Monday, 19 June 2017

Keeping kids cool in a heatwave

Since last week the temperatures have been rising with summer well and truly on its way! This weekend temperatures hit 30 degrees here in Bristol! It seems all across the country temperatures have been soaring and it can be unbearable when it gets too hot, especially for kids!

With that in mind I have joined up with some great bloggers to share some of our top tips for keeping kids cool in a heat wave -


Bedtime can be a real pain at the best of times but in the heat and bedtime becomes impossible. I really can't blame the kids for struggling to sleep in the heat as I do too but I have found that using ice packs can help a little. I use the ice packs you can buy for picnic bags etc (the thin blue ones) and freeze as many as I can during the day. I then place each one inside a sandwich bag and place them inside the bed about 45-60 minutes before the kids are going up to bed. The sandwich bags stop them from getting the sheets wet but it leaves the pillows and sheets lovely and cold when they get into bed, making it a little easier to settle.

Sophie from Sophie and Lily and Elizabeth from Where roots and wings entwine are both big fans of making ice lollies to keep their little ones cool. Sophie suggested using fruit to keep the ice lollies healthy which is a fab idea. Elizabeth also had a great idea of freezing breast milk and making them into little lollies if you are breastfeeding which is such a sweet idea.


Lianne from Anklebiters Adventures suggested using the water spray bottles filled with cold water and letting the kids spray themselves to keep cool. Which sounds like a great idea to me, James also likes the handheld fans you can buy which are handy especially in a hot car. I found these funky fans which combine the water spray bottle and a handheld fan in one in Argos, they look like they would do a great job at keeping you cool!



http://www.argos.co.uk/product/5173248

Vikki from Family Travel with Ellie suggested hanging a damp cloth a safe distance from the fan if you have one in the room, this ensures all the air circulated is nice and cool which definitely would help keep the room nice and cool.

Emma from Me and B make tea has a super fun suggestion of freezing toys into blocks ice, not only keeping them cool when handling the ice but keeping them entertained trying to break their toys out too. I love this idea and will definitely be giving it a try with James and Evelyn.

During the summer months my fridge is usually packed with more non edibles that food! Keeping things such as baby wipes, after sun, moisturisers, even t-shirts and shorts can make them really refreshing to use especially when its boiling outside. The kids love finding their cold pjs in the fridge to slip on before they for to bed!

I also love Donna from Bobsy's Mum suggestion of frozen Frubes! I best these taste delicious, would cool you down and very little mess as they are in the tubes! Will definitely be giving these a try.

Finally... you can't go wrong with a paddling pool! My son loves it when he comes home from a hot day at school and finds the paddling pool up in the garden ready for him to dive in to! It instantly cools him off and is lots of fun too, just don't forget the sun cream.


Do you have any top tips for keeping the kids (or even us grown ups) cool during these hot summer months and unbearable heat waves? I would love to hear them in the comments below!

xXx

Friday, 9 June 2017

Happy 3rd Birthday Evelyn!

Well this has come round quickly and hit me hard, how on earth can my baby girl be turning 3 today!?

I'm not going to say where has the time gone, I've felt every moment of it... heck we haven't even mastered bed time yet! But I have adored being able to spend every minute of my day with you Evelyn.

Seeing you smile for the first time, take your first steps and talk for the very first time. Now I'm about to watch you grow up (way to quickly for my liking) and head off to nursery, and I know your super excited because you want to be just like your brother. But I'm going to miss you just like I did James too.

I don't know whether its because you have your big brother to look up to but my gosh Evelyn you are determined. You know what you want, how your going to get and hell hath no fury on those who get in your way! Your head strong and beautiful and I love that you aren't afraid to show the world your bubbly diva like personality and always with a smile on your face.



When you came along you completed our family and we couldn't have been happier, you make us smile every single day even on the days I didn't think it was possible. Your cheeky and loud and a real mummy's girl but you have such a sensitive side too
You love cuddles and especially love it when we stroke your neck or back when you roll your eyes back and totally relax. You have your very special "blabley" (blanket for you and I) who you wouldn't be without, he's your comfort when your sad, sleepy or happy.


