Tuesday, 10 October 2017

An Ode to New School Mums

It is almost half term,
We have made it this far,
We are feeling haggard,
We need a trip to the spa,

There are stains on the polo's
And stuffs to the knees,
Name labels have come off,
We have resorted to the Sharpies,

Maisie Mountain is our new BFF,
Good old Read Write Inc,
We have so many dates to remember,
There is barely time to think,

But they have eaten all their lunches,
Cracked their new routine,
Made friends and laughed lots,
And a few days came home clean,

They nailed their song for Harvest,
They made us burst with pride,
Then despite refusing not to,
These brave Mummies....cried!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Coffee and a Catch Up...


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I haven't blogged in a long time. If I am honest I have been struggling to get back into the swing of things after the summer. Ted has now started school which has its own stresses (so much to remember!) and while he was on half days the time just flew by. It is my birthday next week and Joe's the week after so been sorting bits out for that and dealing with lots of other things so really life has been a bit crazy. 

I have a few posts I am working on but my mind keeps going blank making publishing them near on impossible. I have been meaning to update you all on Callie's development as she is now 10 months and turning into a toddler before my eyes. I want to share the pictures from our trip to Prague and a few days out we have been on. II have ideas for vlogs that I want to get filmed, I also have craft tutorials and house tours, recipes and weight loss updates but it is all a bit too much at the moment and I honestly need to focus on myself and my little family who are the most important thing right now. 

I have been embracing just spending time with them and enjoying moments without thinking that I have to photograph it for the blog. My Instagram is updated daily so if you do want to see what we are up to I always find the time to keep that going, do pop over and say hi. 

I will have a giveaway coming up soon for a Blade and Rose set which I am sure lots of you will love and a few travel essentials from Summer Infant to share with you. 

Anyway that is what is happening and where I have been. I want to know if you guys would be interested in any Christmas gift guides, if so I will try and hunt out some good gift ideas to share. Leave me a comment and let me know how you are all doing, I do love to hear from you!

For now I will go back to my roots and end this with Over and Out Blog Jockeys! 

Catch you soon!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Visiting The Grandparents - Packing Checklist with Hipp Organic

Last month we went to Prague. It was a lovely trip and I will be sharing the pictures on the blog soon. While we were away Ted and Callie went to stay with Joe's parents and I will tell you now we packed more for them for the 2 days than we took abroad for ourselves. With that in mind I thought I would share our checklist for Visiting The Grandparents.

Sleepover at Nana and Grandad's!
Joe's parents are in their 40's (I know, we both have young parents) so they are still very hands on with the kids as are my parents which definitely helps when it comes to sleepovers. Ted is nearly 5 so pretty much fends for himself but Callie being a baby is that little bit trickier and I wanted to make sure they had everything they could possibly need to make their lives easier for those few days. 

Ted's Bag (4 years old)

3 changes of clothes (plus the ones he travelled in)
Bedding
Cuddly Toy
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Coat
Car Seat

Ted's bag sounds pretty empty but he eats really well and will play with Joe's younger brother (8) so doesn't need a lot to keep him occupied. Callie on the other hand...

Callie's Bag (9 months old)

5 changes of clothes (plus the ones travelled in)
Nappies and Wipes (full packs just in case)
Nappy cream
Bedding
Ewan the Dream Sheep (we actually forgot him!)
Bottles and Steriliser
Bowl and Spoon
Food jars (will go into this in more detail below)
Bumbo for having dinner in
Bib
Calpol and syringe
Jumper
Blanket
Pram
Car Seat
Travel Cot (Joe's parents have one we leave there)
Baby toys 

We were actually able to reduce Callie's down by using the Bumbo as a high chair and place to put her in to play and watch cartoons etc. We have taken our Pop n Jump and rocker chair in the past and honestly for 2 days we just didn't need to take all that stuff. 

I mentioned food jars. We decided as Joe's parents don't have a lot of experience with feeding babies that it would be easier for them if we just gave them jars of food for the few days we were away. They also eat mostly vegan now so I felt happier knowing Callie was getting the diet she has at home without feeling like we were making them cook with dairy products which they don't agree with. 

These Hipp organic jars are perfect as they are nutritionally balanced with natural ingredients. Super easy to use and actually really tasty. Callie loves the Creamed Porridge and Banana Yogurt but the fruit ones are 100% fruit and perfect for mixing in to porridge or just as a stand alone snack. I felt happy knowing she was getting healthy food while making feeding her easier for the grandparents. 


