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For those seeking high-quality swimming lessons in Blackburn and Darwen, Splash Riverside is the go-to choice!

At Splash Riverside, we offer engaging swimming lessons for children in Blackburn and Darwen, starting from as young as 3 months. 

Our focus is on nurturing your child’s swimming abilities in a secure setting. We employ the latest teaching methods to make learning to swim an enjoyable experience.

What makes Splash special? 

At Splash, we’re committed to making swimming an enjoyable and valuable skill for every child! 

1. Early Start: We begin lessons from 3 months to build skills early. These are 30-minute parent and child classes, where parents join us in the water.

2. STA Starfish Scheme: For babies and toddlers, we hold sessions focusing on water safety and confidence.

3. Ducklings Scheme for Ages 3-4: Transition to more structured learning.

4. ASA Swim Stages for Ages 4+: Start at Stage 1 with goals like swimming 5 meters and back floating.

5. 1 to 1 Lessons: During the school holidays, we offer tailored 1 to 1 lessons for children who need additional support.

6. Family Swim Sessions: We have a limited number of private family swim sessions available every month, so you can get the whole family into the pool.

7. Qualified Instructors: All teachers are first aid trained and Level 2 (or higher) qualified, supporting children with developing the tools to swim independently.

What age can a child swim independently?

When it comes to swimming, starting early can make a significant difference in a child’s ability to swim independently. The importance of starting early cannot be overstated. Early exposure to water helps children become comfortable and confident in the water.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all age for children to swim on their own, many can begin to learn basic swimming skills as early as 3 to 4 years old. At this age, children usually start to develop the physical coordination and cognitive understanding necessary for swimming.

It’s important to remember that even if a child can swim independently, constant supervision is crucial, which is why we follow a safety-first approach.

How to support a child with a fear of water

There might be barriers preventing a child from swimming independently (for instance, a fear of water). Supporting a child with a fear of water is a delicate process that requires patience, understanding, and a gradual approach. Here are some strategies to help a child overcome their fear:

  • Acknowledge Their Fear: Recognise and validate the child’s fear without dismissing it. Understanding that their fear is real to them is the first step in helping them overcome it.
  • Gradual Exposure: Start with small steps. This could be as simple as playing with water in a bathtub or a small inflatable pool. Gradually increase exposure as the child becomes more comfortable.
  • Create a Positive Environment: Associate water with fun activities. Use toys, games, and playful learning to make interactions with water enjoyable.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate how enjoyable and safe water activities can be by showing your own calm and positive behaviour in and around water.
  • Enroll in Professional Swimming Lessons: Consider enrolling the child in Splash swimming lessons, led by a qualified instructor. They can provide structured and supportive learning.
  • Never Force or Rush: Forcing a child into water situations can heighten fear. Allow the child to set their pace and offer encouragement and praise for small achievements.
  • Use Floatation Devices: Start with floaties or life jackets to build confidence. 
  • When using flotation devices, it’s crucial to maintain active supervision.
  • Stay Calm and Patient: Children can pick up on adult anxieties. Remaining calm and patient during water activities can help ease their fears.
  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate each step forward, no matter how small, to build confidence and motivation.

Remember, overcoming a fear of water is a process that can take time. With supportive and empathetic guidance, children can learn to manage their fears and eventually find joy in water activities.

What swimming skills do children need? 

When it comes to equipping children with swimming skills, there are several key abilities they need to ensure safety and enjoyment in the water. These foundational skills not only promote confidence but also form the basis for more advanced swimming techniques.

1. Water Comfort and Safety Awareness: Before any strokes are learned, it’s crucial for children to feel comfortable and safe in the water. This includes understanding basic water safety rules, such as not running near pools and only swimming with adult supervision.

2. Breath Control and Submersion: Learning to control their breathing and comfortably submerge their face in the water is a fundamental skill. This helps in reducing fear and building confidence for further swimming lessons.

3. Floating and Treading Water: Being able to float on their back and tread water are essential skills for resting and staying afloat in the water, which are critical for preventing drowning.

4. Basic Strokes: Mastering basic strokes like the dog paddle, freestyle (front crawl), and backstroke gives children the ability to move through the water effectively.

5. Entering and Exiting the Pool Safely: Children should learn safe ways to enter and exit the pool, whether it’s using a ladder or the pool edge.

6. Kicking and Arm Movements: Proper kicking and arm techniques are important for propulsion and navigating through the water.

7. Jumping In: Learning to jump in safely from the poolside is not only fun but also an important skill in being comfortable with deeper water.

8. Turning and Orientation: Being able to change direction and orient themselves in the water helps in navigating and also in emergencies.

Regular practice and quality instruction from instructors, such as those from Splash Riverside, are key to developing strong, confident swimmers.


“Brilliant swimming lessons for little ones, they make it fun and are supportive when the little ones get overwhelmed. Would definitely recommend”  Laura

“Excellent highly recommended my little girl’s first swimming lesson and the swimming teacher is amazing” Nikki

For swimming lessons in Blackburn and Darwen, get in touch today for availability and prices on 01254 679828

Choosing the perfect nursery for your child is a big step on your parenting journey. It’s the place where your little one will take their first steps towards education and social development and will therefore influence them a great deal. 

But we understand that entrusting someone with the care of your child is a weighty decision. If you’re a first-time parent, you might be feeling a tad unsure about what makes a nursery truly great and how to find the ideal fit for your family.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key factors to keep in mind when picking the right nursery, offering valuable insights to help you make the best choice for your child. Consider these 7 factors when choosing a nursery for your child:

1. Location and Convenience

Let’s chat about location – a crucial piece of the puzzle. You’ll want to think about the nursery’s spot carefully. Ideally, it should be as close to your home or workplace as possible. Less travel time and a more streamlined daily routine will make the daily drop-offs and pickups much easier.

