Keeping momentum with your routine, despite blips

Routines make life easier. They help you stay organised and keep on top of your housework. But when the kids are off school, or you're ill, your routine takes a hit and you (and your household) fall into chaos. The kitchen doesn't get cleaned, the washing mountain grows, and dust piles up. Then when the kids go back to school it's difficult to get back into your routine because there's so much work. There is a way to keep momentum with your routines, despite these blips. Read on to find out how.



Blips in your routine don't make you a bad mum

We all have these blips in our routines. We fall ill, half-term arrives before we're ready for it, or a family member needs our help, and our routine takes a hit. But suffering a blip in your routine does NOT make you a bad mum.


Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | My son's bedroom is messy all the time!
My youngest's bedroom - a whole day's job!


It took me a long time to realise that I'm not a rubbish mum if I have an untidy house. I used to beat myself up every Monday morning as I looked at my chaotic kitchen. Plates piled high. A laundry mountain to rival Everest. It bothered me that I couldn't keep up with the routine over the weekend and keep the house tidy for my family. Then I realised what that chaos meant.

I was actually prioritising my family over the cleaning! I spent time with my boys and the Hubby rather than doing the cleaning. I enjoyed playing board games, watching our favourite shows, and going out for family days. So why on earth was I beating myself up about being a bad mum? 

Is prioritising your family a bad thing? 
No of course not.

So if you have blips in your routine, and you feel bad for not being a better mum, take a moment to think about what you've spent your time doing. 

The truth is you do an AMAZING job. 



Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

William Arthur Ward



You can always get back on track with your routine

The blips can throw your routine and then you have to spend extra time on your chores. But you can always get back on track. Spending a little extra time each day will get your routine back on track and come the weekend you'll be back to normal again - just in time for the weekend with your family!


Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | Having fun with your family is more important than your routine.
Family fun - much more important than sticking to a routine.


I spend the week catching up on and take the weekend for the family - then I'm back to where I started on Monday. But that's okay.


Keeping momentum with your routine

The key to keeping momentum with your routine is to do chores a little at a time, more often. I have a giant list of chores, but I never try to do them all at once - that would be overwhelming and I'd give up. Instead I break down the list into smaller chunks so the chores are easier to tackle. 

In a morning, after the kids have gone to school (or while they're getting ready), I'll wander around the house collecting dirty dishes. It usually takes less than 10 minutes.

Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | A tidy lounge makes me feel so much better!
Tidying the lounge takes much less time if I do it a little bit at a time.


The laundry is another task. Loading the laundry into the machine takes 5 minutes and then I can leave the machine to do its job. This one I save until the kids have left for school. Another job done.

Cleaning the kitchen counters is next on the list, and depending on the day it can take anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes. Once it's done I smile because my kitchen looks great.

I do these small jobs almost every day (not counting weekends) and manage to keep momentum with my routine because the chores don't build up too much over the weekend. 


Use checklists to keep momentum

Whether it's paper, something stuck to your fridge, or reminders on your phone, using checklists to help you keep track of your chores is a great way to keep momentum with your routine. List all the jobs you do every day. Each time you finish one, tick it off. Not only does it feel good ticking off a chore but you can see you're making progress every day. And when you're a stay-at-home mum any kind of progress makes you feel better.

I use reminders on my phone. I have a list of chores I do daily, weekly, and monthly, and they pop up regularly. There are set days for each room, for example Mondays are my lounge days, Tuesdays are for my office. I concentrate on a room, do all my chores, then stop - so I'm not overwhelmed with all the cleaning that needs to be done. The routine also helps with keeping the whole house tidy - no room gets a chance to get overly untidy. 


Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | My phone helps me stay on track every day.
I wouldn't be without my phone - it helps me stay on track.


Admittedly sometimes I ignore the reminders. Usually at a weekend. But I know they're there and it 
encourages me to tidy up when I can so the chores don't pile up.

Having a reminder of the chores you need to do is an efficient way to keep momentum with your routine. Especially if it pops up every time you look at your phone. It's like a nagging little voice that never lets you settle. And while nagging is annoying - it works doesn't it?


Know nothing is set in stone

No matter how many days you keep momentum with your routine you're always going to suffer blips. Holidays from school, or an unexpected visitor can pop in and your routine takes a hit - but that's okay. YOU are in control of your routine and you can always switch things around if necessary. 

The key is taking control, no matter how many blips you encounter you can always get back on track. Keep going with the routine, even if it's just the essentials like loading the dishwasher because you have no clean dishes! 


Keep momentum with your self-care routine too!

Despite blips to your chores routine you need to take care of yourself too. When we fall ill we realise we've been neglecting ourselves. I've done this so many times - I finally realised taking some time for myself meant I was ill less often. 



Self-care is really about taking care of you and focusing on feeling good about yourself - mind and body.

Franchesca Ramsey



I read, have time alone (while the boys are at school), and I spend time doing things I enjoy - like playing video games. I have down time. As a result I am more relaxed about everything else. I don't stress about the dishes, don't worry about the laundry. I follow my routine and I have time for me too - win!



Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | Your routine keeps you going, you just need to know how.


Please make sure to allow time for yourself when you're working out your routine - it's just as important!


Do you manage to keep momentum with your routine?

10 things to do during half-term

After a long summer the October half-term can whizz by before you know it and the kids are back at school before you've had a chance to think about something to do. You haven't left the house all half-term and you're feeling guilty. But with a little planning, both you and your children can have as much fun during half-term as you did during the summer.



Chester Zoo


A couple of years ago we visited Chester Zoo during the summer holidays. On the day it poured with rain but it didn't make much difference to our day. We took coats and an umbrella with us and wandered around the zoo just like we would've if it had been sunny. The best thing about the trip was that the rainy weather put other visitors off so there were more opportunities to see the animals. Chester Zoo even have an indoor picnic area so you can still take a picnic with you without worrying about the weather. Win!


10 Things To Do During Half-Term | Visit Chester Zoo to see the tigers.
I love seeing the tigers - they're so majestic.


Chester Zoo is open from 10am until 5pm every day apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day. During half-term the entry prices go up a little - for a family of four (children aged 3-15) with all day monorail passes (adult: £3.50, child: £2.50) it costs £83.80. This may sound like a lot of money but it is so worth it, your family will have a wonderful day at Chester Zoo and you'll give your children the chance to see tigers, leopards, and rhinos!





An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.

Martin Buber




Hardwick Hall


Hardwick Old Hall is managed by English Heritage and I would highly recommend the audio tour when visiting. You learn so much about the history of the building and Bess of Hardwick and your children may even enjoy wandering around such an old building. When we visited the boys had a great time and they still talk about it now. Being able to walk around the Old Hall while listening to someone talk about the history is a much more practical way of learning and it works wonders on the children!


10 Things To Do During Half-Term | Visit Hardwick Old Hall and learn about history.


You can also visit the New Hall which is run by the National Trust. We have yet to visit the New Hall but I've heard great things about it. 

For a family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) to visit Hardwick Old Hall it costs £15.60 and for a family ticket to visit Hardwick Hall and walk around the house and gardens it costs £32.75.



Calke Abbey


Calke Abbey is a home trapped in time. It's filled with historical artefacts and walking around the house is both interesting and strange - from grand halls to spooky corridors Calke Abbey has it all. Visiting the Abbey in the colder months is fine because it's mostly indoors but if you're looking for some outdoor fun Calke Explore is there for the children. Calke Explore has log trails, rope walks, and climbing areas to keep the children entertained.


10 Things To Do During Half-Term | Visit Calke Abbey and venture into the woods.


For a family ticket to visit the whole property at Calke Abbey costs £31.90.



Nottingham Contemporary


If you're into art I'd recommend Nottingham Contemporary, there's always activities for the children to enjoy and you get to see lots of art. Visiting Nottingham Contemporary would probably take up a morning, so you don't need to plan for a whole day, and best of all entry is FREE.



Blackpool


We love Blackpool. While it's quite far away the boys love travelling for the day and walking along the beach or going in the arcades. Visiting Blackpool can be as cheap or as expensive as you like - you can visit the Sealife Centre, Blackpool Tower, or Madame Tussauds or nothing at all and spend the day on the beach. Not to mention all the seafront stores filled with candy floss!

All I would say is prepare for the cold. If you're used to being inland (Midlands) then going to the coast during the colder months might come as a shock. It can get very cold during autumn/winter so make sure you take scarves, gloves, and a warm coat.



The Heights of Abraham, Matlock


10 Things To Do During Half-Term | The Heights of Abraham are a great place to visit with your kids.


Amazing views, caves to wander through, a town filled with shops. If you're based in the Midlands it's a great place to visit and won't necessarily take up the whole day. Be sure to visit the caves in Matlock, they're not to be missed. There's also a restaurant if you're hungry, and don't forget to check out the Punch and Judy show.



Picnics


The weather might not be great but you can still enjoy a picnic, you just need to make sure you prepare for the wetter, colder weather. Perhaps take a small tent so you can all sit inside and eat your food, fill a flask with hot chocolate, and wrap up warm with coats and scarves. Oh yes, and don't forget to take a board game so you can have fun despite the weather.



Visit a local restaurant


10 Things To Do During Half-Term | Get out and enjoy a good meal at your favourite restaurant.


As a treat during the half-term why not take your children to a restaurant? In Nottingham there are so many to choose from and it really depends what kind of food you're after. If you'd like to try something new you could try Thaikhun or if you want something different check out Barburrito



Trick or Treating


Of course during the half-term you need to prepare for Halloween. Costumes can be a pain, especially for boys, but it's all part of the fun. Decorate your home with pumpkins, cobwebs, and skeletons, and make sure you have lots of sweets in the house ready for other little monsters who come a'knocking.





When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween.


