Last bank holiday we headed to the beach. Living in the UK we are very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful beaches. No matter where you live you’re never that far away from a beach. Even if you don’t drive you can get out and about with a trian or bus!

On bank holiday Monday we went to St Annes beach in Lancashire. We are quite practised at beach days. We tend to go to the beach quite a lot. So we know what to take with us to have a great day. However while we were there I realised there are still things I’d forgotten. So this is how the blog post was born. A list of things to take with us, a reminder to myself and others what things make a great day!

Beach Essential List

  1. Sun Shelter

We have had a few beach shelters in our time. The one we found to be most useful is a pop up one as it offers the most protection from the sun as well as being ready in seconds. My only word of warning though is practice putting it down before you use it on the beach for the first time! Once you know how to put it down its really easy to do in future. You don’t want to look like a complete fool on the beach though when you come to pack up! This one is a fab pop up version as it has mesh panels which are great if its windy!

 

2.Wind shelter

When you think of a beach wind break, you think big stripes and poles. Thats exactly what I’m talking about. I made the mistake first of buying one that you would use at camping and on the beach its no good as the poles you drive into the ground aren’t sturdy enough for sand. You need to get one with big wooden poles. This one is so cheery and I love it!

3.Dry Bag

Use this once your set up to store your valuables in so you know where they are when it’s time to leave. Things such as house keys, car keys, wallet, purse etc. The last thing you want to do is get to the end of a wonderful day to find that you’ve lost your car keys in the sand somewhere when they fell out of your pocket! As the description says the bag will keep things dry (and most importantly safe!)

 

4. Picnic Basket

Apart from the obvious a picnic basket is great for storing all your food in to keep it cool of rite day. IF you get a silver lined one like below the frozen ice packs will keep your food and drink nice and cool all day long. Be sure to store it in the shade of the sun shelter though.

beach day essentials

5. Chairs

Rather than lugging big fold out chairs with us to the beach we prefer these anywhere chairs as they literally fold up when your done and are so easy and light to carry. The weight of your bottom makes a great support for the back part and as a breastfeeding mum you defiantly need that when feeding on a beach. No one wants to come home with a sore back after a day in the sun!

beach

6. Towel

I always take one or two travel towels with us. They are super lightweight but absorb a lot of liquids. Great for drying of wet children (if they venture into the sea) or mopping up spills if there are any in the sun shelter.

7. Bucket and Spades

It’ kind of obvious but I forget nearly everytime and end up having to buy more! Theres so many great sets you can pick up for making sand castles etc. Our boys use the buckets and spades in all sorts of different games using their imagination.

8. Picnic Blankets

Now I’ve purposely written picnic blankets as a plural because we always need more than one. We use one to line the bottom of the sunshade tent to sit on then one out a little bit onto the sand for picnics etc. They are not expensive but save wet bottoms for those not wanting to sit on any wet sand! Again they fold up small and are lightweight.

There are other things we take too like spare clothes just in case I need to change the boys as well as a travel potty. Of course all the things that you need with a baby nappies etc. As long as I’ve got the above items though I feel like we are set up for a fab day on the beach. Is there anything else you like to take? I’d love to know so please drop me a line in the comments below!

I’ve dropped the link below for the short video I made of our day out!

Items on this list are affiliate links which means if you click through to buy an item I will get a couple of pence at NO EXTRA cost to you at all.

BlogOnX Goody Bag

This last Sunday I went to BlogOnX at Hotel Football in Manchester. I’ve been to BlogOn lots of times before, it’s always a fabulous event. A huge thank you has to go out to Laura Seaton the founder and all her fabulous team who pull off BlogOn every time which makes it appear seamless to the attendees. I know a huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes all year long to make it the amazing event it always is!

BlogOnX if you don’t know is a one day conference for bloggers. During the day there are a series of sessions to attend as well as a brand den to go and chat with various brands. The sessions are really really useful and I always learn lots and come away feeling enthused about my blog and being able to have fantastic new ideas.

BlogOn is known or its fabulous goody bags. Every time I’ve been I think that it won’t get better, every time I go back it does!

This time I’ve decided to film the boys and I opening the goody bag so that other people can see what was in it.

I love youtube and spend a long time watching other peoples video in the background during the day whilst I’m busy or when I’m exercising, or just having some down time. So opening ours on film seemed like a good idea!

So here it is, the link to our goody bag unpacking!

 

Hope you enjoy it if you want to see whats inside!

 

Last Sunday, despite it being cold we went out to a local country woodland park for a walk. This particular place has had a lot of investment over the last few years. It’s now a marvellous place to go. It’s called Haigh Hall Woodland Park. If you are local to Wigan area I highly recommend a visit.

Theres a HUGE children playground. Several cafes and eating places can be found in the courtyard. Theres also a fabulous mini golf and a high ropes experience amongst other attractions. I even noticed a train running.

Anyway we went out for a walk and managed to capture (not on purpose) some lovely shots of the boys together. This one however made me laugh. It sums them up perfectly.