Consider your daily commute too. Is it smooth sailing or a bit of a nightmare for traffic? Knowing this will help you decide if the nursery’s location is a practical fit.

And here’s a pro tip: Try visiting the nursery during your usual daily commute. That way, you can see firsthand how convenient it is. Oh, and don’t forget to have a chat with fellow parents in your area – they might have some insider scoop on nearby nursery options.

2. Safety and Security

Safety and security should always be a top priority when choosing a nursery. It’s important to ensure that the nursery has robust security measures in place, such as controlled access points and surveillance systems. It’s also important to enquire about their visitor policies, including background checks for staff to maintain a secure environment for all children.

To assess the safety and security measures, it’s best to request a tour of the nursery. During the tour, you can also ask about staff training in emergency procedures to ensure they are well-prepared for any situation.

3. Curriculum and Approach

Now, let’s dive into something really important – the nursery’s educational philosophy and what they teach the little ones. Different nurseries often have their unique approaches. Take a good look at these philosophies and curricula, and pick the one that just feels right for you and your child.

The best choice is the one that feels like a good fit for you – ensure that it resonates with your beliefs, and values and suits your child’s unique learning requirements.

If the nursery doesn’t have all of the information you need on their website or in their brochures, no worries! attending open days or information sessions can provide deeper insights into the nursery’s educational approach. Don’t be shy to ask for examples of daily activities and how they support your child’s development.

4. Qualified and Caring Staff

Let’s talk about the heart of any nursery – the staff! This is a biggie. You’ll want to make sure that the teachers and caregivers are top-notch, and that they’ve got the credentials, experience, and that warm and nurturing touch.

When you’re at the nursery, pay close attention to how the staff interacts with the little ones. You’ll get a feel for whether they can create that happy and welcoming atmosphere that’s so important.

Now, picture this: The best nursery is like a well-oiled machine, with a team of educators who are not just experienced but absolutely passionate about early childhood education. They’re the kind of people who prioritise creating an environment where your child can truly thrive.

To make sure you’re getting the cream of the crop, don’t be shy to ask about their qualifications and what they do to keep growing professionally. And be sure to chat with current parents; they’ll give you the lowdown on the overall vibe.

5. Facilities and Resources

Check out the nursery’s facilities, including classroom setup and outdoor play areas. You should ensure that classrooms are well-equipped with ample age-appropriate learning materials and fun toys, as well as having an organised layout. 

The best nursery will have well-equipped classrooms and should offer a spacious and stimulating outdoor play area to promote physical activity and exploration.

To assess facilities and resources, request a tour of the nursery. During the tour, inquire about the variety of learning materials available to children.

6. Communication and Parental Involvement

You’ll want to make sure that the nursery you choose has a fantastic communication system in place. It’s important that the nursery maintains open lines of communication and encourages parental involvement. This includes regular updates, parent-teacher meetings, and collaborative initiatives.

The best nursery prioritises transparent communication and actively involves parents in their child’s learning journey. This ensures you stay informed about your child’s progress and can actively participate in their development.

7. Reviews and Recommendations

Last but not least, seek recommendations from other parents and read online reviews to gain insights into the nursery’s quality of care and education. Word of mouth is one of the most trustworthy sources when it comes to nurseries as it provides valuable recommendations and experiences from friends and family.

The best nurseries will have positive feedback and recommendations from satisfied parents, as well as a strong reputation in the local community.

Joining local parenting groups or forums can help you gather insights from other parents too. Plus visiting the nursery and speaking with current parents can provide firsthand experiences and help you make an informed decision.

Discover Riverside Nursery

At The Hub At Riverside, we understand the importance of choosing the right nursery. Riverside Nursery offers a nurturing and enriching environment that meets all the criteria discussed in this guide.

We are committed to providing a safe, stimulating, and caring space for your child to thrive. Visit Riverside Nursery and see why we are the perfect choice for your child’s educational journey!

Explore Our Nursery

The summer holidays are fast approaching! The kids will be off school and it’s your job to keep them entertained  for 6 weeks straight – no pressure. Of course, you want to make the most of your time with them and make some special memories too. We’ve came up with a list things to do in the summer holidays that will keep the kids entertained and keep you sane.

Free Things to Do In The Summer Holidays

We understand that the cost of living crisis has had a big impact on families. From food to energy, it seems like the cost of everything is going up. That’s why we’ve came up with some free things to do in the summer holidays, so you can still enjoy yourselves without spending money.

1. Go to the park

It’s often the simple things that we remember most from our childhood, like having a kick about at the park with our friends. Take the kids to the park and let them run free this summer. You could even take a picnic and make a day of it. And the best part is, it’s all free!

2. Camp out

Remember how exciting it was to camp out when you were younger? Let the kids camp in the garden and give them a night to remember! Even better – let them set up the tent themselves and it’ll kill a couple of hours during the day too. Fuel them up on snacks, sweets and chocolate – it is the summer holidays after all!

3. Walk a nature trail

Get out of the house and go exploring. We’re lucky to live in such a beautiful, green country, with wonderful walks all around. Walking keeps the kids active and also helps them to appreciate the world around them. To find your nearest walk, simply search ‘walks near me’ and lots of options will come up. If hills and waterways are too much for you, you could just walk around your local park instead.

4. Go to the library

The library is an often untapped resource in the summer holidays. A library card is free and kids can pick books, CDs and DVDs to take home and keep them entertained. Libraries also host a lot of free activities, like story time, talks and even archaeology sessions for dino-mad kids. Check your local library website to see what’s coming up.

5. Free kids clubs

If your child is eligible for free school meals, they may also be entitled to a free place at a summer holiday’s club. You can ask your child’s school to check for you. These holiday clubs keep children active throughout the 6 week break, as well as providing a healthy, nutritious meal. Clubs do everything from football to theatre. Check the clubs available and ask which one they would like to go to.

