Baby Groups 

Baby Groups 

I have a confession to make … I am a Baby group addict. I know some people I have spoke to say some groups are a waste of time and money for young babies but I loved getting out and about in the early days and chatting to other new Mum’s.

Finn enjoying the sensory room at our local childrens’s centre

You name it from baby massage, messy play, baby matters, Mummy  coffee mornings, rhyme time, Baby sensory, gardening club, swim a song, playgroup,  baby sign  we’ve done it.

Music Class

I like a routine (as much as possible with a young baby) and to be out and about,

so I think when Finn was first born I liked to know there was a group we could go to each day. We didn’t necessarily go to one every single day every week as I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I liked knowing there was the option. I live in Chester,  where I moved for Uni so found it good to meet new people with baby’s the same age. 

Baby Sensory

I know a lot of people don’t like attending because they feel shy about meeting other people, but I’ve always found everyone to be really friendly after all everyone is in the same boat. It really helps to have people going through the same experiences  to talk to. Plus there’s usually coffee ,always a bonus. 

Gardening Club

I found my local children’s centre, libraries, Facebook groups and Mum’s in the know (a Facebook page) best for finding groups. A lot of them were free or minimal charge as well. Now Finn is getting older and I’m back at work we do 2 classes a week (messy play & gardening club) which I will do a blog on soon. I found going to these groups has helped Finn to be confident around other babies and enjoy new experiences. 

Messy Play

If you’re feeling nervous about attending a group with your baby or toddler just give it a go us mums love talking about our baby’s so there’s always an ice breaker. 


Let me know what groups you love to attend as we are always on the look out for new ones to try. 

Messy Play
Baby Sensory

Day in the Life Media City 15.5.16

Day in the Life Media City 15.5.16

I love reading other blogger’s Day in the Life, basically I’m nosy , but I also love looking for inspiration for family days out! So I thought I’d have a go at doing our own. Yesterday we visited the Imperial War Museum and Media City, it was a lovely sunny day. 

Finn woke up around 7 and started his morning by getting most of his toys out in his play room, his usual morning routine. 


I then did an exciting Sunday morning clean, while Stu made breakfast. 


I attempted to get a picture for Finn’s outfit of the day but he just kept running off. 

Road Trip Ready

We had a quick stop off on the way to pick up my new camera. I decided to get the Canon Poweshot sx 60 hs. I’d read the reviews and they all seem really good. I want to take better quality pictures for my blog and possibly begin to vlog. 

Arriving at media city

We walked over to the Imperial War Museum, Stu had wanted to visit for a while so we thought we would combine it with meeting up with my parents who live close by. Stu loved it and can’t wait to visit again with his Dad. It would be brilliant for older children but Finn soon got fed up, me and him had a cafe break so  Stu could have a proper look round. 

Testing out my New Camera
Walking over to Imperial War
Milk and Snack Break

We then met my parents and walked over to Pokusevski’s a lovely quirky Deli & Cafe where we had really good coffee and cake.


Finn, Grandad and Upsy Daisy

Finn loved the Blue Peter Garden especially the fish.

Blue Peter Garden


In the middle of Media City is a piazza and part of the Dockyard Pub is the Shack. It’s a tiki style bar with deckchairs and beanbags, it was perfect for this sunny weather. Finn loved being able to run about with his football and the pina colada was really good. 



We then went to Cau an Argentinian restaurant for dinner, my first impression was that it wouldn’t be very child friendly but they were brilliant! The kids menu was really good with a wide choice and they even provided toddler friendly cutlery. The staff were  with amazing with Finn, the kept coming over to speak to him and bringing more Humous which he kept polishing off. All our meals were lovely  as well. 


I loved Media City and its a lovely day out with your children. We will definitely be returning. 

Wonder week 9- Principles 

Wonder week 9- Principles 

I’m a bit late to this as Finn has gone through most of the leaps. But I found this book and app  so useful and it really has helped to understand any rough weeks we may have had. 

For anyone that doesn’t know the wonder weeks is based around the idea that baby’s go through major leaps in their mental developments during their early months. These leaps happen at the same time for all babies and explain fussiness and your baby being unsettled. The theory is by understanding this you can understand your baby better. 

I was very sceptical  when I first heard about it from a friends  but I downloaded the book anyway.  As I’ve mentioned in other blogs I love to read so thought it was worth a look myself. I was hooked and have found the book really interesting. I have the app and it gives an alert when Finn is about to enter a leap. mentioned to a friend the other day we will have a few days of Finn  being off or cranky and then the notification will pop up like clock work. 

