How to make VEGAN Heart of Te Fiti cookies

I was writing my upcoming blogpost about the best Moana party ideas on Pinterest (subscribe to see it when it goes live), and as I was doing so my daughter was just too excited by the pictures of Heart of Te Fiti cookies… So, of course, I had to make some, and we did them vegan style!

What you will need (this will make 20-25 small cookies depending on individual sizes):

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g Vitalite dairy free margarine (Flora also have a dairy free range)
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp/a splash of soya milk (we used Tesco own brand)
  • A green icing pen

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees C and place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray ready

2. Place the flour, margarine and sugar into a bowl and mix it with your hands until it is mixed well and forms a breadcrumb texture

3. Add the vanilla essence and enough soya milk to make the mixture sticky – you can mix this in with a spoon to save your hands getting even messier!

4. Roll a small ball of dough in your hands and flatten it out into a thick oval shape, repeat until there is no mixture left

5. Place the cookies into the oven for 20-30 minutes, checking them periodically until they’re a light golden brown colour

6. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool

7. Once they have cooled down, grab your green icing pen and decorate them! It’s easier to do the swirl in one smooth motion and enough pressure to make sure the icing sticks to the cookie

8. You can eat them right away, but if you want the icing to set a little then pop them in the fridge for an hour or so first!

Let me know if you’ve tried them! I plan on doing these again for my daughter’s birthday party at the end of the month so would love to know if you’ve found any more Moana inspired party foods!

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My D.I.Y fun toddler game part 2- smiley sorting faces game!

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Who doesn’t love smiley faces?!

I’ve dabbled with trying to show Imogen the names of different colours. We’ve got books with them in and she’s got coloured shape sorting toys but I realised that colours isn’t something we have really looked at through play. Imogen really loves sorting things and putting them in to boxes, so I had a little think, and a little look on Pinterest for some ideas. I started dyeing some dry pasta and cereal and thought, now what?! Just getting my daughter to sort them into coloured pots, I thought, could be made more fun. So this is when I came up with this simple idea, which took next to no time at all to set up. The only thing that takes a bit of time is waiting for the food colouring to dry. Some of the colours are a bit  more stubborn than others to dry though!

I hope you and your little ones enjoy this and you can make this game from items you have around your home.
What you need:
4 handfuls of dry pasta or cereal, (whatever you have in your cupboard and is a suitable size for your child),
Different food colouring, (you can use paint but if your child is still putting things in their mouth then food colouring might be the better option),
4 plastic bowls, (they don’t need to be coloured but mine were red, green, blue and yellow, which I just so happened to have),
Paper,
Coloured pens or pencils,
Sticky tape,
Scissors,
A bigger bowl to draw around,
A container to mix the food dye in,
A spoon,
Some kitchen towel.
Make the game in 4 easy steps:

1) Add some drops of food dye into the container with one handful of dry pasta/cereal and mix thoroughly with the spoon. Lay it on the kitchen towel to dry overnight. Continue this with the other colours, so that the rest of the pasta is different colours. I used red, blue, green and yellow dyes.

2) Turn the bigger bowl upside down on your paper and draw around it to make the circles for each of your smiley faces. Then cut them out.

 
3) Draw your smiley face’s eyes onto your circle with your coloured pens. Next you need to cut the mouths out. If you fold the circles in half, so the eyes are both on one side, this makes it easier to cut. I then coloured around the mouths. Repeat for all four circles.

4) Tape the smiley faces to the tops of each of your bowls, corresponding to the colours of your bowls.

Then it’s time to play!

Mix your coloured pasta and cereal together. The game is for your little one to try to match the colour of the pasta with the right smiley face’s mouth. It’s as simple as that! I did think about adding more to the game, but I think for toddlers and pre-schoolers it is okay for the game to be this simple. You could add new colours to the game and different items. You could even introduce tweezers to pick up the pasta or cereal, to help your child with their hand-eye coordination. If the faces get ripped, then it is easy to replace them.

Imogen didn’t want to stop playing this game and I was so pleased to watch her get the hang of it. We started her off with just two colours to begin with. We did find the Cheerios were starting to disappear, so I was relieved I used the food colouring instead of the paint!

Let us know if you tried it!

Trying SimplyCook

Before I start, I should probably say, this isn’t sponsored by SimplyCook. I’m just a mumma who loves food and discounted/free thigs!

