Summer Life Savers for Working Mums

Flea has 9 weeks summer holiday. Yep. Nine weeks.

I’ll just let that sink in for you.

Nine weeks of holiday is great if you’re six, but if you’re a self-employed, single parent, well – to be frank – it sucks. Big Time.

So, we’re six weeks in to the summer hols and I’m so frazzled you could put me in a packet and flavour me with bacon. I just don’t know how I’m going to do everything I need to do!

We have a solution, though. I get up and work early in the morning, then I go back to work when Flea’s asleep, and I work until I am on the verge of falling asleep on the desk, at which point I crawl into bed.

You’ll note I didn’t say it was a GREAT solution.

So thank heavens for two great things this summer.

First, the smartphone. What did we do before those? Mine was stolen in the burglary, but I’ve been loaned an Orange  Intel San Diego smartphone, which means I can keep an eye on emails and reply to urgent queries while I’m out and about with Flea. I do try very hard not to be one of those absent-but-present parents who is constantly staring at a screen – but I do check my messages when I get a moment through the day.

My second life-saver this summer has been King’s Camps. These are activity day camps for kids aged 5+ with more specialised camps for football and other sports. The camps happen at schools and other venues around the UK and offer full, supervised activities from around 8.30am to 5.30pm at a cost of around £35 per day.

We’ve used Kings Camps in the past, and had great experiences, so I was really pleased that this year we were invited to review the camp. We chose one local to us, which worked out brilliantly – Flea knew half a dozen of the kids on the same camp, so she had ready-made friends. In previous years, she’s been the only kid from her class, though, and has still had loads of fun, so I don’t think it’s essential for children to know people at the camp.

For working parents, King’s Camps are a great option – you can drop children off from 8.30am and collect them any time between 4pm and 5.45pm (or you can book half days for younger children). During the week, kids get a great combination of sport, drama, craft activities and competitive games. This was Flea’s first year of doing full days and she absolutely loved it. For starters, she was allowed to take a packed lunch which – for a child who goes to a school with compulsory hot lunches – was an adventure of unimaginable awesomeness.

Full reports are hard to come by, but from what I can tell there were Olympic themed crafts, a fundraising disco, a cake sale, football, rounders, Red Rover, Stuck in the Mud, tennis, and a day devoted to a group water fight. The staff at our local camp were brilliant with the children, and great at small details – offering sun cream to the children on hot days, remembering to pick up dropped coats and water bottles, and generally making things fun for the children.

As a Mum, I thought potentially Kings Camp would be a long day, but Flea was so occupied that she was happy and entertained throughout, and it was nice to know she got lots of fresh air and the opportunity to run around on days when I was tethered to the computer. I was reassured by the safety protocols at the camp, too – when you drop your child off, you’re given a code with a unique number on it, and someone can only collect a child if they provide that number to the staff. You also have to leave three contact details, so I felt confident that if something DID go wrong and Flea was upset, someone would be contacted to go and fetch her.

As a six-year-old, Flea flat out adored Kings Camp. And here, in 100 seconds, is her King’s Camp review:

Flea’s Review of Kings Camp summer camp for Who’s the Mummy? from MAD Blog Awards on Vimeo.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 13th August 2012 / 8:08 am

    Love it! Especially ‘Ou revoir’ part.
    And just you wait till she hits age of about 12-15, when anything remotely hinting that you were once a kid is embarassing. You’ll be able to threat her with those videos to make her do just about anything (even take out the trash). 🙂
    She IS very sweet.
    Yemi recently posted..On sanity….My Profile

    • 13th August 2012 / 6:27 pm

      I know. I protect her by not using her real name, but I am OH SO aware that I can keep these in my arsenal *evil laugh*

  2. Nikki
    13th August 2012 / 10:35 am

    LOVED this line: “… I’m so frazzled you could put me in a packet and flavour me with bacon” so much, just had to tweet it. Once again you capture the feelings and frustrations of so many working & self employed parents. You genius you! 🙂

    • Nikki
      13th August 2012 / 10:38 am

      PS 9 Weeks!!! That’s just crazy! I knew there had to be a downside to private education 🙂

      • 13th August 2012 / 6:26 pm

        Ha! There is that.

    • 13th August 2012 / 6:26 pm

      Geniunely, it’s tough trying to balance being a good Mum and keeping the roof over our head – frazzled was the best word I could think of to describe my state right now!

  3. Denise
    13th August 2012 / 2:29 pm

    Interesting but not sure what planet you live on…. obviously your not the average single parent has spending £35 on kids camp is alot of money, I’m a working single parent and I just about can afford £15 a day. Furthermore obviously your child goes to private school….mmm

    • 13th August 2012 / 6:25 pm

      For me it’s about value rather than cost – although the camp costs £34 a day, my wages if I work for a full day are more than that – so for me it’s a really good investment.

      That won’t apply for anyone, and I wouldn’t spend that money if I wasn’t working (why would I? the park and the beach are free!) but I genuinely don’t think it’s especially expensive – from what I remember I paid about the same for a day in nursery when Flea was younger, I’m sure.

    • Nikki
      14th August 2012 / 11:28 am

      Does such a childcare facility exist at just £15 per day and what do you get for that? Unheard of round here where daycare, holiday clubs start from £35 and only go upwards from there.

      Regardless, I don’t think Sally was arguing the cost of it all, but putting forward a review of one such facility which her child clearly enjoyed and expressing frustration at the length of school holidays and keeping the kids busy whilst working- something many of us struggle with – regardless of it being 6 weeks or 9, £15 or £34 a day.

      Don’t turn this into a class issue when it clearly wasn’t meant that way.

      Nuff said.

  4. TheBoyandMe
    13th August 2012 / 7:02 pm

    Crazy kid!

  5. 15th August 2012 / 6:16 am

    Love it! So…when will we see Flea’s very own blog?! A star in the making.
    The camp looks great. I have three aged 3, 9 and 11 so the thought of a week to catch up in the holidays is very appealing! It would work out a little expensive for 3 though.
    Bizzy Mum recently posted..“Mum, You Must Never Read This. It’s My Diary…”My Profile

  6. Helen
    17th August 2012 / 12:54 pm

    Very cute video!
    And in a answer to Nikki above, we have holiday sports courses around here for £59.50 for the week, 8.30-5.30 & they’re very good….run by progressive sports……an absolute bargain!

  7. 20th August 2012 / 9:15 pm

    yep, I spend the same on day camps, nursery costs the same. Seems a reasonable cost to me. In fact now i’m dealing with an 8 yr old bored boy wonder if they have any aroung here. Littlest at nursery, biggest does own thing, just one bored 8 yr old hanging about.