15 Signs You Know You Have a Teenager When…

The change is almost over night; one day you have an adoring young child who would do anything for you to make you happy and the next BAM! You’re faced with a moody, angry teen who slouches around the house and argues back at you when you ask them to do a chore.

Now, I am quite lucky that most of these signs I only had when my son went into secondary school and, to be fair, they didn’t last for long (maybe a year or so). I think it took me falling ill for him to shake his butt and get a grip with his emotions and feelings. Some of the signs are still happening and, well, I could be talking about the significant lazy other half too! (but that’s another blog post lol)

We all have our own experiences with our teens – some good, some bad. Here are some that I have experienced with my sons:

  • They no longer feel the cold and go out without wearing a coat in the Winter. Wearing a coat is to uncool!
  • Teenagers know everything! There is no need to use the internet anymore, just ask your teen. Oh, and they have an answer to everything too (that’s if you can hear them talking through their mumbling)
  • There is no need for a cloak cupboard anymore, teens will leave their coat and bags at the front door as soon as they enter. They say it’s easier for them to grab the next day
  • They have a better social life than you. As soon as they turn 13 they will be attending anyone and everyone’s party.
  • They live in their bedrooms. You will never see them unless there is food on the table and it’s time to eat
  • They begin to mumble in a low voice when they are talking to you. You will never make out what they are saying
  • You will never get to use your own charger anymore as it will be claimed by them to charge their tablets or phones
  • They want every item of clothing to be designer and are no longer happy with Primark or high street clothing
  • Their friends are allowed to do EVERYTHING that are not allowed to do and you will constantly hear about a friend who can do what they want
  • If they DO pick up their dirty dishes and cutlery and take it to the kitchen, it will not make it into the sink but instead it will be left next to the sink ready for the cleaning fairy to wash them
  • You will find dirty, stinky socks all over the house. Say goodbye to pairing them up, you will have odd socks everywhere
  • They constantly have their phone next to them, headphones plugged in. Now, I’m pretty sure that they are not even listening to anything it’s just a way for you to not talk to them
  • Sleep. They can sleep all day long. It may be because they don’t got to sleep until the early hours as they have spent most of the night on social media
  • There is never any food in the house even though you just filled up the cupboards and fridge with food. Either they have just eaten it all or they mean that there are no snacks for them to grab and eat straight away
  • Say goodbye to that expensive hair shampoo or body lotion that you save for special occasions as it will get used almost immediately. Oh, and your bathroom will have  a cloud of smoke in their from all of the deodorant that was sprayed.

Don’t worry, the teen years don’t last for long, You will soon have that loving little child who once ran from their classroom door straight into your arms because they were thrilled to see you. They no longer fit onto your lap for a cuddle and you may have to stand on a stool to hold them in your arms again but their loving and caring side soon comes back.

Do you have any signs to share?


Mind The Gap – Travelling on the tube with children

Travelling on the underground in London can be daunting for any adult who has never done it before. It can also be very stressful, especially during the busy rush hour, but it needn’t be if you prepare your self.

Living on the outskirts of London means that we travel into London a lot of times. Sometimes we go after school during the week to get to auditions and other times we travel on a weekend just for a day out. We are so used to travelling during the rush hour that it just seems natural to us. There are some stations and routes that we will avoid at the busy times, which may mean walking through the streets to get to the next station  but they are never that far away from each other.

Travelling with a baby or young children across London can be every adults nightmare, It can also be very challenging but it is definitely possible and enjoyable.

Here are some of our tips on travelling with children on the underground

  • Grab your self and Oyster card or if you can use your phone or bank card if cantactless is set up on it.

-Children under 11 travel free on the tube, overground, DLR , TFL rail and buses if they have a 5-10 Zip or travelling with an adult (under 5 travel free)

-Children aged 11-15 can travel with a Zip oyster photocard. They travel for free on buses and trams and get a reduced rate on all other TFL service

-If you’re visiting London and travelling with children aged 11-15 who haven’t got a Zip Oyster photo card, you can still benefit from reduced rate travel for them. You can get a discount set on an Oyster or Visitor Oyster card that will allow them to pay as you go at half adult-rate for up to 14 days.

