Struggling to keep your children busy during the school holidays?

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It is something that all parents know too well, and it can often seem impossible to keep the kids perfectly busy at all times throughout the holidays. However, as long as you take the time to stop and consider the possibilities, you should be able to find one or two things to keep them busy - some which can involve you, and others which need not involve you. In this way, you can hope the holiday period to be much more enjoyable for everyone, and maybe even feel a little bit quicker as well. Let's take a look at a few of the best ways to keep your children busy during the school holidays.








Arts & Crafts


The winter holidays in particular can often seem especially tough, because you will find it much more difficult than during the summer just to send your kids outside to keep busy. Nonetheless, there are always things you can do indoors instead, and arts and crafts have to be up the top of the list on that one. If you set up a corner of their room for this specific purpose, and perhaps even get involved yourself, you will find that it really does make a huge difference to how quickly the time passes. It is also hugely valuable to encourage your children’s creativity in this way, so really you are killing two birds with one stone here.




Keep In Touch With Friends


You might be surprised at how much your children can miss their school and in particular the social side of it during the holidays. If this becomes an issue in your household, you might want to encourage your children to keep in touch with their friends and even their teachers during the holidays. One great way to keep in touch with the teachers is to get your child to buy custom thank you notes and send them off. You can also help them to keep in touch with their friends via the web or just simply by organising a play date. Doing this will ensure that your child’s social side is being looked after, and that will mean that they will enjoy the holidays all the more.








Get Ready For School


The winter holidays are not too long, and it might be worth using the time spare here to help your kids get ready for the next term at school. There is plenty you can do here to really get them ready; you might choose to encourage them to start working on their homework, if applicable, or maybe you can take them shopping to get some new supplies together for the new school term. Getting ready for the next term will definitely make the holidays go faster for everyone, and it will have the added benefit of meaning that their next term at school is all the more successful as well. The sooner you encourage them to get ready for school, the more likely it is that they will do well.

Collaborative post

Getting close up photos with smartphone accessories

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As a blogger taking great photos is super important, but also as a mum I want to take the best photos of my boys I can. With a smartphone I often find myself wishing I could zoom - I know what you're going to say "get a DSLR camera!" right? But with a large camera you have to carry that around with you and to be honest that always annoyed me a little. 

These days though there are so many accessories for your smartphone that it is easy to find something to do the job. I was recently sent a couple of products from Paladone, some accessories for my phone which may prove useful.






Get super close


The first is a microscope - for my phone. Yep. Now to be honest in regular photo taking I'm not sure when I would use this but for the teen for homework it could be useful. The Discovery Channel Smart Phone Microscope, available for £9.99, is smaller than I though it would be and actually works quite well even with my iPhone X. 

My only issue with it is that with the iPhone X, because the camera is slightly different it focuses on the sides of the microscope sometimes so it can be a little frustrating to use. However saying that I think it would work find with other smartphones because the camera is much smaller than the iPhone X. 

I took a few photos using the Microscope and some for comparison...







 A close up of the cotton ball.



Small pieces of a grasshopper from a microscope kit of BP's 



 The grasshopper leg under the Discovery Channel microscope.



The grasshopper wing under the microscope




The grasshopper abdomen under the microscope



See far 


So like I said the zoom was a big deal for me, that's part of the reason I got an iPhone X - the zoom. But what if you could zoom even more? That's where the Discovery Channel Smart Phone Telescope, available for £19.99, comes in. The telescope allows me to photograph things that are far away without leaving the warmth of my home, as you can see from the photos below.



This photo was taken from my office at home, circled is a horse in the distance.



This photo was taken from the same place using the Discovery Channel Smart Phone Telescope.



As you can see from the photo the Telescope has a black surround when using it with the iPhone X. It also slides so if you want to take a photo you'll have to be quick. The weight of the Telescope makes it slide over the camera and if you're not quick enough you'll snap a black photo rather than the thing you want to have a photo of. Again though I think this is because it's an iPhone X, the camera is large and the Telescope doesn't sit around it, it sits on it. This means the telescope slides instead of sitting in place. I'm sure it would work fine on an iPhone 7 or below (or android phones). 

A handy tripod comes with the Telescope too, which I did actually find useful. One thing I'll mention though is that you have to arrange the legs so that the phone doesn't fall over when you try to use it. The phone works best standing directly on top of the tripod rather than to the side. Weight is an issue. 



For an iPhone X I'm not sure these devices work very well but for older phones, like the iPhone 7, I'm sure these devices would be great. The issues I've mentioned (weight, sliding, etc) are just related to the iPhone X and I don't think that would be the case with older devices. 

The telescope and the microscope would make a great stocking filler - something interesting for that teen to use on Christmas Day perhaps?

Have you ever used a microscope or telescope with your phone?