Evelyn I want to say Thank You. You have shown me what confidence looks like and allowed me to become stronger by learning from you. You have no fear just an amazing imagination, a want to learn and the desire to smile. I never want you to lose those things and I will do everything in my power to tell you every day to never change who you are, be strong, be determined, be you... even if you are a diva at times!


Happy Birthday baby girl, I love you to the moon and the stars!


xXx


Sunday, 4 June 2017

I don't need a break from my kids!

"You just need a break"

It seems to be one of those common phrases we all say whenever anyone has a problem, sleep deprived... you need a break. feeling down... you need a break. But that isn't always the right solution for us all, what if my kids are my break? My break from the stress of the world we live in, my break from the mundane routine and being a grown up.

For me, I don't need nor want a break from my kids!

I will take a house full of laughter, jokes and make believe over a house of silence and tidy. Now don't get me wrong there are tantrums and tears and sometimes I take a few minutes longer in the bathroom just to gain my composure for the next round of "but mum I'm bored". But in reality I wouldn't have it any other way and time away from them fills me with dread.

My children are my life, they are the reason I know what true love is and the reason why I have so many happy memories. I don't need an escape or a break, but I'm certainly not bashing parents who do! We are all different, parent differently and needing a break doesn't make any difference to your parenting and its ok to admit you need one, just like its ok to admit you don't.

James recently went on a camp trip with his Beaver Scouts group, it was Friday-Sunday meaning 2 whole nights away! It was the longest he has ever been away from us and whilst I let him go I was so apprehensive about it and deep down just wanted to screw up the form and pretend it never happened.
He was so excited to go but as he walked up the steps to the coach and disappeared towards the back I felt the tears well up in my eyes. I missed him more than I ever felt imaginable and the first night found myself hugging his pillow, wiping away my tears counting down the moments until he was back.

I of course didn't let James see my tears but did ensure as he stepped off the coach on his return I scooped him up, span him around and gave him the biggest hug and kiss I could manage. It made me realise that I don't need a break or want to be apart from my kids. Yes I may moan that they drive me mad and that the bickering is draining but without them I'm lost!

Yes life with kids is crazy and chaotic, they keep me on my toes and might be the reason my hair is going grey at 27 but that's parenting isn't it? That manic, crazy, bursting with pride kind of love that I don't think I ever want a break from.


Please don't think I'm judging you as a parent, we are all different and need different things and that's ok! Life would be boring if we all felt the same, did the same and acted the same! If you need a break, take it and don't feel guilty. Just remember a happy parent means a happy child so we have do what we need to so that can happen!


xXx


Friday, 26 May 2017

An open letter to my son after the Manchester Attack

James,

I seem to forget sometimes how much you have grown, and just how much you hear not just from us but from your friends at school! Your so aware and often wise beyond your years I need to give you a little more credit as I still think of you as my baby when I try to shield you from the world and all its problems.

Yesterday you asked me, you asked me about the attacks that had happened and you told me you heard it was a nail bomb and you looked confused.

You asked me why someone would do this and you asked about people being killed. I could tell you had so many questions and I was scared, because I wasn't sure I would have all the answers for you.

I can't tell you why these people do these things as most of us adults are unable to really grasp that concept either. I can't tell you why they chose the place they did or why these chose a bomb.

I can tell you though the names of those who were so tragically killed, I can show you their pictures and tell you they were loved. I can tell you about the heart break their families will feel and I can tell you its ok to feel sad for all these people too.

But most of all I want to tell you not to be scared, don't let them win! Never let them dull your smile, your sense of adventure of your freedom. Never let these vile terrorists make you change who you are or how you feel.

I came to give you extra cuddles once you were asleep last night, fast asleep cuddled up to your book and teddy peaceful and care free just as you should be. I shed a tear for those poor families tonight who have lost someone, who are still looking for someone or who came so close to losing someone in those horrific attacks yesterday. I realise just how little I take these moments for granted and my heart aches for all those families who won't be able to kiss their loved ones tonight.

