Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Giveaway: Win The Ultimate Kids' Party Package At Hollywood Bowl Dagenham

To celebrate their 1st anniversary, the folks at Hollywood Bowl Dagenham are offering Counting to Ten readers the chance to win a kids’ birthday party package.


A child bowling at Hollywood Bowl Dagenham
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Saturday, 8 December 2018

Lost and found: a tale of friendships

Recently I went into London on a Saturday afternoon to meet some lovely people for afternoon tea. I got off the tube at Tottenham Court Road and walked along Charing Cross Road to the National Portrait Gallery. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised about how busy it was just a month before Christmas. The combination of people doing their Christmas shopping and those heading out to socialise meant lots of crowds. In amongst the crowds I saw people I recognised, not the overly made up super stylish women, but some normal looking women with smooth skin, groups of friends and no signs of motherhood. I recognised me of 10 years ago, and it made me think.

Afternoon tea with blogging mum friends at the National Portrait Gallery, London
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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Strictly Come Dancing The Board Game Review and Giveaway

Are you a Strictly fan? I love to watch Strictly Come Dancing and I dream of going on the show. I guess I would probably have to become famous first, or at least infamous. I think the first series I watched was 7 years ago, but impressively it has been running since 2004! Clearly us Brits love the glamour, the dancing, and of course the gossip too. If you know any Strictly fans then there is the perfect present for them this Christmas: Strictly Come Dancing The Board Game. I have been sent a copy of the John Adams game to review and I was excited to get dancing, and laughing, as soon as possible. There is also a giveaway to win a copy of the game at the end of this post.

Playing Strictly Come Dancing The Board Game to review it
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Monday, 3 December 2018

Herodrive Review: DC Super Friends Toy Vehicles for Preschoolers

My youngest is really into her superheroes at the moment; they are her favourite things to draw (so she says, I haven’t yet managed to distinguish any of her pictures) and she loves to run around with a cape on, maybe with the addition of a magic wand too because why not? She was really excited when we received a selection of Herodrive vehicles to review and both she and her big sister have been playing with them regularly since I let them get them out of the box.  The Herodrive products from Funrise feature a range of vehicles mashed up with DC Super Friends characters like Batman and Superman. They are designed to be fast and fun for preschoolers and we were sent: a Batman Racer, a Superman Signal Squad Car and two Mash Machines to review.

Review of the Herodrive DC Super Friends Preschooler Toy cars
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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

My Independent Chatterbox: A development leap in my 2 year old

Children are constantly changing, but sometimes you look at them and you notice that they have suddenly made a huge jump in how they look or act. Little has just turned 34 months old, (yes I know I should just say nearly 3, but I’m trying to be accurate) and in the last few weeks there has been a definite change in her. I stopped doing her monthly updates nearly a year ago so I thought I would write this post to record the milestone.  Are there still development leaps at this age? This nearly “nearly out of the terrible twos leap” has seen her communication improve and her a growing determination to have her own way (not that she has had a terrible two’s, I feel our “horror year” is yet to come).

Toddler building a tower with colourful Grimms wooden pieces
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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Pregnancy Update: Week 32

Well it was going to happen at some point and my 32nd week of pregnancy was the week where I started using 2 pillows at night to sleep in a more upright position. I don’t want to give the impression that there are just 2 pillows on my side of the bed, I tend to have one or two around my body to stop me rolling over and support me, but this week was the week that heartburn caused me to need to be more upright. A definite pregnancy milestone.

Standing in the autumnal forest with a 32 week bump
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Friday, 23 November 2018

Newborn Baby Essentials You Really Need from A Third Time Mum


The internet is full of shopping lists claiming to include the essentials you need when you are having a baby. Having read through many lists in the past I’ve been confused why some items are recommended as "must haves". This list is different, it contains the tried and tested products I have used before with my newborn babies and that I will be using again this time. Items aren’t in here because of obligations to promote them, they are all genuinely products I intend to use and confidently recommend to others. The post does contain affiliate links, but only to items I use myself, it wont cost you any extra if you buy through these links.

