Monday 27 July 2015

Would you go on holiday without your children??

Something that seems to be becoming increasingly more common is for parents to go on holiday without their children. I'm not just talking about nights away in a hotel or even a city break but there seems to be a rise in people going abroad for weeks at a time.

I found an article that talked about some research that My voucher codes had conducted into this topic which drove me to think about the whole idea even more. You can read the article here, Travelling without Children article.

I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion and perhaps voicing mine will spark a debate but I would love to know your thoughts.

Before I had a child I was one of those people that would try and find a child free hotel so that I could relax around the pool undisturbed. However, once I started a family my views on holidays changed completely.

Having a baby or child on holiday is very different but I believe that's a good thing. We have children to love them, spend quality time with them, educate them, embrace their happiness and keep ourselves young at heart. So for these reasons I can't understand how parents can go away and leave young or even teenage children at home for a week or more. 

Every holiday we have taken with Eva has been wonderful. We took her on her first holiday to Turkey when she was 6 months old. We had been to that area many times before but having Eva there created lots of new opportunities and memories. This has been the case for every holiday we have been on as a family.

I can see the appeal of going away without your children. It would be lovely to spend some one on one time with your partner and be able to think and care for no one else but yourselves. Also every parent deserves a break sometime but I could never leave my young children for a week or more. I would be worried sick. Don't get me wrong,  when they are old enough to care for themselves (probably when they are in uni) I will definetley go away without them.

The most I have left Eva was for 3 nights which was a weekend away in Spain with the girls and I have to say that was long enough. I missed her terribly. I was comforted by the fact that I knew she was at home with her daddy and having quality time with him. I think this also makes a huge difference in a decision about going away without your children. I'm more relaxed about being away for the night knowing that the hubby is there to look after Eva.

The hubby and I have had nights away without Eva which I am completely comfortable with. I think we could manage 2 nights if we knew she was with immediate family but I think that would be our limit. I really couldn't entertain the idea of both of us being away having fun without her for longer than that. I would be racked with guilt and probably wouldn't enjoy myself through sadness of leaving her out and worrying that she was ok.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Have you been away without your children? How long for and how old were the children?

Sunday 26 July 2015

Bump watch - Week 24

Week - It's week 24 now. I'm sorry but I missed out week 22.

Baby developments - Bump is now the size of a cantaloupe melon. Baby can now frown, wince and grimace. I have a pretty good frown so she'll probably inherit that from me. Footprints and handprints are forming and tastebuds have been developed.

My bump - Bump grew massively between weeks 20 and week 24. At week 20 baby had a huge growth spurt where they double in size so I can blame the increase in bump size on that. It really is a nice shape though and I'm carrying very neatly. Although I am putting weight on my face, legs and bum. No new stretch marks yet so I'm very pleased about that.

My symptoms - Absolute utter exhaustion. I felt very guilty on one of my days off work this week as I literally couldn't keep my eyes open and poor Eva missed out on quality time with me. I thought during the 2nd trimester you were supposed to feel fantastic but I guess 2nd time around its different as I have a toddler to look after too. My job doesn't help seeing as I'm on my feet all day in quite a manual job.

Movements - Baby is very much awake at night but I am noticing a lot more activity in the day too. She still seems to be lying very low all the time.

Cravings - This week I found myself wanting shreddies and I had to have them. It wasn't an urgent craving but I was desperate for some. As you can guess most of my breakfasts have been a huge bowl of shreddies. I've also been really into avocado on a nice piece of thick wholemeal bread. These are probably the only cravings I've experienced this pregnancy. 

Aversions - As with every other week so far I've had no aversions to any food at all. Alfie our dog had an operation on Monday and I had to pick him up from the vets. Whilst he was in the car he was sick and of course the smell made me sick too. It was unpleasant and messy to say the least!!

Exercise - Still no exercise but as soon as I get any time or energy I am determined to do some. The rate I'm going though I'll be 38 weeks before I start which wouldn't be a clever idea.

Baby items purchased - I bought a santa all in one outfit for bump in the Next sale which was a bargain at £3.50.

Best moment this week - I was singing to Eva the same songs I sing to her everytime I put her to bed and bump was kicking. It was a lovely feeling knowing that she could hear me and enjoyed the sound of my voice (or maybe she didn't enjoy my singing and it was her way of telling me to shut up).

Worst moment this week - Definetley my day off with Eva as I ended up feeling like the worst mum in the world. The sick incident with Alfie was a very close second though.

What i'm looking forward to - I have my first midwife appointment next week (unless they cancel). The midwifes in my area offer a pretty useless service to be honest. I'm looking forward to getting my MATB1 certificate as I'm desperate to go to the dentist but I've been holding it off for so long cause I know I won't have to pay for it as soon as I get that certificate. 

