Tuesday, 16 September 2014

My perfect sailing destination

Recently, I came across LOOK’s ‘What Floats Your Boat Campaign’. Having read their article about the ‘World’s most exotic sailing locations’, I can't help but think they have missed a place off their list. Whilst there really are some lovely sailing locations listed on there (you can view it for yourself here) when I think of exotic sailing locations I immediately think of Funchal in Madeira. 

Funchal is a truly beautiful place, which I have been lucky enough to visit 3 times. It has been a port of call when I have been aboard cruise ships. Each time when we have been docking in, it has taken my breath away. With its all year round Summer climate and beautiful flora and fauna, it really is a place you have to see to appreciate just how beautiful it is. 

When we have visited in the past, we have enjoyed sitting outside one of the many restaurants along the harbour and simply taking in the stunning scenery. Its the kind of place I would call a 'time waster' as in you could sit for hours enjoying everything thats going on around you!

One of the 'attractions' we made the most of during one visit, was the wicker basket ride! You literally start at the top of the hill and ride to the bottom in a wicker basket! Its hair raising to say the least, but the views and the experience is just amazing, something I will never forget! Craig and I look so young in this picture, it was clearly before children! 

Strolling and exploring the cobbled streets is something I will never tire of, it really is a place of beauty. Wherever you look there's something of interest to look at. Be it an old small Church or a beautiful garden full of vibrant flowers, there is always something that makes me go 'wow'.

Something amazing you can do in Funchal is whale and dolphin watching. We have never been lucky enough to see any but apparently lots of others have. What a perfect excuse to get sailing! Whiling away the time enjoying the scenery and whale and dolphin watching from your boat! 

If all of the above wasn't enough to tempt you, there is something else that tops everything that I have seen on all of my visits, and that is the New Years Eve fireworks display. They certainly know how to throw a party! With such a beautiful backdrop its perfect setting. They have fireworks going off from all over the mountains, I really have seen nothing like it, they top any fireworks I have ever seen. Watching them from a boat really is the perfect way to see in the New Year!

So what do you think? Is this the perfect sailing destination? Or have you been somewhere that you think can top it? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

This post was written in collaboration with LOOK, all words and photos are my own.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Chester's Year 1 journey has begun!

Last week was Chester's first full week in Year 1.

I still can't believe how quickly the time is going, but then I seem to say that at every milestone!

He seems to of loved his transition into this School year. He is so far loving that they are allowed on the big climbing frame at play times and that they get to play football in the field at lunch times. Typical boy!

But classroom wise, I think it has taken him the week to realise that its going to be a lot different to Reception. He has told me every day after School that he has done 'sooo much work' but he always comes out happy, so thats a good thing!

This weekend he had been set homework tasks, this is a new routine we are going to have to get used to. As every week he will be set various homework tasks that have deadlines, which I have to say are actually pretty lenient. I thought it would be homework set on Friday then back in on Monday. But although they get it set on Friday they do get until midweek to complete. I am happy with that, but will try as much as I can to sit with him at the weekend to do it as I do think that is the best time.

This week he had a Maths worksheet to complete. Chester loves Maths, but because I mentioned homework he miraculously turned into Kevin the Teenager and decided he hated it and it was the worst thing ever! In my head I did sympathise with him because I hated homework when I was at School. Much like Chester I just wanted to get out and play!

He reluctantly completed the homework, he knew all of the answers and I was very pleased with how quickly he knew them. My only concern is that he has written some of the numbers backwards, which he did last year too. I think it may be because he is left handed. So its something I will try and do extra with him at home.

The other bit of homework for this week was to write and draw something that he has done. This will become a weekly thing and will be a bit like a diary. As you know, Chester is not a great fan of writing, but I am determined this will change soon! I am pleased with what he managed to do this week though....

Anyone else had to do the homework thing this weekend? How did it go?!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Two dramas in one day for Millie!

Millie is not one to do things by halves. So she had two big dramas in the same day last Wednesday!

