The merits of children earning their pocket money

Posted on March 13th, 2011 -

Should you give your children money each week, at what age? how much? on what bais? What do they and don’t they have to pay for themsleves with it?

This is a a minefield of controversay which every parent will go through with their children at some stage. We all make our decsions based on very little guidance and a lot of peer presure from what others are doing. there is no right and wrong in this, we all just do what we feel is best. Would love to hear your views on the subject.

Just for the record ours get nothing without working for it. This may sound harsh but actually when you run a business like ours there are so many ways in which the children can help it actually makes it easy. Chores range from caring for the rabbits daily to manning reception, making kindling to sell and animal feed and of cause helping with changeover day stripping beds and putting on washing etc. As for how much, kindling starts at 25p per bundle they chop and tape up to £2.50 per week on the rabbits and up to the cleaners rates for cleaning a property to the full standard – only my eldest is up to this one and it takes him all day to clean a property as he is such a prefectionist – no good at all when we are busy! A day stripping the beds in summer and bagging up the laundry is £10. They are about age 10 before they can do this one.
What they are expected to buy with their money is also contentious, our eldest is saving to pay for a school skiing trip next year at £800 for which we have contributed £200. His friends apparently don’t need to pay for themselves so it is a bit unfair, but so is life and we feel he is gaining good experience and appreciation of money by working for this goal. He can make the target but will need to work his summer on the farm and cleaning. Om the other hand our 6 year olds are thrilled when they earn a £1 and head straight for the village shop to work out how many sweets they can afford. Fortunatley they are well known there and the staff are very patient when they try to buy too much or claim they thought their 10p was a £1 coin!

Diary on Sunday 13th March

Posted on March 13th, 2011 -

Collected our boys from their scouting adventure after no sleep, soaked from the rain, freezing, exhausted….you get the picture! Still they were high on adrenalin and talked over one another all the way home about the adventures of the night, which team won, who could and couldn’t light thier fire, remember their knots etc. Needless to say within an hour of being home both were asleep!
Funniest thing was Felix waking at 4pm while I was cooking dinner and going to claim a bowl of cerial, swearing blind to me it was still the morning!
It was the most beautiful of spring days again. Perfect for the feedrun with our new guests for the week. Domino also made a guest appearance enjoying her first tractor ride!

Sadly I was unable to follow the feed run this morning as our youngest, Clio had her first tap and ballet exams. Gutted to be missing such a beautiful day we set of for the dance studio. It was smiles all round when she came out so hopefully it was all worth it – 2 weeks till we find out.
Chores on the farm in the afternoon and cooking super, clean plates all round and much retelling of scouting adventures and ballet moves!

Diary on Saturday 12th March

Posted on March 12th, 2011 -

Morning to everyone. A diary of life on the farm seams like a good place to start my blog….or it did this morning. Can’t tell you how much has happened since I started this first sentence and now it is 11pm. Managing a business, home and family with 6 children, should I really be surprised that all my ambitions to keep our facebook site, twitter and now blog upto date is a challenge? Well it works so long as I don’t need too many hours sleep!

Anyway not really knowing the protocol of blogging I am going to throw order out of the window and just pick a few of the days highlights. We had one of those early spring days when you really start to feel some warmth in the sun. Domino, the orphan lamb, joined my husband and 2 of our chldren to feed the animals early doors.

Watching them all enjoing the morning chores I had one of those reflective moments, you know the ones, when you stand back and watch and think how lucky you are. A great sence of pride and thankfulness of our lovely children and souroundings washed over me.

A blur of tasks filled most of the day from cleaning properties, feeding chidren, showing in guests answering the phone, email and such like, however I did have another success moment with our 8 year old Theo who took his shetland pony out on our most successful ride around the farm yet, we managed to trot and walk with no pony naughty moments for the first time, poor Domino (the lamb who insisted on coming with us) was quite exhaused at the end and downed a huge bottle of milk before settling down for a quiet kip in the garden. Not quite sure what the newly arrived guests made of Theo and I with Dinky the pony and Domino the lamb troting past thier properties!

Sitting here now at nearly midnight I can just hear the pitter patter of rain on the roof, not sure if I will sleep tonight,our older 2 boys are out on a 12 mile adventure hike with the scouts. I tell them its all good boy stuff and to have fun, but feel a bit of a hypocrite when I then return home and worry about them! Guess that is just what Mums do.

