Sunday, 25 September 2016

Weeds....


Weeds... messy and unloved, overlooked and a little lost.

But there is beauty there when you look at it from the right angle.

That's pretty much how my blog is at the moment.

 Sometimes life gets busy and I've just not had the time to come over here, but I do miss this little corner of the internet.

So a catch up....

My eldest turns 15 soon.... fifteen.

My youngest will be two just before that, and with a 13 year old and a 9 year old in between life is certainly busy.


In the past two years life has been somewhat hectic, I got a job for Netmums which I loved, then I had Noah, and now I'm working as a dinner lady for a local secondary school but also working hard on my freelance graphics designs.

But also being a mum to four I am lucky if I get time to breath let alone do much of anything else!

Noah is a amazingly fun but he is exhausting in equal measures. He still breastfeeds and co sleeps, although he sleeps fine I only really get a hazy nights sleep, I do love having him close and I know these years pass faster than you can imagine but still sleepless nights are hardwork!

So that's where we are... muddling through this roller coaster of life, rocking with the twists and turns and hoping the thrills outway the fear.






Saturday, 24 September 2016

Autumn Eye Spy - Free Childrens Activity Print

Here is a great Time filler for everyone - one of my favorite childrens activity for those rainy afternoons, or in fact any time you want to incorporate something fun and seasonal into your day.


This print out sheet I have created is great for learning all about the autumn animals and vegetables you can see around this time of year, it is great free resource to have to help children learn the names of some of the common creatures and vegetables -

Can they spot a Robin? Where are the pumpkins? How many ants can you see? What colour is the apple?  Can you see the turnip? What do you think the hedgehog would like to eat?

There are so many ways you can use this fun print out sheet. A simple eye spy - where you say the name of the vegetable or animal and the child has to point it out, or you can use the more common eye spy method where you and the child use the sheet to help think of things 'eye spy something beginning with L.....' (leek)

You can also use this fun sheet to provock discussions, simply talk through what you can see.

However you decided to use this sheet I do hope you have as much fun with it as we have!

To print this sheet out simply right click and save the image to your computer then print as many times as you require!

Why not also take a look at our Autumn Treasure hunt print out which you can find by clicking here


Free Printable Autumn Treasure Hunt


I can't quite believe how quickly this year is passing, October is creeping up quicker and quicker, and with it the changing seasons, I must admit I love Autumn, the colours, the changes in nature, the weather. Even when its getting a little cooler it is still nice enough to grab a jumper and get out side!


We are very much an out doors family,  spending a lot of our time outside I am always thinking up things to entertain the children, one of their favorite things is to go on a treasure hunt, they never seem to tire of finding bugs and beasties or blowing a dandelion clock.

  
I have created this free to print out - Autumn treasure hunt, which is one of our favorites, the children love to see who can find all the things first, or we simply use it as a guide when we are walking, helping us point out some of the things we see at this time of year.

If you would like to print this Treasure hunt simply right click and save the image below to your computer and print out as many times as you require!

It's a great way to help the children learn about nature and the changing seasons, the printable guide gives them something to look at to encourage them to get outside.A great free activity for everyone at home, after school or any time!

Happy Autumn Hunting!


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Hello!

Ahhh my trusty old blog, how I have missed you.

So wow, how time slips by...


My three become four, my tiny newborn has already had his  1st birthday... my eldest is now 14... fourteen.... how on earth did that happen?!

So, dear blog, I am so sorry I have been so sporadic with my commitment, so useless with keeping on top.

I do love the moments I have captured over the years, and I know that I really don't want the records, the memories, the fun to just stop being recorded.

I am not going to promise to try harder, I really really am the worst at sticking to promises, but please do bear with me whilst I do my best to get back into the swing of blogging my everyday moments, my favourite memories and everything else in between.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Weaning

Weaning tends to be hotly debated by parents and can become something which can cause alot of worry for new and more experienced mums a like. Many parents worry which method is best and how to  combat a fussy sweet toothed baby.

Noah is now 9 months old and has been enjoying food for a few months now. He will happily eat a wide range of foods tastes and textures.

We took a nice relaxed baby led weaning approach. introducing him to food at his own speed and allowing him to decided how much he wanted to eat.


As Noah is breastfed, he still gets a lot of his nutrition from breast milk and I intend on feeding him for a while longer, at least until his 1st birthday, so following the mantra 'food is fun until your one' I have been relaxed around how much he actually swallows.


We started offering finger foods around the 6 month age mark, he could sit unaided at this point and grab and put food into his mouth.


All food we ate as a family (within reason) was offered, toasted bread fingers, cooked apples, pears bananas, strawberries, mashed potato, broccoli, carrots rice and pasta.