As the main cook in my household, I hate dinner time, because I try and make something new but always end up going back to the same old meals we usually have, which is what drew me to SimplyCook. As a lot of ‘post box’ brands do, SimplyCook had a ‘first box for £3’ offer going and I’m never one to turn down discounted things so I got one and eagerly awaited the post for my box.

In your box you get 4 mini boxes containing herbs, spices etc. Everything you’’ll need to add to your food to make it taste amazing.

Meal 1- Santa Fe Chicken Salad


Included in the box – 
Cilantro Salsa Blend
Grilled Pepper Mix
Ancho Chilli Rub

Ingredients to buy
Chicken
Peppers
Red Onion
Tomatoes
Bag of Salad

The Verdict.
I’m a little bit on the fence with this one. The chicken had such an intense, moreish flavour to it and really brought the salad to life and the same with peppers but unfortunately the same can’t be said about the Cilantro Salsa Blend. It had a very intense lemon flavour that was hard to swallow and just didn’t go well with the chicken. It was the only thing left on our plates at the end of the meal, which was a shame because I LOVE salsa so was looking forward to trying it on a salad. It just didn’t match the great tastes of the chicken. At  approximately 410 Calories per serving, which isn’t bad, I just don’t think its worth trying again just because of that.

Overall I’d give this meal a 6/10, sadly let down by the Cilantro Salsa Blend. My partner sadly gave it a 4, again let down by the Cilantro Salsa Blend.

Meal 2 – Hungarian Goulash Soup


Included in the box
Sweet Paprika
Goulash Spice Blend
Beef Stock

Ingredients to buy
Pork Sausages
Onion
Carrot
Red and Green Peppers
Tomato Puree

The Verdict.
This meal was delicious! It was warming, comforting and just everything you want for a cold, miserable day. I will say, I chose to have it with crusty bread rather than the 2nd option of mashed potatoes, but I wish I had gone for the potatoes as it is more of a casserole consistency and would have made the meal even better. I can’t fault this meal at all, it wasn’t perfect but it was very very yummy! It is approximately 500 Calories per serving which is amazing from something so hearty!

Overall I’d give this meal an 8/10, simply because it was more of a casserole than a soup but still tasted amazing!

Meal 3 – Shakshouka


Included in the box
Cumin & Caraway Mix
Spricy Tomato Paste
Shakshouka Spices

Ingredients to buy
Eggs
Tomatoes
Onion
Red and Yellow Peppers
Bread

The Verdict.
WOW. We had this for brunch after date night and it may not look like much but it was amazing. It was such a welcomed change to our breakfast routine and it was just perfect. The spices and flavours in this meal just blended so perfectly together with the eggs and it really got me and my partner excited to try it again. At only 375 Calories per serving, it would be rude not have it again! Definitely the best meal from these boxes so far!

Overall I’d give this meal a 10/10. It was such a lovely change from our usual breakfast choices and we are already planning on having it again!

Meal 4 – BBQ Tandoori Chicken


Included in the box
Smoked Chilli Blend
Sweet Potato Seasoning
Tandoori Paste

Ingredients to buy
Chicken Thighs
Natural Yogurt
A Lemon
Sweet Potatoes
A Bag of Salad

The Verdict.
This meal was pretty good, not too spicy but not lacking in flavour also. Even my daughter tried it, which at the moment is saying something because she is ill and really fussy. The meal made me and my partner nicely full and kept us full for a longer period of time (although, I did have room for a sneaky piece of banana cake whilst I wrote this… oops!) This one is a nice altenative to buying food from a takeaway and a lot healthier at approximately only 500 Calories per serving!

Overall, I’d give this meal an 8/10. It was a lovely meal and I will definitely try it again, it just can’t have a 10 because it was nowhere near as good as the Shakshouka.

So! Would I buy this again…?
Absolutely! Not only did it help with the buying side of things, it also gave me more ideas for dinner time. We would never have tried most of the things in this box but we do definitely be eating them again. (Especially the Shakshouka!)

I would absolutely recommend SimplyCook to anyone who is stuck for dinner ideas, wanting to try something new or anyone who just loves amazing food!

Mummy and Baby bears’ porridge

There’s been frost on the cars in the morning and a chill in the air, I can’t wait for the warmth of Spring. But there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy snuggling up in the mornings with a nice warming bowl of porridge, that both mumma and baby bear can enjoy, away from the thieving clutches of Goldilocks.