A mothers hand holding a newborn baby hand
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Thursday, 22 November 2018

Review of Dobble, the Quick Paced Family Card Game


As it gets colder we have been spending more time inside playing games, well that and watching TV, but I'll gloss over that! We were sent Dobble to review and it makes a great addition to our games collection. The family card game from Asmodee is suitable for age 6 and upwards and is played with 2 to 8 players. It is a fast moving fun game which is really easy to learn how to play.

An excited child holding Dobble Family Card Game in it's packaging
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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Ultra Dash Review: The Competitive Game That Gets your Family Moving


I first discovered the Ultra Dash game at the Toy Fair in January and I straight away asked if I could review it because I thought it looked great fun. Fast forward to November and I finally got my hands on it. Why was I so keen to review this game? It’s a game that encourages children (and adults) to get active by appealing to their competitive spirits. I initially thought it would be great fun to play in our garden, but as it’s a bit muddy out there at the moment we have been playing it inside and it works really well.

Looking happy while playing the Ultra Dash game inserting the Trigger into the pink Target
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Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Visiting Santa's Grotto at Wyevale Garden Centre, Braintree (Review)


Christmas is coming and like many families we enjoy visiting a grotto in the run up to get us in the Christmas spirit. There are so many places to choose from which range in the level of experience and the price. Which sort of Christmas grotto you want to visit will depend on your budget, the personality of your children and the time you have available. This year we were invited to Wyevale Garden centre in Braintree to see Santa, or Father Christmas as I prefer to call him. It is a short and low cost grotto experience with prebooked slots so you don’t need to queue.

Santa's Grotto this way
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Monday, 19 November 2018

Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn Review


Poopsie the Surprise Unicorn is not the sort of toy that appeals to me. A unicorn that poops sparkly slime? Hmm, sometimes I worry about the people who create toys these days. When I was offered the chance to review it my first thought was to say “no thanks”, but then I remembered that my 7 year old had seen an advert for it and said she wanted it. So instead I said “yes” and had a very excited daughter when I showed her the delivery. It is a toy which definitely appeals to their target market and it’s not surprising that it has made the DreamToys Top 12 Toys list for Christmas 2018.

Poopsie Surprise Unicorn in packaging ready to unwrap
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Friday, 16 November 2018

Week 31 Pregnancy Update: Exhaustion and Choosing a New Car for 5


My 31st week of pregnancy has largely seen me tired and demotivated. All my mental and physical energy seems to have gone. After a productive few months blogging I have been finding it much more of an effort to write, edit and promote my work. I also haven’t wanted to stay up in the evenings, a time I normally get a few hours of work in after the girls have been asleep. This baby growing business has finally caught up with me.

Toddler kissing a 31 week pregnancy bump
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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Top Rated DreamToys for Christmas 2018

This morning I got up early to find out what toys a panel of retailers and toy industry experts believe will be the most popular and sought after toys this Christmas, the so called Dream Toys. As ever many of the top 12 are new versions of well known toys with Barbie and LEGO both featuring. The latest editions of sell out toys from Christmas last year make the list such as L.O.L Surprise and Fingerlings. So what makes the top 12 toys this Christmas? And whatever toys are recommended across the various categories? And which do I agree with? 

A pretend train displaying DreamToys Top 12 Toys for Christmas 2018
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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Week 30 Pregnancy Update: Glucose Tolerance Testing


Turning 30 weeks pregnant feels like a bit of a milestone. At times I think it's still absolutely ages until the baby is due, but at other times I panic about how close it is, particularly with the time around Christmas being lost to all things tinsel. I have started to think of all the things I need before baby comes and all the sorting I need to do. My desire to start nesting has been competing with work for a while so this week I have made some time for it. 30 weeks has been a turning point in my comfort levels too as I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable. This week has also seen me visiting the GP and Hospital again, but this time they were planned visits for a flu jab and Gestational Diabetes Testing.

A 30 week pregnancy bump close up with a toddler cuddling it
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Thursday, 8 November 2018

A personal story of experiencing and being treated for PMDD (guest post)

Have you heard of Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)? No, I hadn't either until recently when my friend Charlotte mentioned that she had it. This clinical condition can be called "severe PMS", but as you will read below it is so much more than that. I asked Charlotte if she would write a guest post to help raise awareness and to help other women who may be suffering from it, but not realise that is what it is. Here she talks about the challenges in identifying PMDD, the symptoms, getting help and the medical treatment options.

