Wednesday 26 April 2017

6 Things to do at Disney World - Guest Post by Toby and Roo

Whilst I am away in Disney World I have some great Guest posts from some of my blogging friends to keep you entertained.

First up is by the lovely Harriet from Toby and Roo.

I have to confess, we’ve only been to Disney once and yet… addicts! It was the best holiday of my life and we adored it. The kids were mesmerised and to be honest so was I – even Adam, my husband, who really isn’t in to Disney was spellbound by most of the stuff purely because of the reactions from the kids.

I wanted to put together 6 tips for things you shouldn’t miss at Disney because looking back there are a few things that we just HAVE to do again (and will be next year!), so without further a-do, here are my 6 things you might not think to do at Disney but really should:

1.     See the Hippos at Animal Kingdom.
I don’t care who you are or what you like, if you can’t be amazed by these HUGE majestic creatures literally in front of you in their under water viewing area, then you are not my people!! It was astounding to just watch them floating around and relaxing – something I can’t WAIT to see again!

2.     Order a Cottontini or Kids special drink at T-REX cafĂ©
Seriously. The cottontini was the alcoholic beverage of dreams – it was pricey sure, but it comes with a HUGE cotton candy ball in the glass and you pour your alcohol over – then you get to keep the shaker as a memento. Not to be missed. As for the kid’s drinks, you get to keep a huge drink bottle with a dino head and a screw bottom for keeping snacks, though they have a little toy in it to start. For the dino lover it’s a must.

3.     Stay out LATE and see the fireworks.
NOTHING will compare to the wonder in your kid’s eyes at 9pm when the big fireworks go off at Magic Kingdom. Reuben started to cry and I asked if he was afraid of the bangs (he used to be) but he said “No, I’ve just waited my whole life to see this and I didn’t even know!” – melodramatic? Sure, but hella cute!

4.     Epcot Kidcot is not to be sniffed at
Kidcot is basically a kiddies version of Epcot – the children get a paper bear to carry around and collect stamps from each “station” is each “country”. At the stations there is everything from colouring to food to taste from the nation. It’s epic and the kids get each person to sign their bear too!

5.     Don’t waste your time with Be Our Guest, but DO have breakfast with the Princesses
Be Our Guest was a let down for us – despite booking it took 45mins just to get in the building and we were out within 25 mins. Meh. The food was nice but not exactly off the chain and we weren’t overly enamoured! We did love dining with the Princesses though – it was lovely, but a word of warning, if you order anything other than the main breakfast, it will be sweet!

6.     Hollywood Studios Stormtroopers are a must

Bit like posing with the guards at Buckingham palace, the storm troopers are super fun!

Thank you for sharing those tips Harriet. You can follow her blog Toby and Roo here:


Sunday 23 April 2017

Getting out and about with Zip and Zoe bags by Babymel

There comes a point in a parent's life where getting out and about start to become slightly easier. Going anywhere with two kids can sometimes seem like a military mission leaving me rather tired by the end of it. I'd usually have a pushchair, a heavy, full change bag and an endless amount of other things which i'm usually left carrying. However, this all changed when the girls starting to carry their own things.

No one ever warned me about how much stuff I'd end up carting around with me with one kid, never mind two, when everything doubles. My change bag was usually bursting to the brim and my back was rather sore after a trip out.

Eva and Ophelia are now at an age where they can both carry a rucksack so when Babymel asked if we'd like to review some bags from their Zip and Zoe range, I couldn't say no. They have a range of uniquely designed backpacks, lunch bags and drinking bottles which are all suitable from ages from 1+. 

I allowed Eva to choose her own bags. She loved doing this. She browsed the selection and opted for a Pink Colour Block Bag and a Daisy Dragon Face lunch bag.

I also allowed her to choose one for Ophelia. She chose her the Daisy Dragon castle.

