us all with santa

Review: Wish Upon a Star with Santa at Meadowhall

wish upon a star meadowhall

Are you looking for something a bit different to do with your kids this Christmas?  Are you sick of the same old Santa’s grotto, where you wait in line for an hour at your local garden centre for your kids to rattle off what they want and then head on out, missing the magic of Christmas altogether?

wishmas forestWell then, you might want to take a look at the “Wish Upon A Star” Christmas experience at Meadowhall in Sheffield.  Yes, Santa is there in the mix (so your kids won’t be disappointed) but there are lots of other great surprises along the way.  They have dubbed it an “immersive theatrical experience”, which basically means there are very good actors looking after you and impeccably dressed theme rooms as your go through.

wishmas forestThe premise is that you are on a journey through the “Wishmas Forest”, meeting the “wish gatherer elves”.  This takes you on a 30-40 minute trip through 3 rooms.  The first is the forest, so it is decorated with Christmas trees and lots of tree stumps for the kids to sit on and watch a film explaining it all.  There is a very chirpy elf who teaches the kids the wish gatherers salute – something the boys found hilarious as it is a mixture of silly noises and actions.

From there they go into a second room with a giant telescope in the middle and a male elf who tells the story of Santa crashing into the forest.  All the whilst, we are told that shooting stars carry wishes.  The boys loved this room as there were big bean bags to curl up to and listen to the story, then they all got to look through the giant telescope and spot a shooting star.

From there we went into a workshop themed room where the kids could decorate cardboard stars with their wishes on.  This was a nice practical activity after a lot of sitting and listening, and there was glitter, ribbon and pens to decorate with.  I did feel that this was quite a basic craft, and that perhaps a little more could have been spent on a bigger mix of materials to decorate, or they could have been wooden to look a bit more substantial.

All the actors were very friendly and encouraging to the kids, speaking to them individually (which was achievable as there is a limit on the number of families going through in each session).  They were definitely in character, which the kids loved, but I found a bit annoying and far fetched! If you are not a cheesy Christmas person then this might not be the thing for you.

santas grottoFrom this room we were taken in to see Santa.  Now this was my favourite part.  It was a very intimate and cosy room, and Santa spoke with the kids about how Christmas is a time for giving and not just receiving.  He sprinkled some extra glitter on their wish stars and asked them to close their eyes and make a Christmas wish for someone less fortunate than themselves.  Sam, my eldest, ran over and whispered in my ear that he wanted to make a wish for his sponsor child in Africa, which just melted my heart.  Reuben, my youngest, wished for pine cones!!!!

There was no asking them what they wanted for Christmas, just a really sweet moment where they had a photo with Santa and got given a Mr Man book (an amazing gift as my boys LOVE the Mr Men!).  They left having had a lovely 40 minute trip. I left feeling slightly overwhelmed by jolly elves, but all in all it was a much better experience than standing in a queue for 5 minutes with Santa somewhere else.

price listThe best thing about this was that you book a slot online, so there’s no waiting about.  The groups are small and the price is actually very reasonable considering all that you get.  Its £6.60 for kids and £3.60 for adults (obviously only the kids get presents!).  So if you are happy with a non-traditional Santa’s grotto then book online here.  (Photos and mementoes were extra – here’s the price list)

 

 

 

My only concern (and final comment!) is that in trying to make this a magical experience, are we diluting the true Christmas message?  By adding wishes, and wish gathering elves, are we just confusing our kids more?  I am not sure, and on the surface it seems harmless, so I will let you decide upon that yourself.

Rachel x

us all with santa

advent 2018

ADVENT – How are you doing it this year?

advent 2018

Before we even get to the big questions of Christmas (how do we explain santa to our kids, what  evangelistic events can we put on for our neighbours, who is going to get socks as a gift this year?!), we come to the question of advent.

Have you even thought about it?

