Shhhh…. Christmas is coming (in 76 days)

santa-claus-and-joeSo, the other day somebody asked me the question “So what are your plans for Christmas?”. Truth be told, I really don’t have a flipping clue!!! But when I think back to this time last year I was much more organised by this point – making handcrafted Christmas cards, making the little tykes first Christmas Eve box, planning the Christmas food shop and making lists for cards and present. So far I have done nothing!

I ask myself why and I find it hard to find a definitive answer. I am most definitely looking forward to making Christmas special this year for my little boy, but I have had a lot on my mind lately. Not to worry, it’s not too late to start thinking about it now. I am even nibbling on some marzipan stollen bites to get me in the mood as I write this post!

So here goes, my Christmas bucket list……

  • Find a couple of good story books to help explain Christmas to my little boy
  • Book a slot for the online Christmas food shop
  • Work out a meal plan for the Christmas break (breakfast/lunch/dinner)
  • Book a breakfast with Santa or Santas grotto slot at the local garden centre
  • Buy an advent calendar
  • Get some festive Christmas bedding for December
  • Take the little tyke to see the Christmas light switch on in the village
  • Order the turkey and trimmings from the local butcher
  • Make handmade cards with the little tyke for close family members
  • Buy some nice charity cards for everybody else
  • Make mince pies with Daddy and little tyke
  • Make my homemade cranberry sauce
  • Use the handcrafted Christmas Eve box again and fill with new gifts for little tyke
  • Make a small Christmas Eve box for my best friends children to post
  • Get some festive PJs for all the family
  • Buy a Christmas jumper for the nursery Christmas party
  • Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • Buy presents for family members
  • Buy small gifts and cards for work colleagues
  • Decorate house with Christmas trimmings
  • Wrap presents
  • Make Christmas dinner at home
  • Go for nice festive walk
  • Invite close family around for buffet during Christmas holiday
  • Watch Elf with the little tyke!!! (this is an important one)
  • Watch some Disney movies
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Teach little tyke to sing some Christmas songs

That’s actually quite a long list! I am not sure if I will get to do it all, but I can certainly have fun trying. It certainly makes me feel a lot better to put my ideas down in a list like this. Do you have any more ideas that you could suggest to add to this list? Has the list given you inspiration for Christmas activities? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Hope you are all having a lovely evening, take care and ta ta xxx

 

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Day in the life: Sunday 8th October

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After being thrown completely out of bonk from his holiday routine, my little boy has finally returned to his early start and afternoon nap routine. Yes we were woken up at 6am in the morning, but at least he had an hour and a half nap mid-afternoon. Since his holiday, he has been waking later and not napping at all. It’s going to happen sooner or later, but I could tell he wasn’t ready to drop that nap. So back to normality for a bit.

The little tyke was in a really great mood this morning, which filled us with enthusiasm for the day ahead. He had a quick bath (as he was looking a little bit grubby), got changed and had a breakfast of biscuit rusks and milk. I straightened my hair and we all got ready to leave the house for a morning trip to Coombe Abbey Country Park. A wonderful setting for an autumnal walk.

It was quite cold as we got out of the car and started walking through the park. It’s so strange to be wearing sweaters and coats after enjoying the hot Greek weather only two weeks ago. Brrrrr! I love going out for walks at this time of year though, with the colours of the trees being so beautiful at the moment. Little tyke loves running through piles of rustling, dry leaves and kicking them up in the air. I picked some examples of several types of leaves to do some autumn crafting later on.

We visited the lake to see all the birds – swans, geese, ducks, seagulls and pigeons bobbed about on the water. He was most interested in the dirty old pigeons! I guess he must have found them quite funny little creatures with their silly head bobbing walks. As it neared lunchtime, we headed back to the cafe near the park entrance and found a little table. We lunched on cheese sandwiches and slices of cake, nothing exciting but exactly what we fancied after a brisk country walk. Oh and yes, Mummy had a coffee (needed it after the early start!). We then took the the little man to the playground for a half an hour run around and set off home.

As predicted, the little tired chap fell asleep during the car journey as we neared home. Luckily we were able to transport him from the car seat to his cot without him so much as stirring. During his nap time, Daddy started work again on tiling our downstairs cloakroom. It’s so hard to do house renovations with a little one, but we are determined to get this particular project finished within the next few weeks. This left me time to start cooking the dinner, which would be bangers and mash today. Yummy!