Things to Do In The Summer Holidays

6 weeks is a long time to fill, so the first time you hear the words ‘I’m bored’, check out our list of things to do in the summer holidays. We’ve got ideas that will only take a few hours or fill the whole day. We’ve got handy tips to save money on trips as well.

6. Swimming

The 6 week summer holidays are the perfect time for kids to learn to swim, especially if you’ve booked a holiday later in the summer. Sign your kids up at Splash and we’ll have them swimming in no time! We have swimming lessons for all ages and abilities. If your kids can already swim, then why don’t you hire the pool for a private swim? Just you and the kids splashing around, having fun! Call Splash on 01254 679828 to book.

7. Visit the seaside

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside! A visit to the seaside is one of our favourite things to do in the summer holidays! Building sandcastles, splashing in the sea and, of course, fish and chips to finish. Try to take some change for arcade machines and fairground rides too, or make the kids bring their pocket money.

8. Go to the zoo

A visit to the zoo is always a winner! The kids love looking around at their favourite animals, finding out about their behaviour and habitat. Lots of zoos have talks and shows, so the kids can learn even more about the animals. We’d recommend taking a packed lunch, so you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a soggy sandwich.

9. Go to a theme park

Are your kids adrenaline junkies? Take them to your nearest theme park. There, they can soar, spin and scream to their heart’s content! Even better if you don’t have to go on with them! Remember to book tickets in advance to save.

10. See a show

Head to the theatre and see a show with the kids. There’s so many shows to choose from, suitable for different tastes and ages. Mamma Mia, Lion King, Hairspray, Dinosaur World Live and much, much more! You could even watch a production by the local drama club to save a bit of money. Check your nearest theatre and see what’s on.

11. Baking

Everyone loves baking! Whether we’re actually good at it is another matter… Let your kids try their hand at some child-friendly recipes. Try to let them do as much as possible on their own to encourage independence, but make sure you’re on hand to help put it into the oven.

12. Have a picnic

A picnic is a great way to get the kids out of the house, without spending a lot of money. You could do a colour themed picnic, like all red food. Think jam sandwiches, strawberries, watermelon, red fairy cakes, ready salted crisps and so on. Pack a bat and ball to play some games while you’re out as well.

13. Visit a museum

A visit to the museum doesn’t have to be boring. Modern museums have placed a lot more emphasis on interaction, so kids can really get involved with the things they’re learning about. Some museums also offer free entry for kids. There are even museums specifically for kids! Eureka is a children’s science museum, with displays about everything from the human body to electricity. There’s shows on dinosaurs, digestion and more.

14. Watch something at the cinema

Let’s face it, there’s bound to be some rainy days this summer. Not to worry, you can still make the most of it at the cinema! The cinemas have some great offers on this summer, including Cineworld who have £2.50 kids tickets for selected movies. If you want to save money, you could even turn the living room into a home cinema.

15. Sports coaching

Is your child a budding footballer? Or are they gunning for Wimbledon? Perhaps they’re going to be the next Dina Asher Smith? Without school, now’s the perfect time for them to focus on their sport. Book them into a summer academy or get them one-to-one training to hone their skills.

Money Saving Tips

Money shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the holidays with your kids. Here are some of our top money saving tips this summer.

  • Take a packed lunch – Tourist attractions like theme parks or zoos tend to have higher prices for food, so taking your own lunch and drinks can save you a significant amount of money.
  • Pre-book – It’s often cheaper to pre-book days out than to pay on the day. This is particularly true for theme parks and zoos. Some places may offer you as much as 20% off for booking ahead of time. It also ensures that you can actually get in!
  • Redeem Clubcard and Nectar points – You shop with them every week, now it’s time to claim some of that money back. Clubcard points can be used at numerous cinemas, zoos and theme parks, giving you great savings on a day out. Nectar points can also be spent on flights, fuel and railway tickets, paying for part of your travels. Check how many points you have online and choose where to spend them.
  • Look out for deals – Keep an eye out online, in newspapers and even on cereal boxes for deals! You can often find 2 for 1 tickets or flash sales that save you a small fortune. It’s all about being savvy.

We hope this has given you some ideas for things to do in the summer holidays! We’ve tried to include something for every budget, so you can still enjoy a day out with the kids no matter what.

Your child’s first day at nursery is always hard. You’ve probably been joint at the hip since the day they were born, besides a few sleepovers at Grandma’s here and there. Whilst it can be daunting to drop them off at nursery for the first time, we’ve got some tips to make it that little bit easier.

Recognise the Benefits of Nursery

Although it’s hard to leave your child, you have to remind yourself that it’s for the best! Nursery has important benefits for your child’s cognitive, social and emotional development. 

Nursery staff are qualified to support and monitor your child’s development, teaching them literacy and numeracy skills which will prepare them for school. Your child will also get to interact with children their own age; learning how to make friends, play and share. They will also develop emotionally whilst attending nursery, as they become more independent and form bonds with people beyond their immediate family. 

All of these new experiences will enrich their lives and support their development as individuals. Recognising these benefits will help you overcome any parental guilt about leaving them.

Settle-In Sessions

Most nurseries, including ours, will offer settle-in sessions where parents can bring their children in before they start. Take advantage of them! This will give your child a chance to meet their keyworker and see the nursery before their first day. That means they’re not being left with total strangers on their first day.

Pack The Night Before

The last thing you want on your child’s first day at nursery is to be rushing around trying to pack a bag at the last minute. Packing a bag the night before will allow you to take your time getting ready and enjoy the morning with your little one. It will also help you feel more organised and less stressed about their first day.

