Time. Anyone else feel that there’s never enough hours in the day?

Time.

Something I wish I had more of. Most days I feel that there isn’t enough hours in the day.

Trying to fit in all the demands of everyday family life, also all the things I want to do and all the things I feel that I should do!

Everyday my head is filled with things that need doing and the list seems to get bigger and bigger and bigger – My son’s ever growing homework, the dreaded ‘family homework’ every half term, making sure my family get healthy, homemade nutritious meals (whether they get eaten is a completely different matter), finding time to keep fit & getting rid of the ‘mum tum’ , finding ‘me time’ & also quality time with the husband, spending time with the important people in my life, drinking enough bloody water, getting enough sleep, having a beauty regime (that consists of more than just showering), trying to have a social life, keeping on top of the never ending washing pile….. The list just keeps going!

So how do get more of this precious time and is there anything you can do about this never ending list?

I’ve started to look at the choices I make everyday and decide whether I’m making the right choices for myself and my family. Do what’s necessary and essential to live and then just choose the things you want you want to do. Try not to worry about the little things, take some of the pressure off.

People say to me all the time ‘how do you do it?’ That I’m always rushing around here and there everyday. I find my day to day life easier being out and about with my little ones. We love going to all sorts of classes. We love to explore, therefore the housework can wait! I find when we stay in, after a while of playing I get sidetracked with the housework and all the jobs on my list, then start wondering why my toddlers won’t just play on their own and let me get on with my jobs. Obviously there are jobs that do need to be done, but I try to be flexible. I wait until nap time or once they’re in bed.

I want my children to remember playing with mummy and the places we went together, not how tidy our house was!

I’ve recently started a bullet journal to manage my time better. Check out bullet journals for yourself online. I love mine as I’ve always had little to do lists all over the place. I also struggled falling asleep as I had all the to do lists in my head too. It’s helped me to get organised and realise what’s important and what’s not worth worrying about.

I do fit a lot into the hours between my children going to bed and myself going to bed. I couldn’t live without those hours, that’s my time. I rush through the housework, eat tea with the husband, watch some TV, do some writing, researching things to do……

I’ve said it before, but your little ones really so grow up so fast. I hope you have liked my photos, just a few of my favourite ones of the three of them.


Being a mum is hard, bloody hard. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Don’t get me wrong, being a mum is hard, bloody hard and I’m not gonna say it’s not! I will say its the most rewarding thing I have done with my life, its made me a better person and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

There is so much pressure to be a good mum. There’s pressure from society to be the best mum, a fun mum, a strict mum, a healthy & fit mum, to have a good work life balance etc etc etc, blah blah blah.

Then there’s all the pressure that a mum puts on herself. Come on, hands up, mum’s are their own worst enemy! Sometimes being a mum isn’t what we expected it to be and that can be difficult to accept, I’ve heard lots of mums saying they miss the ‘old them’, feeling like they’ve lost their former selves. New mums, and old mums need to remember who they are, find something they love whether it’s the gym or reading and find sometime for themselves too. We’re important too mums!

We give ourselves a hard time when we should be giving ourselves a break and a pat on the back!

It still seems so hard to have a great career and be a mum which surely is wrong in this day and age? Trying to have a good work life balance does seem to be difficult the better the job you have, but I may be wrong. A good career never happened for me but at this moment in time, I count my blessings.

I always thought that at some point during college or university, I’d wake up one day knowing what I’d want to do with my life. That all of a sudden one day a sparkly amazing career would fall on my lap. But it didn’t happen! I did well at uni but left still having no idea what career path I wanted, I fell into a ‘job’ like you do as I had bills to pay and that was that! I’m definitely not a person who is defined by their job and have unfortunately never been fulfilled by it.

