I’ve been pondering, as I do most things, whether as a nation of Brits, whether we are pushing our own fears onto our children?
George is now three and we’ve attended many a baby and toddler class, read many a children’s book and watched many a program aimed at children his age. He’s a child who is learning all about his surroundings, feelings and emotions and how the world works.
The most recent thing we watched that actually sparked this post was a program on a well known British children’s channel. In the show, the children were practicing their nativity play. Two of the girls got up on a stage and acted out the role of Mary and the Angel. After the girls had said their lines, the teacher asked the girls if acting on a stage had made them nervous. They both said no. “Did it make you excited?” she asked. A weak yes response came from both. Fair do’s for asking if it incited varying emotions but what the teacher said next irritated me.
The teacher then turned to the rest of the class and said;
“It’s very hard to get up on stage in front of everyone. “Girl A” usually has a lot of confidence in class but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get up here, she did really well”.
I get what she’s attempting to do. Praise and credit the girls achievements, but can you see the point I am trying to highlight here?
She has just told a class full of impressionable children that it is a difficult thing to stand up and talk in front of others. And so (to my mind) a potential class of nervous and shy children have been created. You tell a child something, they believe it (typically) For many you have just planted a seed of negativity right there.
And before you think I’m one of those 2017, gets offended by everything types, I so couldn;t be further from it. What I am is someone who says things as I see. We all know that if I tell you long enough the sky is green that eventually, if you are impressionable (as children are) you will start to believe it.
I’ve also on countless times heard the mention of “scary spiders”. Yes, agreed, arachnophobia is a big thing in the world but we are never going to stop it by teaching children that spiders are scary. It’s a never ending cycle of fear being programmed into one generation after the next. Children don’t come out being scared of spiders. We teach it to them. I know the end moral of stories like the one I’ve seen on Peppa pig is that you needn’t be scared of spiders like Mr Skinny Legs but by then it’s too late. You’ve planted the seed. Where are the programs about scary sheep, scary balls or scary paintbrushes? There aren’t many you can name are there!
Then there’s rain. Think about it. As a British nation, specifically in England, the majority of us believe that rain is a negative thing. Admittedly this mentality is changing but there are countless posts about what to do on a rainy day at home. But why does a rainy day have to mean you stay home? And so I draw your attention to a well known nursery rhyme.
“Rain, rain go away, come again another day”
Don’t even get me started on;
“It’s raining, it pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning”
I’m sure you are thinking that children don’t over analyse these things. But you have to admit that we could be planting seeds in our children’s minds that suggest rain is negative. You can’t go out in the rain, it needs to go away, no one likes it. Why!?
It’s hard for me as a mother who grew up scared of almost everything. The dark, spiders, going fast, swimming, the wind, loud noise, heights, going upstairs by myself, ghosts, dead people, being shy. I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault I was that way. I can almost pinpoint a life event that caused each of those fears but I bet I’ve forgotten about the episode of a programme that first instilled that idea into me, or a lady saying something to me on the bus, or a book that was read to me at the library.
As an adult I now try my hardest to not be fearful of anything. Using willpower, hypnotherapy and just a basic “couldn’t give a shit” attitude I’ve managed to conquer most of those fears. Post natal depression will do that for you as well I found. Once you’ve seen the lowest parts of yourself you aren’t scared of much else your daily life has to offer. But for George I’ve always wanted different. If I can avoid him gaining a fear of things I will.
He has already developed several fears that affect him in fits and starts and to be honest I can only think they are things he has seen on television as he certainly hasn’t witnessed them from me or his dad. We greet spiders like they are long lost friends, we poo poo suggestions we hear on tele of people saying they are scared of the dark etc. We encourage him to discover, explore and push himself, safe in the knowledge that we will be there if he feels he needs us to support him.
Once he starts full time school I know this will become harder. Perhaps we all need a little fear to make us rounded individuals. I personally feel fear holds you back and you miss out on areas of life because of it. Shyness for example. Would I have taken part in so much more, been part of so many groups had I not been shy. I wouldn’t have taken so much bullshit and I may, possibly, have been happier for it instead of feeling bitter about a lot of my school years.
What do you think? Do you think this is a British thing? I can’t help wondering if children raised in other countries/cultures/environments have different fears because of different exposures. For example in countries where they don’t a lot of television, if any, do children have these fears? Or as Brits are we creating the next anxious and fearful generation?
**Disclosure – I was invited to Bluestone Wales for a midweek break in return for this honest review. All opinions are my own. This does not affect the integrity of this post.**
This post is about the magical, chilled, friendly, chilled, welcoming, adventurous, did I mention chilled? 5 days we spent at Bluestone National Park Resort .
We arrived around 2:30pm on the Monday and checked in whilst still in our car. A traffic light style system calls you up to the check in window where the staff handed us a welcome pack with our entry key cards and premium wifi code that hubby had purchased, along with a copy of the Village Voice. We parked up and headed straight to the golf buggy hire as this was also the nearest loo’s and nature was a’calling. I’ll talk more about the golf buggies later.
Before I could finish in the loo, hubs had completed the gold buggy pickup so we thought we’d take it for a test spin on a mini tour of the site. We located our lodge which we would be able to access at 4:30pm (or 3pm for other lodge types). You are allowed to bring your car onsite to unload and load up on check in and checkout day but otherwise it must be stored in the car park.
