Thursday, 17 August 2017

Aveeno Baby

Last month we were invited up to London for a baby yoga session with AVEENO®. I have never tried baby yoga before (or even adult yoga to be honest) and I was curious as to how easy it would be with a newly mobile baby. As it happened, Cora slept through the whole session and I got to do the workout with a doll who not only stayed still, but was also considerably lighter than my actual baby.


Our yoga session was followed by a delicious oaty meal cooked by Alex from 26Grains. Cora devoured her beetroot and apple oats and we learned about the power of oats to make you feel good both inside and out. AVEENO® baby products are made with colloidal oatmeal and are gentle on their delicate skin whilst soothing, nourishing and protecting it.





A baby’s skin is unique, their skin barrier is thinner and loses moisture more quickly meaning it can be prone to irritation and dryness. Dr Shefali Rajpopat, an AVEENO® consultant dermatologist and she says “When it comes to baby skincare, it’s important to use ingredients that work to gently nourish and protect their skin. Oats are a key ingredient to look out for - providing gentle relief to dry and sensitive prone skin. Natural colloidal oatmeal creates a protective film that increases skin hydration, helps to maintain normal pH and protects the skin surface from external aggressors. The oatmeal granules even act as micro-sponges to absorb dirt and dead skin cells, to leave the skin feeling soft and healthy. Using a natural ingredient such as oat can help keep babies skin looking and feeling healthy.”



The AVEENO® baby range has become part of our daily routine from the Daily Care Hair and Body Wash in Cora’s bath to the Soothing Relief Emollient Cream we use on Archie’s dry skin. We are going to be incorporating more oats into Cora’s diet too, especially since she has decided she will not eat any bread products! The recipe from 26 Grains is below



In Collaboration with AVEENO®
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

When does Toddlerhood start?

This week Cora has started walking.  It has been six weeks since she took those first unsteady steps between two adults she trusts, but only six days since she started really walking.  There were weeks of nervous steps between people or furniture but this week she has decided she is happier on foot and has barely crawled since she made the decision.  She still looks a little wobbly, still falls over a lot, especially on uneven surfaces and she still looks immensely proud of every step she takes.

With eleven little white teeth filling Cora's mouth, her smile looks much older than her brothers at the same age.  Her hair is just about long enough to make little pigtails and she loves playing peekaboo.  From the outside Cora looks very much like a toddler.

13 months old, baby or toddler, when do they become toddlers

When she curls up in my lap for milk, her eyelashes fluttering as she slowly falls into a land of dreams, her chubby little hands resting delicately on my top, her legs tucked up so that she is fully encased in my arms, her chest rising and falling next to mine, she seems so small still, a baby.

At 13 months Cora isn't talking yet but she is definitely understanding more and more.  She is trying to master a spoon and fork with varying success and she is getting pretty good at climbing.  Sleep is still a challenge and she is far from sleeping 'through the night'. She eats food on her terms and breastfeeds regularly.  It feels like she swaps between being a baby and a toddler several times a day and I think we are now in that transitional phase.

baby or toddler, toddler girl, 13 month old girl

Each of my babies have been so different at this same age, some definitely entering the world of toddlerhood, others were definitely still babies.  I think the baby / toddler divide is determined more by milestones than age, and I am sad that my last baby is leaving behind another stage, that I will never have a little baby of my own again.  I love this little toddler that she is becoming though, so determined, so funny, so inquisitive.  

Where do you think the divide between baby and toddler lies?


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Monday, 14 August 2017

Eurocamp for a larger family

Nowadays we have to consider a lot more when choosing where to go on holiday as having four children makes us a larger than average family.  Not everywhere caters for families of six and often accomodation can be a struggle.  Our recent holiday with Eurocamp was fantastic for our larger family and everything from the accomodation to the activities was easy.



We stayed in a three bedroom mobile home that can accomodate up to 8 people if you include the pull out sofa bed.  Ideally we don't want to be using that as we enjoy having some space once we have put the children to bed, so we used the three bedrooms, having one single bed and one cot in each of the children's rooms.  Our mobile home had an indoor and outdoor table, both with four chairs but we were provided with two fold out chairs so that we could eat at either (and a highchair too). 

When it came to the swimming pools, there was no information about ratios and the staff had no issue with us having the four in with us.  In our local pools we are not allowed to take them all in unless they are all in floatation devices and they remain in them, but in the Eurocamp pools they could splash about as much as they liked.  



Being a larger family means the children already have playmates, and there was so much for them to do together.  I loved watching them bond in different ways and in different environments, the big two racing on their bikes, the little two sitting out on the decking each morning playing with the toys they had brought with them. 

The restaurant easily accomodated us, the hire centre had plenty of bikes with child seats or trailers and we found the holiday parc perfect for families like ours.





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Friday, 11 August 2017

Our Week in France with Eurocamp

We picked the La Croix du Vieux Pont Eurocamp parc for our recent holiday for many reasons; the closeness to Calais and therefore a short drive, the fact that the parc was really family friendly, the free learn to ride sessions they offered and the good reviews I had read online. We left the morning after Dylan broke up from school armed with a boot full of clothes and scooters and the footwells packed with trunkis full of toys.