Eva's backpack is suitable from ages 3+. She adores pink and purple so the colour block style really caught her eye. It also matches pretty much everything in her wardrobe. It has a large main compartment, side bottle pocket and a small front pocket. The straps can be adjusted easily. It also came with a keyring toy.

Ophelia's mini backpack is suitable for ages 1-4. It's a lot smaller than Eva's but it's a perfect size for her. The main zipped compartment area is big. The shoulder straps are padded for extra comfort. There is a musical tag on the bag although I can't tell you what it plays as ours didn't work. The best feature is the safety harness/reins which are detachable. 

Their lunch bag is super cute. It has PEVA lining, is thermo insulated and is wipeable.There is a loop which you can place a drink in which is handy. The feature I love the most is the grab handle. You can attach it to a pram and simply unclip it. It's ideal for grab and go picnics at the park etc.

I recently used the bags on two big days out. One being at Peppa Pig World and one at Folly Farm. The bags had all of our lunches in for the day. Eva did amazingly well at carrying hers all day which had drinks, crisps, sandwiches and snacks in for herself, me and hubby. Ophelia only managed to carry hers for short periods of time which is understandable. 

The reins in Ophelia's backpack are very helpful. She is at the stage where she likes to walk/run off but she's still at the toddling stage. It's a great way of letting her feel like she has some independence and also making sure she doesn't fall over. 

Both girls use their bags for school and nursery too. Eva loves the fact that hers is unique and by that she means that no one else in her class has the same one. It makes it easier for her to find at the end of her school day.

We're all really pleased with the bags. They stand out, look cool and are fairly unique in design compared to others. They are very well made and they still look relatively new considering we have been using them a lot over the last couple of months. 

Babymel also do a great range for parents too. They have lots of changing bags that have caught my eye. This new one which is being released in May is gorgeous, Anya. It looks stylish and quite designer. 


Friday 21 April 2017

You don't look like someone with PND

"You don't look like someone with PND (postnatal depression)". I can't tell you how many times I've heard this said to me. I've heard it said to me so many times that quite often it has left me questioning myself and my diagnosis. This got me thinking. What does someone with PND look like? The answer is easy really, it could be anyone.

It could be the young mum, the older mum, the mum with the sunglasses, the mum crying, the mum who laughs all the time, the mum who is perfect, the mum with the bouncy blow dry, the mum not returning any of your calls, it could even be a dad. It could be the person that looks like they have everything. It could even be a celebrity. I wrote a poem called To the Mum with PND, You are not alone which also highlights who may be suffering. You can read it here, PND POEM.

The point i'm trying to make is that people think depression has a look. They expect people to look and act in a certain way. They expect is to be fairly obvious if someone is suffering with mental illness, when in reality, it's actually quite the opposite. 

I've also had the following said to me on more that one occasion:
"But you always look so happy"
"You always go out and go places"
"You can't be depressed you've just be on holiday"
"You don't look depressed you're always smiling"

If you saw me on a daily basis you wouldn't know I suffer with PND. I've become excellent at  hiding it. You see, people who suffer with PND wear a mask. They mask the reality of their feelings because of the shame they think it brings them. I don't want people to think I can't cope or that I struggle. I don't want people talking about me as if i'm some sort of terrible mother. I wouldn't want people to see me at my worst. My mask hides the feelings of guilt.

Don't get me wrong there are days when I am genuinely happy. I have so many good days and they outweigh the bad days now. Some days I am a Mother warrior when I get everything done. I manage to take the kids out, I tend to the house and I genuinely enjoy myself.

However, it's important to remember that not everybody that is depressed is crying. In fact most of them don't cry that often and they certainly don't cry 24/7. They actually may be smiling or laughing. 

People with PND are able to perfect a facade. The facade enables sufferers to feel strong and powerful and makes them feel like they are fighting their illness. I may smile 24/7 around other people but you can't judge my mental health on that as you'll never know what pain my mind is putting me through behind my smile. 

So to the people that have used the phrase "you don't look like someone with PND", what do you think of these people?