George was loving the golf buggy but we felt after the long journey he needed to stretch his legs in the treehouse play area. The treehouses are fab for children of all ages to explore and overlook the newly refurbished adventure playground which was colourful, clean and great quality. It was lovely to see families congregate here whilst the little ones ran round dizzily deciding what to play on next.
We were staying in a Caldey Lodge in Bartholomew rise not far from the lake. Our two bedroom lodge came complete with an open plan kitchen, diner, lounge with tall ceilings to add to the feel of space. There were french doors which opened onto a patio area with picnic table and bike rack. Off of this lounge area was the twin and master double side by side with the bathroom with shower and large heated towel rail.
The lodge was comfy, cosy and the heating worked a treat. What struck me most was the high quality of everything. Heavy, solid wood furniture in the bedroom and dining area. Strong and decent cooking and kitchen utensils which were all well kept and sparkling clean. It felt like a home from home. (It was actually better than my home!)
Having had spinal surgery when I was a teen, I’m pretty fussy about the beds I sleep in. Don’t get me wrong, I can sleep anytime anywhere,but if I don’t sleep in the right bed then my body can suffer for days. At home we have a half sprung/half memory foam mattress with a feather down topper. It’s my ideal bed and sadly I always miss it when we are on holiday. Bluestone’s mattresses however were absolute bliss. Due to having a toddler that likes me to be near, I spent time in both the twin bed and the double and both were equally comfortable. I literally could have stayed in their beds all day ( if I wasn’t being dragged out at 6am by George every morning)
A unique perk of Bluestone is the ability to be able to hire a golf buggy for either a day or the duration of your stay.The golf buggy is a great novelty and it helps a lot with a toddler in tow. Our trusty steed for the week was number 77 Lili-Mai and we had great fun taking it in turns to whizz round on her.
A warmer time of year we might be tempted to walk more or hire bicycles and trailers but we are so glad that we had the golf buggy as a semi refuge from the rain. It meant we could get from A to B quicker without turning up drenched. Little tip: take extra towels/tea towels for wiping the seat dry which (thanks to Welsh weather) you may find yourself doing half a dozen times a day.
You can also take your own bikes and there’s also guest transport to help you get around the resort with designated bus stops. If I am honest though, the site was not as vast as I’d expected. It’s easily walkable and only marginally hilly in some places. The paths are continually being maintained, with staff filling in puddles and holes with gravel on a regular basis.
Top tip – if you aren’t from Wales, make your peace with the weather before you visit. We went expecting nothing but rain so that anything else would be a bonus. Plus, Rainbows!
Food and Drink
This is mine and hubs favourite part of holidays. We love eating out and trying different eating establishments so we wanted to ensure we tried as many of the onsite restaurants and cafes as possible.
In the end the only places we did NOT try were:-
The Knight’s Tavern which I popped in to use the toilets and the atmosphere was pleasant and very similar to that of a pub that serves food. It’s the lower end of the budget of the restaurants onsite.
The Oaktree restaurant which is a pizza / pasta restaurant but on the first night George wanted to be in the lodge so we got takeaway chip shop food from…..
The Chippy which was nice but I have had better and the staff there lacked a welcoming persona. The fried halloumi is worth a try.
Farmhouse grill – The second time we planned on visiting the Oaktree we actually changed our minds as we couldn’t resist returning to the Farmhouse Grill for the second night in a row. I’d recommend booking a table here to ensure you get seated. You can tell it’s freshly made using top notch ingredients. To quote their menu;
“Using quality local ingredients to instil a sense a place“
Staff are so attentive. Hubs was massively impressed on our second night when someone accidentally smashed a glass at their table and before you barely heard the smash there were already two members of staff dashing to the table with a mop and broom.
Checkout piccies of what we had below.
The children’s menu is fab and is a world away from the typical chicken nuggets and chips but still appealing to children. The ‘kids platter’ was such a perfect dinner for him with so many of his favourites.
We also ate twice in the Ty Coffi cafe. Once for a breakfast, (they do a mean beans on toast which went down a storm with George) and their panini’s are great too. There was so much more we could have tried. It was often very busy in there so they definitely could do with a few more staff as the ones there seemed rushed off their feet which meant they didn’t really have time for ‘service with a smile’. t didn’t prevent us from returning though. Their hot chocolates and sausage sandwich are the best way to warm up after a hike through the vast forest.
Bluestone also have a cafe, Caffi Môr, within the spa which I sadly didn’t try, along with a camp style rustic woodland diner which wasn’t open for the season of our stay.
Things to do
There’s such a vast timetable of activities to do at Bluestone, from shadow puppet shows to baby yoga and massage, 4×4 safari driver experience round a track or a host of tree top activities at the steep ravine.
Explore the forest
We chose to check out the Winter lights enchanted walk in daylight and continue on into the forest where we squelched through mud and then washed our boots in the stream. The forest towards the steep ravine is full of really tall, narrow trees, which when the wind blows creates a creaking noise as the trees all knock together. We enjoyed standing still for a while and listening to this noise, before pretending the trees were going to come crashing down and racing up the hill. George loved this game and natures own sound effects added to the feel.
We also spent a fair amount of time playing at the playground which we nicknamed the Teletubbies playground due to the green hill feature.
We tried the shadow puppet show which was great and the village hall decor is magical. It involved participation and dancing from the kiddies rather than a sit and watch puppet show.
If booking via the website you can find a brief description for each activity but I didn’t use this, preferring to book at the booking office after we got a feel for our surroundings. The show was great and top marks for the effort put in by the staff.
