The First Term of School

We arrived at school and dropped him off at his classroom. Off he went without even saying goodbye. The whole thing felt rather unceremonious if I’m honest!

A year ago, the first Mummykind baby began his first term at school. Of course that first term was full of firsts for him and us. Now he is in his second year of school and I found some of my musings from the time in my dusty drafts folder. I thought I would take a look back and share some of the ‘firsts’ of that first term.

The First School Run

This was possibly the smoothest school run all term if you can believe it. Maybe because he had been looking forward to it for months. We got up on time (even with a newborn in the house) and breakfast went down quickly, uniform went on excitedly and the sun was shining so off we went with plenty of time to spare.

School is just over a mile away and he kept up the whole way, beaming with pride in his new uniform all the way. (Now he asks to be carried from about half way if my husband is with us. He must know I would say no…) When we arrived at school we had to walk him round to his classroom and drop him off. I had no concerns about him just getting on with it, he has always settled well in new places. There were some tears from other children when we arrived but not mine, off he went without even saying goodbye. The whole thing felt rather unceremonious if I’m honest!

The First day of term

The first day of term for Reception class (kindergarten to our friends across the pond) was a week later than the rest of the school so everybody else was already settled and the teachers could focus on the little ones. The first day was a half day, as were the next four days. As far as I can tell he spent the day playing with his new friends – nobody from his preschool or toddler group went to the same primary school so he didn’t know anybody! But, as is his style, everyone is his friend from the moment they meet. I was worried that the bigger class and older children would overwhelm him being the baby of the year group but if anything, he was pretty miffed to see me at pick up time, he wanted to keep having fun.

The First School Dinner

For the first day only, parents were invited to join their reception children at lunchtime to help them settle into the dinner hall. School dinners make me nervous because of his allergies. They have a set three weekly rolling menu and on some days all he can/will eat is plain pasta. The school is good at catering for his allergies but I can’t expect them to cater to his selective eating as well. On the first day he did have plain pasta and on subsequent days he was able to have some proper hot dinners. I now find it easier to send him with a packed lunch once or twice a week and let him have the plain pasta every so often. Don’t bee fooled, he would eat plain pasta all day every day if I let him, he doesn’t feel like he is missing out!

A few things made me anxious on that first shared lunch time. His care plan hadn’t been finalised so the kitchen staff didn’t know not to give him milk and I was surprised to see that some of the older children were not very good at using their cutlery so yoghurts and grated cheese went EVERYWHERE. It is now time for me to trust my son to not touch those things, it’s a lot of responsibility for a four year old but he has handled it like a champ.

The First Parents’ Evening

This is the most adult thing I have ever done. there are lots of things you have to be an adult to do but this really takes the biscuit. I am married with two kids, I drive and own a company… still not as grown up as being the parent at parents’ evening. My own personal revelation aside, my son is thriving. I had considered keeping him back a year as a summer born, particularly as he was still almost entirely non-verbal at 2 years old. My worries started to subside

The First School Event

My son was so ready for it. The school put on an autumn faire with rides and games and a talent show. Some of the teachers dressed up for a performance and there was even a little bit of food that he could eat before the evening closed with fireworks. It was amazing to be enveloped in the community and it was so fun. It was a brilliant way to close the term, with all of its ‘firsts’.

What I learned from the first week of potty training

Hi! It’s been a while!

I took a bit of a break to deal with the stress of miscarriage, and the excitement (and strain) of being in the first trimester with baby number two!

For the last few weeks we’ve been potty training our daughter. It was a bit of a shock to us that she seemed to be ready a few days after her second birthday, but we followed her lead. She’d been following us to the loo for a while, and was very adamant that she wanted to use the ‘big potty’. So, we threw ourselves in off the deep end, purchased a seat that fits our toilet, and away we went. Here’s what I quickly learned.

  1. Just because they say they don’t need to go, doesn’t mean its true.

After a few days of absolutely no accidents, I found myself relaxing a little around our trips to the toilet. My daughter had been in such a good routine of saying ‘mummy, wee wee’ that I was beginning to trust that she knew when she wanted to go.