Post Comment Love 15 - 17th December

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Welcome back to another Post Comment Love with Stephanie and I. Link up your best or favourite post of the week to give it that extra bit of love.

Well this is it folks, the last Post Comment Love of the year! Stephanie and I decided a few weeks ago to take a short break (just two weeks) off for Christmas. We will be back for PoCoLo on 5th January. During the holidays it's all about family and while I love co-hosting this awesome linky with Stephanie it will be a welcome break to spend some time with family. I'm hoping we'll be playing board games, playing computer games, and enjoying the festive food while NOT bickering daily and trying to keep the house tidy. I know I'm asking a lot there but it would be nice if it all worked out. Do you think Santa can help me out?





  • Nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing. 

Irina Shayk





Our heating is still not sorted completely - we have our missing radiator now but the heating of the house is still an issue. I have a funny feeling this issue is going to go on. Nevermind, just bring me the mince pies and I'll be happy!

As for other stuff, I'm going to take this Christmas break to enjoy some time off. I think I need it. It's been a tough year and as much as I love blogging the pressure can sometimes be a bit much. I've also got a few ideas milling about in my head and I want to work out if they'll go anywhere.





  • Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

Norman Vincent Peale





So, to all you PoCoLo-ers I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year and I hope you join us for PoCoLo when we return!




Blogger Showcase Dark Saint


Dark Saint describes themselves as weird, passionate and quiet and is using their introspective writing to try to help others. Check out their answers to our questions over on Stephanie's blog.




Pocolo


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts.

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two.

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at postcommentlove@gmail.com.

Thank you for popping by.



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Keep your man in style this Christmas

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If your man is anything like mine he is a pain to buy for, especially at Christmas. He already has most of the things he wants and socks and mens fragrances are off the list, so what on earth do you buy? This year I have turned to clothes, I know what the Hubby likes and can get some things he wouldn't buy for himself but would like - the perfect Christmas gift.




What to buy?


The Hubby has had the same sense of style since I met him - he loves his jeans, t-shirts, and jumpers. In the spring and summer he has lots of t-shirts to choose from but his selection of jumpers for autumn and winter was limited. He has a few nice ones that I bought 2-3 years ago from Ted Baker but that's about it. As the weather gets colder and I see him shivering as he walks around the house I thought it would be a good idea to get a few long sleeved tops and jumpers for him.




Where to go?


I hadn't heard of The Idle Man until they got in touch and asked if I'd like to review some of their items. The Idle Man, a menswear based retailer, catering to the style conscious man. Hosting brands such as Champion, Farah and Dickies. The Idle Man is a go-to destination for men. Alongside the online shop, The Idle Man Manual is a blog dedicated to offering style advice as well as stories and guides about music, grooming and lifestyle. When it comes to buying for the Hubby there are usually only a couple of places I go - Tesco or Ted Baker - but it's always nice to find something new so I decided to give The Idle Man a go. 




Style


Like I said, as it's almost winter I decided to go for the long-sleeved options and I have no doubt the Hubby will like them. 



grey sweatshirt with christmas decorations laying on top of it.


The Hubby likes a lot of different styles of jumpers so I got a selection. I think of the four jumpers chosen there aren't any that are a similar style to one another. The first, a grey casual-looking sweatshirt, has long sleeves but is thin - it would be great underneath a big coat - and paired with jeans would be great for a night in the pub or a walk out with the family. This sweater is available from The Idle Man for £30.



Navy sweatshirt, with fleece feeling inside, with a christmas wreath on the front of it.


Next, this navy sweatshirt. While plain I think this sweatshirt would look good over the top of a polo shirt. It is thicker than the grey sweatshirt and has a fleece-y feel inside, so if the Hubby decides to wear it on its own the material won't irritate his skin. I have no doubt this sweatshirt will keep him warm on the colder days. You can buy this sweater for £20.



A navy hoodie with christmas decorations lying on it.


Hoodie time! Everyone loves a good hoodie right? Well, the Hubby does anyway. Another navy choice this hoodie will go with anything, obviously more of a casual look but that's the Hubby all over. The material the hoodie is made from is very thin so it would work well over the top of a t-shirt, and it feels nice inside - not fleecey but soft. The hood has pull strings and there's a pouch on the front of the jumper - perfect for the wintery months. The hoodie is available for £20.



A burgundy turtle neck sweater with a christmassy ribbon laid over the top of it.


Finally this turtle neck jumper, in burgundy, is my favourite. I love the colour and know it will look great on the Hubby. Again the jumper is quite thin but as a turtle neck I don't think anything underneath it would work very well. I'd say this jumper would work well with a thick coat if heading outside but it will look good on. Made from cotton the feel of the material is fine, I don't think it will irritate the Hubby's skin. Grab this turtle neck jumper for your man for £25.