Finn is currently on leap 9 which is Prinicples, this is from age 59 1/2 to 64 1/2 weeks and is all about your toddler learning rules. Each leap covers different abilities that a baby may master and signs to look out for. I will briefly talk about Finn during this leap below.

Signs 

  • Playing with emotions by practicing all sorts of behavior and facial expressions from sad to happy and sweet.- This is definitely something Finn has gone through in this leap. He has even fake cried (quite dramatically) when I have put the dog in the garden. I’ve also noticed him pulling various faces in the parent view car seat mirror. 
  • Wants to do things by himself (i.e. he only eats properly if he can feed himself, and helping when it’s not wanted could result in everything ending up on the floor)- another development Finn is currently going through he won’t let us spoon feed him and always wants to use his own fork and spoon. 
  • Replays the daily domestic business done indoors and out (i.e. your baby might pretend to cook, shop, take walks, and take care of his toys; your child might even “become angry”)- Finn loves sweeping and if I wipe his table he loves to copy. He also loves to give his Teddys some of his drink.

Signs 

  • Follows you constantly wherever you go- this is especially true now Finn has begun to walk 
  • Acts unusually sweet- he loves giving cuddles and kisses and will often cuddle his Teddys and say aww. 
  • Is jealous, especially when you give attention to other children- occasionally if I’m holding a friends baby Finn will be jealous. He’s only really started doing this in the past few weeks. 

Has anyone else read the Wonderweeks or used the app? What was your experience of it?  

Baby Flying Tips 

Baby Flying Tips 

We took Finn on his first flight when he was just over 6 months old. I was really worried before hand about how he would cope with the flight. As usual I did plenty of research so thought it would be useful to write down my top flying tips. 

Bring Spare Clothes- I took 2 outfit changes for Finn, 1 top for me and 1 for Finn. A friend laughed as I’m a massive over packer but once Finn had been sick on me, himself and his Daddy I was really glad we did. 

Pack more milk than you think you’ll need- There’s a theme here, I like to plan and pack for every eventuality but I found Finn drank a lot on the flight. I took powder for 3 bottles and cooled boiled water filled to the correct amount. I also packed a few ready made milks ready to put in an empty bottle once he had used the others. The flight was only 4 hours but I didn’t want to panick incase of any delays. I ordered milk and food from boots a week before we went as we were struggling for luggage allowance, we then collected this after security. 

Dummy clips- At the time Finn was using dummy’s and a dummy clip was something I really wish I’d packed. Within 10 minutes of take off he had thrown 4 on the floor and they were a real struggle to find with limited space. 

Bottle for take off and landing- try to feed your baby on take off and landing or give some cool boiled water as this helps with their ears. 

Food- Finn had only just started on solids, so didn’t eat much food. For convenience though I just used pouches and pre packed snacks I’d ordered from boots. It was so much easier and less messy. 

Changing table- As our flight was really packed and had limited leg room (think budget airline) whenever Finn got restless and there wasn’t a queue for the toilet I took advantage of the changing table. He loved being able to kick his legs and the bright lights in there. Just make sure you take your travel changing mat. 

Toys – Finn was at an age where he wasn’t really interested in many toys but I just took a few: his Sophie the giraffe, a few books & Teddys  and his pram toy with a mirror just to give him a few distractions. 

Don’t rush on or off the plane- A lot of people say to take advantage of the chance to board first but we prefer to hold back meaning less time on the plane. It also means less time queuing and holding a heavy baby after you’ve give the buggy in. We also learnt for one of us to hold back and check the seat area and underneath after we lost a favourite teddy on our first flight. 

Blankets- Finn loves blankets for comfort so we made sure we had a few of these, they were also handy for when it got cold and for him to lie on on our knees when napping. 

Pyjamas  for flight – if we have an early flight I keep Finn in his pyjamas for comfort and so he has a nice clean outfit when we get to our destination. I also like to put him in lightweight layers as I find planes can get cold. 

Aisle seat at the back- The best seat I found was an aisle seat right at the back, making it easier to get up and down. I also found it better at the back as there was a bit more room to walk round with Finn when he needed settling. 

Change nappy before take off- I found it best to do this as late as possible to minimise the nappy changes on board. 

Don’t worry about routine- I read a lot before we went away  saying try to fly around nap time or bedtime , but this didn’t work for us. Finn was more unsettled on our late evening flight than any other. I think because he was overtired. I found the best thing was to just forget routine and go with the flow of naps and feeds (I did this on the holiday too). 