How Eva is feeling - Eva is still quite indifferent about the whole thing. When she sees my belly though she does say that's my baby sister but then also proceeds to tell me she has a sister in her belly too.

Treetop Adventure Golf Cardiff

I was recently asked to try out the new mini golf centre that is located in St Davids 2 in Cardiff called Treetop Adventure Golf. I had seen it advertised a few times but hadn't yet gone. It is located on the 3rd floor of the St Davids 2 car park which is accessible via the lifts. I needed to do some shopping in town and even though Eva loves shopping (as long as it's for her), I knew I needed to also stimulate and entertain her busy mind so that she would be happy to come around the shops with me. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out.

I wasn't entirely to sure what to expect as I had in my mind that it would be small. I couldn't have been more wrong. On first impressions I couldn't believe how large the place was and how well themed it is. There are 2, 18 hole courses to play which are set amongst a rainforest. If you have ever eaten at a 'rainforest cafe' then I can only describe the decor as very similar to that which is great. Eva seemed ridiculously excited about the whole thing and couldn't wait to get started. 

There is no need to book you can just turn up whenever you like. If you arrive before midday, you can play the 2 courses for the price of 1 (this isn't available on a bank holiday). It costs £7.50 for 1 course and £3.75 for under 5 year olds. If you click on the following link there is a price list which includes family ticket offers, seniors, students and the price 2 play the 2 courses, Price list.

Before we started we decided to grab a drink and a cake. There is a cafe and seating area there which serves a variety of hot and cold drinks and a few snacks. There is also alcohol available so you could have a fun date night here or a night out with friends. The full menu is available here, Menu.

Once we started Eva was overly keen. She found the whole thing fantastic. I think the fact that the place is so well themed managed to keep her entertained. There are lots of bright, vibrant colours, lots of rainforest sounds and of course each hole is themed. She loved holding her infant size club. She particularly enjoyed playing the holes where you hat to hit the ball into a tree or a house. She actually managed to get a hole in one twice!! We only played 18 holes as I think this was just as much as a child her age could take. She began to want to throw the ball in after about 10 holes. If you are taking young children I would advise going in the middle of the day during term time as it will be quieter. 

From an adult point of view this place is great. I don't know about you but miniature golf always reminds me of being on holiday. It is such a fun activity and I love the fact that this is in the centre of Cardiff in a busy shopping arcade but yet you feel like you could be somewhere completely different. It is a far cry away from the hustle and bustle of downstairs. I am hoping to come back with the hubby for a date night as soon as we can get a babysitter. 

Overall, we had a wonderful time and we'll definitely be going back to Treetop Adventure Golf again. The place is very well themed, the courses are large so they are good value for money, the food and drink were nice, the staff are friendly and helpful and the toilets are very clean. I think Eva will appreciate it more the older she becomes but regardless of that it is still a great place to take her to keep her entertained for a couple of hours as a bribe for going shopping. I can see this being the ideal place for christmas shoppers. Family shopping at that time of year can be unbelievably stressful so I think it would be a fab place to dump dad and the kids whilst you get the shopping done or if you are shopping as a couple it would be a great place to relax and laugh after the stressful and daunting experience of the christmas rush.

Excuse the quality of the pictures, where it is quite dark in there they didn't come out very well.

Have you been yet? 


Thursday 23 July 2015

Fruit picking at Hendrewennol

I'm always looking for new things to do with Eva. I work near the Vale and I'm always seeing a sign for the pick your own fruit garden called Hendrewennol. Both of us have never been fruit picking so when the sun decided to show its face, I couldn't have thought of a better place to go and enjoy it.

There is different fruit growing depending on what time of year it is but you can check what will be available by clicking here on their website, Fruit season. Now is the perfect time to go as there are lots of different fruits available such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries etc. 

You don't have to pay to go into the fields but you obviously have to pay for any fruit that you pick. They have baskets available to buy whilst you are there for £1. Eva loves holding baskets or bags so I had to get her one. They told me that if you completely fill a basket it normally weighs in at about £15. If you have any baskets at home you could take those with you instead. 

Eva absolutely loved the whole experience, as you can see from the pictures. All the walking around, exploring, looking for fruit, being able to pick it all herself and of course adding it to her basket was more than enough excitement. I couldn't believe she didn't even try and eat any whilst we were going around. I was sure i'd end up having to tell her off. 

We filled up about half a basket which came to just over £5 which in my opinion is an absolute bargain for fresh fruit. Next time I think we will go with a plan in mind of what we actually want and what we are going to make with it afterwards so that we don't end up with too much of one thing. We made some meringue berry mess and some tarts. I think Eva loved the fact that she could also use and cook the fruit that she had picked herself so the whole thing really is a wonderful, educational, fun time for them.