Apply for these cards online prior to visiting

  • Remember always to tap in and out at the stations on the yellow card reader with your card. If you manage to walk through a barrier without tapping out after your journey, you will be charged the maximum fare
  • Plan your route. Take a look at the underground map online or download an app. We find the app to be very useful, not only does it tell you if there are any delays on any of the routes but it also plans your route for you and tells you how long each journey will be.
  • Grab a map at the station and give to your child to look at and study. When on the train tell them your destination and see if they can work out the route.
  • Try to avoid travelling during rush hour. With commuters moving around the city, expect the trains and stations to be overcrowded between 07:30 and09:30 in the morning and between 17:00 and 19:00 in the evening. This said, I have also found some stations on particular routes in zone 1 to start getting busy at 4.30.
  • When travelling with babies, try taking a light fold away buggy/stroller or use a sling. It will make your trip a lot more easier
  • Be prepared to walk up lots of stairs. There are also lots of escalators to use.
  • When using the escalator stand on the right as people walk up on them on the left. Keep young children in front of you.
  • Take a look on the map for step free access stations. Sometimes its easier to travel to your destination by using the nearest step free station and walking the rest
  • If you are travelling with more than one child, tell them that as soon as you get off of the train and on to the platform to wait against the wall. Platforms can become extremely busy. You don’t want to be dragged along with the crowd not knowing what direction you actually want to go. We always wait against the wall and then look for the way out sign or where to go for the next line.
  • I know it’s scary but I have always told my children that IF they ever get left on the train to get off at the next station and wait on the platform against the wall for me to get them. I also tell them that if they get off of the train without me to wait on that platform and I will come back for them. This has never happened to us, but the trains do get very busy and sometimes a small child could become disoriented within a crowd of people.
  • Tell your children to always wait behind the yellow line until the train has stopped.
  • If there are two adults when travelling, always have one at the front and one at the back when walking through the stations and even through London streets. Think of a sandwich, keeping the children in the middle. I travel with my three children, who are now 15, 10 and 6. It is always me first and my eldest last.
  • Walk around London from one station to the next, instead of going by tube. For example; although travelling from Oxford Circus to Piccardilly Circus can take a few minutes on the train, it does only take 11 minutes by foot. Think of all those lovely shops and building that you will see.
  • Carry water with you. The trains can become stuffy and hot, especially in the summer. Also have a snack in your bag.
  • If you are going to be on the train for a while, play some games with them to keep them occupied. We like to play the station alphabet game or I-Spy
  • When standing on the platform waiting for the train to approach, wave to the driver. they always wave back and the children love it.
  • Use the wider ticket barriers, they will have much more room for the family to get through. They are marked with a blue wheelchair symbol and normally have an attendant close by.

Remember where ever you go in London; on bus, tram, tube or river boat to enjoy your self. Have a great trip and Mind the Gap!


5 ways to get your children drinking more water

Keeping children hydrated is important as they are less heat tolerant and are more likely to feel dehydrated, especially when they are doing physical activities and hot days. Children, especially younger ones need to be encouraged to have a drink as they are more likely to go through the whole day and forget to have one.

When my children were babies I always encouraged them to drink water in between milk times and I carried on that as they grew older. My children are very active, so I always like to have water readily available for them to drink to keep them healthy and energised.

Did you know that the amount of fluid a child needs to drink depends on many factors including their age and gender, the weather and how active they are? Children aged 5-11 should be consuming about 6-8 glasses of water a day.

A recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetable juice should be limited at one small glass (150ml) and they should really only be drunk at mealtimes. The best choice of drink to keep hydrated throughout the day is water – this doesn’t provide extra energy or risks them harming their teeth

My 5 top tips on getting your children to drink more water:

  1. Make sure water is readily available-When we are out and about I like to fill up a sports bottle with water and take it with us. I always carry one with me, so the children get a drink all the time, it also ideal to fill up from a water station when empty. Buy a water dispenser for the home. We have one in our kitchen, placed near to the edge of the work top. The children help themselves to water when ever they feel thirsty. We bought a Kilner one from Dunelm Mill, but they are available from lots of shops
  2. Be persistent. Keep offering them water, especially during and after being active. The more you offer it throughout the day they will eventually become accustomed to drinking it and get into the habit of remembering themselves
  3. Add in some flavour with fresh fruit and vegetables. We like lemon and lime but you can add in strawberries, melon, pineapple, mint, cucumber and berries. You can even freeze the fruit in slices and add them into the water to cool down as well as giving flavour
  4. Offer food that has a high content of water. Fruits, vegetables, smoothies, soups and even pasta and rice absorb water as they cook. Homemade ice lollies and ice cream are a great way of introducing more water to a child
  5. Remove temptation. Stop buying juices and fizzy drinks (or hide them away from the children) they will soon start drinking water if there is nothing else to drink. We still have juice but they are no added sugar types and are at the back of the cupboard away from there little hands.

Remember children will do as their adults do. So, if you drink water then they will too!

How do you encourage your children to drink more water? Please leave a comment below 🙂


My top tips for flying with children

Flying can be daunting and scary on its own but when you have children it can become stressful and a worry. We have travelled three times by plane in the last year and I must say that each time has been a different experience. We have had early morning flights, middle of the night flights and day time flights, each have a different effect in children. Depending on the time of your flight, it can disrupt their sleeping pattern. Children are excitable, especially on short-haul flights, it’s highly likely that they will not relax and sleep and even more so if the flight is past their normal bedtime.

The first time I flew with my boys, I felt uneasy and restful. I know how hyperactive my boys can be and they are much worse when they are excited. I know from previous car journeys how much of a pest they can be. They find it hard to sit still and fidget all the time. I have three boys aged 13, 8 and 4. If I allow the two youngest to sit near each other, then I won’t hear the end of their squabbling and fighting. So I have to think about where they sit. Seat

Here are some of my top tips for a smooth flight:

  • Clothing – Dress your children in comfortable clothing. I never put denim or wooly clothing on my children. They fidget enough so I don’t want to make their journey any worse. Keep it loose, cotton and layer up in thin clothing. Never travel in new shoes or clothes. My boys like to wear their track suit bottoms with a t-shirt and a hoody. I like them to wear a hoody with a zip, so that they can take it off themselves when they want to. It’s easier to take off rather than taking off a jumper over their head in refined space. Take off their shoes. My boys kick out their feet, so with out their shoes on they will be able to sit on the chair with their feet up (especially the younger ones)
  • Games – You obviously can’t take any board games along with so take it back to the simple games that use your brain and eyes. For example: Eye spy, Country game – name countries through the alphabet, I went to the shops memory game-alphabetical order, alphabet game – saying everything you see going through the alphabet , spelling – think of a subject and 5 things that relate to that word and try to spell them.
  • Technology – Pack the children’s tablets or phones into your hand luggage, make sure that they are fully charged and not used prior to the plane setting off, that way the battery will be full for the journey. Download apps and movies for them to play and watch before leaving home. Always remember that if you only take one along for them to share there will be arguments! Try to put a time limit on how long they have it, but keep it short like 10 minutes.
  • Books or magazines – Pack a light book, magazines are always good as they are light and they have activities within them for the children to do. If it’s a book that they have chosen themselves then they shouldn’t get bored with it so soon.
  • Music – Don’t forget the headphones! Music is always good for the older ones to listen to. If you have younger ones than maybe download some nursery rhymes or stories for them to listen to .
  • Comforter/toy – My younger boys have a teddy bear that they take everywhere they go. We have even made up a little passport for them. Inside they write where the teddy has been, just like when they used to stamp the passports when you entered a country.
  • Stationary – Pack a selection of stationary for them – a pencil (with an eraser attached), pen, crayons and colouring pencils (one colour of each shade)
  • Snacks and drink – Some light snack, not too much sugar as it can make them hyper! My boys only have to smell sweets and they are climbing the walls. Raisins, fruit, sandwiches and crisps are all good choices. I don’t but on the plane as with three boys and two adults it can become very expensive and to be honest when travelling with a low-cost airline they don’t taste that good either. We normally buy a meal deal from within the airport and I let the boys choose their own, that way I don’t get any arguing over who wants what.
  • Conversation – Talk about where you’re going or where you’ve been. What are they looking forward to? We make up stories too, think of a title and then between the family take in turns to say a sentence. Someone can be writing it down and then you can read it back. Look out of the window and see what they can see, Where do they think they are? What are we flying over? What would it be like to live there? Who lives there? What language do they speak? Children love to learn.
  • Hand baggage – Allow the children to have their own hand luggage with a selection of their favourite things in it, like a car, train, doll. My boys put their book, stationary, little toy, a treat, a small notepad, water and their teddies passport in it.
  • Seating – If you have more than one child, think about where they are going to sit. They are always going to argue over who has the window seat so try to  swap half way through the journey. As I previous said, I don’t allow my two youngest to sit next to each other as they fight over the smallest of things. There are other people on the plane who don’t want to watch and listen to two children screaming and hitting each other. Take note of who is sitting in front of them, as if they are fidgety and an older person is in front it may be a good idea to move them to another seat. My middle boy is always kicking out at the seat in front, he can’t help but put his feet on it and the last thing someone wants is to feel kick on the  back of their of their seat.
  • Sweets – Just for the take off and landing, it takes their mind off of the funny feeling in their ears.

