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Dear Daisy, It is your first day at school...

Is Beautiful Verona Suitable for Toddlers?

As part of our trip in Italy late last year we travelled from Lake Garda on the train to the cosmoplitan city of Verona. If you haven't caught my previous posts you can find them here and here.

We absolutly loved Italy and Verona was no exception.

We visited on a bit of a gloomy day but that didn't take anything away from the beauty of the city.

We were lucky that Daisy was happy to be in her carrier for most of the day and actually napped for a good part of it so we were able to explore freely and well in peace kind of! Without the carrier it wouldn't have been quite so easy as the main shopping streets are busy and you can do a fair bit of walking to see some of the outskirts of the city down by the river.

One place you have to visit is Casa di Giulietta, which you will no doubt know as the House Of Juliet. You will have read or at least watched Romeo and Juliet and well this is the balcony that features in the film. If I am completely honest it wasn't all that exciting but somewhere I would have been disappointed to not have seen if we had missed it!

The other top tourist spot was The Arena. We paid to enter and well again it wasn't all that exciting, I expect it to be far more enjoyable in an evening watching some spectacular show though! It was an amazing piece or architecture from the outside though, did you know it is older than the Coliseum?

Other than that we wandered along the River Adige and took in the beautiful sights and architecture. We also sat in one of the famous squares had a nice coffee, gelato and people watched.

Here are a few of our photos from our trip;

Hayley xx

I've been kind of busy...

I know you'll have read posts like this before and heard it all before from other people. But what's the harm in saying it or hearing it again if it's the truth?

Sometimes I think of you, I feel sad that things aren't like they once were. That I don't talk to you every day about well, nothing. Like we used to. That I can't just "nip" to see you and that well I've not seen much of you at all this past year or two. That I've not made plans with you, because I know all too well that they're likely to get broken and well I'm sorry too because things have just changed. 

I'm a mum to young children, babies in my eyes and over the last two and half years I've either been knee deep in cuddles, tears, weaning, sleep regressions, nightmares, tantrums, breastfeeding and pregnancy. And well we all know I'm no pro at that either, sicky Lil. 9-10 months of feeling like total rubbish can make anyone turn into a hermit. 

I can't turn all of my attention to you these days because you've had a bad day or spend hours thinking about you, although never think that I don't think about you at all because I do. But because I have mini humans that depend on me, that need me and well can't function without my love and direction I just don't have the capacity in my head to think about much for long. I have a responsibility to them and I know you'll understand that. 

Sometimes people need more from you that you'll ever be able to give and even if you think you can give it sometimes you have to just admit that you can't in the end. There will be people that this doesn't sit well with and that that can't see this for what it is, just the usual demands of life and sadly they will come and go. 

I've come to realise this and it does leave me with a sadness but I can't fix everyone and I can't be everything that everyone needs. I won't lie there have been situations over the past few years that I have a sense of guilt over (ah the mum guilt!), regret or more so sadness and maybe there are situations that I feel need closing or resolving but for now I need to try and rock this mum thing and hopefully anyone who truly cares about me (or you, I'm not talking about anything specific here!) will still be there understanding they may not be front of the que at the moment but are happy to stand at the sidelines for that time you do get to drink cuppas, gin or eat cake and gossip. 

I'm talking generally and hopefully others feel the same in some small way or another. I like to write personal posts and maybe this isn't written perfectly but it's something I wanted to put out there as it's been on my mind recently.  

Hayley xxx

A Farewell To Summer 2016

Well Summer 2016 you have been one to remember. Not because we had a super fancy holiday to anywhere exotic or because we managed to baske in the hot summer sun for days on end (becuase there wasn't much of that anyway)!

But because firstly we welcomed our little Alex into the family and then pretty much just enjoyed the time we had off work together to have family time, camp and play when the weather was mild enough to be able to get out.

There is no real narrative for this post except to save some of my favourite photos of the summer in my "memory bank" , my blog. 

Bring on the crunchy leaves, crisp frosty grass, chilly evenings and my babies all wrapped up for autumn. 

Hayley xx

How To Master A Flight With Young Children

So about 18 months ago I published a post all about flying with a baby and some top tips. Recently my blog has gone through a bit of a make over and I have been focusing quite heavily on all things travel and photography, although I will always continue to discuss and vent about all things "mum" too.

In light of the recent re-jiggle I thought I would do another post about flying with toddlers and babies, an updated version if you like. Since the last post I wrote we have taken Daisy a few more times on flights and so I may be able to offer a few more tips too.

  • Make sure you take a change of clothes for them (or as many as you can in your hand luggage)- One time when Daisy was around 6 months old we had only just left home and she vomited everywhere. I would have had to root around in our suitcases if I hadn't packed a spare sleepsuit with us for travel. Or I dread to think what I would have done had it have happened on the flight! Especially having to share a seat with her all the way, delightful.  

  • Take plenty of snacks and food. You can take as many snacks and pouches etc with you as you see fit when travelling with a baby/ toddler. Be prepared to try some random bits at security if asked though, although I have never had to do this myself I have heard about people being made to. You are allowed to take baby milk, water and food on board if it is for your babies use for the duration of the flight, and it CAN be over 100ml. Baby food and milk is exempt from the 100 ml liquid rules. This includes; sterilised water, breast/powdered/ cartoned milk of all kinds, and baby food of all consistencies and packaging. 

  • Take Calpol with you. Again you CAN travel with baby's medicine no problem. Luckily I didn't need this but always good to have with you. 

  • Take lots of interesting things to play with and look at. I usually go to the pound shop before we are due to go and pick up some random little things as mini presents for the flight bag. I do this because if they are things she hasn't seen before they tend to keep her attention longer! Books are always a winner with us!

