want or need anymore. When I started de-cluttering the small stuff my local charity shop couldn’t believe their luck. At one point, their shop window looked like my ex-sitting room 🙂

So, if you’re moving home or you just need to re-claim some space, start from the top and take each room/cupboard or drawer in turn. By taking baby steps, overwhelm doesn’t get you and you may find some long lost bits and pieces you thought had gone forever!

I like to follow some simple steps when I tackle a big job so, if you’re like me and could do with a little guidance through the craziness, I put together a step by step process you can download below.

Enjoy the space!
Linda x

De-Cluttering

 

De-Cluttering

Choose from your favourite supplier….

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

Screen Off Fun

Screen Off Fun!

Now the children are back at school and in some parts of the world we are feeling touches of Autumn creeping towards winter, it’s not always possible to play outside and all too easy to rely on screen entertainment. That may be TV, Netflix or social media channels and while there are certain benefits to be discovered in those virtual places, it can become addictive and unfortunately can be very unsociable.

When you walk into your sitting room is everyone glued to their phones or slumped in front of the TV?

And when you ask a question do you get any coherent answers? If you do, you’re on a roll because all too often this doesn’t happen when the whole family is locked into their own virtual world.

And trying to make rules about screen time or banning phones between 6 and 7 o’clock can cause resentment, arguments and moody kids… oh dear.

So, is there a way out of the pattern? Yes, there’s always a way but it will need a little encouragement and perhaps some crazy parental behaviour, but then again we are all a little crazy and kids deserve to enjoy their craziness as well.

The secret is play!

Yep, simple ay? and if you think you’re too old, consider this wonderful quote – one of my personal favourites – from George Bernard Shaw.

“You don’t stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing”

Right or right?!

So get in the play zone and make up some silly games to play with your kids. A few tips though:

1. Don’t ask, show them. For example put a waste paper bin in the middle of the room then throw a soft ball or a screwed up piece of paper from somewhere in the room, even it’s from your armchair. Get up, retrieve the ball, then move to somewhere else in the room. The fact that you are behaving out of sync will invariably get noticed and probably one of the little darlings will want to do a better job of getting that ball in the ‘basket’. Before you know it, you have a full on game going on.

2. Whisper something exciting or fun to one of them and tell them to pass it on very quietly. It could be about an upcoming family party or holiday or something silly like “I’ve just written to Santa Claus”

3. Invest in a few very inexpensive props like a pack of ‘Beat your neighbour’ playing cards, a set of ‘jacks’ or some yahtzee dice. Leave them in an obvious place in the room. When one of the family ask about them say “I thought I’d buy myself some toys” and take it from there. If no-one notices (aaargh!) then simply start playing. If you have a partner willing to join in your quest, start playing together and make a show of how much fun you’re having.

The benefits of a few minutes of getting the message out there will be huge.

– Quality fun family time – loving and being with each other in the real world
– Conversation – finding out what each other feels and thinks about
– Laughter – always a good thing

And the extra bonus is that those screens may be voluntarily turned off for a while! When my children were young, we traveled and then lived off the land for many years with very little money, and it was before the age of everyone having mobile phones – So we made our own entertainment and encouraged each other to be creative and enjoyed our time together.

Give it a try. You really really really won’t regret it 🙂

Have Fun!

Linda x

P.S. If you want a few ideas, I’ve put together a fun ebook you can download right now and get started tonight. There are 30 indoor family game ideas – that you could still play outside, weather permitting…. Choose from your favourite supplier..

website-IndoorFamilyGames

Indoor Family Games

Amazon USAmazon UKiTunesKoboPayhipBarnes & Noble,

 

Fun Family Games

indoorfamilygames

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

Before the days of computers and gaming stations, children were obliged to make their own entertainment. This wasn’t a hardship as we didn’t know any different.

Many of us spent our childhoods outside (even when it was raining); riding bikes, climbing trees and generally having fun while working up an appetite for dinner…

However, during longer winter evenings, without a TV or the internet, we found other sources of amusement. These came with very simple materials and often very simple rules.
Finding the fun in everything you do is probably the first rule of thumb. (Getting a Mary Poppins flashback here) A sulky child who won’t play needs another approach maybe, but when they see the fun to be had, most children will gladly join in. It may be a good idea to exaggerate a little at first if you come up against resistance to turning off the computer.

Many of the games in this fun downloadable book can be played outside as well as inside, depending on the weather of course.

As we are never too old to learn, we are never too old to play, and these games, with a few allowances here and there of course, can be played and enjoyed by all ages – all you need to do is find the kid in you!

Pencil, paper and marbles at the ready and not a charger, battery or a plug anywhere to be found!

(intro from Indoor Family Games)

website-IndoorFamilyGames

 

Indoor Family Games

Download here from your favourite retailer

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

 

 

Have Fun!

Linda x