Taking Baby Passport Photos at Home

Leaving The Country With Your Children

I’ve had a couple of really nice holidays this year with my children. We staying in a caravan in south Wales and we enjoyed a week away with friends in Whitstable. We were lucky to have great weather on both holidays but living in sunny Britain, great weather can never be guaranteed.

We have decided to go to Majorca later this year which will be Olivia’s first flight and George’s first flight where he has his own seat. We booked flights as soon as Olivia was born but then the timer started ticking… time to get her first passport.  Continue reading “Taking Baby Passport Photos at Home”

Mummy Medals August 2017

Mummy Medals

Feel free to comment or make suggestions for the regular questions I should ask myself in my Mummy Medals feature. If you would like to write your own mummy medals and appear as a guest post, please get in touch. 

Mummy Medals Achieved This Week

  • Juggling Mummy – went to a playgroup on my own with to children
  • Tantrum, What tantrum?

Continue reading “Mummy Medals August 2017”

Crich Tramway Museum – A Great Family Day Out – Worth a Visit

Crich Tramway Museum

I have lived near Crich Tramway Museum for almost 5 years now. I have walked past it on many walks past the Crich memorial tower and thought that it would be a nice place to visit. The thing is, I’m not that big on trams. We decided to give it a go this spring bank holiday and boy we were not disappointed!

Fun day out

Great for all the family

It is not all about Trams at Crich Tramway Museum. It is like walking back in time with the trams and buildings looking like they straight out of the 18th-19th century. There are various picnic areas including one near a bandstand. The museum also features the following which will keep your children entertained:

  • An indoor soft play
  • A large outdoor play park
  • a rock maze
  • a woodland walk with magical wooden sculptures to investigate (including a workable giant wooden Mr Potato head wooden sculpture)
  • Fish and Chips
  • Ice-cream from artisan ice cream makers bluebell dairy
  • An old blue wooden police box (for those doctor who fans)
  • Gift Shop

The trams take you to various parts of the immersive village where you can take in stunning views of the Derbyshire landscape or investigate the history of the area. At one of the stops you can hop off your tram and enjoy a small circular walk to the Crich Memorial Tower which overlooks the attraction.

Crich tower

Fairs at Crich Tramway Museum

The prices are very reasonable for the family. We paid £16.50 for each adult. Under 4’s are free so we sauntered in at a little over £30. Children’s tickets are £9.50 and there are family tickets available as well as concessions. The best thing about the tickets though: once you have paid to go in, you get free return within the year. You just need to keep the receipt that you have signed. There are a few themed days that the free return is not valid on (5 per year) but you can’t really grumble at that.

Our Adventure

It can be difficult to find attractions which cater for the whole family when your little ones are so small. With George being 2 he could not really enjoy the fun fair. The mock up beach area just presented an opportunity for him to run off and find a hill to ascend and descend repeatedly. That being said, the village was push chair friendly and he was able to get out and explore at various times during the day. George enjoyed his first Punch and Judy show as well which was a pleasure to see. IF you are looking for a relaxing day out with a young family, I would definitely recommend Crich Tramway Museum in Crich Derbyshire. Website.

If you wanted to incorporate a Derbyshire walk or some geocaching there are some nice walks (and geocaches) nearby. Check out my walking with toddlers blog for tips or for my summer fun tips.

 

Predicting Naptime in Children? 

I’m a mother of a 2 year old who has only one nap a day now I still find it difficult to predict when he will drop off. The only thing I know is that if he drops off to sleep at any point, even if it’s for 10 minutes, he will not go back to sleep if woken and I end up with a very cranky toddler until bedtime. 

I find myself planning my afternoons around his naptime. He falls asleep easily in the car so if it’s a 10 minutes journey I don’t want him to have that time as his only nap. Sometimes it is unavoidable… oh those joyful days. 

He has been accustomed to having naps at nursery but now I’m on second maternity leave, he sees the house as playtime and he suffers from FOMO (fear of missing out) so getting him to nap is a challenge. 

Here is a link for why naptime is important. 

Now I have an 8 week old who naps throughout the day, but this won’t last for long. Soon I’ll be juggling 2 children who will likely not want to nap at the same time.  

Shall I just prepare for cranky kids or is there a secret I don’t know about? If there was a secret I’m sure there would a post or forum thread somewhere. Oh well.

So to all those parents who have uncoordinated naptime and don’t even get your own sleep in the night… I’m with you! It’s all worth it… keep going… and put the kettle on. 

7 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Summer

Summer is great! Long days, great weather, ice-cream and fun fun fun! Although, summer often comes and goes in a blink of any eye. If you aren’t careful you might miss it, especially if you live in sunny Britain (otherwise known as rainy Britain). Here are some tips to get you making the most of the outdoors this summer.

