family

Tom hates bedtime. It is so boring. But one night he hears a noise outside. There are girl pirates trying to steal the front of his house (to disguise their pirate ship, obviously). Tom and the fearless girl pirates embark on an adventure to find the naughty grown-up pirates who have been going around town stealing priceless objects. And this is the story of The Night Pirates, now on at the Rose Theatre Kingston.

Yesterday I took Dubz and Moozles to Kingston to watch this fearless and fun family show. Dubz is five so he loves all things pirates. At nine, Moozles was not fussed about going until she found out that there were girl pirates. We love a bit of girl power so we were excited to see some females taking charge.

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My son had a birthday party at Hobbledown today, so we all went. It's been about a year since the last time we were all there (we normally split up for birthday parties). Last year, Dubz was just about to begin Reception and I remember being so nervous and excited for this big step in his life.

Today, things felt different. Dubz is so much more confident than he was a year ago. Today we took advantage of the sunshine to run around the high ropes and the soft play. As we were leaving, I snapped this photo of Moozles and Dubz. The light looked so lovely. And the kids looked quite sweet and a bit grown-up.

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My family had our first Eurocamp holiday in May (we went to La Garangeoire). Beforehand, I spent ages googling what to pack. We didn't do traditional camping as we stayed in a holiday home. This meant that we didn't have to take everything. But I wanted to pack wisely so that the car wasn't overly, and uncomfortably, full. So I thought I would offer my own Packing Checklist for any of you planning to visit Eurocamp.

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Husband has been desperate to visit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for ages. I wasn't really sure if Moozles and Dubz would enjoy a day looking at old boats, so I had been putting it off. But I thought that this summer would be the right time to have go for a visit. Dubz is now five and Moozles is nine, both at an age where they enjoy learning and don't throw that many tantrums. So a couple of weeks ago, we drove down to Portsmouth.

When I hear 'dockyard', I think of water and boats, but the thoughts aren't very exciting. I have to say that the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard was more than I was expecting. Before you arrive into the dockyard, you see the HMS Warrier 1860 looking quite grand on the water. When you enter the docks, you can choose what you want to do first. We went to the HMS Victory as we thought it would be less busy in the morning. Husband has quite a few memories of visiting the dockyard as a child and was keen to see the Victory again. So we climbed aboard and explored the ship.

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We are more than halfway through the summer holidays. And while I find the first two weeks always goes smoothly, the third week gets a bit tense. And if the weather is rainy, it seems to make things worse. We're all getting a bit sick of one another, and I can't seem to get anything done. So on a day of craziness and non-stop fighting, I  booked Moozles and Dubz onto Fit For Sport.

First of all, let me be clear. My nine-year old daughter does not like holiday camps. Or actually, she doesn't like the thought of them. Moozles would rather spend the day lazing about in bed reading books or watching Netflix on the iPad. But my five year old son needs constant exercise. And truhtfully, so does my daughter, though she doesn't realise it. In fact, I think most children are happier when they've spent a lot of time walking, running and climbing around.

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I had always said that Moozles could get her ears pierced when she turned 11. It is quite an arbitrary number, but it seemed to be a popular ear-piercing age for many British children. In the past year, Moozles has been asking to get her ears pierced. And personally, I think that kids can get their ears pierced as soon as they are able to take care of them themselves. So I told her that she could get her ears pierced this summer.

I expected Moozles to get scared and change her mind, but she had her mind set on getting earrings. So on Friday, after their last swimming class of the summer, I took the kids to Claire's in Kingston-upon-Thames. Moozles picked out which earrings she wanted, and she squeezed the life out of my hand. And in under 30 seconds, she had pierced ears. Moozles is now cleaning and turning her earrings three times a day. And they should be healed in three weeks, just in time for school. It feels like quite a milestone, for her and for me. My little girl is growing up.

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We don't go to many shows as a family. I either go with my 9-year old daughter or my husband. My son is quite fidgety and cannot sit for more than an hour. I can't tell you how many shows we've endured with me silently screaming at him to stop kicking the seat in front. So when we were invited to view The Wind in the Willows at Kew Gardens, I was excited to see a show with no proper seats.

Once you arrive at Kew Gardens (Victoria Gate), there is a 10-minute walk to the beginning of the show. We spread out our picnic blanket, and waited for the first part of the show. Husband is not a fan of sitting on the ground, so he sat at the back on a camping chair we had brought. I let the kids eat half of their sandwiches, because it is obviously very tough not to start eating lunch at 10.30am.

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Nothing kicks off a splendiferous summer like a trip to the Roald Dahl museum followed by afternoon tea with Mr Kipling. I was pretty excited to visit the museum, but then to get to eat my body weight in cakes?! It was like a dream come true. First, I must clarify that I was not being forced to eat lots of cakes. I just love Mr Kipling (especially the Viennese Whirls and Bakewell Tarts).

The Roald Dahl Museum is both educational and fun. I really enjoyed learning about Roald Dahl (Moozles had read a biography about him so was an expert, she informed me). But she loved learning how tall the various characters were, and that she was the same height as Danny. We really enjoyed seeing Roald Dahl's armchair and the place he created all of his stories. The museum has loads of interactive bits, which made it interesting for my nine year old and my five year old. There was also story-telling, dressing up and crafts. Dubz and Moozles loved the paper flowers we made.

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If you're on Instagram, you've probably seen hundreds of posts from lavender farms all across the country. June, July and early August are the best times to visit. Take some family photos or capture your outfits in a beautiful environment. And if you live in south London, Mayfield is the nearest lavender farm.

We first visited Mayfield Lavender Farm four years ago, after Moozles finished her first year of school. I was looking back at the photos from this first visit because we had our third visit today. And how my little ones have changed. They really aren't so little anymore. My two were running around, trying to stay away from bees. At one point, they were both adamant they had been stung by the bees. They hadn't. But it can be quite daunting for children to see so many bees in one place. There are loads of bees, but they mostly keep to the lavender.

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And that's a wrap on another year of school. Moozles has finished Year Four, and Dubz has finished Reception. I can't believe my little baby has finished his first year of school. He has changed so much this year. But then, there is so much change that happens in these early years. Besides all the learning, there is so much confidence that comes from attending school. Dubz has been meeting new people, trying new things, eating new food. It has been a wonderful year for him. We can't wait for Year One!

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