Unknown




Movie Night


For the October half-term why not have a scary movie night? Movies like Goosebumps, Ghostbusters, or even The Witches are great for a Halloween themed movie night. Snuggle up together beneath a blanket, with popcorn and spooky treats at the ready, and enjoy a brilliant movie night as a family.


10 Things To Do During Half-Term | Enjoy a movie night in the house.


Whether you're an active family or prefer to spend time at home there's always something to do during half-term.


What are your 10 things to do during half-term?

13 simple ways you can be a more organised mama

Being a stay-at-home mum and having a happy and healthy home is achieve through organisation. In my 18 years of being a stay-at-home mum I've been through many stages, including being super organised and not-so-organised. I've learned that by staying organised my family and I are much happier and a peace descends over the house, and that means we can spend more time together as a family. It can be a struggle to get organised when you don't know how so I've put together this article giving you 13 simple ways you can be a more organised mum.




Get up early - a simple way to become more organised


Believe me I know how difficult it is to drag yourself out of a warm and cosy bed, especially when it's frosty outside and you can see that to-do list for the day ahead. But if you leave that cosy bed you'll be able to get started on your to-do list earlier. To give you that extra boost you could even try working out first thing in the morning. You'll really be ready to start your day because it'll get your heart pumping and your adrenaline going. You can do this!


13 Simple Ways You Can Be A More Organised Mama | Getting up at sunrise means you'll get some extra time for yourself.
Watch the sunrise and enjoy the peace before the kids get up.


Get into a routine - simple!


Getting into a routine can really help with being organised. If you've planned your day ahead of time it's easier to know how much time, if any, you have for other things. Tick off chores as you go and you may race through your list faster than expected, making you feel good. Routine is also good for your kids. Make them a list or explain to them how you want their morning to go and mornings will become a much more pleasant experience (most of the time). Another win.






The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. 

Mike Murdock






Get a planner to become a more organised mum


The planner could be on your phone or a physical planner that you write in. Writing everything down makes it easier to keep track of all the appointments in your diary and chores on your list. I use both, a physical planner and my phone, because I like to have a copy with me whenever I'm out of the house.


The physical act of writing something gets it out of my head and gives me more thinking space, but it also means I am more organised as a result. I love my passion planner, but there are plenty to choose from if you prefer other formats.


13 Simple Ways You Can Be A More Organised Mama | By writing everything down you can become more organised.
Be sure to write everything down!



Write everything down to keep track


Make lists, write down your goals, list rules for the kids. Use your planner to keep it all organised in nice lists or in date order but write it all down. I write down appointments, including school trips, birthdays, and I include the Hubby's appointments too. By keeping it all in one place I can keep track of where everyone is going to be and any plans we have. It also helps to keep us organised when it comes to planning day trips for half term or other school holidays.



Checklists help you become more organised


Whether it's a cleaning checklist, chores list for the kids, or even a shopping list, having them on paper or digitally helps you be an organised mum. The cleaning checklist is brilliant because you don't need to think about which chores you need to do today, it's right there on the list and you can get on with it and tick it off when it's finished. The same goes for the kids and their chores. My two are terrible at remembering what they need to do, so giving them a chores list has really helped them. 


I love checklists, they help me keep track of everything and make me feel like I'm actually making progress.




An organised mum has recipe lists


If your family is anything like ours you have your favourite meals and you cook them often. You get into a routine, having the same meals few meals on a rota and you get bored. You need something new to cook and you go in search of something. Then you cook that thing, again and again, until you get bored. Things come and go from the rota and you forget the recipes you used to cook.


13 Simple Ways You Can Be A More Organised Mama | Keeping track of your favourite meals helps with meal planning, even sandwiches can be forgotten.
Even the best sandwiches can be forgotten.


Having a recipe list, or a meal list, is a way of keeping track of all the meals you and your family love. I have both, there are meals I love cooking and that the boys love to eat. I have meals that are quick and easy to cook, that are perfect for times when the boys are going out with friends and want something quick to eat. 


My recipe list includes all the meals I've cooked and want to keep. Recipes from Tasty that I've copied - one thing I've noticed about Tasty recipes is they change, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. I have an old Chicken Lo Mein recipe that I've noticed they changed and while I'm sure they know best I know the old recipe worked well and my boys love it - so I'll stick with that one. I copy all recipes and keep them in a folder on my phone. 



Organised Mums meal-plan


Every Sunday evening I sit down for 30 minutes and look at my meal list. I decide which meals we'll be eating during the coming week. Meal planning helps me stay organised, it makes it easier to get on with the cooking when I already know what I'm making that day. It also means I can tell the boys what we're eating or list it on a weekly menu so they don't need to ask me (though they regularly do).



Organise your food shop


After meal planning you can organise your food shop. You'll know what you need to buy for the week and you'll spend less time wandering around the supermarket choosing your food. When I organise my food shop and list it on paper or the iPad, I get my shopping done much faster.



13 Simple Ways You Can Be A More Organised Mama | Organising your food shop is easier than you think!
Organise your food before you start!



