Friday, 18 August 2017

Ready or not...

There's often a focus on the academic side of what your child 'should' be able to do before they start school, but the chances are, these won't be the things that worry your child. If they're anything like Honey, they will want to know where to go, what to do and who can help them. They will be interested in what their daily routine will be, who and what will they get to play with and what they'll be wearing (or maybe that part is just Honey)... 

I thought I'd share some of the things we have been working into our days over the summer in order to give Honey the best chance of making a smooth transition in September. These things don't take up much time but, as a teacher myself, I can assure you that your child's teacher will be grateful! 

- Practise opening packets and boxes independently. Even if your child will have school dinners, there will be occasions when they need to open boxes and packets for themselves. For example, if the fruit snack is raisins or if they take a packed lunch on a school trip. 

- Drink from the 'school' water bottle. Honey's school suggested a specific bottle with a lid in her house colour. Honey liked this idea so we bought one but the lid is unlike any of the bottles she has used before, so she's been drinking from it over the holidays to get used to the unfamiliar opening and closing mechanism.

- Try on school uniform and talk about when and why each item will be worn. Amongst her uniform stash, Honey has a striped dress which she thinks is just about the coolest item of clothing ever, so I have had to explain that it's a dress specifically for summer and she won't be able to wear it year round. Honey had no idea what PE was but as soon as I started to explain the type of activity she would be doing, she understood why she would need to get changed and why certain items of clothing were more suitable than others. We have gone for trousers and shorts for her day to day uniform which she questioned at first so I took her to the park wearing a dress the other day and it really got in her way! Now, she's really excited about being able to clamber freely all over the trim trail and play area on our walks home from school and can't wait to hide stones in the pockets of her cargo shorts! 

- Make sure your child can dress and undress themselves independently, this includes shoes! Honey really wanted some shiny, black lace ups but she didn't fancy putting in the time it takes to learn to tie them at this point so we have gone for super quick velcro instead! Make sure they can pull their tops and bottoms on and off without too much drama and if you're planning for your child to wear tights, give them a pair to practise with (perhaps consider trousers or long socks instead on PE days).

Help them recognise their belongings. You could add a sticker or coloured piece of paper in the name window of their book bag or sew on a patch on to their PE bag. Honey designed her own book bag charm alongside the wonderful Rachel from Kito baby UK so she will hopefully be able to pick hers out in a sea of identical bags!



- Chat positively about school and walk past occasionally if it's close by. Honey loves heading to the park via our school walking route. She likes peeking through the fence to see what the children at holiday club are doing and chats about what her teachers might be up to that day (ok, that makes her sound like a stalker, she's not). 

- If possible, get hold of a school dinner menu and chat about what different options are available. If there are things on there that your child has never tried, consider cooking them for tea over the holidays and if there are things that your child 'doesn't like' (i.e. has never tried but has irrationally taken against) try getting them involved in cooking it with you. Honey swore she hated chicken pie for such a long time and wouldn't eat it at pre-school, so we shopped for ingredients together, cooked our own and now it's one of her favourites! 

Addressing these things now might help your child feel happier about heading off to school and give them an easier time while they're there, or it might not, but I reckon it's worth a try! Good luck to all the little ones starting school in September, enjoy the rest of your summer and I'll see you all over on Instagram for updates about how it's all going when the time comes!

Honey wears... School uniform (eek!)







Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Blaise of Glory...

We popped down to Blaise Castle Country Park today. A mere 50 minutes from Cheltenham, the country park boasts two adventure playgrounds, a cafe, a woodland and of course, a castle! We started the trip with a picnic and a kick around on the massive lawn and Ace was overjoyed to see a lawn mower doing its thing (he thought it was a tractor - queue hearing the word tractor on a loop for about half an hour), then we headed for the play area. 

The play area is split into two. One side has lower climbing frames, a sand pit and toddler swings and is suitable for children up to around 7 years old and the other side has big, scary climbing frames perfect for older children and brave, little explorers!