Pack double- for out 4 hour flight I packed double what I’d normally take in my changing bag in a day. So about 10 nappys, 2 packs of wipes, 2 Muslins and about 5 bibs. As I mentioned I am a massive over packer but I felt more relaxed knowing we had plenty of things. 

I hope you’ve found these tips useful and I’d love to hear others top tips for flying with a baby. 

Swan Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge 

Swan Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge 

 I thought I’d share with you our favourite UK mini break, the Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge Cumbria. We absolutely love this hotel, we’ve already been with Finn twice with more visits planned for this year. 

The hotel is right next to the river Leven which was lovely when we visited in the summer to sit outside. In the grounds there is an adventure trail and park which is brilliant for children. We visited when I was pregnant and again when Finn was 3 months and 11 months old and both times we felt really comfortable and welcome with a baby. 


My absolute favourite part of the hotel is the various lounges, there is a library and a lounge with open fires. The library has plenty of toys, books and board games for children and we loved sitting in there in the afternoon with a coffee or in the evening with a drink knowing Finn could play and we could relax. There is also other lounges with open fires, when I was pregnant we spent hours there one afternoon reading and relaxing and when we returned with Finn we made the most of nap time to do the same.


The hotel also has a pool with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Finn really enjoyed the pool as it was always quiet enough for him not to feel overwhelmed. When I was pregnant I had 2 spa treatments and they were both amazing (and I’m very fussy with being a beauty therapist.)

 The rooms are all decorated really homely they have a shabby chic feel but are still modern. They are big enough to fit a travel cot in​ as well and plenty of room for all the baby stuff you inevitably have to take. 


The food is also always really good. I think it’s difficult to find a hotel that does good quality but reasonable priced food. The Swan definitely does this though, we have enjoyed every meal we have had there and always choose to eat at the hotel  when we stay. It is traditional pub food with a twist.  The Breakfast is also lovely with a wide selection made to order.
The hotel is that relaxing we don’t always venture out but we have visited other areas of the lakes including Cartmel,   Bowness and Ambelside. Which are all within easy reach. One day out we really enjoyed was getting the steam train from the stop a few minutes walk away to Lakeside where we visited the Aquarium. We then went on the boat on Lake Windermere to Bowness, this was a lovely way to see more of the Lake District. 
I honestly can’t recommend this hotel enough, every time we have been we feel like we have been away for a week as we are so relaxed. 
Here’s a link if you want to have a look for yourself. Swan Hotel

Toddler breakfasts 

Toddler breakfasts 

I always struggle with quick and healthy breakfasts for Finn so thought I would share our favourites. I love looking on other people’s blogs for inspiration, so hopefully I can get more ideas for us as well.

Scrambled egg, cherry tomatoes & toast with full fat soft cheese. 

Overnight oats- I love these and have them a lot, Finn always wants to eat mine so I’ve started to make them for him. I use yogurt either Greek or a pot of fromage frais and mix in the oats. In the morning I top with whatever fruit we have, it’s perfect as the thicker consistency means Finn can feed himself. 

1/2 a bagel with full fat soft cheese and fruit. 

Brioche, cubes of cheese, scrambled egg, ham & cherry tomatoes. This is usually a lunch for Finn but on a day I know we have a busy morning and won’t be eating lunch till later I will make him something like this to keep him going.

Brioche and grapes, probably Finn’s favourite. 

Baby Led Weaning 

Baby Led Weaning 

When we first started weaning Finn we started with traditional purées both homemade and with the odd jar and pouch for convenience. I soon realised I hated making the purées, I thought it was silly making loads of separate things when I always cooked from scratch  for us anyway and it was a massive pain when we were out and about for days out or on holidays. 



I started to read about Baby Led Weaning after hearing about it at my baby matters class. There’s a massive divide on this, people say you aren’t doing true baby led weaning if you spoon feed as well. I didn’t take this approach at all as there was food Finn loved like porridge and yogurts that I just wasn’t going to let him loose on until he was better with a spoon. Also the whole idea for me was to make our lives easier so I didn’t want to be tied to one thing. Overall it worked perfectly for us and I loved the fact Finn could join in with family meal times and if we were out all day I could just pick up some food for him. It was also perfect when we were on holiday as we could just let Finn have bits of our food. 


I loved the Gill Rapley books on Baby Led Weaning especially about the theory behind it, I love reading so like to get a book on anything new. I also found loads of useful information online and on other blogs. Generally I just adapted whatever we were eating just watching things like salt and spice ( although I only like mild spice so I would give this to Finn and just put things like yogurt in chilli). 


