So much to do in our summer city

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THIS weekend our eldest child is finally returning home following her long summer holiday trip to her various grandparents’ homes.

We are likening her jaunt to being like something out of Tudor times – when the Kings and Queens went on their summer progresses in order to get out of the heat and squalor of the city.

Well it is not too hot at the moment, and I wouldn’t like to describe our home as squalor, although it may not live up to some people’s expectations in terms of cleanliness.

But if you have three kids and work it is hard to try and keep up with all the general scrubbing involved with such a big family.

No sooner have you tidied up one pile of colourful pieces of plastic masquerading as toys, than you discover that someone else has tipped up a few boxes of jigsaws at the other end of the room.

I have lost count of the hours I have spent carefully sorting through jigsaw pieces in order to make sure they are all safely returned to their right boxes. And the only way you can really check is to make all the damn things up.

Sometimes I think I should just chuck all the pieces in one big box and see what the kids make of that. It would certainly be a challenge.

I was hoping as they got older that they would grow out of the need to scatter everything far and wide.

But my eldest scotched that one when she arrived in a whirlwind stop over at the weekend.

You could hear her before she even entered the house.

The peace and quiet was shattered by her loud screeches of “Mummy” as she flung herself headlong into my unsuspecting arms, nearly knocking me off my feet in the process.

After many gorgeous cuddles, we finally prised ourselves apart and she whizzed off to her bedroom clutching her little brother’s hand.

It was only in the morning after I had spent hours washing and ironing her clothes only to repack them again that I discovered they had taken out every toy (or so it seemed) in her room in order to “play” with it.

My rule of play with one toy and put it away before playing with another obviously being totally ignored.

As she was due to catch a train to begin the second week of her holiday away from us, I didn’t have time to make her put everything back into its rightful place.

Needless to say I spent a fair few hours that night making it all neat and tidy again.

I will be firmer with her next week when she is back under my command again, I have promised myself.

Actually the only real solution is to just take her out and make sure she is exercised so she is too tired to make a mess when she gets home. Rather like you would with an overactive puppy!

Luckily there is heaps on this weekend in Sheffield for families to do, and much of it is free.

The big event is the Sheffield Council backed Sheftival – a unique festival of sport, music and culture.

It is timed to celebrate our own Jess Ennis competing for an Olympic medal. As well as the sporting side, which include a huge screen showing the Olympics there will be band galore – some even I have heard of.

On top of this there will be three markets, fairgrounds and free ice-skating.

Sheftival takes place across Don Valley Stadium, the English Institute Of Sport Sheffield and Don Valley Bowl on August 4-5. For more information visit: http://sheftival.co.uk/line-up.html and http://sheftival.co.uk/sport.html

Other free things include a trip to the seaside in the centre of landlocked Sheffield. The Peace Gardens has been transformed into a seaside resort complete with deck chairs, crazy golf and even sand. For information visit: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk