Family Days Out // SEA LIFE Blackpool

Last weekend, as Toby’s treat for reaching the end of his reward chart, we went to SEA LIFE Blackpool for a morning with the fishes. I lived in Blackpool for my whole childhood, and had spent plenty of time there visiting my parents until we moved back to the area last year but I have never been to the Sea Life Centre (as I knew it) before.

Anemone

SEA LIFE Blackpool is just along the promenade from Blackpool Tower and there’s plenty of parking in the pay and display car park behind. As it was a bank holiday weekend we decided to get there in time for opening so it wouldn’t be too busy. We actually had to wait outside for the doors to open and were the second people in there!

Grumpy eel at Sea Life Blackpool

SEA LIFE is fully pushchair and wheelchair accessible – there’s a lift to get up to the aquarium itself but once you’re up it is all on one level. Read more

Remembering Childhood // Twinderelmo

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week’s Remembering Childhood comes from Beth at Twinderelmo.

Which decade were you born in?

The 1980s

What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

I was about three and quite morbidly it was when our pet dog passed away. I don’t remember him dying or anything – just that the vet reversed onto our drive. This was MAJOR as no one ever ever ever reversed into our drive! Bizarre.

A young Beth from Twinderelmo

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

At 5 I had my cuddly Sylvester from the Loony Tunes who I took absolutely everywhere. At 10 I probably was obsessed with a Tamogotchi! I remember my Dad got me one when he was working in Ireland and my whole class was jealous.

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#BathBookBed with Jo Frost and BookTrust

If you’ve read my blog before then you may well be aware that I have not been blessed with children who like to sleep. In fact if we include the sleeplessness induced by pregnancy then I am probably looking at about four years now of broken sleep. So when we were invited to the Trafford Centre in Manchester last week for the launch of BookTrust‘s Bath Book Bed campaign with their ambassador Jo Frost I was eager to go along and see if we could get some help!

Jo Frost during the #BathBookBed Q&A

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity and they work to inspire a love of reading in children. They also know that lack of sleep is one of the hardest parts of being a parent and that getting them to sleep can be one of the biggest challenges. And that’s why they have teamed up with parenting expert Jo Frost to try and help some of those sleep deprived parents. They’re also getting a little help from Peppa Pig too!

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Living Arrows 18/52 (2017)

It’s been a mixed week this week – I started it with a bit of a sore throat and by Thursday I had full blown tonsillitis (again!). We had been invited to the Trafford Centre for a Q&A with Jo Frost though so I filled up on painkillers and throat spray and off we went. I was slightly apprehensive about taking both boys to an event on my own but they were both really well behaved.

This picture of Toby was when we had just arrived and I think he was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the place!

Toby looking awed by the size of the Trafford Centre

I was feeling slightly better on Friday so while Gabe had a nap Toby and I made chocolate cupcakes. Read more

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (April 2017)

April seems to have absolutely flown by this year. I don’t know whether it was because of Easter or because it’s a shorter month but whatever the reason I seem to have blinked and missed it! Having said that, when I look back we’ve actually fit quite a lot into the month.

The first weekend we headed up to the Lakes to see my in-laws and had a trip to Cartmel too. The next weekend we went to the beach at St Annes after Toby reached the end of his first reward chart.  On Easter Monday we went back up to the Lake District to hunt the Gruffalo in Grizedale Forest. And then yesterday we went to the SeaLife Centre in Blackpool as Toby’s reward from his second chart.

So looking back it’s actually been a very busy month. No wonder I’m exhausted! Anyway, this month’s Me & Mine photo was taken on our trip to Grizedale. Read more

Grizedale Forest // Gruffalo Spotters trail

Growing up in Blackpool with parents who love the outdoors and especially walking, meant I spent a lot of time in the Lake District. Barry also spent a large portion of his childhood in the Lakes, and we even got married there. One of the reasons we moved back to the north west from Scotland was so we could be nearer to our happy place.

Having said that we haven’t managed to many trips to the Lakes since we moved but now the boys are a bit bigger we plan on changing that. And we started on Easter Monday with a trip to Grizedale Forest to do a little Gruffalo spotting!  Grizedale is one of 26 Forestry Commission woods and forests where you can follow the Gruffalo Spotters trail. There is even an app to help you in your hunt, but more of that in a minute.

Taking a picture of Toby with the fox using the Gruffalo Spotters app

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What Toby Wore // Albababy

I’ve not done a ‘What the kids wore’ post for ages, and I actually took these pictures a while ago. I kept forgetting about them but noticed them the other day so I am finally getting round to writing this post.

I absolutely love Albababy clothes but the boys don’t have many as they are a bit on the expensive side. I’ve posted before about Gabe’s Albababy dungarees and he’s actually still wearing these now. Toby has got a long sleeve top that matches these dungarees too.

Toby in Albababy velour

In today’s post though Toby is wearing the Hamody button pants and Habian hooded blouse – I bought them both when they were on offer, and they are currently reduced at Dapper Baby where I got them, although there aren’t many sizes left. Read more

20 things about me

If you follow me on Instagram then you may well have read this already…and if you don’t then you really should – you can find me here.

Anyway, lots of people are joining in with these posts about 20 things and I thought it might be nice to share my 20 facts over here on the blog too, and I’ve added in a bit more detail here too. So here goes…

1. I’m actually called Sarah-Jane although no one calls me that (apart from my mum if I’m in trouble).
2. I was named after Dr Who’s assistant, Sarah-Jane Smith. My mum was actually so convinced I was going to be a boy that they hadn’t thought of any girl’s names. I was going to be Luke Matthew but then I turned out to be a girl and my dad was a big Dr Who fan so Sarah-Jane it was.
3. I was born and brought up in Blackpool – it wasn’t as exciting as you might think. I didn’t even go to the Pleasure Beach until I was about 14!
4. I danced in summer shows at in the famous Blackpool Tower ballroom for two summers when I was a teenager. The backstage is tiny and I don’t know how they fit everyone in when Strictly goes there.
5. I was head girl at secondary school. I had to apply for it like a job and be interviewed by the head teacher.

Me in my school uniform and gown as head girl
6. I’ve worn glasses since I was 7 – without them I can’t see much past the end of my nose! At first I only needed them for watching TV and reading the blackboard at school but my eye sight got steadily worse until I was in my twenties. Read more

Remembering Childhood // This glorious life

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week’s Remembering Childhood comes from Madeline from This glorious life.

Which decade were you born in?

I was born in the 80s.

What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

I remember being pushed down the stairs by my friend one day, we must’ve been about 3 or 4 years old.  I was fine by the way!

This glorious life

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

I can’t really remember, but I think I was around 5 when I had a pound puppy toy that I really loved.  By the time I was 10 I was a big fan of Sylvanian families.

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Cloth nappies // How to choose the right cloth nappies?

So you’ve decided you want to give them a try but how do you choose the right cloth nappies? This is by far the hardest part. There is so much choice out there that it really is difficult to know where to start! There are a few different options when it comes to cloth nappies; firstly, two part or all-in-one.

Two part nappy

Choosing the right cloth nappy - two part nappy

A two part nappy has the absorbent inner nappy separate from a waterproof outer wrap. The absorbent nappy can either be shaped (more like a disposable) or you can use terry squares (like my mum used on me!) or pre-folds (which fold into a pad which then sits inside the wrap). Read more