Wrong.

Just because she knew she needed to go, didn’t mean she would. I found that my little one was often so enraptured with whatever she was playing with at that time, that she’d try and convince me that she didn’t need to go so that she could carry on playing.

Lesson learned. Do not believe a two year old. It will result in wet underwear and a big old mess.

2. If you don’t take spare clothes out with you, its your funeral.

I’ve recently found that 3 is the magic number. One change of clothes in, and its an accident. 2 changes in and you’re obviously not paying attention to the fact that your little needs to go, they’ve been having a nap, or in my case, you have a stubborn daughter. 3 changes means it’s time to go home. We carry a wet bag with us for wet clothes, and any reusable nappy inserts we’ve had to use to soak up wee outside. The one day I forgot this was obviously the day that my daughter went through all 3 clothes changes.

3. Wiping a toddlers bum is nowhere near as easy as I thought it would be.

Why did I think it would be easy to wipe the bottom of a toddler that’s pretending to be a dinosaur?! To be honest I don’t have any more to say about this one. If you have any good suggestions, help me out and leave a comment and potentially save my sanity

4. A little praise goes a long way!

I’m not talking full on sticker chart, prize at the end of the day kind of praise. If you find that works for you, that’s great! We’ve found that a simple high five for number two’s in the toilet has worked best for us so far!

5. Remember that they’re only little

At the end of the day, we take for granted the fact that we interpret our bodily functions so easily. It must be so difficult to learn to use the toilet properly at the same time as learning to talk, and learning all about the world around them that must seem so big and wonderful. We’ve found so far that a little understanding goes a long way. We only use praise, if our daughter has an accident we tend to say ‘oh no! Let’s clean it up’ and leave that to be the end of the discussion. Positive reinforcement has definitely been the way forward for our family!

So far, we’ve been potty training for a week, and honestly I’m so amazed by how far my daughter has come in this time. I know that its not a long time to be nappy free, but I never expected to be buying tiny knickers for my just turned two year old!

How did potty training work for you?

Mental Health Monday: The Aftermath of Christmas with Sensitive Kids

We have had a fabulous family Christmas. It’s been intense but it’s been fun and full of love and laughter. We’ve had overnight guests, cooked for 10 on Christmas day and then another Christmas dinner for 8 on Boxing day. It’s such a busy week every year because we are the ‘hub family’ and tend to host more than anyone else for the sake of practicality. We love it, but something happens with our little boy when things get crazy.

Our usually well behaved little guy becomes completly horrible. It started on Christmas eve when we accidentally lost track of time and didn’t feed him his lunch before we left the house, we had to stop at the only place I knew I could get a quick bit of dairy free food for him and hope for the best. So he had a muffin from  a coffee shop for lunch. The rest of the day involved full blown tantrums over every single little thing, in the packed town centre (our own fault for being disorganised I suppose!). As a result, we spent far longer out and about than we had planned and of course that just made things worse. When we got home we still had tons to do and he just wanted to cling to us relentlessly. Anyone who knows our little guy will know how fiercely independent he is, and how uncharacteristic clingy behaviour is. He has been going from cuddly to lashing out at us over the tiniest thing. I’ve had to keep reminding myself that he wasn’t doing it on purpose, he was just tired and confused. We stopped the feverish tidying  and organising and played trains on the floor until his eyes started getting heavy and put him to bed, he had conked out before I had even finished reading to him.

We didn’t think much of his low appetite on Christmas eve, but after we specifically made him mashed potatoes and peas to go with christmas dinner the next day and he didn’t even touch two of his favourite foods we knew this was more than just fussiness. The over excitement had drained our little lad and then we sit him at a usually calm table with 9 other people, Christmas crackers and music and expect him to eat dinner as normal but at lunch time? No. It just wasn’t happening. We let him go, knowing there had been a bit of snacking and that we could try again later. He had a late nap, followed by a jam sandwich and more excitement – the poor kid doesn’t know which way is up and which way is down by the time he gets to bed 3 hours after his bedtime.

