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Need more fun. Please help

(22 Posts)
Basketofchocolate Mon 29-Apr-13 20:26:47

DH and I are constantly sleep-deprived from DS (4 yrs). DH is out of the house 12 hrs a day for work (M-F). All we seem to do at the weekend is try and recover from the latest cold, illness, do DIY, etc. Money is not desperately tight, but hardly free-flowing. We are not going to be able to afford a summer holiday this year, for eg. although we are hoping to have a couple of weekends altogether staying with friends around the country.

So, that's the state of play. But, where is all the fun? What do you do at the weekends? Do you go to festivals and cool stuff? How? Where? What's free (or free-ish) to do that will make me look back on the year and know that it actually happened? So far we are 4 mths gone and I couldn't tell you one thing of note that's happened so far.

Am seriously down about this, so please do give me some suggestions on how I can inject some fun experiences into our lives (family ones, not sexual, please!).

taurusmum85 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:16:31

Hi im always online looking at money off websites and voucher code ones. Theres some great deals out there

Whatalotofpiffle Mon 29-Apr-13 22:22:42

Hmmmmm.. Well we are English heritage members so once paid up (around £80 joint membership for 15 months at the moment) you can get in for free to loads of places and discounts on others. Take a picnic, camp of caravan overnight for a cheap break

Break up the days with things in your local area - they may initially sound naf, fayres etc, but have a go! Cheap to get in and child friendly

Cooking up a storm together - the I can cook recipe book us great for the kids

Plan a film night
Go to a local am dram play (and smuggle in your own wine!)
Plan a pampering night together... lush do some delicious massage bars ;)

Oooohhhhh, and my favourite..... Geo caching!!!!!!

Chores will take over if you let them, make time for fun!!

SmileItsSunny Mon 29-Apr-13 22:25:28

Days out rather than holidays...

use tesco vouchers for reduced entry.

Consider annual passes for one venue per year.

Agree with what above, go to village fetes / fayres, look in local newspapers to see what's on.

We do a lot of walking...

Make a big deal of going to feed ducks etc.

TheHouseofMirth Mon 29-Apr-13 22:36:41

Where do you live OP?

mummy2benji Mon 29-Apr-13 22:53:20

Hi there. Libraries are free - that might sound dull but our library has toys for kids to play with and ds1 (4.5y) will happily play there for an hour while I feed dd2 (6 months) and read him stories. Google farm parks in your area - I had no idea there were so many of them near us until ds1 was about 3 and I got tips of places to visit from other mums. Some are pricy but some are free or cost little. Outdoor parks - we have a local village park but sometimes we drive 20 mins to the big park in the city. We put ds's balance bike in the boot of the car and he rides around the paths happily at breakneck speed scaring the life out of me and will spend half an hour in the playground burning off energy. An ice cream at the end of it is a perfect treat. Botanical gardens, castles, anywhere with a playground are all good!

Basketofchocolate Tue 30-Apr-13 09:09:45

TheHouse - SE England. Lots to do, as long as you have £50 spare for entry.

We do got to some local stuff and finding out more and more (moved end last year so taking a while to find our feet). We are lucky to have parks, etc nearby. Guess looking for something more exciting. Being a parent is a little duller than when we had more freedom and money, and I appreciate that. I almost put 'naturally more dull' but for some people it doesn't seem to be. Although perhaps their kids are p*ssed off with never getting to just go to feed the ducks.

I haven't looked online for vouchers. Someone mentioned about Groupon to me last week - is that sort of thing?

Any thoughts on festivals good for kids in Europe that are driveable?

plipplops Tue 30-Apr-13 20:58:18

Second the local activities - the village next to us has an annual donkey derby that DDs love. Fetes, fayres, all that jazz smile

TotesAmazeGoats Tue 30-Apr-13 21:28:45

Annual memberships are great. The National Trust have some fantastic family friendly sites. We have not joined English heritage but my Mum is a member and she goes all sorts of places.

I also second fetes and shows. This time of year things start running each weekend. If you are rural that chances are many local towns and villages will have summer shows on, and they are great fun!

When we were in the south west the local paper regularly run vouchers or offers for day trips across to France on the ferry, or an overnight crossing. We are now north east and you can jump on the ferry at Hull and be in Bruges a few hours later! (Foreign Day trips could be a nice alternative if you aren't having a summer holiday)

As awful as sleep deprivation is (I haven't slept in 10 months) it does mean we are up early, which I love. Being up and out the house by 9am on a Sunday morning still amazes me!!