  • When booking a flight try to look at times if possible. In the past we would have just hopped on the cheapest flight going but now we do try to make them as appropriate as possible.
  • You will in most cases be able to take your pram/ stroller right up to the gate so you don't have to lug baby around the airport and your hand luggage etc. If your stroller is in the aircraft hold, then you will generally collect it at the baggage belt, where you collect your suitcases.

Daisy (so far) is a brilliant traveller and we hardly hear a peep from her, although now she is well into toddlerhood she is a little more unpredictable!

We have had a incident on the way back from Cyprus on the descent where she started to scream and scream. I had never heard her cry like that before, it was actually really disturbing and made me feel quite upset! It had to be her ears. She was drinking her bottle as we started going down - which is what had been recommended to me before we had flown. The sucking makes their ears pop as it does ours! But her little ears were having none of it this time, a dummy wouldn't work, eating wouldn't work. She was just inconsolable. I guess what I am trying to say is just because you had a good flight once doesn't mean it will always be easy, so be prepared for all eventualities! The only thing I found to soothe her slightly was to cover her ears with my hands and hold her as tightly as I could into my chest, lots of cuddles. 

Apparently crying does actually help relieve the pain, but it's not exactly soothing for you and your fellow passengers.

Hayley x

Playing Princesses

Daisy's imagination really has come out of nowhere. For a while now she has liked to look after her "babies" by rocking them to sleep, feeding them and giving them lots of cuddles.

More recently though she has taken a real interest in role play and will spend hours sat by her dolls house making conversations between the characters, tidying the house, putting them to bed, bathing them and even walking the dog! It really amuses me to listen to her chatter on, it all goes to show what she actually picks up on a day to day basis from our lives! You can hear her saying little phrases that we use and role playing tasks that we just complete without thinking. 

We recently received a pack full of lovely Sofia the first goodies and Daisy has been in her element since. Yesterday I caught her "gardening" with them, digging in the soil and smelling the flowers! They were a tad mucky after but being plastic they rinsed off without any problem. 

The little figures are a perfect size for little hands to carry about and play with and the way their heads move back and forth amuses Daisy! As if they are nodding! Of course she also loves how they're dressed beautifully like the tv programme and each have their little pets with them.

Sofia and her buddies have already been to the park, had a bath, rode the dog and gone to bed with her. I am sure they have plenty more adventures to come! 

We also received the camera which she also loves. She is forever pinching our GoPro to pretend to "cheeeeeese" so she is pretty proud to have her own now that makes fancy noises. 

All of the toys we recieved are available to buy from Smyths Toys.

Hayley xx

*PR Collaboration but all opinions are our own

A Day Out At Erddig (National Trust)

Erddig is another National Trust property that is relatively local to us so the other week we made our first visit there and were joined by one of our friends for a picnic.

It was a beautiful day, perfect for a picnic and an icecream. We certainly chose the right day of the week to visit.

The house itself is huge, not as old as some of the property's you find on the National Trust but still as beautiful. I'm not usually a fan of the tours inside mainly because I tend to go with the children who really aren't too excited about that kind of thing and just want to explore and run around in the grounds. But we did go inside this time, I was really interested because it was so large from the outside but also it was a very hot, sweaty day so it was nice to go inside for a while in the cool! 

Daisy loved the den area in the garden where you can build dens and play in the huts they've built, I really want to take her back on a day when the children are in school and it's quieter so she can get really stuck in. 

The gardens are beautiful, lots of little areas to explore. Daisy's favourite was running around the trees in the orchard area and watching the ducks on the lakes. Although the lakes did make me nervous as there is no kind of barrier to stop them running into them, and when there is so much open space around them it would be easy for little ones to forget there was a pool there! Or maybe it's just my daughter who doesn't look where she is going when she gets excited!!! 

We will definitely be back! 

Hayley X 

Sunny Days in St. Ives Cornwall

As a child my sister and I would often holiday in Cornwall with our parents and more often than not our cousins too. I remember those times being full of beach days, body boarding, sticky ice creams and scrounging seagulls. One actually stole my cousins ice cream out of her hand once when in St Ives!

Anyway, with fond memories and knowing how beautiful it is down there I always knew I wanted us to have some fun down there too.

When Daisy was just a few months old we went down to stay in Cornwall for a week in the Padstow area (kind of) and we did a few visits around there including The Eden Project and loved it. With Alex only being tiny we decided now would be another good time to do the long drive down for a British summer holiday! 

This time we stayed in the St Ives area in the St Ives Bay Holiday Park. We almost booked a private apartment but chose the park in the end due to the facilities available to wear Daisy out and its location, right on the beach. I would highly recommend it and maybe one day we will return. The park is fab purely because it has private access to a beautiful sandy beach, the only issue being clambering back up the sand dunes to get out with children and all their gear is not fun!

It was a really central park with some great places around it, St Ives town is 5 miles away, with Falmouth 21 miles, Newquay 25, and lands End 19.

 I did a post here all about some little top tips for caravan holidays! 

We didn't do much when we were down there except pretty much camp out on the beach. The weather was so good that there really was very little need to do much else. Carbis bay and Godrevy were some of our favourites. 

If we could guarantee the warmer weather then I have no doubt sunny Cornwall would see us more often, sitting on those beautiful beaches could quite easily outdo many of the beaches we've seen abroad.

The only thing I would suggest with St Ives is that if you can go out of peak season then I would. I would love to go back around autumn time when the streets of St Ives town is quieter, it was tricky to manoeuvre with the children and really enjoy it in the summer. 

Hayley x