Online food shopping - the Organised Mum's friend


Once you've planned your meal and organised your food shop, get on the computer and order your food online. You'll get it done much quicker, you can arrange delivery for when it's convenient, and you'll save money by you not picking up bits and bobs you don't really need.


All the planning, organising, and buying food can be done in the comfort of your own home. 

Now that's a win right?



A simple step to being more organised? Meal-prep


Once you've had your shopping delivered you can prepare your meals for the week. Chop vegetables and put them in air-tight bags, arrange other food so it's together in the "meals" you've planned. If you can grab a pre-chopped bag of vegetables from the fridge rather than spending 10 minutes peeling and chopping veg, you'll save time on the cooking and you'll have less cleaning to do.





Do all of your peeling and chopping when you have your food delivered and then you can clean it all up and know you won't have to do any for the rest of the week!



Organised Mum's clean as they go


If you do the meal-prep you'll only need to clean up the mess once, and if you do it straight after the meal-prep it'll all be sorted. The other thing is to clean up as you make the mess. I tend to clean up while things are cooking. For example while I'm cooking chicken, waiting for it to brown in a pan, I'll wash a few pans or wipe down the kitchen sides. While the meal is in the oven I'll empty the dishwasher or fill it as needed.






The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.

Marie Kondo






After dinner I tend to leave the cleaning until the following morning so I can spend time with my family rather than cleaning.



Have uniforms sorted and ready


Wash and iron school uniforms before the week they're needed and arrange them in the wardrobe so the kids can find them easily. It'll make your life easier in the long run, you won't have to spend time finding clothes or helping them get ready because they'll already have everything they need.



Organise school mornings


As you plan your meals for the week you should plan your school mornings too. Make sure everything is ready, uniforms sorted for the week, packed lunches made the night before or arranged into pots that can be grabbed from the fridge when needed. If you already have packed lunches made you won't be rushing around in the morning trying to get them sorted.





When you have everything organised life is much easier and you can leave for school in a much better mood!



Being more organised can seem like an impossible task, but by taking small simple steps you can be an organised mum and your days will run more smoothly.



What changes will you make today to become a more organised Mum?

10 ways you can feel better in 10 minutes!

Being a mum can strip you of your energy, leave you wiped out and disorganised. From spending every waking moment taking care of others to tackling the washing pile that is looking more like Everest every day. And it wouldn't be too bad, if it wasn't for the fact that you never get time to yourself. Just 10 minutes to yourself can feel impossible, but if you can swing it, here's 10 ways you can feel better in 10 minutes.



Take a shower




A simple (and quick) shower may be all you need to feel better. Wash away the day, or start the day right, and give yourself 10 minutes to enjoy the peace.






To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. 

Buddha




Clear out a kitchen cupboard

It sounds dull, I know, but clearing out a cupboard can be therapeutic. Recently I decluttered a cupboard where I'd been old baby cutlery - can you believe I still had sippy cups and bottles?! I was so ashamed!
Clearing out that cupboard felt so good. I got rid of things I didn't need and made space for the things I use every day. Not only did I get extra space but I've saved myself time by being able to put useful items in a more useful and accessible place. It brightened my day and made me feel like I'd done something productive.


So why not pick one a cupboard you've been meaning to clear out and get on with it. You'll be surprised by how happy it'll make you.



Sort out your wardrobe




Keep season-appropriate clothes in your wardrobe and put the rest away. Throw away clothes you haven't worn in years, anything you'll never wear again, to make space for new purchases! We all like an excuse to go shopping right?!


My organising your wardrobe you're going to feel better in 10 minutes and you're giving yourself an opportunity to go shopping. Win, Win!



Plan a room makeover

Whether it's a real makeover plan or just for fun, planning what you'll do will make you feel both motivated and happy. Choosing paint or wallpaper, or adding your own unique touch to your home, is a wonderful feeling. Picking out furniture or ornaments, flowers or paintings, it's all fun.


Even more fun is planning what you would do with a room if budget wasn't an issue. Let your imagination run wild, pick out everything you always wanted and dream big!



Put on make-up




A touch of foundation, mascara and lipstick. That's what I do. If I'm feeling down, or a tad sorry for myself, I put on make-up. I may be feeling rubbish but I can at least look a little better.


Simple, easy, and you'll be done in less than 10 minutes!



Sit and have a cuppa

No kids (if you can manage it!), just you, your cuppa, and peace. Don't put the TV on. Just sit and enjoy the quiet while having a cup of your favourite drink.


Sitting quietly is not something us mums get to do very often so when you do, enjoy it. Take full advantage of 10 minutes and help yourself feel better.



Go for a walk

Fresh air, the great outdoors, nature... it can inspire and brighten your mood. A walk through the woods or at your local park will give the children time to run around but also give you the freedom to breathe fresh air without listening to whining.





I love the occasional walk, especially if it's somewhere the boys can run off for miles (as long as I can still see them). If you're in the Nottingham area Wollaton Park is great, the kids can run off as far as they like and you can still see them.