Or is it one of those things that just happens – it suddenly becomes the 1st of December so you rush down to B and M bargains and buy a cheap chocolate calendar and let the kids have two chocolates tomorrow!  This year more than ever before there are so many secular advent calendar choices – lego, sweets, beer, and even this one:

tool kit advent calendar

I want to challenge you (with just over 3 weeks to go) to think outside the box for advent this year, and really use it as a chance to deepen your own and your kids relationship with God.  Below are some great ideas for advent, please pick and mix to suit your family (and share this post with others too!!).

Jesse Tree

jesse treeUntil recently I’d not heard of Jesse Trees, but this year I myself have bought a set of these lovely ornaments from Gospel Centred Parenting ready for advent.  The idea is that each ornament has a bible verse accompanying it, telling the story of the bible from creation to the birth of Jesus.  It is a celebration of Jesus’ ancestors and everything leading up to him coming.  I am excited to explore this with my boys this year, as in the last few years we have just explored the Christmas story in isolation.

My plan is to do this in the evening as part of their quiet time, so that we can get the next decoration, add it to the tree, read the bible verse and discuss it and pray about it as a family.  If you would like your own set, then head over to Gospel Centred Parenting where you can get the full set for £35.

GOdventure sticker advent calendars

sticker advent calendarLast year we used a fabulous sticker advent calendar from Godventure to track through the Christmas story each day in advent.  If your kids are sticker addicts then they will love this!  I had to give up my desire for the stickers to be completely straight, but it was lovely to see the picture fill up with stickers over the 24 days.

You can get a giant A1 sized poster for £15, or if your budget is a bit smaller then the A4 sized one is only £5.

reverse advent calendar

You may have seen this one on Facebook a lot last year – the concept is that instead of getting something each day in advent, you give something away.  For most people this was items of food which would be donated to a food bank at the end of advent.  What a fantastic way to teach your kids about generosity and to have a tangible impact on their local community.  It would be great to take them each day to the shop (on the way home from school maybe) to choose something to go in the box for that day.

bible society Advent Challenge

advent challengeIf you are looking for a way to cultivate generosity even more, then perhaps take a look at the Bible Society’s Advent Challenge.  There is a task of kindness for each day in advent, and last year it included things like “say three kind things today” and “let someone out before you when driving”.

shepherd on the search

shepherd on the searchIf you have ever been tempted to join in the “elf on the shelf” crave then this one is for you!  All you need is a cuddly shepherd toy to hide around the house each day (you can buy the specific branded one or just use the shepherd from your existing nativity set).  Then on the website there are downloadable cards with activities and thoughts for each day throughout advent.

Make your own pocket advent calendar

If you have a pocket style advent calendar (or fancy a bit of pre-Christmas sewing!) then why not include some bible verses in it this year.  Godventure has free downloadable cards you can add which work really well, and you add a bit to the story each day.  The sky is the limit when it comes to other creative things you could add to the pockets.

The real advent calendar

real advent calendarIf your kids would still be disappointed not to have a chocolate advent calendar, then the real advent calendar is a great choice.  It comes with a nativity story book and the chocolates are nativity shaped too.  Some of the big super markets do stock these now, but you can also order online from eden.co.uk.

Our boys have been given these for the last few years and love them – my eldest who is five was able to do the puzzles inside the little booklet last year which made him really happy!

 

Thanks for checking out this post, and I hope and pray you have found an idea to inspire you for advent this year.  Please do let me know if you choose one of the options and how it goes!

10ofthose review

Mum on a Mission Reviews Goodies from 10ofthose.com

10ofthose review

I was so over the moon when 10ofthose.com got in touch with me to ask if you would like to review some of their products! I love that their heart is to get resources out to as many people as they can and as affordably as they can, and there are often some great bargains to be found on their website.  Today I am reviewing three products, so check out what I think below:

Raising Kids in a screen-Saturated world

raising kids bookThis is one of the books that 10ofthose.com have published in a series called “raising kids”.  They aim to be quick and easy to read, whilst equipping us as parents to deal with some pretty big topics in the parenting world right now.  I was able to read this book in a few days of snatched 10 minutes.  The chapters are really short so you can read it in chunks, so if you read it cover to cover it would probably only take half an hour or so.  The aim of the book is not to tell you exactly what you should do in regards to the issue, but to discuss it within a biblical context, get you thinking about it and provide you with a few tips and principles on how to deal with it.  I love that it hasn’t gone for the “ALL TECHNOLOGY IS EVIL” approach, but has accepted we are in a changing world, where we are parenting kids who are digital natives.

