Thursday 30 June 2016

Me and Mine Project - June 2016

This month has seen us have a few family firsts. We've been camping at a festival, glamping and I also had my first weekend away from the kids at BritMums Live. It's been a busy month but we did manage to get a couple of family shots.

The first thing we did was to go away to Wychwood Festival. It was all very last minute and we were unsure as we'd never taken Ophelia camping and had only been once before with Eva. We'd also never been to a festival before so we had no idea what type of things to take with us. We decided to just be spontaneous and go for it. It paid off as we all had a fab time and the camping side of it was a success. If you want to read more about how we got on, you can here, Wychwood. Annoyingly we didn't take any pictures of us together only this one whilst watching Justin Fletcher on stage. 

The following weekend we headed to Crealy for our first ever glamping trip. It was a stark contrast to the previous week. Glamping is so easy with kids as you literally don't have to take anything. Whilst there we popped to Exmouth beach to have fish and chips for dinner. We had such a fab time. The girls played so nicely together. Ophelia loved the feel of the sand between her toes (and in her mouth) and Eva just loved the freedom of running around. 

We really need to start making the effort to take some normal family portraits rather than selfies all the time. Note to self for next month, take a tripod on family outings.

Together this month we have loved:

  • Camping
  • Sand
  • Walks
  • Fruit
  • Singing and Dancing
  • Ice cream
July sees us going on our family holiday abroad, so we will hopefully have some lovely family pictures to show you from there.

The Me and Mine Project

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Glamping at Crealy in Devon

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to stay for the weekend at Crealy which is located in Devon. Crealy is an adventure park which has its own caravan and campsite. As you know we recently went to a festival and camped together for the first time as a family of 4 which we really enjoyed, so we were very keen to try out the glamping tents that we were offered.

We live in Wales and the journey to Crealy took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Once we arrived check in was very quick, easy and stress free. We paid a refundable deposit of £3 for a gate pass which is used to drive in and out of the campsite. There was also a shop in the reception area which supplies food, drink and other camping essentials and entertainment.

We were staying in the medieval area of the campsite in the Sir Galahad tent. There was also a safari area with different style glamping tents. You were able to park very close to the tent which is easier for unloading the car. The tents are well spread out so you don't feel like you are on anyone's doorstep. There was plenty of room for kids to run around and enjoy themselves.

We've never been glamping before so we don't have anything to compare the tent to but we found it amazing.  They are large and sleep up to 8 people, if you also use the sofa. They are fully furnished which is a wonderful thing to have when camping. All we had to take was bedding and towels. There was even 2 plug sockets and a light. The tent is split into 3 rooms which are the kitchen, lounge and dining area and 2 bedrooms either side. 

The main bedroom had a double bed, chest of drawers and a clothes rail. It was a large room which had plenty of space to store luggage etc. We used our pop up cot in this room for Ophelia to sleep in and there was still enough room to move around.

The other bedroom had bunk beds and 2 single beds. Eva thought she was cat that got the cream having all those beds to herself. 

The kitchen had a sink, fridge, toaster, kettle, hot and cold running water, plates, cutlery, glasses, saucepans and a wood fired stove. There was a sofa bed and a dining room table.

I left hubby to use the wood fired stove as I am a bit of a cry baby when it comes to fire. Every glamping tent comes with a basket of fire wood but you can purchase more if you run out. He found it easy enough to use although it takes a little while to get going and heat up. We ate there for breakfast and dinner but had lunch in the adventure park. If cooking really ins't your thing then there are places to eat in the adventure park or there are plenty of pretty looking country pubs close by.

The stove made the tent lovely and warm. A far cry from how cold you normally feel in a tent. It was lovely to not wake up shivering from head to toe.

There is a decked area outside the tent with a table and chairs. We sat out there both mornings for our breakfast and hubby and I sat and enjoyed some quiet time there at night with the fire pit blazing to keep us toasty. 

The toilet and shower facilities are the best i've ever seen at a campsite. They were a very short walk from the tent. There were plenty of toilet and shower cubicles so you were never queuing to use them. They are heated too which is a nice touch. They did have a hairdryer in there which was available at a small charge.

There was a park near the tent too which Eva loved. Some of the tents had a clear view of the park so that you could watch your child playing from the Terrace.