Next up, was a stroll through the woodland where there are various different paths to follow. Honey and her friend found blackberries to pick, enjoyed climbing steep slopes and clambering over some incredible, exposed tree roots! Further along the trail, we found a stream which was begging to be paddled in. The paddling was short lived as Honey's bare feet were hurting, note to self, must take wellies next time! The walk began down a hill, so of course, ended with us stomping back up the hill in search of ice cream to cool us down. Ace sat in the sling and enjoyed pointing at trees and water and my friend's little boy was doing the same in his pushchair (which managed the terrain well). 

As days out go, this is as inexpensive as they come. Parking is free, there is no charge to enter the estate and aside from the petrol to get there, the only money we spent all day was on ice cream!

So, if you fancy a change from Pitville Park or have been looking for a nice spot to meet friends near Bristol, I would highly recommend Blaise Castle.

Honey and Ace wear... Long sleeved tops by Make Your Marque







Thursday, 10 August 2017

Bundle of joy...

If you follow the blog, you may remember that I splurged on a rather wonderful waterproof babywearing coat last year. I think the cost per wear has ended up being about 1p due to the amount I've worn it and even my husband has nicked it a couple of times to do the pre-school run!

But what about when the weather is warm and it doesn't look like rain but the forecast says it might? Do you wear a coat and end up boiling hot? Do you carry the coat round all day, just in case? Neither was an attractive option for me, I like my hands free and I hate feeling hot and flustered.

With this in mind, we were so excited to be chosen as Brand Ambassadors for BundleBean and as soon as we received our BundleBean for Babywearing, I was straight on to the weather app secretly hoping for rain. A couple of days later, the chance of light drizzle appeared so I hastily suggested an afternoon out! Since then, the Great British weather has obliged on multiple occasions and we have pulled out the BundleBean to keep us warm and dry.
















It's such a fab item to keep in the changing bag and we have used it for added warmth on an unseasonably chilly visit to Chester Zoo, to keep Ace dry when drizzle threatened to end a country walk and even to shield his little legs in the buggy when I forgot to put sun cream on him! I chose the flamingo print because, well, flamingos and it's so vibrant and such a talking point when we're out and about!u
















More recently, the BundleBean family has grown to include a super lightweight Babywearing Raincover which is perfect for when warmth isn't an issue but rain is (i.e. most of the British summer). Like the original BundleBean, this 100% waterproof cover will fit all types of slings and carriers and extends cleverly to fit from newborn to around 4 years old. Possibly the best thing about this cover, is that it packs down into its own little stuff-bag and is smaller than a packet of wipes!


























So whether you want to stay cosy and dry or just need something waterproof, BundleBean has quite literally got you covered and if you use the code 'Ace' at the BundleBean checkout, you will receive 10% off your order too!

*Although we were kindly gifted our BundleBean covers to review as part of the Brand Ambassador programme, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Ace wears... BundleBean for Babywearing in Flamingo print
                    BundleBean Super lightweight Babywearing Raincover in Polar Bear Print




Monday, 24 July 2017

They're always happy when it rains..

I'd promised Honey and Ace a trip to the park on Saturday and they weren't letting me forget it. Despite the grey skies, Honey was busy getting our things ready and Ace was shouting 'wing 'wing on repeat. Alfred Wainwright once said "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing" and boy do my kids agree with that! 

Honey kindly reminded me that we all had waterproof trousers, raincoats and wellies so we would be absolutely fine if the heavens opened. Although it took me most of the walk to the park to summon up even half the enthusiasm she had for the outing, by the time it actually started to rain (and it did really start to rain), I was feeling really glad to be out in the fresh air and happy that Honey and Ace were happy.

The ducks were really pleased to see us and happily gobbled down a pot of sweetcorn (we had run out of peas), half of Ace's snack and they even gave a good nibble to some sticks Honey threw in when all the corn was gone.

Once they got bored of feeding the ducks (aka bored of Mummy sheltering under the trees), Honey and Ace had a whale of a time dicing with death on the slippy playground equipment, splashing in puddles and running around squealing at each other.