Burgundy t-shirt covered in Christmas decorations


I also got the Hubby a plain cotton t-shirt in burgundy. Like I said he does love his t-shirts and another one to add to the collection will make him happy! Get this t-shirt for £8.




What I thought about The Idle Man


The selection on The Idle Man website is great, there's plenty to choose from with lots of different colour choices (including pink) and something to suit any style. There's clothes from The Idle Man as well as other brands and the prices are reasonable. Be sure to check out their Autumn/Winter lookbook.

I will be heading to The Idle Man website again when the Hubby is ready for some more new clothes!


If you were to buy something for your man which would you choose?

I was sent the items listed for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

What I love about Christmas...

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This time of year is a great time to get to know people, it's a chance to sit and chat with your family and friends and find out what they love about Christmas. In the blogging community there's an easy way for us to get the same kind of get-to-know-you traditions but in written form - cue The Christmas  Tag. A few days ago my blogging buddy Lou over at With Love from Lou tagged me and after reading through the questions I decided to give it a go. So without further ado here's who I love about Christmas...




Favourite Christmas movie?


Love Actually. It has been my favourite for a few years now and every time I think of the festive season a scene from Love Actually comes to mind. The characters are brilliant, the different stories that seem to come together are great, and there's a wonderful feel-good ending. Perfect Christmas movie. 

Of course that's not forgetting about the other amazing Christmas movies like It's a Wonderful Life and Home Alone.




Have you ever had a white Christmas?


I can't remember doing. I have a few memories of snow but I think the majority of those were around Christmas and not on Christmas Day. I don't actually remember it snowing on Christmas Day, ever, which is kind of weird huh?




Where do you usually spend your holiday?


At home. I wake early on Christmas Day, the boys get out of bed and we open a few presents. Then I take a little break to get the turkey into the oven as quickly as possible so I can get back to present opening. Once the presents are open and the turkey is cooking we chill out as a family putting batteries into toys, playing new games, and enjoying our gifts. 






Around lunch time I am back in the kitchen to get lunch ready while the boys play games or use their new toys. We usually sit down to eat lunch at around 2pm and within about 20 minutes it's all been eaten and we get back to enjoying our gifts. This is my time to chill out properly. 

The last two years I've had family over for Christmas lunch which meant I was catering for 20 people. While it was quite stressful it was lovely having everyone here and the afternoon was that much more special because I got to spend it with (some of) the people I love.




What is your favourite Christmas song?




The first one that comes to mind is Last Christmas, mainly because I remember it from my childhood. Next in line is Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas because it's awesome. 




Do you open presents on Christmas Eve?


No! I have no idea where that came from but doesn't it completely undermine the whole Santa thing? If Santa doesn't come until Christmas Eve how are there presents to be opened!? 

So no, we don't - and have never - opened presents on Christmas Eve. While I think it's okay to do so if you choose I do think it's kind of cheating.




Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?


Dancer, Prancer, Donner, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Vixen, and Rudolph. I nearly forgot about Cupid.




What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?


Every year since 2003 the Hubby and I spend Christmas Eve getting our lounge ready for the boys. Santa does something different with the presents every year and we spend time making sure it is all ready for him. It's so much fun! Once Santa has visited and it's time for the Hubby and I to chill out we sit in our movie room and watch Love Actually on a big screen. When I am sitting down watching Hugh Grant dance across the screen I really feel like it's Christmas, it doesn't feel real until that point.





  • Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas. 



Dale Evans





Is your Christmas Tree real or fake?


Fake. I've had the same tree since moving into our house just before BP was born, so 13 years! It has fir cones and red berries and is so "me" that I can't bear to part with it. To be honest the idea of having a real tree and having bits of tree drop onto the carpet makes me shudder. No, fake all the way here.




What is your favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?


Oh gosh there's just so many! I'm not sure I want to choose between food and sweets. The food has got to be Christmas Lunch with all the trimmings, the turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, vegetables, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire Puddings, and of course gravy and cranberry sauce. But then there's dessert and sweets - goodness. Mince pies get it for me every time, they just scream Christmas and add brandy cream and they're to die for!








Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?


I think that really depends on the gift doesn't it? Receiving a gift that takes your breath away is amazing and knowing that someone has thought about you while buying that gift makes it special. I have received gifts that have taken my breath away - one year the Hubby bought me a diamond eternity ring that was presented in a black velvet box. It was an amazing gift and whenever I look at it now I remember that day. I have also received amazing gifts from my boys that have brought tears to my eyes - like the Hulk Tsum Tsum they got me last year because You won't like me when I'm angry! Seeing the look on someone's face as they open up the gift you bought for them, watching as they realise just how wonderful the gift is, nothing can top the pleasure you get from making someone that happy. 