Definitely worth a read, and at only £2.99 (with heavy discounts if you order more for your mum friends at church!) it won’t cost you much either (buy it online here).  For those of you with babies or toddler, read it and prepare yourself for the future.  For those of you with older children or teenagers who feel like they are already failing in this arena, then read it as it will help you figure out a plan to get back in charge.  Other books in the series include Raising Kids in the way of grace, in a you can do it world, and in a hyper-sexualised world.  

Devotional Dippers

devotional dippersLots of you mums got REALLY excited out there when I showed you the Devotional Dippers!  This little tube brings lots of fun and will help to initiate bible related discussions with your kids.  There are little cardboard sticks inside it with a big idea, a bible verse to read, a question to think about and something to pray about too.  They are idea for younger kids who want to explore things but don’t have a great attention span!  Also great for family discussions, and for those with kids who have just got their first “proper” bible to help them start looking up passages and verses in them.

There are three different packs – Prayer, God and Key Bible Words.  They are £5.99 each or £12.00 for all three packs (buy them here).  Each contain 40 sticks, so if you did a weekly family devotional it would last you almost a whole year!!

I recorded a video review of this product too, so if you want to see the it up close then do watch that here.

ESV Scripture Journals

love joy peace journalsMy final lovely product to review was less parenting based, and more bible journaling themed.  This set of three scripture journals are really lovely.  They have a bible verse at the top of each page on the theme – either love, joy or peace.  The pages are a lovely thickness and cream coloured with lines in them for writing.  I actually sent one of these as a present to a friend and she loved it.  If you want somewhere to use as a prayer diary, to explore these three themes, or just to start doing some bible journaling before getting yourself a proper journaling bible then these are perfect.

The RRP is £14.97 for the pack of three, but you can get them all for just a fiver over at 10ofthose.com!!!  What a bargain!! Why not buy a pack and give a couple away to friends who might like them?

prayer experiment notebook

Mum on a Mission Reviews “The Prayer Experiment Notebook”


prayer experiment notebook

I won a copy of “The Prayer Experiment Notebook”, and after asking my followers if they would like a review of it, the overwhelming answer was YES!!!  So here is my honest opinion as to what the book is like.

first impressions

prayer experiment notebookMy first impression of the book from the cover was that it looked fun and engaging for kids.  Even the title is quite engaging, with the idea that prayer can be experimental.  The designers have done a great job on this and it certainly made me want to read more.

Who’s It by then?

Inside the front cover is a section that probably only parents will read – the “about the authors” section!  But I wanted to read it to see what experience and background the authors were coming from as they wrote this book.  It was fascinating to read part of the story of it coming together, and the co-authors have a wealth of knowledge that they have put together, both in their full time jobs and in their blogging and writing. All in all, I felt in very safe hands reading the rest of the book and knew it would come from a great place of wanting to help children connect with God more.

what’s good about it?

After the “about the author” section there is also a little section explaining how the book works.  Following on from that are 14 prayer experiments to try out, as well a 6 group prayer experiments.  What’s good about it is:

  • the variety of prayer experiments that are included.  There are some that will appeal to boys, girls, different types of learners and different age groups too.  With such a variety you are sure to find something that your child will connect with that you can carry forward into their normal devotional time.
  • the book provides space for your kids to make their own notes about that experiment.inside the book  I really like the way that this book lets the kids take ownership of their own relationship with God.  Far too often we as parents buy resources and we use them, but never let the kids touch them or be involved in the planning.  This has the kids involved from the beginning, and lets them decide how to do it and have space to write about how it went.
  • children have been used in the creation of it. At the end of every prayer experiment are some reviews from other kids who have tried it out.  I think this is really great, as it shows the authors have really done their research, and the reviews are all very mixed, which gives your own kids permission to love or hate different experiments.
what’s not so good

As a mother of a five year old and a two year old, my children aren’t quite at the age where they can own their relationship with God completely.  This book is ideally aimed at 8-11 year olds, those who can write independently and want a bit more freedom to do their own thing.  I will definitely be stashing this away for when mine are a bit bigger.

inside the bookI honestly can’t think of anything else bad to say about this book!  The design of the pages inside is engaging and interesting.  There are drawing and pictures of how to do the experiments so they are easy to follow.  Everything about it is brilliant!