1. Pack a summer change bag


Be ready to go at the drop of a hat with a few extra summer essentials:

  • Sun cream: I reccommend SPF 50 for your little ones. 
  • A large muslin and a couple of pegs- this makes a great sun shade/tent at your picnic destination. Please don’t peg a muslin across a pram as this can cause overheating in children/babies.
  • Refillable water bottles- don’t get dehydrated!
  • Sun hats and long sleeved spare clothes for extra sun protection 
  • Swim nappy – many parks have outdoor swimming pools for summer splash fun

2. Check with your council for local events

Your local council will want you to use their facilities. Many produce promotional material to get parents to use their parks and fill up their parking meters. Subscribe to their newsletters or request their annual events programme so you don’t miss out on local events or opportunities.

3 Bubbles

Bubbles are great fun for all ages. Little ones love to watch them and they make excellent visual sensory fun. Older children love them just as much. In fact.. add bubbles to your summer change bag pronto!

4 Chalk- get creative 


If you are stuck in the house for some reason but want your children to enjoy the outdoors, arm them with a chunk of chalk. Here are some suggestions:

  • Draw pictures on your patio
  • Draw a large letter and ask the kids to find objects in the garden beginning with that letter
  • Draw a chalk mural.
  • Draw different coloured crosses around the garden. Whilst enjoying a sit down, should out colours and watch your children dash to the correctly coloured cross. Repeat until bedtime for a peaceful evening.

5 What about my newborn? 

Getting out of the house is important for the parent as much as it is the newborn. Here are some ideas to make going out more of a sensory activity. 

Plan a stroll in areas with different noises e.g. Walk along a road to a park where children are playing, then along a river/canal or near a lake where water can beard heard or water birds can be seen. 

Walk under tree canopies to allow the broken light onto your baby who is looking up. 

Don’t forget to talk to your baby the whole time to keep them stimulated and help with your bonding.

6 Using the environment to get creative


Children are wired up to learn and be creative so just getting them to a park, field or footpath might be enough to get them excited and playing with the environment. Here are some more ideas to help you along:

  • Make a musical instrument with a grass blade
  • Spot different birds
  • Look at leaves and try to identify the tree/plant – take care not to pic poisonous plants- this is a good way to teach your children about natural dangers 
  • Play pooh sticks
  • Blowing heads off dandelion clocks
  • Collect twigs and fallen leaves for a nature collage when you get home

Check out this link for my suggestions for walking with babies and toddlers.

7 Make the most of those evenings 


If you are stuck at work all day or if the days are just too hot to handle, an evening outing could be just the trick. The temperature might be more favourable and it really means you are making the most of your time. Plan an evening picnic along with a short stroll. An evening away from the TV is great for family bonding time and it’s easily achieved. You don’t have to go far, it could even just be a quick trip to the local park. It’s free and your kids will love it!

I hope you like my suggestions and take the opportunities as they arise. 

If the weather never comes though you can always get away – here are some flying tips 

Leave a comment with your suggestions for outdoor fun. 

Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to follow me for more posts like this. 

Have a great time enjoying some fresh air

Mother’s Day Gift Creation

I posted earlier this week about a thoughtful gift that I bought for my mother for mother’s day.

My mum is a minimalist and so doesn’t like to be bought things that will generally end up catching dust around the house. She is saving for a summer house to be built in her garden in preparation for her retirement and so we have agreed that a donation towards that is the best gift… my mum appreciates practical gifts.

Rather than just giving her a card with money in it with mothers day I decided to get her a money box for her savings. I looked all over for a “summer house fund” money box but most money boxes of this kind were geared towards “new house” fund or “wedding” fund and so didn’t have the right look about them.

I tried Etsy and Amazon, my usual go to places for gifts and in the end I settled for a wooden construction toy to act as the money box. It was a 37 piece set.

img_7239

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew I would have to assemble the kit for my mum as I wanted to give her a money box not a toy. I’m glad I did have a go at building the kit first as I needed to sand back one of the pieces to get it to fit perfectly.

After a dry build I decided to reassemble but this time gluing the pieces together. I left one side of the roof off so that she could access her savings.

img_7242

I was quite pleased with the end result and I put some money in to get her started. After it has been used and the summer house has been built she can even turn it into a winter bug hide so it benefits the biodiversity of her garden… yay me for getting a green gift!

As you can see the money goes in between where the two roof parts meet. This wasn’t clear on the photo on Amazon and I think I would have preferred to have had the roof parts meet and then left a gap between a couple of the roof slat parts. I wasn’t able to modify the box further though.

I do like puzzles and I think if my son had been a little older we could have enjoyed doing this together. I’ll definitely be keeping this company in mind for cute wooden construction toys in the future.

 
If you are interested in looking at the kit its made by a company called Igroteco and you can find it here on //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=lomyab-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B01BF8RDSC&asins=B01BF8RDSC&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>Amazon. I am affiliated with amazon but this is an honest review of what I did with the product and the issues that I needed to solve to make it work for me. It was £15.99 when I purchased it and it had free delivery – no Amazon prime though sorry.

 

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.

 

 

3 Ideas to Help You Conquer the Monday Blues

It’s Monday morning. It’s the day many people wake up and wish it was still Sunday or even better Saturday. Even when I used to enjoy my job Monday still had a bit of a miserable start. Now I just have to focus on getting out of bed. 