What is the best Christmas present you have ever received?


Oh boy, how on earth do you choose just one? After 36 years of receiving gifts I'm not sure I can pick just one - a few memorable ones that come to mind are...

The dolls head that I got when I was about 6 years old. It was one of those hairdressing things where you get to play with the doll's hair? I adored it and I still remember it today.

The gold diamond eternity ring the Hubby bought me - that one took my breath away.

All my desk buddies - Mickey and Minnie and my Tsum Tsum that the boys bought for me last year. They know me so well, even the Hulk made me smile!




What is your dream place to visit for the holiday season?


Oh this one is easy - Walt Disney World. We have been to Disney World lots of times during the summer and spring but never for Christmas. We were once there late October and got to see them preparing for Halloween and Christmas and it made me realise how amazing it would be to spend Christmas there. Of course I would totally miss the turkey Christmas Lunch and opening presents but the magic of Walt Disney World would make up for that I have no doubt.




Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?


I'm somewhere in the middle. The Hubby is a pro, he folds the paper so neatly and has to have everything square - he hates anything that isn't in a box! For me I do my best but it never quite goes as well as the Hubby's wrapping, but it's not terrible either so I'll settle for that.




Most memorable Christmas memory?


It's not very long ago, just last year, but it is very special. Last Christmas we had all the family over for Christmas Day because my father-in-law had lung cancer. We thought it might be his last Christmas and so I decided to have everyone over so we could all be together and make some wonderful memories that included him. My father-in-law died in May and so I am so glad we were able to make last Christmas so special. 





  • Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. 

Charles M. Schulz





What made you realise the truth about Santa?


To be honest I can't remember, I have spent my entire adulthood keeping him alive for the boys so to me he is real, albeit in spirit. The magic of Christmas is all about Santa and the fact that he visits, and even when my boys don't believe any longer I will make them pretend because I love it so much!




What makes the holidays special for you?


Family. I was recently asked if I was mad having everyone over for Christmas Lunch (17 people this year) for the third time in a row but despite it being stressful and a hectic morning I love it. I love the fact that the boys get to see their Nanny, I love that they get to spend time with their cousins and see their aunts and uncles. For me Christmas is about family, whether that's our little family of just us four or the extended family too. 

There is no other feeling like sitting down at a dining table decorated with Christmassy adornments, looking around and seeing people you love sitting there with you. Chatting as you enjoy a mighty festive meal and slumping on a sofa afterwards - it's all a part of Christmas don't you think?






And that's it folks! I loved this tag because it gave me a chance to share a little bit more about me and my Christmas traditions. I'm not going to tag anyone but if you'd like to take part I'd love to read your answers so do let me know about your post in the comments!

Post Comment Love 8th - 10th December

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Welcome back to Post Comment Love, link up your best or favourite post of the week and Stephanie and I will read, share and comment. It's so lovely to see our little linky still going after all this time and I'm looking forward to another great year.

Things have been busy and annoying here this week. Last week we had a new heating system installed and last Thursday we were left with no heating overnight - I was not happy. On Friday we had people here again and they spent the entire day working on getting the heating working - we were freezing. Luckily they managed to get the heating on and working so weren't left with no heating for the weekend but it took until lunch time on Saturday to get the house warm. 

Despite not being finished though the installers didn't show up on Monday, we were expecting them but no one showed up. It's always good when that happens isn't it? I spent the day trying to get through to them on the phone but didn't get to talk to anyone. So as you can imagine by Tuesday I was quite annoyed. When I finally got through I was told someone would be coming to our house, and they did. They came on Tuesday, they did a few things, but they are still not finished and we haven't heard from or seen them since. We're still missing a radiator in our downstairs bathroom and there's a few bits they need to tidy up. All in all it's been quite an annoying time. Why is it you only ever have heating issues when you need it most?

I'm just hoping everything gets sorted before Christmas because I've got lots of planning to do before then. I ordered my Turkey last week and I've got to make my list of other things so I can add it to the order. More planning. I've also got to try out a recipe for my dessert, I always practise beforehand, which means more time to go shopping and plan what I'm doing. This is one of the main things I hate about this time of year, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day for everything. And when you have other stuff going on too that takes more time. I only hope I can get things sorted by Christmas Day because if I can't we'll be having Turkey sandwiches for lunch!

Are you planning for Christmas Day yet?




Blogger Showcase Tione from Beauty That Walks





Who are you?


My name is Tione. I am a full-time college student that enjoys blogging about beauty, lifestyle and other relating topics.




How did you discover blogs/blogging?


I started blogging back in 2011. At first it started out as a school project and grew into a hobby. 




Why did you start blogging?


I started blogging as a hobby. I just needed somewhere that I could develop my thoughts and ideas.




What do you find most challenging?


