Dear brother and sister in law,

I’m so so happy for you both. I can’t wait for you to make your announcement about the baby whenever that might be. I know how annoying it is for people to be asking if the babies here yet. I’m not asking, I know you’ll tell me when it’s arrived. I just want you to know I’m constantly thinking about you both.

So many people will try and give you advice. I know it’s annoying. I won’t give you advice. Or at least I’ll try my best not to. If you ask I can tell you what I did in situations but it’s not advice and you will be lead by your own instincts in making the right decisions for you and your family.

I’m sure lots of people have told you how hard a baby is. It really is and soon you’ll be there yourself. But in so many many more ways it’s the best thing in the whole world. Enjoy it, every single second.

Do what ever feels right to you for your baby. You will become a team together. Sometimes a tag team! But do what you feel. They don’t come with a handbook. There are books, but they’re not written about your baby and you.

Be kind. I mean to each other. Of course you’ll be kind to the small person. It’s so easy especially when you’re tired to snipe at each other. Take an extra moment to be kind, kind words, kind actions. Tiredness is a bitch, but it won’t last forever, I promise that.

Take time for each other, to admire and gaze at the small person you made. Make each other a brew if you have a spare hand. Throw a load of washing in if you can, but don’t expect to have everything the way you used to.

You will both change, after all you will be known as mum and dad. But it’ll be an amazing change. Stay close.

Don’t make decisions in the night, nights are hardest but I promise things always look better in the daylight. Someone once said it to me and it’s absolutely true. If you hold onto one thing hold on to that.

I can’t wait to meet the small person you created. I can’t wait to hug them and you both.

And lastly, the nights and days may be long but the years so short. Hold the baby as much as you can. They grow so quickly.

I love you both very much.

Good luck with your new adventure.

J xxx

Yesterday we were invited to go on a day out to Salford Museum and Ordsall Hall. Both attractions have free entry which is fantastic! We were gifted lunch at the museum. I was not paid to write this post. As always my opinions are my own and our reviews are open and honest.

Our first stop was Salford museum and Art Gallery. Now this is somewhere I have been before a long time ago. When I was doing for my A-level art I chose the artist L.S Lowry to study so visited the art gallery to learn and be inspired.

This visit however is different as its the first visit the boys have taken. I’m seeing the museum through the eyes of a child.I did wonder what they’d think about it. Museums have to be engaging to keep small fry entertained. Especially small fry that can’t really read yet like my 5 year old.

We headed to ‘Lark Hill Place’ first. It’s a recreation of a victorian street, with all kinds of shops and house to view.

Even Roo was enjoying the view

This part of the museum is great for people of all ages, my 1 year old had loads of fun walking up and down the street looking in all the windows. It’s safe to let them walk and they can touch anything that’s at their height which is great as you’re not on pins constantly about them reaching for something they shouldn’t be.

After we’d spent a good deal of time at Lark Hill Place we went to look at the other parts of the museum. If you’ve got toddlers I wouldn’t recommend just letting them wander, there’s lots of amazing exibits to look at but lots of things are labelled as do not touch. I totally understand why you can’t touch them but trying to tell a 19 month old they can’t is nearly impossible. So we didn’t spend a lot of time in the other area, I would definitely go back without him though. It seemed like there was a lot to see.

We stopped for lunch at the museum before we headed off to Ordsall Hall.

The children lunch box deals are great value at only £4 with a freshly made choice of sandwich.

Salford museum and art gallery are free entry. What a fabulous day out in itself for anyone who lives not too far away. If you don’t drive the nearest train station is Salford Cresent, from there its a short walk to the museum.

Ordsall Hall

Our second stop was Ordsall Hall, a place I’ve never been to visit. It’s one of those places that I’ve often heard about but never thought to spend time there. I’m so glad we got the chance to go today. By the time we’d finished at the museum and made our way over there (which isn’t far) we were ready to do some more exploring.

ordsall hall pop up banner

Ordsall Hall is the oldest building in Salford and we learnt that it’s over 820 years old. It was certainly well built! Visually it’s a beautiful building to look at and its history is fascinating.

child in the stocks

We were able to learn through play and recreating scenes from history. The boys dressed up as kings and knights. The chainmail was very heavy and I think it helped Thomas realise just how hard a knight has to work!

small game to play at ordsall hall with spinner and pieces to move around the world

I loved looking at the ornate wood carved features, it’s hard to believe it’s so old and that it was all hand carved.

metal chandelier hanging down from the wood carved ceiling at ordsall hall
beautiful hand carved dark wood table in the hall at ordsall hall

And the windows were beautiful. Even on a dull raining Salford day their beauty shone through.

