Monday, 25 July 2016

Let's go to the beach...

A day at the beach without hours worth of driving sounded too good to be true, but the recent heatwave seemed like the perfect time to try out the Cotswold Country Park and Beach. After packing the sun suits, towels and beach toys, we made the 40 minute drive from home to the Country Park just outside Cirencester. Entry and parking costs £5 per adult and £3 per child over the age of 3 (peak season) and there are two beaches to choose from once you're inside. 

We started by paying a visit to the toddler beach, which is overlooked by a large lawn and picnic benches, as well as a small play area. Once Honey had explored, we decided to move over to the main beach for the rest of the day. We arrived about an hour after the park opened and easily found a large spot to set up camp (literally, we had a tent and everything). A quick survey of the area revealed another (larger) play area, volleyball court, plenty of picnic benches and even barbecue spots! A short walk around led us to a shop, cafe, traversing wall and water sports centre extra charges apply). 

Honey had a great time paddling in the lake, which has a clearly defined swimming area and is patrolled by a team of trained Lifeguards. She also enjoyed making sandcastles on the beach which, although it was a little bit hard to sit on (being man made from compacted sand rather than a naturally occurring beach), was clean and well kept. Toilet facilities are basic but fairly clean (considering how much sand and water there is outside) and are situated at either end of the main beach but I'd recommend taking a travel potty as they are quite a hike with a soggy toddler desperate for the loo! We took our own picnic to keep costs to a minimum and had a lovely lunch listening to children chatter and play in the sunshine. 

This is a great place for families or groups of friends wanting a day out together and i'm sure we will head back there next summer when we'll have a soggy toddler AND a soggy pre-schooler to contend with!

Honey wears... Whale skort by Mini Boden

Monday, 18 July 2016

If you're nappy and you know it...

A while ago, I saw an advert on Facebook stating that by using just one cloth nappy per day, I could save 900 nappies going to landfill by the time Ace is ready to potty train. I'd never thought about a mix and match approach, I always imagined it'd be all or nothing, disposables or cloth, but why not use both? 

I started off by speaking to the lovely Andrea who often brings her cloth nappy information stand to Cheltenham Sling Meet. She ran through all the lingo (liners, boosters, wraps etc) and answered all my questions about changing and cleaning cloth nappies until I had no more excuses - I was in and actually getting excited about nappies!

We are fortunate in Gloucestershire because the council fully supports the environmental benefits of using cloth nappies and provides an incentive scheme to get you started. I opted to have my £30 voucher sent to Tots Bots, a Glaswegian company who sell awards winning reusable nappies and for an additional £20, they supplied me with 4 Easyfit All in in One nappies, 1 two parter for night time, a roll of flushable liners and a wet bag. That's £90 worth of nappies and accessories for a £20 investment!

The nappies took a while to get here and I could feel myself losing interest again but as soon as they arrived, I couldn't wait to get started! The nappies in the starter pack are gorgeous, bright colours and Honey immediately took it upon herself to suggest which colour Ace should wear next and also to learn how to put them on him. She was later able to show Daddy what to do, which she was very pleased about! 

During the first few days, there were times when the contents of the nappy migrated off the liner (to put it nicely) and I began to wish I could just throw them away but a (normal) wash and a spell on the line in the magical sunshine later, and they were ready to go again.

A lady I follow on Instagram keeps posting pictures of her super cool, patterned nappies (including a new Joules one) and I can see that this has the potential to go the same way as slings and end up being something I enjoy (can you say that about nappies?) and be willing to invest in.

As for disposables, they definitely still have a place. I'll be using them whenever the cloth nappies are in the wash, as well as when we're out and about (otherwise I'm going to have to start lugging a suitcase around with me). I don't think I'm quite ready to try reusable wipes yet... But never say never!

Ace wears... Reusable nappy by Tots Bots

Pink Pear Bear

Monday, 4 July 2016

Guest blog...

We were lucky enough to be amongst the first guest blogs over at the new Cheltenham Maman online parenting hub. Click here to view our post about the new Pitville Park and while you're there, why not check out their roundup of local jobs and activities!

Honey wears... Strawberry hat by H&M