You can buy the book here.
summer holiday ideas

20 Ideas to Grow Your Child’s Faith During the Summer Holidays

summer holiday ideas

As the school year comes to a close today, many of us are now thinking about the vast expanse of the six weeks summer holidays.  If you are a geeky organised mum like me, then you might have put together a list of trip and activities you want to do with your kids, or maybe even a calendar planning out your every move!!  Or maybe you’re the opposite and like to just go with the flow.  Whatever your style ,why not try to use this summer holidays to be intentional with your children and grow their faith.  I’m not talking about family church services every morning, but there are lots of fun ways in which we can act out our faith and teach our kids a bit more during this period of extra time with them.

So here are just a few ideas that you might want to try:

  1. Order a Treasure Box to try out and explore a new bible story
  2. Buy a Godventure Sticker Book and work through it together
  3. Learn a new worship song each week and have a praise/dance party in your lounge
  4. Try out “chat and catch” from the Parenting for Faith Course
  5. Visit a Cathedral or Minister and chat about the different areas in it and what they are used for
  6. Find a Messy Church or Holiday Club that your kids can go along to (even if its not run by your normal church)
  7. Buy Bake Through The Bible and explore the bible through food
  8. Spend a day making or baking gifts for your neighbours and go and pass them out door to door.
  9. Have an open garden afternoon and invite children from your street
  10. Pick a charity and fundraise for them over the summer, seeing how much you can raise in total (perhaps pick out 3 or 4 mission related charities for your kids to choose from)
  11. Set up a new child sponsorship account with Compassion and write a letter to them
  12. Visit activities in your local community and make new friends (try your library, children’s centre and local parks for what is already going on and support them)
  13. Recreate your favourite bible story through dress up/puppets/lego/playdough
  14. Make your own flags to wave during worship at church
  15. Make a bible themed assault course in the garden – go through “the den of lions”, across the sea of Galilee, roll the rock away from the Jesus’ tomb, etc!
  16. Commit to pray for their new class teacher and class mates over the summer and make a “we’ve been praying for you” gift to give to the teacher on the first day back
  17. Make parent survival kits for the new reception class parents to hand out in September or welcome to school gifts for the new pupils themselves
  18. Offer to have their friends over for the afternoon to give another mum a break
  19. Make bible bunting and add a triangle everyday with a picture of a bible story you have read
  20. Try out the new Devotional Dippers from 10ofthose.com

Happy Summer Holidays!! 

P.S.  Do share how it goes, and if you have any more ideas on how to grow your child’s faith during the summer holidays then post them in the comments below…

parenting for faith website

Should you do the Parenting For Faith course?


parenting for faith

Have you heard about the Parenting for Faith Course?  Maybe you are involved in a mum’s bible study group or lifegroup at your church and think it might be a good resource to use?  Then have a read below of my own experiences running and taking part in a Parenting for Faith Course.

what is the parenting for faith course?