Beautiful stained glass oval window on the first floor of Ordsall Hall.

Ordsall Hall (like Salford Museum) is also a free entry attraction. There is a pay and display car park which is £2.50 and a little cafe area for light refreshments. One of the areas I’d like to go back and see is the gardens, unfortunately due to the rain I didn’t get chance yesterday.

Small cafe area at ordsall hall for light refreshments

I’m not sure why I haven’t been before. We will definitely be coming back again since it’s so close to us. It’s has something for all ages and children are very welcome, with something for them to do in each room. It was a real surprise for us. I’d highly recommend a visit if you have small people to entertain this summer holiday!

Thanks again to Salford Museum and Ordsall Hall for asking us to come and visit and providing lunch for us.

a tin box with the game timeline science museum inside

Recently I was asked to be part of the blogger board game club and of course it’s something we do a lot so I was delighted. The first of our board games to review is Science Museum Timeline. I’ve played timeline games before but never actually owned one so we were excited to try this.

My 8 year old Thomas is quite the brain box and so this game is right up his street. On his recent school report his teacher described him as ‘a walking encyclopaedia’ which made me laugh because it’s pretty accurate.

If you’re not familiar with the timeline concept of games its basically putting events in the correct order. There are now lots of variations of the same game depending on what you are in to which is great. You can get variations including events form history, star wars, inventions etc and each game comes with 110 cards so you’ll never be able to remember them all! This means you can play them again and again for long lasting play.

Science Museum timeline comes in a square tin containing the rules and 100 play cards. Each card is double sided. One side has an event or achievement based on the Science museums collection of scientific, technological or medical achievement form access the globe. The other side has the exact sam thing but also the year it happened.

Each player is dealt a certain amount of cards based on how many are playing.These are dealt with the date side down. No cheating now! Of course if you like a challenge by all means deal more! Then the remaining cards are placed date down in the centre. One card is turned face up on the table to start the game. The youngest player starts and has to compare their top card with the card on the table, and decide if it happened before or after. Once they have decided they place it date face up on the table next to the original card. Where they right? If yes it remains there, if not its discarded and they have to take a new card from the draw pile. Play then continues round the table.

Summary

The aim of the game is to be the first one to get rid of all the cards in your hand. Not quite as easy as it first appears!

What we loved about this game was that it is quick to set up. It’s simple to understand, and easy to play. The challenge comes in trying to put event dates in order. We loved that you are also learning things as you go along. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s really tricky. Another bonus is that it can be mixed with other versions of Timeline for even more game play.

What I particularly love is that it’s compact. It doesn’t take up much room and would be ideal for travel. As you can see we played ours outside in the sunshine.

If you want to buy Timeline its available from amazon here. That link is an affiliate link which means if you buy through there it costs you exactly the same but amazon will give me a couple of pence from the sale.

Thanks to Asmodee for sending us the games to play. We look forward to other games in future months!

To be open and honest with my readers I’ll pop this at the start. We were sent the Dino Epic Egg for the boys to play with at no charge. I have not been paid for this post. As always to keep my blog authentic I only post about products I would buy myself. Felix loves dinosaurs and smashing things so the two things combined are perfect!

Alongside the egg we were also send a pack of 8 Zuru smashers dino egg and a collectors tin (this will come in handy for Felix to store all his little dinos!)

So Smashers Dino Epic Egg does what it says on the tin (or egg!). It is huge! With over 25 surprises to be found inside, to build the exclusive Smash-o-saur Dino!

You can smash the smasher on the ground a wall or any hard surface. Be sure to check where your small people are planning on smashing it first though!

The Smashers app allows you to interact with your collection and earn Smash Points to become the ultimate Smashers champion!

Inside each Epic Dino Egg, you’ll discover more surprises like Smash Eggs with a Smash Egg rebuilder and digging tools. With access to Rare and Ultra Rare characters like the Skull Smashers, the smashing will never end! 

