Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Spiky hair, don't care...

Ace has needed a haircut for a while, for the last few weeks he has had permanent bed head. Yesterday evening, I announced with absolute certainty that I was going to get Ace's haircut while Honey was at school the following day and I'm pleased to say that the mission has been accomplished.

Way back when Ace was a few months old, a new Barber's shop opened on our walk into town. I know this because someone handed me a leaflet as I walked past 'for when the little man had a bit more hair'. I'm pretty sure the leaflet ended up in the recycling box as I was expecting Ace to be a little Phil Mitchell like Honey was and not grow much hair until he was 2. Wrong! He turned 18 months today, this was his second haircut and the barber took off more hair today than Honey had on her whole head at this age!

Barber n Bar is a vintage style Barber's shop on Winchcombe Street in CheltenhamIts sleek black and red decor, comfy sofas and upbeat music give the place a cool yet relaxed vibe and they offer haircuts, colours and grooming treatments for men and boys. What's more, they also have a fully stocked bar! 

Ace was a really good boy, after repeatedly taking off the gown and initially wanting to get down from the chair, he settled down to watch some Peppa Pig on Daddy's phone while the barber worked his magic. Our barber's attention to detail was phenomenal and it looked as if he cut each hair individually, he even used clippers to shape Ace's hair round his ears and styled his hair with some luxurious pomade!

The name doesn't make it sound like the most child friendly place on Earth, but we honestly couldn't have been more impressed with how they accommodated Ace, especially at such short notice. 

Here's a quick roundup of what we loved:

- Super talented barber!
- Bar stools at the perfect height to pop your backpack down on and chuck your sling over.
- Plenty of room inside the shop to put your buggy if needs be.
- Child sized gowns.
- Booster cushions.
- PS3 (although Ace was more interested in Peppa ;-).
- Loyalty card scheme (collect 8 stamps for a free haircut).
- 30% off a child's haircut Monday to Thursday.
- FREE kids drink.
- FREE haircut for a child under 10 with a paying adult (Mon-Thurs).

Find Barber n Bar on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow to stay up to date with all their offers!

Ace wears... The Adventures of Ace t-shirt by Sophia and the Fox









































Just Hannah Jane




Saturday, 16 September 2017

Keeping it clean...

This is a little bit different for me, a lady called Nicole got in touch via the blog and asked if I'd consider publishing a guest post. As you know, I'm a huge fan of fostering independence and a sense of responsibility in children so when I read her article, the obvious answer was yes! Nicole just loves cleaning. She loves it so much that she turned her passion into a business  and now runs N3 EOT cleaning team. She is a firm believer that kids should be taught about cleaning chores and what better way to do that than by turning the cleaning into a game? 

Kids Can Help You With The Cleaning 
Tips and Tricks to Turn Cleaning into A Game

- A guest post by Nicole Gardiner - 

Let's be honest, have you tried to involve your kids in doing some chores around your home? Often, this attempt can lead you down a blind alley, which is no surprise at all, since most people do not find cleaning enjoyable. However, there is still hope! In order to  encourage your kids to help you more with household duties, you may need to attract their attention by turn everything into a game.

I strongly believe that kids should be taught to clean up after themselves. From an early age, they need to know that everybody at home has duties and these duties have to be carried out. Of course, the younger the child is, the easier the chores will need to be, but y
ou may be surprised by how much kids are capable of doing to help when it comes to cleaning!

As we all know, every child is unique and feels motivated and encouraged by different strategies. Some kids prefer to follow a task list when cleaning and others prefer the cleaning to be turned into a fun game. Some kids need silence to perform at their best and others cannot be productive without listening to music. As I said, every child is unique and you know your child best. 

I am here to make everything a little bit easier for you and for your kids as well and will share some ideas to help children get more willingly involved in the cleaning process. Hopefully you will find these strategies helpful and you will be pleased with the results.

Let's try this. Grab a laundry hamper and walk around your home. Everything which is not where it should be, you put it inside. You may ask what kind of trick this is? Pay attention. When the children come back home from school, ask them to separate their own belongings from the hamper and put them back where they belong before they can watch TV, for example. Some may call it bribery, but it really does work. Try it!