The eldest, sweet clever little guy (never stops talking!). The middle one who is super cheeky and very funny but still such a loving little monster (he also never looks at the camera!). The youngest absent as he was sleeping for a short nap in his pram. You couldn’t put it on a canvas but I love it all the same!

Photalife

Motherhood is hard. Nobody, absolutely nobody can prepare you for how hard it is. Anyone who tells you it is easy is lying. I’m sure there are many many fantastic blog posts about how hard it is but this is mine. Today I feel I need to write it to remind me how far I’ve come.

motherhood is hard

When your little one is screaming with tears and has been for over an hour, you feel useless. All the tools in your parenting toolbox have been used. You’re out of ideas. It’s hard.  It’s even harder if it’s the middle of the night. You feel like you are the only person in the whole world who is up when you should be sleeping.

When you’re at the shops and all you want to do is a food shop but your baby is screaming and everyone is looking at you. It’s hard. Hard to keep your compose. Hard to keep your cool. Hard to think straight.

When you’re toddler won’t let you get anything done in the house because they need you. It’s hard.

When you can’t do story time at bedtime because the baby needs you to feed them to sleep. It’s hard.

When one of the children is ill but you can’t be there for them. It’s hard.

When you’re trying to cook the dinner and the baby needs holding and another child is screaming for you. It’s hard

When you can’t spend time of your eldest homework and see all the other parents on the playground bringing in wonderful project that you haven’t had time to complete. It’s hard.

Today I’ve had a hard day in my motherhood journey. Walking around the living room staring at the same four walls. Listening to the screaming in my ear. Just looking at all the things that need to be done. The washing, the laundry folding. The kitchen needs cleaning. The bathroom needs cleaning. The floors need hoovering but my children need me. Today I have to try and step back just a little and ignore the mess. But it’s hard.

Focus on Gratitude

When I feel like this i try to practice gratitude. List the things I’m grateful for. Grateful I have three beautiful boys who call me mum. So grateful that despite me feeling trapped in the living room I do call that living room ‘home’. Grateful I have a home that I love. Grateful that I have a husband who loves me and who works very hard to keep us in our home. Grateful that I have a job to go back to when my maternity leave is over. Grateful we have food in the cupboards to feed ourselves. Reframing my focus to gratitude does help, but it doesn’t make it any less hard some days.

To all the mummies (and wonderful daddies) out there you are doing a fantastic job and with a smile and a big hug the hard melts away into the distance.

motherhood is hard

Would I change a thing?

No I wouldn’t. The hard is sent to make me stronger.

The hard times make me appreciate the easier times even more. I know I am blessed to have such a fantastic life and as such I will try to enjoy every single minute.

Even the hard times.

 

With three boys school uniform is a plenty in this house. Obviously baby Roo is far too little for a uniform yet. But when he gets to that stage his school uniform will easily fit into the system I use.

So my first tip is the key to this working well. Have 5 sets of the same uniform (if you can afford it) as it makes this system easy! It helps keep mornings smooth with no running around wondering where jumpers or trousers are. No frantic last minute dash for a missing shirt.  The only thing I don’t have 5 of is the school tie. I do have spare ties but they tend to wear the same one throughout the week.

Getting Started with School Uniform

The second part of the system I use involves having somewhere to store the 5 sets of school uniform. Somewhere the children will know where to find it. A place they can reach. Somewhere they can access easily. For us these ‘Really Useful‘ drawers are ideal. There are 5 drawers. One for each day of the week. No refilling midweek.

So to get the system working, on a Sunday evening I get out all the drawers and line them up on the sofa.

I then gather all the relevant clothes. I do mean all, socks, underwear the lot! Five of everything for each person. I then count out each one as I go for each boy.

For some reason I always like to start with the socks and undies!

Next I’ll fold in the trousers, shirts and finally jumpers for each child. Once each drawer has a full set for each I’ll then put them back into the stack.

The Final Outcome

school uniform

Each morning after breakfast I either retrieve the relevant drawer or ask the boys to get it out themselves. They can then easily get dressed and ready. It’s not without its flaws. Sometimes jumpers that are put on are too big or too small because they haven’t read the labels properly! The pjs they take off go straight into the drawer the uniform came out of to either be worn again or washed depending on its state! So it also stops random pj parts being flung around the room!

Hopefully it’s given you an idea for how to hack school uniform mornings and make things run a little smoother!

The link I used to the drawers is an associate link so if you go through to purchase them I will get a tiny percentage of the cost, this is at no extra cost to you whatsoever. Really Useful or amazon haven’t had anything to do with this post, its the system I use myself.

 

My middle baby always tells me how much he loves me. While I was cutting the front lawn on Saturday he picked some flowers for me and put them in the car door. I had to take a picture to keep the memory. He’s such a sweet little guy (when he’s not fighting with his brother!).

Photalife

Well I can’t quite believe the Easter holidays are already over! Part of me was dreading them to begin with. Three boys on my own for two weeks was always a daunting prospect. As it turned out we had the most fantastic time with friends and family. We made plans for each day and thankfully hubby managed to have some time off too.