Go somewhere you can look at the scenery and smile. Trees, gardens, flowers, anything that makes you smile.



10 minutes for your hobby

If it's card-making, plan your next card. Sketching? Start your next project or continue your current one. Have 10 minutes doing something you love and wait for the stress to melt away.





If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax. 

Christian Louboutin 





Whenever I'm feeling like I need a time out I take a 10 minutes (sometimes less than 10) and plan my next project. Sketching, card-making, or even writing, it doesn't matter - as long as I get time to myself doing something I love, I know I'll be happy.



Research a new hobby

As a mum you tend to forget who you are when those little bundles of joy come along. It's so easy to look after the little ones and forget that you used to love doing something. You don't allow time for yourself and as a result all those hobbies you had disappear.


Take 10 minutes, whenever you can, to find a new hobby. If you don't have any idea what to do then search the internet, you could even check out my post on hobby ideas. Think of the things you enjoy doing and see if there's a hobby that incorporates those things.


My hobbies include card-making, sketching, and writing. I get plenty of time for most of them but even when the boys are at school every day I make sure to get some time doing what I love.



If all else fails...



Lock yourself in the bathroom and put earplugs in. Take a book or a kindle with you, your phone even, and read or browse Facebook while getting 10 minutes to yourself. Try to forget about being 'mum' for a while.


Being a mum is a 24/7 job, but that doesn't mean you're not entitled to breaks. Take 10 minutes for yourself - you, and your family, will feel better for it!



How do you make yourself feel better in 10 minutes?

      Why it's important to have 10 minutes to yourself

      As a busy mum of two boys it's almost impossible to get just 10 minutes to myself on any given day. It might sound ridiculous but my days consist of doing things for others or working and when I think I may get 10 minutes to enjoy a hot coffee, or read a magazine, the boys are causing havoc and I have to intervene. But 10 minutes to yourself is so important and that's why I'm trying harder for me.


      After chatting to Michelle Reeves a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get up 30 minutes earlier than usual. My usual waking time is 6:30am but I chose to get up at 6am instead so I would have time to enjoy a hot coffee and watch the news without interruptions or arguments from the boys. 


      My alarm went off at 6am and I hit the button quickly so as to not wake the Hubby. I crept out of bed and into the bathroom and hurried through my morning routine as quietly as possible. I then went downstairs, avoiding that one creaky step, aiming for the kitchen. I closed the kitchen door behind and hoped the noise of the boiling kettle would be confined to the kitchen and wouldn't wake the boys. I made myself a coffee and, with coffee in hand, I opened the kitchen door.


      Sat on the stairs, with his best smile, was LP.


      I'm disappointed to see that smile but I was a little disappointed that my first attempt to get 10 minutes for me didn't go so well.





      I think women are natural caretakers. They take care of everybody. They take care of their husbands and their kids and their dogs, and don't spend a lot of time just getting back and taking time out. 

      Reese Witherspoon






      Why is it so hard to have time to myself?


      Being a mum to school-aged boys doesn't mean I get the whole day to myself. The time they're at school I spend doing chores or writing articles for my little corner of the internet. Any free time I find during school days is spent on things that don't need to wait until later, because I want to spend free time with my family. My whole life is about making life enjoyable and happy for my children and my husband, and as a consequence I often forget about myself.




      blonde haired woman with her arms in the air, a beach in the background



      So how do you get time to yourself?


      It's not easy. If you're a morning person you can get out of bed a little earlier and attempt what I did, but it's not a guarantee.


      Here is where giving your children chores will give you more time. Perhaps your 10 or 11 year old can load the dishwasher and your 6-7 year old can pick up dirty clothes and put them in baskets. The vacuuming is an easy job to give to your older children and doesn't take long, but it will give you a few extra minutes.






      It is amazing how quickly the kids learn the operation of the DVD, yet are unable to understand the vacuum cleaner.

      Etienne Marchal





      Hiding in the bathroom may work, but you can't really sit in there with a cup of coffee and enjoy peace and quiet while you're hiding from your children can you?


      If you have older children you could instigate times during the day when they're not allowed to interrupt you, no matter what (barring emergencies of course). They can entertain themselves while you enjoy a drink and read a magazine.




      Why is time for yourself so important?


      Having time for yourself allows you to think.


      You can be you, without thinking about housework or the kids. Ignore everything but your drink and your magazine or book, or whatever you choose to do in your time. Time to wind down, to enjoy something for yourself, just like everyone else does, can make a huge difference to your general outlook.


      That 10 minutes to yourself may help you find a new hobby, learn something new, or even stumble across a business idea.



      brunette woman sitting in a yoga position by a lake, relaxing. The lake is in the blurred background.


      You are not just a mum. You are not just a wife. You are someone who devotes themselves to making others happy, and allowing yourself 10 minutes every day will make you happy. 