Keep Your Cool

No matter how much you want to cry, don’t! Babies and toddlers are sensitive and they can pick up on your emotions. Seeing you stressed will only cause them stress. Instead, try to keep as calm as possible and use a positive, excited voice when you talk about nursery. 

Once you’re out of the nursery, feel free to have a good cry. If you’re really worried about them, you can always call to see how they’re getting on.

Tears, Tantrums and Total Meltdowns

These are all totally normal on a child’s first day at nursery, don’t worry! Most of our nursery children join when they’re between 9 and 18 months old. This is when babies become more aware of their surroundings and begin to experience separation anxiety. That means it’s completely normal for them to be upset on their first day at nursery, but we promise that it won’t last. Over time, they’ll learn that you always return for them, making parting ways so much easier.

Short Goodbyes

As hard as it may be to leave your child when they’re distressed, don’t linger around. This will only get them more worked up, as they try to get you to come back. Don’t just disappear either, as this can leave them feeling abandoned. Say a short and sweet goodbye, let them know that you’ll be back soon, and then leave. It may seem cold-hearted, but trust us, this will make it much easier for both of you.

The first day at nursery is a big milestone! One that parents might be excited for and dread at the same time. We hope this guide has made you feel a little bit better about your child’s first day at nursery. If you’re looking for a supportive and caring nursery for your little one, check out Riverside Nursery.

The summer holidays have officially started, which means you’ve probably already heard the words “I’m bored” more times than you care to count. Not to fear! We’ve put our heads together here at The Hub to come up with 10 summer holiday activities to keep the kids busy…at least for a while. Check out some of our favourite summer holiday activities below.

1. Summer Swimming

Remember how much fun swimming was when you were younger? And now that you’re a parent, you realise that it’s not only fun but an essential, potentially life-saving skill for your children to have. Sign up for swimming lessons at Splash or book a private family swim session to enjoy the pool to yourself.

2. Visit the Seaside

We’re lucky to live relatively near the seaside, so why not take a trip to Blackpool for a jam-packed day out! Try your luck in the arcades, turn your tummy on the Pleasure Beach or simply spend a day paddling in the sea. Don’t forget the famous donkey ride – a rite of passage for every child in the North West! If Blackpool is too busy for your liking, you could always try the quieter St Annes just down the road. There’s a huge beach, good cafes and a small amusement park to keep the kids busy.

3. Garden Assault Course

Another cracking summer holiday activity! Build your own assault course in the back garden; the harder the better! Include typical assault course activities like crawling through a tunnel or balancing on a beam, but make sure you add your own spin. Why don’t you bombard them with water balloons as they do or fill a ball pit for them to dive in and try to find an item? Make things interesting by timing them or letting the kids race each other. If you’re short on space, you could always take them to Air Unlimited in Burnley instead.

4. Pack a Picnic

One of life’s simple pleasures; get the kids out of the house for a picnic. Let the kids choose and make their own food. Those Nutella sandwiches you always veto? Let them have it as a one off, it’s the summer holidays after all! Just take a bat and ball and watch in amazement as they entertain themselves for hours.

5. Visit Some Furry Friends

One of our favourite summer holiday activities – you can’t beat a visit to the zoo! Blackpool zoo is more affordable than Chester, and you use your Tesco clubcard points to pay towards it. There’s also some great animal sanctuaries closer to home, caring for abandoned and injured animals. HAPPA are a horse and pony sanctuary, and they’re offering a grooming session for kids aged 4+ every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the summer holidays. Even better, it only costs £5 plus entry ticket fees. Alternatively, you could make a trip to Bleakholt in Ramsbottom. Bleakholt is another amazing animal sanctuary caring for everything from cats and dogs, to goats and guinea pigs. Kids will love looking round at all the animals, especially if you’re adopting one…

6. Scavenger Hunt

We all love a scavenger hunt! Hide a special item somewhere and hide a trail of clues to help your kids find it. This can be done inside or out depending on the weather. If you have younger kids, you can adapt it by asking them to find items of different colours from around the house.

7. Yes Day

One of the scarier summer holiday activities on the list… a full day where you have to say yes to anything the kids want to do. Chocolate for breakfast? Yes. Shopping in your pyjamas? Yes. Buying a pony? Okay, maybe we’ll draw the line here.

8. Camp Out

Whether you head to a campsite or the back garden, it’s a well-known fact that kids LOVE camping. Setting up the tent, exploring the wilderness, sitting round a campfire – all core memories that your kids will remember for years to come.

9. Get out and get muddy

All the staff at Riverside Nursery can attest to quite how much children love getting muddy! Our mud kitchen and digging area are some of the most popular spots in our nursery gardens. So don’t let a rainy day keep you inside! Pull on some wellies and scruffy clothes, take them to a park and let them run riot. Knee slides, splashing, digging, the full works! After all, that’s what a washing machine is for.

10. Cook Up A Storm

Have some fun in the kitchen these summer holidays! Let the kids try these easy, healthy recipes.

Fruit Kebabs

This is a super easy, super healthy recipe to try! Buy lots of different coloured fruit, like strawberries, kiwis, purple grapes, pineapple, oranges and any other fruit that you enjoy. Chop them up, pop them on a kebab stick and enjoy.

Tortilla Pizza

A healthier alternative to takeaway pizza, you only need a few ingredients to make these tortilla pizzas. Spread tomato sauce across the tortilla, sprinkle cheese on and then add your toppings.

Chocolate Traybake

This chocolate traybake is another easy recipe for the kids to try. Perfect for kids’ birthday parties or a family get together.

So there you have it, 10 of our favourite summer holiday activities! We hope you enjoy the six week holidays and make lots of memories with your little ones. Remember to like our page on Facebook to keep up with all our summer holiday activities.

You’ve bought the bunting, you’ve piped the cakes, and now it’s time to plan your Platinum Jubilee party games! Whether you’re throwing a full-blown street party or a small gathering of family and friends, your guests will expect entertainment. We’ve got some great ideas below, from traditional party games with a royal spin, to games you may never have played before!