The world can seem to ugly, so cruel but James please don't forget there is so much good! There was so much good that happened after those attacks yesterday and when you see all these bad things happening I want you to look for the good, there is always good!

Strangers opened there homes, their cars and there hearts to those caught up in the attacks with no judging, no prejudice just the love to help those who needed it. The paramedics and police who rushed to the scene to be with those who needed them. The people who raised money after the attacks to support those who needed it and the police who are out on our street in force just days after trying to keep us safe.

I can't predict what the world will be like when your all grown up James and I can't promise that this won't happen again. I can promise though that I will do everything I can do to keep you safe, to show you love, happiness and all the good in the world.



xXx

Friday, 19 May 2017

Little Giggles Soft Play - A totally unique soft play experience

Both Evelyn and James love soft play and it can be a great way to let them burn off some of that built up energy especially on wet rainy days. However soft plays do seem to all be quite similar and its easy to feel like if you've been to one you've been to them all! But that's where Little Giggles soft play centre are breaking the mould with their fun, sensory soft play experience!



Little Giggles soft play is based in Yate (just across the road from the main shopping centre and bus station) and is aiming to break the perceptions of your typical soft play centres with their new centre which has a strong focus on development through light and movement play. Nearly all the equipment within Little Giggles has a moving or light up element to it giving a great sensory feel as well as providing lots of stimulation, fun and excitement for the kids.


Little Giggles is on the upper level of a new development in Yate (stairs and lift to entrance) and we have been so excited to go try it out (me as well as Evelyn of course!). There is tons of parking so we didn't need to worry about that and upon entering we were greeted by several friendly staff members all clearly visible by their fun vibrant uniforms. Payment was quick and easy and off we went to enjoy the centre.

Within the soft play centre there is the main soft play area as well as a large seating area with tables and chairs and a café serving hot food such as jacket potatoes and panini's as well as cakes, soft drinks and coffee/tea.

Evelyn's eyes lit up at the sight of the soft play and it really is something totally different to your typical soft play centres. Gone is the dingy multi level, outdated soft play apparatus its all about the funky, clean and vibrant equipment here and the lights certainly do catch your eye. Evelyn loved the fact that lots of the items moved without having to ask me to push her (she likes to be independent!).

(The spinning Dolphins were a big hit!)

(as were these little "peanuts" that went around but backwards!)

It really feels like each piece of equipment has been carefully thought out here at Little Giggles with everything having a light, sound or touch element rather than just being something to climb. Something we had never seen at a soft play before was this water table! Its such a fantastic idea and can be jumped on, led on or just to jiggle about on, there are plastic fish and seaweed as well as lights concealed within and its such a great idea. Evelyn loved trying to catch all the fish!


Even the slides had an extra element with the one below having cascading lights and the larger slide (seen in the background here) has a "bubble wrap" feel with giant plastic air pockets all the way down the slide!


I was a big fan of the layout too as all the tables face the main soft play area and the whole area is visible from the seating area so those with slightly older children who prefer to head in alone can still keep watch on your little ones. We didn't eat any hot food in the café today as we went straight from the morning school run but the food did smell delicious as we were leaving just before lunch. We can also vouch that the cookies and millionaires shortbread slice was scrumptious and I would say the prices were quite fair at around £4.50 for 2 cold drinks and 2 cakes.

Little Giggles is for children age 0-8 with children under 9 unable to play however I would definitely say the soft play would be more suit to ages 1-5 as James is 7 and I'm not sure he would be as entertained as Evelyn was.

Prices for entry in to the soft play may seem a little more expensive than your "average" soft play but this definitely is NOT your average soft play and so the prices do reflect how much thought and effort has gone to making this soft play as great as it is. There is also no time limit to play (unless the centre gets very busy when they may inforce a 2 hour play limit) so we felt whilst it was a little more expensive it was most definitely worth it.