      I haven't yet managed to get any free time in a morning. Whenever I try to get up early LP joins me. He's a light sleeper and the sound of anything downstairs wakes him. I'll get 10 minutes eventually, perhaps on the days he has after school clubs. But no matter when I get those 10 minutes I've realised it's important to have time for myself, and I urge you to try too.



      Do you get 10 minutes for yourself daily?

      How to get 10 minutes for self-care

      Self-care can mean many things, but when you're a stay-at-home mum who spends time taking care of other people it doesn't matter what it means because you don't have time for it. But with a little organisation, knowing what to spend time on, and prioritising yourself, you can get 10 minutes for self-care - even if you're a stay-at-home mum.



      Why getting 10 minutes for self-care is important


      As a mum you put everyone else first without thinking about the effect on yourself. And when you get stressed out and have an outburst you feel guilty. By taking 10 minutes to for yourself you're helping everyone.



      How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Sitting to have coffee is a form of self-care - when will you do it?
      Mmmm, a hot coffee...


      • Thinking time. Getting time to be alone and think is good for you. Whether it's looking out of the window with a hot coffee in your hand, or walking along the canal and watching the ducks, that thinking time helps you. You can organise your thoughts, think through your to-do list, and even check things off that have already been done. All in peace.





      Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.

      Deborah Day





      • Be you, without obligations. When was the last time you thought of yourself as anything but a stay-at-home mum? You spend all your time looking after others and as a result you tend to lose yourself. Getting 10 minutes for self-care allows you to re-learn who you are, it helps you work out your likes, dislikes, and most of all it helps you know yourself.

      • Learn something new. An opportunity to learn a new hobby, read an interesting article in the paper or online, or taking an educational course, makes you feel good. When you do something that makes you happy you're ready for anything.



      How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Learning a new hobby will make you feel good!
      Learn to take amazing photos!


      • Taking care of you IS taking care of others. When you take care of yourself you're more willing, and even happier, to take care of others. By getting 10 minutes of self-care you're saying you value yourself and that you play an important role - and your family will start to see it too!



      Benefits of using 10 minutes for self-care


      • Less stress. When you get 10 minutes for self-care you can let the stresses go. It is easier to cope with stresses when you are getting down time.

      • You're more positive about life. As a result of those 10 minutes for self-care you're happier, and more positive about everything. Something might be going wrong, or there's a mishap somewhere but because you're getting time for you you feel ready to take on whatever life throws at you.



      How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Smile - it makes you feel good!
      Just smiling can make you feel good.


      • Improve self-esteem. You start to feel good about yourself. You could be taking a yoga class, or delving into a new hobby but you're spending time improving yourself. And that feels good.

      • Improved health. By taking the time to think of yourself for a little while every day you're noticing things that need to change, or things that are a niggling issue and you get them sorted. You may start an exercise class to lose weight. You could notice something hurts and get it checked out by a doctor. Either way, you're taking care of yourself - and that's essential.

      • Improve concentration. When you're not distracted by impending school trips or your Hubby's washing pile, concentration is easier. You feel ready to put your brain to work and concentrate on the job at hand.



      How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Spending time with your kids can be a form of self-care.

      Your kids can make you feel amazing...



      • Better productivity. Have you noticed that when you're happier you tend to work faster? I know I have. Whether it's getting the washing into the machine, sorting out the kids' packed lunch, or seeing the Hubby off to work in a morning, it all goes quicker when you have a smile on your face.

      • You feel more giving. When you take 10 minutes for self-care you are more willing to help others. You're happy, fulfilled, so giving time to a family member makes you happier.  



      How to get 10 minutes for self-care


      Start small




      How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Cake and coffee is always going to be nice...



      Make small changes to your current routines. Instead of getting straight on with the cleaning as soon as you get up why not take a minute to drink your hot coffee? That's how I started my new self-care routine and it really helps with my motivation in a morning.





      Learning to love yourself is like learning to walk - essential, life-changing, and the only way to stand tall.

      Vironika Tugaleva





      Do one thing just for you


      Like I said, that coffee is a must for me but for you it could be something different. You might enjoy a nice breakfast, or watching your favourite show could be what makes you smile. Whatever it is make time for it in your day.



      Change your priorities


      It really is okay to put yourself first sometimes, even when you're a mum. I know we spend our days putting everyone else first but doing something for you is allowed. I regularly take 10 minutes for self-care - it can be yoga, drawing, or even sitting and drinking my coffee - but I do it regularly so my family know I'm taking care of me and them.



      Learn to say no




      How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Learn to say no!



      Whether it's the friend who always stops by, a family member who asks for your help too much, or even the kids asking for snacks - it's okay to say no. By saying no to some of the demands on your time you're giving yourself that time back - which you can then use on self-care.



      Create routines to get 10 minutes for self-care


      The very best way you can get 10 minutes for self-care is to create routines for yourself. Daily chore checklists, the kids' routine for school. It will take time, believe me, but if you do the same things every day and establish a routine you'll soon find that you have those 10 minutes for self-care - then you just need to work out what you're going to do with it!






