Difficult Weeks and Simple Distractions

This week has been really draining. My daughter broke her finger and had to get an operation yesterday, so I decided after two days of waiting in hospitals, we were due a relaxing day in the house. My sister had sent us a fairy garden to assemble, so we decided to put it together. I had to improvise and steal soil from other plants, but we managed to get enough to hold it together. My daughter enjoyed planting the grass seeds and assembling the little house. There was a pebble path to add, a washing line, little figures and fairy dust. It’s a good way to gently spend the day when you’ve had a taxing week. I’m a firm believer in the power of crafts to get you through difficult situations. Every time I’m feeling low, I try to create something positive out of it. Then, when you look back on the situation, you aren’t left with only negatives – you have made something worthwhile because of it. Even if it is just something to decorate your house with, a way to entertain your kids or some treats to enjoy in the house, it helps lighten the atmosphere around you.

It looks like we will be having a quiet few weeks while my daughter is recovering and her hand is out of use, and I plan to use it as an excuse to do all the projects I put off. I learned recently that drawing while my kids are awake is a good way to get their attention. They always want to get involved and draw their own pictures of the same things/ help to colour in. I think returning to activities that require creativity and the use of your hands are a good way of stripping everything back and removing your stress. Too often we are absorbed by electrical devices and forget about what’s important. Even though the last couple of days have been so tiring, sometimes events like that put everything into perspective and you realise the time you typically waste on useless worries.


Garden Blackberry Picking

I never used to notice much around me, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to observe my surroundings the last few years. I tend to get lost in my thoughts and forget to pay attention to things. If you’re having a hard time and getting stuck in your own mind, it’s good to take some time to notice the simple things around you. A few days ago, I was walking outside in my mum-trance to put something in the bin. Then I noticed in the hedges in my garden that there were lots of blackberries growing. I got the girls to help me pick them, which they loved. They devoured them in seconds and seemed to enjoy them more because of the novelty of picking them themselves. I was really excited because I usually successfully end the life of every plant in my vicinity. I have a strawberry plant that has only produced two strawberries this summer, so that made up for our strawberry drought. (Unless my kids are eating them without my awareness.) Sometimes when you’re racing around, trying to do too much, it’s worth taking the time to slow down or sit with a cup of tea in the garden and not to allow yourself to think thoughts other than observational ones about your surroundings. If you don’t, you might miss something small that makes your day salvageable.

Things to do with Fed-Up Kids

My kids need a lot of stimulation or they just fight each other for fun. Maybe that’s by my own doing. We tend to go out a lot and have lots of varied experiences. The downside to that is that they probably don’t get enough time to face their boredom, which I think stifles their creativity. I’m making a conscious effort to let them entertain themselves more, but here are a few ideas for the moments when they’re climbing the walls and you’re about to crack up 🙂

1. Get out and go to the nearest beach. Bring snacks and drinks, get a net so they can “fish” in rock pools, make castles and collect pretty shells. Get a special box for them to put their treasures in.

2. If they have a tent/house in the garden, or if not – picnic blanket,  bring your kids milk in teacups and biscuits on a tray. There’s something about getting a delivery when they aren’t expecting it that puts them in a good mood 🙂

3. Draw pictures with crayons and paint over them with watercolours. You can also use candles instead of crayons to make “magic pictures” too.

4. Have a no electricity day. Turn off the TV, the lights, light candles (out of their reach!) and read stories together by candlelight and give them a glimpse of life before technology.

5. Let your kids dress up in your clothes and do a fashion parade/ play with your jewellery collection. My kids are like magpies and love shiny things and trying to pinch my stuff.

6. Bake bread together. Show your kids how to knead it and they’ll enjoy eating it more because they’ve made it themselves.

7. Watch old musicals and make popcorn. I find it hard to get my kids to sit still for any movies without cartoons in them, but for some reason, if they are music-based, they sit for longer and it holds their interest.

8. Give your kids old magazines to cut up and make collages with. If they are learning to write, get them to practise writing the words underneath, or get them to write an accompanying story.

9. Speaking of stories, my daughter likes if I make her a “book” by folding paper or card and tying it with a string. She comes up with phrases to write and I help her spell them. You can give younger kids an idea and they can draw it for you.

10. Have a treasure hunt. Hide a toy/a treat, draw a map or give clues to help them find them. When I was little, my grandparents used to hide a thimble and we had to find it using “hotter/colder.” It was one of my favourite games and didn’t even involve toys 🙂

Things to do on a Screen Free Day

Things To Do On A Screen Free Day

I hate having too much screen-time. It leaves you feeling unhealthy afnd drained. I think it interferes with what could have been a productive day. I’ve been seriously limiting my screen usage recently and in the spirit of that, I decided to compile a list of alternatives to using a screen:


Go for a long walk and leave your phone at home. You will realise how much more you notice the things around you when a phone isn’t absorbing your attention.

Go to a park, forest or beach and appreciate nature without interruptions. Collect items as little souvenirs. Draw pictures of them.

Paint a picture, outdoors.

Have a picnic under a tree with friends. Each bring an item to make it simple.

Have a hot drink on a bench, watching the sea and think.


Find a car boot sale. Sell your own items or look for new interesting ones.

Go window shopping for books. Get ideas for your reading list. Read the blurb and see if you find something new. Buy them more cheaply online or look out for them second hand.

Go on a train journey, get off at the last stop and see what is there. Take pictures.

Go to an open farm and spend a quiet afternoon with animals. It helps to slow down your mind.


Go to a museum and take real time to read about the exhibits.

Listen to a podcast. Note down ideas you get from it.

Listen to music and read about it while you listen. You might find something new you like and learn some interesting facts about the band.

