Listening and Developing


It’s so nice to connect.

I was playing with my beautiful Olivia this morning on her playmat. She is still young so doesn’t like to be there for too long but I like her to get different stimuli during the day.

Later I checked Twitter for babynews and came across @babymusic_aes. They produce music for Congitive development in babies. I thought I’d give it a shot. They are on Spotify so I put it on as I was giving Olivia a feed. It was very relaxing for me and Olivia fell asleep so I could enjoy a cuddle. She had the odd smile during her sleep. She must have been dreaming about me as it couldn’t have possibly been wind. I hope the music helped her.


I’m going to save this album to my playlist.

I’m not affiliated with them so I’m not getting a fee for promoting them, I just really liked the music and I’ll be using in future as I play with my kiddie winks. It will make a nice alternative to nursery rhymes.

If you are interested in listening here are some links to follow:

Spotify link

iTunes link

GooglePlay link
Don’t forget to follow them on twitter (and me)

Is It really Goodnight for Toby the Bear?

A beautiful children’s story which reminds you of the love they have for their comforting companions. But where can I get it from? 

I’m going to start off with an apology. I’m sorry but the book I’m about to talk about isn’t actually available for sale anywhere. Although, maybe if there is enough momentum I may be able to convince the author to publish.

Many moons ago, before I was even married, my sister-in-law showed me a children’s book that she had written and printed. Not only had she had developed a character called Toby who was a little girls teddy bear but she has also beautifully illustrated every page. Paula told me the bear had got his name from a cheeky little Jack Russel dog she remembered lived next door to her when she was younger. 

I remember being really impressed. It was printed and bound so I had presumed at the time that it had been published. I was wrong.

I am now married and have 2 children so some time has passed. Then yesterday I remembered this book. How wonderful would it be to read the adventures of Toby to my own children? I asked Paula if the book was available to purchase anywhere and she told me that it had never been published… oh no!

I couldn’t bear for Toby the bear (no pun intended) not to be shared with the world so I decided to write a post about him.


In the book Toby goes to bed with his beloved pal. Each page shows the little girls routine and how Toby is lovingly dragged or dumped in various places around the house as she perpares for bed. 

Here Toby is being taken carefully upstairs 


Now it’s time to brush your teeth. Careful Toby.


Toby continues on his bedtime journey and eventually end up being lovingly tucked into bed with his adoring companion.


I do hope I haven’t ruined the ending


What I love about the book is that it teaches a good bedtime routine. The book keeps to a simple routine with words but the beautiful illustrations allow you to talk more to your own child about their own routine. It’s nice as you can relate it to your own little one and their soft toy or comforter. My son has a soft toy called lamby. He will not sleep without it and take him everywhere. I’m so scared of losing it he’s not allowed it outside the house. For outdoor adventures he has monkey, who is now becoming an almost equal to lamby… oh dear. 

Paula has made many more illustrations in preparation for a series of books about Toby’s adventures, but alas they are tucked away. I do hope she reconsiders releasing the book and hopefully making some more books for children to enjoy. This surely can’t be the final goodnight for Toby… can it?

If you think you would like to see more of Toby please share or leave a comment.

Thank you for reading

Goodnight 

5 Top Tips For Hiking with Toddlers and Babies 

5 Top Tips For Hiking with Little Ones

I love being outdoors. I grew up with the countryside on my doorstep and the fresh air reminds me of my childhood and the bliss of nativity that comes with it.

I didn’t really discover hiking until I was in my mid 20’s but now I find myself longing for a good long walk. However, now I have children I have found that there are limitations to how far I can go and the routes that I can take. This is my quick guide to helping you strike the balance between getting your hiking fix and ensuring your children can manage the distance or route.

These tips are for those who want to go on hikes that are not pushchair friendly.

Top tip 1. Invest in a good quality child backpack 


These can seem pricy, especially when you can pick up much cheaper child carriers but you are paying for structure and support which you will need if you are on a long hike. My backpack is made by Osprey and has a sunshade for my little one, can be adjusted for my child’s size and also has backpack capabilities for storing the days food and the essential nappy changing facilities. It allows for ventilation around the baby and you for added comfort.

Top tip 2. Avoid the rain


I personally have avoided going on a hike when there is a likely chance of rain. I can’t think of anything worse than having a wet baby or toddler and being miles away from somewhere warm and dry. This is mainly because with my backpack I can’t actually keep my baby completely out of the rain. On these days I’ve chosen to visit a local park instead where we can walk with a pushchair and cover or be close enough to a cafe or the car to keep dry if a shower does hit.

Top tip 3. Take the right protective clothing.


This means in winter your baby or toddler should have enough layers on along with a hat and gloves to keep them warm. You need to remember that if they are in a backpack or pushchair they will not be keeping warm though exercise like you can can easily get cold if they aren’t properly dressed.

Being properly dressed goes for other extremes as well. In the summer you should have factor 50 sunscreen on hand to apply and reapply during your hikes. Children have more sensitive skin than us oldies and need to be protected. They should also have a sun hat or be kept in the shade where possible. If you are babywearing a smaller baby make regular checks that your baby is not overheating next to your body. If you need to stop and find some shade then do so. A Muslin cloth creates a good shade if you can’t find natural shade where you are so keep that in your hiking pack.