If you are planning on visiting regularly there is also the option of becoming a member too which brings down the prices of each visit for the entire year!

If you are thinking of visiting Little Giggles soft play do it! You won't regret it and I am certain both you and the kids will want to return, soft play just won't be the same for us again as Little Giggles have certainly set the bar high and we will certainly be back... very soon!

(The balloon chamber had Evelyn in fits of giggles as the balloons bounced around the windy room whilst she tried to catch them all!)

Do you think Little Giggles is somewhere your kids would love too?

xXx


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Parenthood - The things they don't tell you!

Becoming a parent can be such a special time, meeting your baby for the first time and all those magical moments our family and friends tell us to look forward to.

However most parents will be aware that whilst they moments are very special there are so many more moments that make you stop and think... "well they didn't tell me about this!". I have been speaking to some other mums about these hilarious parenting moments to share with you all and here are some of those moments we have all "enjoyed" since becoming parents.


- You will never pee alone ever again, need the toilet in a public place? Then you best be about ready to be exposed to a restroom full of women waiting to use your cubicle as your toddler tried to escape whilst you sit on the loo! Trying to keep the door closed with one foot without peeing on yourself as you balance on the edge of the toilet seat growling your child's name through your teeth so nobody outside can hear you!


- Playdates will very rarely contain actual "play" think more along the lines of becoming a duplo referee. Stalking your child around the cramped soft play grabbing their socks as they fling them at you as they run. Trying to hold some sort of conversation through the soft play ball pit with another mum about how little sleep you've had whilst never actually purchasing that coffee you swore you would get when you first walked in!


- Toddlers can be gross like really gross - " Today I picked a broken Pom bear out of my 1 year olds butt crack. I have no idea how it got there. I wish someone would have warned me about how gross some days are!" - Abbie from www.mamawilkos.com


- Kids certainly don't mince their words! - I wish someone told me how straight forward talking kids are! Many of times my girls have said something about someone aloud and it's REALLY embarassing! Never mind about being super confident, not giving a damn what others think... my middle doesn't care if someone sees her scratching her bum in public! Beth from www.life-as-mum.co.uk


- The poo! Oh yes ALL the poo! - I wish someone had warned me I would end up stepping on poo. With no shoes on. Or socks. More than once. Laura from Www.mumoam.co.uk


So next time I walk past Mothercare and feel my ovaries twitching at the teeny tiny sleep suits and baby booties, I will switch my mind to the less glamorous (but totally hilarious) side of parenting I think we often forget and remind myself exactly why we chose to stop at 2 kids!  

Do you have any funny parenthood tales to tell that you have since discovered after having kids?  I would love to hear them in the comments below!

xXx

Sunday, 14 May 2017

May Madness Giveaway!

Can you believe we are in May already? This year seems to be zooming by but I have to admit I'm glad its almost summer (lets just hope we get lots of sun!). Evelyn is a bit older this year and I can't wait to have lots of days out with her and James over the summer holidays.

Today I have a fantastic giveaway to share with you all! The chance to win not 1 but 2 Fire Tablets (a kids one and an adults one!). Perfect for keeping the kids entertained on long journeys or for just catching up social media whilst you sunbathe in the garden. Check out the giveaway below and enter for your chance to win.

Once again a whole host of amazing bloggers have teamed up to offer you the chance to win a great prize (something we couldn't do individually), but who are this group of amazing people; well check them out:





Joining forces together has meant we can bring you the chance to win not only a Fire HD 8 Tablet (8gb) but a Fire Kids Edition Tablet (in pink or blue) alongside some accessories (think screen protector and a case for the Fire HD 8). Now that's going to make for one lucky winner!

So how can you be in with a chance of winning? Well all you need to do is let us know:

What do you have planned for this summer? Anything exciting?

The only mandatory entry is to answer the above question, all following entries are optional. However, we would, of course, love it if you could give the bloggers behind this giveaway some support. Full T&C can be found within the Rafflecopter widget.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good Luck everyone!!


xXx