If you have a toddler with a weak bowel, keep a spare pair of pants and clothes somewhere easy to grab in case of a little accident and keep asking them if they need the toilet. I also like to keep the boys up to date with how long we have left on the plane.

Role play is a good idea prior to flight, especially if it’s their first time. That way they get to experience what may happen and they know about the procedures, like the seatbelt and the flight attendants.

Hope you have found my post helpful, I’m sure that I have missed off lots of other ideas, if you have any to add please write them in the comments. Thank you 🙂



A few tips on Child Modelling

My three boys belong to a child model agency and have been signed up to Scallywags agency since last November. Jak my eldest who is 10 years old did some modelling work for the same agency when he was 4 years old but when he was 6 i decided not to sign him back up. Jak has done work for Tesco, Nickelodeon, Comic Relief does the apprentice, on line clothes catalogue and just recently Call the Midwife. Joseph has done Tesco, Thomas the tank engine, Virgin Money, Priddy books and ELC for Nick Jr. Oliver my youngest is on the latest Cow & Gate Commercial. I am no professional in the matter but i have been approached by a few people with some questions about getting their children into modelling so i thought i would write down some of my thoughts and experiences to share with you all.

1. All agencies are different if you want to know what agency to join your little ones up for make sure you do some research, look the company up on the internet, speak to people who are already signed up to the agency and ask them for advice, find there Facebook and twitter pages and read through them and contact some of the big companies like Argos, Next and Mothercare and enquire what agency they use.

2. Most agencies charge a yearly prescription to cover their costs and to represent your child. They will take a percentage of what your child earns aswell which is normally about 25%.

3, Once your child has been on a job do not expect a payment within the month, sometimes this can take up to three months to come through. Don’t forget the agency has to wait for payment from the client before paying your child.

4. You should have a bank account set up for your child so the cheque can be placed into their account as it will be made out to them.

5. Once you have found an agency and you sign up to them, don’t be too upset that you don’t receive a phone call from them about a job as some children hit off quicker than others. Modelling is a harsh job sometimes and the client know what they are looking for so if your child is 154cm high and they want a child that is 145cm then your child will not be out forward for the job.

6. You normally receive a call the day before an audition, we have received calls from the agency as late as 5pm for an audition that is scheduled for the next day. You will have to give the agency a yes or no on whether or not you can attend ASAP. All of the auditions we have attended are in London but they are all over the UK. It has been known that some children have been called into to an audition on the same day.