We absolutely loved staying at Crealy. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The facilities were the best i've seen for a campsite. It was all very clean. It was ideal for families with children of all ages. The medieval glamping tent felt like a home away from home. I'm not sure how i'll be able to use a normal tent again after having such a fantastic glamping experience. The location is great too. It's close to lots of beaches. We popped to Exmouth beach one evening for a walk which was a lovely experience.

We are definitely going to go back. I think we'd try a Safari tent next time to see how they differ. We spotted one called Kilimanjaro which is where we got engaged, so we'll have to try and stay in that one. There are also lodges with hot tubs which would be amazing to stay in. You can also stay and use a pitch for your own caravan or tent but if you can I would give glamping a go as it was so easy and stress free. It meant we were able to relax and enjoy ourselves almost straight away.

I'll be writing a separate post about Crealy's adventure park so make sure you pop back to read that tomorrow. 

Have you ever stayed here? Have you ever been glamping? 


Tuesday 28 June 2016

LapBaby Review

Ophelia is a baby that wants her mummy. She literally wants to be near me 24/7. At times it can be quite difficult as I spend a lot of time trying to do things one handed whilst holding her. Things such as eating, drinking, working from my computer were all becoming somewhat challenging. Even trying to play with Eva whilst holding Ophelia was proving a very stressful experience.

I was lucky enough to be sent a brand new product called the LapBaby to review. The LapBaby is a secure belt which allows you to sit your baby on your lap, hands free. It is suitable to use from 3 months plus and comes with its own bag which is perfect for travel. It was designed by Chloe whilst on maternity leave with her first baby.

The belt is really easy to use and takes seconds to put on. The belt secures around the wearer with a clip and around the baby with velcro and a clip so it is very safe.

The first thing I noticed was how comfortable it is to wear. I was sceptical of its comfort before I received it because my waistline really isn't what it used to be. I was worried it was going to be too tight and suffocating but it isn't at all.

You can tell it has been designed by a parent as there a couple of handy features that are very useful. There is an extendable and detachable wipe clean lap-cloth. This is perfect for when Ophelia is eating whilst on my lap. I love the fact that you can take it off and wipe it clean. Anything that makes my life easier is a dream. 

There is also a material clip that you can attach toys and soothers too. Any parent will know how many times teethers etc get dropped on the floor so this is a lifesaver. This feature has been really useful with us. As you know Ophelia cut her first teeth at 12 weeks and they have kept coming ever since. She always wants to chew something so it's been great not having to juggle holding her in one hand and a toy in the other.

We've been using the LapBaby for a few months now so we have really put it to the test. It's become part of our every day lives and literally comes everywhere with us. We've been using it day to day in the house and we've also taken it on family travels. 

We used it whilst on the Eurostar. It was so lovely to be able to be hands free whilst sat in the same place for over 2 hours. It meant that we could do other things such as entertaining our other daughter. We have also taken it camping a couple of times. It's quite small once in the bag so it didn't take up a lot of room in our car and is a bit of a space saver. Taking it, meant we didn't have to take a high chair or some other seat for her.

Even though Ophelia loves eating, sometimes she doesn't want to sit in a high chair. We've been able to use the LapBaby whilst in restaurants and in our own house. I'll fully admit that on a few occasions when we've been alone, we've had a sneaky lunch in front of the TV in the living room. We've also used it on more times than I can account for whilst in a coffee shop.

This was her about 2 minutes after we moved her out of a highchair in a restaurant. Cheeky Monkey.

As you know I am a blogger so therefore I need to spend time on my laptop. This has helped me immensely to be able to get work done although as she's older she is thoroughly enjoying bashing the keys too. I blame her a lot when it comes to 'added' things in our online supermarket shops! Daddy also uses it whenever he has to work from home and to enjoy his coffee before he leaves in the morning.

My favourite thing about the LapBaby is how much bonding I have experienced with Ophelia and Eva whilst using it. I have been able to keep Ophelia close to me which has made her happy and content. We are able to read books and play games together which is all great for her sensory development.

It has also helped me to be able to continue a good relationship with Eva. Whenever Eva wants to play a game, I have been able to keep both of them happy.

This is such a wonderful product for all parents. It's £24.99 which is a small price to pay for a product that aids your every day activities and travel. It would make a great baby shower present for expectant parents, especially parents who have other children. It's ideal for multitasking parents.