The most challenging part of blogging is driving traffic to the website. 




What is your favourite topic to write about?


My favorite topics includes makeup and natural hair.




Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?


I blog for fun but I would like to reach a goal of at least 10k monthly views.




What is your favourite thing about blogging?


Reaching out to people. Writing and updating my blog with contents.




Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what did you think?


I have never attended a blogging conference but hope to do so someday.




What are your 3 best posts?






Describe yourself in three words!


Beauty Queen, Fashionista, Book Worm




Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person?


Wow! I am both actually...




What's your idea of a perfect night out?


Movies, Club and Dinner




Your perfect night in?


Relaxing on the sofa and/or playing games and chatting with the family or perhaps movie nite.




What would your best friend/OH/mum or kids say is your best quality?


I have no idea.... 


Connect with Tione:

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Twitter

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions Tione, feel free to grab our 'featured' badge and display ever so proudly on your blog.


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Pocolo


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts. 

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two. 

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at postcommentlove@gmail.com.

Thank you for popping by.

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Why won't my Teen talk to me?

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My eldest son, BP, is 13 years old and refuses to talk to me most of the time. He is quiet, which is fine, but even with simple things like asking for sweets he is reluctant to do. I have no idea why and sometimes it makes me feel like I'm failing at being his mum. Surely I'm a person he should feel most comfortable talking to?

Of course when I think about it I remember hating my parents when I was a teen, I thought they couldn't have any idea what life was like for me. How could they? They were adults who had everything together and I was suffering at the hands of everyone and feeling like the world was against me. 




So what to do?


I read an article on The Guardian website that I found quite interesting, it was written in 2014 but it makes a lot of sense. In the article Tim Lott says "The reason your teenager won't talk to you is because you're boring and they're not going to waste their time." - now I know that sounds daft but to be honest it's kind of true. As parents we have been through the teen stage and come out the other side, we know that things change but saying that to our teens doesn't help them. It makes us sound like know-it-alls and pushes our teens further away.







Take a step back


Unfortunately now is the time that your child (and mine) is trying to become their own person, they want separation from you and when you ask them to talk to you you're actually pushing them away. Teens turn to their peers for advice, they do everything in their power to not be influenced by you. It is the hardest time for us as their parents though because all we want to do is help, to talk, to impart wisdom. 





  • All teenagers have this desire to somehow run away. 

Joan Chen





Most of the articles I've read on this topic say you should do your best to take a step back. Let your child be themselves, let them confide in friends rather than you, and let them make mistakes. Be open with them, show them you are there if they need you but don't push them to share. 

As a parent who is going through this right now I can say it is so hard to do. My instinct is to protect my son, he is only 13 and I want to know who his friends are, where they go, and what they are doing. I want to be there all the time and know where he is, I want to be his confidant, I want to be the person he turns to for advice. But...

I know he needs to grow up. I know he needs to learn what life is like without me there to turn to every second. I know he needs to explore who he is. 

These two sides are not compatible, I know this, but it doesn't make it any easier. Being a parent to a teen is worrying, frustrating, maddening even, especially when they do everything you tell them not to! But taking a step back and trying my best to not interfere is the best thing I can do for him at the moment. 




Will he ever talk to me?


One of my worries is that by taking a step back I will show BP that I don't care about his life. Maybe he will think that because I'm not constantly asking about his life and trying to get information out of him that I don't want to know that stuff. 

Again articles say that's not true. And when I think about it logically I know it's not true because I talk to my parents now. I tell them things. I share. 

The teenage years are the time your child branches out and explores who he/she is. It is a chance for them to learn to be a person without you by their side every second and just because they don't talk to you now doesn't mean they won't want to when they come out the other side of this stage. In fact if you wait patiently and show them you're there if they need you they are more likely to turn to you for advice later. 

So yes, he will talk to me... eventually. Or at least I hope he will.







Parenting a teen is fun!


Okay so fun might not be the right word, perhaps "testing" is better? While I worry about BP's decisions and the fact that he doesn't talk to me I know he is making the right decisions. He's doing well in school, he has friends, and he is sociable (at least some of the time). He can surprise me sometimes with how old he can act, and sometimes he infuriates me with how childish he can act. But I guess that's just part of being a teen, he's testing, he's learning, he's exploring. 





  • It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. 

E. E. Cummings





I have quite a few years of parenting teens ahead of me, with BP being 13 and LP being 8 by the time BP is almost out of his teens LP will be just entering them. That'll be 10 years of parenting a teen so I ought to get some experience! 

Parenting a teen is tough at times and you can feel like you're the worst person in the world. So if you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to I am here for you. I will listen to your woes and your worries and nod along as I relate to your stories. Us parents of teens need to stick together - there's power in numbers right!?

Does your teen talk to you?


