Sunday, 27 January 2019

Whatever The Weather {Celebrating 30 Years of Joules with #Joulesmakingmemories ; A Sponsored Post}

This post is a sponsored piece of work from JOULES however the writing and photography is all my own work.

JOULES have an exciting new competition to celebrate their 30th birthday and it is all about Making Memories. Find out more further down the post but in the meantime have a look at what we did this weekend!

British wintertime; a season for all I say. Here we are in the heart of a cold spell (it was snowing here on Tuesday), but ready to still be outside whatever the weather, ready to burn energy even if it does mean getting cold noses. For us, hibernating isn’t something that occurs, yes on an evening snuggled in front of the fire is where we all like to be but nothing beats a bit of time outside doing.

Getting the kids outside is always a goal worth sticking to. 2 days a week, whatever the weather, the kids are outside for sports. I think it is so important to fill those lungs with cool air. Then at the weekend we are always busy with activities of some sorts but we also try and additionally walk, scooter or bike to our local church. It is good for all of us really, for our physical and our mental health, the outdoors is refreshing and it can be inspiring and also energising.

I am always willing to learn about ways to encourage the children to go outside, I love early springtime when the garden needs tending to and we spend our weekends digging in mud. January is a much harder month for that and is often more grey than those spring days, but after this activity, I was enlightened to see just how nice it is still being in the garden whatever the time of year. 

For 2019, Joules have partnered with the WOODLAND TRUST to help celebrate the great outdoors and we are more than privileged to have been asked to partake in some of the activities in celebration of this! Our task this weekend was to try out the Woodland Trust's Cookie Cutter Bird Feeders which I was secretly quite excited about as I haven't made traditional lard and seed bird feeders since I was a child. I have specific memories of it being very messy and I was not wrong!

Lets make a bird feeder; whatever the weather!

You can print off your own instructions for this on the WOODLAND TRUST WEBSITE but really, it's not far off the classic method most of us will already have used at some point in our life! 
I know this is something we haven't done with our children before so when I explained to them what it was we were going to be doing they were very intrigued! There were a few things about this method that made it very child friendly; 2 ingredients and some cookie cutter shapes. 

It's is pretty much as you would expect: mix one part lard to two parts birdseed and the best way to do this? With your hands! "Leave it to the kids," I said as they squealed at first poking it around! It didn't take long for these two little hands to truly get stuck in and have fun!

After the mixing comes the stuffing into the coockie cutter shapes. Fill them to the brim, then squish it and and fill it some more. A basic instruction that they found very easy to follow!

With their shapes full and very compact it was time to put them in the fridge to set. Not before putting a hole in them mind which I very nearly forgot!

And then it was time to wait patiently and do a very British thing; enjoy a cup of tea.

Why are the simple things sometimes the best?

Making memories is often something we put a lot of pressure on. We want trips out to be perfect, holidays to be perfect, our homes to be perfect but all of this perfection comes with such a stress. Do we ever fully enjoy the things that we have spent time trying to control? We work hard as parents to give the kids the best opportunities but more often than not we are reminded that our kids need nothing. No fancy days at theme parks; Raph would be happy just going to the park! It always gets highlighted for us when we have done nothing more than play and watch a movie; the kids are content with the simple, and even though I battle for perfection as their mother, sometimes it is just not needed. Children want to be with their parents and doing things with their parents. It doesn't need to cost a lot it just needs to entertain them. Like a pack of cards or kick of a football, crafting gets kids excited and the simplest of arty tasks, like these bird feeders, offer up wonderful opportunities for sharing conversations, laughter and love. 

Once the feeders are hard then it's time to get outside!

Don't forget to string your feeder and push them out of the cookie cutters or the birds are going to struggle!

This is when the fun can really start. Children have a inbuilt nature to be caring I think. Sometimes they get distracted but it is there and you only need to mention all the little baby birds who will be coming along and the kids are off finding the right place to hang their bird feeders.
This is the time to send them off to burn a little energy and get out whatever the weather. Rob always says with regards to dressing for weather, "If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail". It is so need wellies and an easy coat that they can grab and pull on themselves. They need to be able to throw open the door and just run for it which I know is not always possible, but the opportunity to do something like this is important. The moment those wellies get on the kids feet they are off and I love it!

With bird feeders in hand I sent them off to "Feed the birds". 

These are the moments we've been waiting for.

Being outside was all that it was about which really nicely leads me on to sharing JOULES' new competition to celebrate their 30th birthday!

So joules have a great competition running in celebration of their 30th birthday. It's all about Making Memories and if you share yours in picture form along with their monthly theme (this month is “Whatever the weather”), you could get the chance to win a £1000 family break and £500 Joules vouchers! That is one good wardrobe! Simply post your picture (on instagram or upload to the website) tagging @joules #joulesmakingmemories. Follow @joules on instagram as they are sharing entries on their stories and also, you will find out each month's theme. For more information visit the website HERE! 

For us, this task opened up all sort of discussion and idea sharing. The kids become more free with what they talk about the more fun they have and getting a bit messy, getting outside and just spending a bit of time with just me was a really special way to spend a Saturday. 

Cheers to the weekend!!

Join in with the #Joulesmakingmemories community and find like minded people who equally enjoy getting out and making those memories to cherish.

Some of my favourite photo memories of today!

Links to our outfits (gifted as part of this project)

My outfit:




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