Bluestone National Park Resort with a toddler and a preschooler // An in depth review

At the beginning of last month we were invited to stay at Bluestone National Park resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The last time we went on holiday was when we went to Center Parcs last May so we were well overdue a break away! So we loaded up the car, packed up the kids and set off on our mammoth drive to Wales.

This is going to be quite a long and in depth review of our stay so if you haven’t got the time to read it all now then you can watch this little video of our stay instead…

Getting there

The journey was relatively stress-free, even though it took us seven and a half hours to get there! We were coming from the north west, it takes about 15 minutes to get on the M6 at Preston from where we live and then we were off. We decided to stick to the motorways even though it would make our journey a bit longer, just because you never know when you might need to stop with two small children and we wanted the convenience of stopping at motorway services. Read more

How to make your own reward chart (and does it work?)

I don’t really have a parenting style. I try and be fair and remain calm (although that doesn’t always happen) but most of all I try and be consistent. One thing I have learnt from my years as a teacher is that children need to know what the rules and boundaries are, and for them to stay the same. Quite often, knowing what is expected of them, and receiving praise when those expectations are met, is enough. But sometimes they might need a little bit more encouragement… and that’s where a reward chart can come in.

You can buy lots of reward charts, or download templates online, but when I decided to try using a reward chart with Toby I decided we would make our own. And it’s super easy.

Both reward charts

If you want a reward chart to work I think it’s really important that you involve your child in deciding what will be rewarded and what form those rewards will take. Toby is only three and a half so there was quite a bit of input from me, but if your child is older then you can probably let them make a few more of the decisions. Read more

Remembering Childhood // Vie Choufleur

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week it’s from Halina from Vie Choufleur.

Which decade were you born in?
The 1980s
What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

I think I was either a very late 2 or a very early 3. I was playing on my tricycle (do they even make those anymore?!) in our back garden and with the brilliantly stubborn logic of a toddler decided to try to ride said tricycle UP the steps towards the back door. Needless to say that didn’t go particularly well and I fell off.

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

It’s hard to remember being 5. At 10 my favourite toy was probably most likely one of my Barbies…yep, I was a Barbie girl! I had SO many, although my favourite was the mermaid Barbie who came with hair down to her ankles. At 5…I remember adoring my Lego, so so much. I used to play Lego for HOURS. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to do that (because I’ll be joining in/taking it over…).

Do you still have any toys from your childhood?

Read more

Living Arrows 15/52 (2017)

Week 15 and it seems like spring has finally sprung! We’ve been having some lovely weather this week, and especially this weekend.

On Tuesday Toby had a day off nursery (mostly to save a bit of money as he doesn’t get his funded hours during the school holidays) but Gabe still went in so we had a mummy and son day. We didn’t do too much – we played with some of the games we don’t usually get out when Gabe is around, and then we went out to run a few errands and have an ice cream. We don’t get much time, just Toby and I on our own very often, except when Gabe is napping, so it was lovely to have a day just the two of us.

We had a little bit more one on one time on Friday too, but that wasn’t quite so much fun as it was for Toby to have his preschool immunisations. We decided to tell him what was going to happen but that meant he was scared before he even got there. He was OK in the end really. He wailed when they did it but recovered fairly quickly when I produced a new Gruffalo toy and a Kinder egg! He has complained about sore arms a couple of times but otherwise seems to be fine so far.

Gabe on the other hand has been grumpy all week. I’m not sure what’s wrong with him – possibly teeth, or a cold, or just some sort of virus. He’s had a couple of little spots on his face but nowhere else, and on Saturday woke up with sticky eyes which have mostly cleared up now. He’s been off his food a bit though and just exceptionally clingy and whingey. Hopefully whatever it is it will pass quickly.

Despite Gabe’s grumpiness we decided to make the most of the lovely weather this weekend, and as Toby’s reward for reaching the end of his chart that I mentioned last week, we went to the beach on Saturday. We were planning on going after lunch but after fighting to fit the car seats into our new car for ages it ended up being almost 3 pm before we set off. Read more

Remembering Childhood // The Mum Diaries

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week it’s from Jaymee from The Mum Diaries.