When we had enough of being outside we visited the Blue Lagoon swimming pool. They have something for everyone. Slides, wave machine, pirate ship spray area, lazy river taking you outside and an enclosed baby and toddler splash zone where balls float on the water, they can explore walking round an artificial rock pool, squirting gadgets and basketball. This area has a lockable gate to prevent little ones wandering off towards danger.
The Blue lagoon is also open to the public but it wasn’t overly busy when we went mid morning (residents only) and there was room for everyone. There are also designated photo points where you can use your camera without capturing unknowing suspects in your shot.
The adventure has something for all ages and brings the fun inside. The under 5’s circus zone is completely in another area of the building and features a bright, clean and colourful soft play area, mini ride on car on a track, giant building blocks, and baby gym and balance equipment.
The large main area of the adventure centre downstairs contains masses of wooden climbing frames in a tree house style. Some reaching up the ceiling easily 20 feet in the air. There are free ride on trikes available and a bouncy castle, help yourself to a game of mini golf or play some games at the amusement arcade. There’s also a mechanical digger to dig a large pit of sandy stones and bookable wall climbing for adults and children alike. A mezzanine platform allows you to grab a coffee from the Wildwood cafe whilst the madness ensues downstairs.
Seasonal dinner show
On our final night there we’d booked ourselves into Merlin’s Magical Dinner show. This was in the Wildwood Cafe situated in the adventure centre. Here we had a set menu of roast dinner and desert. This was brought up on a big serving plate to our table where we helped ourselves. Meanwhile the staff were extremely attentive, asking if we needed any more potatoes, gravy etc.
Before and after dinner the staff entertained us by putting on a show in the areas around our tables. There was magic, music, comedy and some audience participation from the children too. This really was an unforgettable dinner experience.
Winter lights parade
The dinner experience over, we all wrapped up warm ready to march in the parade through the site. The parade was led by a 12 foot Merlin wizard whilst a member of staff banged a drum and encouraged us through the cold, night with chanting and singing. The children ran and flashed torches and various items they had made at bookable groups that week.
We all gathered in the courtyard at the Knights tavern where the staff and Merlin took to the balcony to guide us as we watched the light how featured in my video below. They then sang into the evening whilst the crowd sang and danced along. It felt like such a wonderful community vibe and no one was in a hurry to be anywhere.
Check Out my youtube video to see more of the light show
People tried to warn me I would be cold in Wales but I didn’t anticipate HOW cold. I lived in 3 layers all week. I’d defo buy thermal undies if visiting in Winter again.
Having said that, our stay has totally changed my outlook on going out in bad weather. I’ve never been too fussed as I’m a football supporter but Bluestone has really cemented the ideal that whatever the weather, fun can be had.
Hubs and I have already said we would love to return in the summer, maybe with friends or family. I think travelling from Essex is aa long way for a mid week break so I’d prefer 7 days in future. I’d love to checkout the local sites and beaches too as we didn;t leave the resort this stay.
This is a place where you can return again and again and never tire as every activity differs. I’d also love to try one of the upside living lodges, offering fab views of the Welsh countryside.
This post gives you the opportunity to WIN tickets to the live show of In The Night Garden.
** Disclosure- In return for bringing you this competition, I myself have been provided with tickets to the show**
If you haven’t heard of the In The Night Garden Live show then checkout their website here for more details.
The shows are live this Summer (2018). There is a choice of two live shows, lasting just under an hour each, giving you the opportunity to see Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka brought to life. The shows are a mix of projections, puppets and characters in costume and take place in a specially designed dome.
Image courtesy of the team at https://www.nightgardenlive.com
Taken from the In The Night Garden Live website ;-
In the Ninky Nonk show, Igglepiggle loses his blanket and all his friends help him find it.
In the Pinky Ponk show, Makka Pakka washes everyone’s faces, until his sponge gets stuck in Upsy Daisy’s megaphone!
All the characters appear in both shows, and both are equally popular. The stories are not linked. So you don’t need to see both, and you can see them in any order.
The dome is designed with tiered seating so that everyone gets the same fab view.
If you would like to enter the competition and you are using a smartphone or tablet, checkout the link at the bottom of the page.
Otherwise, desktop users can enter using the link to the right of the screen →
Entries must be submitted before January 21st 2018 so you haven’t got long!
For me, 2017 will be remembered as the year that advent calendars went mad. They stepped into a whole new level. Some smart Alec (where the heck does this phrase come from?) decided that chocolate advent calendars were not enough. Cover my ears! You can now get an advent calendar containing almost anything.
Of course there have been “fill your own” advents for a while now. Mainly focused on children and adopted by parents who don’t want their precious munchkins having chocolate or because they suffer with allergies. All fab reasons.
But now our little munchkins are being indulged by the supermarkets. A couple of pound (if that, thank you Poundland) on a chocolate advent calendar will no longer suffice. You can now be nagged into buying advents anywhere from £15 upwards to £10,000 (yes really, the feature gift being a £300 Dyson hairdryer) containing Cars, Lego, Playmobil, Frozen characters. The list is endless. I know this isn’t that new but it’s got bigger and more varied this year. Everyone is in on the act.
As for the adults? Well this is where the fun really starts. Counting down to Christmas? For many this is still a celebration of the birth of Christ. So why not count down with a sex toy a day (enter monkey that sees no evil emoji here)! I’m not religious myself but I’m sure this has gone down fabulously amongst those who still hold sacred the true meaning of Christmas.