There is also a lovely coffee shop there which we didn't use as Eva was quite tired after all the running around. You can buy homemade jams, vinegars, honey etc from the shop. Also if your children haven't had enough fun picking fruit there is an outdoor play area you can go in for a small charge. We didn't go in that time but I'm sure we will next time.

Overall we can't wait to go back to Hendrewennol, it's something that the whole family can enjoy and is a very different outdoor activity.

Have you been here or anywhere else fruit picking? 


Sunday 19 July 2015

Gender scan at Peekaboo

The idea of finding out the gender of your baby seems to be a 50/50 divide. You're either desperate to find out or you want the surprise at the birth. We are on the finding out side!!!
We found out on Eva and literally couldn't wait to find out this time around. For us it helped us to bond with the baby during pregnancy and we felt more prepared. 

We decided to opt for a gender scan at Peekaboo Baby which is located in Penarth. You can have a gender scan there anytime from 18 weeks. This is ideal for people like us who hate the long wait between finding out your pregnant and the 20 week scan. The scan costs £60 and that includes a selection of images and a bit of 4D, view the package here, Gender confirmation scan. There is also a cheaper package which is £40, Simply gender.

We decided to take Eva with us as we wanted her to see the baby at a scan in a bit more of an intimate setting. When you have your scans with your hospital I find them very 'clinical' and I never feel that you have time to appreciate and take in what's actually going on.
The scan itself was amazing. There is a TV type screen infront of you so you can see everything that is going on the whole time you are there. The picture is fantastic and very clear. We also got to hear the heartbeat too which was a bonus. 

I loved the fact that the scan didn't feel rushed in any way and that you had plenty of time to watch your baby. All body parts were pointed out in clear detail including the heart which was fascinating to see. 

We also got a peak with the 4D on which was such a treat. We definetley want to go back for a proper 4D one which they recommend having later on. The 4D was incredible as we got to see baby playing with the umbilical cord and hiding its face etc.

At the end of the scan we were then told the gender which was another girl. Apparently you look for 3 lines for a girl and they were clearly visible to see. We were delighted to have a baby sister for Eva. 

We were given plenty of scan pictures to take home which are really big in size and far better in quality than the ones you pay for in the nhs.  We had beautiful 2D and 3D images. In particular I loved the ones that were just of babies leg and one of babies foot. They are so different and unique to the normal ones you get.

Overall I can't recommend Peekaboo Baby enough. The experience was something we will never forget and the staff were very friendly and helpful. If you are desperate to find out the gender of your baby I would definetley give Peekaboo baby a try.

Did you find out the sex of your baby? Would you want to find out?


Tuesday 14 July 2015

Travelodge Birmingham airport

Last weekend the hubby and I got to have a date night and night away. It wasn't all it sounds as we were away and back within less than 24 hours so it wasn't as relaxing as it seems.
We went to see Fleetwood Mac in the Birmingham genting arena (which was amazing by the way) which is close to Birmingham airport. Seeing as we live in South Wales we thought it was a better idea to find a cheap hotel to stay in overnight rather than drive back. 

After a while searching we opted for the Travelodge Birmingham airport. The reviews looked good and seeing as all we were going to be doing was sleeping there, it seemed the perfect choice. It was cheap and close to the arena.

The room cost £57 which was booked on the Travelodge website. We chose to have breakfast added which then made the cost £64.65.

The hotel is easy to find and has onsite parking which costs £7.50 for 24 hours. We thought this was very reasonable. Check in is very quick as you can use a self service machine. All seemed well except the price. When we booked the room we booked for 2 people in a double and it gave us an option to pay extra for breakfast. We decided to add the breakfast on as it seemed very reasonable. However, when we were checking in it was asking us if we wanted to pay for a 2nd breakfast. This really annoyed us as you assume that having prebooked it, it would be for both of us and not just one person. We wanted to discuss it with the reception staff but there was only 1 person working behind the desk (due to there being self check in machines) and there was a queue of about 10 people in it so we decided to pay for the extra breakfast and write to Travelodge at a later date to query why the price advertsied on the website didn't include breakfast for 2 people. 

The room itself is very basic but very clean. I had no problem with the size of it for the 2 of us. Excuse the photos being very dark the sun was affecting how they came out. I loved the fact that the room came with tea and coffee making facilities. This was a pleasant surprise and a very nice touch considering the room is so cheap.
We didn't like the fact that there was no telephone in the room because we needed to phone reception a few times but we were unable to. We were also unable to find a number for them to ring from our mobiles. I would have thought if you were staying here for the airport you may need a telephone to phone for a taxi so bare that in mind if you ever stay there.

The bathroom was small but again clean and suitable for what we required. There was also hair and body wash provided. We were not very pleased to find that there was only 1 towel in the room. As i've already mentioned we had stated that there were 2 of us staying in the room so you would thought that 2 towels would be provided. We were unable to phone for an extra one as we had no phone.

