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Outdoor Gym Equipment – The Best Choice For Family Bonding & Fitness?

mum, dad and 3 children in their garden - outdoor gym equipment
Image by Kenny Holmes from Pixabay 
This is a collaborative post

Many parents today find that it is difficult to bond with their children because they do not get to spend a lot of time together. We live in a time-poor society, and a lot of parents find themselves working long hours. At the same time, it can be difficult to pry children away from their video games and such like. However, all hope is not lost, you just need a little bit of joined-up thinking, outdoor space and some equipment, and you can create a place where your children and you can use outdoor gym equipment to prioritise your health and the time you spend outdoors with your children, allowing you to spend time together, get fit, and stay off the screens for a while.

Why do parents struggle to bond with their children?

A lot of parents struggle to bond with their children these days, and there are many reasons why this is the case. One of the most common reasons for this is because parents spend a lot of their time working. They may have limited time available to spend with their children. While we would all like to stay at home all of the time and not go to work, it’s simply not that easy, and it can mean that you do not bond as much with your kids as you would like.

At the same time, when children start to grow up, they make friends, and they develop their own likes and interests. This can become incredibly consuming for them. They may want to spend all of their time with their friends or playing video games. Prying them away from this can be difficult and it can even result in resentment in some cases. This is why you really need to think about how you are going to bond with your children. Exercising together is an excellent option, and we will explain the reasons why in the next section.

How can family exercise help to strengthen bonds?

If you are looking to strengthen that all-important family bond, exercising together is a great option to consider. When you exercise together, you spend time with each other on a regular basis. Plus, doing this outdoors is even more beneficial. After all, being outside positively impacts us in many different ways. You will be at one with nature, which will lower your stress levels and make you feel happier. Plus, by doing something active, you can have fun and it won’t feel forced. It can build the perfect foundation for other family activities in your life. 

Aside from this, exercising together is beneficial because you are all going to be working together toward the same common goal. You can encourage and motivate one another. You also learn all about the value of teamwork and how you can work effectively together. All of this can help to strengthen your family bonds. By being there for each other, you strengthen your relationships, and this is something that is going to flow into other areas of your life. So, exercising together can certainly help to strengthen your bonds in many different ways.

What sort of options are there when it comes to outdoor gym equipment?

As you can see, outdoor gym equipment is a great choice when it comes to strengthening your family bond. However, you will want to make sure that you purchase outdoor gym equipment with care so that the entire family can have fun and get fit together.

You will want to think about the sort of gym equipment you should purchase. One piece of equipment we would always have high up on the list is monkey bars. Monkey bars are great because they are heaps of fun and there are so many different ways you can use them, which ensures you are working all of your muscles and getting a full-body workout.

Aside from this, you may want to consider setting up your own outdoor obstacle course, with various pieces of equipment used throughout. You can amend this course after a period of time to keep things exciting. If your family is competitive by nature, you will find that this adds an extra element of fun to your outdoor exercise sessions.

 From bench presses to stepping stones; the only limit is your imagination when it comes to creating an outdoor gym area, and this is one of the reasons why this is such a good choice for families of all ages.

Final words on how parents and children can benefit from using outdoor gym equipment

All in all, if you are looking for different ways to strengthen your family bond and spend more time together, purchasing outdoor gym equipment could be the perfect solution. You will spend valuable time together every week, keep fit, and have some great laughs along the way. 

No End Of School Questions This Year

KayCee and Ella

I started asking KayCee and Ella some end of school questions back in 2012.
It was KayCee’s last day at infants and Ella’s last day in reception.

They’ve answered the same set of questions every year since, except this year.
This year Covid-19 hit the world and school as we knew it had to drastically change.

I can’t actually remember when the schools closed or how long they’ve been off, I just know it feels like a very long time!
Both KayCee and Ella coped well with the lockdown. They didn’t moan about all the new restrictions, they understood why we had to have them and just got on with it.

I don’t think they worked as hard as they could have on their school work during lockdown but I’m confident they’ll be able to catch up when they get back to school properly.
If your children need some extra help before going back to school, check out Tutor Bot to find lots of online, educational games.

