Five holier-than-thou educational half-term pastimes

ARE you The Smugs? Are your children spending a half-term full of improving activities? Eleanor Shaw provides five aspirational pastimes to shame other families: 

Themed arts and crafts

Making an alligator from an egg-box? No. No, my Isabella and Duncan get an extra couple of layers of education slathered on top, like sculpting Rosa Parks’s bus from papier mache or drawing using Stone Age materials. This week we’re learning about Jesus, Da Vinci and recycling by creating The Last Supper from a pair of old corduroy trousers.


Rewilding isn’t just for the environment, but for the soul. We’ll be spending the week on daily excursions to National Trust properties to see deer roam as our prehistoric forebears did, teaching Jelly and Dunco to treasure the environment and imagine a world not overrun with vaping and pornography.

Taking screen breaks

The children are fully digital-market ready, but there’s a time and place for screens and it’s in the squalid bedrooms of the less fortunate. We while away the time playing board games, finding eggshells and mushrooms in the garden, and performing little plays. TikTok is a theft of childhood and should be banned.

Volunteering at a soup kitchen

The offspring love working at our local soup kitchen, The Houseless Hummusman. He doles out delicious and nutritious vegan dishes to the poor rather than money they’d spend on drugs. We all put in a shift, because Tim and I invested £20,000 in the business and we need it back.

Extra schoolwork

There’s only so much learning that can be done at school because of the natural limitations of the teachers. A week is an eternity in a child’s education. They could learn a whole new language. Instead we’ve got a private tutor to help my Jelly with maths, because your SATS results determine your whole life.

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The sound of flip-flops, and other annoying side effects of hot weather

TRYING to relax in wonderful sunshine but instead just irritated? It’s because high temperatures have these unfortunate side-effects: 

The sound of flip flops

The metronomic sucking sound of flip flops slapping against bare feet is always exasperating, but now everyone’s in them there’s no escaping it. And these relaxed hang-loose ugly-toed bastards have no idea how bloody infuriating they are.

Relentless sweating

Rub on all the antiperspirant you want, park your perspiring bulk next to a full-speed fan; you’re still going to be gushing from your armpits, back, and the crook of your knees. The sooner scientists discover how to convert us into cold-blooded lizard people the better.

Litter everywhere

Just as leaves turning red indicate that autumn has started, parks filled with crumpled beer cans and disposable BBQs are a tell-tale sign that a heatwave has begun. So wonderfully carefree and summery, leaving all your shit on the beach and pissing off home.

Attractive people wearing too little

Before everyone had a digital porn window on them all the time this was a positive. But now, scantily-clad hotties frolicking in the sun are just another reminder that you’re a 4 /10 and slowly succumbing to the inevitable ravages of time. Lock yourself indoors until October when they’ll all look great in lumpy knitwear.

Social obligation

It was fine, being allowed to see people in your garden when it was too cold to do so. But now the sun’s out every mother complaining about lumpy coleslaw or friend whinging about yet another failed relationship is hanging out, forcing their inane chatter into your ears. Try to stop yourself pressing ‘mute’ on their faces.