Which decade were you born in?
I was born in the late 80’s (1989) but grew up in the 90s
What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

My dad used to make a video diary everyday, we would come home from school and we would have to sit on the sofa and tell the camera what we got up to.

The Mum Diaries

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

Favourite toy at 5 was probably  my Barbies and it was still the same at 10.

Do you still have any toys from your childhood?

Read more

Living Arrows 14/52 (2017)

It’s been another fairly quiet week but a busy weekend. On Tuesday Barry and I did manage to go out for lunch on our own which is a pretty rare occurrence. I was working on Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday were quiet days pottering around at home. We had one of our usual walks to the shops and the park on Friday, and Toby has realised that the ice cream van is often near the park so we had a little treat too.

We’ve been using a reward chart with Toby for the last couple of weeks – he had started wetting himself nearly every day after being dry for months and it was just through sheer laziness. He had also got into the habit of getting up early and coming into our bed, which I don’t really mind too much but Gabe is usually in there too and he was waking him up as well.

Toby in Cartmel

So anyway, we made a chart which was ‘Toby’s race to the beach’ and he could move a space nearer to the beach for every day he had dry pants, for every morning he stayed in bed until the sun came out on his Gro-clock and extra spaces for being especially kind or helpful. We added in smaller rewards along the way -Toby is a bit obsessed with Kinder Eggs at the moment so they featured quite heavily, but we’d also put in a trip to soft play when he was getting towards the end of the chart. Read more

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

For once I don’t feel like the month has disappeared before it even started! The first week of March saw us heading south for a holiday at Bluestone in Wales (which I still haven’t finished writing about!) and we had a lovely week away. You can watch the little video I made about our trip here if you like.

Since we came home things have been pretty normal. The boys have had colds again, Gabe’s sleep has gone back to being rubbish (he’s teething on top of his cold so it’s to be expected really), and some days I just can’t wait until bedtime!

We’ve had plenty of fun times too though; Toby and Gabe continue to be equally awesome and infuriating. I can’t believe next month we’ll be finding out which school Toby will be going to in September! He seems to have had a massive growth spurt this month. He’s constantly hungry and all his trousers are getting too short. I love an excuse to buy new clothes though so I’m not going to complain. Read more

Remembering Childhood // Whimsical Mumblings

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week it’s from Sarah from Whimsical Mumblings.

 

Which decade were you born in?
I’m a 90’s baby. The decade of MTV, paper fortune tellers, slap bracelets & The Spice Girls.
Sarah from Whimsical Mumblings as a baby
What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

I remember playing ‘mums and dads’ with all my cousins and siblings. I must have been around 7 or 8. My girl cousin always used to pretend to be my husband, and my brother used to pretend to be our pet dog!
Read more

How to have a wedding on a budget

*This is a collaborative post

Next week is our fifth wedding anniversary – we were very lucky in that my parents paid for most of our wedding. But even though we weren’t paying we did our best to keep our budget to a sensible level. I think we spent about £8,000 altogether – which is way less than the UK average of nearly £25,000!

On our wedding day

I don’t mean to ruin it for the romantics, but did you know what one of the biggest causes of divorce is? Debt, and financial problems. And spending a small fortune on your wedding is the quickest way to get yourselves off on the wrong foot financially.

It’s a fine line to tread, but there is a solution: trimming the costs of your big day, without impacting on any of the fun, enjoyment and memories. Here are some of the best ways to do it: Read more

Living Arrows 13/52 (2017)

Another week done, and not a huge amount achieved. Sometimes it feels like we never really do anything but then maybe we don’t really need to. The boys have both got colds at the moment. They managed their two days at nursery but the rest of the week has mostly been spent at home, and I have been wiping noses every five minutes!

This weekend though it was my dad’s birthday so we went out for a meal. Eating out is a bit tricky at the moment. It has to be early enough for the boys to not be too hungry or too tired…and we don’t always get it quite right. Gabe huge fan of sitting in a highchair unless there’s food in front of him, and even then he’s not always that keen! Read more