If you're feeling stressed out after parenting your teen why not schedule in some me-time? Grab my me-time planner and make sure you get some time to yourself to ease the stress!





Enjoyed reading this post? Check out The awesomeness of being a mum to school-aged children or 10 things you'll learn from being a parent.

Post Comment Love 1st - 3rd December

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Welcome back to another Post Comment Love - link up your best or favourite post of the week and Stephanie and I will read, comment, and share to give it that extra bit of love.

Well that's it folks - it is officially December. How did that happen!? I feel like I blinked during the summer and now it's almost Christmas. I'll be spending the majority of today getting our house Christmas-ready by putting up the decorations and lights. It usually takes me all day while the boys are at school but I'm hoping to at least have a break for lunch and relax a little. We shall see.

I've spent a lot of this week not in my room (boo!), what with getting Christmas ready and having a new heating system installed it's been crazy here. I've been taking any opportunity I get to chill out, which is why it's been good the Hubby is playing GTA5 again. He plays his game and I get to play games or read while he does that. 

It's going to be another busy Christmas Day for me too, we're having family over again. Everyone will be joining us for Christmas Lunch and spending the afternoon here which will be lovely. Despite it being a rather busy morning and me getting quite stressed trying to make sure all the food is ready on time I do love having everyone here. It's how I always imagined my Christmases being and it's lovely to see my boys playing with their cousins too. And I always get Boxing Day to chill out so that's good too.

Are you planning Christmas Day yet or do you leave the planning 'til closer to the day?




Blogger Showcase Tamzin from Tamzin Lena


Tamzin is 17 years old from Sheffield and she blogs for fun. She'd prefer biscuits and cake due to the fact that she hates tea and coffee (?!) and describes herself as loving, fun and quirky. Check out the rest of her answers over on Stephanie's blog.




Pocolo


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts. 

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two. 

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at postcommentlove@gmail.com.

Thank you for popping by.

Post Comment Love
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She's a keeper! Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend's parents

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Buying gifts for your own family can be difficult enough at Christmas! So, when you have got your boyfriend’s parents to buy for as well, it can be even more of a challenge. After all, you want to make a good impression. However, you probably don’t know a lot about them, and so it can be difficult to know where to begin your search. But don’t fret, as this post is filled with suggestions to help you out. Read on to discover some of the best Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend’s parents.








Tea or coffee set

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a delicious mug of tea or coffee? Plus, there are plenty of different gift sets available on the market. You could purchase a traditional teapot and a variety of flavored teas. Or, why not opt for some luxurious, coffee grains with two pretty coffee mugs? This is a gift that is guaranteed to go down well.




A gift card for a restaurant

Why not treat your boyfriend’s parents to a lovely meal out for Christmas? A restaurant gift card is assured to be appreciated. You are giving your partner’s parents the opportunity to spend some quality time together at a lovely restaurant. Plus, you can dictate exactly how much you want to spend.




Winter accessories

A lovely cashmere scarf or a pair of leather gloves can go down really well with your new ‘in-laws.’ This may seem like a simple gift, but simple is often better. After all, you don’t know your partner’s parents very well. Plus, winter accessories are perfect for the time of year and you can be sure that the recipients are going to get use out of their new gift.




A beautiful vase and fresh flowers

If you have only met your boyfriend’s parents once or twice, or perhaps you haven’t met them at all, then it is better to play it safe with a beautiful vase and some fresh flowers. A winter bouquet will really brighten up the home at this time of year. Plus, your boyfriend’s parents will have a continual display of the gift you have gotten them, serving as a reminder of how thoughtful and kind you are! Win-win, right?




Christmas hamper

There are many different types of hampers for Christmas. You can get different themed hampers, as well as more general ones. Of course, the latter choice is advised if you don’t know much about your boyfriend’s mother and father. However, if you know that they like a particular type of chocolate or alcohol, for instance, then you can look at hampers that are themed instead.




Something for their pet

Does your boyfriend’s parents have a dog or any other type of animal? If their pet is seen as part of the family – which is usually the case in most homes, why not buy a gift for their four-legged friend? This is bound to go down well, and they will probably be more impressed that you have thought about their animal rather than the fact that you have gotten them a gift.




Slippers

Who doesn’t like a fresh pair of slippers? There is nothing better than sinking your feet into new, soft plush slippers during the cold months. This is another safe option if you don’t know the family too well.




A digital photo frame

A digital photo frame is a great option, especially if your boyfriend does not live at home anymore. He can upload photos of the family, so that his parents have delightful memories on loop in the home all of the time. It’s highly unlikely that this is going to be something his parents already have, and so you will have the surprise factor. In fact, if they aren’t very technologically inclined, they may not even realise that there is such a thing as a digital photo frame, earning you even more brownie points.