Jubilee Party Games for Kids

Craft A Crown

This one is sure to be popular with younger guests (and keep them quiet for an hour or so). Set up an arts and crafts table with craft paper, scissors, felt tips, feathers – everything they need to make their own fabulous crown! Set up a catwalk for them to model their crowns once they’re done.

Musical Thrones

Okay, this one’s hardly new, but put a royal spin on musical chairs and you get…musical thrones! Pick a playlist of songs all including the word “Queen”. The first round might be to ABBA’s Dancing Queen, the second round to Castle by Halsey and the third to Killer Queen by Queen. If you’re going all in with the royal theme, you could even give the winner a crown to wear on their throne.

Building Castles

Everyone loved building a blanket den when they were younger. Take it up a notch by letting the kids build their very own castle! Give them all the sheets, blankets and cardboard boxes they could need and let their imaginations run wild.

Jubilee Party Games for the Whole Family

Pub Quiz

The pub quiz is as British as they come and should feature at your Platinum Jubilee party! As the quizmaster, you could stick to the traditional pub quiz format or do a royal themed quiz. You could even do a Queen Elizabeth quiz, with a round about historical events in 1926 (when she was born), Edinburgh (as she was the Duchess of Edinburgh until her ascension to the throne) and other famous Elizabeths (Taylor, Banks, Olsen and so on). Guests could compete for a prize or simply bragging rights.

The Name Game

The Queen’s favourite party game (apparently). We’ve all probably played this game at one point or another, but in case you haven’t, here are the rules. All the players write a celebrity’s name on a piece of card and put them into a bowl. Everyone will then pick a card at random and hold it to their head. Each player must take turns asking questions to try and figure out who they are. The more ridiculous the celebrity, the funnier it is.

Royal Rules

Everyone draws a card at the start of the day. The person who draws a Queen becomes royal for the day and gets to make a rule that everyone has to follow. If anyone breaks that rule, they have to do a forfeit decided by the royal. You can do this as many times as you like throughout the day, coming up with the silliest rules you can.

Outdoor Jubilee Party Games


Croquet is a quintessentially British garden game; indeed, one could imagine the Queen herself playing it. But just because it’s posh, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun too! You’ll need a large, flat lawn and a croquet set to play, including malletts, balls and hoops. You can purchase a croquet set online. The aim of the game is to get your ball through all the hoops first – but beware, players can sabotage each other by using their turn to knock another player’s ball off course. You can see a full breakdown of the rules here.

Garden Cricket

Burn off some steam with a game of garden cricket! You already know the rules. Two team. One bowler, one batter. The team to get the most runs wins. Just beware, there will be tears and tantrums (and that’s just the grown ups). If you’re worried about broken windows, just get a soft ball to play with instead.

So there you have it, those are our top Jubilee party games! We hope you have a wonderful Jubilee weekend and make the most out of the extra time with friends and family.

April is Stress Awareness Month which aims to increase our knowledge about the effects of stress and teach us how to handle it better. You’ll see lots of advice about managing stress in the workplace, at university or during pregnancy, but there’s much less advice for managing stress as a parent. A lot of parents may feel ashamed to admit that, yes, their children do stress them out. We’re here to dispel some of that shame and provide you with some helpful tips on how to cope with stress as a parent.

Parenting Stress

Parenting stress is essentially when parents feel that they are not able to meet the demands of them as a parent. This might be caused by financial strain, lack of support or even specific (and quite normal) issues like tantrums or struggling to potty train their child. We’ve probably all felt like this and that’s okay from time to time. However, ongoing parenting stress can make us over-reactive (we blow up at our kids for nothing) or it can make us withdraw and become less sensitive to our children’s needs. That’s why it’s important to learn how to cope with stress as a parent so that we can maintain a supportive, nourishing relationship with our children.

1. Stop Shaming Yourself

The first tip for dealing with stress as a parent is to stop berating yourself for feeling this way. Negative thoughts about yourself and your abilities as a parent will only exacerbate stress. It’s easy to feel like everyone else is doing a better job at parenting than you, especially in an age of social media and family bloggers, but try to remember that this isn’t reality. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, everyone can only do the best that they can do. Once you accept this, you’ll stop being so hard on yourself and feel a lot better.

2. Reach Out and Accept Help

The old saying is true, it really does take a village. It’s almost impossible to raise a child on your own – we need support from our partners, family and friends. That could be something as simple as discussing a parenting problem or asking if they could have the kids for a night, so you get some time to unwind. If you don’t have close friends or family to turn to, you can also join parenting groups or online parenting communities, who can empathise and support you.

3. Identify and Adjust to Stressors

Does teatime always end in tears? Or is every day out a nightmare? When you identify events which are likely to cause stress, you can prepare yourself to prevent this. For example, if you find the school run stressful, you should consider why you find it stressful. If you normally end up snapping at the kids as you get them ready, you could try to let them do more themselves. Perhaps you need to wash their face and brush their hair, but could they get dressed on their own? Lay out the clothes they’re going to wear the night before and let them get dressed alone. Or if you get stressed by the schooltime traffic you could try to set off earlier to avoid it or play your favourite music to make the drive more enjoyable. Control what you can and let go of what you can’t.

4. Prioritise ‘Me’ Time

If you spend all your time working and then running round after everyone else, then it’s no wonder you’re stressed! We don’t stop being people with needs when we become parents. Prioritising ‘me’ time will ensure that you are well-rested and relaxed, enabling you to be a better parent. 

In the same vein, perhaps you need to de-prioritise certain activities so that you have more free time. For example, if you spend your weekend relaying the kids to various clubs, perhaps you should ask them to choose one or two activities that they would like to continue and stop the rest. Equally, if you find yourself running errands every weekend, perhaps you could try to ask someone else to help or take advantage of services like online food shopping.