      As a busy stay-at-home mum you need to start prioritising yourself. Not all of the time, but for at least 10 minutes. Self-care is important - it makes you happier and that means you're more ready to deal with the day-to-day stuff that comes with being a stay-at-home mum

      I hope this article has helped you see how to get 10 minutes for self-care and I would be happy to hear how you've been spending those 10 minutes.



      When was the last time you got 10 minutes for self-care?

      Fascinating English Heritage Castles to visit in the East Midlands

      It's the summer holidays and you're sitting on your favourite picnic blanket. The sun is shining and you're watching your kids run around the field in front of a castle ruin. You've spent the morning learning history related to the castle - which even the kids found interesting - and you're about to enjoy the lovely packed lunch you brought with you. It's been a brilliant morning spent with your family exploring the fascinating English Heritage Castle you visited - and the best bit? It was only a short drive from your home in the East Midlands.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Venture inside the castles and explore!
      Explore inside the castles too!



      Like the sound of that? It could be you by visiting one of the fascinating English Heritage Castles in the East Midlands - there are so many of them and I'm almost certain there's one on your doorstep! Read on to find out where your nearest castle is.



      English Heritage Castles in Derbyshire




      Bolsover Castle


      Okay, so I started with my favourite - Bolsover Castle. Of all the English Heritage Castles we've visited in the East Midlands Bolsover Castle is my favourite because it's where I married the love of my life. I remember planning our wedding and wondering where on earth we would get married - and then I found out you could get married in a castle - I mean who wouldn't want to get married in a castle? It's out of a fairytale, isn't it? So yes, Bolsover Castle is my favourite place to visit and it will always hold that special place in my heart.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | I married my love in Bolsover Castle.



      But it's not on the list because of its personal meaning to me, it's actually a fascinating castle. You can explore the ruin and the intact part of the castle. You can walk along the wall, see paintings of past residents of the castle and even learn about the history of Bolsover and the surrounding area. There are some awesome views from the top of the castle too. Oh, and if you visit, pay special attention to the Star Chamber - I said my vows in there!



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | See fantastic sculptures around Bolsover Castle.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Explore the ruin of Bolsover Castle
      The boys loved investigating the ruin at Bolsover.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Walk along the wall and see far into the distance.
      There are amazing views to be had on the wall!



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Hubby and I said our vows in the Star Chamber at Bolsover Castle.
      Hubby and I saying our vows.



      Hardwick Old Hall


      Hardwick Old Hall may not be a castle, but it may as well be. It has an interesting ruin to walk through which has stairs so you can even walk around and see the upstairs despite there being no floor in some places. 



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Hardwick Old Hall is a great place to spend the day.
      Let your kids explore while you listen to the audio tour.



      If you visit Hardwick Old Hall though you really must listen to the audio tour - not only does it tell you about the Hall and its residents but it has some interesting facts too, like the reason behind the four-poster bed which I'd always wondered about.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | You can see Hardwick Hall from the old hall too!
      You can even see Hardwick Hall from the Old Hall - brilliant.



      The last time we visited Hardwick Old Hall we had a blast. It was so much fun learning about the residents of the area and the things they got up to. And I remember the kids saying they'd enjoyed it too, and given they were probably 5 and 11 at the time I think that's a win!



      Peveril Castle


      In Castleton in Derbyshire, Peveril Castle has some breathtaking views all around and there's an interesting Keep for you to explore. Again there are ruins to walk around too, and dotted around the place are plaques with information about what you're looking at. That's where you can learn about the history of Peveril Castle





      A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

      Marcus Garvey





      Peveril Castle is one of the earliest Norman fortresses and the Doomsday survey mentions it!

      It's been a few years since we last visited Peveril Castle, but it was a great place to learn about English history and appreciate the things our ancestors did to keep the area safe. As it's mostly a ruin, it's definitely one of the most fascinating English Heritage Castles in the East Midlands.



      Sutton Scarsdale Hall


      While not really a castle, Sutton Scarsdale Hall is still an interesting English Heritage property to visit if you're enjoying the castles. There's plenty to see and wonder about, as well as explore. There's a lovely field in the area too so you'd be able to enjoy a lovely picnic while looking at the vast shell of the Georgian mansion. Just looking at the columns on the outside makes me wonder about the people that once lived there. Have you ever visited?



      English Heritage Castles in Nottinghamshire




      Rufford Abbey


      The most interesting thing about Rufford Abbey is that it has both ruins and a later built mansion. In Rufford Country Park, the ruins that date from 1170 were incorporated into a 17th century mansion. At Rufford Abbey you can learn about another one of Bess of Hardwick's husbands as well as enjoy walks or a picnic in the 150 acre country park.




      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Rufford Abbey has places for you to explore as well as a fantastic field to have a picnic.
      A plan of the Abbey.



      As we live fairly close, Rufford Abbey is on our list to visit this summer - it's a great place to wander around as well as learn about the history. With the country park and plenty of grassy areas, it's the perfect place to enjoy a summer picnic while the kids run around.






