We’ve gone back to school and work today, after a week off for half term.

Being self employed, school holidays are a bit of a worry as I have to try and fit in work around making sure S is not just being babysat by the tablet or the TV. For S’s first half term in October, we were busy packing to move, and S was really tired from her first half term at school, so it worked quite well for us. Over the Christmas holidays many of my clients were closed for at least a week, and we were all working hard in the weeks beforehand to make sure we got ahead ready for the break. This half term then, was the test: could I maintain my work levels and still have a fun week with S?

I’m not going to say it was easy; I spent the week before half term working very long hours in order to finish off as many projects as possible. There was more than one evening where S came home from school and entertained herself while I ploughed on with work, stopping only to make her tea and then put her to bed, and finishing about ten minutes before I went to bed. But it was worth it! We ended up having a fun-filled week where I still managed to get some work done too…

We began our half term in style! S had drama club in the morning, and afterwards we went out for a special lunch at our favourite cafe.

Cross Keys Restaurant Salisbury

After lunch we went to the cinema to see the Lego Batman Movie, which was brilliant. It was S’s first ever time at the cinema, and we had a great time.

On Sunday we had a lazy day, because we knew we had a busy week coming up. That began on Monday with a trip to Salisbury Playhouse to see a Stuff And Nonsense production of the Three Little Pigs. It was a brilliant performance which we both thoroughly enjoyed – as you can see from the look on S’s face here!

penguin hat and face paint

On Tuesday we had some friends around to visit for a Bear Hunt party. We had great fun playing games with friends – and of course watching the dvd!

A lovely friend had given us a swing for the garden, and my brother came and put it up on Monday evening so the time either side of our party was spent outside playing. Actually, a large part of the rest of the week was spent either on the swing or running around it!

new swing in the garden with frozen wellies

On Wednesday we were supposed to go out for the day with our friends from S’s school, but neither of us was feeling particularly well after a poor night’s sleep and a lot of coughing, so we stayed home instead. We had a lazy morning, but headed to town in the afternoon for supplies. There was also a little puddle splashing, and some very cool jumping.

puddle splashing at the Arts Centre minions wellies

On Thursday I had arranged for S to go to KidzLoveFit holiday club.  KidzLoveFit is a local company run by a friend of mine; they had been into S’s nursery to do fun classes several times, and she will be doing their after school club this term so I thought she might enjoy their holiday club. Turns out I was right! My friend Alex sent me this photo during the course of the morning to show they were having fun:

KidzLoveFit pirates

The club was only a half day, so I walked up to collect S at lunch time and we walked the long way home, past the horses and some allotments – and via Waitrose for supplies (and cake)

On Friday we caught the bus out to Wilton to meet friends at Role Play World. S absolutely loves this place, and we hadn’t been – or seen our friends – for a while, so we were both looking forward to it. We had a great time playing in the various different areas, including the doctor’s surgery, the castle and playing songs on stage.

Role Play World Salisbury Wilton

Now, you may have noticed there was a fair amount of face paint last week! S received a face painting set for Christmas, and I did my best to paint her face how she wanted it each day. Some days were better than others! On Saturday though, the Face Painting Fairie was doing free face painting in the Cross Keys Shopping Centre, so we went to see her.

Frozen face paint

S was so pleased with this face paint that she did her best to keep it overnight for Sunday too. We spent Saturday afternoon in the garden; I’d bought S some chalk “spray” but the spray part didn’t work so she spent an hour or so with a bottle of blue chalk paint and a brush… turning everything in the garden, including herself, blue.

The face paint lasted ok, and on Sunday we went for a long walk to the out of town toy shop to buy some pavement chalk – so as to avoid more of the messy spray chalk! On the way back we stopped at Waitrose for a special treat. And special it most definitely was!

rainbow cake treat

The perfect end to a fun-filled week!

I’m pleased that we managed to do something fun every day, and that during the down times I managed to get a fair amount of work done. I even managed to take a couple of evenings off work and relax! Things are so much easier now that we’ve moved house and have our garden; S will happily spend a couple of hours riding her bike or playing on the swing. Or drawing with her chalks! My desk is next to the window so I can keep an eye on her while I work.

It’s hard to juggle any form of work with school holidays, but being self employed means that I don’t get paid holiday – and that I have clients I can’t afford to let down. I think we both have handled this half term well; the real test will come in April, when there are two weeks off for Easter! I’d better start preparing now…


Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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