5. Plan Fun Activities With The Kids

Tea time. Chores. Bathtime. Bedtime. A lot of the time we spend with our children can feel like we’re overseeing a military operation. When was the last time you got to enjoy a fun activity with your child? Probably too long. Book some time off work or take advantage of the upcoming bank holidays to plan an activity that you’ll both enjoy! That could be a visit to the zoo, a day at a play area, or fort-building in the front room – the important thing is that you’re spending time together. This will alleviate your parenting stress and bring you closer together with your child.

6. Practice Cognitive Reappraisal

One of the best ways to cope with stress as a parent is to adjust your mindset. If you’re stressed and you constantly rehash your worries and think about how stressed you are, you’ll ultimately make yourself more stressed. Instead, try to practice cognitive reappraisal. This is where you recognise the negative pattern in your thoughts and consciously change this to more effective, positive thoughts. So next time you’re annoyed with your child for making you late to an event, instead of becoming stressed try to reappraise the situation. Remind yourself that everyone is late every now and again, it’s not the end of the world! You can just make them get ready 30 minutes earlier next time to avoid it happening again. By challenging your thought patterns like this, eventually a more positive thought pattern will become natural.

7. Work Out

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this and it certainly won’t be the last, but that’s because exercise has so many benefits for our mental health. Exercise can be a great way to let out any stress or frustration that has built up throughout the day, as it reduces levels of cortisol and adrenaline. And it doesn’t just let stress out, but actually improves our mood in general. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine into our systems, which are ‘happy’ hormones. So next time you’re feeling stressed, it might be time to hit the treadmill.

We understand that it may be hard to find the time to workout when you have young children, especially if you’re a single parent. However, you don’t need to sign up to the  gym and go 5 times a week. There’s a wealth of home workouts available online – just take a look on YouTube. There’s sure to be a video on any kind of workout you want to do!

We hope this has helped you learn how to cope with stress as a parent. Whilst it’s quite natural to feel stressed from time to time, it’s important to learn how to manage this. That way, you can have a healthy, nourishing relationship with your children and enjoy a more fulfilled family life.

Spring has to be one of our favourite seasons! Blue skies, light nights, the first blooms of the year – it provides an instant lift to our mood. Spring also marks a time of change as we emerge from our winter hibernation mode, so here’s 7 Spring activities to help you get ready for the new season.

Set Goals

We know the new year is supposed to mark new beginnings, but let’s be honest, you make a resolution and then you’re faced with cold, rain and darkness – it’s enough to demotivate anyone! Spring is a season of change and growth, so it’s the perfect opportunity to make a positive change in your life. 

When setting goals for springtime, ensure that they are reasonable and achievable. For example, don’t try to jump from no exercise to going to the gym 5 times a week. Instead, chunk your ultimate goal up into smaller goals. In the first week you might attend an introduction class to learn how to use all the machines, in the second week you might try to go twice, and so on.

Get Out Into The Garden

We’ve spent months locked indoors during winter, but now the sun is finally back and we can reconnect with nature – where better to do this than your own back garden? Invest a small amount of time from your evenings and weekends to transform your garden into a peaceful haven where you can enjoy the sunny weather. So get out the lawnmower, pull on your gloves and get gardening.

Head to your local garden centre and pick up some flowers to brighten up your garden. You could plant these from seed, pot them or get a hanging basket. You could also start your own vegetable garden, where you grow fruit and veg to use in your summer salads. It might take a little work, but think of those long summer night barbecues – then it’ll all be worth it.

Enjoy the Outdoors with the Kids

Most parents are probably sick of being cooped up in the house with the kids, so take advantage of the better weather and get outside. Here’s some of our favourite outdoor activities for families:

  • Peep Behind The Curtain – you might know this game as red light, green light, thanks to its inclusion in Squid Games. Whatever you call it, the rules are the same. The person who is ‘it’ stands at the front facing away from the group. Everyone else has to try and tag them to win, but they must freeze when the person who’s ‘it’ turns around or they’re out.
  • Picnic – okay, this is hardly innovative, but you can’t beat a picnic in the Spring. Whether it’s in your local park or by the sea side, pack all your favourite finger foods and snacks to pick at. Chuck in a football or a bat and ball and let the kids run free.
  • Parachute Cat and Mouse – you’ll need a parachute to play this, but don’t worry, you can buy a games parachute pretty cheap online. One person is the cat on top of the parachute and one person is the mouse under the parachute, whilst everyone else holds the edge shaking it up and down. The cat must try to catch the mouse in 90 seconds or they lose. Then, the mouse becomes the cat and another player becomes the mouse.
  • Sardines – this is a spin on the classic hide and seek. One person must go and hide and everyone else must go and look for them. When someone finds the person who has hidden, they must then join them in their hiding place. The last person to find everyone hiding loses.
  • Spot the animal walk – this one’s probably best for young children. Print off a sheet with photos of farm animals and take them for a walk by your nearest farm and they can tick off the animals that they see.

Spring Recipes

During the winter months, you need hearty, warming meals to keep you going – not salads! Now that Spring has arrived though, we can start to enjoy different foods again.

For a breakfast that puts a spring in your step, why don’t you try and make your own acai bowl. A favourite with influencers for its instagrammable appearance, all you need is frozen acai puree (available on Amazon or Ocado), frozen fruit (we recommend bananas, blueberries and other berries), milk, yoghurt and granola. First, pop your frozen acai puree, frozen fruit, milk and yoghurt into a blender and blend. This will leave you with a delicious smoothie base, which you can then sprinkle with granola and freshly cut fruit. The perfect, refreshing spring breakfast!
For tea, why not try your hand at this delicious cajun chicken and black bean salad recipe we found. It’s the perfect tasty tea to enjoy in a bit of late night sunshine, plus it’s healthy too! It’s a win-win!