You might think its just a parenting course for Christians, but you would be completely wrong.  I went into it thinking it would teach me normal parenting skills, things that will be useful to make sure I have “good Christian kids”, but that is the wrong idea entirely.  The truth is that this course will teach you how to help your kids have an authentic faith of their own in the future.  This course will help them to not just hang off your faith as the parents, but to truly get to know God for themselves.  And if our kids know God and can manage that relationship with Him on their own, then when they reach the teenage years maybe they will just carry that on and turn to God when they go through the rough times.  Doesn’t that sound like one of the most amazing things that we as Christian parents can do??!

how does it work?

parenting for faith websiteThe Parenting for Faith course is a free video based online course.  This means that you can do it anytime, anywhere.  You can do it on your own, or with a group of other parents, and you don’t really need to wait for church to organise it – just get on and do it!!!  I have run this as part of our parents lifegroup that meets on a Wednesday morning in our church building.  There are usually between 6 and 12 mums and the accompanying tots in attendance, so it can get a bit loud.  We agreed to watch the videos in our own time before coming, and we then printed off the accompanying workbooks to go through together.  There is a leaders workbook, but in my opinion it doesn’t add much than the participants workbooks, so we just go through the questions in their together.  There is space to write if you want, and also some questions to think over at home after the session.

Are THE VIDEOS ANY GOOD?!

OK, so lets not beat around the bush.   There are lots of resources out there we could use, and you don’t want to waste your time on things that aren’t going to work!  But I can honestly say that the videos, as well as being free, are some of the most engaging Christian course videos I have ever seen.  Rachel Turner speaks in a really easy way, and the videos have a good mix of visuals and filmed scenes to keep you interested.  They are all around 25 minutes long, which makes them the perfect length for watching during midnight feeding sessions with babies (this has been road tested by some of our group!) or during nap time.  So yes – they are pretty good!

Here is a little snippet of a video that shows you what they are like and a bit more about the concept:

how has it gone in our group?

Well we are currently on session 6 out of 8, so not quite at the end yet.  But what has amazed me is how much I have learnt and how common sense it all is!!  Sometimes you don’t see things until they are pointed out to you.  There are lots of really practical ideas for different aged children, and most weeks there has been a technique that we have taken away to try with our kids at home.  Even our kids pastor said that she hadn’t thought of things in that way before, and that it would be helpful for all the parents to be able to go through the course!

why should you do it?

I would highly recommend every parent, whether their child is a baby or older, to spend the time and do this course.  If nothing else, it opens your eyes to the fact that we have to be intentional about teaching our children our faith, we cannot just leave it up to Sunday School to do that or else a real relationship will not flourish and when it comes to being their decision they will not know God for themselves.  I pray that as I use the techniques I am learning from this, that my two boys will get to know God and be equipped to stand firm with Him in every situation they find themselves in.  If that is your prayers for your kids too, then make sure you do this course.  You can find all the information over on their website.  Happy Parenting for Faith!

(p.s. if you need to persuade anyone at church about it or need some more persuasion yourself then check out the promo video here.)

 

moving house with kids

10 Tips for Moving House with Kids

moving house with kids

We are now over a month past moving house and I have had time to reflect about the things we did right and wrong with our 5 year old and 2 year old sons during this hectic time.