Fingers crossed, the schools and the school children will be able to get back to some sort of normality in September, although, what ‘normal’ will mean then is anybody’s guess!

So, while I haven’t got the answers to the end of school questions this year, I do have updated photos of my beautiful girls 🙂


Today We Met Our Older Half-Sister For The First Time!

I grew up the eldest of four siblings. I have 2 brothers and a sister, John, James and Stacy. Growing up we always knew we had an older half-sister called Claire who had been born on Christmas Day.
My mum had her when she was only sixteen and she put her up for adoption.  She didn’t really talk about her and we never pushed her as we knew it must have been really hard for her.

Genetic Disease

My sister, Stacy’s little boy and my brother, James’s youngest son, were recently diagnosed with CMT. CMT stands for Charcot Marie Tooth disease and it causes problems with the legs. Sufferers have problems walking and may even end up in a wheelchair or having to use a mobility scooter to get around.

Stacy and my sister-in-law, Kirsty, joined a support group on Facebook.
A local woman saw a post my sister put up in the group and offered to meet them in town for a coffee and give them information and advice.

After Stacy and Kirsty had met her, they both said they felt that she looked familiar but didn’t think anything else about it.

Later that day, Stacy and Jayne were chatting online and from this conversation, they came to the realisation that Jayne was the daughter my mum had put up for adoption.

Whirlwind Of Emotion

When my mum phoned me to let me know, I went through a whirlwind of emotions. I was stunned at first. I couldn’t believe that Stacy had met her and had coffee and neither of them knew they were sisters!

The shock was then replaced with excitement. I’d always hoped she would find us. I had thought about trying to find her but I had no way of knowing if she knew she’d been adopted and I didn’t want to bring any upset to her or her family.

I often wondered what it would have been like to not be the eldest and to have an older sister.

Group Chat

That same night my sister got us together on a group chat; we chatted for ages and arranged to meet a couple of weeks later.  It was all a bit surreal and felt like everything was moving very fast.

It was good not being able to meet straight away because it gave us all a chance for the news to sink in.

I couldn’t imagine how Jayne must have been feeling. She was coming alone to meet her mum, 2 sisters, 2 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law. I would have been terrified!

A Great Time Was Had By All

The meeting nearly didn’t happen because it snowed last night and everywhere was white over when we got up this morning. To top it off, our car wouldn’t start. It was looking like we wouldn’t be able to go but luckily we were able to borrow Ant’s mum’s car and the main roads were all clear 🙂

I’m so happy to say that we all had a wonderful afternoon. Stacy said afterwards that it was like we’d always known each other and I totally agree. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and happy and we all laughed a lot!

Our family is already quite big and now we have another sister and four more nieces and nephews! It’s going to be lovely getting to know them all.

Welcome to the family Jayne, I’m so glad you fit right in with this bunch of mad-heads!

Me, Stacy, John and James - Meeting our older half-sister, Jayne, for the first time.
Back row from left – James and John Front row from left – Jayne, Stacy and me

Mum, Me, Stacy, John and James - Meeting our older sister, Jayne, for the first time.

Mum and Jayne

Jayne, James, John, Stacy and me

Gemma (John's wife) taking a photo of us all at the table




Sisterly Love

Ella wanted to make a PowerPoint video for her homework about the ancient Egyptians. I’m not very good with PowerPoint as I’ve never had to use it so I told her to ask KayCee for help.
KayCee was upstairs working on a 2000 word essay for her homework but she kept coming downstairs when Ella needed help.
I snapped the photo because it’s not often I get proof of the sisterly love between these 2!

