Cousins: Ready Made Friends

Making friends is something children tend to do in all settings, with all sorts of different children. But if you have cousins, they are pretty much ready made friends ready to play!

I was really lucky growing up as I have 5 cousins and we are all a similar age. As children we would play, holiday together, and have sleepovers at Nans house. And now as we are all older we still try and get together as much as we can.

Mop Top and Bear were born into an already large family with 5 cousins. 2 from my side and 3 from Mr DCs side. They range from 3 up to 9 years old. I love watching them play, and (most if the time) they really do get on so well.

I hear them laugh, have full blown conversations, put the world to rights and generally have a good time.

IMG_0069.JPGBecause of location, they see my brothers two pretty much everyday. Even on the days we aren’t due to see them Mop Top will often say ‘Harry Sophie breakfast’ or ‘see Harry’

Mop Top and Bear are the youngest of their little cousin group, and I notice how different their relationship is with each one of them. Alfie is 9 and I can see a much more nurturing role he takes with them, whereas Sophie who is 3, has a more play based relationship. I have to say this often results in sibling like arguments in our house between those two.

I think cousins are your first best friends, the people you connect with, learn from and with first. You can really learn some of those important early life skills from your cousins.

I hope Mop Top and Bear continue to have a strong bond with all their cousins and continue to share special memories as they grow older, just like I have with my own cousins.

Play in the rain… I dare you

This morning I watched an article on Lorraine with Marina Fogle. They were basically discussing if we wrap our children in bubble wrap these days. And it really got me thinking. Marina Fogle told a story about how she ‘let’ her daughter fall down the stairs. Before you all go crazy she ‘set’ it up as safely as she could, with cushions and pillows and the theory was her little girl would learn herself how to manage the stairs safely.

So I spent the rest of the day keeping track of how many times I said ‘be careful’ ‘slow down’ etc and turns out it was quite a lot. I even got thinking about activities I do and don’t let them do. Going in the garden with no shoes on, playing out in the rain; two things I generally don’t let the kids do. Which writing them out now sound ridiculously.

This afternoon we put wellies on, coats on and went for a walk…. It was raining!! Call the police! Haha

Im pretty sure when I was a child and even more so when my parents were small, we were left to get on with things. There wasn’t child locks, stair gates and so many child safety gadgets.

So how do we promote indepedance in our children without causing them harm.  Would love to hear your thoughts on how safety conscious you are with your little ones?

I am really going to try and let my two explore their own independance, with me a few extra steps behind. Well try at least!

 

Mummascribbles

Nostalgia: At the seaside

Last weekend myself and mr DC were on auntie and uncle duty for the day. Four kids for the whole day, obviously going out was the only option. We decided to head for the beach.

After quite a bit organisation with cars, car seats and children we ended up in Herne Bay. I have to say I don’t like the actual beach, but the whole seaside experience; you can’t beat it. We used to go as kids all the time, and visiting as an adult brings back so many happy memories.

I remember crabbing being a firm favourite past time if we ever went to the seaside. Buying a bucket, net and bait, super excited to try and get some crabs to look at in our buckets. A little competition between my brother and I at how many crabs we could get. Then the excitement of throwing them back in the water to be free.

We saw so many little children watching in awe of their daddy trying to get a crab to put in their bucket. Our 4 went from bucket to bucket seeing how many crabs each person had.

Then there are the traditional seaside rides; the Helter Skelter, those trampoline things, bumper cars and obviously the classic carousel ride. It’s amazing that these rides still fill little kids with excitement. We did 3 rides whilst at the seaside; the Helter Skelter, bumper cars in boat form and the carrousel ride.

We couldn’t go to the seaside without getting fish and chips, so we found a spot to sit all the children and got take away fish and chips. Mr DC made them all ‘plates’ out of the chip paper, which they all found very funny. We even managed a little paddle in the sea.

My favourite part of the day was seeing how much enjoyment the children got from the traditional old school entertainment that I used to enjoy as a child. I hope the traditions if the seaside long continue.