She had been looking forward to starting Ballet for ages, and last Wednesday that day had finally come. One of my friends found out about it and put both Millie's name down and her daughters. It was nice for Millie to do something with a friend, especially as she does not yet go to Nursery.

We were both quite nervous for them, but we needn't of been, they both walled in sat on their seats and waited to be told what to do. We were told to wait outside, which we were both sad about since it was their first lesson. However, looking back I think it was the best decision for them as we were not distracting them. But I am sad that I didn't get to see it for myself. I will admit that I had a sneaky peek through the keyhole though!

It was a great first lesson, both girls came out full of smiles and really enjoyed the lesson. Needless to say we have signed them up and the next step is to purchase the uniform. Cute!

So that was one drama in a sense. The next one was not so nice....

After Ballet we had to pop into Asda. Whilst I was browsing the frozen aisle Chester and Millie asked to look at the Birthday cakes. I was happy with that as they were on the opposite aisle. They were both in full view of me. I called them back over and somehow they collided. Chester, being older, was fine. But Millie rebounded off of him and into a soft drinks stand, then hit her head on the floor.

The screams were horrific. I scooped her up and looked at the back of her head for a bump. I couldn't find one, but cradled her my arms to try and comfort her. A minute or so later I noticed blood on my t shirt, when I looked down, I saw a massive lump on Millie's forehead with a cut on it.

I panicked then, running towards the till shouting that we needed a first aider. A lovely lady sat Millie and I on a chair and called for a first aider. I just burst into tears. It was awful.

Luckily, we managed to calm Millie down shortly after this. The first aider was fantastic with Millie. Cleaned her wound up and then got some ice onto it. Millie wasn't too happy about this, but she reassured her the whole time. Eventually the lump started to go down and the blood stopped. The manager, who had been with us with the first aider had taken pictures and written down all the detail. He was also great with Millie, and with me.

We had to abandon our shopping and head to Minor Injuries. Luckily by the time we had been seen, Millie had calmed down loads and had been happily playing with the toys in the waiting area. The lump had gone down some more and although the cut was deep it had started to heal itself. So Millie was checked over and sent home with a head injury leaflet.

A few days on and looking back I should have asked for stitches as its quite wide and going to be a big scar. Not great for a pretty Princess like Millie!

A massive thank you to the staff in Asda for their help, first aid and kindness. It was a horrible experience but made easier to deal with thanks to them.

So as I said, what a day of up and downs! Only Millie!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Time passes by so quickly.

It only seems like yesterday that Chester was a tiny, soft, cute and cuddly newborn. It doesn't seem possible that he is now almost 6 and has just moved up into year 1 at School! He is still soft, cute and cuddly (although he will hate me for saying that!), but he is so independant now. Over the Summer holidays he has grown up so much, and I don't just mean his height. His way of thinking has changed, he is so inquisitive, he has a need to know everything, and has an opinion on everything.

When he was younger I was desperate for him to reach each milestone. Sitting, crawling, walking, talking. I remember practically wishing the days away so he could get to those milestones. Looking back, I regret that so much. I should of just enjoyed his cuddles and baby days, for they were over before I knew it.

With Millie I was determined to do things differently, I wanted to savour every moment. As a newborn she was cuddled to the max! People that say you shouldn't cuddle your baby too much ARE WRONG! You can never give your baby enough cuddles, NEVER.  I was pretty sad when she reached her milestones quite early compared to her Brother. I mean, I was incredibly proud of her, but it seemed that all the time I was trying to keep her a baby she was rebelling and growing up fast!

Millie will be 3 in January and will be set to start Nursery by Easter. I will be honest and say that as much as I know she is more than ready for it, I am not. Time is going so quickly, I love having her at home and teaching her everything she knows. I miss Chester during the day, time seems to fly by even more now that we are stuck to School routines.

So my one piece of advice to parents with babies and young children is to savour every moment. It may sound like a bit of a cliche but its true, time really does go quickly when you have children, blink and you will miss it! So give as many cuddles as you can, before you know it they will be off to School and not wanting those cuddles in public!