Dinner was ok, the mashed potato was a little bit lumpy because I had the little man hanging on my leg and begging me to play cars whilst I was mashing! How does anyone get anything done? He is always demanding my attention when I try to prepare food. Help! I actually made a really nice dinner on Saturday using the slowcooker. I got the recipe from a Mummy vlogger who I follow and it was so simple to make and was really tasty – Slowcooker Chicken and Vegetable Curry. Check out the video from Claire Witt.

We finished the day with some garden time and planted our spring bulbs in our planters and had a general tidy up. The little man got out his slide and Cosy Coupe and burned off a bit of energy before bedtime (which is always good).

So now I am going to curl up on the sofa and watch a bit of Netflix. It feels like it has been such a long day today! I hope you have all had a lovely weekends, ta ta for now xxx

 

 

Autumn Days

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I am aware that I have been really slack on the blogging front lately, sorry everybody! My mind has been everywhere at the moment….. work, holiday, toddler developments, driving lessons and diy projects have left my head in a spin! Time to unwind, put on some cosy pyjamas and think of lovely, snuggly autumn thoughts…..

Halloween

I loved making Halloween fun last year and I am even more excited about this year. I am just a big kid at heart really! If you have an Aldi near you (UK bloggers) head over to the store this Thursday for the latest Special Buys deal as they have a great range of Halloween accessories available!

 

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Aldi Light Up Pumpkins for Halloween

 

Halloween Magic Cat Light Up Pumpkin £4.99 – link here

Halloween Magic Glitter Pumpkin £4.99 – link here

Halloween Magic Black Pumpkin £4.99 – link here

Halloween Magic Light Up Pumpkin £4.99 – link here

Toddler Pumpkin Costume £3.99 – link here

Orange Spiders Web 2-Pack £1.78 – link here

Haunted House Gel Stickers £1.78 – link here

Witch & Cauldron Gel Stickers £1.78 – link here

Halloween Magic Bats Treat Tin £1.79 – link here

Halloween Magic Mummy Treat Tin £1.79 – link here

Halloween Magic Skeleton Lights £3.99 – link here

Halloween Magic Room Decoration Kit £4.99 – link here

This is just a small selection from their range of Halloween goods, it always pays to give your local store a visit to see what is on offer. I cannot wait until Thursday to find out for myself!

Cosy Knits

Not quite thick, chunky jumper time, but there is a definite nip in the air. I purchased a couple of new knits last year, so my winter wardrobe is pretty much sorted. I have purchased myself two new jumpers. My first jumper is a grey marl sweatshirt with a mickey picture and ‘Mickey’ in sequin letters (cannot find on their website, but here is another good option). My other new jumper was from the Zara website……

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Zara Mustard PomPom Jumper

I saw Zoella wear it in one of her autumn haul videos and fell in love. Its the perfect mustard colour for autumn, is oversized and has POMPOMS!!!! It will look great with skinny jeans and a berry or brown lip colour. Love it, love it, love it! Check it out here.

Autumn Food

I need some good slow cooker recipes, please share if you have any! I love soups, stews, curries and casseroles. I just think it might make life a bit easier for me if I could get more use out of my slow cooker at weekends. I love sponge puddings and custard at this time of year. Oh and I am a sucker for mince pies (already available in our local co-op)!

What do you love about autumn? Do you like snuggling up on the sofa when it is nippy outside? Have you got any recipe or craft project ideas to share?

I bid you all a good evening. Ta ta and nighty night xxx

 

Review: Sensatori Crete Resort

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Daddy and little tyke at the splash pool

We have just returned from our first holiday abroad as a family of three at the Sensatori Resort in Crete. For those who are looking for ideas for future holidays with young children I thought it might be helpful to put together a review on our hotel. Here goes…..

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One of the resorts six swimming pools

Overview – We spent a long time umming and ahhing about where to go for our first holiday abroad. We wanted sun. We wanted pools. We wanted a beach. We wanted good food. Holidays were never going to be the same as what they were pre-kids, but we also hoped for somewhere with a laid back vibe. I had heard about Sensatori previously but had never really looked into it as I had dismissed it as exclusive to families. Now with a little two year old boy in tow, these family orientated resorts had a new appeal. Sensatori Crete is the very first Sensatori hotel and is located right next to a beach, which made it the ideal spot for us as we love our seaside walks.

Rooms – We had a family room with seaview, sliding doors and a balcony. The room was extremely clean and spacious, with a travel cot for the little tyke. After previous experience with an uncomfortable travel cot, we brought along a travel cot mattress and we feel that this really made the difference to the little mans sleep. The bathroom wasn’t the most modern decor, but it was nice and big for us all to share. Our bed was extremely comfortable and we all slept really well!