P.s it confirm we won’t be having four children in the future 🙈🙈

 

Old Macdonalds Farm

With a free Sunday last weekend, we decided to venture across the water to Old Macdonalds Farm in Brentwood. We’ve never been before as it always seems so far away. But actually we jumped in the car and 35 minutes later we were parked up in the car park ready to go.
imageSo it’s a cross between a farm, a play area, and a theme park. Entrance prices were pretty reasonable especially as I had a £10 off voucher. Peppa Pig was visiting the farm on the Sunday we went, so it was quite busy. There was a range of animals to see your usual farm animals plus some random ones in there too like meerkats, otters, and emus. There were lots of fun little facts on the way round, plus each animal had a feeding area, so the kids could safely feed the animals.

image.jpegThe layout of the farm means that you can see the majority of the animals then go to the other side to go on the rides. Mop top loved the sand pit area, it has different size diggers to play on. There were a few rides Mop Top was too small for but still plenty of other rides and play areas she could play on.

 

We did see Peppa, but it was pretty much a conveyor belt of small children passing by. Quick picture then move on. We managed to get pretty close to the front of the queue on the first session, but after that the queue was ridiculous for most of the day. And I have to say I probably wouldn’t have waited.

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The Peppa Pig queue!!

I’d say it’s worth a visit, I can’t see us returning any time soon as we pretty much did it all. When Mop Top is bigger we may return to go on the other rides.

I grabbed a voucher of a leaflet from a local shop, so make sure you get a discount voucher to save you some pennies!

We Survived…. Here’s our top tips

Having been home a few weeks I have reflected on our first trip and despite the hideous journey (check it out here) it was a pretty successful holiday. I have to say a very different holiday to what we are used to, but different in a good way.

As promised here are my top tips for travelling with small children…

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1: Snacks: take lots of snacks for the journey. Those times when you need a bit of indoor time in the room, snacks from home really helped us!

2: Books wrapped up. This sounds like a silly one and the people around us on the plane thought I was barmy. But every often I would hand Mop Top a present wrapped in Christmas paper. It was a book, stickers, her toys. But it passed the time as she was excited to open in then excited to play/ read whatever was inside. They weren’t expensive items just stickers books etc and even some of her toys from home.

3: Relax your routine: our babies still needed naps, bed time routine, food/ milk at certain times despite being in a different country. I am all about routine, but I really tried to relax about timings and just went with what the babies wanted whenever it was.

4: Stroller: we brought 2 cheap stroller in the Mothercare sale and I have to say they were a god send. It meant the babies could nap in the day without us having to sit in the room for 2 hours. It meant i could get them off to sleep then send Mr DC to the bar for my Pina Colada!

5 Take lots of nappies, swimming and normal: we ran out on the last day and had to buy a pack from the local supermarket…. €17 for 17 nappies!!

These are my top five tips for holidaying with babies. It was a very different Holiday to what we are used to. We didn’t relax for one moment, and in fact I could do with another holiday about now, but it was lovely, and great to have some family time.

Whether we go on a plane again is still up for debate but we will definitely be holidaying again next year.

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Happy Holidays X

Pre-holiday Jitters

With the countdown of our first family holiday now well and truly into single figures, my holiday anxiety is climbing somewhat.

Before children, I thought nothing of packing a few things in a suitcase, booking a holiday online a few weeks before and off we went. Its a whole different story with two babies in tow…..Image result for travelling baby meme

I started packing about 2 months ago… nothing like being prepared right. And now our holiday is imminent I have packed up everything including the kitchen sink ready to go. I have clothes for the children to wear until Christmas, nappies coming out my ears and travelling snacks to feed approximately 50 people.

I am not the best traveller (pretty big understatement if I’m honest) but now we are taking two children on an aeroplane my anxiety levels will no doubt be through the roof come boarding time. Although I will be super anxious travelling with two littles ones, I really don’t want my nerves to rub off onto the babies. I want them to be good travellers, enjoy travelling and want to see the world. I am put off going to so many countries purely because of the length of time needed to travel to get there.

We are staying in an all inclusive resort, so once we are there we will pretty much stay put for 7 days, which is fine by me. However there are so many things that worry me despite being settled in one place. The water, balconies, the food, the people. I guess its just being away from your home comforts, away from people you know, people and things you rely on.

In the lead up to this holiday, I have read quite a bit about travelling with babies. I have found some great reads about this topic. Especially Carrie from Flying with a Baby who helped with my in flight entertainment  for the babies. I also found Bridie By The Sea article about their trip to Australia really helpful. (There’s me worrying about a 2 hour flight??!?)