Boxing day rolls around and we do it all again with my side of the family (on a slightly smaller scale). There are sweets and snacks everywhere, he somehow gets away with eating an entire moo free cocolate Santa in one hit, he’s completely baffled by how much other stuff has cows milk in it so he isn’t allowed to eat it but everyone else is.

When he refused his meal again on Boxing day I felt a pang of guilt that we had put him in this position, he’s acting out because suddenly everything he knows has changed in the blink of an eye and he has no idea how to handle it.

I’m tempted to pack away the decorations early to help us get back to business as usual  as soon as possible, because my poor little guy is exhausted and miserable now, especially since all the presents are done and the people are gone. We’re just left here with wrapping paper all over the place and a super fractious little boy who is needing a lot of contact and reassurance.

So if you need me, I will be on the sofa cuddling my toddler until the new year. See you on the other side.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Military Children – The World They Live In

Adapting to change is something we all struggle with, and we all know how change (and lots of it) can disrupt children and affect their wellbeing.

Military children are inspiring.

We waved goodbye to Daddy in our house for the 2nd time in 2 years. Last year, she had her 2nd birthday a month into his deployment and was barely aware that he was going. When she asked, I told her Daddy was at work (or on holiday!), but with little concept of time at that age, she didn’t know when he was coming back. That was probably made all the more confusing when his tour was extended, and he returned for 2 weeks R&R in the middle of it before heading back out to finish the tour off.

This time is different. It’s a much shorter tour for a start (just shy of 3 months as opposed to 8), and Olivia is older now. She’s 3.5 years old and much more aware that Daddy has gone away to work for a while.

It’s something she’s used to, though more from me being away at work than Daddy. In fact, she is used to both of us working long and unusual hours, having little routine in terms of who will be picking her up from the childminder, or who will be tucking her into to bed.

She takes it all in her stride, only occasionally being upset that either Mummy or Daddy aren’t around when she wants us. I am so immensely proud of how well she manages all of that change at such a small age. I suppose the big, independent and fierce personality (that she was destined to inherit from me and her Nanny) probably has a lot to do with it!

The other home truth about military families is that, usually, when one parent goes way, the other one is around to do everything. If they work, it’s part-time or in school hours or a normal job with normal dependable hours. The army mantra is still very much set back in the 1950s, expecting the ‘wives’ to do everything when it comes to childcare or managing a home. I’m not sure how this equates when the serving member is a woman with a husband at home, but, in our situation, Olivia is a bit of an anomaly in that respect. When Daddy is here, it’s him doing the majority of the home life, but in reality, neither of us are dependable because either of us could be away at the drop of a hat.

She didn’t choose this life, and no military children do, no military spouses do either, for that matter! We’re all lumped with it and have to make the best of it. But our children are certainly the most incredible little people, managing the change so well and with few complaints along the way.

Their voices are rarely heard. Spouses often feel overlooked when it comes to the respect and awe that their service member receives for ‘what they do’, because the people left behind dealing with the everyday are forgotten. If the spouses feel that way, imagine how the children must feel. Especially those like Olivia who are too young to really understand where Mummy/Daddy is other than ‘at work’ and wondering how long it will be until they’re back.

The cake we baked for Daddy after his last deployment!

Unfortunately for Olivia she has even more change to come. There is no support at all for military families needing childcare while one spouse is deployed, and so Olivia will be spending the weekdays with Nanny for the next 3 months so that I can carry on going to work.

Military life is so incredibly frustrating, and definitely better suited to single people who want to travel the world! Our family of four became two, and is soon to become one, whilst we wait for Daddy (and Kiera with him) to come back home.

I’m so proud of our ‘pad rats’ for adapting so well to everything that’s been thrown at them. But we certainly cannot wait to have Daddy back home!!!

Are you a military family? What’s your experience of military life?