My main advice for leaving the kids with family members is to relax. If you have asked them to take care of your children then it is because you trust them to be capable. If they need anything you have forgotten there is always a shop down the road but making sure you pack wisely will make the experience easier and they will have more time to focus on enjoying time with the grandchildren which is what it is all about!







*we were sent some Hipp jars to try but all opinions are our own.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Nibbling Pembridge Teething Necklace Review



Are you even a Mum if you don't own a teething necklace? 

Well that was what I thought and desperately wanted to get a new one to fit in with my Mum style. I was kindly sent one from Nibbling to put through its paces and as much as I love it I do have mixed opinions on it. I shall tell you for why...



OK so the Pembridge Teething Necklace on first impressions is beautiful. Right up my street with the pastel and marble beads. I really love the design and the length is perfect too, not too short so that Callie can have a good old nibble without garotting me.



Unfortunately there is one main issue I have with the necklace and that is that my hair gets wrapped around the beads! I am always shedding hair and postpartum is probably the worst time for this which is a real pain in the backside. This means my poor husband is always complaining about finding hair around the house, it often ends up in food and our vacuum cleaner needs to be de-fuzzed on a regular basis. I know I have thick hair and not everyone will have this problem though so it is just a personal issue with the necklace. 

I realised I could rectify the issue by only wearing the necklace when my hair is tied back which certainly seems to help and means I can totally rock that Mum bun/teething jewellery combo. Throw in a slogan tee and some Converse all stars and I have totally won at motherhood!



Callie has her 5th and 6th teeth pushing through at the moment so I welcome anything that helps ease the pain for her. Having a teething necklace means I don't have to remember to pack a teether in the bag when we are out of the house and it helps that it looks stylish too.
I can see past having to unwrap stray hairs if it means keeping Callie happy while out and about. 

Have you got any teething jewelry? 






*I was sent this necklace as a sample for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Paradise Wildlife Park - Hertfordshire


Last weekend we traveled down to Broxbourne (Hertfordshire) to visit Paradise Wildlife Park. It is about an hour away from Northampton and a pretty straight route so really easy to pop down to for a day out. Ted actually went with my parents last year although he doesn't really remember it and we were keen to go as a family.

Arriving at the park there were several car parks, we decided to park at the first one and wander up into the park but there were plenty of spaces further into the park. As we entered the park we spotted a huge play area with lots of those old slides you used to find in pub gardens in the 90's, the ones shaped like trees and boots etc. I had always wondered what happened to them and now I know!

We picked up a map from the Discovery Centre on our way in and Ted loved using it to guide us through the park.



One thing that really stood out was how child friendly the park is. There are play areas, rides and photo opps like this huge gorilla around every corner. There were pay to play ride ons but also a lot of free activities which is always a bonus in my books. 



The first place we went to was the farm area. Callie loved seeing the pigs, goats and sheep. She adores animals and was making tiny squeaks of excitement as they came towards her. We fell in love with the dormouse who was super sleepy and the rats were also cute in a strange way!



Ted showed off his best poses at every chance. Check out this one on the Zebra! I think this picture looks like a postcard and we will be printing it out to put in his bedroom. 



As we arrived around 11am we weren't far off lunch time so ventured into Jungle Sam's Cafe which was actually reasonably priced. A jacket potato with 2 toppings, a gourmet beefburger meal and a child's cheeseburger meal with drinks came to just over £20 which for a treat was fine. There were a lot of places to sit and eat picnics though so next time we will probably take our own. 

The food was quite nice and the portions were really big too. One thing we noticed across the park was how friendly the staff were and the restaurant staff were just as nice.






One of our favourite areas was the Woodland Walk which had nature areas for creepy crawlies, a bug hotel and lots of nooks and crannys for animals to make homes in. We do love a good forest walk and spotted lots of acorns along the way. 

There was a cute mound with a dustbin inserted into it, not sure if it was made for climbing in but it seemed clean and the kids enjoyed pretending to be Teletubbies peeking out from the hole.






Also in the woodland area were deer and these gorgeous reindeer. Ted was convinced they were waiting there for Santa to be ready. Such beautiful animals!




After the Woodland Walk we let Ted run off some energy on the play area. He braved the rigging of the pirate ship and explored the steam train and fire engines. 





Wandering back to the other side of the park we stumbled upon the bird display and this Great Grey Owl swooped down from his perch just missing mine and Joe's heads, he was an incredible bird. (check out our video at the end for the near miss!)

We also spotted another owl that looked like a fluffy penguin. His eyes were huge and he had everyone in the park swooning over him.