A unique kitchen appliance

Don’t purchase something that your boyfriend’s parents are likely to have already, such as a crock-pot. Instead, choose a luxury item – a nice-to-have appliance, rather than a need-to-have. You can purchase ice cream makers and fondue sets at reasonable prices today. Or, what about a machine for making waffles? You will be surprised by the options that are available today.




Chocolate

You can’t go wrong with chocolate, can you? Unless your boyfriend’s parents are diabetic, of course, so it is definitely worth asking about that first. This doesn’t mean chocolate is off the list, however. You will just need to be a bit more savvy with your purchase, i.e. buying low-sugar or diabetic chocolates. If your boyfriend’s mom and dad are not diabetic, you will have an enormous selection of chocolates available to you. Nowadays, there are some incredible and luxurious designs, which look more like works of art rather than chocolate.




Wine-related gift ideas

Wine is almost as fail proof as chocolate is! Of course, the most obvious choice would be to go for a fancy bottle of wine, or some elegant wine glasses. However, there are many more gifts for wine lovers. If your boyfriend’s parents are fans of sparkling wine, you can buy them different flavored accompaniments to turn their Prosecco into fruity cocktails. Alternatively, why not buy a vacuum wine saver? This product is designed to keep wine fresh for a long time. It’s not only ideal for those who have expensive bottles of wine they want to keep a hold of, but it is also a great choice for regular wine drinkers who want to save the rest for later.




Gourmet hot chocolate gifts

Gourmet hot chocolate is another option to consider. If you do a quick search online, you will see that there are many gourmet hot chocolate sets available today. This does not only relate to the chocolate powder itself, but the goodies that come with, such as delicious dark chocolate fruit and nut accompaniments, truffles, and marshmallows.



Personalised gift

A personalised gift always makes a good impression because it shows that you have made the extra effort for the recipient. There are many different personalised presents that are suitable for your boyfriend’s parents. This includes personalised prints, photo frames, and cushions, as well as family memory jars, cheese boards, lanterns, wine glasses, pint glasses, and much more. You name it; you can get it personalised!




An experience

Another option to consider is booking an experience for your new in-laws. This is something you need to be careful with. After all, the last thing you want to do is book an adventure day or a luxury sportscar package if your boyfriend’s mother and father aren’t the thrill-seeking type. It’s best to play it safe if you are not aware of their interests and hobbies, for example, you could book a spa day for the two of them.




Books

If your boyfriend’s parents are keen readers, why not buy them a book each? You don’t need to know their reading list in order to purchase something suitable. You simply need to know what type of books they are interested in. Do they prefer fact or fiction? What genre do they enjoy? Once you have this information, you will have no trouble finding a suitable book. Take the time to read reviews that have been left online by previous customers. This will give you good insight into the book and whether it has gone down well with those that have already purchased it.




Home d├ęcor

Home gifts also work well when you are buying for someone you don’t know very well. Have you visited your boyfriend’s parent’s house before? If so, you should have a good idea of the colour scheme of their property, as well as the style of things they like. This should make it a lot easier. If you have never visited their house before, play it safe with neutral colours that will suit a variety of colour palettes and styles. You don’t have to stick to ornaments and decorations; other options include the likes of scented soaps, fragrance diffusers, potpourri, and candles.




Something funny

Show off your incredible sense of humor with a funny gift. This is a risky present, though; so don’t blame us if it doesn’t go down very well. Nonetheless, if you check out any gift website today, you will see a number of different funny gift options. This includes mammoth sized wine glasses, mugs with funny quotes and phrases on them, funny puzzles, humorous books, and much more. Make sure you get your boyfriend’s parent’s sense of humor before you go down this route, otherwise it could be very embarrassing!

Hopefully, you now have plenty of suggestions regarding what to buy your boyfriend’s parents for Christmas. In fact, you should have the next few Christmases covered!

Collaborative post

7 Things that make me proud of my boys

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When you're a parent to school-aged children it is so easy to get bogged down in the routine of things and nagging them to get ready for school. You go through the daily motions of sending them to school and sometimes forget about the things they do to make you proud. That's why I'm taking this moment to think about a few things my boys are doing right now to make me smile.




The Teen


BP has always been a bit quiet, he doesn't like to talk and would much rather sit and watch a movie than talk about his days at school. Despite him being quiet he can get enthusiastic about some topics, like drawing or writing, and lately he's taken an interest in music too.




Drawing


I have an iPad Pro* and Apple Pencil which are great for drawing, I use an app called Procreate and I love it. I can sketch as much as I like and not use up lots of paper, my pencil never needs sharpening, and my colours never run out. It's brilliant. 