      Mattersey Priory


      While a small ruin, you can still imagine what things might've been like for residents back in the 13th century refectory and kitchen. Despite there not being much left of the original building, there are plans for you to check out showing the layout of the building and you can learn about a fire that ruined the church nearby, and the history of the Gilbertine monasteries.



      English Heritage Castles in Lincolnshire




      Tattershall College


      The building of Tattershall College completed in 1460 by William of Wainfleet, Bishop of Winchester, after the death of Lord Cromwell, its patron. As you walk around the interior of the college, you'll see Tudor arched doorways and note the red brickwork, which makes the college one of the oldest brickwork buildings in England as it retains its original fabric.

      I always find it interesting to walk around old buildings like this and imagine what life would've been like for its residents.



      Bolingbroke Castle


      The remains of a 13th century hexagon shaped castle, the birthplace of the future King Henry IV. Later besieged and taken by Lord Cromwell's parliamentarians. There's not much to see, apart from the ruins, but I still think it's worth visiting, because you can see the brickwork used to build the original Bolingbroke Castle.





      History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.

      Kurt Vonnegut





      Lincoln Medieval Bishop's Palace


      I always enjoy visiting Lincoln, what with the cathedral and the lovely streets and shops. If you ever visit Lincoln, you really must visit Lincoln Medieval Bishop's Palace where you can see one of the once most important buildings in England.

      The palace stands almost in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral and you can walk around the ruins led by a fantastic audio tour. And after walking around the Palace and learning about its history, you can enjoy a picnic in the gardens nearby, they're a peaceful place to sit and reflect and enjoy a family picnic.



      Gainsborough Old Hall


      One of the biggest and best-preserved medieval manor houses in England, Gainsborough Old Hall is a must visit. See an enormous medieval kitchen with an immense fireplace and an ornate wooden ceiling in the great hall. You can check out the interactive floor plans and see lovely wall paintings while walking around the hall. Gainsborough Old Hall is such an interesting place to visit as it's not a ruin - it's a well-preserved building with a roof! You can wander around and look at everything and learn about its history too. Win.



      Thornton Abbey & Gatehouse


      With a truly breathtaking gatehouse building to explore, and a field to enjoy a family picnic, Thornton Abbey & Gatehouse is a great place to visit. Learn about the history of one of Britain's richest Augustinian abbeys as it was one of the few places to survive the suppression of monasteries. It's a place to snap some amazing photos and enjoy family time - a great day to be had by all.



      English Heritage Castles in Leicestershire




      Kirby Muxloe Castle




      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Kirby Muxloe Castle is a really interesting place.



      An actual moated castle you can explore the remains and learn the history surrounding the fortified mansion. Built for Lord Hastings, Kirby Muxloe Castle serves as a poignant memorial to his ambition and sudden death, as he was seized and executed by Richard III.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Check out the tower at Kirby Muxloe.



      You can explore the castle and enjoy a picnic on the grounds, and take a stroll around the moat. Definitely one for your summer/school holidays list.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | A moat surrounds Kirby Muxloe Castle.



      Ashby de la Zouch Castle



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Ashby De La Zouch Castle is an interesting place to check out.



      One of my favourite places to visit in Leicestershire, Ashby Castle is a great place for a family day out. With an audio tour where you can learn about its colourful history including the attacks during Civil War, and a tower where you can climb and see breathtaking views from the top, Ashby Castle is sure to be top of your list whenever you're looking for a family day out.  



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Morgan walking along the ruins of the castle.



      I remember enjoying a sit down on the grounds of Ashby Castle as the boys ran around exploring the ruins nearby. I remember smiling as I watched them play and how I was enjoying a rest after exploring the tower. It really is a great day out.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Ashby Castle even has a field where the kids can play.



      English Heritage Castles in Northants




      Kirby Hall


      Kirby Hall is one of England’s greatest Elizabethan and 17th-century houses, once owned by Sir Christopher Hatton. While partly roofless there are still rooms redecorated to 17th, and 18th century specifications for you to explore and enjoy. You can get a view of the gardens from inside as well as explore outside too. 



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Kirby Hall is a great place to explore.
      Explore inside and out.



      Fascinating English Heritage Castles To Visit In The East Midlands | Walk inside ruins at Kirby Hall.
      And don't forget to explore the ruin too.



      The gardens are beautifully kept and walking around is peaceful and enjoyable. Be sure to stop by and listen to the audio tour too!




      When I was in school, I thought history was boring, but when I visited some of these castles in the East Midlands, I couldn't get enough of the historical information. Learning little snippets about people's lives back then or how they went about building the amazing castles was cool, and I always look forward to going back. The best bit about it all is that the kids enjoy listening to the audio tours too - they listen carefully to the history stories and pay attention to what they hear. And if you're planning on enjoying a picnic too, they even have something to look forward to when they're finished. Visiting any of these English Heritage Castles in the East Midlands is sure to be a fantastic day out - whichever you choose.


      Have you ever visited an English Heritage Castle?