It was an easy journey and it took us less than 6 hours door to door.  When we arrived the sun was shining and the thermometer read 28 degrees.  The boys have always loved staying in mobile homes and this was no different, with the added bonus that as soon as we stepped outside our little space we were right on the lake and there were ducks swimming around looking for leftovers.  We got changed into our swimwear and headed straight to the man made beach.

With the absence of a coastline this close to Paris, the parc created its own beach and it is perfect for building sandcastles, splashing about and swimming in.  The children were desperate to move after three hours in the car and our holiday couldn't have started better.

Unfortunately the weather took a dive after the first day and it rained on and off for the rest of our stay.  It certainly didn't stop us having fun though and we found so much to do in spite of the weather (I have written about some of our favourite activities here).  Our days seemed both relaxed and full at the same time with no pressure, no time we had to be anywhere yet lots to do.  It felt great to not look at the time  all day, eating when we were hungry and moving on to a new activity when we felt like a change.

The swimming pool was a big hit with us all, and having four so close we are not able to take them all easily at home.  There were no rules on ratios though and the children's pool was well designed so we felt confident having all four in the water there.  The boys had the option to go to the free kids club every day and they did a few sessions, Dylan really enjoying it.  Whilst it states from 4 years old, I think it was more suited to a child who was already at school.

One of my favourite things about the holiday was watching the bond between the children develop.  Dylan and Archie have been seperated for 5 days a week but suddenly they were together 24/7 and I saw them both change as they reconnected and encouraged each other.  Archie pushes Dylan physically to keep up and Dylan's play has evolved through school and I have seen Archie follow his lead and mature even more.

Finn and Cora have always been close, but this week gave them time to play with their big brothers too and Finn is desperate to be one of them with Cora not far behind.  They three boys played together so well (most of the time, they fought too of course) and I loved watching them experience these things together.

Our days started with fresh croissants from the on-site bakery and ended with either a Berny burger take away or a meal in the amazing restaurant.  We stayed on site other than an afternoon wander down to the nearest town one day and we had ice cream at any opportunity.

I took too many pictures, I always do,  but I have so many memories captured and I love every one of them. 







baths out on the decking are an important part of holidays and Eurocamp offer highchairs, cots, baby baths, potties and bed rails for hire.




The boys asked to go for a dip on our way home from dinner one night and I couldn't think of a good reason why they shouldn't. They loved splashing about as the sun went down.






Cora started to get her confidence with walking with lots of encouragement from her brothers.









This photo is only metres from our mobile home, they all spent ages just sitting and watching the lake and the wildlife.



You would not believe how fascinating a drain can be when you are two and a quarter.


My child who has never ridden a bike before was riding down the road with no stabilisers after only a couple of lessons.  He still has some learning to do, but he was so proud of himself and we couldn't have been more proud of him.



Our week in France was courtesy of Eurocamp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.







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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Breastfeeding Friendly Fashion from JD Williams

My wardrobe has been in desperate need of updating recently and Cora is still breastfeeding during the day with no signs of slowing down, so I have been limited to clothing with easy boob access.  I don't want to live in just the traditional nursing clothes though so I chose a few items from the JD Williams site and the skirt below is definitely my favourite.  

I paired it with a crop top but the fit of the skirt meant my tummy was still covered.  I love how flexible this skirt is as it would look great with t-shirts, vests or jumpers as the seasons change.  It has pockets too which is always great!  I found the sizing a little generous so if you are in between sizes then I would suggest sizing down. 


There are a great selection of skirts on the JD Williams website so I have picked some of my favourites below


I like how these can all be dressed up with a pretty top or paired with a t-shirt for a more casual daytime look.  Most of these styles are available in sizes from 10 to 32 so there is something to suit all different shapes.

I have picked some of my favourite nursing friendly tops from the website too.


Wrap tops are perfect with a vest underneath and the off the shoulder tops slide down easily to feed.  I quite fancy the first top to pair with the denim skirt.

As well as the skirt, I also chose this lovely tunic top.  The zip comes down far enough to feed easily and the tunic is super soft and easy to wear.  The sleeves can be rolled up for the warmer weather and it looks great with leggings.  


There is a great selection of breastfeeding friendly clothes on the JD Williams site and it feels great to have some new bits just for me rather than the children!


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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Eurocamp - 5 things to do in the rain, 5 things to do in the sun

We have recently returned from a fantastic week away with Eurocamp at their La Croix du Vieux Pont parc and we found so much to do for all six of us.  We arrived to beautiful sunshine and 28 degrees but the weather soon deteriorated and we had more rain than anything else for our week.  It certainly didn't spoil our fun and we found so much to do both inside and out.  I thought I would share our top five things to do at the Eurocamp parc when the sun shines and our top five things to do when it doesn't.