Not sure what type of family Holiday to take? Read on……

Posted on March 11th, 2011 -

Thinking about where to go on holiday this year with a young family? This is not an easy decision to make but probably the discussion of many a household over dinner. When you give up your precious time and dip into those savings you want to make sure what you come up with is going to be a real break for the whole family. Something for you, plenty for the children, practical with a baby and not too much on the pocket!
If this seems like an impossible task, take heart, the real holiday gems can be found closer than you think, a holiday in the UK could be just the ticket! Here in the UK there are some fantastic holiday spots such as The Lake District, Scotland, Devon and Cornwall to name but a few.
But what type of holiday to book….hotel, B&B, self catering or camping? All have their plus points…. Hotels can be great if you can afford a really good one, which specialises in children’s facilities, entertainment and meal times. Bed and Breakfast is more restricted with children as you loose the flexibility to come and go as you choose, but they are cheaper. Camping can be great fun, but probably best when the children are not too young. Self-catering can be a real winner for families from tiny babies upwards as you have the flexibility of home from home in a holiday location. But do look out for ones specialising in children and baby facilities and activities for maximum enjoyment for all. They really do exist without having to feel like you are in a holiday camp. Why not try a farm holiday or something with a pool, by the beach, play areas or if you are really lucky all of the above!  Another tip on self-catering is to look for accommodation where the owners have small children themselves and live on site, then you know they are going to understand your needs and be best placed to meet them!  Make sure there are plenty of free activities where you stay and that you are not expected to shell out every time you want to borrow a game or ride out on the tractor and check for babysitting, a night out alone can make it a real break at the end of the day for you as well!  
Great accommodation makes a real difference, but location is also important. This can be different for different families so take some time out to think about what really matters to you. Do you want a feeling of peace and countryside, be close to a beach, or river with a good country pub in walking distance or would you rather feel the buss of city life on the doorstep and a plentiful choice of cafes, bars and restaurants? How long a journey are your children (and you!) comfortable with? If a really long journey fills you with dread look at destinations closer to home, or arrange to travel in the evening or very early in the morning when the children are more likely to take a nap and you don’t need to stop so often. This can also avoid the traffic if you are heading to a popular spot in the height of summer.
So where to find these holiday gems, try looking on the web site for child friendly or baby friendly accommodation. You will be surprised at the choice on the web. If you find the list overwhelming try narrowing the list by adding more criteria, for example if you know the area of the country or county you would like put that into your search, or the type of accommodation and the facilities you would like, the more specific you become the more manageable the list becomes. Another good route is via mums chat rooms or facebook, Mums Net and Net Mums are great organisations full of Mums with young children who will happily share thier holiday experiences and recommendations giving a personal recommendation for you. There is a perfect holiday waiting for you, look out for the tips suggested in here! Good luck and happy holidays!!

Our holidays with a large young family…..

Posted on March 10th, 2011 -

Our holiday winners and loosers from a family of 8! Who live in a wonderful holdiay farm already!

Our first holiday: Quack quack – oops!

I had erased this particular early holiday from my memory until Rachael, the TAMBA editor, encouraged me to drag it up for everyone’s benefit. At the time our eldest was just 6 and the triplets a few months old. We were desperate for to find an easy way to have a break from life and the business for a few days at a time and spend some quality family time together. In a moment of madness we decided that a caravan was the answer. The sensible thing would have been to book a few days away in a rented van, but no, we went the whole hog thinking we had holidays sorted and bought a caravan. Storage on the farm was simple enough, but actually getting it ready to go away was no 5 minute exercise and all my visions of happy children playing in a field while I watch sipping my wine all went out the window on our first outing. It drizzled! I was fed up with indoor card games in a confined space, trying to keep the space tidy and dry and carrying children to and from a shower block in the cold and soggy weather. That on top of the logistics of 3 mosses baskets on the floor at night, every one hearing everyone else waking up and precious little sleep causing fraying tempers. 3 nights was all we could take before packing up and returning home. I don’t even have a picture to mark the event! Needless to say 6 months down the line we conceded defeat and sold the van. Funnily enough, looking back I think it really could work for us all now that the children are older (age 6 – 12) but frankly I don’t think we will be attempting it again, one bitten and all that!
The gang playing in our holiday cottage
Looking up……
Apart from our relaxed visits to the grandparents, our only other real early holiday was a few nights just ½ hour from home in a little holiday cottage. We put it down to ‘competition shopping’ as a home from home type of holiday and it did work out for us. With 3 bedrooms, all modern facilities and space inside the cottage everyone was warm and relaxed despite the weather (again a bit mixed). I do have fond memories of silly things like playing peek-a-boo with the triplets from behind the coffee table, playing football in the communal gardens outside with our older children and a basic but adequate indoor play barn which used up those spare ½ an hour slots early evening for my husband while I cooked our dinner. The cottage was well placed for local attractions and we visited Lapper Valley, still a favourite family day out now.
Picnic in the woods while away with the grandparents a relaxing holiday for us!


On the back of this holiday we were determined to create an indoor play barn of our own at Coombe Mill, which is now a very popular feature with all our younger visitors.