Here we are for another trick, this one's called the colour game. Can you guess what it's all about?
Tell your kids to look for everything black in their room. As they locate a black item, they have to put it in the place where it is usually kept. Continue the game by telling them to look for everything yellow, pick it up and again put it where it belongs. See? This can be very funny for little ones and it will also help them learn about colours. 

Every time your children are about to clean their rooms, set a time limit. If they are done before the timer goes off, you can give a reward to your little champions. They love to be appreciated and feel helpful. This will also motivate them to work more efficiently and quickly, without wasting precious time or getting distracted.

You do not expect your kids to be born taught, do you? You have to explain them what their duties are and how they are supposed to get them done. You know that they cannot clean a room in the same way as you so a good idea is to clean with them in the beginning so that they can get used to it and will know how you expect something to be done. 

Following these simple tricks and ideas will help your children learn about responsibility and you will have a cleaner home. There's no need for tears or screaming, cleaning can be fun!



Thursday, 31 August 2017

Jump...

This week on our tour de Gloucester, Honey and I ended up at the inflatable theme park at Over Farm. For £7, your child (aged 2-14) gets a wristband that gives them all day access to most of the activities within the park (bumper cars and zorbs are extra as they're run by an outside company).

Within the site, there are some basic but well stocked portaloos, as well as a small food stand for emergency drinks and snacks! The theme park is cash only but if you're like me and never remember to carry cash, the lovely farm shop offers cashback when you spend over £5.

Lots of families had come prepared for the long haul, armed with picnics and sun shades. We only had a couple of hours, while Ace was at a nursery settling in session, but still felt that it was good value based on the usual price of around £1 for a 5 minute bounce elsewhere!


Honey felt very grown up when the young man who served us came round, popped a wristband on her wished her a great day and she absolutely loved racing round the field visiting the different attractions. I don't think she could believe that she was allowed to keep going back on her favourite bouncy castles. Typically, her favourite one was the tallest, fastest slide in the field which she climbed up and whizzed down at least 10 times!

The inflatables are there until 4th September, so you've still got time to go along if you like the sound of it. Check out Over Farm's Facebook page for information about their other seasonal events and activities.

Honey wears... Dinosaur top by Mini Boden











Saturday, 26 August 2017

All about that space...

I can't believe Pitville Park reopened over a year ago, we guest blogged all about it for Cheltenham Maman and we have pretty much lived there ever since! Yesterday, we were on the blog again, this time giving you a whistle stop tour of our home and letting you know how we organise ourselves!

Ace wears... Shark shorts by F&F @ Tesco



Thursday, 24 August 2017

All that glitters...

Treaure Seekers' Make and Take sessions came to my attention on Facebook (what would we do without Facebook?) and it looked right up Honey's street! A cavern of buttons, sparkles, glitter and sequins where children and adults alike can create to their hearts content, using anything they fancy, what's not to love? We've been spending some time in Gloucester over the summer holidays while Ace is settling in at nursery, so thought we'd give it a try. 

For only £4 (including a drink), you have an hour to cut, stick, paint and sprinkle a picture frame, bag or just about anything else you can think of! After a short explanation, Honey and her friend chose pictures to embellish and set about filling their pots with all manner of twinkly treasure ready to arrange on their pages. Nothing was off limits and the staff were so kind and helpful when Honey wanted to cut pieces of beautiful ribbon off a reel.

If you're thinking of going along, it would be a good idea to have a look at the website or Instagram page with your child before going along so they have an idea of what they want to make during their session, this will help with time management and will stop little ones feeling totally overwhelmed with choice! Honey had a great time and is already talking about her next project!

Treasure Seekers is a social enterprise that has been set up on Westgate Street in Gloucester. Its aim is to 'support vulnerable and disadvantaged adults to help equip them to be the beat version of themselves.' Visit their website to book your session or follow them on Instagram to have a look at whats going on in store.

Honey wears... T-shirt by Frugi






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