I was going to write my top tips for holidaying with young children, but actually I thought Id better survive this holiday first! I have a feeling I may need a holiday to get over the holiday but as long as the children are fed and have a good time that’s all that matters at the end of the day!

If you have any last minute top tips, feel free to pop a comment here.

Love Kelly xx

 

Mumma Guilt

My mum once told me parenting is 80% guilt, and you know what they say your mum is always right! and I am finding out how true this is on a daily basis.

I previously wrote about the guilt I faced at Christmas. Well I am finding it is a constant battle between being the perfect parent and giving in ‘just this once’ both followed by ‘mumma guilt’

If you like our facebook page; funwith1plus1 (feel free to click and like) you will know the Easter Bunny took Mop Tops dummies last week. I had been prepping her for a few weeks that the bunny would take the dummies but may leave her something yummy in return. So Easter Sunday arrived and she merrily put her dummies in a basket and as if by magic they were gone and had been replaced with a little present and some chocolate. So far so good.

We were pretty busy the whole weekend so it hasn’t seemed to bother her too much. Nap times are a bit more of a battle but actually she has coped really well with out it.

It wasn’t until I went into to get Bear the other night as he was crying that I looked at her innocent sleepy face (they share a room) with no dummy in, that the guilt hit me. What a mean mummy taking away her only little comfort. By this point I am sobbing to Mr DC telling him I am a horrible parent! I convinced myself she definitely hated me, and would remember this for an entire life time. Ok I am sleep deprived so am entitled to exaggerate a little.

I remember feeling a wave of guilt when Bear was small; as I wasn’t able to do everything with him that I had done with Mop Top. I took Mop Top to Baby Sensory, but it just wasn’t possible with Bear. Mop Top had lots of new things as a baby, but poor little Bear everything was second hand. Second child syndrome right there.

This ‘mumma guilt’ carries on everyday with every decision we make as parents. We are raising these small human beings and based on our choices and decisions determines the adults they become.

WOW what a scary statement!

But hey we can only do our best right! Some days, usually after a sleepless night I just give in to the demands of my very demanding 20 month old and some days I try to stick to my guns and I am in charge. I have to say I very rarely feel in charge, its usually Mop Top.

Do you suffer ‘mumma guilt’ I would love to hear your stories…

Love Kelly

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The Minefield of Childcare

This week I have been finalising childcare for when I return to work (*sob*) and it is a serious minefield when it comes to government schemes, tax credits and free child care. It appears to be such a complicated system and yet still so expensive for so many.

We are super lucky as we have parents nearby who can help out, so we only pay for one day a week, which for two babies is still very expensive.

The first decision parents have to make it the type of setting to put your children in. Nursery, childminder, playschool. Previously we put Mop Top into a local nursery,  but this time there wasn’t really that option that would work for us. So we started to look into child minders. I met five child minders, and actually chose the first one I met ( typical woman shopping I guess) For us I felt a child minder could be slightly more flexible than a nursery, and it was more home from home. Child minders now seem very similar to a nursery setting, as they are governed my Ofsted so have to follow all the same guidelines including paperwork, EYFS and training. We shall see how our child-minding journey takes us.

Now we all know the cost of child care is ridiculous so if there are any schemes, benefits, funding available it is worth looking into them. Iv been looking at the Childcare Choices Website (www.childcarechoices.gov.uk) this week to try and get my head around it. Now I am not a pro at this, and this is not an exhaustive list of the help available.

Most people are aware of the 15 hours free childcare, which starts when your child hits 3 years old. Every family is entitled to this. Free child care hours apparently are being increased for some in September to 30 hours. It is only for 38 weeks of the year, the academic year and both parents must be working and earning a certain weekly wage. One to keep an eye on and register for if you are entitled.

Childcare vouchers is something we have used previously. Most major companies use them and most child care settings accept them. You can get up to £933 in tax and NI savings. You can choose the amount you pay into your account and it comes out of wages before an tax and NI (hence the savings)

A new scheme apparently coming soon is tax free childcare. For every £8 we pay, the government will put in £2. Again both parents need to earn a minimum amount, but is available for working families. You can not use this new scheme along side child care vouchers, but are still entitled to the 15/30 free hours.

