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







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!
















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