Sex toys not your thing? We’ve got wine, gin, Yankee candles, bath bombs, makeup, some YouTube girl that everyone has gone bonkers over her charging £50 for bits you can find for a quarter of the price. I just can’t even imagine how next year can top this! Will people be hitting self storage. 25 lockup’s, each containing a new Range Rover a day for the missus. Our consumerist minds have gone mad!
So this year I’ve treated myself and hubs to a little more upmarket calendar in the form of Lindt Chocolate. £5 each in Asda if you don’t mind (not an ad). Next year I may well demand a nail varnish or bath bomb advent calendar who knows but for now I’ll sit back and enjoy my first love, milk chocolate. Mm mmm. And this little festive rhyme for your reading pleasure.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
12 Yankee candles
11 Star Wars Lego’s
10 sample scents
9 gins for drinking
8 Peppa Pig toys
7 fizzy bath bombs
6 tins of Pringles
5 wines for swigging
4 Clarins skincare
3 toot toot cars
2 nipple pasties
And a box full of stinky cheese.
I hope you enjoyed that. Hands up if your are now googling nipple pasties?
Have you and your family opted for an alternative advent calendar this year? Please share them with us. Seasons Greetings to you all.
** Disclosure – I was provided with tickets to attend this event in return for a pre-event post ( See here). We had such a fab time, I wanted to share our day with you all. All opinions expressed are my own.**
October was pretty cool and memorable. Having started preschool in September, we had our first official school holidays in October half term. George previously went to a private nursery where they remained open all year long. Having joined the preschool attached to his (hopefully) future school, they break up when the rest of the school does.
I wanted to have some fun activities to do together for our first half term. A quick search on google and I came across an event called Kidtropolis. You may have read my pre-event post here. I contacted them requesting tickets to the event in return for a review and I am proud to say they were the first event to accept a pitch from myself.
As a gal and a mama who loves a schedule (never go on holiday with me if you hate schedules), I love that the entire Kidtropolis week is scheduled from start to finish, slot by slot. In order to help you choose which day to attend, you decide which days have the activities and shows which would most interest you and book from there. The sessions are 4.5hours and booking includes two live shows.
We chose to attend the Monday am. The first day of the event. We booked car parking at London’s ExCel centre in advance as this worked out cheaper than us paying rail fare from outside of London. There is more than ample parking available. The directions from the car park to the dedicated hall for the event could have been a little better and more organised but as it was day one we may have been the guinea pigs. Entry was quick and hassle free and we were in before we knew it.
There were ample food outlets accessible within the ExCel as well as food and drink within the event. We chose to get an ice cream and bottled drinks from the ice cream van within the venue. The ice cream was really unique. Like a whippy but soooooo delectably creamy. Best whippy ever!After the event we went for burger and chips at The Bridge Burgers and Dogs. Toilets were easily accessible too.
Back to the event, we had a map to guide us around the event but to be honest it wasn’t ridiculously huge. It wasn’t overly busy either so we able to flit from stall to stall briefly and then return to the things that interested us and that I had marked on my schedule. A schedule is fine in principle but obviously nowadays it has to pass the toddler look and judge test. If George doesn’t like the look of it and there’s not persuading him then we have to move on. Thankfully we managed to do everything we had intended, once George had relaxed and warmed to his surroundings.
Our opening show of Peppa Pig live was really disappointing. They were running late and to be honest it was some random guy called david reading two stories from a book whilst a dressed up Peppa and George character stood on the stage. They didn’t even play the credit music until the end of the show. Thankfully things got much, much better. It was literally the first show, at the start of the first day, I’ll allow the organisers one blip.
The second show we had booked for the end of the 4.5 hour session was Marvin’s magic and it was truly wonderful The kids and adults all loved it and we picked up a prop for sale to start George on his quest as a magician. Watch out Dynamo.
The rest of the day was so much fun. Genuinely! Having read reviews of previous years Kidtropolis events, there were many, many complaints of long queues and unhappy children. I saw nothing of the sort this year. Obviously I can only comment for the Monday am but we had a fab experience and I fully intend to return again and again. I think the biggest and possibly only queue I saw all day was for the inflatable assault course which George wasn’t interested in.
There were quite a few activities, shows and bits and pieces that are much more suited for the older kids. Learning how to be a vlogger from the child pro vloggers, Flawless dance zone, Kids fun radio, Tomy lightseekers which I’ve heard is very up and coming.
There were also many areas which George and ourselves don’t have much interest in yet. There really was something for everyone. Lorax, Minions, Star Wars, Drone flying, Minecraft GWR record attempt, springless trampolines and so much more.
George loved the Tomy games area where he was plied with free biscuits and enjoyed trying out some more classic board games with one of the stallholders who was dressed as a character from the game.
I’d promised him an air walker balloon. Having embarrassingly surprised hubs with one of these being delivered to his work one valentines I felt it was time to introduce the wonders of Balloon walkers to the Georgeous. We were so impressed with the dinosaur we purchased at £5 with a free helium balloon thrown in.
Crazy golf is always a winner and George was more interested in making sure we did this over anything else.
He really enjoyed the Geomag stall playing with a variety of magnetic building parts. As did we and we bought something similar for his birthday.
He was a little shy to meet Chase from Paw Patrol but I know he would have regretted it if he didn’t.
But George’s favourite activity without a doubt was riding the balance bikes and ramps at the Bikertots stall. Followed by watching the professional Bike stunt show which left him in awe. We have since become visitors of the local skate/bike park. We have a little BMX dude on our hands I feel and this event was probably the first time I have seen him confidently go off and do an activity without one of us by his side. He still wanted Daddy close on occasions as it was a noisy venue but this is definitely up his street. They are a great franchise club, helping children learn to ride a bike.