A bed in a dark room home of PMDD sufferer
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Monday, 5 November 2018

Recording Childhood Memories with The Book Of You


Time passes so quickly when you have children and so many of those special moments seem to get forgotten as time passes by. It’s part of the reason I take so many photographs and try to record milestones in blog posts, but wouldn’t it be a lovely idea if there was a single place you could record all those childhood memories and changes in your children across the years? Something they could easily look back on when they are older? Well the Book of You from Colour Chronicles is designed to be a “record of childhood” so they can do exactly that.

The Book of You is a record for childhood memories
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Friday, 2 November 2018

Geomag Gravity Motor Review: STEM toy for 7 years and up


We have long been a fan of Geomag (see our original review of their Magicubes here) so we were excited to receive a Geomag Gravity set to review. Aimed at 7 years plus Geomag Gravity sets are a great STEM toy for Tweens which explore the principles of magnetism and gravity. We received the Gravity Motor set to review.

A 7 year old girl looking at instructions for the Geomag Gravity Motor set
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How To Make Your Garden As Low Maintenance As Possible

I love our garden, but I don’t love the gardening. To keep it looking good takes regular time and effort. From cutting the grass to pruning and weeding I never really manage to keep on top of it, but I’m lucky that I have family who enjoy gardening and they help out. If you don’t have family to help out, and you don’t want to have a gardener then there is another way. If you make your garden as low maintenance as possible you can spend more time enjoying your garden and less time looking after it. Here are some helpful hints and tips if you want to make your garden easier to look after.  

Long grass and a slide in the background
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Thursday, 1 November 2018

Pregnancy Update Weeks 28 and 29: growing discomfort and concern over baby's movement


I thought I would document this pregnancy more than I have done with it being my last, but the second trimester has passed by and physically there hasn’t been a lot to say. I’ve blogged about how I feel about gaining weight in pregnancy, my plans to reduce the impact of Pelvic Girdle Pain, my thoughts on having a boy, my anxiety of baby loss and breastfeeding while pregnant, but most of these posts have been about the psychological impact of the pregnancy, not the physical. Hitting the 3rd trimester has been a a little more eventful and included 2 hospital visits to monitor movement.

A pregnant mumma (me) in a black dress at 29 weeks pregnant

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How To Tell If A House Is Over Priced


When you are looking for a new home you will have a budget to work with. When I have been looking at houses I have often been tempted to keep stretching that budget as I see properties just outside the price I can afford , but are they really are worth that much? Before deciding to pay that little bit more than you planned you should make sure the house is really worth that much, but how do you tell? There are signs you can watch out for that will indicate that too much is being asked for, some of which you can check out before you view.

The property of your dreams may be overpriced. Photo of a large house
Source
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How To Do More With A Small Garden


When you buy a new home there will be things you will compromise on and things you won’t. We knew that we wanted 3 bedrooms, off the road parking, gas and a garden, but within what was available in our budget there were things we couldn’t be so picky about. For us it was distance from a station, for others it might be the size of the garden. A garden is a great place for children to play, to grow things and to relax. There is plenty you can do with a small garden so if you have had to choose a smaller garden than you would like here are a few ideas about how to make the most of it. 

How to make the most of a small garden, get your children to water your fruit pots
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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Little Tikes Games Night: Crazy Blender and Hot Hoops Review


We were invited to take part in a Kids versus Parents games night by Little Tikes. They sent us 2 Little Tikes board games and everything we needed for a great evening (well afternoon) which would include food, a film and a medal. We were sent Little Tikes Crazy Blender and Hot Hoops to review as part of our games night and had a lot of fun as you can see in our YouTube Video.

Two children looking at the Crazy Blender next to the packaging in front of a blackboard saying Kids and Adults
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Sunday, 28 October 2018

Gift Guide for 6 to 10 year old Children

There is a definite change in children around the time they start school. Suddenly they seem more grown up and aware of the world, aided by the growing ability to read yet they are still (fortunately) quite innocent and you don’t want them to grow up to soon. Presents need to be more mature than they were and still a lot of fun, but you don’t want them to be too grown up. This gift guide has a selection of present ideas which are fun, but won’t be seen as too babyish by children in the 6 to 10 age group.