A product I found really useful when we first started Finn on solids was the Nuby Garden Fresh Steam and Mash, I’ve recommended this to everyone as its really handy when out and about to mash bits of your food. It was also brilliant for our holiday to Fuerteventura as we were all inclusive so could just pick bits of food from the buffet. 


When we first started I just gave Finn any bits of what I was eating that were suitable, but some thing Finn loved  and were easy for him to eat were: cucumber sticks, wedges of nectarine, sweet potato wedges, baked cod fillets crumbled into smaller pieces, mini corn on the cob, broccoli florets, omelette cut into strips, pasta (the bigger tube types were best), chunks of banana and chopped up cherry tomatoes. The list really is endless though, I just started with bigger pieces and as Finn’s pincer grip and co- ordination improved I made the pieces smaller. As it was winter we were having a lot of things like curry, chilli, stews, pasta sauces etc.. So I just made sure the veg and meat were in bigger chunks than normal and gave him this. I gave him a fork and spoon early on but just left it near his food and he is slowly getting the hang of it. 


Finn really is an adventurous eater there’s nothing he won’t eat including olives, plenty of veg and much stronger tastes. When we have been on holiday he is really happy to try any food. It also means I can just do one shop for the family and don’t have to buy different foods for him. When we eat out there’s always something on the menu he will love. I’m hoping because we incorporated baby led weaning Finn will continue to love all foods and be willing to try anything. 

Did anyone else try baby led weaning? What was your experience?

My random musings  linkup 

Finn’s Top 10 Books 

Finn’s Top 10 Books 

Here’s the top 10 Books we are currently loving. 

Cave Baby Julia Donaldson & Emily Gravett 

There’s definitely a Julia Donaldson theme we love her. I love the story but also love the detail of the illustrations, this is definitely a book older children and baby’s will enjoy. 


The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler 

Finn’s choice for world book day. Againthe illustrations  are beautiful and I can see as Finn gets older he will love searching for all the characters. 


Stick Man Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler 

Even me and Stu were gripped on the story and urging Stick Man to hurry up and make it home. This is another book I can see us reading for years to come. 


Pass it On Sophy Henn 

This book is beautiful, all about finding and sharing happiness. It’s a lovely message to pass to your child and I can also imagine as Finn gets older we will be able to use it to discuss any things that may be bothering him and the importance of kindness and finding happiness in the smallest of things. 


We’re going on a Bearhunt Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury 

An absolute classic, I have fond memories of reading this with my parents and now I love reading this to Finn. Although I can guarantee as he gets older he will be requesting Daddy to read this every time as he is so much better at the voices and sound effects.


Superworm Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler 

Super worm is another Julia Donaldson favourite. It’s a lovely story with beautiful pictures and another book I can see us reading for many years to come. 



Night Monkey Day Monkey Julia Donaldson 

This is one of our newer books and the story is lovely I can imagine it will be really nice to read with older children who have fears about bedtime. 



Thomas & Friend’s Rolling Wheels 

Finn loves Thomas so the fact that this book is really interactive is brilliant. He loves the sound effects and the rolling wheels. I love interactive books like this as it gets even young children interested in reading. 


Animal Opposites Big & Small 

This is another favourite due to the fact that it is interactive also Finn loves looking at the pictures. 


That’s not my Owl 

We love this book Finn loves all the different textures, this is another book where even young babies can get involved and discover a love of reading. 



You Baby Me Mummy
Liebster Awards 

Liebster Awards 

I’ve been tagged in the Liebster Awards  by Claire from Tin box traveller  all about finding and sharing new blogs. I’ve been loving reading Claire’s blog posts and discovering all the other bloggers who were tagged. So now it’s time for me to tag more bloggers and answer my questions. 


Here are the rules: 

1. Thank your nominator and link back to them from your post. 

2. Answer the questions you’ve been set and tag your nominator when you share your post on social media. 

3. Nominate 5- 11 bloggers to answer some questions from you. Don’t forget to let them know! 

So here are my questions. 

What’s your favourite foreign food? 

This is a hard one but if I had to pick just one l’d say pad Thai.

What’s your best memory from a holiday? 

Our recent trip to Rome, Finn sat at the table with us eating and loving new foods. After worrying so much about being in a new city with a toddler this just proved to me how adaptable children are. 

How many times have you moved home? 

9, if you include all my moving to different student accommodation. 

Where’s your favourite place in your home country. 