George was also really, really taken (much to Mummy’s dismay as she heard her purse getting emptier) by Sylvanian families. He was besotted. Just look at the admiration for this well made classic childrens toy. He also enjoyed looking at the Aquabeads selection, including this epic bridge sculpture. Despite declaring “I want that” every time he sees it on the tele (who else’s kids does this a million times a week!) up close he in fact did NOT “want that”.
The highlight of my day was meeting my own childhood idols, the characters from Rainbow. Bungle was there but as I said to Zippy,
“Nobody liked Bungle anyway.”
Speaking to Zippy, the guy behind the puppet had been in charge of him since 1973! I was completely starstruck. I even introduced George to how my mornings as a three year old used to be by getting up some episodes on You tube. Classic!
Did you attend Kidtropolis this year or previous years? What were your thoughts? Would you go back?
Huge thanks to Emily who organised the tickets for us.
The truth about pregnancy is obviously my truth. I know every pregnancy for every person is different. I’m hoping some women or indeed men will read and relate to this as I like to think I’m being open about the parts people really don’t go into detail about on a daily basis. Let me know what you think. Did you experience anything similar during your pregnancy. Feel free to laugh. I did! Blimey when something less than always pleasant is happening to you for 9/10 months you’ve got to laugh or end up seriously peeved. So here goes.
Anyone else feel like announcing you are having a baby is a bit like telling your parents you lost your virginity. The slightly awkward realisation that everyone is congratulating you on having sex. Like we all know one another is doing it. But to say to the world “hey (little wave), we’ve had sex over here! I mean let’s get a high five for the sex yeah!”
For 9 months I feel like a walking advert for sex. Reasons to have it. Reasons to not have it. I don’t even get paid for advertising space, for the walking advert of magical crap that I’ve become.
My pregnancy with George could’ve been worse but then if you had seen the state of me! I’ll still tell you now, as magical as it is and I loved feeling bubba move, pregnancy really wasn’t all it cracked up to be. It fucked my body in so many ways. Ways that will never be fixed. Have I come to terms with it? As much as I can. I look at the kid and he was totally worth it. But still.
I think some bodies were made for making and carrying babies and some weren’t. I was the latter. It took us a bit longer than average to conceive and I ended up not being able to feel or use my hands, with a nose even wurzel gummidge would struggle to contend with. Amongst the rest of the swollen crap. Elephants feet, grapes for a bum hole and the purple veiny things taking over my thighs of all places!
But otherwise yeah it was fab. Thankfully I didn’t experience morning sickness. I once vomited at 8 months pregnant and let’s say THAT took me by surprise. I had nausea in the first trimester and migraines but nothing a few fruity polos didn’t sort out.
Then there’s your poo. Everyone knows I love talking about poo. My sis actually feel pregnant 5 months before me so she was able to prep me on the stages of poo your pregnant self goes though. Starting with the “cow pat” phase and ending so elegantly with the constipated haemorrhoids phase. Honestly it’s so hard to poo when you have a ginormous belly in front of you and you ant adequately lean forward.
And don’t think you’ll be done with panty pads either. Oh no. There’s various levels of discharge stages you must experience on top of all the other uncomfortable magicalness. I must’ve wanted to escape my body at least once every 24 hours.
Then there’s the insomnia! Like what the actual fuck! It’s like your body says “hey! You wanna have a baby? Let’s get you used to this sleep deprivation thingy now”! Why! I won’t be growing a human once the baby arrives will I! Let me sleep!
As glamorous as it sounds, it was. Snuggling into bed with at least 5 pillows behind me to prevent the reflux and heartburn whilst ensuring the Rennie’s could be found in the dark on my bedside table. Then more pillows between my legs and behind my back because oh my gosh your hips and back really like to let you know they are carrying a baby. Then win my hands strapped up in wrist splints for the carpel tunnel syndrome I would just start to snooze and relax. 20 minutes later and a swift lean on my bladder from my wonderful bundle of magic and I needed the loo. This would happen at least 12 times a night.
I often just stayed up because my hands hurt too much if I fell asleep. I’d wake up and have to pull my fingers and rubs and shake my hands in an effort to regain the feeling and remove the pain. Not forgetting the restless legs. Trying to relax and all my legs want to do is kick out and flip around. How hubs didn’t move out is beyond me. And sadly for him there was no spare bedroom. Thankfully I had. A family of foxes living in our garden that kept me entertained in the early hours. Not to mention some epic lightening shows.
But there was MANY positives to being pregnant. Playing with my bubba inside my tummy using a torch or music provided me with hours of joy. Watching and feeling him move inside me and being able to share that with family and friends. Feeling like a superhero being able to grow this amazing human being. Knowing I was their source of everything and taking the responsibility of motherhood the moment I conceived. Feeling so grateful that I had this opportunity that so many women don’t.
My hair. Oh my hair. I mean it was rather unfair that at a time when my bikini line was about to become like a challenge on the krypton factor to shave, it also started to grow out of control. The boundaries stretched and suddenly my bikini line became a “let’s-venture-down-her-let’s-So there you have it. We had sex! And this is what happened. I’ll save the shit storm that was my labour for another post.
**Edit** I’ve since thought of more delightfulness experienced whilst pregnant. This wouldn’t be the truth, my truth if it wasn’t the whole truth.
The weird spotting you get during implantation that makes you think you are about to come on and then you do a test before a night out on the piss only to find you are going to be on the lemonade all night.
