Sunday, 30 March 2014

I've had the time of my life...

I have put together some ideas if you're stuck for something to do on any given day, this IS NOT me saying you should fill every second of every day with expensive activities, merely bringing together some information for anyone who is interested. Click on each activity to visit the relevant websites for the latest dates, times and prices.

I found a mix and match approach worked best for me. I went to one paid for class per week for myself (Sling Beat) and sometimes another for Honey, depending on finances (e.g. A course of baby yoga). Don't forget that while it's lovely to do lots of things with your baby, it's ok to chill out together too, Honey and I watched Flipper the other day and she was captivated the underwater scenes, she's also really into the free books given to her when she had her 9 1/2 month check so we read those a fair few times per day! Watching the washing machine go round and round is also a guaranteed source of fun!

Baby Yoga, 10am, Mini Moments, Up Hatherley.
Mess Around, 10:30am, Charlton Kings Youth and Community Centre, Charlton Kings.

Sling Beat, 10:00am, Whole Foods Market, Cheltenham.
Tatty Bumpkin, 2pm, Whole Foods Market, Cheltenham.

Baby Sensory, 10am, Blue Skies, Cheltenham.
GymBabes, 1:30pm, St Margaret's Hall, Hatherley.
Further afield...
Jive Bunnies, 9:45am, Glyme Hall, Chipping Norton.

Tiddlywinks parent and toddler group, 10:15am, St Paul's Church, Cheltenham.
Tatty Bumpkin, 2pm, Whole Foods Market, Cheltenham.

Monkey Music,11am, The Play Farm, Cheltenham.
Music with Mummy,11am, Fairview, Cheltenham.
Babel Babies, 12:10pm, Blue Skies, Cheltenham.

Lilliput Concerts, St Andrews Church (opposite Circus Bar in Montpellier). Cheltenham/Gloucester sling meet.

On a budget...

Just Dance on Wii while wearing your baby in a sling or carrier. If one of you has a large room, why not invite a couple of friends round to join you for a giggle and a dance! If none of you have a Wii, you can find the videos on YouTube.

Bounce and Rhyme,10am, Children's Library. Enjoy some FREE singing with your baby then why not get them their own library card. It's easy to get chatting to other parents while you're there or if you're a bit shy, why not invite a friend or relative to go along with you.

Walk/Jog/Bike ride in the park. If it's a nice day, take some bread to feed the ducks with or a picnic and stay out for lunch. If your baby has a trike or balance bike, you could take them out on that.

Bounce and Rhyme,10am, Children's LibraryEnjoy some FREE singing with your baby and if they have their own library card, why not borrow some stories to share at home (or stay and share them at the library, the staff are lovely and very welcoming). It's worth signing your baby up for their own card as the fines are much lower for overdue children's books on a child's card!

Window shopping in town or actual shopping if you need a few bits! Mothercare is a great pit stop if you need to feed or change your little one but there are also baby feeding/changing rooms in Cavendish House, M&S, Boots and Debenhams as well as those in both shopping arcades and The Brewery. Honey loves sitting in the trolley seats when we go to the supermarket and playing with the shopping keeps her occupied!

Whether it's your husband, partner or baby's aunts, uncles and grandparents, weekends during maternity leave are perfect for spending time with members of your family who might be at work, therefore unable to visit during the week. 

So this is it, maternity leave over and out. This has been the very best year of my life, everything is so much more fun when you have a little person to share it with and I can't wait to keep making memories with my little team.

Honey wears... Denim shorts by Mini Club @ Boots.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Glad I crashed the wedding...