My Dad breeds tortoises so we grew up around them. I always like sitting with them for a while when we go to the zoo as they are so slow but very calming. This big one had an impressive shell and was easily the biggest tortoise Ted had ever seen.



We watched the Wolf show although they were hiding from us all in the bushes. We saw a White Tiger, Zebra's, White Lions, a Lynx and an enormous Anaconda which was truly terrifying (think The Jungle Book 1994). Sadly we didn't get to see the Cheetah's which Ted was desperate to see but they weren't up saying hello.









The meerkats were on top form as usual. Everywhere I see Meerkats they are always showing off and this time was no different. Play fighting and biting each other it was really funny to watch.



Before we left we were going to go for a paddle in the outdoor pool but it was really busy so we decided to play with the building blocks and sand pit. Ted built a house around Callie and she loved getting involved with the building process!





We had such a fun day and the last of the summer sunshine came out for us. I highly recommend visiting as it is perfect for young children. The park also had excellent disabled access, left and right access toilets and even a specially designed wheelchair accessible swing in the play area!

I think Paradise have a lot to offer. They are currently building refurbishing the bat enclosure and the experience days sound fab, especially the Rainforest Sloth Experience. The entry fee would be around £50 for us (2 adults, 1 child and a baby) including the 10% online discount. Certainly book ahead to save money as on the door prices are always higher.

I bumped into Katy from What Katy Said while we were there, I am sure she will be sharing some pictures from their day and they are always off on adventures if you want to see more things to do in Hertfordshire then do pop over!

Here is the video from our day:




Have you been to Paradise Wildlife Park? What did you think?




*We were given entry to the park in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are our own.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Golden Sands - Haven Review and Special Thank You to Edgar's Gift


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A few weeks ago we had a much needed family break to Mablethorpe. We have been away with friends since Callie was born but this was the first time we had been able to get away just the 4 of us. This break was made even better for us in that it was organised for us by the wonderful people at Edgar's Gift, a charity that supports young adults affected by cancer and their families. 

Despite Joe's speedy recovery post op, the past year has really taken its toll on us all as a family and Edgar's Gift recognise that the psychological recovery can sometimes take a lot longer and families still benefit from ongoing support. The charity has a caravan on Golden Sands Haven in Mablethorpe and were kind enough to let us stay for the weekend. Here are some pictures of the van itself. 










We hadn't visited the area before but the site was perfect for a weekend getaway and the Lincolnshire coastline is really lovely. The caravan itself was beautiful, I would say it is the nicest caravan we have ever stayed in and it would be comfortable for a larger family too as we only used 2 of the 3 bedrooms. Ted loved watching the DVD's while Callie had her naps and discovered Aladdin for the first time!






We went to the Mablethorpe Seal Sanctuary which was right next to the caravan park and was much more than just a seal sanctuary. There was a dinosaur fossil walk through caves which took you back in time through all the prehistoric eras and Ted really enjoyed learning how the dinosaurs eventually became extinct. We saw Gibbons, Lynx's and lots of beautiful birds. If you are ever in the area it is well worth a visit. We also took a walk in to Mablethorpe although there was a small land train that did the trip every 30 minutes for about £2 per person. We walked 8 miles that day and Ted was a trooper, we did however make a swift exit from the beach as a huge storm rolled in and made it back to the caravan just in time!




We also took a trip over to Skegness as I have never been and thought it was probably worth visiting. Not sure I will be making a hasty trip back as it wasn't really our cup of tea. Joe called it Basingstoke by the Sea but I would just say it is like Great Yarmouth that has been neglected for 20 years. Everything just needed a bit of TLC and on the day we visited it was just very crowded. We did however find a little place to eat called The Clock which was a nice traditional seaside restaurant with a sea view and great chips.

The shop on the caravan park was quite expensive despite our 15% owners club discount (another perk from Edgar's Gift) so we ended up eating in the on site restaurant or ordering Papa John's (the Hawaiian pizza is heavenly!) which wasn't so good for my waistline but when on holiday and all that! 





On our final day we went for breakfast and the kids were super excited to meet Rory the Tiger and Bradley Bear! Look at Callie's little face. The breakfast was delicious and Ted got a huge bowl of porridge with syrup, his favourite! There is nothing better than seeing the look on your children's faces on holiday and knowing they are making memories to last a lifetime. 






As with most Haven sites the arcade and funfair were a buzz of excited children and parents wishing they hadn't introduced them to 2p machines but it was all good fun. There was a soft play and swimming pool on site but the weekend flew by before we had a chance to visit them. 

We had such a nice break and are so grateful to Edgar's Gift for inviting us to stay. We hope they are able to continue to support other families long into the future!