Since having my children, I’ve found something I enjoy, something I’m good at! Yes we have our tough days, some tougher than others haha. I love helping them learn and watching them grow. I love all the baby and toddler classes and chatting with other mums, I really do. I know they’re not for everyone but they are a great source of support and I’ve met some lovely friends from attending groups. I love exploring the world with my toddlers and try to enjoy as much of it as I can.

Also from having children, I found a love in sharing what’s going on in the local area and sharing what we’re doing day to day. A lot has been self taught but I now know how to manage and update a website, run social media sites and confidently talk to different businesses about a range of things. These are skills I never had before having children and something I’m extremely proud off.

Who cares what society (or yourself) says a mum should be doing! If you don’t like the baby classes, don’t go! If you want to go back to work, go back! We are told too much these days about what a ‘good mum’ should look like. Just enjoy the time whilst they are little as it goes so quick.

Whether you’re a stay at home mum or a full time working mum, give yourself a break, ease the pressure and the expectations and be the best mum you can be, whatever that looks like!

I don’t pretend to be an expert, just wanted to share my experience of motherhood with you.

Local Free & Cheap Places To Go With The Family. 

Did you know there are loads of museums and places to visit in the local area that are not only great for families, but cheap or even a free day out?
Here’s a list of our favourite places and museums to visit, in order of distance.

  • Oldham Library and Gallery.

We are regular visitors to Oldham Library and Gallery, it plays host to weekly rhyme time sessions and a monthly twin group. However, it has much much more to offer.

Oldham Library has a wonderful performance space, offering music, activities and theatre to all, with the Arts Funded Council programme, Live@thelibrary. From drama and writing workshops to children’s and family shows, there’s something for everyone. Unless stated, all Live@thelibrary events are only £5. We’ve seen many productions including Hand’s Hen and The Ugly Ducking, such fabulous family shows!

There’s also family films showed monthly with The Small Cinema and Gallery Oldham. Tickets are less than a fiver, which includes a kids goodie bag plus arts and crafts before the movie.

Oldham Library, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL

  • Portland Basin.

Such a fab free day out, we love it! Only 2 minutes out of the centre of Ashton, Portland Basin is really easy to get too. There’s free parking too.

Take a walk down a 1920’s street, have a look around and see how life was. Explore the school, the chippy, the church and even the pub.

There’s also an under 5’s play area, Nuts and Bolts which is fab, but my kids favourite part is the miniature train. We stand and watch it go around and around for ages. We also enjoy the trails they have on, at the moment it’s teddy bears, can you spot all the teddies hidden in the museum?

There is space for picnics and also a cafe, so great for lunch time or snack time. Easy access for prams, even my big double fits in the lift. On nice days, you can pop outside, feed the ducks, have a walk or even take a trip on the canal. Fantastic!

1 Portland Place, Ashton-under-Lyne OL7 0QA

  • Museum of Transport Greater Manchester.

Probably my sons favourite museum, he’s a huge fan of buses. Under 16’s are free, adults only £4 a ticket, so really a cheap day out. Apart from the many buses to view, there’s a ‘play’ bus for children to climb on, they can be the driver or conductor dressing up in the outfits and hats. Theres’s also tables filled with colouring sheets for your little ones. My kids love finding the buses your allowed to climb aboard, especially the double decker buses. There is also a tram you can board and my little ones love to take turns to be the driver.

There isn’t any picnic space but there is a very reasonably priced tea room, where you can enjoy light lunches.

A word of warning, you do enter via the shop, which I find hard with a car mad little boy as it’s filled with little toy cars and bigger collectables.

Boyle St, Cheetham, Manchester M8 8UW

  • Museum of Science and Industry.

Another fab place that is completely free to enter, they do rely on donations. The museum is open every day and is really easy to access from the centre of Manchester. Be amazed as science and history is brought to life through interactive shows, demonstrations and even some dressing up. My kids love the Experiment Gallery, there’s loads of ‘hands on’ things to do. There’s also a little sensory space for babies and young children which is fab.