Nursery – We couldn’t bring many toys for the little man and we worried that he might get bored. So for a couple of hours in the afternoons, we booked him into the Sensatori nursery. Here he got to make new friends, play with toys and lots of craft activities. The nursery staff were all British trained and did an absolutely wonderful job of entertaining the children. Another bonus is that it also kept him safe out of the sun at the hottest time of the day (it was 33 degrees on the hottest day!). We even took away a little folder of his paintings as a holiday keepsake.

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Hotel lobby and view of buffet restaurant

Food – We used the main buffet restaurant quite a lot of the time as we felt that it had lots of choice and the food was excellent quality. Plus buffets are always so much easier for children! They even had a little kids station for the little ones. You also had the option of booking other speciality restaurants and we tried the Tex-Mex and Asian restaurant whilst we were there. They were ok, but the buffet worked out better for us. For in between meal time options, there was also a snack bar (great for if you don’t want to leave the sun lounger!).

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The beach near the hotel resort

Location – We like being by the sea and have always enjoyed walks by the coast. It became our new routine to have dinner and then take a stroll by the beach side before drinks. The landscape with the mountains in the distance did look stunning. The beach didn’t have the best quality sand, but it was nice enough. The area was pretty laid back with a few shops, mini supermarkets and bars dotted around.

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Mummy and tyke cool down in the pool

Pools – Our favourite part of the holiday! On the first day our little boy was a bit nervous of the childrens splash pool, but by day two he loved it! The splash pool featured a sprayground, tipping bucket and water jets. We enjoyed it just as much as he did!

Entertainment – We liked sitting in the lobby bar in the evening to wind down, but we were a bit too tired for anything else. The Sensatori resorts also put on shows for the kids called Playtime live. We tried it, we hated it and the little tyke ran out the room. Guess he wasn’t a fan either!

 

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Mummy and tyke in the lobby bar

Conclusion – We would love to return to this resort, or possibly another Sensatori resort in the future. With a young family we felt that we were well catered for and it was nice to be surrounded by families similar to ourselves. All in all, we had a wonderful time at Sensatori Crete!

Hope you are all well, ta ta for now xxx

 

 

 

Packing for a holiday

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Are you one of those super organised people who start to pack their suitcases weeks before they are due to fly away? Really? Because I am so not that type of person! I don’t really like packing, in fact, I hate packing! What if I forget something? What if I bring too much? For me, packing makes me incredibly anxious.

Despite the hang up about packing, I still like holidays. Today was a packing day for our family of three for a weeks holiday by the beach. Woo hoo! I am excited about the holiday but the preparation is a bit stressful. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but here are some tips that might be helpful….

Tip 1: Write Lists

I write a tick list for each bag on my phone using Microsoft Onenote. You can then either tick things off the list on your phone or you can create a pdf to print off. I just simply cannot remember everything, it needs to be written down.

Tip 2: Buy Clear Plastic Zip Bags

I bought a pack of three from Primark and they are a godsend. First Aid bag – tick. Toiletries bag – tick. Teeny bag for holding jigsaw puzzle – tick.

Tip 3: Buy Toiletry Travel Packs

As in clear zip bags with empty bottles to fill with small portions of your shampoo etc. Previously, we just bunged them all in the bag. Now with a child in tow, any extra baggage weight is a no no. I will not go over the weight restriction!

Tip 3: Buy Packing Cubes

Game changer! This is the first time I have used these and I can honestly say I have never felt so organised. I bought a pack each for my son (green with white spots), my husband (navy with diamonds) and myself (pink with spots). Each pack consisted of three cube shape bags and three zip up laundry bags. As we were spreading luggage for three people over two bags, we felt this would be the most organised way of going about this.  It also saves loads of space too! Check them out on Amazon here.

So they are my top tips for packing, what do you think? How do you usually tackle packing? Have you got any tips to share?

Well that’s me off for a little while, ta ta for now folks xxx

Big day out – The Big Feastival

Big-Feastival-landscape

For my husbands special birthday this year I decided that a packet of socks and a DVD wouldn’t quite cut it. He had shown an interest in visiting The Big Feastival for quite some time, but we just hadn’t got around to doing anything about it. You know how it happens…. life just gets in the way. But on this birthday he opened his card to find tickets for us all to attend in August, he thought it was a great surprise! But we were both festival virgins and we really didn’t know quite what to expect, which just added to the excitement!

On Saturday morning we had planned to get up nice and early, but our little boy decided that he would have a rare lie in. Not to worry, we enjoyed the extra sleep if I am honest. But it did mean that it turned into a little bit of a mad dash to get out the front door. I brought along my new foldable ‘Good Luck Charms’ backpack from Cath Kidston as it is so lovely and lightweight (check it out).