lolalotta Wed 01-May-13 05:53:22

My local radio station has a great "what's on" on-line guide for family events happening each weekend. Have a look at yours it might be the same. Our council runs a few family events each year that are free with face painting/ bouncy castles etc and there is a duck race in the neighbouring village which is lots of fun! Check out your local paper too for events! grin

lolalotta Wed 01-May-13 05:55:33

PLUS our local cinema does kiddy showings of films that have been on release for a while for £2.50 per child and adult on a weekend morning, fab value! (Odeon)

lolalotta Wed 01-May-13 05:58:15

Had you ever thought about camping? My 3yr old LOVES it, we never go far, only about 1.5hrs down to the coast but she has a ball! We really enjoy it too. We never stay long, only 2 or 3 nights and are fair weather campers, couldn't stand it in the rain!!! grin

babyphat Wed 01-May-13 21:11:43

Picnics? Eating out at cheap places (builders type caffs for fry ups/beans on toast? Or cheap Indian/Chinese/polish etc if you live somewhere with good food options.) Day trip to seaside? Lots of museums, galleries, with bribe of cake if necessary. Also read brilliant tip to keep them interested in art galleries : challenge them to find the most dogs/bare bottoms/babies etc in the pictures. A nice family tradition I read about was family movie night - everyone snuggling and eating pizza, a family film. Looking fwd to doing this once dd less wimpy on films. Also 4yo pretty civilised by that age, you can do a lot of things you did pre kids, £ permitting. Well, not smoking or drinking or sex marathons, but the other stuff. I sympathise on the sleep, dd1 didn't reliably sleep through till starting school.

babyphat Wed 01-May-13 21:14:25

Without sounding like a stalker where are you in the country as people might have good local recs?

babyphat Wed 01-May-13 21:17:41

Oops sorry blush. Near enough for London day trip? You can have a pretty good cheap day out if train not too pricey. Parks, picnics, cheap restaurants, a billion amazing free museums. My fave is Museum of London.

Basketofchocolate Wed 01-May-13 21:53:54

Thanks for more good ideas. Am going to look for cheap day trips to France, as that will cheer me up a lot. London is expensive on the train but ok, trouble is the damn engineering works every damn weekend that mean every time we plan to go, we end up having to cancel. Not been to museum of london tho, so will add that to the list.

Am really hoping DS starts sleeping through at school. Am always struggling to get up in the mornings and am worried that DS will be snoozing (or kicking off!) by the afternoons as he'll be so tired. Fingers crossed all will be ok.

Eating out is tricky for us due to DS food allergies. Takes fun out of impulsiveness I guess as we have to know what we're doing for food for each meal. Sometimes I get sick of having to pack lunches instead of being able to eat something interesting out. It has also meant that during the crappy weather over the last few months, it's been hard as picnics are not fun in the frost. Hmmm......perhaps that does hamper our fun more than I'd realised actually. There is always so much planning involved. It certainly stopped us going to a festival last year as we couldn't be sure of being able to feed DS for a weekend.

Can always rely on Mumsnet for some free therapy grin

TotesAmazeGoats Thu 02-May-13 07:15:34

If you were really keen on a festivals, loads of the weekenders do single day tickets (Reading & Leeds definitely do) meaning you can rock up in the morning, enjoy the music and actually get to sleep in a bed that night. Maybe get a hotel to make it feel like more of a holiday) If you were set on the whole weekend though, Friends of ours used to rent a band style "tour bus" between a large group of them (so maybe if you had another family/friends that were keen). I think they sleep about 12, and it also means with on board fridges/storage etc, that you could have all of DS's food on site and not have to risk any catering trailers etc with his allergies.

Wishihadabs Thu 02-May-13 07:28:43

This may sound naff but we go swimming as a family at the weekend (good for everyone) and helps them sleep IME. We also go on bike rides (a seat/trailer bike for the little one), roller disco (near us costs £8 for 4). Don't know where you are but we alternate membership Leeds castle (in kent) and the national trust, then you have days out for free all year, Leeds castle has great stuff for 4 year olds. We also go to the beach and PYO / blackberry picking later in the year. TBH we find there aren't enough weekends to fit it all in.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 02-May-13 07:33:18

We do a lot of getting on the train and going to cities and towns that we're not familiar with. We have a family rail's much cheaper. We go to museums and art galleries...many have great kids sections with crafts and dressing up....we go to parks and eat somewhere cheap like a pub or McDonalds

We also have bikes and go on nrides...DD is 5 and has a tagalong but your DS might need a bike seat....that's great fun and we have picnics.

SecrectFarleysNibbler Fri 03-May-13 22:35:16

Have you discovered PINTEREST? Loads of ideas for cool things to do with kids. Find the 'kids' bit and look through for inspiration!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 04-May-13 08:42:48

I think its easy to believe that everyone else is out doing "all the cool stuff" and you aren't. You are in a very lucky situation already having DH home every weekend. My DH has Monday off and that's only because he's worked all the other bank holidays for over a year, yes including Christmas Day.

Today we've got swimming lessons and probably library.

Tomorrow we are going for a bike ride with some friends and Monday we are going to dmil for the day.

TheHouseofMirth Sun 05-May-13 19:06:16

OP we've just got a National Trust family membership which cost £70 online and we'll get that back in about 3 visits I think.

Also, look out for deals on Friends and Family railcards. They normally cost £28 and give you 1/3 off rail fares (you have to buy a child ticket for your 4 yo but it still works out much cheaper this way). Around this time usually the Daily Mail usually does a free 2 month card with a discount if you extend it.

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