Go to the cinema and watch an international film with subtitles.

Read a newspaper, on paper, in peace in the library. They also have coffee mornings where you can do this and get free coffee 🙂


Make your own flower arrangement with various cheap bouquets of flowers or flowers you find outside.

Lie on your bed and daydream like when you were a kid.

Try making home-made ice lollies. Freeze fruit inside ice cubes to make them pretty. Treat yourself to a fancy drink.

Research your family tree or record stories about relatives for future generations to read. Make photo albums and scrapbooks.

Draw out a design of your perfect room and then work towards making it look like the picture.

Make presents for people you know. Make up baskets with personal notes and items in them to cheer them up.

Create a new space out of an unused corner in your home. You could add in a mini office, a crafts’ corner, a coffee corner, a place for yoga, etc.

Collect shells on a beach and made a seaside display to remind you of summer holidays.


I hope this gives you some ideas of more valuable ways to spend time and relax. How do you like to spend your screen-free time?




Things To Do When You’re Bored And Broke

Budget Things To Do When You’re Bored And Broke

I don’t really get bored, probably because I always have an unaccomplished list of things to do composed in my mind. I am more familiar with being broke, thanks to my natural inclination to buy pretty things the moment they enter my line of vision. So, here are a few ideas of free/relatively cheap activities to do after a particularly bad case of impulse buying:

  • I probably shouldn’t be suggesting more shopping, but go to the pound shop and buy as many interesting things as you can for three pounds. Eg, items for your own spa night, books, sweet treats and hot drinks, craft materials, gardening equipment, movies.
  • Gather up items you no longer use and put them up for sale on Gumtree/Ebay/give them to charity.
  • While you’re on Gumtree, look for free items that people are giving away; you might find a treasure.
  • Make your own bookmarks with your favourite quotes/images on them.
  • Go to a language exchange/a reading group/a craft group in the library.
  • Host a dinner party for friends where you agree on a meal to make and each person brings one component of it. Each bring a board game and a type of fruit juice and make non-alcoholic cocktails.
  • Start a sketchbook and draw pictures that summarise the moments of your day.
  • Make a wish list and start a savings jar to save towards it. Once you buy one item, add one more to the end of the list.
  • Create a cosy corner in your home of interesting objects/candles/lights to make it more homely.
  • Take pictures of the most beautiful and the most ordinary things in your life.


  • Read reviews on https://www.goodreads.com/ and make a reading list for this year.
  • Go to http://www.supercook.com/ and type in ingredients you already have in the house; it will come up with recipe suggestions based on what you have on hand.
  • Read blogs that focus on your areas of interest.
  • Go to the sea, sit in front of it with a cup of coffee and read or write, listening to the waves.


  • Have a picnic or a drink in your garden on a picnic blanket.
  • Start growing your own herb garden/potted herbs on your windowsill.
  • Watch hauls on https://www.youtube.com/ ; they’re really addictive and good for zoning out to. There are many different kinds, relating to whatever you like to collect.
  • Go to the library, get a book on a specific type of crafting and make something from it as a gift for someone.
  • Go to a craft fair with a small amount of cash to spend and look around at the interesting handmade items.
  • Get on a bus and go somewhere you never usually go to. Take pictures along the way.
  • Write a funny fictional short story involving yourself and people you know.
  • Go shopping for one specific thing you haven’t tried before, eg, butter mint tea, chilli chocolate, an item from the Asian supermarket.
  • Buy a DVD in a charity shop and have a movie day, with homemade snacks and the comfort of your sofa instead of the discomfort of an uncooperative cinema seat.
  • Go for a long walk in an unexplored direction and stop at every place you’ve never been to along the way.
  • Make a photo album with captions and embellish it an ebullient way.
  • Make a collage out of items you find lying around the house; you’ll feel childishly creative again.
  • Try to complete an entire novel in one day. Set yourself a monthly reading challenge.
  • Make French toast with your favourite toppings or try more adventurous ones.


  • Go for a long drive along the coastline or through the countryside.
  • Sit outside and watch a sunrise or sunset with a drink and still your thoughts.
  • Draw any object around you in your own style. Start a book of random sketches.
  • Have a bath while you listen to jazz or classical music.
  • Start a collection of thrifted items, eg, hats, earrings, belts, teapots, records, antique books.
  • Go for a walk and look for berries/flowers. Bring a basket with you and collect things along the way.
  • Sit under a tree and read. I find that it makes me feel more wistful and more likely to become immersed in the storyline.
  • Make yourself a reading corner in your house, with a comfortable chair, a blanket, cushions, quiet music, a lamp and a place for your tea.
  • Make a gratitude journal and note down anything small that has brightened up your day.
  • Start a dream journal and document your most bizarre and funniest dreams.
  • Learn about types of flowers, so that when you go for a walk you can identify them.
  • Get a set for painting your own mug/moneybox/decoration.
  • Look through your jewellery and put items out on display so you don’t forget to wear them and then rotate them when they have had ample use.


  • Collect flowers and petals and press them in a book.
  • Look up recipes online for soap/hand cream/face masks and make your own at home with natural ingredients.
  • Soak your hands or feet, moisturise them and give yourself a free manicure or pedicure.
  • Cook takeaway-style meals and freeze them for future days when you are pressed for time and just want to reheat something.
  • Experiment with coffee shop-style coffee, using syrups and different varieties of milk. Get cheap coffee stencils to decorate the top with cinnamon or chocolate.
  • Freshen up your home with pretty flowers.

Hopefully this gives you a few ideas for inexpensive things to do on an empty day! Hope you find some creative things to do when you’re bored, broke and on a budget 🙂