- Lose your SH…. **Rag** before 9.30am.
- Wonder how the hell you’re going to get everyone out of the house by 7.45 when school starts again.
- Spend 30 mins blowing up the slow-punctured paddling pool for the 800th time, for 5 mins play before everyone falls out.
- Head to the park – any park you haven’t already been to in the last 48 hours. Instantly regret this. Subdue urge to roar at other people’s holiday-feral children. (And your own – you’re now in public).
- Realise your kids’ school shoes no longer fit, and make a last minute dash to Clarks.
- While in town, promise the kids you’ll go to the final few days of The Beach… Realise it has ended. [WARNING: ENDS TODAY!!!!] Brace for Force 10 tantrums.
- Pack the eleventeenth trillionth picnic of the season, knowing they’re only going to eat the crisps and then ask for ice creams 10 mins later.
- Contemplate the sheer pointlessness of cucumbers.
- Go to Weston Park Museum to feed the ducks, chase the pigeons, and play in the Viking Hut and Boat. (Top tip: get a large, large coffee from the Starbucks over the road).
- Plan a final summer holiday Glorious Family Day Out – perhaps at The Deep, or at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Good luck. You’ll need it.
- Head up to Manor Lodge for crafts, lavender maze fun, hide and seek in the ruins, and maybe a donkey ride. (One of my fave places).
- Throw the crafts out surreptitiously 2 days later. There is only so much crap art one house can bear, after all.
- Call everyone you know begging for a play date to dilute the company of your children. Try not to appear too desperate/crazed.
- Toy with the idea of a trip to Chatsworth House Farm and Adventure Play Area. Remember this will be mayhem like ordinary parks x104 (see no 4), and seriously doubt your own fortitude.
- Spend the entry money on a lunch out instead, at The Wheatsheaf in Baslow, where you can watch the children on the play equipment and DRINK ALCOHOL!!!! (You’ll need to employ a designated driver).
- Go to Bakewell on the bus (entertainment in itself) for a poke around the shops, a play in a novel new playground (and splash area) and take bread for a classic game of Fish or Duck? over the bridge (who gets the bread first – I’m Team Fish).
- Break out the art supplies. Desperate times call for desperate measures! (I mean, not the glitter, it’s not that bad yet, but definitely the paints). Encourage small creations – possibly decorating pasta, or stones.
- Leave small creations as Bogart gifts at the Longshaw Estate. Walk down to the ducks, if you can bear the whining about enforced exercise. (And if the poor ducks in/around Sheffield can bear any more feeding after 5 weeks of summer holidays).
- On no account allow children to check gifts on the way back, as the Bogarts always fail to collect them in a timely manner. Lazy little b-stards.
- Invest in bath paints. Minutes of fun! And don’t wait for official bathtime. 11am is a perfectly acceptable time to wash children when you have failed to leave the house with them and they are driving you round the bend.
- Wait for a really really sunny day, and then find an INDOOR PLAY AREA, in the hopes that everyone else will be making the most of the sunshine outside, therefore avoiding other people’s children! I like something small where I can keep an eye on both children at once.
- Introduce a kiddie bubble disco at 4pm everyday in a desperate effort to re-impose a routine and stop the late afternoon scrapping. Depending on your sanity levels, feel free to include/exclude the Hokey Cokey.
- Ceebeebies marathon. No one will judge you at this point. (Especially if you don’t tell them).
- Serve pasta for tea for the 2 billionth time this August, knowing deep down most of it will go into the bin. Again. Weep silently into the pan to salt the water (optional), and pray for the return of your childcare so someone else can feed them.
- Bugger it all and just hang out at the @851 baby cafe, desperately hiding from your children behind a coffee and a slice of cake.
- Wait with as much patience as you can muster for bedtime.
- Invest in a supply of finest Sheffield GIN to see you through the week!