  • Take them on house viewings with you.   The best thing you can do to prepare your kids for moving house to involve them in as much of the process as possible.  The first step will be to take them on some viewings with you.  Whether it be first viewings, or second viewings, make sure you get to see them running around your potential new home.  It will help you to visualise it on as your family home, and your kids will love seeing what could be their new bedroom.
  • Try to explain the process to them.  Even little ones as young as five can start to understand how the house buying process works.  I tried to explain in simple terms all the little steps that we had to make, so my eldest son could see how far we had come from the first viewing.  It can be months after viewings until you actually move in so this was helpful (it was around 5 months for us).  I was able to talk about signing papers and them having to be swapped before we can move, as well as having to book a van and why we needed to pack boxes.
  • Find ways to fill the waiting.  Yup moving house is very very stressful!!  So try to find some ways to fill the periods of waiting for news.  Day trips, holidays, treat days.  These will take both yours and your kids minds off what is happening with the house move.  And if you end up taking on a project that needs lots of DIY when you get moved you won’t have as much time to do this afterwards.  Enjoy what is most important – your family.
  • Start buying things for the new house.  I wanted to keep the boys excited about the new house as well as taking their mind off it, so I tried to keep buying things to go in their new bedroom.  Name signs for the door.  New duvet covers.  Whatever little things you need to invest in anyway and a few things you don’t!  The boys were so excited about these when we got them and then when they saw them in the new room.
  • Go and explore the new area.  With my littlest boy it was important to know where the local park, library and other exciting places were.  So when he was off nursery we drove over to the new house and wandered around the area.  This meant we could hit the ground running when we finally got there and know where some of the best places to go are.
  • Find a new school and tell their old school as soon as you can.  As soon as we knew we were going to move house, we told the school my son was at.  This meant they could be aware of any changes in behaviour that might come with it.  We’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster with this one, but at least the school are aware of why it is happening and can support him.  I have made sure to find him a great new school to move to and have talked to him about his new uniform, but this will always a scary thing for a child.
  • Let them play in the moving van.  Ok so a fun one this time – let the kids enjoy the excitement as moving day gets closer!  We even let ours run up and down the big moving van before they started packing it.  Let them play with bubble wrap, hide in boxes and just be kids!
  • Sort out childcare for moving week.  This might seem obvious, but as you try to deal with solicitors, removal men and all the stress that comes with the last few days of moving, its best not to have kids in that mix too.  If you can, get grandparents or other family/friends to have them for a couple of days.  That way you can enjoy the last few days in your old house and focus on moving day.  We were lucky that it was half term when we moved so we didn’t have to worry about school.  Grandma brought the boys back at 4pm on moving day when the worst parts were over.
  • Have their room ready first.  Make sure you’ve marked the boxes, packed a bag with everything they will need for the first night (monitor, pyjamas, favourite teddy) and get their room ready as soon as you can.  We had an amazing Grandad working to build their new bunkbeds as soon as we got the keys, and then we had most of the things we need right to hand (I somehow managed to not pack any fitted sheets for the bottom of their beds and had a crazy ten minutes scrabbling in boxes to find some!!!!).   That way the second they walk into their new house it will feel like home.
  • Plan something exciting for the first day there.  Yes there will be plenty of boxes to unpack, but make sure you spend time with your kids on your first day in the new house.  Do something special to remember it.  Maybe a special breakfast or dinner out to the local restaurant.  Celebrate that the stressful period of moving house is over (yippee!!!!)
spiritual growth in children

Spotting the Signs of Spiritual Growth in Our Children

spiritual growth in children

This week we have been doing lots in our new garden.  We emptied old plant pots of dead plants, refilled them with soil and planted new seeds.  Then came the anxious waiting period, where all you can do is keeping watering them and seeing what will happen.  Every day me and my boys would go out to see if anything had started to grow, and the excitement when the first little green leaves poked through the dark soil was huge!  We’d actually grown something!!

But that isn’t the end of the story – we will continue to watch these little plants and care for them in the hope that they will produce fruit, or carrots, or pretty flowers in the future.

I think I have forgotten to look for the new growth in my children’s spiritual lives.

Yes I celebrate their physical and mental achievements – starting to read or learning to use the potty (my sons are 5 and 2 at the moment so these are forefront in my mind!).  But I often fail to see the little things that they are learning and grasping about God.

Whilst we were on holiday a couple of weeks back, we went on a walk up to a waterfall.  There were some steep steps with slate edges, so we warned Sam our eldest to be careful.  However, he decided it would be much more fun to jump up the steps than walk, and so grazed the whole front of one of his legs in the process.  Much crying happened, and we eventually were able to carry on and reach the waterfall.  As we carried on walking Sam turned to me and said “Mummy, it still hurts.  I need to ask Father God to heal it”.  He then stopped on the path and prayed (right in the way of all the other tourists trying to reach the waterfall!).

This may seem like a little thing, or perhaps people might assume its a habit I’ve gotten him into, but it wasn’t.  It was entirely his choice.  I hadn’t pushed him to pray, but only gently taught him over the last year that when we feel poorly we can take our hurts to God and ask him to heal them.  Sam knew there was nothing I could do to fix his leg (I had no plasters which of course fix everything), so he took it to the person he knew could – God.  This was a tiny little glimpse into the growth of his spiritual life, and I almost missed it trying to hurry on walking and get him out of everyone’s way.