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Perfect Weaning Recipes for Busy Mums

When you start to wean your baby, the last thing you want to do is prep separate meals for the whole family.

The best kinds of meals are going to be ones that you can batch cook, and have plenty leftover to make up baby sized portions and that freeze easily!

When I started weaning Olivia, I still suffered with anxiety and had a particular fear around her choking. So baby led weaning didn’t work out for us very well at first. Instead, I prepped lots of (pescetarian) meals for her and blended them up.

These are my top meals (and quick recipes) that I used a lot while weaning Olivia onto solid food!

  1. FISH PIE
  2. BOLOGNESE
  3. LASAGNE
  4. PASTA BAKE
  5. LEEK AND POTATO SOUP

Fish Pie

Ingredients:

  • Frozen White Fish Fillets x 6
  • Frozen Haddock Fillets x 4
  • Peas
  • Plain Flour (25g)
  • Butter (25g)
  • Milk (1 pint)
  • Cheese
  • Baking Potatoes x 3
  • Chives
  • Black Pepper
  • Parsley
  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200 degrees C.
  2. Chop the potatoes and place them in a pan. Add boiling water to bring the potatoes to the boil and keep them on a medium heat. Stir regularly.
  3. In another pan, add the butter and flour. As the butter melts, whisk the butter and flour together to make a roux.
  4. Add a little milk at a time, whisking the roux into the milk. Whisk out any lumps and continue until you have used all of the milk to create the sauce. Do not let the sauce settle for too long.
  5. Sear the haddock and white fish fillets in a frying pan and remove the skin from the back of the fillets.
  6. Add cheese to the sauce and continue stirring. Add as much as you want for however cheesy you want your sauce to be!
  7. Add the fish and 2 cups full of garden peas to the sauce and stir regularly.
  8. Now add your herbs to the sauce. If you’re using ready chopped herbs, you need a pinch of black pepper, about a teaspoon of parsley, and a teaspoon and a half of chives.
  9. By now your potatoes should be soft enough to mash. Drain the water, and mash them using a splash of milk and a dash of butter.
  10. Pour the sauce, fish and peas into an oven dish.
  11. Gently scoop out the mash and spread it over the saucy layer into the oven dish. Use a fork to spread the mash so that it covers the dish evenly.
  12. Add more cheese to the top and put it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned.

This can easily make 6 portions, and is very easy to blend thanks to the sauce!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients:

  • Mince / Quorn Mince (500g)
  • Chopped Tomatoes (2 tins)
  • Carrots
  • Brown Onion
  • Garlic (2 cloves)
  • Cheese
  • Spaghetti
  • Tomato Puree
  • Black Pepper
  • Basil
  1. Put a little bit of oil in the bottom of your slow cooker and turn the heat onto low.
  2. Peel and chop the onion and add that to the slow cooker.
  3. Crush the garlic and add to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the mince/quorn mince and chopped tomatoes.
  5. Stir the pot thoroughly.
  6. Peel and chop the carrots and add to the slow cooker.
  7. Add some tomato puree and stir the pot again.
  8. Add your herbs and stir again.
  9. Now you can leave your pot and come back to it later. I don’t tend to leave it more than 4 hours, even on a low heat, without stirring!
  10. About 10 minutes before you want to serve dinner, boil enough spaghetti for all of you. Then drain once cooked.
  11. Grate your cheese (cheddar or parmesan).
  12. Plate up and garnish with your cheese on top! The leftovers can be blended up for baby to enjoy with you, and are easy to freeze.