As well as a cafe and a bistro, they do have a large picnic area which I love. It gives you the option to bring your own food without worrying about the weather. We usually pack a lunch and treat ourselves to a coffee and a cake!

Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP

  • Manchester Museum

Open every day of the week and free entry, Manchester Museum is a fantastic place for families to visit, especially if you have any dinosaur fans. My eldest loved learning all about the dinosaurs, we visited the museum due to him studying dinosaurs at school. We were also fascinated by the Vivarium which is home to a large collection of frogs and the animals collection which includes approximately one million preserved animals.

Again there is a cafe and a fab picnic space, although it is quite small so get there early. The museum is light and airy, it has a lovely modern feel about it. It’s definitely a good day out, too much to see in one day if I’m honest. We’ve been back several times and still haven’t seen everything.

Like most of the free museums, Manchester Museum is a charity and needs support with our donations.

Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL

 

Where do you and your family like to visit?

Rainy Day Activities

My family love to be outside. But sometimes it’s just not possible when the weather is too bad! So on days where it just pours and pours, how do you keep your little ones entertained whilst keeping your own sanity?

Here’s some of our favourite activities to do when we can’t get outdoors.

  • Make some music

When we’re stuck indoors, we love to get all our musical instruments out and play some tunes! From rattles to a drum, whatever you have will do. You can make homemade shakers using an empty water bottle and some rice or pasta. Just make some noise!

  • Build a Den.

My kids love building a den, who doesn’t? We like to get a bed sheet and put it over the kitchen table. We then get our favourite toys and books and all hide in the den. Maybe enjoy a snack under there too!

  • Get messy with the paints.

In the past I usually strip the Toddlers off (for less mess) and let them get as messy as they like. Recently we received some tunic bibs from Messy Me and there fab at keeping them clean too! I know messy play isn’t for everyone and I don’t always like the mess either. I find it easiest when I haven’t got any plans, so I’m not worrying about getting clean or in a rush. I also let them paint on the kitchen floor, rather than on the table as the paint just wipes right off.

I find my two prefer their hands or homemade stampers (toilet rolls see photos) than paint brushes, easier for little hands.

I let them lead, I try not to worry to much about the mess and try to enjoy myself too!

  • Water play.

A brilliant one for after painting too! My two love playing with water. At the local playgroup they’re always at the water table! At home I find it so much easier to run a bath and let them play! Who said bathtime means bedtime?

My kids love a bath, especially in the middle of the day. Throw in their favourite bath toys, we love to blow bubbles too! Mine love to sing songs in the bath, I also use the bath foam numbers when singing.

Top tip- Put them in the bath straight after messy paint play!

  • Sit & read.

We like to put comfy cushions on the floor and surround ourselves with our favourite books. Toddlers love books and my 2 have loads. We can sit and read together or they can look at them independently. Fill your den with books too!

  • Sensory play

For their first Christmas, my two received a lovely sensory box from Grandma. We still love to play with it now and a rainy day is a great opportunity to get it out.

You can buy sensory boxes ready made or can easily make them yourself. Fill them with different materials and items for your little ones to explore.

  • Picnic on the floor

We love having picnics on our outings, why not have one at home? We change up our routine, ditch the highchairs and all sit on the floor. I put a large mat on the floor, filled with sandwiches, fruit & crisps, my little ones love it!

  • Splash in the puddles.

If the rain stops long enough, throw on their waterproofs & wellies and head outside. My little girl finally fits in some wellies, she has tiny feet! Kids love puddles and to explore.

What do you and your little ones do on a rainy day?

Why My Family Loves to be Outdoors. 

Come rain or shine, at the weekend you’ll pretty much always find me and my family outside! Unless it’s torrential rain, we put on our walking boots, waterproofs and all head outdoors.

As a family, we all prefer to be outside and we love exploring new places! We are National Trust members and we renew every year as we get so much out of it. Definitely worth the money.