Every one of these pictures is someone that has suffered with PND. You wouldn't know it by looking at them would you?

Just remember it's not often those that you think would suffer that actually do.


Wednesday 19 April 2017

Imaginative Play with Sylvanian Families

I'm not sure the exact age it started but all of a sudden Eva seemed to be involved in imaginative play. Stories and scenarios are often made up with most of them being centred around pretending to be families. There is always a mummy, daddy, sister, brother, nanny etc.

I remember playing in a similar way as a child with my much loved Sylvanian Families. They were my favourite toys to play with. I had houses, schools, various figures and therefore was able to embark on imaginative play about families for hours. When Eva started to show the same enthusiasm, we knew it was time to buy her some of her own.

She currently has the Cosy Cottage Starter Home and a few families. She was lucky enough to recently be sent the Persian Cat family. They are a 4 piece set which is a mother, father, brother and sister. They all have moveable arms and legs and removable clothes. They are a cute set with a vintage feel to their clothing.

The family have settled into her Sylvania world nicely. It's so lovely to see her acting out real life situations with her toys. On the Sylvanian Families website, it explains about the different families personalities. This is a great thing for encouraging them to use different behaviours etc for their imaginative play. I was able to tell Eva that the Father from the Persian Cat family loves to collect furniture and that the mother loves to design dresses. 

She quite often plays schools so we would love to get her the School.

Image taken from Sylvanian Families Net

There are so many fantastic items you can get to build a perfect Sylvania community. There are various houses, families, shops and vehicles. I really like the look of the new Fruit Wagon and I know Eva would love the Candy Wagon.

images taken from Sylvanian Families Net

These toys are classic, stand the test of time and are a lovely collectable range for any toy collection. Do you have any?

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Walt Disney World Bucket List

With less than a week to go until we go to Disney World, I thought i'd create my ultimate bucket list. This one will be for myself and I'll do a separate one for the kids. 

I haven't been to Disney World since I was 14 years old so almost 18 years ago. It has changed immensely since I was last there and I am hoping this Bucket List will ensure I tick off everything I am hoping to see and do. There are so many more things I need to do but these 25 things are my essentials!

  1. Dine at Be our Guest and try 'The Grey Stuff'
  2. Get a picture in-front of Cinderella's Castle
  3. Ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
  4. Meet the talking Mickey Mouse at Town Square
  5. Ride Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom
  6. Eat a Turkey Leg
  7. See The Kiss Goodnight at Magic Kingdom
  8. Buy new Mickey Mouse Ears
  9. Buy more Pins
  10. Buy Disney Pandora Charms
  11. Watch the Rivers of Light Show at Animal Kingdom
  12. Ride the Rockin Roller Coaster
  13. Eat a Dole Whip
  14. Meet Jasmine
  15. Get a pair of Mickey Ears with my name on
  16. Take a Fireworks Cruise
  17. Find a hidden Mickey
  18. Buy an ornament from Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
  19. Trade a Pin with a cast member
  20. Get a Cupcake from the Sprinkles ATM at Disney Springs
  21. Visit The Dress Shop at Disney Springs
  22. Dine at The Coral Reef Restaurant 
  23. See the Fireworks Shows
  24. Buy a Balloon
  25. Get at least one family picture a day

Have you got any suggestions?


Wednesday 12 April 2017

The Unconventional Guide to Flying Long Haul with Young Kids

We love travelling with our children. The fact that we have 2 children under the age of 5 has never stopped us flying anywhere. We have made quite a few long haul flights with them so far including going as far as Australia. Flying is fun and it shouldn't have to be stressful. During those flight's I have learnt some invaluable lessons. Here i'm going to share with you my unconventional (but all very true) guide to travelling with young kids:

1) Do not wear white
Do not wear white. I repeat do not ever get on that plane in white clothes. I know white epitomises summer and brightens things up but unless you want to get off the plane looking like someone from a Persil advert with every single stain known to mankind on you, then wear dark clothing.