Lasagne

Ingredients:

  • Mince / Quorn Mince (500g)
  • Chopped Tomatoes (2 tins)
  • Aubergine x 1
  • Courgette x 2
  • Brown Onion
  • Garlic (2 cloves)
  • Cheese
  • Lasagne Sheets
  • Tomato Puree
  • Black Pepper
  • Basil
  • Easy Mix Béchamel Sauce / Ready Made White Lasagne Sauce
  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200 degrees C.
  2. If you need to prepare your Béchamel sauce, do that now.
  3. Put a little bit of oil into a frying pan and turn the heat onto low.
  4. Peel and chop the onion and add that to the pan. Stir until the onion starts to go transparent.
  5. Crush the garlic and add to the pan.
  6. Brown the mince/quorn mince and then add chopped tomatoes and stir.
  7. Stir the pot thoroughly.
  8. Chop the aubergine and courgettes and add to the mixture.
  9. Add some tomato puree and your herbs and stir again.
  10. Leave the pan to simmer while you pre-boil your lasagne sheets.
  11. Lay as many lasagne sheets as required on the bottom of your oven dish, then pour about half of your lasagne on top.
  12. Pour some of your Béchamel / White Lasagne Sauce over the lasagne.
  13. Repeat no. 11
  14. Top off your lasagne with more lasagne sheets, and the rest of your Béchamel / White Lasagne Sauce.
  15. Grate your cheese (cheddar or parmesan) and sprinkle it over the top of your lasagne.
  16. Cook for 30 minutes or until the cheese has all melted and begins to brown.
  17. Plate up – the leftovers can be blended up for baby to enjoy with you, or for you to have on another rainy day.

Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

  • Fusilli Pasta
  • Chopped Tomatoes (1 tin)
  • Tinned Tuna Chunks
  • Cheese
  • Tomato Puree
  • Garlic Puree
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sweetcorn
  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200 degrees C.
  2. Boil enough pasta to fill your oven dish when cooked. Remember that pasta doubles in size when cooked, so don’t do too much!
  3. Drain your pasta and put it back in the pan. Add your tomatoes, tuna and sweetcorn. Depending on how much pasta you’re making, you may need more than 1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
  4. Stir the pot and add your purees.
  5. Grate some cheese. Add about half to your pot and continue stirring.
  6. Now add your herbs and stir thoroughly before you pour the pasta into an oven dish.
  7. If you’re not making baby a portion, add some crunched up crisps to the top of the pasta to make it nice and crunchy once baked. If you are making a baby portion, it’s probably best to just sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  9. Plate it up and blend/keep the rest for baby! Pasta is a great weaning food because it’s soft and easy for little ones to pick up with their hands.

Leek and Potato Soup

This one is one of my all time favourite recipes, so I’ve blogged it before! Check it out here.

This one is also great fun for babies because

  1. it’s already blended
  2. they get to munch on bread and butter with it

What are your favourite weaning recipes for your tots? Have you used any of these ones before?

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Tricks for coping with Chicken Pox!

Many of us are familiar with the signs and symptoms of chicken pox- if you’re not click here and have a read! Sadly it is inevitable that our little ones will deal with it at some point- so we thought that we’d put together some (tried and tested*) top tips for helping your little ones to cope with the Pox!

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(*All of the following has been tried by Harriet, with Flo, during her case of chicken pox in late July / early August. She recovered remarkably well and despite having sensitive skin, we managed to keep her comfortable and barely ever had to remind her not to itch or scratch! Her spots scabbed over very quickly and she had little other symtoms. I tried all of the below to keep her comfortable and feel that these things really helped to get her through ‘The Chicken Pox’ with ease!)

  1.  Avoid giving your child Ibuprofen at all costs! Ibuprofen disrupts the healing process and increases the risk of soft tissue / skin infections- including serious infections like necrotising fasciitis. Ibuprofen is an anti inflammatory and because of this, it can react with the chicken pox- making them go deeper into the skin tissue.
  2.  Avoid giving you child any form of Aspirin! Children who have Chicken Pox Virus can develop a potentially fatal condition called Reye’s Syndrome, which can cause severe brain and liver damage.
  3. Remember that you can use Piriton (Chlorphenamine), in children 12 Months and Older – this helps to soothe the itching and discomfort that comes with the Chicken Pox blisters healing. Please always read the instructions!  Piriton
  4.  Calpol can be given when your child has a fever or is struggling with cold symtoms that often accompany Chicken Pox. If your child doesn’t like the taste, you can try mixing in with squash.  You can buy cheaper versions of liquid paracetamol at your local supermarket or at drugs stores like Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy or Superdrug- they do exactly the same job as Calpol, often at almost half the price! Please always read the instructions! Calpol
  5. Applying Diprobase Emollient can soothe sore spots. Diprobase is often used as for nappy cream and for eczema. The emollient properties soothe the itchiness from the outside!Diprobase
  6. Using Vosene Frequent as bubble bath, at bath time can help to keep the scabs nice and dry. Florence said it made her skin feel “nice and cool and comfy again”.Vosene