Negativity is something that spreads easily if you let it. Here are a few tips to breaking that negativity barrier and taking back Monday morning… or any miserable morning for that matter!

1.  The Sun has risen and will rise again tomorrow.

This reminds me that I’m a tiny part of the universe that is awesome and constantly changing. There are many constants for me such as the Earth spinning but at the same time I am powerless to change them. All I can do is let my amazing planet take me on this amazing ride today and make the most of it. If I make the most of things I can be happy about it, if not, well, the ride resets for tomorrow. If nothing else, at least tomorrow isn’t Monday.

2. Conquer your inner self doubter. You are in control of you!

I have found myself not wanting to do certain tasks because I think either my colleagues or people I’m working with don’t like me or will somehow lose respect for me (I think these are normal anxieties for someone who wants to do well in life and can be powerful in pushing you forward).

Reflect on self doubt as just your own brains way of checking on you. It’s normal to want to double check you’re ok. Don’t be afraid to say “awww, thanks brain, actually I’ve got this”. 

3. Most People Are Generally Good

This thought really helps me when I can’t see past why someone behaves in a certain way. I may think “why are they like that”? or “what planet are they on”. Now I try to think “they must must be oblivious to how they are acting as they are coming from a good place” I really try to imagine what that “good place” might be for that person. This process helps me break out of the negativity loop that can spiral out of control if you’re not careful. It helps me be more positive with the person and eventually this does lead to an improvement in the relationship (even if it is just me that is happier). 
I wrote this post following this daily prompt. Hope you like it.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/conquer/

5 Ways I’m Going To Be Different On 2nd Maternity Leave

I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and I finish work in my 38th week anniversary. The past few weeks I’ve taken it a week at a time and I think I have one more week left in me. I’d love to be at home now relaxing but I want as much time with my baby after the birth as possible. 

I can’t afford to stop working after having my children so I know I’ll be returning to work. I’ll be going back part time this time (I went back full time after my first as I intended to have another baby quite quickly). I learned a number of things with my first baby and with my first maternity leave so I hope I’ll be able to make it through with more confidence this time.

1. I’m expecting to be terrified again.

When I gave birth to my little boy I loved him straight away but there was an anxiety that I wasn’t expecting. It seems that almost anything you do caries a risk factor for SIDS. No parent wants that and so finding tha balance between advice and what works is nerve racking. I think the anxiety is just a form of mothers worry as I still have it now to some extent. I’m hoping that I can enjoy the moment more this time around knowing that this anxiety is coming. 

2. I am going to fight back on people that question my decisions more… especially on breastfeeding.

As a first time mother I was paranoid I would turn into someone who became so over protective that I would hold my baby back. Or even become so different that my friends and family didn’t recognise me any more. I really tried hard to strike a balance but I still feel like I was misunderstood and it left me feeling lonely sometimes. There is no shortage of advice out there for new mothers but it is amazing how many people take offense if you don’t agree. It’s almost like you are treated as ungrateful if you say “thank you but I don’t think that applies to me/my baby”. The biggest issue I had was from people who didn’t understand breastfeeding. I exclusively breastfed my boy and to begin with it wasn’t easy. I enjoyed doing it and despite the sacrifice of having less me time as I needed to be close to my boy I felt it was worth it. 

Others would say that I needed to get out more. When I explained that I could manage an expression or two as a break away from him (he fed frequently) I wouldn’t be in a position to leave him for too long as my milk production would suffer. This would make me dread leaving him for a long time, not because I didn’t want to let my hair down, but because I knew I would have almost a week of getting my routine back and it just seemed too arduous. It loomed over me so I could never really enjoy myself. Maybe I’m just not as milky as some mum’s. I’m ok with it though. I’ll get to have plenty of party time in the future. 

Some people do get offended by this and their comments to convince me to give my baby a bottle instead grate a little. So on that note I’m going to start telling people they are being insulting. If they are taken aback then hopefully they will think about what they have said. Being a mummy is hard enough without having your judgements questions so frequently. 

3. I’m going to keep myself challenged

At the end of my last maternity leave I had a great routine going. I had groups I visited with my boy and I felt in top of my life and how my family was working. It took me some time to get to that point as I lacked early confidence to get out and about. I know I can do it now so I’m going to be a busy bee. This isn’t for everyone though. I’m the type of person that likes to be doing things and having a varied day. It keeps me mentally challenged and this keeps me happier as a person. 

4. I’m going to accept help from more people.

There is often a flood of people who want to help out when your baby is born. This can be overwhelming. I am quite independent and part of me resists help as I see the constant offer of help as someone saying “you aren’t coping very well”. I dig my heels in and say, no I’m just fine. 

The truth is, helping me out just means they get to spend a bit more time with my utterly amazing and charming baby…I mean who wouldn’t? As long as I get enough mummy time, why not let others share in my joy. On the plus side it might even mean less ironing for me to do as well.  I should make a list of jobs now. 

5. I’m going to be generally more confident

I know going from one child to two and it will be a bit of a shock, but hey I’m going to handle it, just like I handle everything. 

I might look back on this post in a year to see how I did. What would be on your list?