Spring Clean

It’s surprising how much clutter accumulates over the winter months, so a spring clean is in order! Whilst spring cleaning might not be the most fun, you’ll feel much better for doing it. Here’s some of our tips for a thorough spring clean:

  • Declutter – this goes for clothes, decor and furniture – if you’re not going to use it, get rid. There’s no point having them gather dust in your home when someone else could get good use out of it. Where possible, try to donate to charity shops or sell on sites like Gumtree, Depop or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Work top to bottom – start with dusting down windows and shelves, otherwise you’ll clean the floor and then cover it in dust again.
  • Try natural solutions – lemons, baking soda, vinegar and, of course, water are as good as branded cleaning solutions and they aren’t as bad for the environment. Try and switch to natural cleaning solutions where possible, which are often less expensive. For example, put your showerhead in a bag of white vinegar overnight to break down build up.
  • Pack your winter clothes away – bulky jumpers and big puffer jackets take up a huge amount of wardrobe space, so pack them away into plastic tubs under the bed during the spring and summer months.

Brighten Up Your Interior

Once you’ve got a clear, clean space, you might find that it’s in need of a little TLC. That doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands on a complete refurbishment, but simply spend a little money in the right places. For example, you might notice the walls are looking a little dull, so give them a fresh lick of paint to brighten them up. Or perhaps you bought cushions in a dark red velvet which look great at Christmas, but are a little too heavy and dark for spring. Buy some cushion covers in a light spring colour, like a mint green or baby blue. Another great way to refresh your interior is dotting greenery around the home which will create the feeling of bringing the outdoors in.

Refresh Your Look

Your home might not be the only one in need of TLC this Spring! We all tend to let our self-care slip during the winter months, but Spring is time to focus on feeling good about yourself and what better way to do that than a makeover? We’re not saying you need to completely change how you look, it could be small changes like promising to moisturise every day so you have soft, glowing skin by the summer. 

But if you do want to make a more drastic change, it’s best left to the professionals! Book in at our salon for a hair transformation, whether you’re going for a big chop or finally dying it the colour you’ve always dreamt of. To book, call our salon on 01254 690138.

So those are our 7 Spring activities to get ready for the new season! We hope you make the most of this lovely season and get out and enjoy the better weather!

Yes it may feel like Christmas has only just been and gone, but February half-term is here already! We know it can be hard to entertain the kids during the February half-term; the weather is normally too bad to get out most days, but there’s no Christmas films to keep the kids satisfied. That’s why we’ve put together some ideas for activities to do with the kids during the February half-term.

1. Valentine’s Day Treats

The first day of February half-term falls on Valentine’s Day this year, so why not take the opportunity to do some Valentine’s Day themed activities. An easy activity is making Valentine’s Day cards. All you need is pink and red card, safety scissors, pipe cleaners and LOTS of glitter. 

Another fun Valentine’s Day craft activity is making a Valentine’s wreath. You just need a paper plate, some paint and some heart shaped stickers and other embellishments. Just cut out the centre of the paper plate and leave them to decorate it how they want. The more the better!
Or you could do some Valentine’s Day baking. If you haven’t got the time (or the skill set) to bake a cake, you could just buy some heart-shaped biscuits, some pink and red icing, sprinkles and let the kids go to town. We also found this easy brownie recipe that you should be able to do with the kids. You get brownie points from your partner and actual brownies – it’s a win-win!

2. Burn Off Some Energy

We’re lucky here in Lancashire that we have so many amazing play areas nearby! Like Air Unlimited in Burnley, an inflatable course which is straight out of our 90’s child 50:50 dreams! Were you the blue or yellow team? Or there’s Jump Works in Accrington, packed full of trampolines to bounce between. Closer to home, there’s also Funtazia in Blackburn; a classic soft play area. Letting the kids blow off some steam is sure to leave them ready for bed that night!

3. Camp In

It’s far too cold to camp out at this time of year, but there’s nothing to stop you from camping in! Clear the living room and set up your tent or build your own den from sheets and pillows. Spend the day living like you’re really camping out – no lights, TV or electric in that room. Entertain yourself with board games and have a campsite classic like hotdogs or burgers for tea. The more you embrace it, the more fun it will be!

4. Visit Some Furry Friends

There’s so many farms and animal sanctuaries in our local area, which make great days out for the whole family. A visit to the Bowland Wild Boar Park is always a holiday highlight! Reopening for February half-term, you can wander round and see sheep, boar, cattle, rabbits and more, as well as take part in animal petting, chick holding and lamb feeding. 

If you’re in the market for a pet, why don’t you have a day out at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary in Ramsbottom? They take in dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea-pigs and even horses, donkeys and farm animals and rehome them. Take a walk round, have a picnic and see if there are any animals who are a potential fit for your family.
HAPPA (a horse and pony sanctuary in Burnley) would be the perfect day out for your horse-crazy kids! They have a Beginner’s Guide to Pony and Horse Care or Own a Pony Day for children over 7 years old, which teaches them all the basics of caring for horses.

5. It’s Showtime

Whether they sing, dance, act, or they’re a triple threat, kids love putting on a show! Ask them to come up with a show for you to watch in the evening and rehearse it all day. It could be a reimagining of their favourite film or an original screenplay. Tell them you want the full works, costumes, lights and sound effects – that’s sure to keep them busy!

6. Cook Up A Storm

Kids in the kitchen might sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but with the proper supervision and some child-friendly recipes, it’s a great way for them to start learning a vital life skill. Depending on their age, you could have them making quick lunches or small treats. Here are some great recipes we’ve found:

7. Dressing-up Time

There’s nothing little ones like more than throwing on a costume and playing princess/superhero/doctor for the day. So get involved in the fun and dress up yourself! Go all in with hair and makeup too. Another fun idea is to let the kids dress up as the parents and you dress up as them and switch roles for the day. They get to tell you to tidy your room and you get to mess up theirs!