After nearly ending up at someone else's wedding at the same hotel (literally seconds away from congratulating a very confused bride), Honey was lucky enough to come with us to my cousin Matthew's wedding reception at Leasowe Castle near Chester. It was awesome for Honey to meet more of her Great Aunts and Uncles, as well as some more of her first cousins once removed (I think)! Despite refusing to nap (Cheshire Oaks outlet shopping centre was just too exciting apparently) and it being way past her bedtime, she was very happy to join us at the party. She had loads of cuddles, enjoyed a spot of dancing (which sent her to sleep for a while) and played with a lot of handbags and shoes which she thought was the best thing ever. Honey's favourite part of the weekend was being given a 'Just Married' balloon by the groom on the morning after his wedding! We all wish Matthew and Katie a lifetime of happiness together.

Honey wears... Party dress by John Lewis Baby

Thursday, 27 March 2014


St Paul's Church is practically on our doorstep but not being a churchgoer, I'd only ever been there to attend a local parking consultation so was unsure when I heard people mention Tiddlywinks playgroup. I'm so glad I listened to a lovely lady I met at Blue Skies as for only £1 per family you can stay and play at Tiddlywinks for an hour and a half (FYI that also includes a snack and drink for the children and grown ups)! There's loads of space for the small people to play and roam about as well as chairs and tables for grown ups and snack time. The range of toys is fabulous, Honey crawled from train sets and cars to soft play and stickle bricks and back several times, also stopping to have a go on the slide, rockers and baby walkers. It's a great place to meet up with friends, make new friends or spend time together as a family. 

Honey wears... Fleece hoody by F&F @ Tesco

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A feast for the senses...

With mere days to go before my return to work, Honey and I managed to fit in another new adventure. Baby Sensory takes place at the amazing Blue Skies Centre, our absolute favourite Cheltenham venue. The class began with a hello song including signs, followed by some ideas for home made toys and treasure baskets (Honey liked the cotton reels on a string in the picture). We also sang a few well known classics, complete with actions and played with a multi textured snake toy along with all the other babies. I think Honey's favourite part of the class was being allowed to read, eat and scrunch up a magazine without having it taken off her! Now the difficult task of choosing how to spend my one week day off each week begins, let the adventures continue!

Honey wears... Red sweatshirt by Benetton 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The next train to arrive...

Honey went on her first train journey today. We travelled from Cheltenham to Birmingham for a long overdue catchup with one of my university friends, Hannah. The day started with a gentle stroll down the Honeybourne line which we hopped onto near our house and followed all the way to the station. Once at the station, I popped Honey into the ABC while we queued up so that I had my hands free to buy the tickets and find the platform we needed. On the train, there was a special carriage for bikes and wheelchairs so we sat in there as there was space for Honey's folded up buggy. Honey enjoyed the novelty of being allowed to squeeze her lunch straight from the pouch as we shopped and fell asleep just in time for me to meet Hannah for lunch. After a lovely afternoon, the journey home was not quite as straightforward! Negotiating the newly refurbished New Street station is not for the feint hearted, it felt more like an airport at times with all it's corridors and lifts but we got there eventually and made it back to the train. Had I not been trying on clothes all day, meaning I'd have had to take a Honey in and out of the carrier about a million times, I would definitely have left the buggy at home as finding a spot for it on the busy train home was trickier and finding a seat to keep it in view was also 'fun'. I reckon train stations should hire out buggies you can return at the end of the day!

Honey wears... White top with frilly shoulders by H&M

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sling Meet

After being given a gift voucher for a sling website by an incredibly thoughtful friend, I felt the time may have come to consider purchasing my very first woven wrap. I have been a loyal Action Baby Carrier fan since Honey was a few months old but since doing my Peer Supporter course in February, wraps have been on my mind. There are so many gorgeous patterns to choose from (lots of them in pink) but sizing is still somewhat of a mystery to me... Enter Cheltenham Sling Meet! We popped along to Blue Skies (yippee) this morning and watched a demo then had a go with a couple of different sizes of wrap. Things seem a lot clearer now thanks to the lovely Sam and Ruth, who let me try their slings and I have a much clearer idea of what i'm saving up for! Honey looked and felt very secure in both wraps but was glad to get down and play with the other children and all the fabulous toys!