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Saturday, 27 October 2018

Visiting SEALIFE London With Children This Half Term


This half term we headed to the London’s Southbank and SEALIFE London, the aquarium that you never really expect to be there. Whether you want to visit the Ascarium in the run up to Halloween or you just want to know a bit more about visiting the London attraction with young children this post will tell you what you need to know.

two children looking into a large glass fish tank
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Friday, 26 October 2018

Gift Guide for Toddlers and Preschoolers

If you are looking for presents for a toddler or preschooler than I have found a selection which will help to inspire their creativity, entertain them and help grow their minds. These include some of the favourite items we own, the best of the products we have reviewed this year and new products which I think will make the perfect gift for this age group, many of which I requested a sample of to be included in this gift guide.

A great selection of ideas for presents for toddlers and preschoolers
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Thursday, 25 October 2018

I am still scared of losing him


*Trigger warning: talks about baby loss*

Throughout this pregnancy I have lived with the fear of losing my baby. I lost the last one so it’s possible I could lose this one too. There is no reason why I should, but there is no known reason why I lost the last one either. At 29 weeks I can feel my son kicking away in my tummy, but everyday I live with the fear that I won’t ever see my little boy kicking a ball around in the garden.

A sunset over a field
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Giving Your Children The Things They Actually Need

As a parent it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to give your child everything they say they want or the luxuries that other people have. Even more so in these days of social media where it's so easy to compare our lives to others.  It makes it easy to forget that so much of what we work hard to provide is really far less important than we think at the time. If you are worried about money in the run up to Christmas and you are wondering how you will afford everything here is a reminder of what your children actually need. 

two sisters in party dresses sitting on the floor and smiling
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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Why Singapore Is A Great Place To Take An Exotic Holiday With Children

I love to go on holidays in the UK with my children, but as they get older there is a growing appeal of travelling to far away, warm locations. Going somewhere we know that the weather will be reliable and there will be new cultures and experiences for us all. If you are looking for a place to visit that is exotic, captivating and fascinating, as well as kid-friendly then the city state of Singapore may tick all your boxes. Find out why Singapore is so well suited to families in this post.
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Smart Ways To Stay Healthy On Family Holidays

Whether you have made a special effort to get fit for your holiday or it’s a regular part of your routine staying healthy on family holidays can be tough thanks to all of the temptation that you’ll find around you. We want to enjoy ourselves and relax, but keeping a few good habits while away can help prevent problems on holiday and will stop you from feeling run down and unhappy the second you land on home soil. 


A view along a beach towards villas and lots of footprints in the sand
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How To Make Your Home More Child Friendly

When you are thinking about starting a family it is a great time to make adjustments to your home to make it more child friendly. In practice though I know a lot of people (myself included) who find it is the discovery that they are pregnant which motivates them to find a new more suitable house or make modifications to their existing one to better accommodate the needs of a family. Babies on the move and toddlers know no boundaries when they start to explore the world so it makes life less stressful for everyone if their environment is as safe as possible. Here are a few tips on how to adjust your home to the needs of your little one. 
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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

How To Transition Children From Baths To Showers

Bathing your baby for the first time is amazing and scary. You’re mesmerised by their tiny little limbs and smiles but also terrified because they seem so fragile and you are worried about not supporting them properly in the water. I still remember the first time I gave my eldest a bath over 7 years ago, she hated it, but that soon changed. As your child grows older, they may want to make the switch from baths to showering on their own. This can cause anxiety for parents and kids alike, but there are a few things that you can do to make the transition easier. Here are six helpful tips. 

A toddler sitting in the bath playing
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Monday, 22 October 2018

Visiting Cutty Sark in Greenwich with Children

Cutty Sark rests in a specially built dry dock by The Thames in Greenwich, South London. Originally built in 1869 to bring tea from China it has been restored to illustrate what a cargo ship was like in the late 19th and early 20th century. The interactive and informative displays make it appealing to children and adults alike. I was invited to visit with my family to find out more and this post contains what you need to know if you are thinking of visiting the British Clipper Ship with children.