I’m not one for soft play centres at the weekend (too busy) and I’m not one for  having ‘relaxing, staying home’ days at the weekend (not relaxing with 3 young kids). So we go out!

Don’t get me wrong, kids don’t generally like walking and my eldest isn’t any different. We try to keep him entertained on the walk. He loves a ‘trail’, whether its a nature trail that we’ve made up (‘can you see a horse, some red berries and a stick etc) or a organised trail in a NT garden. We have taken part in loads of fab trails, from welly ones, hootys owl trail, reindeer trails and even a Lego trail!

More recently we stumbled across finding rocks. The ‘paint and hide rocks craze’  came from Morecambe and Lancaster where people tag the back of the rock with #pebbleart.

We were lucky enough to find lots of these painted rocks on weekends away, we’ve even brought some home and hid them more locally. It keeps children entertained whilst walking and it’s lots of fun!

We even painted a few and hid them in local parks such as Uppermill Park and Alexander Park. Now there’s even a Facebook page called Tameside Rocks, so look out, they’re everywhere!

Last year I was introduced to Geocaching. What’s geocaching I hear you cry? In a nutshell, it’s an outdoor activity where you use a GPS system (mobile phone and geocaching app) to find and seek containers and the best park for kids, sometimes they contain treasure!! There are millions around the world, so chances are you’re near one right now! 

We are hooked (and a little obsessed, I think my friends & family think we’re bonkers) but we love it and it makes a day out into a real adventure!

I hope I haven’t bored you going on about the great outdoors, maybe we could go treasure hunting together one time? Or on a nature walk?

Our Favourite Places To Take The Kids in The Lakes. 

I started writing this post on our way back from our post Christmas getaway to the Lakes.

We’ve visited the Lake District loads of times over the years. Even more so since we’ve had children, having our family holidays there.

We usually stay in the south of the Lakes, keeping the journey short, also meaning we can enjoy our favourite places even if we’re not staying there as the drive isn’t too far from home!

I wanted to share some of the places we’ve been to, the little gems that we have found and the things we have done that are brilliant especially for the little people in your party!

Wray Castle, Ambleside.

We’ve visited Wray Castle several times over the years, and it’s definitely one of our favourite places to visit with the kids when we are in the Lakes.

It’s a National Trust castle, which as NT members makes it a cheap day out for us! It’s not a usual NT castle, it’s for kids! The rooms have been emptied of breakables and antiques, and filled with toys and games! There’s everything from rooms filled with princess dresses and suits of armour, to a ping pong table and even giant foam building blocks but our favourite part is the Peter Rabbit rooms.

Your children can visit Peter Rabbits home, explore Mr McGreggers Garden and climb into the tree house!

We have visited Wray Castle throughout the seasons, but my favourite is Springtime. Last year we did the Cadburys Easter Egg hunt there and found hidden treasures outside in the grounds of the castle. There’s a fantastic adventure playground outside that the kids love, lots to climb on!  There’s some  lovely walks around the castle, but also a fab little beach area. We can’t wait for the spring weather so we can have a picnic on the beach!

The car park isn’t very big, the NT advise you to come early or park in Ambleside and get the boat across to the castle itself, although we’ve never had an issue with parking.
Lakeside Aquarium, Ulverston. 

This is another place we have visited a couple times over the years. We visited this weekend and it was by far my favourite time ever. Most people weren’t on half term so we had the place to ourselves- always a bonus! But I enjoyed it so much as my twins could enjoy it too. They were late walkers and seen to always be stuck in a pram, but not this time.

The aquarium was perfect for them to walk around themselves and explore safely. They had a ball! The fish tanks were perfect heights for them and they could watch the otters with ease. They loved walking ‘under’ water and over the bridge.

Grisdale Forest, Hawkshead

This weekend was our first visit to Grizedale Forest and we loved it! We first headed to the visitor centre to collect the activity pack for The Highway Rat Trail. My son was over the moon with his pack with included activity sheets, pencil & crayon, stickers and a rat mask- well worth the £3. We found the start of the trail and we were off, taking in the lovely views and amazing sculptures as we walked through the forest.

