Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Cheltenham Rocks...

Cheltenham Rocks, it really does. We were supposed to be moving house when I was pregnant with Ace but after we lost out on our perfect home (twice), we began to discuss looking further afield. Each time we were sent details of (perfectly nice) houses that were just a few miles down the road, my heart sank and the one time we actually drove out to look at one, we didn't even go in, it just wasn't Cheltenham.

There's so much to do here, every day there are parks and soft play to explore, classes to join, pubs and cafes to try and so much more. Obviously I'm fully aware that all these things are available elsewhere, but elsewhere just isn't Cheltenham!

Sometimes however, all these choices can be a little bit overwhelming and you can spend a lot of time researching places, finding out about their opening times, prices and facilities, as well as scouting out any special offers or discounts. This was my life when Honey was little, we tried a LOT of classes and venues, most of which I found by picking up flyers or scouring Facebook. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed discovering these things, but time is precious with a little one and there's never enough of it!

This is where Cheltenham Rocks comes in. Set up and run by local Mum Laura, she and her team collate all the information you could ever need, about what's on in our fabulous town. The user friendly interface makes it easy to find activity listings and local reviews to help you make up your mind about how to spend your precious free time.

Another HUGE timesaver is the kids' party directory. Party venues, entertainment suppliers and packages are rounded up so you can compare party ideas at a glance. The guide includes estimated prices and contact details for each entry, so if you spot something you like, you can get in touch straight away.

Although it is family focussed, Cheltenham Rocks is not just for parents. If you're heading into town for tea and want a great deal or fancy a day at the wine festival, that's all included too. You can also keep up to date with the latest additions to Cheltenham's ever growing bar, cafe and restaurant portfolio! You can even save a Cheltenham Rocks icon on your smartphone for easy, instant access at the touch of a button!

So whether it's new ideas you're looking for, you want be reminded about some old favourites or you run a class or business you think the people of Cheltenham, need to know about, find Cheltenham Rocks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let them do the hard work for you!

Honey and Ace love... Cheltenham

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

In Sickness and in Health...

When Honey refused cake, then promptly fell asleep on me at a birthday party this weekend, I knew she was really under the weather. It's never nice when children aren't feeling very well, you'd do anything to take their place and stop them feeling rotten but instead you can only provide medicine, sustenance and of course, plenty of cuddles. The thought of being housebound with a poorly little one isn't the most appealing way to spend your day, but with a little bit of planning and lots of positive thinking, it doesn't have to be as bad as you fear!

Be courteous
Don't forget to make the people who need to know, aware of your little one's illness. Whether it's calling work to let them know you can't come in, leaving a message on the school or nursery answerphone or a quick Facebook message to the person who runs that lovely group or class you can no longer make that day. 

Be positive
Yes, it's annoying and sometimes inconvenient for a little one to be poorly but it's something you can't change and they certainly wouldn't choose to be feeling rough so it's best to find a way to come to terms with the situation and get on with things. 

Negative: We have missed what I know would have been an awesome photo shoot with Mouse About Town today.
Positive: We are super lucky to have been photographed by Gill on a number of occasions previously and I know other people who are attending today so I'm looking forward to seeing their beautiful faces in the photos later.

Negative: I missed Melody Mamas yesterday, it's a fab choir for parents, where children come along too.
Positive: Everyone else at choir got a break from my voice ;-) Plus, I decided to film my own version of the song we were due to sing, which was silly but good fun!

Negative: We are going to miss our Matilda Miniature Music class this afternoon. It's a brilliant music class where all the kids (and grown ups) get to play real instruments and sing a mix of original and traditional songs. Oh yes, there's also tea and cake during free play time!
Positive: There's another class tomorrow so we will go then if Honey is back at school and if not, there's always next week!

Be organised
You're at home, possibly unexpectedly, what can you get done? Make a list. Perhaps you need to put a load of washing on, does the dry washing needs removing from the drying rack, or maybe the dishwasher needs unloading. These things don't take long but will instantly make you feel productive and might even spur you on to complete other jobs. On the first day of feeling poorly, Honey sat on our bed and helped me sort out all her and Ace's clothes (well, she fell asleep halfway through, but it's the thought that counts). This led to me preparing bags to take to the charity shop, to pass on to friends and listing some bits on a Facebook selling site. Subsequently we ended the day with more space and a little bit of money towards the next size up.

Be different
Offer things that your children don't often choose to play with or that are kept hidden away under normal circumstances. In our case, board games and jigsaw puzzles are a good place to start and are perfect for a little one who's feeling under the weather, as they can be done slowly and in stages. I also brought down some longer books we have been given for when Honey is a little bit older. We have been sharing some of the stories in stages and holding our place using a home made bookmark (stickers are another great poorly activity). Honey and Ace have also enjoyed playing with a drawer full of cuddly toys that never usually see the light of day, they just needed reminding they were there!

Be outside
Just hear me out on this one! If you've kept a child off school, it's unlikely they're well enough to spend much time outside but that doesn't have to stop the rest of the family. During Honey's most recent bout of illness, Ace wasn't keen on staying inside all day so I bundled him up, opened up the playhouse and sent him off to roam in the garden for a little while. I briefly joined him and spent 20 minutes doing some weeding and sweeping leaves off the (fake) lawn while Honey had a nap on the sofa indoors. The next day, with my to do list in mind, I took advantage of my husband coming home early from a training course and walked into town with Ace to get a few jobs done. Ace and I both enjoyed the fresh air and we were also very productive. Today, there is a slight improvement in Honey's health but there's no way she'd have managed school after not eating for 3 days and barely moving so she's still off. The plan to get outside today, is a walk to the corner shop for some milk and maybe even have a cheeky pit stop at our very local cafe to pick up a cake to bring home for later!

Be naughty
Now, don't go breaking toys or ripping books and blaming me, here's what I mean. Let the rules slide a little. Honey hadn't eaten for two days so when she fancied jelly and ice cream for tea yesterday, that was a step forward in my book. Ace eating a packet of crisps on the sofa (usually a total no go area for food) bought me some time to fold the washing that had been sitting in the tumble drier all morning, so it was worth having to get the hoover out when he'd finished. Honey finished watching a film (usually restricted to one film of an afternoon at the weekend) then immediately asked for another one because her 'body was too poorly to play' why not, and as it turns out, the second film actually sent her off to sleep!

There are so many germs around this winter and if you're looking after a poorly little one, I hope they feel better soon. Roll on Spring!

Ace wears... Coat by Little Buffalo

Just Hannah Jane

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