I wanted to make a hearty porridge that I like and that my toddler would enjoy, which is sweet enough without adding sugar.

I make this amount and there’s enough for my toddler and myself as you can see from the picture.

For this simple, tasty breakfast you will need:

  • 50g of porridge oats,
  • 150ml water,
  • 150ml milk,
  • 1 pot of strawberry fromage frais yoghurt,
  • 1 banana chopped into small pieces

Measure the water and milk and mix. Add the porridge oats and the banana pieces and mix. It’s best to use a deep microwave safe bowl for this.

Cook for 2 minutes in 900 watt microwave or 2.5 minutes in an 800 watt microwave and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes

Stir in the yoghurt when the porridge has cooled down to a warm temperature and serve into your bowls.

Enjoy!

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Spotting the early signs of lung cancer

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Thank you very much to Chrissy, working with http://www.seniorsandhealth.com, for this guest blog post on how to spot lung cancer early! A difficult subject that nobody really wants to consider, so we hope these tips will help someone who is feeling a bit unsure about what is going on! 

Early Signs of Lung Cancer That Parents Should Never Ignore

We all know that when you’re a parent, you need to stay healthy. You need all the energy you can get, and you certainly don’t want to become ill – who’s going to look after the kids then? One of the best ways to maintain your health is to listen to your own body. This can help you to spot the early warning signs of a whole range of illnesses, including lung cancer. And the sooner you notice that something is amiss, the sooner you can get yourself checked out and, if it turns out to be necessary, begin treatment and start fighting back.

A model of the human body reflected in a window

The symptoms that will be experienced by someone with lung cancer can vary a great deal, and unfortunately, some people don’t notice any symptoms for quite some time, giving the cancer a chance to get out of control. This means that it’s doubly important to keep a close eye on any changes to your lung health. That way, you will notice if anything is amiss.

What are the early warning signs?

Here’s a guide to the warning signs of lung cancer that you need to be looking out for and that you should never ignore. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can. In most cases, the doctor will be able to reassure you that nothing serious is wrong, but in those cases where cancer does turn out to be present, it is much easier to treat, and there is a much higher rate of recovery, if it is caught early. Cancers that are left continue to grow, and spread throughout the body, so don’t delay making that appointment.

  • Do you have a cough that you can’t seem to shake, or which sounds or feels different than coughs you’ve had before?
  • Are you getting more chest infections than you usually do?
  • Are you short of breath, or becoming wheezy, when you are doing things that you used to be able to do without any trouble?
  • Are you coughing up blood? If you do, don’t panic. There are several things that could cause this, but you do need to get checked out by a doctor.
  • Have you lost your appetite for no reason?
  • Have you lost weight for no reason, without dieting or doing more exercise
  • Are you feeling unusually tired or lacking in energy?
  • Do you have an ache or pain in or around your shoulder?
  • Are you having difficulty swallowing?

For many parents, the thought of not being around to see their kids grow up is the best incentive there is to stay fit and healthy. So, while many of these symptoms could be harmless and related to a common bug, it is always best to seek medical attention and get the necessary check-ups to diagnose if anything more serious is present.

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Mental Health Monday: 5 ways to cope with stress!

Stress!

The one thing we parents seem to have in abundance! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet discovered how to live a completely stress-free life, so instead, here are my top 5 tricks on how to cope with stress!

1. Copious amounts of tea

Ever heard the saying that none of the world’s problems cannot be solved with tea? Well, I am a firm believer! Particularly if your problems are stress-related. I know it can be hard to drink a hot drink while it’s still hot these days, but make sure you grab the opportunity when it presents itself! There’s not much else that’s better than enjoying a hot, caffeinated drink and putting your feet up for a minute while you do!

2. Play dough

This may sound daft, but this is ridiculously stress-relieving. Come on, mummies, whose kiddies do not have play dough lying around somewhere? (If not, you can check out the way to make your own here!)

If they do, and if the colours aren’t all mushed up together in some form of absolute ANARCHY, then I seriously recommend just twiddling it for a while and feeling all of your stress leaving your body as you do!