The Cutty Sark Clipper Ship against a blue sky
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Friday, 19 October 2018

No Children Allowed: Finding The Perfect Parents Only Holidays

Going on holiday with your children can be great, but what if you and your partner want a break from everything, including your children? More and more parents are leaving their children behind and going on a holiday where they can relax with no responsibilities, routines or early morning wake ups. While it can be easy to feel guilty, spending quality time with your partner and properly resting can be beneficial to the whole family. If that seems like a dream to you maybe this post will help you start thinking through the practicalities and the possibilities to help it become a reality you can enjoy before your children have grown up?

people sitting on sun loungers as the sun sets out at sea
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How to Stay Healthy and Active When You Have Kids

When you have children your priorities change and sometimes you don’t feel you have any time for you. It is totally normal to feel that all your time is devoted to your family, especially when your children are small, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you know that you need to make changes to get more fit and active then sometimes a few simple changes can help and it might be possible to get the rest of your family involved too.
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Thursday, 18 October 2018

Presents To Give To Parents That They Will Love

Being a parent is the most wonderful gift, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want presents too. I find I spend so much time looking for gifts for others that it makes me appreciate being given the perfect gift even more. Here are a selection of presents, ranging from the functional to the beautiful that G and I would love to receive and I’m sure other parents would too.

A selection of presents to give to parents to provide inspiration
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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Who's That Girl Tween Beauty Products Review

My eldest daughter loves make up and beauty products. She’s seen me putting on the basics for years so it’s not surprising that she always wants her own bits. As mini me’s our daughters obviously want to experiment, play and copy us, but when it comes to buying her make up and beauty products it can be a challenge to know what to get: the play make up aimed at children is often bizarre colours and slimy, but products targeted at adults doesn’t seem quite right either. Who’s That Girl is a new beauty range from MGA Entertainment aimed a fashionable young Tweens (but suitable from age 6 plus) and I love that the products are more about having fun than covering up. My eldest daughter, M, has been trying out some of the products from the range that we were sent to review, but what did she think? 

The packaging of Colour Streak Hair, Glitter Roots, Selfie Masks and mood Lips
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Monday, 15 October 2018

The Tale Of A White T-Shirt and the #ACEforSchool Challenge

When my eldest was in her first year of school I was sitting outside a classroom waiting to speak to her teacher. One of the wall displays was a white t-shirt pinned up and covered in various stains. It was accompanied by a message encouraging parents not to mind that their child came home with dirty clothes but to be glad they were having a good time.  It made me laugh because I might not get much out of my daughter if I asked what she had done at school that day, but I can make some guess from the state of her clothes.

ACE Stain Remover Spray and ACE for colours next to a school t-shirt
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Num Noms Smoothie Movie Night and the Snackables Silly Shakes Maker Review

Recently my eldest and I haven’t been getting on that well. Her behaviour is always worse when she is worried about things, but she doesn’t easily open up and talk to me about what is bothering her. There has been a lot of shouting and foot stamping over the last few weeks. I knew we needed to spend some time together to sort things out so it was good timing that we were sent everything we needed to have a Num Noms Smoothie Movie Night. M and I had a lot of fun playing with the Num Noms Snackables Silly Shakes Maker before getting changes into PJs and cuddling up on the sofa to watch a film. It’s amazing what some quality time and having a laugh can do for the relationship with your children. 


The Silly Shakes Maker in it's box with a 7 year old posing next to it

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Sunday, 14 October 2018

Rainbow Themed Gift Guide for Newborns to Adults

Rainbows represent hope following a storm. They are beautiful and they can take your breath away.  I am planning for the birth of my rainbow baby in January (a baby born after loss) so rainbows now mean even more to me. Whether you are buying a present for a family welcoming a rainbow baby, to celebrate gay pride or just someone who loves to see a rainbow when it has been raining here are a selection of presents that might be perfect.

A title text box saying "20 Rainbow Themed Gift Ideas" with images of rainbow gifts faded in the background
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10 Reasons To Visit South East Asia

South East Asia isn’t the easiest place to get to from the UK – you’re looking at a 12 hour flight at least in order to get there. However, the subcontinent makes up for this with its warm climate, vibrant culture and unique attractions. For those debating the long haul flight, here are 10 reasons to get on that plane and see South East Asia.