Initially small tastes were offered and Noah spent more time playing with the food than eating it, now however at 9 months old the mess is slowly reducing as he actually eats the food much more efficiently.


The bonus to taking a baby led weaning approach for us have been the ease and relaxed nature, if going out and about there is no worry about packing something for Noah, he has breastmilk if needed and can swipe some bread from a sandwich or a sausage roll or piece of fruit to munch on.


At home, whilst cooking the meal for the family it is  a great way to keep him happy and entertained, a few peas on his highchair give me time to dish up everyone elses meal, a slice of toast in the mornings allow me to ensure the others get their breakfast, freeing up my hands by letting him feed himself I have found it to be a great time saver. The only negative being the mess!

For us baby led weaning has been enjoyable and stress free, we have not experienced any trouble with gagging or chocking, ensuring the food initially was finger sized and cooked to a soft consistancy meant he could manage it well, as he has got more expeirenced he loves smaller pieces such as garden peas and sweet corn, chererios, and cut up  fruit. He also is happier with tougher food such as meat and crackers.

If you are starting out on the weaning journey it can seem like there are so many things to think about, my number one piece of advice would be to relax and go with the flow. try not to worry about the amount of food your baby is eating, and try to offer them finger food after a milk feed so they are not really hungry which can result in getting frustrated at the speed of the meal, eating food takes longer and is not as instantly satisfying as drinking milk or puree.

Remember to let your baby have fun and try not to interveen, leave them to explore the food at their own pace. They will learn to chew before they swallow which may mean to start with food is put in their mouth and spit out again, as soon as they get the hang of chewing then swallowing they find meal times more satisfying and a wider range of food can be offered.

here is a video of Noah having some first tastes


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Dismaland - Questions - Answered!

We were lucky enough to get to go into Dismaland yesterday - and had a truly fantastic time.

I recommend it to everyone. There seems to be a bit of mystery around the event and everyone seems to have a question, so I thought I would put together a question and answer style post which will hopefully be handy to those who are planning on going themselves.

What is Dismaland? 
Dismaland is an interactive art exhibition, situated at Western Super Mare, UK
With art on display from over 50 artists from all over the world, including Banksy, situated in an old Lido - the Tropicano which once housed an open air swimming pool. Banksy said 'This event is so much more than just an art show, well, two things more. It's got a bar and a cinema. Think of this as a fairground that embraces brutality and low level criminality - so a fairground then. Here you are encouraged to consider not just consume, to look, not just spectate and most importantly of all beware of uneven floor surfaces.' - See a full list of artists and other information on the website www.dismaland.co.uk


Is it suitable for young children?

We took my 4 children, aged 13, 12, 8 and 8 months.

The art is of an dark nature, so it may be worth having a look to see if you are comfortable with that before taking along your children.

Some swearing is present on certain posters, and there are scenes depicting death and other subjects which you may want to talk over.


But for the very young these simply go over their heads, for the older children it is a great way to introduce them to some fantastic art works, the staff are amazing and were nothing but great with my children, taking the time to entertain them in their dismal uninterested yet very attentive way.


Upon entering you get lead through a security section, the staff there were particularly great with the children, making them stand on one leg, hop, place hands over their faces then smile at the camera -that sort of thing, they also spoke to my 8 month old son, scanning him and asking him to ensure all adults are supervised at all times- a great start to the whole experience.


Once inside it is very much a fairground - and you can interact with the stalls, have a go on hook a duck from the muck, and topple the anvil, again the staff at these attractions ere wonderfully entertaining with the children, making the experiences so much more rewarding than an average fairground stall, there is also a childrens corner too with sandy play area... and childrens pay pocket money loans. Brilliant from all ages.



How long do you need to visit?

The doors open at 11am then again at 6pm for the evening till 11pm.

We had over 4 hours there but could have stayed longer - there is no time limit to the day and once passed the security entrance you are free to go about your day the way you wish too, there is a one way system around the castle and certain art exhibits but everything else is free to wander around as you see fit, you can stay as long as you want, and there truly is so much to see and do.


Can you take your own food?

I think officially they would rather you didn't - there is places inside to purchase food, although we simply didn't have the time to do that, before purchasing your ticket your bags are checked, and there was mention that you have to disguard food which I read online in other sources of information, however I took in my picnic bits (drinks and sandwiches) and nothing was said about that.

What is disabled access like?

The floor in the que area is muddy, slippy and generally rather unpleasant to push a wheel chair or pushchair, but is not totally in accessible. Inside there is uneven surfaces, wood chips in some of the exhibit tents and general steps up and down certain areas, however there is certainly plenty you can easily access with a wheelchair/pushchair so even with the bits which may be off limits there is still a lot of reasons to see the rest.