3. Yoga

Again, I know that finding time is difficult, but it could actually be the best thing you do that day to get out of the house and going to a yoga class! If not, you could easily pull up a youtube tutorial for some yoga breathing exercises. It’s incredibly calming and whenever I’ve done it, I LITERALLY feel lighter having done so. You can physically feel the tension being lifted and the positivity seeping back into where it used to be, once upon a time.

4. Classical music

I know what you’re thinking. “She’s gone mad”, “how old is she?” etc. etc.

But I am serious! Music defines our emotions so much more than we think. If all you listen to is high tempo, upbeat pop music, you might feel happier but it’s still energetic and active. I’m not suggesting you listen to Bach, Mozart or Beethoven (I mean, you can if you want to), but just go onto Spotify, pop your headphones in, and stick on a classical playlist.

My favourite contemporary classical composer is Yiruma – a Japanese artist. His music is just hauntingly beautiful, and I always feel calm and relaxed when I listen to it.

This tip could probably apply to any music you find relaxes you, but if you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend listening to a bit of pure piano magic.

5. Scream into a pillow

You really do think I’m mad now, don’t you? But I’m serious… In the same way that sometimes you need a good old cry to just get it out of your system, sometimes releasing all of that pent-up anger, upset and frustration is best done by burying your face in a pillow, and screaming loudly. You’d be surprised how much better you can feel afterwards!

So there you have it, my 5 TOP TIPS to cope with stress, and make life just a little bit more manageable!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips that you swear by to keep your cool!

Mummies Waiting

Top 5 hairstyles for my frizzy haired daughter!

5 frizzy hairstyles

Up until very recently, Evie always hated people touching her hair. It was a major struggle to get her to let me brush it or even wash it without a meltdown. So when she finally decided that she wanted pretty hair for nursery, I was stuck to say the least. She has the awkward in-between hair that isn’t curly or straight, thick or fine… It’s usually just a matted frizzy mess begging for a brush. But with a bit of help from Social Media mummies and a lot of Pinterest searching, I have finally found hairstyles that are not only easy to do but tame her frizzy hair and make it easier to manage on a daily basis. So I give to you, my top 5 go to hairstyles for my frizzy haired daughter.

1.This one is the easiest of them all! All you need is 2 small hair bands or elastics and a comb! Always try and start off with damp hair, it makes it so much easier to manage and helps it stay in place when styling! Separate the hair into 2 sections and tie them into bunches. DONE! If your daughter’s hair is shorter like mine, use the top section if her hair and then separate that into 2 sections. You can add clips or bows etc. to make it look prettier or just leave it as it is.

2.For this one you will need 4 small hair bands or elastics and a comb. Take the front section of hair and split it into 2 sections and tie them into bunches. Then take the middle section of hair and do the same but as you comb them into bunches, add the bunch from the top section into it.

 

3.This one is very similar to the previous one but instead of passing the top bunch down, pass it diagonal and then tie it into a bunch.

4.For this one you will need 2 small hair bands or elastics and a bit more patience. Separate the hair into 2 sections (as you can see, the sections don’t need to be even). Clip one section to the side whilst you work on the other side. Take the front section of hair and start twisting it back gathering up sections of hair as you go along, until you get to the back and then tie it off with a band and then repeat with the other side. Once you’ve reached the back with second twist, tie them both together and add a bow or flower etc.

5.For this one, grab 6 small hair bands or elastics and a comb. Split the hair into two sections and clip one side. Take the bottom section and tie it into a bunch, then take the middle section and do the same but take the bottom bunch into it before tying it off and repeat again with the top section. Then repeat on the other side. Depending on the length of your daughter’s hair, you can either leave the top as bunches or make them into buns.

And there you have it! My top 5 hairstyles for my frizzy haired daughter! Hopefully these work for you and if they do, we would love to see them! Or if you have your own go to hairstyles, feel free to share them below, I’m always in need of new ones!

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Mental Health Monday: Antenatal Depression

Recently, postnatal depression has been receiving a lot of media attention and greater awareness as a result, which really is fantastic! But… other topics not so widely spoken about are the reams of other postpartum mental illnesses, in addition to antenatal depression and anxiety.

Amy has spoken about her experience of postpartum psychosis on the blog already here, hopefully raising awareness of the fact that it’s not always so straightforward in relation to postnatal mental health! Today, I want to focus on antenatal depression and what it can look like. Similarly to postnatal mental health worries, it can be difficult sometimes to distinguish between depression, or “just hormones”.