Top 5 things to do in the Rain


1. Kids club / kids room

Eurocamp offer free kids clubs for children aged 4 to 12 and both Dylan and Archie went along a few days.  I dropped them off for two hours and they were entertained with crafts, activities and fun.  Both boys made friends and on one day there was a four hour session where they created a show for the parents to come and watch.  For the younger children there is an indoor room with games, toys and a sandpit that is open for use all day.  Both the little two loved exploring, playing with the bricks, cooking in the toy kitchen and having a chance to explore in their own way.

2. Swimming Pools

There were three indoor swimming areas at our Eurocamp site and we all loved the children's pool.  All four children could play, the older three heading straight to the slide in the middle and Cora splashing around the outside.  Next to the pool was a splash zone with lots of things shooting water around and the kids loved running through the sprays and playing in here.


3. Bowling

Bowling is an additional cost, but the bowling alley by the pub was clean and bright and loads of fun for big and small children.


4. Football or Table Tennis

There was a big indoor football pitch as well as two different indoor table tennis areas that were free to play on and this would be perfect for older children.  There was always space to play when went through the area and Finn loved kicking the footballs about.

5. Borrow a Game/Book

In the baby room there were shelves of Orchard Toys games and lots of books in many languages that could be borrowed and taken back to your mobile home and for the adults there were books available to borrow from the Eurocamp reception.  We had a bit of quiet time each morning inside our mobile home and these helped keep the children occupied.


When the sun is shining there is even more choice of things to do, here are our favourites :


1. Manmade Beach

Set next to the lake is a fake beach - a circle of sand with a pool of water in the centre.  It is ideal for families as the children can choose to build sandcastles, dip their toes in, go for a swim or play on inflatables.  There is a playground and a restaurant/bar right next door too so it was easy to spend the whole day here.


2. Learn to Ride

Many Eurocamp parcs, including this one offer free 'learn to ride' sessions where children aged between 3 and 6 can attend free bike lessons.  They start on balance bikes and progress on to pedals and we were amazed at how well Dylan did thanks to the lovely Pru.  Teaching him to ride was something we were planning for the summer and this got him off to a great start!



3. Feed the Ducks

The parc is centered around a lovely lake and there were lots of ducks as well as a family of swans that we enjoyed spotting and feeding our leftovers to.  The boys gave them all names and ran outside every morning in the hope they were hanging around by our mobile home.


4. Go Karts

One of Archie's highlights of the week was definitely having a go on the go karts.  There is a little track right next to the lake where you can also hire pedalo boats and all three boys had a go on the go-karts (although Finn's legs were a little short)


5. BBQ

Each mobile home comes with a table and chairs on the decked area and a barbeque and you have to make the most of the sunshine to cook up some sausages.  The on site store sells everything you need and there is also a supermarket about a mile from the parc with more choice. We started to worry that all our efforts were getting rained off but we managed a BBQ before the week was out!


There are so many more activities I could have listed, from hiring bikes and cycling around the lake to the soft play area above the pub but there are our favourites and we enjoyed them all during our stay.

Our stay in France was courtesy of Eurocamp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Staying Healthy This Summer


The summer has begun, and so has the challenge of keeping everyone healthy, happy and occupied for six long weeks.  It is so tempting to make ice cream a daily treat and my boys could spend hours playing minecraft if I let them have their own way.  Push Doctor have written their top tips for keeping minds and bodies active this summer, so I thought I would share some of ours too.

Healthy Eating

  • If your children are anything like mine, they will be asking for snacks pretty much constantly throughout the day! Make up little pots or bags of cut up fruit and veg and store them in the fridge so that they can help themselves to them to make life a little easier.

  • If you have space in the garden or an allotment, try growing food with them.  Many of our friends tell us their children won’t touch a certain food on a plate, but they will happily eat one they have grown themselves.  Look for local pick your own farms too for fresh strawberries, cherries and apples as well as other things.



  • Make flavoured ice cubes out of fresh juice to add to their water to encourage them to drink more.  When it is hotter or they are more active, they need to replenish their fluids more often and this makes it a bit more appealing.

Staying Active

  • If you have a big enough garden, make an obstacle course, or get the children to. Soon they will be climbing, jumping and running with no idea they are actually doing exercise.  Use garden toys and household objects to make different challenges.

  • Make your own scavenger hunt cards on pieces of cardboard you would otherwise recycle.  Right down different colours or objects and send the children out at the beach or park to collect all the items.  You could give them an old digital camera instead to get them to take photos of things they have found.

  • Whilst the weather is warm, make an after dinner stroll part of your routine.  It doesn’t have to be far, but a little walk around the block before bed may help them sleep better too.



Keep Learning

  • See if your local library has a reading challenge on.  Dylan has signed up and is already half way towards his first set of stickers.  All the children love visiting and choosing new books and it encourages them to love reading.

  • Encourage older children to keep a holiday journal where they can write a paragraph each day about what they have done and enjoyed.  It is great for writing practice and is a lovely record for when they start back at school in September

  • Use a rainy day as an excuse to try some science experiments at home.  Vinegar and baking soda volcanos are one of our favourites! Home made playdough is a big hit with the younger children and is great for their fine motor skills and imagination.



There are loads more ideas over on the Push Doctor website.  They also have a fantastic competition to win £400 worth of goodies over on their facebook page!


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