A truly magical part of the experience was the musical trees, my eldest was mesmerised. Magic keys were sticking out of the trees and were playing beautiful tunes when turned!

We completed the activities throughout the trail, from seeing who can hop the further ride collecting and making our journey stick (we collected a pine cone and a selection of leaves). At the end, my son was awarded with a certificate and sticker which made his day.

We had lunch in the cafe which was lovely and new, nice and clean. It was very spacious and family friendly. The food and drink seemed very reasonably priced.

Before we headed home, we let our 3 loose in the giant adventure playground, they had an absolute ball! We will definitely be back again soon!

Grange Over Sands, Cumbria

This is such a lovely day out! We love visiting Grange as a family, especially when we’re at the caravan near Morecambe. We leave the car at Carnforth train station, and take the train to Grange Over Sands. It’s usually only about £4 for an adults return and the journey is just under 20 minutes, perfect for when traveling with little ones.

It’s a fantastic little journey, with some gorgeous views. My kids always love when we cross the Leven viaduct, for part of the journey it’s as if we’re floating on water!

Once we get to Grange, there’s a promenade to walk along. At weekends we have seen market stalls and craft stalls set up along the front. There’s also a cafe and ice cream shop as well as a small children’s playground.

We like to come off the promenade and venture into the centre of Grange too. There’s a gorgeous little park with a duck pond (always a bonus with kids) and a couple of cafes and tea rooms, one which seems very popular!

After a short walk back to the train station, we head home after such a lovely day. I definitely recommend visiting Grange Over Sands the next time you’re in the Lake District.

I can’t wait to explore new places in the future and make more memories as a family.

My 3 Top Tips For New Parents Of Twins. 

I’m mum to boy/girl twins who will be 2 in March. I also have a 5 year old son. Now I am not saying I’m an expert by any stretch but I would love to share with you some of my experiences since becoming a twin mummy and giving new twin parents my tips.

Finding out we were having twins came as a massive and I mean massive shock! Twins don’t even run in the family!

So here are my top tips – 

1/ Expect questions. Lots and lots of questions. From every one. Especially strangers in the street. Also, expect absolutely ridiculous questions such as-

‘you have boy/girl twins, are they identical?’

‘why don’t they look alike?’

‘if you were to lose one, which would you rather it be?’

‘so they poo at the same time?’

Get my drift…..

2/  If you want to get out and about, get organised. It is possible to leave the house with several little ones. I’m not one of these mums that can be in the house all day with toddlers. I need to be with other mums, out and about, preferably with plenty of coffee haha. 

My biggest tip would be to get organised. Plan your week in advance. Pack your change bag the night before. Put your kids clothes out and prepare any snacks before you go to bed. The less you have to do the morning, the easier it will be to leave the house.

3/ Find someone who ‘gets it’ 

I’m extremely lucky to have lots of lovely mum friends, but having a twin mum to chat too is a massive must from me! 

Join some Facebook twin groups for online support and look out for local twin groups to meet fellow multiple mums. I couldnt have survived with my twins mummies!
I try to ignore the ‘double the trouble’ comments and bask in
 ‘double the love’. These last two years have flown by, gone in a blink of an eye and I have loved every single second of it. 

Rachel. A proud twin mummy x

Hello… 

Welcome to my brand new blog, the Out and About Mummy! I’m mum to three young children living in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

Over the past two years I have come to love writing about family life and days out as well as sharing with you all on social media.

I love writing about life with my car obsessed 5 year old, the fun we have with our toddler twins, UK holidays and our family obsession with Geocaching.

I can’t wait to get started on this new bloggers journey and hope you enjoy reading too. I aim to add a What’s On locally section, Days Out ideas and plenty of reviews!

Rachel.

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