A little foreword: my experience of antenatal depression started when I was around 5-6 months pregnant – it can of course start much earlier than that – and to some extent I already knew what the warning signs were, having suffered with depression in the past. Hopefully the following list will help someone else recognise the warning signs in either themselves or a loved one, and enable them to get help as early on as possible! Also I’m in no way medically qualified, these are just the tips from a mum who’s been through it!

Symptoms:

1. Crying, all of the time

This is one of the most famous symptoms of pregnancy in general – crying, all of the time, at silly little things. BUT there is a point when it’s more than just crappy hormones making you all emotional. With hindsight I know that crying over a hoover breaking before I even knew I was pregnant was definitely just hormones, and I know equally as well that crying myself to sleep every night during my last trimester was not hormones, it was depression. This is one of those where you need to be the judge of what is normal for you! Are the raging emotions and mood swings worse than you think they should be? If so, err on the side of caution and flag it up with your GP – if they’re aware, they can help and provide you with support!

2. Obessively worrying

This is something I’m terrible at anyway, but I can always tell the days when my depression and anxiety hits me worst, because I will obsess over things to the point that I can’t get to sleep. If that’s you, still awake with worry at 4am, consult a GP. Sometimes it is normal to worry about being a mum for the first time, but if it’s constant, every night, and you can’t seem to get the thoughts out of your mind for just one second, that’s where it’s not quite okay and you might need some extra help working through the anxiety.

3. Low self-esteem

Pregnant me suffered a massive, huge, unbelievably enormous hit to the self-esteem. From about the 5th month of pregnancy onwards (when bump was starting to show), I hated my body. I did not see the miracle of life when I looked in the mirror, I saw FAT. And I hated it. I have one picture of me and my bump because of this and I regret it so so much. Again, every pregnant woman feels like a whale at some point, normally when we’re having to waddle at the end of pregnancy, but if you can’t stand to look in the mirror or get to the point where you’re crying over what you see when you do look, it’s probably depression.

4. Feeling isolated

This is a big one, particularly if you do have people around you supporting you, but you still feel alone! Firstly, you’re not, your baby will probably remind you of that by kicking you in a rib at some point. Secondly, we all need alone time but make time for friends. Make time to be with adults where you don’t have to concentrate on baby-related things. It can be difficult transitioning from a person to a parent, because you feel like you’re losing your identity. People no longer ask how you are, they ask how the bump is doing. It’s difficult to feel like you’re just the vessel and everyone only wants what you’re carrying, but it’s not true! Without you, the precious cargo would never have existed in the first place. If you do feel alone, reach out to people around you for support!

5. Sleeping trouble

The most common thing for expectant mothers in the sleeping arena is not getting enough of it! Particulary when the baby is running out of room in that womb, and still just as fidgety! But whether it’s too much sleep or too little sleep, they can both indicate depression and can really exacerbate the other symptoms. You’ll have enough sleep deprivation when baby arrives so try to get your head down when you can, without sleeping all day and becoming overtired. Find your balance, take a power nap when needed, and still make sure you’re getting out of the house every day. This is a bit more to do with self care to prevent making yourself ill, but it’s a valid symptom of depression, too.

What do I do if I think I have antenatal depression?

1. Speak to your midwife
2. Get an appointment with your GP
3. Self-refer to counselling with the NHS – here’s a link where you can find local counselling services!
4. Make your partner/family/friends aware of how you’re feeling so that they can give you some familial support
5. And, finally… take each day as it comes – some will be better than others so don’t let the bad days deter you from

These 5 steps will get you on the road to recovery, and after all, we all have to be well to be the best mummies we can be for our little babies!

Did you find anything else that helped you through antenatal depression? Let us know in the comments! Please share this post to raise awareness with the hashtag #MentalHealthMonday

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How to entertain a toddler without spending a penny.

I am so excited about Christmas. The tree has gone up early, I seem to have bought pretty much everything. I’ve planned some Christmas activities for my little one for the month of December. But what do you do when you don’t want to give your toddler any new things to play with, because their toys are waiting in a cupboard to be wrapped, and you’re living off a budget because your money has either been spent, or is going towards all the food and other bits and pieces your money disappears on at this time of year? The weather is also not enticing me to spend much time outside, even with layers on!

I’ve been coming up with some free activities to do at home with my toddler who is a bit bored of her usual toys. She had fun, so I wanted to share these activities with you. Let me know if you try any of them and please share your ideas with us, as we can give them a go before Christmas!