How much additional money will you need?
Days out can often quickly become expensive when you add up all the little extras can't they?

The price to enter is a very affordable and very worth while £3, then once you're inside you don't need to purchase or spend anything else at all to enjoy the visit, but there are a few things available,  the big 'I am an imbe-cile' balloons which gloomy staff wonder around holding ARE  for sale and can be purchased for £5 if you can catch up with the staff.


The attractions are all working and should you wish too you can play the mini golf, ride the Ferris wheel, and try to win on the hook a duck, shoot out and topple the anvil, these cost between £1 and £2 a go.


On the way out there is a gift shop- inside there are prints to purchase and T.shirts which cost £10 for a children size and £20 for an adult.


Paper guides are handed to you as you enter, official more indepth guides can be brought for £5

Over all it is a very affordable day out and great value for money.

Great, so where can you get tickets?

That's the big question isn't it? -  We simply turned up and were lucky to not have to wait too long, you can read how we got tickets here : How we got tickets to Dismaland

However there is no guarantee of Que time or tickets being available on the door.

Online tickets are being made available in blocks - keep an eye on the official website, and do not buy from anywhere else as ID may be needed to prove purchase from official site. www.dismaland.co.uk 

You can also get up to date information on twitter from the official Dismaland stream @dismalandwsm


And if  after all that you  have time, you can brave the winds and western weather and sit on the beach... but beware of the sinking mud! (check tide times and look for warning signs on the beach)



and if you want to see whats inside here is our video :

Banksy Dismaland - How did we get tickets?

Several weeks ago I was looking to arrange a seaside day trip as I do love the sea and haven't been able to take a trip for a couple of years, living in the midlands and not being able to drive myself it can be difficult. So when I saw a local coach company offering trips to Western Super Mare I thought 'oh that is a good way to get out for the day in the school holidays', booked up my tickets and didn't think much more of it.


Then the news broke that Banksy had installed a new attraction on the seafront, surrounded by excitement and mystery. I couldn't believe it when it said this was at Western Super Mare an otherwise fairly quiet seaside town and so I eagerly read what was there.


The news articles sounded fantastic the photos popping up online looked incredible, I tried helplessly to get tickets so we could be sure to go in ourselves, along with seemingly millions of other people!

The tickets website crashed (or was simply never going to deliver tickets on that opening day) and I was left like all others scratching my head and wondering what was happening.

The next few days I scoured the internet looking for real information, what was it like inside? could children go? and most importantly how likely were you to be able to get inside if you turned up at the door?

News broke that tickets would go on sale online from Tuesday lunch - great we were heading there on Tuesday... but  I wouldn't have a laptop handy, and needed a ticket for the daytime not evening. No way of securing tickets before this point.

I figured this could be a blessing, as people waited at home to book their tickets could we perhaps get lucky by being at the door?

So with a glimmer of hope we set off on the coach, it took us 4 hours to arrive, and I had become unsure of our chances of getting inside dismaland, arriving after dinner not ideal when ques could be hours long,  I told my three older children not to expect guaranteed entry and to remember we had booked this day trip without even knowing about dismaland in the hope to avert from serious disappointment.


As it happened we drove past the entrance of Dismaland  and parked up a few meters away, the ticket booth looked open but not busy, the ques certainly looked manageable in a short time frame.


We went straight off the coach, at around 1pm, towards the ticket booth, £3 entry each - a real bargain, the trickest part was navigating through the mud and twisted barriers, with only a handful of people ahead of us we quickly had stamped wrists and were ready to enter the second section of metal railings and join the main que.

This moved slowly with only a handful being allowed in at a time, there was possibly 100 people ahead of us, not a massive que by any means. It  took us around 40 minutes to get to the front.


As we entered the park there was probably 200 or so people waiting behind us, and the lady told me the que was moving slowly as the park was nearing capacity.

Once inside it was amazing - the staff so in character from the first people at the cardboard security who spent time talking to each guest (which is why only 5 or 6 allowed through at a time) to the dismal greetings of the stewards crossing you over the road - there was so so so much to look at, the instant sights such as the castle, the police boat in the moat, the sweeping bendy bench are stunning to look at, but the detail in every aspect of this bemusment park could take you hours upon hours to absorb and you still would not have seen everything it has to offer.


The day was amazing - we all thoughtly enjoyed every minute of it - the dismal weather of windy Western Super Mare was not even noticed, we spent 4 and a half hours there and left reluctantly to catch our coach back home.


If you are lucky enough to have a ticket be sure to go and experience this yourself.


look out for more posts soon :)
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