You can buy the LapBaby here, Buy. Make sure you follow them on TwitterInstagram and Facebook to keep up to date with news. Also keep an eye out for it featuring on a few more upcoming blog posts with us.


Wednesday 22 June 2016

Breastfeeding and Weaning - A Helpful Guide

This week is national breastfeeding week. I have breastfed both my girls and I am still feeding Ophelia. I absolutely adore it. One thing that can be very confusing is how much to feed whilst weaning.

I didn't have a routine or any kind of structure when it came to breastfeeding Ophelia. I fed her mainly on demand so I did worry that I may end up overfeeding her when we started weaning. 

Fortunately, through Babymoov's #stresslessweaning campaign, I was given some wonderful advice from nutritionist Julie Wolman to help guide me through our feeding journey. This advice applies to both formula and breastfed babies and is a guide only.

First Foods: 

All milk feeds should continue as normal during the first stages of weaning. Start by allowing your baby to have one meal a day which is a puree  This meal should be about an hour after a milk feed. There should be at least 4 milks feeds a day during this stage. Once baby is happy having one meal a day, increase to 2 meals.

We started by giving Ophelia breakfast. This was her one meal a day. When she woke up in the morning I would breastfeed her and then about an hour later, we would all have breakfast. She would then want another breastfeed about an hour after breakfast. She has managed to get herself into this routine and this is now her everyday routine.

Stage 2 6-9 months:

Once baby is on 3 meals a day, gradually drop one milk feed, usually this is the mid morning feed. At least 3 milk feeds are required a day. Once baby is happy eating 3 meals a day the night time feeds (after 7pm) can also stop.
At around 7 months old baby should be having 3 meals a day. Give baby mashed food and also offer finger foods. Once they are eating 3 meals a day, start to offer them a desert at lunch and dinner. At this stage you can also offer a variety of foods such as protein, pulses, dairy etc (unless advised otherwise by a dietician).

Ophelia has just turned 7 months so she is currently eating 3 meals a day. She doesn't tend to have any deserts or snacks at the moment. She is also still having her mid morning and night time feeds. I think she enjoys these as they help to send her off to sleep. 
She has got herself into a routine with when she likes to have a breastfeed which has allowed my body to adjust to her needs. I don't find I leak anymore as my body has adjusted to her routine. 

Stage 3 9-12 months:

Gradually drop another milk feed, usually the mid afternoon feed. By around 12 months babies should be having 2 milk feeds a day, usually morning and night.
Continue baby with 3 meals a day and snacks if baby wants them.

I've placed all of Julia's advice in this handy table for your reference.

So far our weaning and breastfeeding journey is progressing well. It can sometimes be confusing as to whether Ophelia is actually having a good milk feed during the day or if she's after a bit of comfort but either way she is now pretty much in her own routine. I am letting Ophelia lead the way with weaning and breastfeeding and along with my relaxed approach, we are both happy. 


Monday 20 June 2016

Introducing toTs by smarTrike

Since having 2 children, I constantly feel that my hands are either full or tied. You would normally see me carrying a bag with one hand, holding Eva in the other whilst trying to juggle pushing a pram. 

This was all way too stressful so I tried carrying Ophelia in a carrier to see if that helped free up my arms. Nope that didn't work either. Trips anywhere with the 2 of them were becoming somewhat of a nightmare.

I'm a self proclaimed bag addict so as you can imagine my changing bag was always a statement piece of arm candy. I had a bag that I could carry on one arm that looked great but wasn't practical with 2 children in tow. I was beginning to realise that my only option would be to get a rucksack. The word alone put me off. Rucksack sounds so boring and plain. I trawled the internet to look for rucksack changing bags and nothing caught my eye that I thought would be big enough.

Luckily I was asked if I would like to review some items by toTs by smarTrike and guess what?! They had a rucksack changing bag that I actually liked. I chose to receive the Infinity bag in grey. It comes in 3 other lovely colours which are beige, blue and purple and costs £64.99.

It arrived just in time for us to take it to Disneyland Paris. I thought this would be the perfect place to test it out as I would need a jam packed changing bag for travelling and everyday essentials for 2 little ones.