Sisterly Love

sisterly love - Kaycee helping Ella with homework

5 Ways You Can Show Your Family Appreciation

5 Ways You Can Show Your Family Appreciation


Having a family is literally one of the best things you can do in life. Sure, you create an army of small people who make a lot of mess, a lot of noise and cause a lot of stress sometimes, but they’re an army of little people who give you unlimited love and cuddles. They’re the pieces of immortality you create so that when this world is long behind you, you have a legacy that continues living. That sheer love and appreciation you have for your family is one that never seems to go away, even when the bad days feel never-ending.

family on the beach

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We live in a world of social media that is in your face all hours of the day. In the palm of your hand, you have a working way for people to judge you and your life. How you dress. How you parent. Even how you eat are at the mercy of the opinions of relative strangers on the internet. And everyone has an opinion. For every person who agrees with your methods of parenting your children, there are ten more who can make you feel guilty for the way you do things. The thing is, there is no wrong way to be a parent. If your children are fed, have a warm bed at night and plenty of love, then the latest consoles and gadgets that may be unaffordable just do not matter.

grandmother reading to grand daughter

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Adults often reflect on their own childhoods and draw from their experiences when it comes to raising children. For example, if you were disciplined with a smack as a child, you may choose to do it differently when you are a parent. If your parents forced you to eat everything on your plate as a child, you may choose to give your own children more food freedom. Everything we learn from our parents has a knock-on effect on our children, and it’s for this reason you have to be sure you are confident in your own parenting skills. Do you show your partner how much you appreciate them and their help?

father and son family

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Do you feel grateful for the education and healthcare opportunities your children have compared to when you were a child? You should. Feeling grateful for the things you have – from access to NHS prescriptions online to the TV satellite you recently managed to afford – is the first way you can learn to appreciate things in your life. This then can lead you to show your children you appreciate them and everything they offer you. You as a parent offer them the world on a platter and every opportunity that you can readily afford. But what do your children offer you? The answer is unconditional love. Children are – for the most part – created in love and therefore do nothing but idolise you as a parent. This means that you have to be the best you can be for them. There are many ways you can show your children that you appreciate their presence in your life and we’ve put together five of the best ways you can make sure that they know they are wanted and important in your life.

boy blowing bubbles

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Children need reassurance. Reassuring them that they are and always will be your first priority is important for them. Adults attention is demanded by so many things during the day that can mean us unintentionally brushing the children off and moving forward with our day without a second thought. This has an impact. The memories you give your children will shape them as adults and so you have to make them see and understand that they are a priority to you. You will, of course, be pulled away by work and by other small distractions. But you should praise them for their successes, however minor, and support them and guide them when they fail. You’re their advocate, their biggest fan and the person who is going to be there for them when they fall. Be there and make sure they know it.

  1. Children need a good bond. There is no point in planning a family that you won’t be there for. Creating a bond with your child that they can rely on is vital for their growth. Establishing a family culture and a secure feeling of togetherness can make your children realise that they can always fall back onto you when in times of sadness. Investing the time that you can take with your children will be so good for them to know how deeply you value their company. Children are smart and they can tell when they are a nuisance; don’t make them feel that way.
  2. Always be the parent who is real. Don’t give them false hopes for the future or for their grades at school. If they are falling behind, don’t tell them they’re doing amazingly well because all it does is make them incorrectly secure. Instead, show them where they are going wrong and guide them to the right path. You are their parent and while it’s nice to have an ego massage occasionally, all you would be doing is making them falsely confident. They can see through a lie and you should look them in the eye and tell them they’re amazing where it is deserved.
  3. Did you know that children value memories as much as parents do? Take photos of the fun. Make sure that why you do, you are in those pictures with them. It doesn’t matter if your hair is greasy or you have a spotty face. The bags under your eyes don’t need photoshop. Children need to remember you as you always were and don’t forget, they love you no matter whether you look exhausted and without makeup. Snap photos of their kindness with others. They may get embarrassed, but one day you will have your photos to look at while your children are grown and out of the nest.
  4. The best thing you can do for your children, other than feeding them and clothing them, is celebrating their uniqueness. Each child in your family has their own personality and appreciating the personality they have and not comparing them to each other is the way to be. Never expect them to be a person that they are not. Parents always build castles in the sky for their children, but that doesn’t mean your children have to live up to your expectations. The only thing you can ever expect is kindness, love and affection from them and that’s more than enough.