Rucksack contents –

• one clear plastic zip wallet with some nappies, nappy bags and a change of clothes

• one clear plastic zip wallet with some crayons, pens, colouring sheets and toy cars

• sun cream

• changing mat

• purse

• lip balm

• snacks – smoothie sachet, crisps and raisins

• wet wipes

• tissues

• hydrating face mist

I also kept his pyjamas in the car in case we decided to stay later and then we could put him straight to bed once we got back home. The journey was really lovely actually and the weather was much more warmer than forecast. I wouldn’t say that we had to queue at all, the traffic just got a little heavier as we approached the venue. The car park was incredibly bumpy, with it being in a field, and the little tyke was in fits of giggles at the back of the car.

After a bit of a walk past all of the campsites, we got to the entrance and were ready to start our day at the festival. Parents are advised to put wristbands on their little ones with contact details, just in case they get lost. With some distraction tactics, our little boy was fitted with said wristband.

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All the fun at the fair

 

As total newbies to the festival scene, we were a little overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds around us as we walked through the crowds. I can only imagine what must have been going through the little tykes mind when he saw all the crazyness. There were fairground rides, steel drum bands, farm animals, food stalls, people in fancy dress and much, much more! Wow!!! I checked my watch and realised that Justin Fletcher had just started on the main stage (the little chap loves Mr Tumble) and we headed over. He was absolutely bonkers, crazy! It was like listening to nursery rhymes on an acid trip. We backed the heck away from the main stage to find a bit of calm in the madness. Which led us to the Little Dudes Den.

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Little Dudes Den
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Toadstool jumping

Who knew that some colourful arches with sensory ribbons would enchant children so much! They all kept running round and round with happy little smiles on their faces. The older children loved climbing the hay bales, but this was strictly a no go zone for our little chap. He didn’t mind so much.

Well it wouldn’t be a food festival without food would it? There was a great selection of street food stalls with anything from buddha bowls to mac and cheese. I’m really into Paella at the moment (great summer food), but my portion was so large I had to share it with both my husband and my son. This was followed by some churros with chocolate, again, great for sharing.

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Tucking into some great grub

The sun was really starting to beat down on us and I worried about my little boy getting burnt, so we headed towards the big top tent for a bit of shelter. It just so happened that after about 10 minutes of us being in there, they started the baby boggie class. My little boy loves music and dancing, so this was just perfect for him. I really, really loved this little area and would recommend it if you are visiting with little ones.

After a little boogie, a refreshing milkshake and a rest we ventured out to explore. We went to the play doh tent, we visited the farm animals and we even went to the bar and listened to some funk music. Mummy even enjoyed a nice cold beer! We also found a little nursery/play area full of pre-school kids toys and activities, but it was a shame we hadn’t discovered this earlier. We tucked into some pizza for dinner and I popped by a few market stalls. One stand I have to mention is for Googly Fruit, where we bought a big bag of goodies for £10 and it really is great quality produce.

My little boy didn’t nap all day, he just didn’t want to miss a thing. I cannot blame him, we had a really great day out and I couldn’t recommend it enough!mummyrelax

Hope you are all enoying a lovely bank holiday weekend folks, ta ta and nighty night xxx

 

 

Little angel by day, little devil by night

My little boy is mostly well behaved during the day, but by the time bedtime arrives, he can sometimes turn into a little monster! He is actually a lovely, caring and affectionate little boy all day long and a lot of people comment how well behaved he is. If only they knew!

Once the wind down for bedtime begins he starts to become a little bit naughty. Nappy changes become more like a wrestling match as he scrambles across the floor. He jumps and leaps around on the beanbags and tries to hide in his tent. On very, very naughty occasions he tries to wack my glasses off my face, but thankfully this doesn’t happen very often. What is it about bedtime that brings out the wild in the child?

He still naps during the day and this can vary from one to two hours at a time. Perhaps if we cut this down to an hours cat nap, he might feel a little bit more tired and more willing to go to bed in the evening? I don’t know whats best really. I will really, really miss nap times. Life will become so much harder without naptimes!

My gut feeling is that this is fairly normal, kids just don’t like bedtime! I will continue to keep with our bedtime routine and will hope that this is perhaps a little phase that he will get through. He is only two years old and is altering all the while. Fingers crossed!

Any advice fellow parents? Tried and tested tips and techniques would be much appreciated!

Have a lovely evening all, ta ta for now xxx