The way your mouth always tastes like you’ve been sucking on a metal pole for hours.
Your superhero sense of smell. You can smell any smell a mile off. I had lots of fun guessing what people were cooking in the next room at lunch break at work.
The way you think all your baggy pre pregnancy tops will fit you when your pregnant because it’s just a fatter belly right? Wrong! Under your bra thickens and widens as your ribs expand, sending your organs god knows where and you end up looking like a sausage in a skin that’s too small. And that’s why maternity wear is big business lol.
Hot flushes that appear out of nowhere and make you wonder if you are dying of flu whilst you stand there dripping with sweat looking like you’ve got the plague.
Your nipples getting strangely darker. Who the heck knows why.
The surprise you get when you have your first scan (12 weeks) and you expect them to be al over your belly like they are on the tele and in films and they actually do it under your belly button because surprisingly that’s where the baby is until it grows bigger.
The feeling of bubba move and thinking it couldn’t have been further from the “butterflies” people told me I’d feel. It was actually more like bubbles popping.
Wondering why my throat was burning of a night and finding out that’s reflux for you.
Having hubs have to cut my dinner up towards the end because the carpel tunnel syndrome meant I couldn’t grip properly or feel my damn hands through the pins and needles.
** I have been provided with Kidtropolis tickets in return for this blog post. All opinions are my own. Tickets can be purchased via www.kidtropolis.co.uk**
Kidtropolis is coming this October half term to London’s ExCel centre. Between 23rd and the 26th October 2017, Kidtropolis will be running a variety of activities and live shows to entertain your children age 12 and under, although older children are welcome.
I am always on the lookout for great events to attend with George. It was by chance that I stumbled across the Kidtropolis event on Twitter. Those of you that may of heard or seen negative reviews after last years event will be pleased to know I asked the organisers if improvements have been made for this years event and they have taken the feedback on board. To quote;
I just wanted to reassure you that Kidtropolis 2017 offers a new format, bigger and better than last year, with lots more brands and entertainment on the stages. Plus, with all tickets bought, families are guaranteed two shows each – these are selected upon booking.
George will be just under two weeks shy of turning three years old when Kidtropolis runs next week. They have a range of toddler friendly activities on during the week, including live shows from;
Naomi’s Wild and Scary
Captain Calamity Pie and Bubble Spectacular
And many more, including many dance acts from Britain’s Got Talent
There’s also a huge range of free activities all included in the price of your entry ticket. Some of these won’t be relevant to your child’s interests or age so I’ll leave you to checkout their website to see exactly what’s on offer. www.kidtropolis.co.uk . Being mum of a toddler, the activities that stand out to me are;
WOW – where learning begins. Mini Professors (aged 2-5), Reading Fairy (Aged 1-5), or Toddler sense session (aged 13 months – 4 years). On Tuesday
Kids Out – featuring the famous galleon from Peter Pan, meeting a real life pirate and the chance to get a pic with a 7metre crocodile!
Balloon Besties – where you have the chance to purchase a walking balloon.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show Meet and Greet. On Thursday
The creation station featuring making things with Playdoh or allowing your 1-11 year old to make their mark on canvas. Protective clothing provided
Meet the Paw Patrol pups, with different characters appearing at varying intervals each day. Checkout the website for which characters are appearing which days.
Auntie JoJo and Magic Martin performing magic shows for all the family and balloon modelling.
Geomag and Smartmax magnetic discovery as these are on George’s birthday wish list and we have played with these at playgroups and nursery and they are fab.
Biker tots (18 months – 4 years). Teaching balance bike skills using a 12” balance bike in a strider zone.
There really is so much more to do there. These are just some of the activities we like the look of. The ticket allows us a 4.5 hour entry slot so I don’t want to be too ambitious and add too much to our to do list. That said, I have a personal agenda, that is to make sure we see the cast of my own childhood favourite, Rainbow. Zippy, George and Bungle will be there celebrating the shows 45 years anniversary! I’m not that old!
You can access London’s ExCel centre via the super cool Emirates airline cable car so we are hoping to catch a ride. I hope George will be massively impressed. It’s so hard to predict this child’s behaviour. Which in one way I love but it can planning days out tricky.
If you haven’t already, head to the website www.kidtropolis.co.uk and book your tickets now. Your ticket entitles you to entry on a day of your choosing, during either the 4.5 hour morning or afternoon session.
Checkout our social media next week to see what we get up to at the event.
We are all looking for ways to maintain our sanity make parenting easier. Three years into parenting, myself and Gorgeous George’s Daddy are still devising ways to encourage George to wash and brush his teeth.
George was two weeks old before hubs and I plucked up the courage to give him his first full bath. Scared of him being a slippery bugger and flying out of hands, thus causing himself us to have hurt him, we waited until it was really necessary. We quickly realised this was going to be something George needed convincing was a fun and relaxing habit.
We have since devised many ways to encourage our child that the essential act of getting washed and brushing your teeth can be fun. I’d like to add that George has pretty much always loved bathtimes and teeth brushing. His main issue is either that he is too tired or the desire to want to play with his toys is too strong.
Here’s are my top tips to encourage your child to wash and brush their teeth twice a day;
Explain what’s expected. I’ve always explained what is ahead of us. I think it helps to make tasks or trips seem less daunting.