little girl cuddling a teddy

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As a parent, you will be judged. You will be looked at and people will see how you parent and form an opinion about you. The best thing to do is just go about your business with your family and focus on loving and appreciating them in the best way you know how to and ignore anyone who wants to pass an opinion on how you do things. Being a parent and finding the balance with your children is not easy, but it’s a learning curve for the whole family. You never stop evolving as a parent but as long as you are showing your appreciation for your children and who they are, you won’t make a mistake. They won’t ever think you don’t love them, they’ll know that you are there for them and that’s exactly what they need from you. Appreciating your children sometimes takes some effort, so make the time and be the best parent you can be.

This is a collaborative post

Our Baby Girl Is In France – First School Trip Abroad



Kaycee’s been counting down the days until the school trip to France and now she’s finally there. It was weird her not being here when I got up yesterday. She had to be at school for 5.30 am so she set her alarm for 3 am. Her friend, Sophie, had stayed the night to make it easier to go to school together. They didn’t manage to get to sleep very early; they were just too excited, I think!

She’d gone before we woke up so she left a goodbye note on the fridge for us all. She’s such a sweetheart. I’m going to miss her being away this week. I know how much fun going on a school trip abroad can be, though, so I’m happy that she was able to go.

Monthly Allowance

She paid for the trip herself out of her monthly allowance. We’re very proud of how she managed her money.
During the last school year, when they were both at Junior school, it felt like they wanted money for something every week. They wanted to join every club, buy every school photo and spend money at book fayres and summer fayres and Christmas fayres. They also wanted hot school meals every week and pounds here and there for various fundraising days.
It was getting very expensive and a bit out of control so we decided that they would be given a monthly allowance.

They now have to work out what clubs they can afford to join. If they can’t afford them all, they have to pick which one they’d most like to do.
If they have money left at the end of the month, they’re not allowed to spend it on rubbish. They know they have to keep it in the tin so it builds up.


To pay for France, Kaycee did need a little extra help from us and other family members. She’d not been getting the allowance long enough for it to build up but she still did well with her budget.
She went without hot school meals, opting to take a packed lunch instead and the only club she carried on paying for was Guides. She saved Christmas money so she’d have plenty of spending money.

I can’t wait for her to come home so I can hear all about it. Thinking of her in France with her friends reminds me of when I want to Holland on my school trip. I hope she has as much fun on her trip as I did on mine 🙂

Kaycee France



It’s been a busy day – now to relax!

Busy Day

I’m shattered. It’s been a busy day.
I spent the morning volunteering at the charity shop and the afternoon working on craft tutorials for a craft advent I’m doing on my blog. I have brain ache now because I’ve been at the computer for so long!
We’ve managed to get about 8 crafts done and I’ve got all the photographs resized and ready to upload. I’ve written up 6 of the tutorials but I need a break now!

While I was working, I put a Christmas movie on and let myself get excited because it’s only 4 and a bit weeks until Christmas! The husband and the son think it’s too early for me to be watching Christmas movies. To prove them wrong, I’ve watched 3 and a half of them today! We had to switch the 4th one off because the girls had to go for a bath and Kaycee didn’t want to miss it. She’s hooked on Christmas movies like me 🙂

Talking of Christmas movies, I treated myself to Holiday Inn on DVD yesterday from Sainsburys. It was only a fiver but I got it for free. I doubled up my Nectar points and used them in the Entertainment section.
I also got a new book to add to the Christmas Book Advent we do. I’m not telling which book I bought though; Kaycee has started reading my blog and I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

busy day - Holiday Inn

I’ll have to get more crafts done tomorrow afternoon if I want to have all the tutorials written in time. For now, I need a break from the PC and I’m off to watch more TV with the husband. I don’t think we’ll be watching anything Christmassy though!

Painted emoji faces – Fun with poster paint!