8. Follow the Leader

Get out of the house and let the kids lead the way. Make your way to a walking trail like Pendle Hill, give them a map and a compass and ask them to get you from A to B. You just might want to wait for a dry day, as it might take a little longer than usual!

9. Build a Bird’s House

There are lots of bird houses online which you can easily slot together and leave the kids to build and decorate on their own. This will teach them the beauty of building something with your own two hands and comes just in time to watch the little chicks hatch in Spring!

10. Embrace your inner scientist

A trip to Eureka is never a bad idea! This interactive museum helps children learn about everything from the human body to electricity, whilst playing and having fun. You still have to book in advance, so pack up a picnic and hit the train to Halifax.

Once all the thrill and excitement of Christmas and New Years has passed and the reality of a cold, dark winter sets in, it is unsurprising that a lot of us experience the phenomenon known as the January blues. Yes, that little dip in your mood at the start of the year is totally normal, but you don’t have to accept it as just one of those things. There are plenty of ways to overcome the January blues, which we’ll discuss below.

Show Yourself Some Love

Perhaps the most important tip on this whole list is to embrace self-care this January. Self-care is important year-round, but especially when we’re feeling low. No good will come from beating ourselves up for feeling like this. In fact, that will probably make you feel worse as you start to feel shame and guilt as well.

Self-care is essentially looking after ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is not a selfish act; it leaves you feeling more fulfilled and happy, which then means you’re able to give more to those around you. There is no set self-care routine that will work for everyone, it varies from person to person, but here are some general self-care ideas that we’ve come up with.

  • Do something creative – doing something fun and creative is a great way to lift your spirits and take your mind off other things. This could be drawing, painting, playing an instrument or writing stories. And remember, you don’t have to be good at it, you just have to enjoy it!
  • Do something relaxing – set some time aside every evening to unwind from the stresses of the day. Personally, I like a nice, hot bath filled to the brim with bubbles.
  • Do something for yourself – it’s important to treat yourself every now and then. Going to the salon has to be the ultimate me-time. Book yourself in for a blow dry which leaves you feeling refreshed and confident. Call 01254 690138 to book.

Don’t Set Yourself Up For Failure

It’s important that you don’t set unrealistic resolutions and goals in the New Year. A New Year’s resolution like “I’m going to go to the gym for an hour everyday” only sets yourself up for failure. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to go from little-to-no exercise, to going to the gym everyday. Plus, what about work, cooking and all that housework you’ve got to fit into your day! Cut yourself a break! 

Unrealistic New Year’s resolutions make us feel like a failure when we’re unable to achieve them. So instead, think about setting realistic, sustainable goals. For example, if you would like to start exercising more, you should think about your lifestyle and come up with a plan that works for you. Perhaps you can’t make it to the gym everyday, but you could do a 30 minute home workout every other day. It’s important to set time limits on goals to keep us motivated, but they should not pressure us into sudden, drastic change, and we should always be flexible and willing to adapt them to the reality of our situation.

Get Your Body Moving

Yes, we’ve all heard it a thousand times before, but that’s because it’s true! Exercise is a great way to boost your mood, as it releases endorphins which cause feelings of pleasure. Plus, exercise is good for our physical health and helps us sleep better, both of which are also tied to our mood.

This doesn’t mean you have to be slogging away in the gym for hours either. Make exercise work for you. If you love being outdoors, then pull on your hiking boots and hit your nearest walking trail. If you used to rule the netball court when you were younger, see if there’s any local groups you could join. Or maybe you’re not much of the sporty, outdoorsy type, in which case crank some tunes and have a good old boogie around the house. Anything that gets you moving is good for you, it’s up to you what that is.

Limit Your Screen Time

This is particularly important for young adults. It’s easy to go on Instagram and feel like everyone is having the time of their lives, but as we all know, social media is all smoke and mirrors. Think about how many times you yourself might have posted a photo from a night out all glammed up and ready to go – when in reality it was a pretty mneh night and you were home by 11.

There is a general consensus that too much social media can have a detrimental effect on mental health, as we compare ourselves to other users, which leads to feelings of insecurity and less satisfaction with your own life. It’s also easy to fall into that social media wormhole of scrolling and scrolling, never taking your eyes off your phone. Then, before you know it, it’s bedtime. So instead of reaching for your phone, why not write a to-do list, do some chores, fit in a quick workout or pick up a book. Something that makes you feel better, not worse. Limiting your time on social media can therefore help you to feel more satisfied with your own life and increase your productivity.

Or, if you don’t want to cut down your time on social media, it could just be time to have a good clear out of the accounts you follow. The influencer who buys a new designer item everyday? Gone. That toxic friend who’s constantly causing drama? See ya later! Your ex? BYE! And if you’re worried about actually unfollowing/unfriending people, there’s always the option to mute their account instead.

Socialise and Keep in Touch

It’s easy to feel lonely in January, after all the Christmas parties have been and gone. That’s why it’s important to keep in touch with family and friends, who can support you and stop you feeling isolated. If you can’t see them in person, a simple text message or phone call can help you feel connected.

One tip I’ve taken from my mum is to always have a date in your diary to look forward to. Okay, the weather might be rubbish in January but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good night out! Just wear jeans and take your brolly – sorted! Or, if money’s tight, you could just have friends round for a takeaway and a movie night.

We hope this helps you to conquer those January blues and remember if you’re experiencing persistent low moods, make an appointment to see your GP who can help you to understand why you’re feeling like this and suggest treatment options. 

Here’s to looking after ourselves in 2022!