7. Apply PoxClin CoolMousse to soothe itchy spots. PoxClin Is a relatively new product that you can apply to your child’s spots. It can apparently accelerate the natural healing process and prevents the infection of wounds. It is super light and fluffy so it is very quickly absorbed into the skin. Poxclin_CoolMousse8. Calamine lotion is the cheapest way to soothe those nasty spots. It is a tried and tested approach that goes back decades, just dab on with cotton wool and away you go!Care_Calamine_Lotion9. Keep fingernails short to stop the blisters from being scratched, as this can lead to scaring. In children under three you might even be able to get away with putting socks on your child’s hands to avoid scratching when they are asleep.

10.  Ice lollies are a life saver if your little one has cold symptoms with their Chicken Pox or, of their Chicken Pox has spread to their Mouth, Lips or Tongue!

11. Keep your little one very well hydrated, they might not feel like eating much- especially if they have spots in their mouth, so their usual milk or milk substitutes may help keep their energy levels up. Offer them fluids frequently as drinking lots can keep nastier symptoms at bay and can aid the healing process.

If your child is too young to be given Calpol, it is recommended that you seek medical assistance. Here are some signs and symptoms that aren’t always ‘normal’ to have when experiencing Chicken Pox, these might indicate that you need to seek further medical assistance for your child-

  • If you your child has a temperature of over 39 degrees.
  • If the skin surrounding your child’s chickenpox becomes red, sore or appears to be infected.
  • If your child has pain in their chest or difficulty breathing.
  • If your child is not managing to drink enough fluids.
  • If your child is struggling to pass urine.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Sensitivity to light (photosensitivity).
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Confusion.
  • Sleepiness, fainting, difficulty waking or unconsciousness.
  • Convulsions or seizures.

What have you tried to help soothe chickenpox?

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Are daddies better than mummies?

We’ve all been there…

Your toddler is, quite frankly, being a bit of an arse. Whether they’re having a full blown tantrum or simply need an attitude adjustment, there comes a point where they’ll say those words: “I want Daddy”.

The last 3 weeks of Olivia’s life have been “I want Daddy”. She even told me she hates me, and constantly tells me “Daddy’s the favourite” or “I love Daddy, not Mummy”. I know she’s only 3, but it kinda hurts.

I’ve started feeling a bit bitter, which I think is no surprise, given that I carried her for 9 months, gave life to her, altered the appearance and functionality of my reproductive organs, abdomen, vagina, boobs, the works, all to bring something into the world that was only going to grow up to hate me.

It grates on me, just a tad.

Of course, she’s 3. So, she doesn’t know that I feel bitter. She thinks she’s being funny, or maybe she just actually does prefer Daddy when she comes out with it in the middle of screaming at me.

Is Daddy better than me? He’s the classic, laid back, fun Daddy. I’m the classic, mean Mummy. It’s frustrating, right?

The thing is, our toddlers do this because they love us so much. Sounds like a cop out, but it’s not. It’s actually a really good thing that they feel so comfortable to push those boundaries with us, because they know that we will always love them unconditionally.

So if you’re noticing that your little one is misbehaving for you and not for daddy, just remind yourself (and him, smugly) that it’s because they love you more!

And remember that it’s okay if they make you feel like poop for a while, because those tantrums are physically and emotionally draining to deal with! Just try not to take it to heart (easier said than done, I know).