Painted Emoji Faces

Kaycee’s friend, Katie came for a sleepover last night. Ella was visiting her sister, Kellyann, for the weekend. Kaycee and Katie slept outside like the girls have done since the little big tent festival night!
After a trip to the cinema today, they came home and went in the pool for a while. Afterwards, they decided they were going to do painted emoji faces on each other using water-based poster paint!


painted emoji faces Ella

painted emoji faces Katie

Ella is the crying face emoji, Katie is the love heart eyes emoji and Kaycee is the being sick emoji!

It took a while to get all the paint off and they got a little bit stressed when it wouldn’t come off completely! Kaycee had a yellowish tinge to her face and Ella looked like she’d not washed her makeup off properly from a heavy night on the town!

Parent Teacher Night

We went to parent teacher night tonight and for the first time since Kaycee started school, we came away feeling really happy.

Close up of Kaycee

She always gets good reports, does well with her work and gets on with others but we’ve always had a worry about her spelling. All her teachers have, not brushed off our concerns, but rather made us feel like there wasn’t a problem and it would sort itself out.

She starts secondary school next year and her spelling isn’t getting any better.

She’s absolutely brilliant at writing. If she carries on the way she is I truly believe she could be a wonderful novelist (and that’s not just me being biased!), all her teachers talk about how expressive her writing is but we feel her spelling lets it down.

Tonight, for the first time ever, her teacher expressed the same concerns we’ve always had and it was wonderful to finally feel like our concerns were real and that something needs to be done.
She’s already started work on helping all the class get better at spelling and if Kaycee needs extra help in the future, she’s going to make sure she gets it.

I’ve written before about trying to help Kaycee at home with spelling and now she’s getting extra help at school, I’m confident that we’re going to see a big improvement by the end of this school year.

Both Ant and I really liked her new teacher and we think she’s going to be brilliant for Kaycee this year 🙂

Close up of Ella

Ella’s doing great as well and her teacher doesn’t have any concerns at all, for which we were really pleased!
She hasn’t noticed a problem with Ella not focusing (she does have trouble at home with concentration) and thinks that maybe it was an age thing and she’s starting to grow out of it.

I think both girls have been really lucky to get such great teachers 🙂

Lovely day with the S.W.H. (Super wonderful husband)

The kids are in Belper this weekend so Ant and I spent the day shopping! It wasn’t his first choice of things to do on a Saturday I know, but I had a really lovely day with him. We Spent a couple of hours in B&M choosing new bedding, curtains etc for a makeover challenge I’ve been set (blog post to come soon).

I got very excited when I saw the start of the Christmas section they’re adding at B&M.
We decided to pick up some Christmas gifts for the nieces and nephews while we there because I knew that if we didn’t get the stuff today, they would be sold out when we managed to get back!

A photo posted by Michelle Ashmore (@shelllouise1207) on Sep 12, 2015 at 4:29am PDT

While we were shopping, Jervais, one of our many children, called and asked if we could take some eggs to his work because they’d run out.
He works at the Horse and Groom in Lincoln which was only a few minutes from where we were so we nipped over to Morrison’s, picked up the eggs then drove them to the pub.
We stopped in for lunch and it was delicious 🙂 It made a really nice change to go out to lunch with my husband, just the two of us.

Crispy bacon, sliced chicken and melted cheese on doorstep toast
Gorgeous chicken, bacon and cheese on thick toast

After lunch, we did more shopping at B&Q, where we picked up a new white toilet in the clearance section for the bargain price of £5.
Yep, I did say £5 and no, I can’t quite believe it myself!

I thought we’d got an even bigger bargain when we saw a sink and pedestal, also in the clearance section, for £18 but when we got it home and opened the box we were really disappointed to find the basin was smashed at the front. At first, we thought it was a small crack and we were prepared to buy a fixing kit, but when we removed more of the tape, the basin just crumbled so we’re returning it tomorrow.
I’m hoping they don’t give us any hassle because nowhere on the packaging did it say it was damaged. We assumed it was an end of line or ex-display item, as we did with the ultra cheap, but not in any way, damaged, toilet bowl!

Ant’s now trying to catch up on the work he was supposed to be doing today but put off so he could indulge me in my shopping needs and I want to say…..

Thank you, my darling ;o) I love you xx

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