You see sometimes I feel like what I try to teach him about God isn’t sinking in.  Prayer times are hurried or giggled through in an evening, and sometimes church can be a time of messing around.  But when I look back at where he was a year ago I can see how much he has grown spiritually.  He thoroughly enjoys worship at church and has a “dance team” of friends who join him in dancing to the songs.  He loves the Sunday School, can’t wait to go to Messy Church at Grandma’s, and comes home from school excited to have made a “tell everyone about the good news of Jesus” banner!  There is a long way to go, but we have come a long way too.

Perhaps if you are feeling discouraged in your spiritual parenting, just stop and take a look at the tiny little leaves in the same way you would a plant pot of seeds.  Maybe there is growth that you haven’t spotted yet.

Tackling Head Lice Head-on

I remember the night.  I was breastfeeding my 4 month old baby in the middle of the night during the start of the Christmas holidays.  Sat in my breastfeeding chair I could feel my head itching.  I thought nothing of it – I hadn’t had head lice since I was at primary school so why should I have them now?!  Plus my son had really  short hair.  He was in nursery but surely he couldn’t have got them?

I left it two weeks until the end of the Christmas holidays thinking it was just an itch, but it just got worse and worse!  I had to find out so went out to get the comb and whatever stuff you use to treat it.  The annoying thing was that when I checked Sam’s hair he didn’t have any – he had just passed them all to my nice long hair!!  I was devastated to have to admit I had headlice as a grown up.  So now I am insistent on not ever getting them again.

Getting ahead with head lice

For all those joyful hours that the children play together and the memories they share, unfortunately the close contact and endless selfies, brings an increased risk of head lice infestation – so as parents we need to be prepared! Luckily, with the help of Ian Burgess, head lice expert, Hedrin have put together a brief guide to getting ahead of head lice.

If in doubt, check it out

Head lice expert Ian Burgess, explains, “Head lice can appear at any place and any time, so there is no need to avoid certain situations, but just be vigilant and ensure that you check your child’s hair regularly. Some parents wait until their child starts to scratch, however, not all infestations cause an itching sensation.

Firstly, to diagnose a case of head lice, you need to find them alive. Lice range in size from a full stop to a sesame seed and they remain close to the scalp, however, you will need to check all over from the back of the head to behind the ears and under the fringe.”

How to check – remember the three C’s

Comb: Use a fine toothcomb, with teeth no more than 0.3mm apart to ensure that you can trap them and ideally use a white comb so they are more visible.

Conditioner: To ensure the process is as hassle free as possible, try combing the hair when it is wet and use a conditioner as a lubricant. This will allow the comb to glide through easily without causing any fuss.

Comfort: As the process should be part of your weekly routine, make sure they are comfortable and distract your child with their favourite TV programme, this will ensure you can check for lice quickly and thoroughly.

Treat and defeat

Ian continues, “If you find lice, don’t panic, head lice are a normal part of life. You should use a non-pesticide treatment that smothers the lice instead of poisoning them. Research suggests that lice have become resistant to traditional pesticide treatments so they are less effective although most people do use a non-pesticide product these days. “Home” remedies are sometimes used by parents, such as dosing the hair in vinegar, mayonnaise and olive oil, however, none of which are clinically proven to eradicate lice. If you are unsure about what treatment to use, speak to your pharmacist.”

How to ensure the treatment is effective

• Remember, only treat if you find live lice. Your pharmacist can advise on protection options if this is what you are looking for.

• It is very important to follow the instructions on the pack and cover the full length of hair until it is saturated for the recommended time.

• Whilst ensuring the product is used thoroughly, it is important to keep it away from your child’s eyes, face and shoulders and ensure you keep the lotion away from heat sources such as hair dryers, naked flames and cigarettes.

Detect and Protect

Once you have completed the course of the treatment, you should check thoroughly to see if there are any live lice left – remember, you need to see them moving. If you do find lice, this could be a result of a failed treatment or a re-infestation. At this point, you will need to treat again and ensure that you follow the instructions carefully.