How do you cope with toddler tantrums? Do your toddlers have a “favourite” parent?

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A great day for dinosaur lovers – York Maze review…

Olivia and I have just returned home from a lovely long weekend visiting our family in Yorkshire.

Living in army quarters roughly 200 miles away, and being ridiculously busy with work all the time, means I don’t get to see them as often as I would like, but we did manage a solid 4 days of visiting! As it doesn’t happen very often, we ended up being very, very busy and visiting lots of different places (so expect to see a couple of reviews in the next few weeks!) It became a little mini holiday for us which was really lovely, and I had some precious quality time with Olivia, too.

One of the places we went to was York Maze. We spent about 4 hours there in total as there was so much to do, but some little legs got the better of us. Never have I done so many piggy backs before this weekend! I will probably regret ever demonstrating what a piggy back is, I am sure…

What is York Maze?

It’s a fantastic, fun-filled day out that caters to the entire family. Although I only went with Olivia, who is 3, we could easily have had just as much fun if 9 year old Kiera was with us too.

It isn’t just a maze, but they mazes (plural) are of course the main attractions. Over the years, the maze has been shaped into a number of different characters/features from films/television, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. This year, the main maze was Lion King themed. You have 6 checkpoints to get to and answer some themed questions to get the magic word for the end of the maze. Olivia enjoyed shouting the secret word very loudly so that everyone could hear her!

On top of the main maze, there is also a separate Jurassic Park themed maze with 8 dinosaurs inside. Olivia insisted on stroking them all… but on the up side she was also able to name all but one! The spinosaurus evaded us, but there was a helpful list on the way back out naming them all so that you can see if you got them right!

The Jurassic Park maze is much smaller, but the classic theme tune can be heard throughout, and it’s great fun finding the dinosaurs. For my little dino lover, this was perfect!

Is it just a maze?

No, there are so many activities at York Maze aside from just the mazes, which is how we ended up spending so much time there.

As well as the maze, they have a sweetcorn themed obstacle course (which Olivia and I smashed) and meet and greets with the animals. You can hold a snake or a creepy crawly and the owls and reptiles are out for you to meet, too.

Is there much for little ones to do?

Yes! Olivia loved jumping on the popcorn pillow which had split sessions for little ones to jump together without the big kids. That worked really well and was much nicer for the children (and parents) not to worry about any big kids hurting the smaller ones by accident.

What can the big kids do?

There’s a lot of things for the bigger children to get stuck into, too! As well as all of the other activities, there’s a rock climbing wall and an adventure play park that’s suitable for big and little children.

The quiz in the main maze is probably more geared towards older children too, although Olivia still managed to have lots of fun!

Have you ever been to York Maze? Let us know what theme the maze was and whether you enjoyed it!

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A New Mummykind Baby!

My baby arrived a couple of weeks ago so I thought it would only be right to introduce her to our followers with a bit of a “life update” after so many pregancy posts (and more to come from my drafts folder that need a bit of polishing up!)

As you may have noticed I don’t share the name of my son online and the same goes for my daughter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some gorgeous pictures of the new baby Martin.

She arrived when I was 41+3, weighing in at an eye watering 9lb8oz which might not have been so bad if she didn’t pop an arm out at the same time as her head. Not cool little lady, not cool.

We have been spending the days breastfeeding pretty much non stop, as she rather unsurprisingly has a tongue tie and tires easily when feeding. Getting used to life as a family of four has seen a handful of fairly small challenges so far, we’ll see how it is when the oldest starts school next month!

Keep an eye out for my labour and birth story and a backlog of pregnancy posts including: packing my hospital bag, why I decided against a home birth and how I handled my late term pregnancy.

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Sarah's birth story

Mummy needs rest… 12 Activities to do with your little one when Mummy can’t do so much.

I’ve been feeling some guilt that so late in my pregnancy I’ve not been out and about as much as I’d like to with my daughter. I’ve been trying to encourage my daughter to play a lot more by herself but I think these little games, even if they are really simple, have meant we have still been able to have fun together.