Beach scene
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Friday, 12 October 2018

Review of Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

It was a cold Sunday morning when we headed to Paradise Wildlife Park to see what was new. Along with lions, tigers and other big cats at the attraction in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire there are meerkats, tapirs, camels, dinosaurs… Yes that’s right I did say dinosaurs, because Paradise Wildlife Park isn’t like your standard zoo,  one side of the park is primarily animals (from the exotic to the farmyard) the other side has a large play area, soft play, splash park, museum of speed and since Easter 2018 a dinosaur area with 30 moving dinosaurs. That means there is plenty to do to keep little ones running around and hot drinks to warm up the big people.

Looking at  a large map of Paradise Wildlife Park
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Thursday, 11 October 2018

A Next Generation Experience In Cruising


We live in a great time for travel. Never before have so many people been able to afford to go see the world with their own eyes instead of hearing of watching about it. This also means that companies are all trying to compete for our money and give us the best value and experiences possible. As you may have seen already, new Airbus and Boeing aircraft for the commercial sector are getting bigger and bigger. With new engines that have 100,000 ft-lb thrust capability, passenger jets can hold well over 300 people onboard. To counteract this, cruise ships have also gotten bigger and bigger to provide a different kind of holiday experience. When I visited a cruise ship last year I was amazed at how many passengers can fit on modern cruise ships, have space to themselves, enjoy the different features onboard and yet still travel the oceans and seas in comfort. With cruise ships getting increasingly sophisticated, impressive and large maybe it's time to save up to experience one?
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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

How To Stop Your Child Scratching: from the sensible to the ridiculous

Last night I was kept awake as my 7 year old lay next to me in bed scratching, yes it appears that even at 7 years old she is still an occasional bed invader. This time it was because she'd had a bad dream and she felt sick. For well over an hour she kept me awake and in that time I had to stop her scratching countless times. The eczema on her legs has had another flare up (although fortunately not a bad one) and it affects her most at night. It doesn’t matter whether your child is scratching because of eczema, psoriasis or just dry skin, simply telling them to stop won’t make a difference. As I eventually drifted off to sleep I started to think of all the ways you can get stop children scratching and as the dreams took over the ideas started to become a little less sensible.

A child snuggled up in bed
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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Still breastfeeding: A tale of extended breastfeeding through pregnancy

I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m still breastfeeding my two and a half year old. I know a few other people who are breastfeeding their toddlers (not that any of us mention it very often), but I hardly know anyone who has breastfed through pregnancy. That’s sad because for months I have wanted someone who I can turn to and commiserate with about how much it sodding hurts. 

Me and My toddler both happy and wearing matching tops
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Monday, 8 October 2018

How To Have a Happy Bedtime Routine For Children

How does the children’s bedtime routine go for you? Do you get tears, shouting or endless requests for one more story? Bedtime should be a lovely end to the day with cuddles and closeness, but sometimes as parents we can dread the nightly struggle. The more tired we are as parents, and the more desperately we need some child free time the longer bedtime seems to take. Here are some suggestions for how to have a stress free bed time based on my toddler’s bedtime routine.

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5 stunning family villa in Samui for a restful holiday

Guest Post:
Koh Samui, the beautiful island in Thailand, is known for its white-sand beaches, family-friendly villas, serene panoramas, exciting nightlife, and waterfront bars. When travelling with your family, especially if you have children, then it is ideal to experience Samui from the comfort of a kid-friendly villa.
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Saturday, 6 October 2018

Going Back To Being A Stay At Home Mum

Ok technically my employment status hasn’t changed recently. I’m still bringing in an income through my blog and social media, but ever since G’s job finished in July it has been a bit different with two adults at home each day. Life changed again this week when G started his new job on Monday and to be honest it is a bit of a relief.

Me and a toddler wearing police hats and smiling
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Friday, 5 October 2018

Child Friendly Bathroom Design Ideas

Do your children have their own bathroom? My girls share the family bathroom, but we’ve found that designing the bathroom to make it child friendly can make life much easier for all of us. It can be really simple to make changes with a bit of research.  A combination of bright colours and patterns as well as a few small modifications can make your children love the bathroom and make it easier for them to use.  If you are looking to redesign the bathroom for your children here are a few simple tips for kid-friendly bathroom design ideas that you don’t want to miss out on!