The side of the hotel that we stayed in overlooks one of the runways which I din't mind at all. No big planes seemed to take off and land on it so therefore the noise was pretty minimal.

Breakfast was fairly quiet which was great. There wasn't a huge choice but it was an all you can eat option so you could have as much as you wanted from what was there. There were hot and cold choices but the hot choices were very minimal. The croissants that were there were very hard (perhaps they had been left out all morning). 

Overall we were happy with the room considering how much we paid for it. I would stay in another Travelodge again and I'm intrigued as to what the family rooms would be like if we were ever to go with Eva. There were however, lots of little things that should have been better such as the towels, phone and the breakfast.

Have you ever stayed here or any other Travelodge? What did you think?


Friday 10 July 2015

Personalised potty book by Penwizard

We were lucky enough to be asked to review a personalised potty book by Penwizard. They got in contact after seeing that we were about to start potty training. 
We gave training a go when Eva was just over 2 but she clearly wasn't ready so we thought we would wait until she seemed a bit more ready.

She is now 2.5 years old and showing signs that she is ready. The personalised potty book is a fantastic way of introducing your little ones to the idea before you actually start.
The book is available in a girl or boy form and you can personalise the name and also the character in it by changing their hair colour etc. 

The girl version of the book is the Princess Potty Book which is available for £14.99. Eva loves everything to do with princess's so this is ideal for little girls of this age. 

The book explains all aspects of potty training from the child's point of view using their name throughout. Eva particularly liked the pages about choosing her favourite potty and knickers.

As a parent I love the pages that show princess Eva the potty rules. I don't know about you but Eva loves nothing more than to not listen to me so I know that through reading this book she is learning and understanding whilst still feeling independent. 

Overall, we love this book. It was a fantastic introduction to potty training for Eva. The first time she read it she went and sat straight on her potty. We couldn't believe our eyes and thought it was a fluke but she is continually using the potty whilst we are in the house. 
The book is small in size but that makes it better as it's suitable for small hands. 

The illustrations are fab and relatable to children. 

Eva reads this at least once a day and I'm sure she loves it so much as it's all about her (with a spot of mummy too). For this reason I am definitely going to order more books from Penwizard especially for christmas. Delivery was very quick as the book arrived within a couple of days.

There are many children's favourites on the website. Eva's a massive fan of Peppa Pig and Frozen so i'll definitely be getting some of those, Personalised FrozenPersonalised Peppa Pig. I'm also going to remember the website for future gifts for Eva's friends. I think they make a really unique gift that hopefully nobody else will buy. 
Have you ordered any books from here or any personalised books from anywhere else? What types of personalised books would you like to see in the future? After the success of the potty book i'd like to see one about being a big brother or sister.


Wednesday 8 July 2015

Pregnancy Style - Look 2

My second pregnancy style post is an outfit that I wore last weekend when the hubby and I went to see Fleetwood Mac in Birmingham.
We were even staying away for the night so I wanted to make an effort with what I was wearing as if you read my blog you will know that our date nights are few and far between. I always like to make more of an effort when going out as I like to look different to how I do on a regular basis.

I chose to wear a fab summer dress from the Camilla Mackintosh range which I bought from Millie Mackintosh has always been a style icon of mine. I was worried that the dress would not be suitable to wear whilst pregnant but I thought I'd order it and see how it looked.

I'm so glad I ordered it as it's absolutely perfect. The dress is unbelievably flattering and compliments my baby bump wonderfully. It is lovely and lightweight to wear which is ideal for the summer and for pregnant women. I honestly think that due to its material you would be able to wear this no matter what stage you were in your pregnancy.
I loved the fact that from the front you couldn't even tell I was pregnant. It's great as front on your bump magically disappears. 

You can buy the dress here, Dress.

The dress is quite low cut but in actual fact if your boobies have blossomed like mine have during pregnancy, then the cut is perfect. It is revealing but embrace your new figure. Don't let pregnancy stop you from feeling sexy and beautiful. All I did was wear the double sided sticky tape to make sure I didn't fall out.

The print on the dress is very on trend incorporating Boho and 70's. The tassels on the bottom are also huge this season and you need some form of tassel in your wadrobe. The dress was the ultimate choice to wear to a Fleetwood Mac concert as I felt I was channeling my inner hippy.
I wore it with my trusty floppy hat. A hat can change up any outfit and can be worn all year around. I got it from Oasis but it's no longer available so I have found an alternative from Next, Hat
The shoes I wore were black wedges which I bought from Next, get them here, Shoes. If you are taller than me you could get away with wearing a pair of flat sandals but I'm very short and the dress is very long so I had to wear heels.

I adore this dress and I have no doubt that I will be wearing it many more times during my pregnancy and after the baby arrives.

Have you bought anything from the Camilla Macintosh range? How would you have styled this outfit? 

Kerry x
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