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Daisy, You Will Soon be Four Years Old...

A Free Day Out In Shropshire at the Shropshire Wildlife Trust

This week we decided to go and have a look at the Shropshire Wildlife centre in Shrewsbury, I had been told about the children's area and how it was a great way to spend a few hours on a nice day. And to top it off it a free day out!

I had no idea where it was until I looked, it is nestled away off the big Abbey Foregate Carpark, so great for parking too.

We went with my two little ones and my sister and niece, it is free entry and the site is beautiful. You walk through the gift shop and mini cafe to get to the gardens and then to the play area. There is a large covered sand pit (I am thinking this could be a great rainy day option!) with tunnels leading to different areas, a big muddy area with a mud kitchen and a water play area. And then also just as you enter the fenced off area there is a mini, raised (so it is safe, unless you have a climber!) pond where the children can pond dip with some nets. It really is well equipped with pots, pans, spades, rakes and fishing nets.

free day out in shrewsbury

It was super mucky when we got there as there had been an organised session just before us that must have had lots of fun with the water getting the mud very muddy (is that even possible?) but that made it even more fun for our wild children who didn't hold back getting extra mucky!

They also have some lovely garden areas to wander around in and some picnic areas, so we sat on a bench and some chopped logs and had our sandwiches in the shade.

messy play in shropshire

It isn't often you come across an activity to do which has so much to offer for nothing. It is a voluntary organisation that is dedicated to educating people about wildlife. Shropshire Wildlife Trust is part of The Wildlife Trusts, the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK's habitats and species.

wildlife trust shropshire

With the summer holidays creeping up on us it may well be worth having a look at if you are local,

Hayley x

A Sunny Day at the Eisteddford*

If you read my post or maybe even entered my competition then you will know we were invited to the Llangollen Eisteddfod. The  Eisteddfod is a music festival which takes place every year during the second week of July in Llangollen, North Wales We went on Friday and honestly, we loved it.

llangollen eisteddfod for kids?

I knew it would be bright and colourful and that the children would love seeing all the costumes and performances but other than that I didn't know what to expect from the day. They were really geared up for families with things such as the picnic area (in a huge marquee thank goodness, it was so hot!), the circus tent where they could get involved and try things out and all the space they could tear around in.

There was something going on all day for us to watch and do, and if not then we just ate and drank sitting in the sunshine. What more could you ask for?

owl rescue shropshire

At the end of the Friday all of the nationalities joined and did a parade into the town of Llangollen and then back to the showground. We would have liked to have followed it in to see them all playing their music in the streets but Alex had just dropped off to sleep in his pram so we decided to make the most of the quiet and have ice creams in the shade. We waited for them all to come back and watched them enter back into the pavillion. This was my favourite part of the whole day. Some of the teams stopped in the middle of the pathway and just started playing and dancing and basically having fun! Then lots of the other just joined in, it was like one big dance off or street festival! It was like nothing  I have seen before, so much fun!

We will certainly be going back next year!

kids festival shropshire

*We were gifted tickets but all opinions are my own

5 Top Tips for Keeping Your Baby Cool In the Summer

I think we all have questions when it gets super hot here in the UK, it doesn't happen very often so when it does it throws us in to a bit of a panic and we all start questioning what we should be doing with our little ones! I thought I would note down a few of my top tips so hopefully it can help at least one of you relax a little more or maybe even a sleep a bit more during this heatwave.

5 Top Tips for Keeping Your Baby Cool In the Summer

(1) STRIP THEM OFF! I honestly don't think you need to worry about your baby being chilly, especially in the evening. It is very easy to add a layer on later on when it cools down a little than to try and cool a flustered, sweaty baby down. I tend to stick to putting my two to bed in vests or just their nappies and knickers, depending on how warm it is that evening. Then instead of putting on their usual bed quilts/ sacs etc, I use a light, muslin style sheet to cover them if they need it. Then when I go to check on them a little while later I can add a layer on if needs be or leave them be!

(2) NICE COOL BATH! We all love a paddling pool but sometimes it just isn't practical when your babies are little and well we can't live out in the paddling pool all day long, especially if it is still very warm outside. I fill the bath with tepid water, more on the chilly side, and let them play and splash about until they are ready to get out. They are out of the sun, cooling down and happy that way usually. I always do this before bed when it is especially hot, just allows them to cool down and be comfortable before jumping into bed.