Now on to the smashing part!

**SPOILER ALERT**

Want to see what we found inside ours?

So at first I have to be honest I was skeptical, would there be enough inside to justify the price? I’m a convert! One by one each thing has been played with. The Ice age putty was a hit (especially with me!) because its not sticky. It’s like real old fashioned putty.

Each element contains dino bones to build a large dino, as much as I wanted to feature that on the blog, honestly they’ve not even opened some of the elements yet! It really is lasting!

The bath fizzier was a hit and they both had fun fishing the dino bones from the water once it had fizzed out. Thankfully the bones float!

They’ve yet to get on to opening the fossil rock, dino dirt or slime. That’s this weekends fun to come! Not to mention being able to smash open the little eggs to see which dino’s we are adding to the collection. Lets hope we get a super rare one!

We filmed our smashers Dino epic egg, if you want to see the full thing have a look below

The Smashers Epic Dino Egg retails at RRP: £24.99, is suitable for ages 5+ and is available at Smyths, The Entertainer, Argos, Tesco, Asda, B&M, SAINSBURY’S Supermarket and all the major retailers.

Ever since I can remember I’ve loved making things clean, tidy and organised. As a little girl although my bedroom probably wasn’t that tidy I loved the idea of organising it. I likes to move furniture around, rearrange. Since I moved out 14 years ago I’ve loved making my own home tidy. As I sit here now typing this I can see from the corner of my eye that there’s a packet of baby wipes on the floor and not in the drawer, it’s bothering me!

I hate things being out of place. I get cross when people don’t put things back properly or leave things dirty. I was over the moon when one of my surprises at Christmas was a wifi controlled robot vacuum cleaner! (Which at some point I need to write a review for…spoiler I love it!)

Thats why I’m so thankful for the current craze of cleaning and organising. It’s made me realise that I clean things not for anyone else. I clean things to make myself feel better. I struggle to relax and always think that if I’m sat down not doing much I should instead be cleaning or tidying.

I read the Maire Kondo book back in 2014 way before it was main stream and a Netflix series. I even wrote a blog post about it. At the time there were no guides for how to fold but I read the book and followed the instructions.

My drawers have stayed the same since 2014. You couldn’t get the book in bookstores back then or in a supermarket it was not mainstream. I used to mention the book to friends but no-one had heard of it. Now everyone knows who Kon-Marie is! Now theres a whole series on Netflix starring her.

Theres also been a rise in social media ‘cleaners’. Theres a few books out. I’ve not read them but I’m sure they are great. I love that I can pop on instagram and have wonderful pictures of tidy houses and cleaning products straight away according to who I follow.

So it’s now socially ok to love clean and tidy. It’s ok for me to list it as a hobby. I realise its totally normal to love this stuff and I’m thankful for the current craze!

So my boy survived his first night at beaver camp, and he’s home!

Thomas is only 7. He waited a long time on the waiting list to join our local beaver pack. Are beavers called a pack? So he’s been going every week now for a few months. This last weekend was his first camp. It was only for one night. I was nervous. He was excited.

I followed the advised packing list and tried to stay practical. There wasn’t much on it, the basics. A torch, sleeping bag, mat. Some utensils, clothes, wash items etc. I added a couple of extra bits myself which were: a half pack of baby wipes, some snacks (he gets hangry!) and a migraine kit for him. I’ve written before about his migraines. If you want to read about it the post is here. and as he’d had one just last weekend I thought it was wise to be prepared. I was hoping of course he wouldn’t get one but I just wanted him to be able to ask for help and deal with it early. It seems the earlier we get him some medicines the better he copes with it.

His camping night was Saturday to Sunday but we went up on the Thursday to help set up all the tents and let them get used to the surroundings. I did my parent bit and helped out.

It did make me want to go camping as a family though. I just need to save up for a tent! The one we really like is this one but its really expensive so requires lots of saving first!

When Saturday came I was nervous again for him, worried that my baby would be cold or lonely in the night and there’d be no one there for him. Obviously the beaver leaders were there but its not his mum. But I knew I had to let him go. Let him do his thing and go have fun.

Kit was packed, drop off looming, one last photo outside our house to remember the moment……..