Get them involved. Yes it might take longer but let them have some control. George is almost three and can
Fill the sink
Wash his hands and face with soap and a flannel
Dry them on a towel
Load his toothbrush with the right amount of toothpaste
Clean his own teeth
Spit (Rinsing is not actually recommended by dentists)
I don’t know if this is typical for a child his age and although I still supervise him to help him remain focused, he is more than independently able to complete these tasks. I do assist him when I feel he’s missed a bit. I also try to clean his teeth myself a few times a week to ensure they are getting properly cleaned. I have taught him the proper brushing technique though.
3. Get a chart. Ask your dentist for a teeth brushing chart or download one like the one here Teeth brushing chart . A fun toothbrush with a character on also helps. Getting your child to choose their own toothbrush in the shop is good encouragement. Just make sure they are age appropriate.
4. Make up songs. Back in the day where I was forever wet wiping George’s face clean of food from weaning etc, we made up a song. To the tune of E I Adio;
We’re cleaning George’s face/arms/bum
We’re cleaning George’s face
We’re making George all gorgeous
We’re cleaning George’s face
This also worked for brushing teeth, brushing hair, putting on socks, coat and so on.
5. Challenge your child to a “teeth race”.
Teeth brushing is important and needs to be done properly for it to be sufficient.
The teeth race in short is you cleaning your teeth at the same time your child cleans theirs. If your child doesn’t clean their own teeth yet you can do this in conjunction with your partner. They clean their own teeth whilst you clean your child’s.
This should also help to get your child from anywhere in the house to the bathroom in a matter of minutes. You can also use this for handwashing etc.
6. Get the toys involved. George’s favourite toy changes almost weekly. Over the years we have tried to suggest that “rabbit” or his “Lightning McQueen” would love to watch him getting washed and cleaning his teeth.
Show them Mr Monkey how you wash your hands
If the toy is waterproof it goes in, or even simpler, use a favourite bath toy, or the toy can sit on a ledge from a safe distance to the water and “watch”.
This method can often mean that wash time takes up to 10 minutes or more but I often leave him to get on with having fun whilst I sneakily get a face wash in. This leaves me free to do my makeup or get dressed, empty the litter tray, or even have a quick clean up.
7. Following on from the “bring a toy” idea, suggest that mr car is all dirty and needs a wash. Before you know it your child will be elbow deep in bubbles and foam and getting clean without even realising it. Let’s face it, if they are that grubby then the bath is an easier option.
8. Songs, songs, songs. I had a tiny turtle, row row row the boat, I jumped aboard a pirate ship, any songs or nursery rhymes, preferably water related to distract your little one whilst you wash them.
9. Bribery! I insist that we cannot go downstairs in the morning until we have washed and cleaned our teeth. The bathroom in our house is upstairs, playing with toys happens downstairs. If like mine, your little one is eager to get up and play with the toys, then insist that they can’t until they have had their wash and cleaned their teeth. Works for me.
10. Buy fun soap. Here are a few of our favs. George enjoys mixing different colours and textures so we often have several different soaps on the sink edge at a time.
Johnsons easy rinse foaming shampoo
Lush Rainbow fun soap
Carex handwash in Bubblegum/Love Hearts or Strawberry Laces (Even my visiting nephew complimented me on the epicness of this soap)
So what do you think of our top tips? Do you have any to add? Obviously I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and means of encouragement.
So our dude is nearly three in a couple of months. He’s always had floppy long hair. Not ponytail long, but long enough to run your fingers through. I’m reluctant to shave it as it retains his baby quality. Although I’m not the type to go on about how I wish they would stop growing up so fast.
So dudes latest hair cut was actually at the barbers and he had a little shave at the sides. They kept the top long and floppy and styled it with a slick of gel. This looked cool. He felt like a big grown up boy which is all important now he has started preschool.
I wasn’t sure though. I loved the look but it felt too harsh using such products. He’s still only two. Plus as soon as he got a bit sweaty the gel just made him look like a greasy mess.
I made it my mission to find a child friendly hair gel. Well I didn’t get very far if I’m completely honest. I found a few detangling sprays but that’s not what I wanted. Then my sister in law pointed out Frezyderm to me.
Frezyderm UK is a family owned and trusted dermocosmetic brand. Their motto being;
Inspired by you
Established in 1986 in Greece, they offer premium skincare and hair care solutions for all ages and skin types. Their products strive to meet strict pharmaceutical standards and they are fast becoming the go to brand for dermatologists across the globe. Living in the society that we do where by allergies and sensitivities are more prevalent than ever, Frezyderm will no doubt be a such a life changer for so many. You can find more on their products here https://www.frezyderm.co.uk/
Although George doesn’t suffer with any allergies or sensitive skin, Frezyderm fitted perfectly with my desire for a gentle hair styling range. I contacted them and asked to kindly try some of their kids haircare range in return for a review post on my blog. (There’s the disclosure right there, wink). As always I promise my review is completely my own honest opinion and my integrity has remained.
Although none of our family suffer with allergies or sensitive skin so I cannot comment on that aspect of whether the products caused any less irritation than others.
The price of these products is a little higher than a lot of brands, however they are very specialised and I know that the free from allergens ranges very often tend to cost more than brands which contain “nasties”.
I have always assumed you are paying for the research and dedication that has gone into ensuring the product won’t cause you or your child unnecessary irritation or harm. Obviously everyone’s skin is different so there’s no guarantee of anything but I’d recommend you try them yourself if you or a member of your household does suffer. Frezyderm could be your saviour.