(3) GET THE HOUSE FEELING BREEZY! I usually have all of the curtains drawn upstairs in the day to protect it from getting ridiculously sweaty and clammy up there. But all of the windows will be open to keep the air moving about and feeling a little breezy, just watch out for slamming doors!

(4) PUTTING ICE IN FRONT OF THE FAN! We have all been there before, noticing that a fan does next to nothing when it is particularly sticky outside. It just pushes the hot air about not being all too helpful. I often get a big bowl of ice and stick it in front of the fan, so when it is pushing air around, it is wafting the cooler air into the room. I have known of other people freezing bottles of water and doing essentially the same thing, placing it in front of the fan.

(5) DO AS LITTLE AS YOU CAN! So instead of rushing about trying to do chores, planning in activities and getting out in the car just stop and go with the flow of the day. That could be reading books indoors, watching a bit of TV (don't judge, we all do what we can to keep everyone happy when it is hot!) or just pottering about in the shade. I find it far too stressful to do much when it is hot with the children, the last thing they want is to be moved into car seats, in to pushchairs etc when they are hot.

Family Friendly Hotels in Skiathos | Morfia Aparthotel

We recently went to Skiathos on a two week holiday, with the 2 children. We actually went there for a family wedding but decided to stay on for a second week as a family. When we were looking for holidays I have to say we found the island to be quite pricey, although it is difficult to say as we were going within half term which always bumps up the prices massively, so perhaps out of term time it could be completely different.

kids hotel skiathos

Although I have to say it is absolutely beautiful and worth every penny in my opinion. We will go back one day I am sure, it is quite unusual for me to say that as I love to explore new places but maybe in a few years time we will be back!

Thomas Cook Image

I will do a post all about Skiathos; what we got up to, how to get around etc another day, but for today I wanted to tell you all about where we stayed. We stayed at the Morfia Aparthotel which is in Troulos and booked with Thomas Cook. Most of the bridal party were able to book here, it was more on the budget side of the hotels available but honestly, we struck lucky. It was beautiful. It is a little family run hotel and well kept.

They are really set up as a typical greek hotel, basic but completely geared up for families.

We had a maisonette which essentially has like a little mezzanine, with 1 double bed upstairs and twin beds in the living area. We also had the travel cot put downstairs too. We had every intention of us sleeping upstairs and the children downstairs, but I have to be honest and say I didn't like the stairs. We had a kind of make shift stair gate we could have put up but the thought of rushing down them to tend to Alex in the night, to stop him disturbing Daisy filled me with dread so I ended up sleeping in the bed next to Daisy. Which actually was fine really. I missed Ben a little but we survived!

It had a little kitchenette but it was basic, we didn't need to use it at all though really, we pretty much just used the fridge for our water and milk etc, it was absolutely fine and exactly as we would expect in a  hotel.

The pool was perfect. There was a big pool which had gradual depth and then like a paddling pool area which was raised for the little ones. That was perfect for them to splash about in, deep enough for them to swim in but shallow enough to play safely. With it being raised though and up steps we had to be in it with them at all times, which of course we would do anyway. But Daisy is at the age where she could swim and as long as we were watching her would be fine on her own but we couldn't risk her being in there on her own. Which is absolutely fine but worth pointing out.

family friendly skiathos

There was a restaurant on site called Ratatouille and it is had a really good reputation in the area for being great food. We had a couple of good meals in there so it is worth going there, they also have a childrens menu which is a bonus.

But overall the pool area and bar are very clean and the attached restaurant is good. But it’s the staff that really make this place, friendly and welcoming, they always took the time to speak to us and the children. They really did make us feel welcome and content.

P20 Suncream - Is it worth the hefty price tag?

So I got drawn into buying some P20 sun cream before our latest holiday to Greece. I have always been a little curious about it but have always been a bit scared off by the price tag, I mean its more then double the price of a lot of other options on offer.

suncream for kids

These days we know how sunshine is important for our intake of vitamin D, contributing to our overall health. When we do actually see some sun (living in the UK are time slots are limited!!),  it’s easy to make mistakes and get burnt to crisps. As parents this is something we are slightly psychotic about. Our kids have to be smothered and completely protected as often as we can. This means chasing them around the beach or pool reapplying at every opportunity.