7. When at an audition it may simply involve a photo being taken, others will involve some acting and dialogue. Sometimes you will receive part of the script they want them to read the day before others they will hand them out when you arrive at the audition. At all auditions clients will expect confidence and enthusiasm. Gaining any level of success involves commitment and patience. My boys have been to quite a few auditions and have not been booked onto the job. Your child needs to be confident and not fazed at not being picked. I always tell my boys that they should look at it as experience and always have fun and enjoy what they are doing, the day that they say that they are not enjoying themselves i shall cancel their subscriptions.

8. In most cases of an audition you will not be allowed in the room with them, the client wants to see how your child behaves without you around. Even on a casting i don’t think i have ever been in the same room with the boys, i sometimes have to take a peek through a window without anyone noticing.

9. Don’t expect a call straight away informing you that your child has been booked on to the job, it can mostly take a couple of days to hear from the agency. If i havent heard anything in 3 days then i take it as they wasnt successful although that said Joseph did attend an audition and we received the call three weeks later.

10. Once you are booked onto a job, travel may be organised for you or you may have to find the way there yourself. Some shoots may ask you to take a selection of clothing with you. I always pack a few of their toys and books, expect to sit around for a while so this keeps them busy and not getting in the way. On most jobs food and drink will be supplied but it’s always a good idea to take a few snacks with you. Some jobs can be over within a couple of hours and some can last up to 6 hours, it all depends. Depending on your child’s age there is a limited amount of time they can be kept on set.

11. Try your best not to arrive late for a job or audition and if you are running late it’s best to let the agency of client know ASAP. The child is not the only one representing the agency, you are aswell so make sure that you are all on your best behaviour lol.

12. Once your child has been selected for a job they will need a performance licence, you will get this from your local children’s authority. To get a performance licence set up you will need a doctor’s certificate to say that your child is ok and fit enough to be in front of lights etc, a school letter saying they will be allowed time off of school both of these certificates need to be signed and stamped for approval. (Doctors charge for the certificate and they last for 6 months, we pay £20!) you will also need two passport photos of the child. There will be a form that you the parent will sign as well and fill out the child’s details on.
These licences can take my thing up to two weeks to come through, you will receive your copy in the post.

13. On some jobs there is a chaperone fee paid to the parent to take their child to a shoot but sometimes there is a paid chaperone who are there to look out for your child.

14. Once with an agency and your child hasn’t received any auditions or castings don’t be scared to contact the agencies office and enquire why your child isn’t getting picked, it may be the case that you need to update your photos on the website. The agency work for YOU! We rely on them to circulate our child’s photos.

15. Update the agency every couple of months with your child’s measurements and hair type, if you go on holiday inform them so that they know you are not available for any jobs, if you child loses their teeth keep them up to date with where and how many.
If your child belongs to a theatre group or any type of club let the agency know what their talent is and keep them up to date with any certificates they receive.

16. Fees for jobs varies depending on what the agency have agreed with the client prior to a booking. Some jobs are paid hourly and some are per day, some times there are usage fees on top of their rates but you should be told what the child will be receiving before the job.

17. If your child is succesful for a casting, don’t be disheartened to find that after sitting around for a few hours that they are not used on the day, sometimes clients like to have back up children. Also if your child is filmed or photographed not all the time do they make it into the media. Joseph has been back up for one job before and we just sat around eating and playing then we was sent home after 5 hours, just look at it as a day out and experience.

It’s all about having fun and the moment that any of my boys tell me that they are no longer enjoying it then it will be stopped. The boys love to attend auditions and castings and never get upset or disheartened when they are not picked, they look at it as fun and they get to meet many new people and most of the time it’s about making friends to them. When the boys get offered a job i give them the option if they want to attend or not, we have only ever turned two down and that was because for one we was away and the other jak had plans and chose to carry on with them instead of attending the job. I like to keep a diary of all of what they have been up to so i collect, magazines, print outs from the internet and record anything that is on the television.

Hope i have answered most questions but if you would like to know anything else please contact me and i will try my best to help you the best i can in anyway whatsoever.

Thank you for reading