It seems that Fairy agree. *warning* if you are emotional like me, this video will make you cry!

Fairy Non Bio is proud to have seen millions of parents through every babygro, every toddler’s favourite party dress and then, all too soon, that first school uniform. So they understand how quickly this time passes and therefore the value of every precious cuddle.

That’s why they want to encourage parents to embrace every moment – especially with the beginning of the school term coming round all too quickly for many young families. So make sure you make the most of this time by giving them an extra soft cuddle today and embracing the #PowerofSoft!

Having surpassed that momentous milestone of sending their little person off to school - proudly sporting their first oversized school uniform – they also understand the value mums with school aged children place on those precious pre-school days! In fact when they asked them what they missed most about this time, a quarter said it was those super soft kisses and cuddles, 43% said it was their child and 28% said it was just the constant background noise.

So while baby is busy growing and reaching all those many little milestones – from first giggles to first words, first toddles to first confident strides - make sure you make the most of every precious pre-school moment while they are still The Softest They’ll Ever Be.

Sponsored by Fairy.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Worlds Apart Sleep Kit Giveaway!

Last week we attended a Toddler Sleep #PowWow with Worlds Apart, and also had a lovely time browsing and playing with their products.

They have got a really lovely range of sleep inspired products, and what makes them so appealing to toddlers/young children is the characters! They range from Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine to Disney Cars and Hello Kitty. Something for everyone!

So the lovely people at Worlds Apart have offered me a Sleep Kit to giveaway to one of my lovely readers!

The sleep kit consists of a My First ReadyBed and a GoGlow light. You will be able to choose to have them in either Peppa Pig or Thomas the Tank Engine design! How cool is that?!

To enter all you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below, by answering the easy question. You can gain further entries but these are not mandatory!

Terms and Conditions can be found on the rafflecopter form.

Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/worlds-apart-sleep-kit#sthash.nocGG1PM.dpuf “SuperLucky

Worlds Apart toddler sleep #POWWOW

Sleep! Oh how I miss you! I am a terrible sleeper and my biggest fear is that my children will be like me too. Last week I was invited The Museum of Childhood, to a Toddler Sleep PowWow by Worlds Apart, so I jumped at the chance.

Chester has always been a great sleeper, never had any issues with him. But Millie can be a pickle, especially at bedtime. She is just over 2.5 now, she shares a room with Chester and they sleep in bunk beds. She was climbing out of her cot, it was getting too dangerous so we really needed to move her into her own bed. Unfortunately though, Millie see's it as a game, and rather than go to sleep she get up and down, rattles the stair gate, plays her toys, screams and shouts down to us. If she was in her own room I don't think this would be so much of a problem for us, but as she shares with Chester (which is going to be the case until we can afford to up our mortgage and buy a bigger house) it is a big problem.

He needs his sleep, he has got a School routine to stick to, and I don't want Millie's non existent sleep pattern to disturb that. So at the moment we put Chester in our bed, where he falls asleep almost instantly, and then move him when Millie falls asleep. Which more often than not is not until past 11pm. This is not ideal.

Worlds Apart is working with children’s sleep expert Mandy Gurney, the founder of Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic. Mandy has written a Toddler Sleep Guide, in which she addresses common 
toddler sleep problems - outlining her tried and tested sleep routine for children, offering advice for when parents are moving their little ones from a cot into their first big bed.

As you can imagine I was really looking forward to what she had to say. So armed with my notepad, we head off to The Museum of Childhood. The Children were very excited to see some of the Worlds Apart products, and Millie was particularly taken by the Peppa Pig Toddler bed. It was the perfect size for her, and instantly I could see the reason why she should of gone from her cot to a toddler bed and not straight to a full size single bed. She looked so much more secure and comfortable.

I was pleased to see lots of other lovely blogger's there too, some I had met and some I had not. We all had one thing in common today... Toddler sleep problems!

