Games night! Our Favourite Family Games (Ages 4+)

We’ve always enjoyed playing games, even before T was born. On holiday Sharon and I would take a few games with us to enjoy of an evening, and when friends come round we often get the games out after dinner.

When T then came along it was natural for us to start shopping for age appropriate games for us to play with him, starting with matching games and pairs. When he then became old enough to understand more intricate rules he would join in on family games nights. This would often be limited to weekends, but now that T’s in school we try and avoid going straight for the television of an evening, and instead will often get a short game out to play together.

We’re probably a minority when we say we enjoy playing games as a family, but there’s just something really enjoyable – once you know how to play (!) – about sitting round a table and playing a game together, and not just at Christmas! I remember doing it when I was young and I hope T remembers it when he’s older. We find I’m more present and whilst you’re waiting for your turn you can talk about your day.

If you’re thinking of introducing family board games into your evening, here are a few of our favourites:

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Dough Nab The Game [AD – Review]

A few weeks ago, as part of International Coffee Day, we were invited to try our Dough Nab – a fun new game (which, sadly, does not include real doughnuts) for the family. We really enjoy playing games together as a family, so we’re always interested in finding new ones to fill our evenings!

If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s rules are similar to that of a snatching or matching game where the aim of the game is to match as many cards to the three doughnuts in front of you before the other player, however there are plenty of “special” cards to shake things up along the way.

The game is aimed at 8 year olds and up, however T is 4 and got on with it just fine (once he understood the rules) Here’s how we got on:

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OCD Awareness Week: Things NOT to say to someone with OCD

*This post first appeared on MentalMutha.com

My name is Kate. I’m 31. I come from Brighton. I’m a Lesbian. My pronouns are she/her. I’m married. I’m a mother. A sister. A daughter. I’m allergic to Dioralyte (that my mum found out the hard way) and I despise Frogs and Moths.

I also have OCD.

Diagnosed in my teens, I was given a name for the crippling anxiety that often left me feeling nauseous, scared, or wanting to go home to check the oven or taps for the third time. Delving deeper into my OCD, I have 3 of the 5 main OCD compulsions; Checking, Symmetry & Order, and Contamination. I have been known to experience intrusive thoughts, but these are often on the back of something that’s just happened or is going to happen – like public speaking, for example.

Over time I’ve managed to overcome some my OCD and control my anxiety and deep-routed thoughts but it never really goes away – you’re just controlling your OCD as opposed to it controlling you. You learn to distract yourself.

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Our Favourite Children’s Books about Mental Health and Wellbeing

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day I often like to reflect and think about how far I’ve come in regards to my own mental health. Since coming to terms with it, and understanding that just like any visible or physical injury; where you need to make adjustments due a sudden change, mental health needs to be treated exactly the same way.

On good days I don’t pick my arms, I don’t feel nauseous, and tasks around the home are streamline and effortless. On bad days, well, you get the drift. Over the past few years I’ve been more open and honest about how I’m feeling, and likewise I’ve stopped and really listened to the signs of my mind telling me it’s struggling.

Not only that, one of the other benefits to addressing and taking control of my own mental health is now being able to recognise when others are struggling – primarily friends, but especially my family. Sharon and I haven’t always been the best at expressing, but now that we have a child we’ve become a lot better at expressing ourselves as well as inviting T to express how he’s feeling. This is now amplified now that T has started school which often comes with waves of emotions and awkward social situations.

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Why I’m Kinda Enjoying Life, Now That School Has Started

It’s safe to say that when T started school a little part of me had been taken away. For the past three and a bit years we had a good routine and I had the opportunity to still be with him for a decent amount of time as well as work three to five days a week.

But, for the past few weeks, I’ve come to realise that T being in school is actually pretty handy, and after the novelty of school runs wore off I started to relax and take full advantage of the spare time I suddenly had!

Don’t get me wrong, I still miss our days out and relaxing mornings together – especially as I still have no clue what he gets up to – but having spare time and being able to things I wasn’t able to do previously has certainly softened the blow.

I’d love to know if you can relate to any of these.

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After School Playtime with IKEA [AD]

I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since T started school. I also can’t believe how many school runs we’ve already done – my calves are going to be solid by the end of term! 

Although he’s a confident little nugget, I thought that naturally he’d be shy and anxious, however he’s actually taken to the routine and the new surroundings like a duck to water. I know it’s still early days, but so far he’s really enjoying it and often looks forward to school every day – although I still haven’t got a clue what he get’s up to! 

With this in mind, we always try and make sure that after school – to compliment his busy day of learning – we have something ready at home for him to wind down with. Something that’s not going to charge him up or make him think too much.

This is where IKEA – once again – comes into play. Literally. 

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