Being heavily pregnant when you already have a toddler/pre schooler is hard work isn’t it?! Especially if your little one doesn’t spend very long entertaining themselves without asking for Mummy to play too. If you’re on maternity leave, you might even want to save a few pennies too…

So I’ve been trying to think of 12 simple ideas so we can still be involved in play time at home. Ways that don’t create too much mess and that allow tired mums to put their feet up for a bit and enjoy a cuppa at the same time! It’s so easy when you’re feeling exhausted to put some cartoons on or a game on your phone, but I’ve been trying not to overdo these things if I can.

1 – Puzzles. Either doing one together or having little competitions of who can complete their puzzle the quickest. You can make it a bit more challenging for yourself by choosing the puzzle with more pieces, turning your pieces over or giving little one a timed head start.

2 – Colouring. You can’t go wrong with some colouring, and putting some music on in the background makes this even more relaxing. Mummy can be colouring in her therapeutic adult patterns at the same time. Win win! If you’ve run out of colouring books there are some great websites where you can print out pictures for free.

3 – Book reading. I can’t not put this in because story time is a lovely excuse for a cuddle on the sofa.

4 – Play dough. In an attempt to make this a bit different I saved some small plastic trifle pots from going in the recycling bin. I put some little spoons out so my little one could pretend to make little ice cream sundaes from the play dough. I haven’t tried this yet but you could also put some little plates out, a plastic pizza cutter and pretend to make pizzas with different toppings. I find play dough is such a good distraction but can be a bit of a pain when you’re picking bits of play dough up off the floor after, especially if you’re struggling to bend over at this point in your pregnancy!

5 – Cafe. My little one really enjoyed playing this. I got to sit down with a little table in front of me while my daughter took my order like a little waitress. Then she was going to her play kitchen and making me meals like a chef with her play food. If you don’t have a play kitchen, get a few pans and wooden spoons out the kitchen and encourage your little ones to use their imagination. You can do as much or as little as you like with this.

6 – Snap. We have nursery rhyme snap cards but if your little one is a bit older, you could use a normal pack of cards and match the numbers. What child doesn’t love slamming their hand down and shouting “snap!”?

7 – Domino bingo. Take a piece of paper or card per person and write 9 random numbers on,h no than the number 12. Turn over the Domino pieces so you can’t see the numbers and take it in turns to pick a domino. Ask little one to count the dots and match them to the numbers on the paper and when you get all 9 numbers shout Bingo!

8 – I spy. I spy with my little eye a quick and simple game to try to help with colour recall. You could ask little ones to describe to you something they can find that is the colour red for example.

9 – Treasure hunting. I love the sand pit. I’ve been hiding things such as shells or coins in the dry sand and my daughter has been sieving to try to find the ‘treasure’. You could ask your little one to cover their eyes and then hide a surprise toy in the sand for them to find. This is a nice excuse to sit out in the sun. All that is missing is a nice Pina Colada! Not too long to wait ladies!

10 – Playing with a ball. You don’t have to be running around the garden to play with a ball. Sit on the floor (if you are able to of course!) with your feet together to make a diamond shape. Roll the ball to each other and sing nursery rhymes. This is such a simple game but we had some giggles when we were rolling the ball as quickly as we could.

11 – Memory game. Laying out some items on a tray. Asking little one to look for a minute then turn around so you can remove one item. See if little one can remember what has gone missing from the tray.

12 – Photo puzzles. Make some copies of family photos, cut them up into different shapes and ask little one to put the pictures back together again.

I’ve been feeling some guilt that so late in my pregnancy I’ve not been out and about as much as I’d like to with my daughter. Driving in the car has become uncomfortable and I’m walking around at a snail’s pace. My body is definitely telling me to slow down. I’ve been trying to encourage my daughter to play a lot more by herself but I think these little games, even if they are really simple, have meant we have still been able to have fun together.

I hope you get as much enjoyment as we both have out of them and please share your ideas with us!

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