After lunch, they were straight back out in the garden tipping buckets over each other and Ace also perfected the art of slurping rainwater out of the grooves in the decking (ewwww).

So it looks like, come rain or shine, we will be out and about this summer and I for one, can't wait!

Honey wears... Raincoat by Hatley
Ace wears... Raincoat by Tu @ Sainsbury's























Pink Pear Bear

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Paint your own...

Our invite to Paint it Yourself Pottery's 15th Birthday celebrations couldn't have come at a better time. Located on Winchcombe Street, we often pass it on our walks to and from town and recently, Honey has been taking an interest in the brightly coloured sign and inviting interior and had told me that she would like to make some Christmas decorations there soon (always planning ahead that girl).
 
We didn't make any festive decorations on Saturday, but from the moment Honey took her coat off, to the moment we left, she was busy creating her very own masterpiece! On arrival, I took in the space with multiple tables set up, each containing everything one needs to create a piece of pottery perfection and with plenty of high chairs and a Bumbo readily available if required.

The staff are really friendly and approachable and explained the process to both Honey and I (Ace had already set to work making sure all the resources ended up on the floor) then left us to get on but remained visible so we could call upon their expertise at any time (and we did - lots)!

Honey chose plates for herself and Ace then got on with her paper plan. There were flowers, spots and even a T-Rex thrown in for good measure! She then transferred it onto a plate using felt tipped pens and finally painted over the pen to complete her design.
 
A mere 4 days later, we were invited to collect our plates and they look great! The colours have really popped and the sheen brings out every detail.

I would absolutely recommend Paint it Yourself Pottery to anyone with children who enjoy craft and painting. If you have a baby, I would suggest leaving the buggy at home if at all possible as we kept having to squeeze past them or move them out of the way but, as previously mentioned, there are plenty of high chairs so you will have somewhere to pop baby while you sort yourself out or paint your own piece.
 
It terms of time, I thought that the hour and a half set aside for our session sounded like a long time but the time flew by and I ended up having to help Honey finish off her painting as she'd spent so long engrossed in the design phase! Drinks and snacks are also available to purchase, so allow extra time if you plan on taking advantage of this. There are also books and toys to keep little ones entertained while you eat, drink or paint.
 
Thank you so much for inviting us to join you for your birthday celebrations, we will definitely be back! If you'd like to Paint Your Own Pottery, click the links to find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
 
Honey wears... Denim dress by Zara
Ace wears... T-Shirt by The Royal Shakespeare Company
 



 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Towering above...

Having grown up in The Cotswolds, I've been to Broadway Tower a time or two but never as an adult and never in charge of children! It wasn't busy when we arrived so we parked up on the side of the road, but there's a large Pay and Display car park on site and fees are refundable when you spend £5 in the cafe or shop. 

We took a leisurely stroll up to the tower, taking in the amazing views and waving to Honey's friend (who totally couldn't see us but who lives nearby so...) This time, we didn't go inside as Honey was feeling tired and therefore wasn't in the best mood, so we wanted to make the most of being outdoors. You can buy tickets to go inside and children under 6 are free. We wandered a very short way along The Cotswold Way and did some wildlife spotting, Honey had an I-Spy book to fill in and Ace just chased a load of sheep!

The terrain was gentle enough for Ace to come out of the sling and have a good run around, followed by a short, downhill hike, although I've no idea how he resisted picking up all the sheep poo! 

When we'd had enough wandering, we headed to the cafe and indulged in (very reasonably priced) cakes and gingerbread men. There are tables inside and outside, I only spotted one high chair but there may have been more hidden away. Other attractions included a Pooch Playground for those of you with canine friends and a nuclear bunker dating back to the Cold War, so I'd say there's definitely enough to keep everyone occupied for a couple of hours or more if you take a longer walk down The Cotswold Way!

Honey wears... Flamingo t-shirt by JoJo Mamas Bebe
Ace wears... Red shorts by Frugi








Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Thanks a bundle...

Just a quick post to let you know that we have been chosen as Bundle Bean Brand Ambassadors! We can't wait to receive our parcel and get started and we will also have a discount code to share with you very soon!