Mandy was lovely, she gave us lots of advice and was happy to answer our individual questions too. By the time we had finished I had a notebook full of ideas to help us get into a better routine with Millie.

The top tips for me were:
  • Timing is more important than technique
  • an hour before bedtime, turn tv off, tidy toys
  • half an hour before bedtime start the bathtime routine
  • only 5 minutes needed in the bath, with no playtime to excite them
  • Melatonin is a sleep hormone which needs to be high at bedtime
  • Triggers for Melatonin include a drop in body temperature (after getting out of the bath) or a dip in the lights
  • Do not let your toddler have an afternoon nap past 3pm  
The no naps past 3pm is a big one for us, since Millie falls asleep on the School run, which is over that time. But Mandy was very helpful and explained that it takes 10 minutes to fall into a deep sleep, so not to let her go past 10 minutes. A power nap is all she needs at her age.

You can read my previous post on Worlds Apart Toddler Sleep Guide here. It has got Mandy's downloadable Sleep Guide, which is packed full of tips and well worth a read.

Worlds Apart have got some really great products to help with the bedtime routine. Chester came home with a lovely Planes Safe n Sound Lumiglow wall sticker. He got to stick the sticker set to his wall, and then you velcro the main Lumiglow light to the big sticker. It is activated by clapping in front of it, it then glows softly for 2 minutes. Enough to comfort a child if they wake in the night.

Millie is a massive Peppa Pig fan at the moment, so she was made up when she was given a Peppa Pig my first ReadyBed. A ready bed is a great idea for sleepovers, its so compact and comes with its own pump. The first ready beds have got a wraparound bed head to help toddler feel secure, and it also has a little side pocket to store a bedtime story! Needless to say we haven't been able to get Millie out of the Ready Bed since!

We had a great day at the #PowWow I certainly came away with lots of information and ideas to help sort out Millie's bedtime routine and sleep pattern.

Look out for my next post for an exciting Worlds Apart giveaway

Moonpig summer flowers, brightening up my day!

Last week I received this lovely Bouquet of Flowers from Moonpig.

It is very rare that I receive flowers, and it reminded me how nice it felt to receive flowers. It really did brighten up my day! Craig has only ever had flowers sent to me once and that was on my Birthday the first year we started dating. Don't get me wrong, I am not moaning that he doesn't send them often, our life has changed now, and I am just appreciative of when he helps with the hoovering nowadays! It made me think that if it made me feel great then perhaps I should start considering Flowers as gifts for family and friends!

The British Happy Days Bouquet that I received is really bright and colourful. It reminds me of a lovely summer day, which this year, lets face it, have been in short supply!

They were well packaged and even came with a full size card, which was a lovely touch.

The bouquet included
3 x British Sunflowers,
2 x Blue British Limonium
2 x Red British Stocks
2 x Pink British Stocks
1 x Bunch Mixed British Aster
6 x Mixed British Alstroemeria

WOW that is a lot of flowers! In fact there was so many that I split them across 2 vases! I am sure you will agree that my flower arranging skills need some considerable improvements! Some of the flowers arrived with unopened buds, and that was great, because just over a week later and nearly all of the bouquet is still going strong! They have really brightened up my kitchen and my front room, I love them!

A week later and still going strong...

This particular bouquet is £25 and you have the option to pay £3 more to have 25% more stems too. I can not stress enough at how big this bouquet was, it is totally worth its money. All the flowers from Moonpig also come with free next day delivery (if you order by 2pm Mon-Thurs) making it even more value for money.

I have always used Moonpig to purchase my personalised cards, but it now seems to be the perfect one stop shop for cards and gifts. Great for men, who, from experience, usually leave everything until the last minute!

Moonpig have got some beautiful bouquets at the moment starting from £25, I seriously recommend you pop over and take a look for yourselves!

So, how about you, do you love receiving flowers?

*I was sent the British Happy Days Bouquet in return for my honest review.