….and off we go!

I got his bed set up and said goodbye, so thankful it was a sunny weekend!

Thank goodness for facebook. The leaders were able to update their page with photos throughout the day. I could see he was having fun.

When evening came , back at home we sat outside for dinner. I was sweltering. With my paranoid mum head kicking in I text the beaver leader to ask him to tell thomas that if it was hot to sleep on top of his sleeping bag. Since all I’d packed him were fleecy pj’s, fluffy socks, a thick sleeping bag and a blanket. As it turned out it did cool down. Why do I always forget that in the UK as soo as the sun goes down it pretty much cools down quickly. I always think it’s like Florida where it stays hot all night!

Felix wanted his own campfire at home, so we set one up and sat outside in the evening sunlight which was lovely.

And so after a sleepless night worrying about if he was ok, it was time to pick him up.

He was tired…..very very tired….filthy.. but happy. He’d had a ball! He was still in pj’s so I helped to pack his stuff up and tidy up the camp. We took him home and pretty much threw him straight into the shower! He even admitted himself that the shower felt good and he felt so much better after it. I’m not surprised the amount of dirt that came off him!

So thank you to all those that made the weekend camp possible. They all seemed to have an absolute ball! Roll on next years camp!

Well my middle baby turned 5 at Easter time. I can’t believe 5 years has passed since I gave birth at home to my middle baby. If you want to read the birth story it can be found here.

Felix’s birthday was going to be the first day of our mini break to Yorkshire so we decided to go to Eureka on the way over to our holiday home for the week. We’ve ever been before but we’ll definitely be going back!

I made a short vlog about our day at Eureka national children’s museum and to remember his birthday.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to vlog on my day off. I never linked it through on to the blog so thought I’d pop up a quick post with the link so that I know where it is for future and when the boys read through the blog.

It’s nothing particular exciting but to me its daily life which I want the boys to be able to see when they are grown up. My vlogs were never designed to be as good as many of the fantastic bloggers that I watch but I just want to document our days.

We are lucky enough to live within an hours drive of lots of beaches. My favourite beach currently is at St Annes. Any visit to the beach isn’t complete without beach day essentials.

We go to St Annes quite a lot when the weather is hot enough to stay on the beach all day. I love St Annes because the beach is always clean, there’s lots of room and shops within walking distance.

I’ve got packing for the beach down to a tee now although theres always room for improvement so please do let me know if theres something I’ve missed.

 

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.

9. Travel Potty

Ive had this one for years, its fab! You can use swing bin liner bags so nothing to tip away. I line it with cheap sanitary pads (the really cheap value ones)

Potette travel potty 

There are other things we take too like spare clothes just in case I need to change the boys. 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.

Today was the first time I’ve looked at my blog in a long time. I miss it.

I was asking myself how it got to such a long time gap.

The answer is easy. Life got in the way. Life has been tricky lately. I don’t want to say hard because that’s not the right word.

I’m grateful to have a privileged life compared to so many people.There’s a warm roof over my head, warm clothes, a warm bed. I have food on the table and for all those things I am grateful. It’s just been tough. I feel like I’m spinning plates and instead of keeping them spinning, when I’m not looking they are crashing and falling. Then when I replace them a different one falls.

With three children and both working full time it only takes one thing to drop and thats it, life is tricky.

In the last few weeks there have been hospital stays for Roo, illnesses, migraines, a broken wrist to name a few. I feel so guilty when I can’t go to work. It’s been made worse because I’m in a new job and I’m beginning to think they will assume I’m lazy and can’t cope with everything. Why is mum guilt so bad?

I’m trying really hard to sort everyone out and get them all to the right place at the right time so we can go to work. My husband is fantastic and helps lots but I still feel like its all my responsibility. I know if he reads this he’ll say its not at all but it’s just the way I feel. Sometimes I wonder if life would be easier if I gave up my job. But I love my job, I really love it and don’t want to leave. I’ve worked hard all my life to get where I am at work. I feel like I’d be failing if I just walked away.

I would just like life to give us a little break for a while. I’d like normal back. A nice normal life where I can drop the babies off to school and nursery and go to work and do a great job. So please life if you’re listening give me a little bit of normal.

Thank you!