The Lake District in particular the Swan Inn at Newby Bridge but all of the Lakes is beautiful. 

Camping or all inclusive ? 

Another tough one I’d say camping, you definitely get more quality family time. 

Where were you this time last year? 

We had just returned from Finn’s first break away to the Lake District. 

What’s your best tip for holidaying with kids? 

Forget any routine you have just go with it you’ll have a much better time. 

What have you got planned for your next day out? 

I want to take Finn to a farm be will love the Animals. 

What do you find most useful for planning your travels: Guide books, Trip Advisor, Blogs or something else? 

I’ll admit I’m a massive planner so I read everything I love other blogs for a personal touch, but also find trip advisor is great for checking out hotels. I always use a lonely planet guide book. 

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 

I’d love to live in New York for a year or so just to experience all it has to offer. 

If you could be sat next to anyone on a plane for 5 hours who would it be? 

JK Rowling that woman is amazing and such an inspiration. 
My nominated bloggers are: 

Mrs Pea at The Life and times of Mrs Pea

Hayley at Girl Loves a plan

Real Baby Talk 
Geraldine at Jog on Mum

Jennifer at Maisie’s Mum

The 11 questions are 

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging? 
  2. What are your top 3 blogging must haves? 
  3. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would it be? 
  4. Describe becoming a Mum in 3 words? 
  5. What is your family favourite day out? 
  6. What is your Favourite social media platform to use? 
  7. What is you go to family meal? 
  8. What’s your favourite book? 
  9. Which other bloggers do you love? 
  10. What has been your best family holiday? 
  11. What is your number one parenting tip? 

Don’t forget to tag me in your replys and nominate other bloggers X 

Toddler Essentials 

Toddler Essentials 

This started as my top 5 products we use in day to day  life, but the list just kept growing. These are all things me, Finn or both of us love! I will try to do an update every few months for the items we find the most useful products are at each stage. I’d also love to hear what things everyone else is using. 

Scout ( LeapFrog My Pal Scout) 

Finn absolutely loves Scout, he quickly become part of his bedtime routine. For those of you who don’t know you can program scout to say phrases aimed at your child eg, their name, favourite colour and favourite snack. Scout also plays songs and speaks about different feelings. I love Scout as we stay away from home a lot and take him with us so Finn can have a familiar part of his bedtime routine wherever we are. 

Pocket Snack Booster Seat 


When we first started weaning Finn we had a big highchair but I got fed up of it being in the way in the kitchen so I soon changed it for this booster seat. I love how Finn is at the same level as us ( I use it without the tray mainly) so he can join in at meal times. I also love how it folds up quite compact we take it with us when we go away and have even took it to local restaurants when they haven’t had a high chair. It’s also a bargain! 

 

Mamas and Papas Armadillo City 

This is another item we bought as we often go on breaks away. It is perfect to fit in the car with luggage or for travelling by plane.  Also my boot is tiny (Citroen c1) and this fits in my boot. I love the bright colour, the fact it fully reclines and the large sun canopy which is perfect for holidays.  Finn has recently started walking so doesn’t always want to be in the buggy but I obviously have to take it with us for longer trips out, the one hand steer makes it easy to push and hold Finn’s hand. 



Motorola Video Monitor 

We started off with a sound monitor but soon switched to a video monitor and I’m so glad we did. It’s as really useful in the early day of Finn being in his own room as we all got used to a bedtime routine and still is now. I’m not a fan of cry it out but likewise I don’t want to rush in at every noise Finn makes so this is must buy for me. 


Munchkin 360 Sippy Cup 

I love this cup, Finn likes to copy us when we are drinking from glasses or mugs but would just throw it once he is finished. This allows him to feel like he is using a cup like ours. Also it is perfect for weaning him off sippy cups. 



Trunki 

Finn is obsessed with wheeling his trunki about. We recently used it on the plane and it was perfect for all his toys and colouring stuff. I also love it because we stay with family a lot and it’s perfect for a few nights worth of clothes. Plus it’s a London Bus theme which I love. 



Little life Backpack

Finn has only been walking for a few weeks but has soon found his feet and is always trying to run. He’s also currently not a fan of his buggy so the little life Backpack has been perfect the past few weeks, especially when are at busy places like the zoo. I just love how cute they are as well. 


Travel Aqua Doodle 

The Travel  Aqua Doodle was a lifesaver on our recent trip to Rome, I can’t tell you how panicked we were every time we thought we had lost the pen. We used it on the plane and it was a great distraction and also in restaurants while waiting for food. I now take it every time we eat out.