The first thing that impressed me was how nice the bag actually looks. It's quite elegant looking with a simple but fashionable quilting pattern on it. The colour I chose matches all my outfits (I know what you're thinking but I like my bag to match my outfits). The fabric has a water repellent coating which is rather handy to say the least.

This bag is like a tardis or a modern day Mary Poppins bag. It is deceptively big and holds so much stuff. It honesty carries everything for Eva, Ophelia and myself, with room to spare. It also has lots of hidden compartments which I love. Nothing makes me happier than organising stuff so this change bag helps to fulfil my passion. I can keep things in separate sections making them easily accessible. 

There is a section at the back of the bag on the outside which is perfect for carrying laptops or documents in as it is the size of the entire bag.

The bag also comes with an insulated bottle holder and a separate pouch/bag. I use this bag as a mini change bag. I carry the changing mat, nappies, wipes, cream and nappy bags in it. This allows me to just take this smaller bag with me when changing a nappy. It is so handy. It's simply grab and go. 

To me the bag isn't that heavy to carry. It's extremely lightweight when it's empty. As i've perviously mentioned I carry all of Ophelia's things (change of clothes, food, nappies etc), Eva's (change of clothes, drink, snacks) and mine (purse, phone, keys, diary etc) and it isn't uncomfortable to carry.
On more than one occasion I have carried Ophelia in a baby carrier on my front and had this rucksack on my back. You've seen me, I am a far cry from a bodybuilder so it really is easy to carry without any discomfort.

The bag has a few different clips on it which allow you to clip the bag onto your pram. I must admit I don't tend to use this feature but my hubby does.

As you can tell I am in total adoration of this bag. It has honestly helped me out so much. It's such a well thought out design. It's been everywhere with me, Disney, soft Play, camping, literally everywhere. I don't know how I ever coped without a rucksack. I would love to see it released in some more colours and especially black. I would also like to see a bigger changing mat. The one that comes with the bag is quite small especially in width. 

I was also sent a lovely knitted blanket by the brand. I chose to have pink (you've seen my daughters, they are girly girls, so pink was the first choice). The blanket is made of 100% cotton. 

I must admit I had my doubts about what the quality of this blanket would be. After all the brand are the geniuses behind the smartrike so why were they now doing linen? Upon arrival I was proved wrong.

The blanket is very soft and cosy. Ophelia loves being snuggled in it and Eva often sneakily steals it. It washes very well at 40 degrees.

This is definitely a brand to watch and I can't wait to see what the come out with in the future.


Saturday 18 June 2016

The Siblings Project - June

This month we have seen a complete u-turn in Eva and Ophelia's relationship which has been amazing to see. Ophelia is a few days from turning 7 months old so this turn has been a long time coming. If you follow me on my social media you will have seen pictures of them together laughing and smiling but believe me, these moments were a rarity, until this month.

This month the dynamics have changed. Ophelia has always idolised her big sister but the feeling was never really reciprocated. I must admit this really upset me and for a long time I wondered if we'd made the wrong decision with the age gap that we have between them. 

Eva has now started to properly interact and play with her sister. She has been including her in everything and it is melting my heart. It is such a joy to watch. She comes home from nursery and runs straight to her. She now will sit with her and talk to her. She even enjoys playing with games and toys with her. I can't begin to tell you how much of a relief it is to finally see this bond between them.

I'm wondering whether it's because Ophelia has now become a lot more interesting to her sister. Ophelia now rolls around everywhere, sits up, laughs constantly and chats for Britain in her own little way. They eat at the table together and bath together. Perhaps, Eva has now realised she's not as boring as she was when she used to just eat, sleep, poop, repeat.

This month they have experienced some family firsts together. At the beginning of the month we went to our very first festival together and Ophelia had her first taste of camping. The girls had a great time.

The following week we headed to Crealy in Devon for our first family experience of glamping which was amazing. Whilst at the theme park, Ophelia tried her first ever ice lolly, which of course was a mini milk.

We also popped to Exmouth beach. The way they interacted with each other there will stay in my heart forever. Seeing them giggling together was just so precious. I sat there and watched them feeling very grateful.

So far this month has been wonderful in terms of siblings and family outings. I'm hoping the rest of the month will be the same.

Have you got siblings? How long did it take for their bond to properly develop?

The Me and Mine Project
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