We travel fairly often and so most of the time the two children will stand and be covered but you can still see the anger in their face at the inconvenience of being chased about all day! But we all know how important it is to protect our children's skin for their own future.

P20 by Riemann offers all day (up to 10 hours) protection: which can only be a positive. I purchased their continuous spray which basically means you can work quickly and spray from every angle, chasing the kids around the room if needs be! It dries instantly as well so no slippery bodies running about the place. I bought the SPF50 for us all but also the SPF20 for my husband and I too. For those with sensitive skin it’s also great to know that there are no added colourants, fragrance or preservatives, we saw no reaction with Alex's eczema either which is great.

Is p20 worth the price?

So P20. Will I buy it again? Absolutely. I would apply it first thing in the morning (before they got dressed, that stuff can stain anything yellow so watch out!) and then be confident that they would be protected for the next 10 hours. As a mum who desperately didn't want them to burn I have to admit i did top up their little faces a couple of times as well as sensitive spots like their shoulders when they were out of their swim suits etc.

But we had no burns at all, no rosy streaks across their faces and no nasty heat rashes either.

Their skin was beautifully smooth and it didn't have a nasty smell which some creams can come with.

I really do recommend it!

Traveling The World Makes You a Better Person

Just two years ago, roughly 1.24 billion people traveled internationally. Compared to numbers in previous years — 911 million in 2007 and 674 million in 2000 — it’s obvious more and more people are dusting off their passports and taking that long-awaited holiday.

What’s changed? While we don’t really know for sure, I guess we could make some guesses: for one, thanks to the advent of social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the world has become a much smaller place.

And two, millennials. While millennials account for just one-fifth of international travelers, they view traveling differently than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. To them, traveling means a potential transformative journey in the making — one in which they’ll come back as a changed person.

While this may sound a bit dramatic, millennials do have a point. Whether 25 or 75, traveling does change you for the better. How so?

1. You Become a Better Problem-Solver

According to research, those who are multi-national or travel internationally are not just more creative but are better problem-solvers. And when you think about it, it makes sense.

Traveling opens your eyes to new cultural experiences that are outside of your comfort zone. You’re forced to get out your map — or IPhone if you're a bit more with the times — and figure out where you are. You’re forced to try and communicate with people who don’t speak your language and you theirs.

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

2. You Realise Material Wealth Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Another study revealed that buying experiences makes people happier than buying material goods. The reason why? People are more likely to reinterpret experienced positively, and they see them as more meaningful. Not to mention, such experiences help them become more successful in their relationships.

There’s also another reason. Like with becoming a better problem-solver, traveling forces you to choose which possessions to take and which to leave. Because, practically and physically, you can only pack so much.

3. You Turn into a More Self-Reliant Person

Especially when it comes to solo travel, you’re forced to become more self-reliant. Or I would guess that is the case, I have only solo travelled for work, and well yeah I guess I have become more self - reliant in that aspect.  You not only have to plan out your days in advance, figure out what to eat and where to sleep if you go overboard with the spending.

4. You Appreciate the Relationships You Have

According to an industry report by US Travel Association, couples who go on the traveling road together lead more healthier and happier relationships. We have never actually travelled for more than a few weeks at a time but you do get the sense this is or could be the case.

Need some spark in your relationship? It may be time to look at those jet charter flights in Houston by Stratos Jet Charters so you can jump start your travel in style. 

white cluse watch
Photo: Cluse via interest

Final Thoughts: Ready to Start Your Next Adventure?

 Where’s your next destination?

Travel Photography: A Simple Guide*

It is no secret that we love to travel as a family and we take a lot of photographs! Clifton Cameras who sell lots of familiar brands such as Nikon and Canon as well as Drone Cameras have put together a great guide for anyone who loves to take travel photos to hopefully give you some travel inspiration of places where you can get some fun photos you'll be really proud of.

Another part of their guide is a great"What To Pack" guide with two checklists - "Essentials" and "Nice To Have" equipment to make it a little easier for us, I need all the help I can get! I am fairly lucky that Ben tends to deal with these things but for times I am alone this will be perfect!

Travel Photography: A Simple Guide*

*PR Collaboration

Alex, How Is It Possible That You Are 2 Years Old Already?