Music time.
Ok, I get it, you’re probably thinking, why Charlotte, why would you want to add to the noise levels you’re already experiencing as a parent?! Well we quite enjoy trying to play some rhythms to songs. I put on some nursery rhymes and we’ll play some instruments, which I’ve separated from the rest of my daughter’s toys, for ‘music time’. If you don’t have any, get the ol pots and pans out with the wooden spoons and have a little sing song. You’re not in front of a judging panel, so who cares if you’re not Mariah Carey? We filled some empty plastic bottles with dry pasta, corn kernels, rice and buttons and used them as shakers. For extra safety you can put some tape round the lids. You could even do this to Christmas songs!

A teddy bear’s picnic.
If you go down to the woods today… Nope, no way… Not in this weather. So what better way to bring a bit of sunshine into your home than to lay out a blanket, sit the teddies round and enjoy a bit of make believe fun. This is when you realise just how vast your toddler’s soft toy collection is getting! My daughter doesn’t have a toy tea set or anything like that yet. It’s something I want to get when she’s a bit older, so what we used instead were some of her plastic bowls, plates and spoons. We even got some empty milk bottles she’s not really used. I put on some music and we had a lot of fun feeding the teddies at the picnic.

If you’re interested, this is the play list we used. I picked some old time classic children’s tunes:

Teddy Bear’s picnic- Bing Crosby
Fuzzy Wuzzy (wuz a bear) – Andrea McArdle
The Bee Song – Arthur Askey
Nellie the Elephant – Mandy Miller
Run rabbit run- Flanagan and Allen
The Sun Has Got His Hat On – Ambrose and his orchestra
How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? – Patti Page
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah – James Baskett

Play dough.
I knew my mum used to make this with me as a child, but I didn’t realise just how easy it is to make and from things that I had in my kitchen cupboard. If I did this again I would add the food colouring to the water, but we still had fun and what we got was more of a marble effect. It wasn’t deliberate but it didn’t bother us, we still had fun. With the amount of salt in the recipe, I kept an eye on my daughter to make sure she wasn’t eating it.

2 cups of plain flour,
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil,
1/2 a cup of salt,
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar,1 and a half cups of boiling water
And food colouring.

Mix the salt, flour and cream of tartar together in a bowl. Add the water, the food colouring and oil into the mixture and stir.

That’s it!

Road car mat.
This was probably the most time consuming activity for me to prepare. I used a piece of board I had lying around the house, but you could use a piece of cardboard. What I did was got out our permanent marker pens and drew some roads, a roundabout and some buildings onto the board. If you were arty, you might like to paint this on, use your imagination! A lot of people will have car mats already for their toddlers, but even if you have, your toddler might enjoy having a different place to drive their toy cars. You could put your house on there and ask your toddler to drive the car home. Now we have this ‘mat’, I’m able to re use it in the run up to Christmas.

These were the free activities I did with my toddler in a week. If you are looking for some fun, free activities to do and you didn’t have the pennies right now, I hope these give you some ideas. Christmas is always a time where we are made to feel as parents that we need to get our children lots of things, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to spoil your children. What I’m saying is that your toddler will be enjoying spending the time with you and won’t be worrying about the price tag.

Like I said, please share your ideas, we’d love to see and hear about them!

Top tips for mums planning a wedding and honeymoon

Weddings take so much planning as they are. When you factor in children things can get messy. Here are some tips to help your day run smoothly.  #Wedding #Bride #FlowerGirl #KidsAtWeddings #WeddingPlanning #Babies #Toddler

Wedding

Last Tuesday I tied the knot and became a wife! Crazy, I know. At the ripe old age of 22, I have taken myself securely off the market… Sorry, lads.

The day was absolutely wonderful, and I am amazed with how well my darling 17 month old daughter coped with all the late nights and lack of sleep. However, having her around did make certain pre-wedding things slightly more stressful, so if you can learn from my experiences, I hope it makes it much easier for anyone else in the same boat!

