That was the weekend that was

That was our weekend that was: from messy play to Legoland!

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Ah – another weekend bites the dust, which means that it’s time for another of my weekend round ups!

The weather has been gorgeous – even if I must ashamedly admit to inwardly thinking it would be nice for some rain and a cosy winter-style day in. Nevertheless I have been embracing the sunshine and thinking up lots of different ways to enjoy the outdoors. That’s what us mamas do, right? Particularly good old fashioned messy play.

(Remember pre-kids days when a summer’s day might mean meeting up with friends in the pub and then heading back to someone’s house for more drinking and an impromptu BBQ?! If I’m honest, I prefer the with-kids days. It’s just as fun, but minus the hangovers.)


Marble printing: joy-filled messy play 

I’ve been doing lots of marble printing with Chiswick Boy recently – trying all sorts of techniques from Pinterest (that go to favourite place for activity ideas when your brain has turned to mush and you can’t think of any).

We’ve tried using shaving foam and food colouring – with no success, but plenty of mess. Smells good though.

We’ve tried using bubble mixture and paints – no success.

So it was with some trepidation that I tried another technique from Pinterest on Friday after school – the milk technique.

Firstly, I had a bit of an aversion to using milk to do crafts with. After all, it’s a food – a staple. And I grew up in the 90s when there were outcries about butter and milk EU mountains and food waste. (I think it was actually just butter mountains, but I’m extending it to milk as a comedic device to make my blog post funnier. Has it worked?)

(It’s actually also fair to say that I grew up in the 80s as well, but I did have some teenage years in the 90s and if I say 90s it makes me sound younger.)

Anyway – back to milk marble painting. It worked!

messy play marble painting

It was by far the best technique we’ve tried – and it’s uber simple.

  1. Pour milk into a tray.
  2. Put tiny drops of different coloured food colouring into it – the food colouring looks gorgeous as it hits the milk and moves outwards. Very trance-inducing. In fact you could skip the marble printing altogether and just stay on this bit.
  3. If you’ve managed to tear yourself away from watching the blobs of food colour then the next step is to get some washing up liquid and dip a baby bud or wound up piece of cotton wool into it. Use this to swirl the colours around. Can you see the marble effect emerge?
  4. Get your paper (posh paper like watercolour or charcoal paper works best for this, or just raid your printer’s paper tray). Press it in the mixture and hold for five seconds (One Mississippi, Two Mississippi…)
  5. Voila – admire your artwork. Put it in the garden to dry out. Just be aware that for some reason the colours will fade after a while – it’s more of an instant gratification thing than ‘for posterity’ art.

If you’ve got any other tips or ways for making marble art then let me know!

If you want another idea for gooey colour fun, then check out our melted crayon art!

A place in the sun

Do you want even more summer tips from me? You do – then what about this. I believe this is my very own idea – it practically screams out for a Chiswick Mum patent (irony alert – but I am genuinely happy with my discovery, even if it is blindingly obvious and everyone else has been doing it for years.)

It is – the sun bucket.

I got a load of big plastic tubs at Homebase for the bargainous sum of three quid each. Similar to *these ones from Amazonbut they were cheaper in Homebase!

Take one tub – fill it with rugs, bats, balls, little cars, books, sunblock, hats and water bottles to fill up. Keep it by the door. And when the sunshine arrives, simply grab it and take it out to the park. No more rummaging around for bats and balls, no more wondering what you should take with you. Just grab and carry.

Here we are admiring and using my invention in Boston Manor Park.

Using a sunshine bucket

One of summer’s simplest pleasures is, I think, just to lounge outdoors with the people you love, reading.

Boston Manor Park


The recycling mission

In every weekend there must be the moment where you decide that enough is enough and you need to go to the recycling bins. For ultra joy I love to combine this with a trip to one of my happy places – *the big Waitrose in Ealing.

From the massive piles of overflowing cardboard, it seems like every other family had the same idea:

Recycling at waitrose

One of the things I love about this Waitrose is that they have these self-scanner gadgets, so you can just whizz around putting stuff in your trolley while letting your child zap the barcodes for you. Then you go to the self-serve checkout and just pay for your stuff. No unloading the trolley or scanning needed.

I could wax all day about these wonderful zappers. Infinite entertainment for Chiswick Boy, ultra no stress shopping for me.


Legoland on a hot summer’s day – am I crazy?

On Sunday we’d planned a secret trip to Legoland as a surprise for Chiswick Boy. So we were up at 7am, making the packed lunch.

I know what you’re thinking – Legoland, on a hot June Sunday. Am I a masochist? Well actually, we managed to get through the day without much queuing. And I’m going to reveal my secrets in a special upcoming ‘top 10 tips for Legoland’ on my blog. And no, it doesn’t involve paying for Q-Bots or any other type of fast pass.

legoland submarine ride

Stupidly, I forgot to bring any type of mobile back up battery charger, so the only shot you’ll get from Legoland is the one above, which I snapped before my battery ran out.

It’s Chiswick Boy after the submarine ride. And if you look closely you can see a reflection of my face too, floating rather ghoulishly above.


So that was our weekend that was. What about you? What did you get up to? Would you ever go to a theme park on a hot summer’s day? And have you ever tried marble printing, with or without milk?!

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