Recently BP came up with the idea that he wanted to make his Christmas cards this year and started out by drawing his designs on pieces of paper. He told us he wanted to have them printed and so we helped him look into it. Then it occurred to us that if he recreated his designs on the iPad he could have them look so much better once printed onto the card. The last week or so BP has been borrowing my iPad (much to my disappointment come game time!) so he can recreate his designs. He's doing really well with it and using my things has convinced him he wants an Apple Pencil of his own. 





  • Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer and clearer still, until your eyes ache. 

David Hockney





I love to see him get enthusiastic because it so rarely happens. While we're not about to go out and buy him an iPad and Apple Pencil (it would cost about £900!!) I will continue to let him use mine because I want to encourage this new enthusiasm. 




Writing


BP's writing floors me sometimes, he has a natural talent that actually makes me question myself. I feel inadequate when I read some of his written work. When encouraged to write, or when I give him a prompt, he can come up with some amazing pieces of writing. At 13 years old he has a way of writing that pulls you in, as long as he is given a little direction at the beginning. 

Of course a lot of his stories are fantasy based, which is great but we're trying to encourage him to write outside of his comfort zone and it's these times that he surprises me most. If BP continues with his writing I have no doubt he will do well, he really does have a natural talent for creating written content. 

How do we encourage his writing? I give him prompts, I give him a setting or I tell him about something and then tell him to go write about it. One of his most impressive pieces of writing was written after me telling him to write about a girl standing under a tree in the middle of a field. What he came up with floored me, I was truly impressed.




Music


This has been a very recent development but he came home with a few letters a couple of weeks ago saying how he'd signed up to sing with the School Choir. It surprised me because BP has never really mentioned music but I liked that he was trying to get involved. Over the next couple of weeks he's going to be singing in the town with the School Choir, he's taking part in the Christmas show at school, and there will be another performance with the choir at school. 

BP has never been confident on stage but as a group with his friends he tends to do better. I can't wait to see how he does with these few things.







The Tween


LP is more confident and outgoing than BP, he likes to be active and hates being still for very long. He's not one to sit around doing nothing. He has always enjoyed being outdoors and loves playing football with his friends despite him not being as good as them. LP also has a talent when it comes to maths, his mind works so fast that he amazes me with his mental maths sometimes. He definitely takes after his dad for that. While LP is a popular boy in school he is not afraid to show that he cares too, as a recent incident in school showed us.




Activity


Like I said LP is an active boy, he loves his football and running around. A few weeks ago he started going to Karate on a Sunday and is loving learning moves and wearing a uniform. It's great to see him enjoying learning every week, we tried him out with Taikwondo a few years ago and he didn't like it but he has really taken to the Karate. 







LP learned to ride his bike in July/August this year and since then he hasn't stopped. After learning to ride and going on his first official bike ride with his dad he has found a love of bike riding. In the last 2 months LP and the Hubby have done more than 250 miles on their bikes! We bought LP a light for his helmet and his bike so they could go on bike rides after school in the dark and since then LP has asked to go on his bike every day. The only trouble with this is that he doesn't know his own limits - he did 2 bike rides last Thursday after a trip to Wollaton Hall during the day with school, needless to say he was worn out.




Maths


Ever since LP started learning at school I noticed a natural talent for maths, he just seems to get it. It doesn't take him long to understand a mathematical concept, he seems to have a logical brain. I've written before about LP doing maths at home and he really enjoys it, he likes numbers being able to use his iPad makes even more enjoyable for him.





  • Mathematics is the door and key to the sciences.


Roger Bacon






There are times when he surprises us with his mental maths, for example the Hubby will ask BP a maths question and LP will answer it before BP has had a chance! I think it's great that he's so good with numbers and I hope that continues - it's definitely a relief when they're good at that stuff, even if they're better than you!




Popularity


LP has always been popular in school, he's a friendly boy and is always kind. Add that to the fact that he's good at maths and everyone wants him on their team when it comes to maths quizzes! LP has lots of friends and it's good to see him mixing with friends when he goes to school. The best thing about all this though is not really his popularity but the fact that he isn't afraid to stick up for people. A couple of times he has come home and told me about bullying he witnessed at school and he reported it straight away. He is not afraid of the bullies and he sticks up for his anyone he thinks needs it. I love that about him. He has helped two boys to stand up against bullies in the last week and even discussed it with his head teacher. You know you're doing a good job when your boy stands up for people who won't stand up for themselves.




My boys


I have watched my boys grow into wonderful people - they care about their friends, they stick up for those less fortunate, and they know what they like. From their talents to their caring nature my boys make me proud almost every day and I am so thankful for that. Even though they can drive me mad and turn me into Evil Mum they are still my boys and will keep reminding myself how proud I am of them. 






Being a parent is a tough job, it can be tiring and frustrating at times but if you take time out and think about your children I have no doubt you'll be able to think of something your child does to make you proud. 

So tell me, what makes you proud of your children?

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