1. Don’t attempt dress fittings with clingy children…

For my final fitting before the big day, myself and 3 bridesmaids all had to get to the bridal shop for final tweaks and adjustments. You would think that, in this situation, there are enough bridesmaids to go around to entertain the little one while mummy had her fitting. Except 2 of them were 50 minutes late, with no explanation. This is more of a choose reliable bridesmaids tip than a parenting one, but the struggle that occurred while I was in my dress and the baby was screaming for a cuddle (overtired, as usual) was awful and made even the seamstress upset! Both myself and Olivia could have been saved a lot of tears if she had simply been left with Daddy for the day.

2. Try not to upset their routine too much…

After a week of being away from home, Olivia was more than happy to go to her own bed, with her teddy and her nightlight, and went to sleep straight away with no fussing at all. You know how, when you stay in a hotel too long and you can’t wait to get home and sleep in your own bed? Well, it seems like babies feel that too. To avoid spending too long away from home, plan the wedding locally! I think the whole saga would have been far more manageable for us if we had a local wedding and were in our own place right up until the wedding day, with Olivia only spending the honeymoon (4 nights) in a different bed outside of her normal routine.

3. Have clear childcare plans for the wedding night…

You may think this goes without saying, but maybe not for those without kids. If you’re relying on bridesmaids/friends rather than a childminder or babysitter, make sure they know exactly what will need doing. My anxiety was triggered a lot on the wedding day and night, purely through not knowing who was looking after Olivia when, and from having to save her from falling down the stairs multiple times. It also took one of our lovely (fellow parent) guests to swoop in and offer to change her nappy for us, a small act of kindness that saved me deserting the wedding party and wiping a bare bottom in my wedding dress!

4. Have entertainment ready for the morning of the wedding…

Hectic as it is anyway, it’s even more hectic in a small space with a baby running around and 7 bridesmaids. Mum-in-law was quick to the rescue by plonking the little ones in a bath together with bath crayons and bubbles, keeping them entertained for a significant portion of the morning! And, of course, bath time means bedtime! So little Olivia slept for a couple of hours afterwards, leaving us to get ready in peace!

5. Do take your baby to the wedding rehearsal…

I think that Olivia going to the rehearsal with us made her far happier on the day of the wedding. She knew what was where, and we only had one mishap with her attempting an escape route up to the altar! Other than that, she was perfectly behaved, and mainly stayed in the child-friendly area of the church filled with toys!

Honeymoon

My first tip here is not to take the kids with you – we learned that the hard way! But in all seriousness, if, like us, you want to share your holiday as a family, here are some tips and tricks to make the journey as hassle-free as possible!

1. Pay to take your buggy in the hold luggage, or plan to take one with you…

We made the mistake of assuming Olivia would be perfectly fine to walk about everywhere, not factoring in her exhaustion from all of the late nights she had in preparation for the wedding! As soon as we got to Barcelona, we realised that it wasn’t going to work without a buggy. Happy as she is to walk around, the need for sleep caught up with her and Back Pack Baby in Barcelona were saviours in our hour of need!

2. No amount of snacks is enough for the plane…

I bought 5 packets of Heinz baby biscuits, and 3 packets of Olivia’s favourite fruity bear paw prints. Almost all of that was gone on the outward journey, but luckily she found a hobby in opening and shutting the window blind on the plane, sat on Kiera’s lap. The way back was less easy going, due to having 2 grumpy, whiney children. Olivia managed to get about half an hour of sleep on the plane before her ears began popping in her sleep and obviously making her uncomfortable. Once she woke up and had her remaining snacks, she was her normal self, covered in chocolate and kicking to be free from restraint.

3. Have a nappy plan…

After we had to make an unscheduled nappy change in the early hours of this morning, when Olivia decided it would be super fun to pull hers off and wee on the bed (TWICE), we were left nappy-less by the time we boarded the plane. Of course, Olivia being Olivia, she decided that mid-flight was the best time to poo, and so we had a mad dash through passport control to find a pack of nappies that were definitely too small but had to make do until we could get anywhere else! Wherever you’re going, look up baby supplies before you go, and make sure you’re familiar with sizes. I had no idea where to start and thus we were stuck in this predicament!!!

FINAL TIP:

Enjoy it! Even if you may have some horrific moments, try to cherish the good ones and make lasting memories. Not everything goes as planned, but what I’ve realised is
that I’m lucky to have my new husband, who is particularly talented at turning rubbish times into great ones. I love him and our little family, and we all enjoyed our little trip to Barcelona, even if it was a bit hectic!

That’s it from me today! Share your experiences below!

Mummies Waiting
The ladybirds' adventures