A collection of rubber ducks on the side of a bath
Source: Pexels
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The Problem With Instagram: Growth, Engagement, Pods and Instants

Instagram can be a total pain to grow. With more users signed up than ever it has led to increased competition and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. As more people use it as a source of income there are also lots of people scheduling their posts and rarely even logging in to engage with others so more users doesn't necessarily lead to a larger audience for your posts. Why is it so difficult to grow on Instagram? What problems do bloggers face? And how can you grow your Instagram in a sustainable and risk free way? After experimenting for a few months I have finally got my account to start growing again. This post talks about why so many of us have problems growing our Instagram accounts and what the answer is for sustainable growth.

A photo of a Mac opened to Instagram feed for EssexKate
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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Thinking Of The Future...

There is something about being a parent and being pregnant that makes me want to plan for the future. Thanks to me having a series of job moves and finally self employment as well as G’s work history as a contractor neither of us have currently have a great pension. We have a small amount of savings for a rainy day, but the last couple of months with G being out of work has shown how quickly they disappear. The one thing I am grateful for is our house. Even after living here only 2 years it has gone up £40’000 in value according to this calculator so it provides me with some reassurance for our future. I appreciate property values go down as well as up, but I still have more confidence in house prices than the interest rate on my savings account.

Cactus plants in the foreground with a sunset over the sea behind
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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Best Advent Calendars for 2018: Beauty, Alcohol, Toys, Food and Home

There may be 2 months to go until December, but now is the time to get buying your advent calendars because some of the most popular designs will sell out fast. While you can still find the traditional calendars with little cardboard doors and pictures behind if you look *really* hard and supermarket aisles are full of the chocolate ones the variety of advent calendars available gets more exciting every year (even if the cost seems to be a little crazy).  I have trawled the internet for new advent calendars and updated versions of old favourites.  Here are over 20 of my most exciting finds in beauty, food, alcohol, toys and home advent calendars.

A title box with a gold glittery background and 20 + of the best advent calendars for 2018 written on it
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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Review of the Stoves BI900EF Electric Double Oven

My kitchen is the heart of my home, and the heart of my kitchen is the oven so when ours started to stop working I needed a new one with as little stress as possible. The idea of going round a sales room with a toddler turning all the nobs and trying to climb into dishwashers didn’t sound like a great idea so I went online to look at the options available from AO.com. AO kindly offered me the Stoves BI900EF Built In Electric Double Oven to review and I got to experience their delivery, connection and recycling services too.

Pulling out a roasting chicken from an oven

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Monday, 1 October 2018

Halloween Giveaway with Red Letter Days

What are your plans for Halloween? Will you have a party? Go trick or treating? Maybe this year you could do something different for the occasion and have a date night? Red Letter Days has lots of ideas of places you could go to celebrate Halloween including: Zombie Infections, a Haunted Bus Tour in London and Murder Mysteries. To help get you in the mood for Halloween they are offering a Escape Room Experience to one of my blog readers in this latest giveaway.

2 people looking through a door with a worried look on their face
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Getting Your Children To Share A Bedroom With Less Stress

I have always wanted a family with several children, even when I was a child myself. I didn’t know what sort of parent I would be at the time and it’s only since I have had children that I have really started to understand myself. It’s often when you see your behaviours reflected in your children or hear your words coming out of their mouths that you stop to think about your good, and bad, habits. Sharing a room and frequently arguing with my older sister I have never been under the impression that families are perfect, but it’s only really as an adult with a growing family that I have realised just how much clutter, mess and noise comes with having children. Having a happy family requires sacrifices and constant work from everyone. With (soon to be) 5 people in a 3 bedroom house sharing a room is a necessity and this can lead to lots of fights, but with patience and some handy tips you can make sure children in a shared room don’t feel they are having to compromise.

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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Tips for Less Mess When Baby Led Weaning

Having been through the baby led weaning process twice now I’ve found a few ways to reduce the mess and making cleaning up as easy as possible. There will still be mess and allowing your baby to explore the food is really important whether it’s through squishing, smearing, dropping or eating, but you can definitely make it less messy. Give your child the chance to make a mess when you have time, but follow my tips for reducing mess for the days you just can’t face all the cleaning.

A laughing baby covered in food
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