Dear Alex,

It is sad that I haven't written to you in probably 9 months. It is crazy how time just whizzes by. And I hate to say it but especially second time around. I mean Daisy is 4 now and that really has flown by but how on earth are you almost 2? I just can't get my head around it. Are you still a baby?

speech tips for toddlers

Nope. You most certainly aren't. Of course you are my baby but you are most definitely a fully fledged walking, talking, full of attitude toddler. You are just little person now a days. You know your on mind and you can communicate well enough to tell us what it is that is on it.

We are told weekly how amazing your speech and vocabulary is, and don't we know it. You never stop. Ever! You can explain things, sing songs and have a full on conversation with us now. And well, you have been able to for some time now.

You are still a bit of a destroyer. You like to break things, throw things about and are a tad rough at times with your toys, and Daisy's. Much to your sister's annoyance. She quite likes her dolls with the heads attached, unlike you. You are forever emptying things out of places and basically having you nose where it doesn't need to be! But would we have you any other way? Maybe, just a little.

Your character is hilarious though. You are the funniest, cutest little boy I have ever met. Maybe  I think that because you're mine, I could be biased. But with your round little face, chubby cheeks and massive blue eyes that you still haven't lost, you could get away with anything.

2 year old milestones

I am pleased to tell you that your sleep is improving. You go off to sleep on your own accord now and are spending all night in your own bed. Hallelujah! You are still waking most nights, perhaps 5 out of 7 wanting to see me for a few minutes but then off you go back to sleep. Thank goodness, I really was wondering how I was going to get that situation any better, I felt like I was fighting a losing battle and was coming around to the idea that perhaps you just were not a sleeper!

You are still a good little eater most of the time but you like everyone to know that you are in control of your food destiny. You won't be made to eat anything and don't even bother trying if you are tired, it is a no go. I am slightly worried you are becoming a tad more fussy, I just prey you won't end up like Daisy who has a diet that really is limited to a handful or 2 of things, and it just can't be good can it? I say I am worried yet in Lanzarote a few weeks ago you were munching away on tapas, cured meats and cheeses and living your best life! 

Please don't grow too fast, I am not ready for that yet. You make me broody, how is that possible? I think it is because I can see my baby slowly fading away, and in is place, a strong willed rascal that likes to run circles around me!

Always be my little man,

Mummy xx

A Ban On Baby Wipes?!*

Seriously, this news sent me into a spiral of panic. I mean I use wipes for EVERYTHING! Babies bottoms, faces, cleaning, dusting, bathroom wipe downs, taking make up off, cleaning the inside of my car... the list goes on. What am I going to do?

banning baby wipes

Okay so seriously. I do use wipes a lot and honestly, have never thought too much about the end destination of them. So to see the news articles did actually horrify me and leave me with a pang of guilt. Why had I never thought about if they were biodegradable before?

I have seen all over social media a variety of responses but lots of parents have expressed a tad bit of outrage after the government said they want to "eliminate" wet wipes in the UK within 25 years. So we are looking at a fairly big time frame anyway hey!

A statement for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said wet wipes would be among the "avoidable plastic waste" it aimed to banish as part of its environmental plan. I get it, and I agree. I do need to research more into it to be completely honest, is it how we dispose of them that causes the trouble? Or the fact that no matter how they are disposed they still can cause detrimental effects on the our environment? For example I wouldn't dream of flushing them but know people who do? I do know though that they are made from polyester, which is very slow to degrade and poses a huge risk to the environment.

However in the interim I have come across a solution for our household. Something that will make me feel a little less guilty when using a wipe for every single task known to man, and baby! And that is Aqua Wipes.

So not only are they made of 99% purified water BUT Aqua Wipes® are also biodegradable, meaning that you can care for the planet too. Some of you will be pleased to hear they are actually classed as vegan friendly too.

We have been testing out these wipes for the last few weeks and I have to say I love them. They feel soft on the children's skin, they have no nasty smells (which I am a bit sensitive about!) and they do the job nicely. I have also been using the odd one in my gym bag for taking off make up and freshening up and they really are nice.

Image Source: Aqua Wipes

Have you tried anything similar?

Hayley x

*PR Collaboration but all opinions are my own. I was gifted Wipes!