Top tip 4. Plan hikes with regular pit stops


It is completely feasible to change nappies in the great outdoors and have regular snack and water breaks as needed. However, having a cafe/pub to look forward to is a nice motivator when you’re pushing yourself to get up that steep hill. If you are out in either hot or cold weather, it’s also good to know you have a place where you can reapply suncream or check baby is coping with the layers for the cold. You can assess whether your children are going to be able to cope with the remaining hike. Sometimes you can get caught out, maybe it’s windier than you were expecting and the best thing to do is to have someone fetch the car while you keep the kiddies protected from the elements. In any case, pit stops are good for morale.

Top tip 5. Build up your distance over time


When I first started hiking I followed a 4 mile circular walk in the Lake District from a pocket guide. After falling in love with hiking I walked larger distances and eventually settled on walking around 13 miles every Sunday. I followed a similar pattern when I started walking with my children. One reason for this is I had delivers my first baby by C-section and I was unsure of my limits: I didn’t want to be miles from a road or civilisation and realise that I had reached my limit and couldn’t go on. In addition, I wasn’t sure if my baby would have handled being carried for a longer distance and didn’t want to make him ill or have a dreadful day because I wanted a longer walk. It is important you build up your walking distance to ensure you don’t exceed the limits both for yourself and your children. Safety should be your top priority.


I hope you have found these tips useful. Generally you just have to be sensible. I walk on a regular basis around Derbyshire, UK. Don’t forget to follow me or drop me a comment if you are interested in hearing more about my hiking or want to know any routes I follow.

What would your 5 Top Tips be?

Thank you for reading. Have fun hiking.

5 Top Soft Plays – Near Matlock Derbyshire

Looking for something to do on those rainy days? Soft play can be the answer if you need your children to burn off a little steam. This article from my travelling with children blog looks into 5 great soft plays in the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire area to give you an idea of which might be best suited for your age of children.

5 Soft Plays Near Matlock

Have fun at the weekend peeps!

 

 

 

 

10 Tips For Flying With a Baby

Flying with small children/infants isn’t quite as terrifying as you might think. People do it all the time. If you consider how many “bad experience” posts you see online and compare that to how many of the thousands of flights where babies fly with no problems then the chances are you are going to be ok.

Here are a few tips that I have compiled after flying with my infant son who is now almost 2.

1. Don’t wait until they’re too old

I first took my baby on a long haul flight at age 6 months. He was fine at this age just being held by me. When he got closer to age 1 he became more restless as he wanted to explore. I spoke to a number of people who wanted to wait until their baby was 1 before they flew anywhere but from my experience this might put some people off.

2. Book a bassinet

If your baby is below 10Kgs and short enough you may be able to get a bassinet. You have the advantage of being at the front of a set if seats and your baby can be placed in the bassinet for sleeping. I have had flights where my baby slept and flights where he didn’t. Its is worth having though. The only down side is that you may not be able to get out your in flight entertainment as the bassinet is too close. Ah but you will have peace. You can always take it in turns with a partner if they are less obstructed by the bassinet.

3. Reserve your seats as soon as possible

Just because you are travelling with an infant, don’t expect to get seated together. If flying short haul, get your seats as soon as check in opens (usually 2 days before the flight) if you want the best chance of sitting with your partner/other children.

If you are flying long haul you should be able to either reserve your seats online or ring up and reserve them well in advance of the flight.

4. Book an Isle seat

I had a baby who was a dream. He rarely cried and would happily sleep on me. However, on a flight, particularly a long haul flight you will find yourself getting up more often than you might normally. Booking an isle seat helps not to disturb the unfortunate person who booked the seat next to you.

5. Check your baggage allowance

Most airlines will allow you to take 2 baby related items per infant traveller. I usually take a pushchair and a car seat plush a change bag. I check the car seat and take the pushchair to the gate. Don’t worry if you have a travel system style pushchair. They ask at check in how many parts it breaks into so you can be given the right number of tags to track all the parts. Some airlines even give you big bags to wrap the pushchair in at the gate to keep it protected.

6. Keep hydrated

This is especially important if you are breastfeeding. It is easy to get dehydrated on a plane without feeding a baby. You should keep topped up on fluids… and I don’t mean alcohol.

7. Pre clear in Ireland (if going to the U.S. from the UK/Europe.

This can be stressful if you have booked a short connection but being able to walk off the plane in the U.S. as if you have just taken a domestic flight is a wonderful feeling. By the time the flight has ended you just want to get to your destination…not spend hours queueing to answer a series of questions with your baby in tow.

8. Don’t expect preferential treatment

You may be allowed to board first to get settled but this isn’t guaranteed. What you need to remember is: you have an allocated seat and the plane should take off on time regardless of when you get on the plane.

9. Take plenty of snacks/formula/baby food.

I was paranoid about taking milk and drinks for my baby on the plane but most of the time they are quite accommodating regarding baby food and formula/breastmilk. I have heard that you should only take what your baby will be able to consume on the flight in hand luggage though. If in doubt, call your airline and check. I have taken weaning food/mush and milk on planes and have been accommodated every time.

10. Find out if your pushchair will be delivered to the arrival gate or oversized baggage. 

This will depend on both the airport and the airline. You can ask as you board and hand over your pushchair (if you took it to the gate) or ask at the check in desk. Some airlines have buggy’s for you to use if you have a connecting flight. When we connected in Dubai Emirates had pushchairs for this purpose. I would only expect this at large airports though.