Honey wears... Mummy's Little Star T-Shirt by Mothercare

Snap, Crackle and Pop...

Check out our first ever guest blog, Honey had loads of fun testing a range of new Organix cereals for Ask Baby Cotswold.

Honey wears...I love Mummy bib by Next

Monday, 17 March 2014

And the trumpets* they go...

As my maternity leave draws to a close, I  have started to reflect on all of our adventures and think about what's left on our list of things to try. I heard about Lilliput Concerts a few months ago and have been looking for a opportunity to go along to one. No time like the present I decided, and off we went. The audience were treated to a wonderful recital by husband and wife team Pianist Matthew and French Horn player Laura Morris. The programme included a wide range of music from Mozart and Saint Seans to the Pink Panther theme tune and provided opportunities to chill out, as well as more upbeat tunes so we could dance like no one was watching! The venue (St Andrews Church, opposite Circus Bar in Montpellier) was large with plenty of seats but I would advise taking your baby in a sling or carrier if you have one as once your buggy was in, it was incredibly difficult to get it out again. After the concert, coffee and cake were available to purchase in the cafe area.

*No trumpets were present at this recital!

Honey wears... Hot pink top with sparkly stitching by F&F at Tesco

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Run, run, as fast as you can...

Mission accomplished, couch to 5K complete! As I have previously mentioned, the program starts you off with short bouts of jogging interspersed with intervals of brisk walking and slowly ups the time you spend jogging. It's a free activity that lets you spend time out in the fresh air while improving your cardiovascular fitness. Honey usually takes the opportunity to have a nap. I am definitely able to jog for much longer than when I started and have certainly noticed an improvement in my fitness but I don't think i'll be running a marathon any time soon! At the start of the program, I HATED running... I still hate running. The End.

Honey Wears... Padded gilet by Indigo @ Marks & Spencer

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

Bristol Zoo to be exact. The singing fell on deaf ears as I realised Honey had fallen asleep in the car. My bestie had thought ahead and booked online which not only entitles you to a 10% discount (babies under 2 are free), it also lets you jump the queue which would be a real bonus at the weekend or during school holidays. We strolled past flamingos to get to the lions, Honey stood with her hands against the enclosure and a lion right in her face but all she could look at were the other children... Not a fan of lions then! What she did love were all the fast moving animals such as rats, mice and little monkeys. Anything stationary, for example the hippos and gorillas, just didn't hold her attention and she turned to chatting (flirting) with other children again. The penguins were super cute and hilarious, I think they held all of our attention for the longest before we were led off by tour guide Freddie (age 4). Baby changing facilities are available around the zoo but are small so you might have to leave your pushchair outside. The restaurant has highchairs but we could have done with a harness on ours to stop Honey leaning forward and ransacking the table!

Honey wears... Flowery hooded fleece by Next

Monday, 10 March 2014

Fun, fun, fun!

Honey was invited on a play date to The Play Farm today.  She had a wonderful time (ok, and I did too) playing in the ball pits, sliding down the giant slides and bouncing around in a room full of gym balls! Often it was an exercise in trying not to get squashed by bigger children but Honey and her mate Alfie held their own admirably! There's a cafe, as well as a room for parties and classes (including one of our favourites Monkey Music).

Honey wears... Turquoise shorts by Next

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Just out of Pinterest...

We are now on Pinterest, what an awesome way to collate ideas for any occasion, or just for fun! Why not check out some ideas for Honey's future outfits, as well as some spectacular things on my 'sparkalise, pinkalise and awesomise' board!

Honey wears... Nautical dress by Gwen Stefani for Harajuku Lovers @ Target

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Baby Honey's porridge tastes just right...

Look what's just been delivered! Honey has been tasked with taste testing Organix's new range of baby cereals. We will be guest blogging for Ask Baby Cotswold, thank you to Angela for the opportunity, we'll keep you posted!

Honey wears... Coverall bib by Nuby

Saturday, 1 March 2014

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