Christening Time

 

It started on a high with Roo’s Christening which was on Easter Sunday at our family church. It was a beautiful day spent with family and friends. After the service we came back to our house for some food and drinks. By 6pm everyone was gone again and the house seemed early quiet after such a fantastic build up to a wonderful day. In some ways sad for me as it’s most likely my last baby and so in turn is the last Christening celebration we will hold.

Roo behaved beautifully and when the time came to have him Christened he didn’t cry and was lovely.

During the later part of the service I was grateful to his wonderful God mummy for taking him outside to settle him to sleep as he was getting tired and moany.

The main man himself wore a lovely outfit I bought 7 years ago for the boys Christening. The outfit has been worn by all of the boys for their special days and I’m not sure now the best way to display it. I need to do some research and see what inspiration I can get (all ideas welcome) as I don’t just want to put it in a box and leave it for years to come.

I wore a dress my mummy bought for for me from Monsoon and although I haven’t got back to my happy weight yet I felt good. My shoes I wa thankful to find in the recent Next sale and they went so well with the dress.

The dress wasn’t breast feeding friendly so in order to be abel to feed Roo before and after the service I wore a vest top under the outfit so that I could unzip the dress and lift the top to feed whilst keeping myself covered (for my own dignity as I don’t like to show my tummy etc)

The other two boys wore matching shirts form Next which I bought last year for a photo shoot with some dark jeans.

Back at the house I got to sip some wonderful champagne (keeping the cork for my collection) and was a bit tipsy by bedtime! I had even made his Christening cake, and for a complete novice like me I was quite proud of my work!

christening christening cake


When  bank holiday monday came I was a bit hung over so thankful for our house to hang around in and not get up to too much!

The Rest of the Holidays

Since the christening the rest of the holiday s have been a bit of a blur. I didn’t want to do a day by day list so will do some highlights.

During the first week hubby had to go away for work and so my mum came to stay with us. This worked out well as it was a day we’d been planning for a while anyway. We went out to a local country park with  a great adventure play area. It did rain for a while which cleared the playground off but it didn’t dampen our spirits!

The following day mum took middle boy out with her early and I got to enjoy some time with the original boy (and Roo of course). I needed to pick up a package from a shop so we went together to the Trafford Centre. It was nice to just enjoy some time together. I treated him to a coffee (well not a coffee for him but you know what I mean!)

cafe nero

Easter eggs were abundant in out house despite us not buying many ourselves we are lucky to have such lovely family and friends who gave the boys eggs, my favourite was this chocolate chicken, sat on chocolate eggs with an edible basket! I’m pretty such it’s from Lidl.

There was time spent at St Annes pier and beach on a sunny day, and another afternoon at Blackpool Zoo.

Towards the end of the holiday my middle baby turned 4, how have 4 wonderful years passed so quickly?

He got what he’d asked for, a batman car and a Spiderman outfit! My little superhero loving dude. We spent  the day at Cheshire Ice Cream Farm. Another wonderful day out if you’re ever in the area. Free to get in and you just pay for what you do.

cheshire ice cream farm

And so we are at the end now, the last day. Back to normality tomorrow. Back to school and nursery. There are some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. Thins to look forward to. I’m trying to enjoy every single day of maternity leave that I have left. Knowing it’s my last time. Here’s to the future and many more happy memories made. I am as always grateful for all that has passed, it has been amazing.

Thank you universe.

 

Don’t Rock the Boat – Or you’re out!

We love family games in our house so Don’t Rock the Boat was a welcome addition this week. Games that have a quick setup. Easy to understand. Most importantly fun to play with our age children!

don't rock the boat

University Games kindly sent us ‘Don’t Rock the Boat’ to play. It’s suitable for age 3 and over. You will need a minimum of two players (although to be honest my 6 year old enjoyed playing alone in what he called solo mode!) up to a maximum of 4 players.

The concept is simple its a balancing game.

don't rock the boat

 

 

There’s a boat which is set up to balance. A whole load of pirate penguins. Players take turns to balance a penguin on the boat anyway they like. If a penguin falls off when it’s your turn you lose and the player last to place a penguin wins.

 

 

My boys were finding inventive ways to hang or place the penguins. It clearly states in the rules that it doesn’t count as a lose if a penguin falls over. The penguin has to fall off the boat to count as game over. This point was taken to the extreme in our house as penguins were hung all over the boat!

don't rock the boat

Conclusion

Another great game from University Games. Quick and easy to set up. Simple for little ones to understand and most importantly easy to play!

don't rock the boat

My favourite point has to be worth mentioning too……

This guy on the back of the box made me chuckle for quite a while!

don't rock the boat

We are no strangers to cooking outside in our house. My husband is out in all weather with the BBQ or pizza oven. Friday round our way was such a lovely day, sunny and beginning to feel warmer. So with the warmth of the air we decided to make it the first pizza oven night of the year. We bought this pizza oven by Uuni a couple of years ago and it’s had a lot of use since then. It’s unbelievable quick to cook, just 60-90 seconds per pizza so you have to be prepared to get them in and out no hanging about. It has a stone base and is fired by wood pellets. One Friday we prepped 5 smallish pizzas to share between the 4 of us with various toppings. Once again it didn’t disappoint! Yummy yummy!

Photalife