I told you its a minefield out there with trying to work the best and cheapest way for you and your family. Id definitely recommend checking out the Childcare Choices website, they also have a link to the government childcare calculator, so you can work out based on all your information what’s best for you. It is slightly long winded and you have to input all your incomes etc but worth it I guess.

So many parents are facing the struggle of getting that balance right of going to work for financial reasons or actually ending up paying the majority of their wages on childcare, which I guess in turn seems pointless.

I hope you all find the right childcare setting for those precious little ones and get the help you are entitled to. The most important thing is getting the right balance for your family!

Love Kelly

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How life has changed!

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If you have recently had a baby I imagine you are quickly realising your life will never be the same again.

It has occurred to me recently how my life has changed since having babies. So here are my top ten:

1: I can no longer wee with the door shut. It’s a privelage that automatically gets taken away as soon as you give birth.

2: It’s a given that I will always share my food with one or both of my children.

3: I can no longer leave the house with just my phone and keys.

4: ‘popping’ to the shop does not happen. It’s a military operation to go anywhere

5: I will sing at least one nursery rhyme a day (it is way more than this!!!)

6: I don’t even flinch at the smell of baby poo. It’s part of my day now!!

7: I can not go out and get wasted on a Saturday night. (Well I can but a hangover plus babies do born mix well!)

8: Birthdays and Christmas have a whole new meaning now.

9: Dinner times are loud, manic and normally full of choo choo trains!

10: We are in bed my 9pm most nights. (Got to get those few extra minutes sleep)

I know people say it all the time but I genuinely can’t imagine my life with out my babies. ❤️

Woyld love to hear how your life has changed since babies?

Love

Kelly ❤️

Peppa Pig: My 1st Cinematic Experience

If you have a small human being in your household I am pretty certain you will be aware of the famous little pink piggy called Peppa. We certainly are in our house, and I am sure Mop Top would watch Peppa Pig from the moment she wakes, sometimes 5am(!!) right through to her bed time if I let her.

Now Peppa Pig is already all over your television, there is a whole world dedicated to this little family, you may even have multiple Peppa toys….well its about to take over your life even more by hitting the big screen.

And we were really lucky to be asked to attend the preview screening of Peppa Pig: My 1st Cinematic Experience in London a few weeks ago. It worked out perfectly as I was thinking that I needed some girl time with Mop Top. So we left Bear with Daddy and off we went to the train station.

When we arrived, there was lots of excited toddlers, and slightly harassed mummies hustling and bustling around, but once we were in we enjoyed the pre-activities that had been laid out for the kiddies to enjoy. Story corner, crown making, and face painting.

You know they say never meet your idols, well that rings true for little ones to. Whilst standing in the queue to meet the REAL Peppa and George, I had a very apprehensive Mop Top gripping to my shoulder. Around me were lots of mummies hoping for a smiling photo with Peppa and George…and for most that is not what they got.

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Onto the big preview…. Nine brand new episodes with some great new characters; my favourite being Kylie Kangeroo (that may give you a clue as to where Peppa ventures to)

If you are anything like me, you probably feel like you have seen every single episode of Peppa Pig available. So as a parent it was great to see some new adventures from Peppa and her friends with some actually quite funny adult jokes snuck in there to.

I wont spoil the surprise but Peppa has some pretty cool adventures; including a holiday of a lifetime time down under, and a visit to the big city. As well as the episodes the film includes interactive clips in between, with Peppa and George and their new friend Daisy. This was probably my favourite bit, as it involved the children, they had to dance, sing and shout along with them.

Mop Top was mesmerised; she sat through most of the screening, which was about an hour in total. Which is quite a long time for a 2 year old, but I think the interactive parts in between really helped maintain her attention. I did notice some people started to leave towards the end, as an hour is quite a long time for a child to sit still for.

It is a big piggy oink from us.  Peppa Pig: My 1st Cinematic Experience hits the big screen on the 7th April, and we really hope if you do decide to go and see it you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Lots of Love

Kelly and Mop Top

 

**I was invited along to this event in exchange for this review, all the views are my own.**   P.S No pigs were harmed in the making of this film.