2) Calpol is your best friend
You've probably heard people telling you this already but Calpol really is your best friend. Don't ever board the plane without it.

3) You will get a dead leg
If you haven't got a child sat on you, jumping on you, poking you then you will have one sleeping on you. It's fairly safe to say at some point during that flight you will get a dead leg or a dead arm. Don't even try and move whilst your child is sleeping. Just suck it up and cry to yourself in pain.

4) Do not take a book
Don't even kid yourself that you will have time to enjoy getting lost in that book you've been meaning to read for months. Most of your time will be spent focusing on the kids so don't even entertain carrying that book in hand luggage.

5) Be prepared to share your seat
Whether your child has a seat of their own or not, your seat will suddenly become the most desirable seat on the entire plane. It will be total hot property. Be prepared to share.

6) Sleeping is for losers
Even if your child is asleep and has been asleep for hours, you will never be able to switch off. I usually spend most of the time opening my eyes and checking the kids are ok. This will go on for about an hour by which point I then give up and attempt to watch a movie. A parents work is never done so get into your head that sleeping is for losers. 

7) Food glorious food
The excitement on their faces when their tray of food arrives can quickly turn into dislike and a tantrum if they don't like anything on it. Make sure you take snacks with you so at least you have things your child likes. Plus, eating a snack takes up about another 10 minutes of entertainment on your long haul flight.

8) Make sure you're fit
By the time you get off the plane you will feel like you've walked a marathon. You will walk around that plane more times than you will ever think is possible. You will get to know all the passengers intimately to the point where you would be able to pick them out of a line out whilst blindfolded. 

9) Changing nappies becomes a military mission
If you've never changed a nappy onboard an aircraft then you are in for a real treat! Sense the sarcasm here. You will get stressed, you may even start sweating a little and you will definitely bash your arm or head on something. This is something you need to practice before you get on board. If you have any very small, confined spaces at home then give it a go. You need to be able to complete this task with the finesse of a royal marine on a stealth mission. 

10) Drink the wine
I don't think I need to say much more on this. Just drink the wine that's on offer.

11) I don't need the toilet is a secret child code which means I do actually need the toilet
Whoop there's no queue for the toilet, you ask your child if they'd like to go and of course you are met with a no. 5 minutes later when the entire plane is queuing up, guess what, your child needs a wee and they can't hold it in.
Always take them for regular toilet trips whether they need to go or not.

12) An iPad and headphones are a gift sent from the gods
Even if you like to limit screen time usually, I can assure you, an iPad and headphones is a gift sent from up above. As a passenger there is nothing worse than having to listen to the Peppa Pig theme tune 567,999 times. 
The novelty of your child having their own screen attached to the seat infront of them will quickly where off and you will be left reaching for that iPad.

13) You can never have too many clothes
However many spare outfits you think is enough, always pack one more. If it's not food or a drink spilt all over the clothes, then it's a nappy accident (yes poonami's are epic when your 20,000 feet in the air and imagine trying to deal with that in those toilets (see point number 9 again).

14) Don't feel guilty
Whatever rules you normally follow on the ground can all be forgotten in the air. Give them whatever food they want to eat, whatever they want to drink and let them play with that iPad for 10 hours on the trot. Whatever keeps them happy will keep you and everyone else happy. Don't ever feel guilty when you have to parent differently. You are in a confined space with no exit after all.

15) Last but not least don't give a f**k what anyone else on the plane thinks
Get it in your head that it's inevitable that some sour faced sucker will be pulling faces and muttering at thought of you being on that plane with your children. How very dare you!! I can assure you i've had this every time we fly but you know what? The best attitude to take is the I don't give a flying f**k what you think attitude. Aslong as you entertain your kiddies and be seen to be doing the best you can if they kick off, then no-one can have anything to moan about. Every time we've flown the majority of passengers are lovely. They will talk to your children, talk to you and entertain them too but there will always be 1 or 2 that will have something to moan about.

That's it from me. Enjoy your travels and happy flying :)

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