Something I felt was worth highlighting is the branding. Frezyderm subtlety brand their kids haircare range boys with a star and girls with a flower. I know that gender stereotyping and branding is a hot topic right now. I feel, as I said, that their branding is very subtle but I did feel the need to ask Frezyderm what the difference is. This was their response;
“The two sensitive kids shampoo boys and girls have an equivalent structure of composition having as a first priority the safety and the effectiveness. But, the shampoo for girls offers an enhanced detangling effect because of the girls’ long hair.”
This seems completely logical and I think it mirrors other brands that produce different haircare products for men and women.
So that’s my take on the shampoo and styling gel we tried from Frezyderm. In true Gorgeous George’s Mama fashion I felt it apt to write a poem about this fab find. I know mama’s of children with sensitive skin and I really hope this leads them to finding some fab and friendly products for their daily routine.
Our children’s skin is delicate
Some more than the rest
When it comes to keeping them clean
We only want the best
No nasties to make them scratch or wince
Frezyderm is their friend
To make your child all clean and fresh
You’ll love this stuff no end
They may not have a perfumed smell
No soap or silicones
No allergens as well
If gluten doesn’t like you too
Then these products are definitely for you
So why Frezyderm I hear you think
Look no further than your child at the sink
Next time they need to get themselves clean
Frezyderm will work a dream
The shampoo creates a wonderful lather
It won’t sting their eyes if some slips in after
The hair gel really does the trick
On mama’s hair too and it doesn’t stick.
It holds just how you’d like it to
Without making your fingers feel like glue.
I’ll stop the gushing and just say
In return for some products I’ll send people Frezyderm’s way
But only because I truly like
The way their gel helps dudes hair to spike
My search for child friendly hair gel ends right here.
And I’ve also found a way for you to bathe your child without fear.
Fear of flare ups and discomfort may now come to an end
If you give Frezyderm a try and maybe recommend a friend.
Ah it’s here. September. Back to school. It feels like when you are starting a new job. Excited but nervous. The kid? Well he’s oblivious. I have a two (nearly three) year old. He doesn’t NEED to go to preschool. So why am I putting us through this?
Well he’s always gone to nursery as I DID return to work for a few months. After I left I kept it on just to give myself some child free time if I’m honest.
My health hasn’t been fab in recent months leaving me unable to drive to where George attended nursery. We had to make the difficult choice to remove him from the wonderful privately owned nursery that he attended from ten months old.
We opted to get him a place in the government preschool adjoined to where will hopefully be his school in the future.
This was always going to be somewhere he had to end up eventually.
So why the anxiety Mummy? Well in his private nursery he was in the presence of two carers and roughly six children per room. I was reassured he would get the love and attention he would at home. He would be in view all the time so no one could hurt or bully him.
His new preschool is linked to the primary school. When he starts tomorrow he will be in the regular presence of 27 children and 6 carers. I attended the settle in day. It’s a large space both indoors and outdoors. The carers physically could not be everywhere and see everything.
There were what can only be described as several sadistic shitbags that I wouldn’t want to be left alone with George. I know the apron strings have got to be cut loose at some point and he’s got to learn to find his own way of dealing with things in the world. But he’s two. You can’t even explain to him.
When George has been upset by other children I often respond by removing him from the situation and giving him a cuddle. I know some parents may argue that he should “man up and hit back”. I’ve asked George if he would hit another child back that hurt him and his response was “why?”.
This left me realising this little boy is being kind, thoughtful and considering just like his mummy and daddy. We are raising him to be as such so why would we suddenly tell him to hit people!
That said, hubs is teaching him to box. Although he currently only uses that on hubs.
So I turned to my gentle parenting train of thought and suggested that if another child hurts him anytime I’m not around he should say
“stop! That’s not nice, I’m going to tell a grown up”.
Again I asked him if he would do this instead of his current method of simply standing and crying until someone rescues him and he said “no, I’ll just stand and cry”.
So here I am. So excited for my little boys first day of preschool. All the wonderful new toys and children to play and interact with. New staff to meet and learn the schools ways. We have attended several seasonal open days there and he has never wanted to leave due to the sheer expanse of the place and how many activities there are to do.
Yet my protective, worrying side is scared. I know children, as fickle as they are, can be put off by things after only one traumatic incident. That said he still absolutely loves any child that hits him so perhaps he is also going to be a forgiving soul too.
As I wave goodbye tomorrow and give him a big kiss and a squeeze, I’ll run home and immerse myself in some wall knocking down (yes seriously, it’s on my to do list). And when I return I know my fears will be banished. I know he will have had a fab time. I know he will excel and flourish even more there. But I know this worry is here to stay.
As he grows, so will my worry. I’m losing the grip. He will no longer have me to protect his every move. He’s two for crying out loud. It’s ok I tell myself. There is always home schooling.
And then there are the other mums. What if none of them want to be friendly. What if they all know each other and aren’t very welcoming. Perhaps you can tell but I was bullied at school. If I was the person I am now I don’t think they would have been so successful but then perhaps if I wasn’t bullied I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now.
We all just want our children to be happy, safe and protected. Don’t we?
So for all the anxious mummies in the playground tomorrow, I feel you. A few words of wisdom for each other and a bit of support and I’m sure we will all get through this. And for the mums of the sadistic little shits, (although you probably don’t call them that) I feel for you, really I do. It must be tough looking after a kid like that, you have my empathy.
Good luck to everyone starting or returning to school tomorrow, Daddy’s too. I’m sure this probably applies to you. Although I can’t help feeling Daddy’s just get on with things without all the worrying us women do. Would love to hear from some Daddy’s with little ones starting or returning to school.