“It is likely that some of the empty eggs are left behind, as they have a strong bond with the hair and are difficult to remove, these are called nits. Previously the removal process was done by hand or using a comb on dry hair, but ultimately this may cause hair breakage. There are now products available that help loosen the bond between the nits and the hair, to allow them to slide off easily when using a suitable comb. When you are confident that you have got rid of the infestation and the remaining nits, it may be worth considering a protection product as other children are likely to still be carrying lice in their class. Ask your pharmacist for more information.”

For more information about head lice, you can download or order free resources at www.onceaweektakeapeek.co.uk. For regular tips on head lice management check out www.facebook.com/onceaweektakeapeek

The Hedrin range:

Hedrin Once spray gel (60ml £7.49, 100ml £11.99), available from Boots

Hedrin Stubborn Egg Loosening Lotion (RRP £4.99) and as a kit (RRP £7.29) from pharmacies including Boots.

Hedrin Protect & Go (120ml £4.29, 200ml £6.29, 250ml £7.29), available from Boots

Hedrin Head lice Detection Comb is available for £3.49 from pharmacies.

 

NOTE: We were sent samples of hedrin products to review, but all opinions are my own.  Facts and advice provided by Hedrin. 

 

circus tent

Mum on a Mission Reviews Paulos Circus

circus tent

I have fond memories of the circus from my childhood – seeing the big top go up on a field next to our local leisure centre and the thrill of sitting inside it.  I don’t remember much about what happened inside as I was very young, but I’ve always wanted to take the boys along to one.  Of course seeing the Greatest Showman re-ignited that desire, and so when I was given the opportunity to go along to Paulos Circus whilst it visits York I jumped at it!!

Easy to find

picnic spotI am not native to York, and we did travel from about an hour away to get to the circus, but it was really easy to find located on the ring road round the city.  The boys were so excited on the morning and we had a chorus of “It’s circus day!!” all the way there.  This excitement built when they saw all the arrows and signs pointing to the circus.  Parking was free and plenty of it, and we even brought a picnic to make a day of it as there was a grassy field next to the big top.

Great value for money

light windmillBefore we get onto the content of the show, I just want to mention that this is a great value show.  All tickets (adults and kids) were just £7.  Refreshments were served in the half an hour before the show and were reasonable too – £3 for popcorn, £2.50 for hot dogs and £1 for drinks.  They were also selling flashing light windmills for the kids to hold up which were £4 each.  I didn’t mind buying these for the kids seeing as the tickets hadn’t cost that much, and they enjoyed holding them up in the dark parts of the show.

friendly staff

We were greeted well by the ticket office staff, and the resident clown was milling around the crowd before the show started.  This made my kids very happy as they high fived and interacted with him.  He also came to say bye on the way out.  This is the kind of thing that adds to the experience and was greatly enjoyed.

varied and fun show

rings of deathFinally, the show was really great.  There was a good mix of acrobatics, comedy moments, danger and interesting acts.  The kids enjoyed every single one of the acts, although my eldest said that the high wire walker was his favourite (when he balanced on a chair on the highwire we were really biting our nails in suspence!).  Us adults particularly enjoyed the laserman act which was fascinating to watch and the ring of death act which started the show.  The acts used lighting and music to add to the performances and there wasn’t a dull moment.  The clown provided light relief between acts which was definitely needed with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 2 years old in tow.

you won’t be disappointed

hoop acrobaticsIf you are looking for a fun afternoon out with the kids then Paulos Circus is for you – it is good value for money, great acts to watch for young and old and just good fun!  Take a few extra pennies for a flashing light windmill and embrace the comedy.  My only tip is to dress lightly and take plenty of drinks, as it was very warm in there during the 1 hour and 10 minute show.  We all emerged a little red faced!

Paulos Circus are in York until the 13th May so theres plenty of time for you to get along – visit their facebook page for more information.

mummy and sam at circus

NOTE: I was given free tickets for Paulos Circus in exchange for completing this review.  All opinions are my own.